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See the Bibliographical Note on certain 
Pirated and Mutilated Editions of " Dorian 
Gray" at the end / Ihli present volume. 








ii Rue de Chdteaudun 

Registered at Stationers' Hall and protected 
under the Copyright Law Act. 

First published in complete book form In 1891 bg 
Messrs. Warrf, Locfc <fc C. (London). 


THE artist Is the creator of beautiful things. 
T reveal art and conceal the artist Is art's aim. 
The critic Is he who can translate into another manner 
or a new material his Impression of beautiful things. 
The highest, as the lowest, form of criticism 
is a mode of autobiography. 

Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are 
corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. 

Those who find beautiful meanings In 
beautiful things are the cultivated. For 
these there Is hope. 

They are the elect to whom beautiful things 
mean only Beauty. 

There is no such thing as a moral or an im- 
moral book. Books are well written, or 
badly written. That is all. 

The nineteenth century dislike of Realism is the rage 
of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass. 

The nineteenth century dislike of Ro- 
manticism is the rage of Caliban not 
seeing his own face hi a glass. 
The moral life of man forms part of the subject- 
matter of the artist, but the morality of art con- 
sists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium. 
No artist desires to prove anything. Even 
things that are true can be proved. 


No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical 
sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable 
mannerism of style. 

No artist is ever morbid. The artist 
can express everything. 

Thought and language are to the artist instru- 
ments of an art. 

Vice and virtue are to the artist materials 
for an art. 

From the point of view of form, the type of all the 
arts is the art of the musician. From the point of 
view of feeling, the actor's craft is the type. 

All art is at once surface and symbol. 
Those who go beneath the surface do so at their 

Those who read the symbol do so at their 

It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. 
Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows 
that the work is new, complex, and vital. 

When critics disagree the artist is in accord 
with himself. 

We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as 
long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for 
making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. 
All art is quite useless. 




THE studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, 
and when the light summer wind stirred amidst 
the trees of the garden, there came through the open 
door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate 
perfume of the pink-flowering thorn. 

From the corner of the divan of Persian saddle- 
bags on which he was lying, smoking, as was his 
custom, Innumerable cigarettes, Lord Henry Wotton 
could just catch the gleam of the honey-sweet and 
honey-coloured blossoms of a laburnum, whose 
tremulous branches seemed hardly able to bear the 
burden of a beauty so flame-like as theirs ; and 
now and then the fantastic shadows of birds in 
flight flitted across the long tussore-silk curtains 
that were stretched in front of the huge window, 
producing a kind of momentary Japanese effect, 
and making him think of those pallid jade-faced 
painters of Tokio who, through the medium of an 
art that is necessarily immobile, seek to convey the 
sense of swiftness and motion. The sullen murmur 
of the bees shouldering their way through the long 
unmown grass, or circling with monotonous insistence 
round the dusty gilt horns of the straggling woodbine, 
seemed to make the stillness more oppressive. The 



dim roar of London was like the bourdon note of a 
distant organ. 

In the centre of the room, clamped to an upright 
easel, stood the full-length portrait of a young man 
of extraordinary personal beauty, and in front of it, 
some little distance away, was sitting the artist him- 
self, Basil Hallward, whose sudden disappearance 
some years ago caused, at the time, such public 
excitement, and gave rise to so many strange con- 

As the painter looked at the gracious and comely 
form he had so skilfully mirrored in his art, a smile 
of pleasure passed across his face, and seemed about 
to linger there. But he suddenly started up, and, 
closing his eyes, placed his fingers upon the lids, 
as though he sought to imprison within his brain 
some curious dream from which he feared he might 

" It is your best work, Basil, the best thing you 
have ever done," said Lord Henry, languidly. " You 
must certainly send it next year to the Grosvenor. 
The Academy is too large and too vulgar. Whenever 
I have gone there, there have been either so many 
people that I have not been able to see the pictures, 
which was dreadful, or so many pictures that I have 
not been able to see the people, which was worse. 
The Grosvenor is really the only place." 

" I don't think I shall send it anywhere," he 
answered, tossing his head back in that odd way 
that used to make his friends laugh at him at Oxford. 
" No : I won't send it anywhere." 

Lord Henry elevated his eyebrows, and looked at 
him in amazement through the thin blue wreaths of 
smoke that curled up in such fanciful whorls from 
his heavy opium-tainted cigarette. " Not send it 
anywhere ? My dear fellow, why ? Have you any 
reason ? What odd chaps you painters are 1 You 
do anything in the world to gain a reputation. As 
soon as you have one, you seem to want to throw it 
away. It is silly of you, for there is only one thing 


In the world worse than being talked about, and that 1 
Is not being talked about. A portrait like this/ 
would set you far above all the young men in England, 
and make the old men quite jealous, if old men are 
ever capable of any emotion." 

" I know you will laugh at me," he replied, " but 
I really can't exhibit it. I have put too much of 
myself into it." 

Lord Henry stretched himself out on the divan 
and laughed. 

" Yes, I knew you would ; but it is quite true, all 
the same." 

" Too much of yourself in it I Upon my word, 
Basil, I didn't know you were so vain ; and I really 
can't see any resemblance between you, with your 
rugged strong face and your coal-black hair, and 
this young Adonis, who looks as if he was made out 
of ivory and rose-leaves. Why, my dear Basil, he 
is a Narcissus, and you well, of course you have an 
Intellectual expression, and all that. But beauty, 
real beauty, ends where an intellectual expression 
begins. Intellect is in itself a mode of exaggeration, j 
and destroys the harmony of any face. The moment 
one sits down to think, one becomes all nose, or all 
forehead, or something horrid. Look at the successful 
men in any of the learned professions. How perfectly 
hideous they are I Except, of course, in the Church. 
But then in the Church they don't think. A bishop 
keeps on saying at the age of eighty what he was told 
to say when he was a boy of eighteen, and as a natural 
consequence he always looks absolutely delightful. 
Your mysterious young friend, whose name you have 
never told me, but whose picture really fascinates 
me, never thinks. I feel quite sure of that. He is 
some brainless, beautiful creature, who should be 
always here in winter when we have no flowers to 
look at, and always here in summer when we want 
something to chill our intelligence. Don't flatter 
yourself, Basil : you are not in the least like him." 

" You don't understand me, Harry," answered 


the artist. " Of course I am not like him. I know 
that perfectly well. Indeed, I should be sorry to 
look like him. You shrug your shoulders ? I am 
telling you the truth. There is a fatality about all 
physical and intellectual distinction, the sort of 
fatality that seems to dog through history the falter- 
ing steps of kings. It is better not to be different 
from one's fellows. The ugly and the stupid have 
the best of it in this world. They can sit at their 
ease and gape at the play. If they know nothing 
of victory, they are at least spared the knowledge of 
defeat. They live as we all should live, undisturbed, 
indifferent, and without disquiet. They neither 
bring ruin upon others, nor ever receive it from alien 
hands. Your rank and wealth, Harry ; my brains, 
such as they are my art, whatever it may be worth ; 
Dorian Gray's good looks we shall all suffer for 
what the gods have given us, suffer terribly." 

" Dorian Gray ? Is that his name ? " asked Lord 
Henry, walking across the studio towards Basil 

" Yes, that Is his name. I didn't intend to tell It 
to you." 

" But why not ? " 

" Oh, I can't explain. When I like people im- 
mensely I never tell their names to anyone. It Is 
like surrendering a part of them. I have grown to 
love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can 
make modern life mysterious or marvellous to us. 
The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides 
it. When I leave town no\v I never tell my people 
where I am going. If I did, I would lose all my 
pleasure. It is a silly habit, I daresay, but somehow 
it seems to bring a great deal of romance into one's 
life. I suppose you think me awfully foolish about 

" Not at all," answered Lord Henry, " not at all, 
my dear Basil. You seem to forget that I am married, 
and the one charm of marriage is that it makes a life 
of deception absolutely necessary for both parties. 


I never know where my wife is, and my wife never 
knows what I am doing. When we meet we do 
meet occasionally, when we dine out together, or go 
down to the Duke's we tell each other the most 
absurd stories with the most serious faces. My wife 
is very good at it much better, in fact, than I am. 
She never gets confused over her dates, and I always 
do. But when she does find me out, she makes no 
row at all. I sometimes wish she would ; but she 
merely laughs at me." 

" I hate the way you talk about your married life, 

Harry," said Basil Hallward, strolling towards the 

door that led into the garden. " I believe that you 

are really a very good husband, but that you are 

thoroughly ashamed of your own virtues. You are 

I an extraordinary fellow. You never say a moral 

A thing, and you never do a wrong thing. Your 

cynicism is simply a pose." 

" Being natural is simply a pose, and the most 
irritating pose I know," cried Lord Henry, laughing ; 
and the two young men went out into the garden 
together, and ensconced themselves on a long bamboo 
seat that stood in the shade of a tall laurel bush. 
The sunlight slipped over the polished leaves. In the 
grass, white daisies were tremulous. 

After a pause, Lord Henry pulled out his watch. 
" I am afraid I must be going, Basil," he murmured, 
" and before I go, I insist on your answering a question 
I put to you some time ago." 

" What is that ? " said the painter, keeping his 
eyes fixed on the ground. 

" You know quite well." 

" I do not, Harry." 

" Well, I will tell you what it is. I want you to 
explain to me why you won't exhibit Dorian Gray's 
picture. I want the real reason." 

" I told you the real reason." 

" No, you did not. You said it was because there 
was too much of yourself in it. Now, that is childish." 

" Harry," said Basil Hallward, looking him straight 


In the face, " every portrait that Is painted with 
feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. 
The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It 
is not he who is revealed by the painter ; It is rather 
the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals 
himself. The reason I will not exhibit this picture 
is that I am afraid that I have shown in it the 
secret of my own soul." 

Lord Henry laughed. " And what Is that ? " he 

" I will tell you," said Hallward; but an expres- 
sion of perplexity came over his face. 

" I am all expectation, Basil," continued his com- 
panion, glancing at him. 

" Oh, there is really very little to tell, Harry," 
answered the painter ; " and I am afraid you will 
hardly understand it. Perhaps you will hardly be- 
lieve it." 

Lord Henry smiled, and, leaning down, plucked a 
pink-petalled daisy from the grass, and examined it. 
" I am quite sure I shall understand it," he replied, 
gazing intently at the little golden white-feathered 
disk, " and as for believing things, I can believe 
anything, provided that it is quite incredible." 

The wind shook some blossoms from the trees, and 
the heavy lilac-blooms, with their clustering stars, 
moved to and fro in the languid air. A grasshopper 
began to chirrup by the wall, and like a blue thread 
a long thin dragon-fly floated past on Its brown 
gauze wings. Lord Henry felt as if he could hear 
Basil Hallward's heart beating, and wondered what 
was coming. 

" The story is simply this," said the painter after 
some time. " Two months ago I went to a crush at 
Lady Brandon's. You know we poor artists have to 
show ourselves in society from time to time, just to 
remind the public that we are not savages. With an 
evening coat and a white tie, as you told me once, 
anybody, even a stockbroker, can gain a reputation 
for being civilised. Well, after I had been in the 


room about ten minutes, talking to huge overdressed 
dowagers and tedious Academicians, I suddenly be- 
came conscious that someone was looking at me. I 
turned halfway round, and saw Dorian Gray for the 
first time. When our eyes met, I felt that I was 
growing pale. A curious sensation of terror came 
over me. I knew that I had come face to face with 
someone whose mere personality was so fascinating 
that, If I allowed it to do so, it would absorb my 
whole nature, my whole soul, my very art itself. I 
did not want any external influence in my life. You 
know yourself, Harry, how independent I am by 
nature. I have always been my own master ; had 
at least always been so, till I met Dorian Gray. 

Then but I don't know how to explain i.t to you. 

Something seemed to tell me that I was on the verge 
of a terrible crisis in my life. I had a strange feeling 
that Fate had in store for me exquisite joys and 
exquisite sorrows. I grew afraid, and turned to 
quit the room. It was not conscience that made me 
do so ; it was a sort of cowardice. I take no credit 
to myself for trying to escape." 

" Conscience and cowardice are really the same 
things, Basil. Conscience is the trade-name of the 
firm. That is all." 

" I don't believe that, Harry, and I don't believe 
you do either. However, whatever was my motive 
and it may have been pride, for I used to be very 
proud I certainly struggled to the door. There, 
of course, I stumbled against Lady Brandon. ' You 
are not going to run away so soon, Mr. Hallward ? ' 
she screamed out. You know her curiously shrill 
voice ? " 

" Yes ; she is a peacock In everything but beauty," 
said Lord Henry, pulling the daisy to bits with his 
long, nervous fingers. 

" I could not get rid of her. She brought me up 
to Royalties, and people with Stars and Garters, and 
elderly ladies with gigantic tiaras and parrot noses. 
She spoke of me as her dearest friend. I had only 


met her once before, but she took it into her head to 
lionise me. I believe some picture of mine had made 
a great success at the time, at least had been chattered 
about in the penny newspapers, which is the nine- 
teenth-century standard of immortality. Suddenly 
I found myself face to face with the young man whose 
personality had so strangely stirred me. We were 
quite close, almost touching. Our eyes met again. 
It was reckless of me, but I asked Lady Brandon to 
introduce me to him. Perhaps it was not so reckless, 
after all. It was simply inevitable. We would have 
spoken to each other without any introduction. I 
am sure of that. Dorian told me so afterwards. He, 
too, felt that we were destined to know each other." 

" And how did Lady Brandon describe this wonder- 
ful young man ? " asked his companion. " I know 
she goes in for giving a rapid precis of all her guests. 
I remember her bringing me up to a truculent and 
red-faced old gentleman covered all over with orders 
and ribbons, and hissing into my ear, In a tragic 
whisper which must have been perfectly audible to 
everybody in the room, the most astounding details. 
I simply fled. I like to find out people for myself. 
But Lady Brandon treats her guests exactly as an 
auctioneer treats his goods. She either explains them 
entirely away, or tells one everything about them 
except what one wants to know." 

" Poor Lady Brandon ! You are hard on her, 
Harry I " said Hall ward, listlessly. 

" My dear fellow, she tried to found a salon, and ;' 
only succeeded in opening a restaurant. How could / 
I admire her ? But tell me, what did she say about 
Mr. Dorian Gray ? " 

" Oh, something like, ' Charming boy poor dear 
mother and I absolutely inseparable. Quite forget 
what he does afraid he doesn't do anything oh, 
yes, plays the piano or Is it the violin, dear Mr. 
Gray ? ' Neither of us could help laughing, and we 
became friends at once." 

" Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a 


friendship, and it is far the best ending for one," said 
the young lord, plucking another daisy. 

Hallward shook his head. " You don't under- 
stand what friendship is, Harry," he murmured 
" or what enmity is, for that matter. You like 
everyone ; that is to say, you are indifferent to 

" How horribly unjust of you 1 " cried Lord Henry, 
tilting his hat back, and looking up at the little clouds 
that, like ravelled skeins of glossy white silk, were 
drifting across the hollowed turquoise of the summer 
sky. ' Yes ; horribly unjust of you. I make a 
great difference between people. I choose my friends 
for their good looks, my acquaintances for their 
good characters, and my enemies for their good 
Intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice 
of his enemies. I have not got one who is a fool. 
They are all men of some intellectual power, and 
consequently they all appreciate me. Is that very 
vain of me ? I think it is rather vain." 

" I should think it was, Harry. But according to 
your category I must be merely an acquaintance." 

" My dear old Basil, you are much more than an 

" And much less than a friend. A sort of brother, 
I suppose ? " 

" Oh, brothers ! I don't care for brothers. My 
elder brother won't die, and my younger brothers 
seem never to do anything else." 

" Harry 1 " exclaimed Hallward, frowning. 

" My dear fellow, I am not quite serious. But I 
can't help detesting my relations. I suppose it 
conies from the fact that none of us can stand other 
people having the same faults as ourselves. I quite 
sympathise with the rage of the English democracy 
against what they call the vices of the upper orders. 
The masses feel that drunkenness, stupidity, and 
Immorality should be their own special property, 
and that if anyone of us makes an ass of himself he 
Is poaching on their preserves. When poor South- 


wark got into the Divorce Court, their Indignation 
was quite magnificent. And yet I don't suppose 
that ten per cent, of the proletariat live correctly." 

" I don't agree with a single word that you have 
said, and, what is more, Harry, I feel sure you don't 

Lord Henry stroked his pointed brown beard, and 
tapped the toe of his patent-leather boot with a 
tasselled ebony cane. " How English you are, 
Basil I That is the second time you have made that 
observation. If one puts forward an idea to a true 
Englishman always a rash thing to do he never 
dreams of considering whether the idea is right or 
wrong. The only thing he considers of any impor- 
tance is whether one believes it oneself. Now, the 
value of an idea has nothing whatsoever to do with 
the sincerity of the man who expresses it. Indeed, 
the probabilities are that the more insincere the man 
Is, the more purely intellectual will the idea be, as 
in that case it will not be coloured by either his wants, 
his desires, or his prejudices. However, I don't 
propose to discuss politics, sociology, or metaphysics 
with you. I like persons better than principles, and 
I like persons with no principles better than anything 
else in the world. Tell me more about Mr. Dorian 
Gray. How often do you see him ? " 

" Every day. I couldn't be happy if I didn't see 
him every day. He Is absolutely necessary to me." 

" How extraordinary 1 I thought you would never 
care for anything but your art." 

" He is all my art to me now," said the painter, 
gravely. " I sometimes think, Harry, that there 
are only two eras of any importance in the world's 
history. The first is the appearance of a new medium 
for art, and the second is the appearance of a new 
personality for art also. What the invention of oil- 
painting was to the Venetians, the face of Antinous 
was to late Greek sculpture, and the face of Dorian 
Gray will some day be to me. It is not merely that 
I paint from him, draw from him, sketch from him. 


Of course I have done all that. But he Is much more 
to me than a model or a sitter. I won't tell you that 
I am dissatisfied with what I have done of him, or 
that his beauty is such that Art cannot express It. 
There Is nothing that Art cannot express, and I know 
that the work I have done, since I met Dorian Gray, 
is good work, is the best work of my life. But in 
some curious way I wonder will you understand me ? 
his personality has suggested to me an entirely 
new manner in art, an entirely new mode of style. 
I see things differently, I think of them differently. 
I can now recreate life in a way that was hidden from 
me before. ' A dream of form in days of thought : ' 
who is it who says that ? I forget ; but It is what 
Dorian Gray has been to me. The merely visible 
presence of this lad for he seems to me little more 
than a lad, though he is really over twenty his 
merely visible presence ah I I wonder can you realise 
all that that means ? Unconsciously he defines for 
me the lines of a fresh school, a school that is to have 
in it all the passion of the romantic spirit, all the 
perfection of the spirit that is Greek. The harmony 
of soul and body how much that Is I We In our 
madness have separated the two, and have invented 
a realism that is vulgar, an ideality that is void. 
Harry ! if you only knew what Dorian Gray is to 
me I You remember that landscape of mine, for 
which Agnew offered me such a huge price, but which 
I would not part with ? It is one of the best things 
I have ever done. And why Is it so ? Because, 
while I was painting it, Dorian Gray sat beside me. 
Some subtle influence passed from him to me, and 
for the first time in my life I saw in the plain woodland 
the wonder I had always looked for, and always 

" Basil, this is extraordinary I I must see Dorian 

Hallward got up from the seat, and walked up and 
down the garden. After some time he came back. 
" Harry," he said, " Dorian Gray Is to me simply a 


motive In art. You might see nothing in him. I 
see everything in him. He is never more present in 
my work than when no image of him is there. He 
is a suggestion, as I have said, of a new manner. I 
find him in the curves of certain lines, in the loveliness 
and subtleties of certain colours. That is all." 

" Then why won't you exhibit his portrait ? " 
asked Lord Henry. 

" Because, without intending It, I have put into 
it some expression of all this curious artistic idolatry, 
of which, of course, I have never cared to speak to 
him. He knows nothing about it. He shall never 
know anything about it. But the world might guess 
It ; and I will not bare my soul to their shallow 
prying eyes. My heart shall never be put under 
their microscope. There is too much of myself In 
the thing, Harry too much of myself I " 

" Poets are not so scrupulous as you are. They 
know how useful passion is for publication. Nowa- 
days a broken heart will run to many editions." 

" I hate them for it," cried Hallward. " An 
artist should create beautiful things, but should put 
nothing of his own life into them. We live in an age 
when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form 
of autobiography. We have lost the abstract sense 
of beauty. Some day I will show the world what it 
Is ; and for that reason the world shall never see my 
portrait of Dorian Gray." 

" I think you are wrong, Basil, but I won't argue 
with you. It Is only the intellectually lost who ever 
argue. Tell me, Is Dorian Gray very fond of you ? " 

The painter considered for a few moments. " He 
likes me," he answered, after a pause ; "I know he 
likes me. Of course I flatter him dreadfully. I find 
a strange pleasure in saying things to him that I 
know I shall be sorry for having said. As a rule, 
he is charming to me, and we sit in the studio and 
talk of a thousand things. Now and then, however, 
he is horribly thoughtless, and seems to take a real 
delight in giving me pain. Then I feel, Harry, that 


I have given away my whole soul to someone who 
treats it as if it were a flower to put in his coat, a bit 
of decoration to charm his vanity, an ornament for a 
summer's day." 

" Days in summer, Basil, are apt to linger," mur- 
mured Lord Henry. " Perhaps you will tire sooner 
than he will. It is a sad thing to think of, but there 
is no doubt that Genius lasts longer than Beauty. 
That accounts for the fact that we all take such pains 
to over-educate ourselves. In the wild struggle for 
existence, we want to have something that endures, 
and so we fill our minds with rubbish and facts, in 
the silly hope of keeping our place. The thoroughly 
well-informed man that is the modern ideal. And 
the mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a 
dreadful thing. It is like a bric-a-brac shop, all 
monsters and dust, with everything priced above its 
proper value. I think you will tire first, all the same. 
Some day you will look at your friend, and he will 
seem to you to be a little out of drawing, or you won't 
like his tone of colour, or something. You will 
bitterly reproach him in your own heart, and seriously 
think that he has behaved very badly to you. The 
next time he calls, you will be perfectly cold and in- 
different. It will be a great pity, for it will alter 
you. What you have told me is quite a romance, a 
romance of art one might call it, and the worst of 
having a romance of any kind is that it leaves one so f 
unromantic." / 

" Harry, don't talk like that. As long as I live, 
the personality of Dorian Gray will dominate me. 
You can't feel what I feel. You change too often." 

" Ah, my dear Basil, that is exactly why I can feel 
it. Those who are faithful know only the trivial 
side of love : it is the faithless who know love's 
tragedies." And Lord Henry struck a light on a 
dainty silver case, and began to smoke a cigarette 
with a self-conscious and satisfied air, as if he had 
summed up the world in a phrase. There was a 
rustle of chirruping sparrows in the green lacquer 


leaves of the ivy, and the blue cloud-shadows chased 
themselves across the grass like swallows. How 
pleasant it was in the garden I And how delightful 
other people's emotions were 1 much more delightful 
than their ideas, it seemed to him. One's own soul, 
and the passions of one's friends those were the 
fascinating things in life. He pictured to himself with 
silent amusement the tedious luncheon that he had 
missed by staying so long with Basil Hallward. Had 
he gone to his aunt's he would have been sure to have 
met Lord Goodbody there, and the whole conversa- 
tion would have been about the feeding of the poor, 
and the necessity for model lodging-houses. Each 
class would have preached the importance of those 
virtues, for whose exercise there was no necessity 
in their own lives. The rich would have spoken on 
the value of thrift, and the idle grown eloquent over 
the dignity of labour. It was charming to have 
escaped all that ! As he thought of his aunt, an idea 
seemed to strike him. He turned to Hallward, and 
said, " My dear fellow, I have just remembered." 
" Remembered what, Harry ? " 
" Where I heard the name of Dorian Gray." 
" Where was it ? " asked Hallward, with a slight 

" Don't look so angry, Basil. It was at my aunt, 
Lady Agatha's. She told me she had discovered a 
wonderful young man, who was going to help her In 
the East End, and that his name was Dorian Gray. 
I am bound to state that she never told me he was 
good-looking. Women have no appreciation of good 
looks ; at least, good women have not. She said 
that he was very earnest, and had a beautiful nature. 
I at once pictured to myself a creature with spectacles 
and lank hair, horribly freckled, and tramping about 
on huge feet. I wish I had known it was your friend." 
" I am very glad you didn't, Harry." 
" Why ? " 

" I don't want you to meet him." 
" You don't want me to meet him ? " 


" No." 

" Mr. Dorian Gray Is in the studio, sir," said the 
butler, coming Into the garden. 

" You must introduce me now," cried Lord Henry, 

The painter turned to his servant, who stood 
blinking in the sunlight. " Ask Mr. Gray to wait, 
Parker : I shall be in in a few moments." The man 
bowed, and went up the walk. 

Then he looked at Lord Henry. " Dorian Gray 
Is my dearest friend," he said. " He has a simple 
and a beautiful nature. Your aunt was quite right 
In what she said of him. Don't spoil him. Don't 
try to iniluence him. Your influence would be bad. 
The world is wide, and has many marvellous people 
In it. Don't take away from me the one person who 
gives to my art whatever charm it possesses ; my 
life as an artist depends on him. Mind, Harry, I 
trust you." He spoke very slowly, and the words 
seemed wrung out of him almost against his will. 

" What nonsense you talk 1 " said Lord Henry, 
smiling, and, taking Hallward by the arm, he almost 
led him Into the house. 


As they entered they saw Dorian Gray. He was 
seated at the piano, with his back to them, turning 
over the pages of a volume of Schumann's " Forest 
Scenes." " You must lend me these, Basil," he 
cried. " I want to learn them. They are perfectly 

" That entirely depends on how you sit to-day, 

" Oh, I am tired of sitting, and I don't want a life- 
sized portrait of myself," answered the lad, swinging 
round on the music-stool, in a wilful, petulant manner. 
When he caught sight of Lord Henry, a faint blush 
coloured his cheeks for a moment, and he started up. 
" I beg your pardon, Basil, but I didn't know you 
had anyone with you." 

" This is Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian, an old 
Oxford friend of mine. I have just been telling him 
what a capital sitter you were, and now you have 
spoiled everything." 

" You have not spoiled my pleasure in meeting 
you, Mr. Gray," said Lord Henry, stepping forward 
and extending his hand. " My aunt has often 
spoken to me about you. You are one of her favour- 
ites, and, I am afraid, one of her victims also." 

" I am in Lady Agatha's black books at present," 
answered Dorian, with a funny look of penitence. 
" I promised to go to a club in Whitechapel with 
her last Tuesday, and I really forgot all about It. 
We were to have played a duet together three duets, 
I believe. I don't know what she will say to me. 
I am far too frightened to call." 



" Oh, I will make your peace with my aunt. She 
Is quite devoted to you. And I don't think it really 
matters about your not being there. The audience 
probably thought it was a duet. When Aunt Agatha 
sits down to the piano she makes quite enough noise 
for two people." 

" That is very horrid to her, and not very nice to 
me," answered Dorian, laughing. 

Lord Henry looked at him. Yes, he was certainly 
wonderfully handsome, with his finely-curved scarlet 
lips, his frank blue eyes, his crisp gold hair. There 
was something in his face that made one trust him 
at once. All the candour of youth was there, as well 
as all youth's passionate purity. One felt that he 
had kept himself unspotted from the world. No 
wonder Basil Hallward worshipped him. 

" You are too charming to go in for philanthropy, 
Mr. Gray far too charming." And Lord Henry 
flung himself down on the divan, and opened his 

The painter had been busy mixing his colours and 
getting his brushes ready. He was looking worried, 
and when he heard Lord Henry's last remark he 
glanced at him, hesitated for a moment, and then 
said, " Harry, I want to finish this picture to-day. 
Would you think it awfully rude of me if I asked you 
to go away ? " 

Lord Henry smiled, and looked at Dorian Gray. 
" Am I to go, Mr. Gray ? " he asked. 

" Oh, please don't, Lord Henry. I see that Basil 
is in one of his sulky moods ; and I can't bear him 
when he sulks. Besides, I want you to tell me why 
I should not go in for philanthropy." 

" I don't know that I shall tell you that, Mr. Gray. 
It is so tedious a subject that one would have to talk 
seriously about it. But I certainly shall not run 
away, now that you have asked me to stop. You 
don't really mind, Basil, do you ? You have often 
told me that you liked your sitters to have someone 
to chat to." 


Hallward bit his lip. " If Dorian wishes it, of 
course you must stay. Dorian's whims are laws to 
everybody, except himself." 

Lord Henry took up his hat and gloves. " You 
are very pressing, Basil, but I am afraid I must go. 
I have promised to meet a man at the Orleans. 
Good-bye, Mr. Gray. Come and see me some after- 
noon in Curzon Street. I am nearly always at home 
at five o'clock. Write to me when you are coming. 
I should be sorry to miss you." 

" Basil," cried Dorian Gray, " if Lord Henry 
Wotton goes I shall go too. You never open your 
lips while you are painting, and it is horribly dull 
standing on a platform and trying to look pleasant. 
Ask him to stay. I insist upon it." 

" Stay, Harry, to oblige Dorian, and to oblige me," 
said Halhvard, gazing intently at his picture. " It 
is quite true, I never talk when I am working, and 
never listen either, and it must be dreadfully tedious 
for my unfortunate sitters. I beg you to stay." 

" But what about my man at the Orleans ? " 

The painter laughed. " I don't think there will 
be any difficulty about that. Sit down again, Harry. 
And now, Dorian, get up on the platform, and don't 
move about too much, or pay any attention to what 
Lord Henry says. He has a very bad influence over 
all his friends, with the single exception of myself." 

Dorian Gray stepped up on the dais, with the air 
of a young Greek martyr, and made a little moue 
of discontent to Lord Henry, to whom he had rather 
taken a fancy. He was so unlike Basil. They made 
a delightful contrast. And he had such a beautiful 
voice. After a few moments he said to him, " Have 
you really a very bad influence, Lord Henry ? As 
bad as Basil says ? " 

" There is no such thing as a good influence, Mr. 
Gray. All influence is immoral immoral from the 
scientific point of view." 

" Why ? " 

" Because to influence a person is to give him one's 


own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, 
or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are 
not real to him. His sins, if there are such things 
as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some- 
one else's music, an actor of a part that has not been 
written for him. The aim of life is self-development. 
To realise one's nature perfectly that is what each 
of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, 
nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all 
duties, the duty that one owes to one's self. Of course 
they are charitable. They feed the hungry, and 
clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and 
are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Per- 
haps we never really had it. The terror of society, 
which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which 
is the secret of religion these are the two things that 
govern us. And yet " 

" Just turn your head a little more to the right, 
Dorian, like a good boy," said the painter, deep in 
his work, and conscious only that a look had come 
into the lad's face that he had never seen there before. 

" And yet," continued Lord Henry, in his low, 
musical voice, and with that graceful wave of the 
hand that was always so characteristic of him, and 
that he had even in his Eton days, " I believe that 
if one man were to live out his life fully and com- 
pletely, were to give form to every feeling, expression 
to every thought, reality to every dream I believe 
that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of 
joy that we would forget all the maladies of mediae- 
valism, and return to the Hellenic ideal to some- 
thing finer, richer, than the Hellenic ideal, it may be. 
But the bravest man amongst us is afraid of himself. 
The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival 
in the self-denial that mars our lives. We are 
punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we 
strive to strangle broods in the mind, and poisons us. 
The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for 
action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains 
then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury 


of a regret. The only way to get rid of a temptation 
is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick 
with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, 
with desire for what its monstrous laws have 
made monstrous and unlawful. It has been said 
that the great events of the world take place in the 
brain. It is In the brain, and the brain only, that 
the great sins of the world take place also. You, Mr. 
Gray, you yourself, with your rose-red youth and your 
rose-white boyhood, you have had passions that have 
made you afraid, thoughts that have filled you with 
terror, day-dreams and sleeping dreams whose mere 
memory might stain your cheek with shame " 

" Stop I " faltered Dorian Gray, " stop ! you 
bewilder me. I don't know what to say. There is 
some answer to you, but I cannot find it. Don't 
speak. Let me think. Or, rather, let me try not 
to think." 

For nearly ten minutes he stood there, motionless, 
with parted lips, and eyes strangely bright. He was 
dimly conscious that entirely fresh influences were 
at work within him. Yet they seemed to him to 
have come really from himself. The few words that 
Basil's friend had said to him words spoken by 
chance, no doubt, and with wilful paradox in them 
had touched some secret chord that had never been 
touched before, but that he felt was now vibrating 
and throbbing J;o curious pulses. 

Music had stirred him like that. Music had 
troubled him many times. But music was not 
articulate. It was not a new world, but rather 
another chaos, that it created In us. Words I Mere 
words t How terrible they were I How clear, and 
vivid, and cruel 1 One could not escape from them. 
And yet what a subtle magic there was in them I 
They seemed to be able to give a plastic form to form- 
less things, and to have a music of their own as sweet 
as that of viol or of lute. Mere words 1 Was there 
anything so real as words ? 

Yes ; there had been things in his boyhood that 


he had not understood. He understood them now. 
Life suddenly became fiery-coloured to him. It 
seemed to him that he had been walking in fire. Why 
had he not known it ? 

With his subtle smile, Lord Henry watched him. 
He knew the precise psychological moment when to 
say nothing. He felt intensely interested. He was 
amazed at the sudden impression that his words had 
produced, and, remembering a book that he had read 
when he was sixteen, a book which had revealed to 
him much that he had not known before, he wondered 
whether Dorian Gray was passing through a similar 
experience. He had merely shot an arrow into the air. 
Had it hit the mark ? How fascinating the lad was ! 

Hallward painted away with that marvellous bold 
touch of his, that had the true refinement and perfect 
delicacy that in art, at any rate, comes only from 
strength. He was unconscious of the silence. 

" Basil, I am tired of standing," cried Dorian 
Gray, suddenly. " I must go out and sit in the 
garden. The air is stifling here." 

" My dear fellow, I am so sorry. When I am 
painting, I can't think of anything else. But yeu 
never sat better. You were perfectly still. And I 
have caught the effect I wanted the half-parted 
lips, and the bright look in the eyes. I don't know 
what Harry has been saying to you, but he has 
certainly made you have the most wonderful expres- 
sion. I suppose he has been paying you compliments. 
You mustn't believe a word that he says." 

" He has certainly not been paying me compliments. 
Perhaps that is the reason that I don't believe any- 
thing he has told me." 

" You know you believe It all," said Lord Henry, 
looking at him with his dreamy, languorous eyes. 
" I will go out to the garden with you. It is horribly 
hot in the studio. Basil, let us have something iced 
to drink, something with strawberries in it." 

" Certainly, Harry. Just touch the bell, and when 
Parker comes I will tell him what you want. I have 


got to work up this background, so I will join you 
later on. Don't keep Dorian too long. I have never 
been In better form for painting than I am to-day. 
This Is going to be my masterpiece. It Is my master- 
piece as it stands." 

Lord Henry went out to the garden, and found 
Dorian Gray burying his face In the great cool lilac- 
blossoms, feverishly drinking in their perfume as If 
It had been wine. He came close to him, and put 
his hand upon his shoulder. " You are quite right 
to do that," he murmured. " Nothing can cure the 
soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the 
senses but the soul." 

The lad started and drew back. He was bare- 
headed, and the leaves had tossed his rebellious curls 
and tangled all their gilded threads. There was a 
look of fear In his eyes, such as people have when 
they are suddenly awakened. His finely-chiselled 
nostrils quivered, and some hidden nerve shook the 
scarlet of his lips and left them trembling. 

" Yes," continued Lord Henry, " that Is one of 
the great secrets of life to cure the soul by means 
of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul. 
You are a wonderful creation. You know more than 
you think you know, just as you know less than you 
want to know." 

Dorian Gray frowned and turned his head away. 
He could not help liking the tall, graceful young man 
who was standing by him. His romantic olive- 
coloured face and worn expression interested him. 
There was something in his low, languid voice that 
was absolutely fascinating. His cool, white, flower- 
like hands, even, had a curious charm. They moved, 
as he spoke, like music, and seemed to have a language 
of their own. But he felt afraid of him, and ashamed 
of being afraid. Why had it been left for a stranger 
to reveal him to himself ? He had known Basil 
Hallward for months, but the friendship between 
them had never altered him. Suddenly there had 
come someone across his life who seemed to have 


disclosed to him life's mystery. And, yet, what was 
there to be afraid of ? He was not a schoolboy or a 
girl. It was absurd to be frightened. 

" Let us go and sit in the shade," said Lord Henry. 
" Parker has brought out the drinks, and if you stay 
any longer in this glare you will be quite spoiled, and 
Basil will never paint you again. You really must 
not allow yourself to become sunburnt. It would be 

" What can It matter ? " cried Dorian Gray, 
laughing, as he sat down on the seat at the end of the 

' It should matter everything to you, Mr. Gray." 

' Why ? " 

' Because you have the most marvellous youth, 
and youth Is the one thing worth having." 

' I don't feel that, Lord Henry." 

' No, you don't feel it now. Some day, when you 
are old and wrinkled and ugly, when thought has 
seared your forehead with its lines, and passion 
branded your lips with Its hideous fires, you will 
feel It, you will feel It terribly. Now, wherever you 
go, you charm the world. Will It always be so ? ... 
You have a wonderfully beautiful face, Mr. Gray. 
Don't frown. You have. And Beauty is a form of 
Genius Is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no 
explanation. It is of the great facts of the world, 
like sunlight, or spring-time, or the reflection in dark 
waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It can- 
not be questioned. It has its divine right of 
sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have It. 
You smile ? Ah ! when you have lost it you won't 
smile. . . . People say sometimes that Beauty is only 
superficial. That may be so. But at least it is not 
so superficial as Thought Is. To me, Beauty Is the 
wonder of wonders. It Is only shallow people who 
do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of 
the world Is the visible, not the invisible. . . . Yes, 
Mr. Gray, the gods have been good to you. But 
what the gods give they quickly take away. You 


have only a few years in which to live really, per- 
fectly, and fully. When your youth goes, your 
beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly 
discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or 
have to content yourself with those mean triumphs 
that the memory of your past will make more bitter 
than defeats. Every month as it wanes brings you 
nearer to something dreadful. Time is jealous of 
you, and wars against your lilies and your roses. You 
will become sallow, and hollow-cheeked, and dull- 
eyed. You will suffer horribly. . . . Ah I realise 
your youth while you have it. Don't squander the 
gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to 
improve the hopeless failure, or giving away your 
life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. 
These are the sickly aims, the false ideals, of our age. 
Live ! Live the wonderful life that is in you ! Let 
nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for 
new sensations. Be afraid of nothing. ... A new 
Hedonism that is what our century wants. You 
might be its visible symbol. With your personality 
there is nothing you could not do. The world belongs 
to you for a season. . . . The moment I met you I 
saw that you were quite unconscious of what you 
really are, of what you really might be. There was 
so much in you that charmed me that I felt I must 
tell you something about yourself. I thought how 
tragic it would be if you were wasted. For there is 
such a little time that your youth will last such a 
little time. The common hill-flowers wither, but they 
blossom again. The laburnum will be as yellow 7 next 
June as it is now. In a month there will be purple 
stars on the clematis, and year after year the green 
night of its leaves will hold its purple stars. But we 
never get back our youth. The pulse of joy that 
beats in us at twenty, becomes sluggish. Our limbs 
fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous 
puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of 
which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite 
temptations that we had not the courage to yield to. 


Youth I Youth 1 There Is absolutely nothing in the 
world but youth I " 

Dorian Gray listened, open-eyed and wondering. 
The spray of lilac fell from his hand upon the gravel. 
A furry bee came and buzzed round it for a moment. 
Then it began to scramble all over the oval stellated 
globe of the tiny blossoms. He watched it with that 
strange interest in trivial things that we try to 
develop when things of high import make us afraid, 
or when we are stirred by some new emotion for which 
we cannot find expression, or when some thought 
that terrifies us lays sudden siege to the brain and 
calls on us to yield. After a time the bee flew away. 
He saw It creeping Into the stained trumpet of a 
Tyrian convolvulus. The flower seemed to quiver, 
and then swayed gently to and fro. 

Suddenly the painter appeared at the door of the 
studio, and made staccato signs for them to come In. 
They turned to each other, and smiled. 

" I am waiting," he cried. " Do come In. The 
light Is quite perfect, and you can bring your drinks." 

They rose up, and sauntered down the walk to- 
gether. Two green-and-white butterflies fluttered 
past them, and In the pear-tree at the corner of the 
garden a thrush began to sing. 

" You are glad you have met me, Mr. Gray," said 
Lord Henry, looking at him. 

" Yes, I am glad now. I wonder shall I always be 
glad ? " 

" Always I That Is a dreadful word. It makes me 
shudder when I hear It. Women are so fond of using 
It. They spoil every romance by trying to make It 
last for ever. It Is a meaningless word, too. The 
only difference between a caprice and a life-long 
passion Is that the caprice lasts a little longer." 

As they entered the studio, Dorian Gray put his 
hand upon Lord Henry's arm. " In that case, let 
our friendship be a caprice," he murmured, flushing 
at his own boldness, then stepped up on the platform 
and resumed his pose. 


Lord Henry flung himself into a large wicker arm- 
chair, and watched him. The sweep and dash of the 
brush on the canvas made the only sound that broke 
the stillness, except when, now and then, Hallward 
stepped back to look at his work from a distance. 
In the slanting beams that streamed through the 
open doorway the dust danced and was golden. The 
heavy scent of the roses seemed to brood over every- 

After about a quarter of an hour Hallward stopped 
painting, looked for a long time at Dorian Gray, and 
then for a long time at the picture, biting the end of 
one of his huge brushes, and frowning. " It is quite 
finished," he cried at last, and stooping down he 
wrote his name in long vermilion letters on the left- 
hand corner of the canvas. 

Lord Henry came over and examined the picture. 
It was certainly a wonderful work of art, and a 
wonderful likeness as well. 

" My dear fellow, I congratulate you most warmly," 
he said. " It is the finest portrait of modern times. 
Mr. Gray, come over and look at yourself." 

The lad started, as if awakened from some dream. 
" Is it really finished ? " he murmured, stepping 
down from the platform. 

" Quite finished," said the painter. " And you have 
sat splendidly to-day. I am awfully obliged to you." 

" That is entirely due to me," broke in Lord Henry. 
" Isn't it, Mr. Gray ? " 

Dorian made no answer, but passed listlessly in 
front of his picture, and turned towards it. When 
he saw it he drew back, and his cheeks flushed for 
a moment with pleasure. A look of joy came into 
his eyes, as if he had recognised himself for the first 
time. He stood there motionless and in wonder, 
dimly conscious that Hallward was speaking to him, 
but not catching the meaning of his words. The 
sense of his own beauty came on him like a revelation. 
He had never felt it before. Basil Hallward's com- 
pliments had seemed to him to be merely the charm- 


ing exaggerations of friendship. He had listened to 
them, laughed at them, forgotten them. They had 
not influenced his nature. Then had come Lord 
Henry Wotton with his strange panegyric on youth, 
his terrible warning of its brevity. That had stirred 
him at the time, and now, as he stood gazing at the 
shadow of his own loveliness, the full reality of the 
description flashed across him. Yes, there would 
be a day when his face would be wrinkled and wizen, 
his eyes dim and colourless, the grace of his figure 
broken and deformed. The scarlet would pass away 
from his lips, and the gold steal from his hair. The 
life that was to make his soul would mar his body. 
He would become dreadful, hideous, and uncouth. 

As he thought of it, a sharp pang of pain struck 
through him like a knife, and made each delicate 
fibre of his nature quiver. His eyes deepened into 
amethyst, and across them came a mist of tears. He 
felt as if a hand of ice had been laid upon his heart. 

" Don't you like it ? " cried Hallward at last, 
stung a little by the lad's silence, not understanding 
what it meant. 

" Of course he likes it," said Lord Henry. " Who 
wouldn't like it ? It is one of the greatest things in 
modern art. I will give you anything you like to ask 
for it. I must have it." 

It is not my property, Harry." 

Whose property is it ? " 

Dorian's, of course," answered the painter. 

He is a very lucky fellow." 

How sad it is 1 " murmured Dorian Gray, with 
his eyes still fixed upon his own portrait. " How 
sad it is 1 I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. 
But this picture will remain always young. It will 
never be older than this particular day of June. . . . 
If it were only the other way ! If it were I who was 
to be always young, and the picture that was to grow 
old 1 For that for that I would give everything I 
Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not 
give 1 I would give my soul for that I " 



" You would hardly care for such an arrangement, 
BasH," cried Lord Henry, laughing. " It would be 
rather hard lines on your work." 

" I should object very strongly, Harry," said 
Hall ward. 

Dorian Gray turned and looked at him. " I 
believe you would, Basil. You like your art better 
than your friends. I am no more to you than a 
green bronze figure. Hardly as much, I daresay." 

The painter stared in amazement. It was so unlike 
Darian to speak like that. What had happened ? 
He seemed quite angry. His face was flushed and 
his cheeks burning. 

" Yes," he continued, " I am less to you than your 
ivory Hermes or your silver Faun. You will like 
them always. How long will you like me ? Till I 
have my first wrinkle, I suppose. I know, now, that 
when one loses one's good looks, whatever they may 
be, one loses everything. Your picture has taught 
me that. Lord Henry Wotton Is perfectly right. 
Youth is the only thing worth having. When I find 
that I am growing old, I shall kill myself." 

Hallward turned pale, and caught his hand. 
" Dorian I Dorian ! " he cried, " don't talk like that. 
I have never had such a friend as you, and I shall 
never have such another. You are not jealous of 
material things, are you ? you who are finer than 
any of them I " 

" I am jealous of everything whose beauty does 
not die. I am jealous of the portrait you have 
painted of me. Why should it keep what I must 
lose ? Every moment that passes takes something 
from me, and gives something to It. Oh, if it were 
only the other way I If the picture could change, and 
I could be always what I am now 1 Why did you 
paint it ? It will mock me some day mock me 
horribly ! " The hot tears welled into his eyes ; he 
tore his hand away, and, flinging himself on the divan, 
he buried his face in the cushions, as though he was 


" This is your doing, Harry," said the painter, 

Lord Henry shrugged his shoulders. " It is the 
real Dorian Gray that is all." 

" It is not." 

" If it is not, what have I to do with it ? " 

" You should have gone away when I asked you," 
he muttered. 

" I stayed when you asked me," was Lord Henry's 

" Harry, I can't quarrel with my two best friends 
at once, but between you both you have made me 
hate the finest piece of work I have ever done, and 
I will destroy it. What is it but canvas and colour ? 
I will not let it come across our three lives and mar 

Dorian Gray lifted his golden head from the pillow, 
and with pallid face and tear-stained eyes looked at 
him, as he walked over to the deal painting-table 
that was set beneath the high curtained window. 
What was he doing there ? His fingers were straying 
about among the litter of tin tubes and dry brushes, 
seeking for something. Yes, it was for the long 
palette-knife, with its thin blade of lithe steel. He 
had found it at last. He was going to rip up the 

With a stifled sob the lad leaped from the couch, 
and, rushing over to Hallward, tore the knife out of 
his hand, and flung it to the end of the studio. " Don't, 
Basil, don't I " he cried. " It would be murder ! " 

44 1 am glad you appreciate my work at last, 
Dorian," said the painter, coldly, when he had re- 
covered from his surprise. " I never thought you 

" Appreciate it ? I am in love with it, Basil. It 
is part of myself. I feel that." 

" Well, as soon as you are dry, you shall be var- 
nished, and framed, and sent home. Then you can 
do what you like with yourself." And he walked 
across the room and rang the bell for tea. " You 


will have tea, of course, Dorian ? And so will you, 
Harry ? Or do you object to such simple pleasures ? " 

" I adore simple pleasures," said Lord Henry. 
" They are the last refuge ef the complex. But I 
don't like scenes, except on the stage. What absurd 
fellows you are, both of you 1 I wonder who It was 
defined man as a rational animal. It was the most 
premature definition ever given. Man is many 
things, but he is not rational. I am glad he is not, 
after all : though I wish you chaps would not squabble 
over the picture. You had much better let me have 
it, Basil. This silly boy doesn't really want it, and 
I really do." 

" If you let anyone have It but me, Basil, I shall 
never forgive you ! " cried Dorian Gray ; " and I 
don't allow people to call me a silly boy." 

" You know the picture is yours, Dorian. I gave 
it to you before it existed." 

" And you know you have been a little silly, Mr. 
Gray, and that you don't really object to being 
reminded that you are extremely young." 

" I should have objected very strongly this morn- 
ing, Lord Henry." 

" Ah I this morning 1 You have lived since then." 

There came a knock at the door, and the butler 
entered with a laden tea-tray and set it down upon 
a small Japanese table. There was a rattle of cups 
and saucers and the hissing of a fluted Georgian urn. 
Two globe-shaped china dishes were brought in by 
a page. Dorian Gray went over and poured out the 
tea. The two men sauntered languidly to the table, 
and examined what was under the covers. 

" Let us go to the theatre to-night," said Lord 
Henry. " There is sure to be something on, some- 
where. I have promised to dine at White's, but it 
is only with an old friend, so I can send him a wire 
to say that I am ill, or that I am prevented from 
coming in consequence of a subsequent engagement. 
I think that would be a rather nice excuse : it would 
have all the surprise of candour." 


" It is such a bore putting on one's dress-clothes," 
muttered Halhvard. " And, when one has them on, 
they are so horrid." 

" Yes," answered Lord Henry, dreamily, " the 
costume of the nineteenth century Is detestable. It 
is so sombre, so depressing. Sin is the only real 
colour-element left in modern life." 

" You really must not say things like that before 
Dorian, Harry." 

" Before which Derian ? The one who is pouring 
out tea for us, or the one in the picture ? " 

" Before either." 

" I should like to come to the theatre with you, 
Lord Henry," said the lad. 

" Then you shall come ; and you will come too, 
Basil, won't you ? " 

" I can't really. I would sooner not. I have a 
lot of work to do." 

" Well, then, you and I will go alone, Mr. Gray." 

" I should like that awfully." 

The painter bit his lip and walked over, cup In 
hand, to the picture. " I shall stay with the real 
Dorian," he said, sadly. 

" Is it the real Dorian ? " cried the original of the 
portrait, strolling across to him. " Am I really like 
that ? " 

" Yes ; you are just like that." 

" How wonderful, Basil I " 

" At least you are like it in appearance. But 
it will never alter," sighed Hallward. " That ts 

" What a fuss people make about fidelity ! " ex- 
claimed Lord Henry. " Why, even in love it is purely 
a question for physiology. It has nothing to do with 
our own will. Young men want to be faithful, and / 
are not ; old men want to be faithless, and cannot : ' 
that is all one can say." 

" Don't go to the theatre to-night, Dorian," said 
Halhvard. " Stop and dine with me." 

" I can't, Basil." 


" Why ? " 

" Because I have promised Lord Henry Wotton 
to go with him." 

" He won't like you the better for keeping your 
promises. He always breaks his own. I beg you 
not to go." 

Dorian Gray laughed and shook his head. 
" I entreat you." 

The lad hesitated, and looked over at Lord Henry, 
who was watching them from the tea-table with an 
amused smile. 

" I must go, Basil," he answered. 
" Very well," said Hallward ; and he went over 
and laid down his cup on the tray. "It is rather 
late, and, as you have to dress, you had better lose 
no time. Good-bye, Harry. Good-bye, Dorian. 
Come and see me soon. Come to-morrow." 
' Certainly." 
' You won't forget ? " 
' No, of course not," cried Dorian. 
' And . . . Harry ! " 
' Yes, Basil ? " 

' Remember what I asked you, when we were In 
the garden this morning." 
' I have forgotten it." 
' I trust you." 

' I wish I could trust myself," said Lord Henry, 
laughing. " Come, Mr. Gray, my hansom is out- 
side, and I can drop you at your own place. Good- 
bye, Basil. It has been a most interesting afternoon." 
As the door closed behind them, the painter flung 
himself down on a sofa, and a look of pain came Into 
his face. 


AT half-past twelve next day Lord Henry Wotton 
strolled from Curzon Street over to the Albany to 
call on his uncle, Lord Fermor, a genial if somewhat 
rough-mannered old bachelor, whom the outside 
world called selfish because it derived no particular 
benefit from him, but who was considered generous 
by Society as he fed the people who amused him. 
His father had been our ambassador at Madrid when 
Isabella was young, and Prim unthought of, but had 
retired from the Diplomatic Service in a capricious 
moment of annoyance at not being offered the 
Embassy at Paris, a post to which he considered that 
he was fully entitled by reason of his birth, his indo- 
lence, the good English of his despatches, and his 
inordinate passion for pleasure. The son, who had 
been his father's secretary, had resigned along with 
his chief, somewhat foolishly as was thought at the 
time, and on succeeding some months later to 
the title, had set himself to the serious study of the 
great aristocratic art of doing absolutely nothing. 
He had two large town houses, but preferred to live 
in chambers, as it was less trouble, and took most 
of his meals at his club. He paid some attention 
to the management of his collieries in the Midland 
counties, excusing himself for this taint of industry 
on the ground that the one advantage of having coal 
was that it enabled a gentleman to afford the decency 
of burning wood on his own hearth. In politics he 
was a Tory, except when the Tories were in office, 
during which period he roundly abused them for 
being a pack of Radicals. He was a hero to his 
valet, who bullied him, and a terror to most of his 



relations, whom he bullied in turn. Only England 
could have produced him, and he always said that 
the country was going to the dogs. His principles 
were out of date, but there was a good deal to be 
said for his prejudices. 

When Lord Henry entered the room, he found his 
uncle sitting hi a rough shooting coat, smoking a 
cheroot, and grumbling over The Times, " Well, 
Harry," said the old gentleman, " what brings you 
out so early ? I thought you dandies never got up 
till two, and were not visible till five." 

" Pure family affection, I assure you, Uncle George. 
I want to get something out of you." 

" Money, I suppose," said Lord Fermor, making 
a wry face. " Well, sit down and tell me all about 
it. Young people, nowadays, imagine that money 
Is everything." 

" Yes," murmured Lord Henry, settling his button- 
hole in his coat ; " and when they grow older they 
know it. But I don't want money. It is only 
people who pay their bills who want that, Uncle 
George, and I never pay mine. Credit is the capital 
of a younger son, and one lives charmingly upon it. 
Besides, I always deal with Dartmoor's tradesmen, 
and consequently they never bother me. What I 
want is information ; not useful information, of 
course ; useless information." 

" Well, I can tell you anything that is in an English 
Blue-book, Harry, although those fellows nowadays 
write a lot of nonsense. When I was in the Diplo- 
matic, things were much better. But I hear they let 
them in now by examination. What can you expect ? 
Examinations, sir, are pure humbug from beginning 
to end. If a man is a gentleman, he knows quite 
enough, and if he is not a gentleman, whatever he 
knows is bad for him." 

" Mr. Dorian Gray does not belong to Blue-books, 
Uncle George," said Lord Henry, languidly. 

" Mr. Dorian Gray ? Who is he ? " asked Lord 
Fermor, knitting his bushy white eyebrows. 


" That is what I have come to learn, Uncle George. 
Or rather, I know who he Is. He Is the last Lord 
Kelso's grandson. His mother was a Devereux ; 
Lady Margaret Devereux. I want you to tell me 
about his mother. What was she like ? Whom did 
she marry ? You have known nearly everybody in 
your time, so you might have known her. I am 
very much interested in Mr. Gray at present. I have 
only just met him." 

" Kelso's grandson ! " echoed the old gentleman. 
" Kelso's grandson ! ... Of course. ... I knew 
his mother intimately. I believe I was at her chris- 
tening. She was an extraordinarily beautiful girl, 
Margaret Devereux ; and made all the men frantic 
by running away with a penniless young fellow ; a 
mere nobody, sir, a subaltern in a foot regiment, r 
something of that kind. Certainly. I remember the 
whole thing as if it happened yesterday. The poor 
chap was killed in a duel at Spa, a few months after 
the marriage. There was an ugly story about it. 
They said Kelso got some rascally adventurer, some 
Belgian brute, to insult his son-in-law in public ; 
paid him, sir, to do it, paid him ; and that the fellow 
spitted his man as if he had been a pigeon. The 
thing was hushed up, but, egad, Kelso ate his chop 
alone at the club for some time afterwards. He 
brought his daughter back with him, I was told, and 
she never spoke to him again. Oh, yes ; it was a 
bad business. The girl died too ; died within a year. 
So she left a son, did she ? I had forgotten that. 
What sort of boy is he ? If he is like his mother he 
must be a good-looking chap." 

" He is very good-looking," assented Lord Henry. 

" I hope he will fall into proper hands," continued 
the old man. "He should have a pot of money 
waiting for him if Kelso did the right thing by him. 
His mother had money too. All the Selby property 
came to her, through her grandfather. Her grand- 
father hated Kelso, thought him a mean dog. He 
was, too. Came to Madrid once when I was there. 


Egad, I was ashamed of him. The Queen used to ask 
me about the English noble who was always quarrel- 
ling with the cabmen about their fares. They made 
quite a story of it. I didn't dare to show my face 
at Court for a month. I hope he treated his grandson 
better than he did the jarvies." 

" I don't know," answered Lord Henry. " I. 
fancy that the boy will be well off. He is not of 
age yet. He has Selby, I know. He told me so. 
And . . . his mother was very beautiful ? " 

" Margaret Devereux was one of the loveliest 
creatures I ever saw, Harry. What on earth induced 
her to behave as she did, I never could understand. 
She could have married anybody she chose. Car- 
lington was mad after her. She was romantic, though. 
All the women of that family were. The men were 
a poor lot, but, egad ! the women were wonderful. 
Carlington went on his knees to her. Told me so 
himself. She laughed at him, and there wasn't a 
girl in London at the time who wasn't after him. 
And by the way, Harry, talking about silly marriages, 
what is this humbug your father tells me about Dart- 
moor wanting to marry an American ? Ain't English 
girls good enough for him ? " 

" It is rather fashionable to marry Americans just 
now, Uncle George." 

" I'll back English women against the world, 
Harry," said Lord Fermor, striking the table with 
his fist. 

" The betting is on the Americans." 

" They don't last, I am told," muttered his uncle. 

" A long engagement exhausts them, but they are 
capital at a steeplechase. They take things flying. 
I don't think Dartmoor has a chance." 

" Who are her people ? " grumbled the old gentle- 
man. " Has she got any ? " 

Lord Henry shook his head. " American girls are 
as clever at concealing their parents as English women 
are at concealing their past," he said, rising to go. 

" They are pork-packers, I suppose ? " 


" I hope so, Uncle George, for Dartmoor's sake. 
I am told that pork-packing is the most lucrative 
profession in America, after politics." 

" Is she pretty ? " 

" She behaves as if she was beautiful. Most Ameri- 
can women do. It is the secret of their charm." 

" Why can't these American women stay in their 
own country ? They are always telling us that it 
is the Paradise for women." 

" It is. That is the reason why, like Eve, they 
are so excessively anxious to get out of it," said 
Lord Henry. " Good-bye, Uncle George. I shall be 
late for lunch, if I stop any longer. Thanks for 
giving me the information I wanted. I always like 
to know everything about my new friends, and 
nothing about my old ones." 

" Where are you lunching, Harry ? " 

" At Aunt Agatha's. I have asked myself and 
Mr. Gray. He is her latest proitgi." 

" Humph 1 tell your Aunt Agatha, Harry, not to 
bother me any more with her charity appeals. I am 
sick of them. Why, the good woman thinks that I 
have nothing to do but to write cheques for her silly 

" All right, Uncle George, I'll tell her, but it won't 
have any effect. Philanthropic people lose all 
sense of humanity. It is their distinguishing char- 

The old gentleman growled approvingly, and rang 
the bell for his servant. Lord Henry passed up the 
low arcade into Burlington Street, and turned his 
steps in the direction of Berkeley Square. 

So that was the story of Dorian Gray's parentage. 
Crudely as it had been told to him, it had yet stirred 
him by its suggestion of a strange, almost modern 
romance. A beautiful woman risking everything for 
a mad passion. A few wild weeks of happiness cut 
short by a hideous, treacherous crime. Months of 
voiceless agony, and then a child born in pain. The 
mother snatched away by death, the boy left to 


solitude and the tyranny of an old and loveless man. 
Yes ; It was an Interesting background. It posed the 
lad, made him more perfect as it were. Behind every 
exquisite thing that existed, there was something 
tragic. Worlds had to be in travail, that the meanest 
flower might blow. . . . And how charming he had 
been at dinner the night before, as, with startled eyes 
and lips parted in frightened pleasure, he had sat 
opposite to him at the club, the red candleshades 
staining to a richer rose the wakening wonder of 
his face. Talking to him was like playing upon an 
exquisite violin. He answered to every touch and 
thrill of the bow. . . . There was something terribly 
enthralling in the exercise of influence. No other 
activity was like it. To project one's soul into some 
jracious form, and let it tarry there for a moment ; 
to hear one's own intellectual views echoed back to 
ne with all the added music of passion and youth ; 
to convey one's temperament into another as though 
It were a subtle fluid or a strange perfume ; there 
was a real joy in that perhaps the most satisfying 
Joy left to us in an age so limited and vulgar as our 
own, an age grossly carnal in its pleasures, and grossly 
common in its aims. . . . He was a marvellous type, 
too, this lad, whom by so curious a chance he had 
met in Basil's studio ; or could be fashioned into a 
marvellous type, at any rate. Grace was his, and 
the white purity of boyhood, and beauty such as old 
Greek marbles kept for us. There was nothing that 
one could not do with him. He could be made a 
Titan or a toy. What a pity it was that such beauty 
was destined to fade I ... And Basil ? From a 
psychological point of view, how interesting he was ! 
The new manner in art, the fresh mode of looking at 
life, suggested so strangely by the merely visible 
presence of one who was unconscious of it all ; the 
silent spirit that dwelt in dim woodland, and walked 
unseen in open field, suddenly showing herself, 
Dryad-like and not afraid, because in his soul who 
sought for her there had been wakened that wonderful 


vision to which alone are wonderful things revealed ; 
the mere shapes and patterns of things becoming, 
as it were, refined, and gaining a kind of symbolical 
value, as though they were themselves patterns of 
some other and more perfect form whose shadow 
they made real : how strange it all was ! He remem- 
bered something like it in history. Was it not Plato, 
that artist in thought, who had first analysed it ? 
Was it not Buonarotti who had carved it in the 
coloured marbles of a sonnet-sequence ? But in our 
own century it was strange. . . . Yes ; he would 
try to be to Dorian Gray what, without knowing it, 
the lad was to the painter who had fashioned the 
wonderful portrait. He would seek to dominate 
him had already, indeed, half done so. He would 
make that wonderful spirit his own. There was some- 
thing fascinating in this son of Love and Death. 

Suddenly he stopped, and glanced up at the 
houses. He found that he had passed his aunt's 
some distance, and, smiling to himself, turned back. 
When he entered the somewhat sombre hall the 
butler told him that they had gone in to lunch. 
He gave one of the footmen his hat and stick, and 
passed into the dining-room. 

" Late as usual, Harry," cried his aunt, shaking 
her head at him. 

He invented a facile excuse, and having taken 
the vacant seat next to her, looked round to see 
who was there. Dorian bowed to him shyly from 
the end of the table, a flush of pleasure stealing into 
his cheek. Opposite was the Duchess of Harley ; 
a lady of admirable good-nature and good temper, 
much liked by everyone who knew her, and of those 
ample architectural proportions that in women who 
are not Duchesses are described by contemporary 
historians as stoutness. Next to her sat, on her 
right, Sir Thomas Burdon, a Radical member of 
Parliament, who followed his leader in public life, 
and in private life followed the best cooks, dining 
with the Tories, and thinking with the Liberals, in - 


accordance with a wise and well-known rule. The 
post on her left was occupied by Mr. Erskine of 
Treadley, an old gentleman of considerable charm 
and culture, who had fallen, however, into bad 
habits of silence, having, as he explained once to 
Lady Agatha, said everything that he had to say before 
he was thirty. His own neighbour was Mrs. Vande* 
leur, one of his aunt's oldest friends, a perfect saint 
amongst women, but so dreadfully dowdy that she 
reminded one of a badly bound hymn-book. For- 
tunately for him she had on the other side Lord 
Faudel, a most intelligent middle-aged mediocrity, 
as bald as a Ministerial statement in the House of 
Commons, with whom she was conversing in that 
intensely earnest manner which is the one unpardon- 
able error, as he remarked once himself, that all 
really good people fall into, and from which none of 
them ever quite escape. 

" We are talking about poor Dartmoor, Lord 
Henry," cried the Duchess, nodding pleasantly to 
him across the table. " Do you think he will really 
marry this fascinating young person ? " 

" I believe she has made up her mind to propose 
to him, Duchess." 

" How dreadful I " exclaimed Lady Agatha. 
" Really, someone should interfere." 

" I am told, on excellent authority, that her father 
keeps an American dry-goods store," said Sir Thomas 
Burdon, looking supercilious. 

" My uncle has already suggested pork-packing, 
Sir Thomas." 

" Dry-goods ! What are American dry-goods ? " 
asked the Duchess, raising her large hands in wonder, 
and accentuating the verb. 

" American novels," answered Lord Henry, helping 
himself to some quail. 

The Duchess looked puzzled. 

" Don't mind him, my dear," whispered Lady 
Agatha. " He never means anything that he says." 

" When America was discovered," said the' Radical 


member, and he began to give some wearisome facts. 
Like all people who try to exhaust a subject, he 
exhausted his listeners. The Duchess sighed, and 
exercised her privilege of interruption. " I wish to 
goodness it never had been discovered at all 1 " 
she exclaimed. " Really, our girls have no chance 
nowadays. It is most unfair." 

" Perhaps, after all, America never has been dis- 
covered," said Mr. Erskine. " I myself would say that 
it had merely been detected." 

" Oh 1 but I have seen specimens of the inhabi- 
tants," answered the Duchess, vaguely. " I must 
confess that most of them are extremely pretty. 
And they dress well, too. They get all their dresses 
in Paris. I wish I could afford to do the same." 

" They say that when good Americans die they go 
to Paris," chuckled Sir Thomas, who had a large 
wardrobe of Humour's cast-off clothes. 

" Really ! And where do bad Americans go to 
when they die ? " inquired the Duchess. 

" They go to America," murmured Lord Henry. 

Sir Thomas frowned. " I am afraid that your 
nephew is prejudiced against that great country," 
he said to Lady Agatha. " I have travelled all over 
it, in cars provided by the directors, who, in such 
matters, are extremely civil. I assure you that it Is 
an education to visit it." 

" But must we really see Chicago in order to be 
educated ? " asked Mr. Erskine, plaintively. " I 
don't feel up to the journey." 

Sir Thomas waved his hand. " Mr. Erskine of 
Treadley has the world on his shelves. We practical 
men like to see things, not to read about them. The 
Americans are an extremely interesting people. 
They are absolutely reasonable. I think that is 
their distinguishing characteristic. Yes, Mr. Erskine, 
an absolutely reasonable people. I assure you there 
is no nonsense about the Americans." 

" How dreadful 1 " cried Lord Henry. " I can 
stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbear- 


able. There is something unfair about its use. It Is 
hitting below the intellect." 

" I do not understand you," said Sir Thomas, 
growing rather red. 

" I do, Lord Henry," murmured Mr. Erskine, with 
a smile. 

" Paradoxes are all very well In their way. . . ." 
rejoined the Baronet. 

" Was that a paradox ? " asked Mr. Erskine. 
" I did not think so. Perhaps it was. Well, the 
way of paradoxes is the way of truth. To test 
Reality we must see it on the tight-rope. When 
the Verities become acrobats we can judge them." 

" Dear me 1 " said Lady Agatha, " how you men 
argue ! I am sure I never can make out what you 
are talking about. Oh ! Harry, I am quite vexed 
with you. Why do you try to persuade our nice 
Mr. Dorian Gray to give up the East End ? I assure 
you he would be quite invaluable. They w r ould 
love his playing." 

" I want him to play to me," cried Lord Henry, 
smiling, and he looked down the table and caught 
a bright answering glance. 

" But they are so unhappy in Whitechapel," con- 
tinued Lady Agatha. 

" I can sympathise with everything, except 
suffering," said Lord Henry, shrugging his shoulders. 
" I cannot sympathise with that. It is too ugly, 
too horrible, too distressing. There is something 
terribly morbid in the modern sympathy with pain. 
One should sympathise with the colour, the beauty, 
the joy of life. The less said about life's sores the 

" Still, the East End is a very important problem," 
remarked Sir Thomas, with a grave shake of the head. 

" Quite so," answered the young lord. " It is the 
problem of slavery, and we try to solve it by amusing 
the slaves." 

The politician looked at him keenly. " What 
change do you propose, then ? " he asked. 


Lord Henry laughed. " I don't desire to change 
anything in England except the weather," he an- 
swered. " I am quite content with philosophic 
contemplation. But, as the nineteenth century has 
gone bankrupt through an over-expenditure of 
sympathy, I would suggest that we should appeal 
to Science to put us straight. The advantage of the 
emotions is that they lead us astray, and the advan- 
tage of Science is that it is not emotional." 

" But we have such grave responsibilities," ven- 
tured Mrs. Vandeleur, timidly. 

" Terribly grave," echoed Lady Agatha. 

Lord Henry looked over at Mr. Erskine. " Hu- 
manity takes itself too seriously. It is the world's 
original sin. If the caveman had known how to 
laugh, History would have been different." 

" You are really very comforting," warbled the 
Duchess. " I have always felt rather guilty when 
I came to see your dear aunt, for I take no interest 
at all in the East End. For the future I shall be 
able to look her in the face without a blush." 

" A blush is very becoming, Duchess," remarked 
Lord Henry. 

" Only when one is young," she answered. " When 
an old woman like myself blushes, It is a very bad 
sign. Ah ! Lord Henry, I wish you would tell me 
how to become young again." 

He thought for a moment. " Can you remember 
any great error that you committed In your early 
days, Duchess ? " he asked, looking at her across 
the table. 

" A great many, I fear," she cried. 

" Then commit them over again," he said, gravely. 
" To get back one's youth, one has merely to repeat 
one's follies." 

" A delightful theory I " she exclaimed. " I must 
put it into practice." 

" A dangerous theory ! " came from Sir Thomas's 
tight lips. Lady Agatha shook her head, but could 
not help being amused. Mr. Erskine listened. 


" Yes," he continued, " that is one of the great 
secrets of life. Nowadays most people die of a sort 
of creeping common sense, and discover when it is 
too late that the only things one never regrets are 
one's mistakes." 

A laugh ran round the table. 

He played with the idea, and grew wilful ; tossed 
it into the air and transformed it ; let it escape and 
recaptured it ; made it iridescent with fancy, and 
winged ft with paradox. The praise of folly, as he 
went on, soared into a philosophy, and Philosophy 
herself became young, and catching the mad music 
of Pleasure, wearing, one might fancy, her wine- 
stained robe and wreath of ivy, danced like a Bac- 
chante over the hills of life, and mocked the slow 
Silenus for being sober. Facts fled before her like 
frightened forest things. Her white feet trod the 
huge press at which wise Omar sits, till the seething 
grape-juice rose round her bare limbs in waves of 
purple bubbles, or crawled in red foam over the 
vat's black, dripping, sloping sides. It was an ex- 
traordinary improvisation. He felt that the eyes 
of Dorian Gray were fixed on him, and the conscious- 
ness that amongst his audience there was one whose 
temperament he wished to fascinate, seemed to give 
his wit keenness, and to lend colour to his imagina- 
tion. He was brilliant, fantastic, irresponsible. He 
charmed his listeners out of themselves, and they 
followed his pipe laughing. Dorian Gray never took 
his gaze off him, but sat like one under a spell, smiles 
chasing each other over his lips, and wonder growing 
grave in his darkening eyes. 

At last, liveried in the costume of the age, Reality 
entered the room in the shape of a servant to tell 
the Duchess that her carriage was waiting. She 
wrung her hands in mock despair. " How annoying 1 " 
she cried. " I must go. I have to call for my 
husband at the club, to take him to some absurd 
meeting at Willis's Rooms, where he is going to be 
in the chair. If I am late, he is sure to be furious, 


and I couldn't have a scene in this bonnet. It is 
far too fragile. A harsh word would ruin it. No, I 
must go, dear Agatha. Good-bye, Lord Henry, you 
are quite delightful, and dreadfully demoralising. 
I am sure I don't know what to say about your views. 
You must come and dine with us some night. Tues- 
day ? Are you disengaged Tuesday ? " 

" For you I would throw over anybody, Duchess," 
said Lord Henry, with a bow. 

" Ah ! that is very nice, and very wrong of you," 
she cried ; " so mind you come ; " and she swept 
out of the room, followed by Lady Agatha and the 
other ladies. 

When Lord Henry had sat down again, Mr. Erskine 
moved round, and taking a chair close to him, 
placed his hand upon his arm. 

" You talk books away," he said ; " why don't 
you write one ? " 

" I am too fond of reading books to care to write 
them, Mr. Erskine. I should like to write a novel 
certainly ; a novel that would be as lovely as a 
Persian carpet, and as unreal. But there is no literary 
public in England for anything except newspapers, 
primers, and encyclopedias. Of all people in the 
world the English have the least sense of the beauty 
of literature." 

" I fear you are right," answered Mr. Erskine. 
" I myself used to have literary ambitions, but I 
gave them up long ago. And now, my dear young 
friend, if you will allow me to call you so, may I ask if 
you really meant all that you said to us at lunch ? " 

" I quite forget what I said," smiled Lord Henry. 
" Was it all very bad ? " 

" Very bad indeed. In fact I consider you ex- 
tremely dangerous, and if anything happens to our 
good Duchess we shall all look on you as being 
primarily responsible. But I should like to talk to 
you about life. The generation into which I was 
born was tedious. Some day, when you are tired 
of London, come down to Treadley, and expound 


to me your philosophy of pleasure over some admir- 
able Burgundy I am fortunate enough to possess." 

" I shall be charmed. A visit to Treadley would 
be a great privilege. It has a perfect host, and a 
perfect library." 

" You will complete it," answered the old gentle- 
man, with a courteous bow. " And now I must bid 
good-bye to your excellent aunt. I am due at the 
Athenaeum. It Is the hour when we sleep there." 

" All of you, Mr. Erskine? " 

" Forty of us, In forty arm-chairs. We are prac- 
tising for an English Academy of Letters." 

Lord Henry laughed, and rose. " I am going to 
the Park," he cried. 

As he was passing out of the door Dorian Gray 
touched him on the arm. " Let me come with you," 
he murmured. 

" But I thought you had promised Basil Hall- 
ward to go and see him," answered Lord Henry. 

" I would sooner come with you ; yes, I feel I 
must come with you. Do let me. And you will 
promise to talk to me all the time ? No one talks 
so wonderfully as you do." 

" Ah ! I have talked quite enough for to-day," 
said Lord Henry, smiling. " All I want now is to 
look at life. You may come and look at it with 
me, if you care to." 


ONE afternoon, a month later, Dorian Gray was 
reclining In a luxurious arm-chair, in the little library 
of Lord Henry's house in Mayfair. It was, in its 
way, a very charming room, with its high-panelled 
wainscoting of olive-stained oak, its cream-coloured 
frieze and ceiling of raised plaster-work, and its 
brickdust felt carpet strewn with silk long-fringed 
Persian rugs. On a tiny satinwood table stood a 
statuette by Clodion, and beside it lay a copy ef 
" Les Cent Nouvelles," bound for Margaret of Valois 
by Clovis Eve, and powdered with the gilt daisies 
that Queen had selected for her device. Some large 
blue china jars and parrot-tulips were ranged on 
the mantelshelf, and through the small leaded panels 
of the window streamed the apricot-coloured light 
of a summer day in London. 

Lord Henry had not yet come in. He was always 
late on principle, his principle being that punctuality 
Is the thief of time. So the lad was looking rather 
sulky, as with listless fingers he turned over the 
pages of an elaborately-illustrated edition of " Manon 
Lescaut " that he had found in one of the bookcases. 
The formal monotonous ticking of the Louis Quatorze 
clock annoyed him. Once or twice he thought of 
going away. 

At last he heard a step outside, and the door 
opened. " How late you are, Harry 1 " he murmured. 

" I am afraid it is not Harry, Mr. Gray," answered 
a shrill voice. 

He glanced quickly round, and rose to his feet. 
" I beg your pardon. I thought " 



" You thought it was my husband. It is only 
his wife. You must let me introduce myself. I 
know you quite well by your photographs. I think 
my husband has got seventeen of them." 

" Not seventeen, Lady Henry ? " 

" Well, eighteen, then. And I saw you with him 
the other night at the Opera." She laughed ner- 
vously as she spoke, and watched him with her vague 
forget-me-not eyes. She was a curious woman, 
whose dresses always looked as if they had been 
designed in a rage and put on in a tempest. She 
was usually in love with somebody, and, as her 
passion was never returned, she had kept all her 
illusions. She tried to look picturesque, but only 
succeeded in being untidy. Her name was Victoria, 
and she had a perfect mania for going to church. 

" That was at ' Lohengrin,' Lady Henry, I think ? " 

" Yes ; it was at dear ' Lohengrin.' I like 
Wagner's music better than anybody's. It is so 
loud that one can talk the whole time without other 
people hearing what one says. That is a great 
advantage : don't you think so, Mr. Gray ? " 

The same nervous staccato laugh broke from 
her thin lips, and her fingers began to play with a 
long tortoise-shell paper-knife. 

Dorian smiled, and shook his head : " I am afraid 
I don't think so, Lady Henry. I never talk during 
music, at least, during good music. If one hears 
bad music, it is one's duty to drown it in conversa- 

" Ah ! that is one of Harry's views, isn't it, Mr. 
Gray ? I always hear Harry's views from his friends. 
It is the only way I get to know of them. But you 
must not think I don't like good music. I adore it, 
but I am afraid of it. It makes me too romantic. 
I have simply worshipped pianists two at a time, 
sometimes, Harry tells me. I don't know what it 
is about them. Perhaps it is that they are foreigners. 
They all are, ain't they ? Even those that are born 
in England become foreigners after a time, don't 


they ? It is so clever of them, and such a compliment 
to art. Makes it quite cosmopolitan, doesn't it ? 
You have never been to any of my parties, have 
you, Mr. Gray ? You must come. I can't afford 
orchids, but I spare no expense in foreigners. They 
make one's rooms look so picturesque. But here is 
Harry 1 Harry, I came in to look for you, to ask 
you something I forget what it was and I found 
Mr. Gray here. We have had such a pleasant chat 
about music. We have quite the same ideas. No ; 
I think our ideas are quite different. But he has 
been most pleasant. I am so glad I've seen him." 

" I am charmed, my love, quite charmed," said 
Lord Henry, elevating his dark crescent-shaped 
eyebrows and looking at them both with an amused 
smile. " So sorry I am late, Dorian. I went to 
look after a piece of old brocade in Wardour Street, 
and had to bargain for hours for it. Nowadays 
people know the price of everything, and the value 
of nothing." 

" I am afraid I must be going," exclaimed Lady 
Henry, breaking an awkward silence with her silly 
sudden laugh. " I have promised to drive with the 
Duchess. Good-bye, Mr. Gray. Good-bye, Harry. 
You are dining out, I suppose ? So am I. Perhaps 
I shall see you at Lady Thornbury's." 

" I daresay, my dear," said Lord Henry, shutting 
the door behind her, as, looking like a bird of paradise 
that had been out all night in the rain, she flitted 
out of the room, leaving a faint odour of frangipanni. 
Then he lit a cigarette, and flung himself down on the 

" Never marry a woman with straw-coloured hair, 
Dorian," he said, after a few puffs. 

" Why, Harry ? " 

" Because they are so sentimental." 

" But I like sentimental people." 

" Never marry at all, Dorian. Men marry be- 
cause they are tired ; women, because they are 
curious ; both are disappointed." 


" I don't think I am likely to marry, Henry. I 
am too much in love. That is one of your aphor- 
isms. I am putting it into practice, as I do every- 
thing that you say." 

" Who are you in love with ? " asked Lord Henry, 
after a pause. 

" With an actress," said Dorian Gray, blushing. 

Lord Henry shrugged his shoulders. " That is a 
rather commonplace debut." 

1 You would not say so if you saw her, Harry." 

' Who is she ? " 

' Her name is Sibyl Vane." 

' Never heard of her." 

' No one has. People will some day, however. 
She is a genius." 

" My dear boy, no woman is a genius. Women 
are a decorative sex. They never have anything to 
say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent 
the triumph of matter over mind, just as men re- 
present the triumph of mind over morals." 

" Harry, how can you ? " 

" My dear Dorian, it is quite true. I am analysing 
women at the present, so I ought to know. The 
subject is not so abstruse as I thought it was. I find 
that, ultimately, there are only two kinds of women, 
the plain and the coloured. The plain women are 
very useful. If you want to gain a reputation for 
respectability, you have merely to take them down 
to supper. The other women are very charming. 
They commit one mistake, however. They paint in 
order to try and look young. Our grandmothers 
painted in order to try and talk brilliantly. Rouge 
and esprit used to go together. That is all over now. 
As long as a woman can look ten years younger 
than her own daughter, she is perfectly satisfied. As 
for conversation, there are only five women in London 
worth talking to, and two of these can't be admitted 
Into decent society. However, tell me about your 
genius. How long have you known her ? " 

" Ah ! Harry, your views terrify me." 


" Never mind that. How long have you known 
her ? " 

" About three weeks." 

" And where did you come across her ? " 

" I will tell you, Harry ; but you mustn't be un- 
sympathetic about it. After all, it never would have 
happened if I had not met you. You filled me with 
a wild desire to know everything about life. For 
days after I met you, something seemed to throb in 
my veins. As I lounged in the Park, or strolled down 
Piccadilly, I used to look at every one who passed 
me, and wonder, with a mad curiosity, what sort of 
lives they led. Some of them fascinated me. Others 
filled me with terror. There was an exquisite poison 
in the air. I had a passion for sensations. . . . 
Well, one evening about seven o'clock, I determined 
to go out in search of some adventure. I felt that 
this grey, monstrous London of ours, with its myriads 
of people, its sordid sinners, and its splendid sins, as 
you once phrased it, must have something in store 
for me. I fancied a thousand things. The mere 
danger gave me a sense of delight. I remembered 
what you had said to me on that wonderful evening 
when we first dined together, about the search for 
beauty being the real secret of life. I don't know 
what I expected, but I went out and wandered east- 
ward, soon losing my way in a labyrinth of grimy 
streets and black, grassless squares. About half- 
past eight I passed by an absurd little theatre, with 
great flaring gas-jets and gaudy play-bills. A 
hideous Jew, in the most amazing waistcoat I ever 
beheld in my life, was standing at the entrance, 
smoking a vile cigar. He had greasy ringlets, and 
an enormous diamond blazed in the centre of a 
soiled shirt. ' Have a box, my Lord ? ' he said, when 
he saw me, and he took off his hat with an air of 
gorgeous servility. There was something about him, 
Harry, that amused me. He was such a monster. 
You will laugh at me, I know, but I really went in 
and paid a whole guinea for the stage-box. To the 


present day I can't make out why I did so ; and 
yet if I hadn't my dear Harry, if I hadn't, I shouid 
have missed the greatest romance of my life. I see 
you are laughing. It is horrid of you 1 " 

" I am not laughing, Dorian ; at least I am not 
laughing at you. But you should not say the greatest 
romance of your life. You should say the first 
romance of your life. You will always be loved, 
and you will always be In love with love. A grande 
passion is the privilege of people who have nothing 
to do. That is the one use of the idle classes of a 
country. Don't be afraid. There are exquisite 
things in store for you. This is merely the beginning." 

" Do you think my nature so shallow ? " cried 
Dorian Gray, angrily. 

" No ; I think your nature so deep." 

" How do you mean ? " 

" My dear boy, the people who love only once In 
their lives are really the shallow people. What they 
call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the 
lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination. 
Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consis- 
tency is to the life of the intellect simply a confession 
of failures. Faithfulness I I must analyse it some 
day. The passion for property Is In It. There are 
many things that we would throw away if we were 
not afraid that others might pick them up. But I 
don't want to interrupt you. Go on with your 

" Well, I found myself seated In a horrid little 
private box, with a vulgar drop-scene staring me in 
the face. I looked out from behind the curtain, 
and surveyed the house. It was a tawdry affair, 
all Cupids and cornucopias, like a third-rate wedding 
cake. The gallery and pit were fairy full, but the 
two rows of dingy stalls were quite empty, and 
there was hardly a person in what I suppose they 
called the dress-circle. Women went about with 
oranges and ginger-beer, and there was a terrible 
consumption of nuts going on." 


" It must have been just like the palmy days 
of the British Drama." 

" Just like, I should fancy, and very depressing. 
I began to wonder what on earth I should do, when 
I caught sight of the play-bill. What do you think 
the play was, Harry ? " 

" I should think ' The Idiot Boy, or Dumb but 
Innocent.' Our fathers used to like that sort of 
piece, I believe. The longer I live, Dorian, the 
more keenly I feel that whatever was good enough 
for our fathers is not good enough for us. In art, 
as in politics, les grandpires ont toujoars tort." 

" This play was good enough for us, Harry. It 
was ' Romeo and Juliet.' I must admit that I was 
rather annoyed at the idea of seeing Shakespeare 
done in such a wretched hole of a place. Still, I 
felt interested, in a sort of way. At any rate, I 
determined to wait for the first act. There was a 
dreadful orchestra, presided over by a young Hebrew 
who sat at a cracked piano, that nearly drove me 
away, but at last the drop-scene was drawn up, and 
the play began. Romeo was a stout elderly gentle- 
man, with corked eyebrows, a husky tragedy voice, 
and a figure like a beer-barrel. Mercutio was 
almost as bad. He was played by the low-comedian, 
who had introduced gags of his own and was on 
most friendly terms with the pit. They were both 
as grotesque as the scenery, and that looked as if 
it had come out of a country-booth. But Juliet 1 
Harry, imagine a girl, hardly seventeen years of age, 
with a little flower-like face, a small Greek head 
with plaited coils of dark-brown hair, eyes that were 
violet wells of passion, lips that were like the petals 
of a rose. She was the loveliest thing I had ever 
seen in my life. You said to me once that pathos 
left you unmoved, but that beauty, mere beauty, 
could fill your eyes with tears. I tell you, Harry, 
I could hardly see this girl for the mist of tears that 
came across me. And her voice I never heard 
such a voice. It was very low at first, with deep 


mellow notes, that seemed to fall singly upon one's 
ear. Then it became a little louder, and sounded 
like a flute or a distant hautbois. In the garden- 
scene It had all the tremulous ecstasy that one hears 
just before dawn when nightingales are singing. 
There were moments, later on, when it had the wild 
passion of violins. You know how a voice can stir 
one. Your voice and the voice of Sibyl Vane are 
two things that I shall never forget. When I close 
my eyes, I hear them, and each of them says something 
different. I don't know which to follow. Why 
should I not love her ? Harry, I do love her. She 
Is everything to me In life. Night after night I go 
to see her play. One evening she Is Rosalind, and 
the next evening she is Imogen. I have seen her 
die in the gloom of an Italian tomb, sucking the 
poison from her lover's lips. I have watched her 
wandering through the forest of Arden, disguised as 
a pretty boy in hose and doublet and dainty cap. 
She has been mad, and has come into the presence of 
a guilty king, and given him rue to wear, and bitter 
herbs to taste of. She has been innocent, and the 
black hands of jealousy have crushed her reed-like 
throat. I have seen her in every age and In every 
costume. Ordinary women never appeal to one's 
imagination. They are limited to their century. No 
glamour ever transfigures them. One knows their 
minds as easily as one knows their bonnets. One 
can always find them. There is no mystery in any 
of them. They ride in the Park in the morning, 
and chatter at tea-parties in the afternoon. They 
have their stereotyped smile, and their fashionable 
manner. They are quite obvious. But an actress I 
How different an actress is 1 Harry I why didn't 
you tell me that the only thing worth loving is an 
actress ? " 

" Because I have loved so many of them, Dorian." 
" Oh, yes, horrid people with dyed hair and painted 

" Don't run down dved hair and painted faces. 


There is an extraordinary charm in them, sometimes," 
said Lord Henry. 

" I wish now I had not told you about Sibyl 

" You could not have helped telling me, Dorian. 
All through your life you will tell me everything 
you do." 

" Yes, Harry, I believe that Is true. I cannot 
help telling you things. You have a curious influence 
over me. If I ever did a crime, I would come and 
confess it to you. You would understand me." 

" People like you the wilful sunbeams of life 
don't commit crimes, Dorian. But I am much 
obliged for the compliment, all the same. And now 
tell me reach me the matches, like a good boy : 
thanks : what are your actual relations with Sibyl 
Vane ? " 

Dorian Gray leaped to his feet, with flushed cheeks 
and burning eyes. " Harry I Sibyl Vane is sacred ! " 

" It is only the sacred things that are worth 
touching, Dorian," said Lord Henry, with a strange 
touch of pathos in his voice. " But why should you 
be annoyed ? I suppose she will belong to you some 
day. When one is in love, one always begins by 
deceiving one's self, and one always ends by deceiving 
others. That is what the world calls a romance. 
You know her, at any rate, I suppose ? " 

" Of course I know her. On the first night I was 
at the theatre, the horrid old Jew came round to the 
box after the performance w r as over, and offered to 
take me behind the scenes and introduce me to her. 
I was furious with him, and told him that Juliet 
had been dead for hundreds of years, and that her 
body was lying in a marble tomb in Verona. I think, 
from his blank look of amazement, that he was under 
the impression that I had taken too much champagne, 
or something." 

" I am not surprised." 

" Then he asked me if I wrote for any of the news- 
papers. I told him I never even read them. He 


seemed terribly disappointed at that, and confided 
to me that all the dramatic critics were in a con- 
spiracy against him, and that they were every one of 
them to be bought." 

" I should not wonder if he was quite right there. 
But, on the other hand, judging from their appear- 
ance, most of them cannot be at all expensive." 

" Well, he seemed to think they were beyond his 
means," laughed Dorian. " By this time, however, 
the lights were being put out in the theatre, and I 
had to go. He wanted me to try some cigars that 
he strongly recommended. I declined. The next 
night, of course, I arrived at the place again. When 
he saw me he made me a low bow, and assured me 
that I was a munificent patron of art. He was a 
most offensive brute, though he had an extraordinary 
passion for Shakespeare. He told me once, with an 
air of pride, that his five bankruptcies were entirely 
due to ' The Bard,' as he insisted on calling him. 
He seemed to think it a distinction." 

" It was a distinction, my dear Dorian a great 
distinction. Most people become bankrupt through 
having invested too heavily in the prose of life. To 
have ruined one's self over poetry is an honour. But 
when did you first speak to Miss Sibyl Vane ? " 

" The third night. She had been playing Rosalind. 
I could not help going round. I had thrown her some 
flowers, and she had looked at me ; at least I fancied 
that she had. The old Jew was persistent. He 
seemed determined to take me behind, so I consented. 
It was curious my not wanting to know her, wasn't 

" No ; I don't think so." 

" My dear Harry, why ? " 

" I will tell you some other time. Now I want 
to know about the girl." 

" Sibyl ? Oh, she was so shy, and so gentle. 
There is something of a child about her. Her eyes 
opened wide in exquisite wonder when I told her 
what I thought of her performance, and she seemed 


quite unconscious of her power. I think we were 
both rather nervous. The old Jew stood grinning at 
the doorway of the dusty greenroom, making elaborate 
speeches about us both, while we stood looking at 
each other like children. He would insist on calling 
me ' My Lord,' so I had to assure Sibyl that I was 
not anything of the kind. She said quite simply to 
me, ' You look more like a prince. I must call you 
Prince Charming.' ' 

" Upon my word, Dorian, Miss Sibyl knows how 
to pay compliments." 

" You don't understand her, Harry. She re- 
garded me merely as a person in a play. She knows 
nothing of life. She lives with her mother, a faded 
tired woman who played Lady Capulet in a sort of 
magenta dressing-wrapper on the first night, and 
looks as if she had seen better days." 

" I know that look. It depresses me," murmured 
Lord Henry, examining his rings. 

" The Jew wanted to tell me her history, but I 
said it did not interest me." 

" You were quite right. There Is always something 
infinitely mean about other people's tragedies." 

" Sibyl is the only thing I care about. What is 
It to me where she came from ? From her little head 
to her little feet, she is absolutely and entirely divine. 
Every night of my life I go to see her act, and every 
night she is more marvellous." 

" That is the reason, I suppose, that you never 
dime with me now. I thought you must have some 
curious romance on hand. You have ; but it Is not 
quite what I expected." 

" My dear Harry, we either lunch or sup together 
every day, and I have been to the Opera with you 
several times," said Dorian, opening his blue eyes 
in wonder. 

' You always come dreadfully late." 

" Well, I can't help going to see Sibyl play," he 
cried, " even if it is only for a single act. I get 
hungry for her presence ; and when I think of the 


wonderful soul that is hidden away in that little 
Ivory body, I am filled with awe." 

" You can dine with me to-night, Dorian, can't 
you ? " 

He shook his head. " To-night she is Imogen," 
he answered, " and to-morrow night she will be 

" When is she Sibyl Vane ? " 

" Never." 

" I congratulate you." 

" How horrid you are ! She is all the great heroines 
of the world in one. She is more than an individual. 
You laugh, but I tell you she has genius. I love 
her, and I must make her love me. You, who know 
all the secrets of life, tell me how to charm Sibyl Vane 
to love me 1 I want to make Romeo jealous. I want 
the dead lovers of the world to hear our laughter, 
and grow sad. I want a breath of our passion to stir 
their dust into consciousness, to wake their ashes into 
pain. My God, Harry, how I worship her 1 " He 
was walking up and down the room as he spoke. 
Hectic spots of red burned on his cheeks. He was 
terribly excited. 

Lord Henry watched him with a subtle sense of 
pleasure. How different he was now from the shy, 
frightened boy he had met in Basil Hallward's studio ! 
His nature had developed like a flower, had borne 
blossoms of scarlet flame. Out of its secret hiding- 
place had crept his Soul, and Desire had come to 
meet it on the way. 

" And what do you propose to do ? " said Lord 
Henry, at last. 

" I want you and Basil to come with me some night 
and see her act. I have not the slightest fear of the 
result. You are certain to acknowledge her genius. 
Then we must get her out of the Jew's hands. She 
is bound to him for three years at least for two 
years and eight months from the present time. I 
shall have to pay him something, of course. When 
all that is settled, I shall take a West End theatre 


and bring her out properly. She will make the world 
as mad as she has made me." 

" That would be impossible, my dear boy ? " 

" Yes, she will. She has not merely art, con- 
summate art-instinct, in her, but she has personality 
also ; and you have often told me that it is per- 
sonalities, not principles, that move the age." 

" Well, what night shall we go ? " 

" Let me see. To-day is Tuesday. Let us fix 
to-morrow. She plays Juliet to-morrow." 

" All right. The Bristol at eight o'clock ; and I 
will get Basil." 

' Not eight, Harry, please. Half-past six. We 
must be there before the curtain rises. You must 
see her in the first act, where she meets Romeo." 

" Half-past six 1 What an hour ! It will be like 
having a meat-tea, or reading an English novel. It 
must be seven. No gentleman dines before seven. 
Shall you see Basil between this and then ? Or 
shall I write to him ? " 

" Dear Basil ! I have not laid eyes on him for a 
week. It is rather horrid of me, as he has sent me 
my portrait in the most wonderful frame, specially 
designed by himself, and, though I am a little jealous 
of the picture for being a whole month younger than 
I am, I must admit that I delight in it. Perhaps 
you had better write to him. I don't want to see 
him alone. He says things that annoy me. He 
gives me good advice." 

Lord Henry smiled. " People are very fond of 
giving away what they need most themselves. It 
is what I call the depth of generosity." 

" Oh, Basil is the best of fellows, but he seems to 
me to be just a bit of a Philistine. Since I have 
known you, Harry, I have discovered that." 

" Basil, my dear boy, puts everything that is 
charming in him into his work. The consequence 
is that he has nothing left for life but his prejudices, 
his principles, and his common-sense. The only 
artists I have ever known, who are personally delight- 



ful, are bad artists. Good artists exist simply in 
what they make, and consequently are perfectly 
uninteresting in what they are. A great poet, a 
really great poet, is the most unpoetical of all creatures. 
But inferior poets are absolutely fascinating. The 
worse their rhymes are, the more picturesque they 
look. The mere fact of having published a book of 
second-rate sonnets makes a man quite irresistible. 
He lives the poetry that he cannot write. The others 
write the poetry that they dare not realise." 

" I wonder is that really so, Harry ? " said Dorian 
Gray, putting some perfume on his handkerchief out 
of a large gold-topped bottle that stood on the table. 
" It must be, if you say it. And now I am off. 
Imogen is waiting for me. Don't forget about to- 
morrow. Good-bye." 

As he left the room, Lord Henry's heavy eyelids 
drooped, and he began to think. Certainly few 
people had ever interested him so much as Dorian 
Gray, and yet the lad's mad adoration of some one 
else caused him not the slightest pang of annoyance 
or jealousy. He was pleased by it. It made him 
a more interesting study. He had been always 
enthralled by the methods of natural science, but 
the ordinary subject-matter of that science had 
seemed to him trivial and of no import. And so 
he had begun by vivisecting himself, as he had 
ended by vivisecting others. Human life that 
appeared to him the one thing w r orth investigating. 
Compared to it there was nothing else of any value. 
It was true that as one watched life in Its curious 
crucible of pain and pleasure, one could not wear 
over one's face a mask of glass, nor keep the sul- 
phurous fumes from troubling the brain, and making 
the imagination turbid with monstrous fancies and 
misshapen dreams. There were poisons so subtle 
that to know their properties one had to sicken of 
them. There were maladies so strange that one had 
to pass through them if one sought to understand 
their nature. And, yet, what a great reward one 


received 1 How wonderful the whole world became 
to one I To note the curious hard logic of passion, 
and the emotional coloured life of the intellect to 
observe where they met, and where they separated, 
at what point they were in unison, and at what point 
they were at discord there was a delight in that ! 
What matter what the cost was ? One could never 
pay too high a price for any sensation. 

He was conscious and the thought brought a 
gleam of pleasure into his brown agate eyes that 
it was through certain words of his, musical words 
said with musical utterance, that Dorian Gray's soul 
had turned to this white girl and bowed in worship 
before her. To a large extent the lad was his own 
creation. He had made him premature. That was 
something. Ordinary people waited till life disclosed 
to them its secrets, but to the few, to the elect, the 
mysteries of life were revealed before the veil was 
drawn away. Sometimes this was the effect of art, 
and chiefly of the art of literature, which dealt 
immediately with the passions and the intellect. 
But now and then a complex personality took the 
place and assumed the office of art ; was indeed, in 
its way, a real work of art, Life having its elaborate 
masterpieces, just as poetry has, or sculpture, or 

Yes, the lad was premature. He was gathering 
his harvest while it was yet spring. The pulse and 
passion of youth were in him, but he was becoming 
self-conscious. It was delightful to watch him. With 
his beautiful face, and his beautiful soul, he was a 
thing to wonder at. It was no matter how it all 
ended, or was destined to end. He was like one of 
those gracious figures in a pageant or a play, whose 
joys seem to be remote from one, but whose sorrows 
stir one's sense of beauty, and whose wounds are like 
red roses. 

Soul and body, body and soul how mysterious 
they were 1 There was animalism in the soul, and 
the body had its moments of spirituality. The 


senses could refine, and the intellect could degrade. 
Who could say where the fleshly Impulse ceased, or 
the physical impulse began ? How shallow were the 
arbitrary definitions of ordinary psychologists I And 
yet how difficult to decide between the claims of the 
various schools ! Was the soul a shadow seated in 
the house of sin ? Or was the body really in the 
soul, as Giordano Bruno thought ? The separation 
of spirit from matter was a mystery, and the union 
of spirit with matter was a mystery also. 

He began to wonder whether we could ever make 
psychology so absolute a science that each little 
spring of life would be revealed to us. As it was, 
we always misunderstood ourselves, and rarely 
understood others. Experience was of no ethical 
value. It was merely the name men gave to their 
mistakes. Moralists had, as a rule, regarded it as 
a mode of warning, had claimed for it a certain 
ethical efficacy in the formation of character, had 
praised it as something that taught us what to follow 
and showed us what to avoid. But there was no 
motive power in experience. It was as little of an 
active cause as conscience itself. All that it really 
demonstrated was that our future would be the same 
as our past, and that the sin we had done once, and 
with loathing, we would do many times, and with joy. 

It was clear to him that the experimental method 
was the only method by which one could arrive 
at any scientific analysis of the passions ; and cer- 
tainly Dorian Gray was a subject made to his hand, 
and seemed to promise rich and fruitful results. 
His sudden mad love for Sibyl Vane was a psychologi- 
cal phenomenon of no small interest. There was no 
doubt that curiosity had much to do with it, curiosity 
and the desire for new experiences ; yet it was not 
a simple but rather a very complex passion. What 
there was in it of the purely sensuous instinct of 
boyhood had been transformed by the workings of 
the imagination, changed into something that seemed 
to the lad himself to be remote from sense, and was 


for that very reason all the more dangerous. It was 
the passions about whose origin we deceived our- 
selves that tyrannised most strongly over us. Our 
weakest motives were those of whose nature we were 
conscious. It often happened that when we thought 
we were experimenting on others we were really 
experimenting on ourselves. 

"While Lord Henry sat dreaming on these things, 
a knock came to the door, and his valet entered, 
and reminded him It was time to dress for dinner. 
He got up and looked out into the street. The 
sunset had smitten Into scarlet gold the upper 
windows of the houses opposite. The panes glowed 
like plates of heated metal. The sky above was like 
a faded rose. He thought of his friend's young 
fiery-coloured life, and wondered how it was all 
going to end. 

When he arrived home, about half-past twelve 
o'clock, he saw a telegram lying on the hall table. 
He opened it, and found It was from Dorian Gray. 
It was to tell him that he was engaged to be married 
to Sibyl Vane. 


" MOTHER, mother, I am so happy ! " whispered 
the girl, burying her face in the lap of the faded, 
tired-looking woman who, with back turned to the 
shrill intrusive light, was sitting in the one armchair 
that their dingy sitting-room contained. " I am so 
happy 1 " she repeated, " and you must be happy 
too 1 " 

Mrs. Vane winced, and put her thin bismuth- 
whitened hands on her daughter's head. " Happy 1 " 
she echoed, " I am only happy, Sibyl, when I see 
you act. You must not think of anything but your 
acting. Mr. Isaacs has been very good to us, and 
we owe him money." 

The girl looked up and pouted. " Money, 
mother ? " she cried, " what does money matter ? 
Love is more than money." 

" Mr. Isaacs has advanced us fifty pounds to pay 
of! our debts, and to get a proper outfit for James. 
You must not forget that, Sibyl. Fifty pounds is 
a very large sum. Mr. Isaacs has been most con- 

" He is not a gentleman, mother, and I hate the 
way he talks to me," said the girl, rising to her feet, 
and going over to the window. 

" I don't know how we could manage without 
him," answered the elder woman, querulously. 

Sibyl Vane tossed her head and laughed. " We 
don't want him any more, mother. Prince Charming 
rules life for us now." Then she paused. A rose 
shook in her blood, and shadowed her cheeks. Quick 
breath parted the petals of her lips. They trembled. 
Some southern wind of passion swept over her, and 



stirred the dainty folds of her dress. " I love him," 
she said, simply. 

" Foolish child ! foolish child 1 " was the parrot- 
phrase flung in answer. The waving of crooked, false- 
jewelled fingers gave grotesqueness to the words. 

The girl laughed again. The joy of a caged bird 
was in her voice. Her eyes caught the melody, and 
echoed it in radiance ; then closed for a moment, 
as though to hide their secret. When they opened, 1 
the mist of a dream had passed across them. 

Thin-lipped wisdom spoke at her from the worn 
chair, hinted at prudence, quoted from that book of 
cowardice whose author apes the name of common 
sense. She did not listen. She was free in her 
prison of passion. Her prince, Prince Charming, 
was with her. She had called on Memory to remake 
him. She had sent her soul to search for him, and it 
had brought him back. His kiss burned again upon 
her mouth. Her eyelids were warm with his breath. 

Then Wisdom altered its method and spoke of 
espial and discovery. This young man might be 
rich. If so, marriage should be thought of. Against 
the shell of her ear broke the waves of worldly cunning. 
The arrows of craft shot by her. She saw the thin 
lips moving, and smiled. 

Suddenly she felt the need to speak. The wordy 
silence troubled her. " Mother, mother," she cried, 
" why does he love me so much ? I know why L 
love him. I love him because he is like what Love 
himself should be. But what does he see in me ? 
I am not worthy of him. And yet why, I cannot 
tell though I feel so much beneath him, I don't 
feel humble. I feel proud, terribly proud. Mother, 
did you love my father as I love Prince Charming ? " 

The elder woman grew pale beneath the coarse 
powder that daubed her cheeks, and her dry lips 
twitched with a spasm of pain. Sibyl rushed to her, 
flung her arms round her neck, and kissed her. 
" Forgive me, mother. I know it pains you to talk 
about our father. But it only pains you because 


you loved him so much. Don't look so sad. I 
am as happy to-day as you were twenty years ago. 
Ah ! let me be happy for ever 1 " 

" My child, you are far too young to think of 
falling in love. Besides, what do you know of this 
young man ? You don't even know his name. 
The whole thing is most inconvenient, and really, 
when James is going away to Australia, and I have 
so much to think of, I must say that you should 
have shown more consideration. However, as I 
said before, if he is rich. . . ." 

" Ah ! Mother, mother, let me be happy 1 " 

Mrs. Vane glanced at her, and with one of those 
false theatrical gestures that so often become a 
mode of second nature to a stage-player, clasped 
her in her arms. At this moment the door opened, 
and a young lad with rough brown hair came into 
the room. He was thick-set of figure, and his hands 
and feet were large, and somewhat clumsy in move- 
ment. He was not so finely bred as his sister. One 
would hardly have guessed the close relationship 
that existed between them. Mrs. Vane fixed her 
eyes on him, and intensified the smile. She mentally 
elevated her son to the dignity of an audience. She 
felt sure that the tableau was interesting. 

" You might keep some of your kisses for me, Sibyl, 
I think," said the lad, with a good-natured grumble. 

" Ah ! but you don't like being kissed, Jim," she 
cried. " You are a dreadful old bear." And she ran 
across the room and hugged him. 

James Vane looked into his sister's face w r ith ten- 
derness. " I want you to come out with me for a 
walk, Sibyl. I don't suppose I shall ever see this 
horrid London again. I am sure I don't want to." 

" My son, don't say such dreadful things," mur- 
mured Mrs. Vane, taking up a tawdry theatrical 
dress, with a sigh, and beginning to patch it. She 
felt a little disappointed that he had not joined the 
group. It would have increased the theatrical 
plcturesqueness of the situation. 


" Why not, mother ? I mean it." 
. " You pain me, my son. I trust you will return 
from Australia in a position of affluence. I believe 
there is no society of any kind in the Colonies, 
nothing that I would call society ; so when you 
have made your fortune you must come back and 
assert yourself in London." 

" Society 1 " muttered the lad. " I don't want to 
know anything about that. I should like to make 
some money to take you and Sibyl off the stage. I 
hate it." 

" Oh, Jim I " said Sibyl, laughing, " how unkind 
of you ! But are you really going for a walk with 
me ? That will be nice ! I was afraid you were 
going to say goodbye to some of your friends to 
Tom Hardy, who gave you that hideous pipe, or 
Ned Langton, who makes fun of you for smoking it. 
It is very sweet of you to let me have your last 
afternoon. Where shall we go ? Let us go to the 

" I am too shabby," he answered, frowning. 
" Only swell people go to the Park." 

" Nonsense, Jim," she whispered, stroking the 
sleeve of his coat. 

He hesitated for a moment. " Very well," he 
said at last, " but don't be too long dressing." She 
danced out of the door. One could hear her singing 
as she ran upstairs. Her little feet pattered overhead. 

He walked up and down the room two or three 
times. Then he turned to the still figure in the chair. 
" Mother, are my things ready ? " he asked. 

" Quite ready, James," she answered, keeping her 
eyes on her work. For some months past she had 
felt ill at ease when she was alone with this rough, 
stern son of hers. Her shallow secret nature was 
troubled when their eyes met. She used to wonder 
if he suspected anything. The silence, for he made 
no other observation, became intolerable to her. 
She began to complain. Women defend themselves 
by attacking, just as they attack by sudden and 


strange surrenders. " I hope you will be contented, 
James, with your sea-faring life," she said. " You 
must remember that it is your own choice. You 
might have entered a solicitor's office. Solicitors 
are a very respectable class, and in the country 
often dine with the best families." 

" I hate offices, and I hate clerks," he replied. 
" But you are quite right. I have chosen my own 
life. All I say is, watch over Sibyl. Don't let her come 
to any harm. Mother, you must watch over her." 

" James, you really talk very strangely. Of course 
I watch over Sibyl." 

" I hear a gentleman comes every night to the 
theatre, and goes behind to talk to her. Is that 
right ? What about that ? " 

" You are speaking about things you don't under- 
stand, James. In the profession we are accustomed 
to receive a great deal of most gratifying attention. 
I myself used to receive many bouquets at one time. 
That was when acting was really understood. As 
for Sibyl, I do not know at present whether her 
attachment is serious or not. But there is no doubt 
that the young man in question is a perfect gentle- 
man. He is always most polite to me. Besides, he 
has the appearance of being rich, and the flowers 
he sends are lovely." 

" You don't know his name, though," said the 
lad, harshly. 

" No," answered his mother, with a placid expres- 
sion in her face. " He has not yet revealed his real 
name. I think it is quite romantic of him. He is 
probably a member of the aristocracy." 

James Vane bit his lip. " Watch over Sibyl, 
mother," he cried, " watch over her." 

" My son, you distress me very much. Sibyl is 
always under my special care. Of course, if this 
gentleman is wealthy, there is no reason why she 
should not contract an alliance with him. I trust 
he is one of the aristocracy. He has all the appear- 
ance of it, I must say. It might be a most brilliant 


marriage for Sibyl. They would make a charming 
couple. His good looks are really quite remarkable ; 
everybody notices them." 

The lad muttered something to himself, and 
drummed on the window-pane with his coarse fingers. 
He had just turned round to say something, when 
the door opened, and Sibyl ran in. 

" How serious you both are ! " she cried. " What 
is the matter ? " 

" Nothing," he answered. " I suppose one must 
be serious sometimes. Goodbye, mother ; I will 
have my dinner at five o'clock. Everything is 
packed, except my shirts, so you need not trouble." 

" Goodbye, my son," she answered, with a bow of 
strained stateliness. 

She was extremely annoyed at the tone he had 
adopted with her, and there was something in his 
look that had made her feel afraid. 

" Kiss me, mother," said the girl. Her flower- 
like lips touched the withered cheek, and warmed 
its frost. 

" My child I my child 1 " cried Mrs. Vane, looking 
up to the ceiling in search of an imaginary gallery. 

" Come, Sibyl," said her brother, impatiently. 
He hated his mother's affectations. 

They went out into the flickering wind-blown sun- 
light, and strolled down the dreary Euston Road. 
The passers-by glanced in wonder at the sullen, heavy 
youth, who, in coarse, ill-fitting clothes, was in the 
company of such a graceful, refined-looking girl. He 
was like a common gardener walking with a rose. 

Jim frowned from time to time when he caught 
the inquisitive glance of some stranger. He had 
that dislike of being stared at which comes on geniuses 
late in life, and never leaves the commonplace. 
Sibyl, however, was quite unconscious of the effect 
she was producing. Her love was trembling in 
laughter on her lips. She was thinking of Prince 
Charming, and, that she might think of him all the 
more, she did not talk of him but prattled on about 


the ship in which Jim was going to sail, about the 
gold he was certain to find, about the wonderful 
heiress whose life he was to save from the wicked, 
red-shirted bushrangers. For he was not to remain 
a sailor, or a super-cargo, or whatever he was going 
to be. Oh, no ! A sailor's existence was dreadful. 
Fancy being cooped up in a horrid ship, with the 
hoarse, hump-backed waves trying to get In, and a 
black wind blowing the masts down, and tearing the 
sails into long screaming ribands I He was to leave 
the vessel at Melbourne, bid a polite goodbye to 
the captain, and go off at once to the gold-fields. 
Before a week was over he was to come across a large 
nugget of pure gold, the largest nugget that had ever 
been discovered, and bring it down to the coast in a 
waggon guarded by six mounted policemen. The 
bushrangers were to attack them three times, and 
be defeated with immense slaughter. Or, no. He 
was not to go to the gold-fields at all. They were 
horrid places, where men got intoxicated, and shot 
each other in bar-rooms, and used bad language. 
He was to be a nice sheep-farmer, and one evening, 
as he was riding home, he was to see the beautiful 
heiress being carried off by a robber on a black horse, 
and give chase, and rescue her. Of course she would 
fall in love with him, and he with her, and they would 
get married, and come home, and live in an immense 
house in London. Yes, there were delightful things 
in store for him. But he must be very good, and not 
lose his temper, or spend his money foolishly. She 
was only a year older than he was, but she knew 
so much more of life. He must be sure, also, to 
write to her by every mail, and to say his prayers 
each night before he went to sleep. God was very 
good, and would watch over him. She would pray 
for him, too, and in a few years he would come back 
quite rich and happy. 

The lad listened sulkily to her, and made no 
answer. He was heart-sick at leaving home. 

Yet it was not this alone that made him gloomy 


and morose. Inexperienced though he was, he had 
still a strong sense of the danger of Sibyl's position. 
This young dandy who was making love to her could 
mean her no good. He was a gentleman, and he 
hated him for that, hated him through some curious 
race-instinct for which he could not account, and 
which for that reason was all the more dominant 
within him. He was conscious also of the shallow- 
ness and vanity of his mother's nature, and in that 
saw infinite peril for Sibyl and Sibyl's happiness. 
Children begin by loving their parents ; as they grow 
older they judge them ; sometimes they forgive them. 

His mother I He had something on his mind to 
ask of her, something that he had brooded on for 
many months of silence. A chance phrase that he 
had heard at the theatre, a whispered sneer that had 
reached his ears one night as he waited at the stage- 
door, had set loose a train of horrible thoughts. He 
remembered it as if it had been the lash of a hunting- 
crop across his face. His brows knit together into 
a wedge-like furrow, and with a twitch of pain he 
bit his under-lip. 

" You are not listening to a word I am saying, 
Jim," cried Sibyl, " and I am making the most de- 
lightful plans for your future. Do say something." 

" What do you want me to say ? " 

" Oh I that you will be a good boy, and not forget 
us," she answered, smiling at him. 

He shrugged his shoulders. " You are more likely 
to forget me, than I am to forget you, Sibyl." 

She flushed. " What do you mean, Jim ? " she 

" You have a new friend, I hear. Who is he ? 
Why have you not told me about him ? He means 
you no good." 

" Stop, Jim 1 " she exclaimed. " You must not 
say anything against him. I love him." 

" Why, you don't even know his name," answered 
the lad. " Who is he ? I have a right to know." 

" He Is called Prince Charming. Don't you like 


the name ? Oh ! you silly boy ! you should never 
forget it. If you only saw him, you would think 
him the most wonderful person in the world. Some 
day you will meet him : when you come back from 
Australia. You will like him so much. Everybody 
likes him, and I ... love him. I wish you could 
coir.c to the theatre to-night. He is going to be 
there, and I am to play Juliet. Oh ! how I shall 
play it ! Fancy, Jim, to be in love and play Juliet I 
To have him sitting there ! To play for his delight I 
I am afraid I may frighten the company, frighten 
or enthrall them. To be in love is to surpass one's 
self. Poor dreadful Mr. Isaacs will be shouting 
' genius ' to his loafers at the bar. He has preached 
me as a dogma ; to-night he will announce me as a 
revelation. I feel it. And it is all his, his only, 
Prince Charming, my wonderful lover, my god of 
graces. But I am poor beside him. Poor ? \Vhat 
does that matter ? When poverty creeps in at the 
door, love flies in through the window. Our proverbs 
want re-writing. They were made in winter, and it 
Is summer now ; spring-time for me, I think, a very 
dance of blossoms in blue skies." 

" He is a gentleman," said the lad, sullenly. 

" A Prince ! " she cried, musically. " What more 
do you want ? " 

" He wants to enslave you." 

" I shudder at the thought of being free." 

" I want you to beware of him." 

" To see him is to worship him, to know him is to 
trust him." 

" Sibyl, you are mad about him." 

She laughed, and took his arm. " You dear old 
Jim, you talk as if you were a hundred. Some day 
you will be in love yourself. Then you will know 
what it is. Don't look so sulky. Surely you should 
be glad to think that, though you are going away, 
you leave me happier than I have ever been before. 
Life has been hard for us both, terribly hard and 
difficult. But it will be different now. You are going 


to a new world, and I have found one. Here are two 
chairs ; let us sit down and see the smart people go by." 

They took their seats amidst a crowd of watchers. 
The tulip-beds across the road flamed like throbbing 
rings of fire. A white dust, tremulous cloud of orris- 
root it seemed, hung in the panting air. The brightly- 
coloured parasols danced and dipped like monstrous 

She made her brother talk of himself, his hopes, 
his prospects. He spoke slowly and with effort. 
They passed words to each other as players at a 
game pass counters. Sibyl felt oppressed. She 
could not communicate her joy. A faint smile 
curving that sullen mouth was all the echo she could 
win. After some time she became silent. Suddenly 
she caught a glimpse of golden hair and laughing lips, 
and in an open carriage with two ladies Dorian Gray 
drove past. 

She started to her feet. " There he is I " she cried. 

" Who ? " said Jim Vane. 

" Prince Charming," she answered, looking after 
the victoria. 

He jumped up, and seized her roughly by the arm. 
" Show him to me. Which is he ? Point him out. 
I must see him 1 " he exclaimed ; but at that moment 
the Duke of Berwick's four-in-hand came between, 
and when it had left the space clear, the carriage had 
swept out of the Park. 

" He is gone," murmured Sibyl, sadly. " I wish 
you had seen him." 

" I wish I had, for as sure as there is a God in 
heaven, if he ever does you any wrong I shall 
kill him." 

She looked at him in horror. He repeated his 
words. They cut the air like a dagger. The people 
round began to gape. A lady standing close to her 

" Come away, Jim ; come away," she whispered. 
He followed her doggedly, as she passed through the 
crowd. He felt glad at what he had said. 


When they reached the Achilles Statue she turned 
round. There was pity in her eyes that became 
laughter on her lips. She shook her head at him. 
" You are foolish, Jim, utterly foolish ; a bad-tem- 
pered boy, that is all. How can you say such horrible 
things ? You don't know what you are talking about. 
You are simply jealous and unkind. Ah I I wish 
you would fall in love. Love makes people good, 
and what you said was wicked." 

" I am sixteen," he answered, " and I know what 
I am about. Mother is no help to you. She doesn't 
understand how to look after you. I wish now that 
I was not going to Australia at all. I have a great 
mind to chuck the whole thing up. I would, if my 
articles hadn't been signed." 

" Oh, don't be so serious, Jim. You are like one 
of the heroes of those silly melodramas mother used 
to be so fond of acting in. I am not going to quarrel 
with you. I have seen him, and oh 1 to see him is 
perfect happiness. We won't quarrel. I know you 
would never harm anyone I love, would you ? " 

" Not as long as you love him, I suppose," was 
the sullen answer. 

" I shall love him for ever 1 " she cried. 

" And he ? " 

" For ever, too ! " 

" He had better." 

She shrank from him. Then she laughed and put 
her hand on his arm. He was merely a boy. 

At the Marble Arch they hailed an omnibus, which 
left them close to their shabby home in the Euston 
Road. It was after five o'clock, and Sibyl had to 
lie down for a couple of hours before acting. Jim 
insisted that she should do so. He said that he would 
sooner part with her when their mother was not 
present. She would be sure to make a scene, and he 
detested scenes of every kind. 

In Sibyl's own room they parted. There was 
jealousy in the lad's heart, and a fierce, murderous 
hatred of the stranger who, as it seemed to him, had 


come between them. Yet, when her arms were 
flung round his neck, and her fingers strayed through 
his hair, he softened, and kissed her with real affection. 
There were tears in his eyes as he went downstairs. 

His mother was waiting for him below. She 
grumbled at his unpunctuality, as he entered. He 
made no answer, but sat down to his meagre meal. 
The flies buzzed round the table, and crawled over 
the stained cloth. Through the rumble of omnibuses, 
and the clatter of street-cabs, he could hear the droning 
voice devouring each minute that was left to him. 

After some time, he thrust away his plate, and 
put his head in his hands. He felt that he had a 
right to know. It should have been told to him 
before, if it was as he suspected. Leaden with fear, 
his mother watched him. Words dropped mechani- 
cally from her lips. A tattered lace handkerchief 
twitched in her fingers. When the clock struck six, 
he got up, and went to the door. Then he turned 
back, and looked at her. Their eyes met. In hers 
he saw a wild appeal for mercy. It enraged him. 

" Mother, I have something to ask you," he said. 
Her eyes wandered vaguely about the room. She 
made no answer. " Tell me the truth. I have a 
right to know. Were you married to my father ? " 

She heaved a deep sigh. It was a sigh of relief. 
The terrible moment, the moment that night and 
day, for weeks and months, she had dreaded, had 
come at last, and yet she felt no terror. Indeed in 
some measure it was a disappointment to her. The 
vulgar directness of the question called for a direct 
answer. The situation had not been gradually led 
up to. It was crude. It reminded her of a bad 

" No," she answered, wondering at the harsh 
simplicity of life. 

" My father was a scoundrel then ? " cried the lad, 
clenching his fists. 

She shook her head. " I knew he was not free. 
We loved each other very much. If he had lived, 


he would have made provision for us. Don't speak 
against him, my son. He was your father, and a 
gentleman. Indeed he was highly connected." 

An oath broke from his lips. " I don't care for 
myself," he exclaimed, " but don't let Sibyl . . . 
It is a gentleman, isn't it, who is in love with her, 
or says he is ? Highly connected, too, I suppose." 

For a moment a hideous sense of humiliation came 
over the woman. Her head drooped. She wiped 
her eyes with shaking hands. " Sibyl has a mother," 
she murmured ; " I had none." 

The lad was touched. He went towards her, and 
stooping down he kissed her. " I am sorry if I have 
pained you by asking about my father," he said, 
" but I could not help it. I must go now. Goodbye. 
Don't forget that you will only have one child now to 
look after, and believe me that if this man wrongs 
my sister, I will find out who he is, track him down, 
and kill him like a dog. I swear it." 

The exaggerated folly of the threat, the passionate 
gesture that accompanied it, the mad melodramatic 
words, made life seem more vivid to her. She was 
familiar with the atmosphere. She breathed more 
freely, and for the first time for many months she 
really admired her son. She w r ould have liked to have 
continued the scene on the same emotional scale, but 
he cut her short. Trunks had to be carried down, 
and mufflers looked for. The lodging-house drudge 
bustled in and out. There was the bargaining with 
the cabman. The moment was lost in vulgar details. 
It was with a renewed feeling of disappointment that 
she waved the tattered lace handkerchief from the 
window, as her son drove away. She was conscious 
that a great opportunity had been wasted. She 
consoled herself by telling Sibyl how desolate she 
felt her life would be, now that she had only one 
child to look after. She remembered the phrase. It 
had pleased her. Of the threat she said nothing. 
It was vividly and dramatically expressed. She 
felt that they would all laugh at it some day. 


" I SUPPOSE you have heard the news, Basil ? " said 
Lord Henry that evening, as Hallward was shown 
into a little private room at the Bristol where dinner 
had been laid for three. 

" No, Harry," answered the artist, giving his hat 
and coat to the bowing waiter. " What is it ? 
Nothing about politics, I hope ? They don't interest 
me. There is hardly a single person in the House 
of Commons worth painting ; though many of them 
would be the better for a little white-washing." 

" Dorian Gray is engaged to be married," said 
Lord Henry, watching him as he spoke. 

Hallward started, and then frowned. " Dorian 
engaged to be married 1 " he cried. " Impossible I " 
It is perfectly true." 
To whom ? " 

To some little actress or other." 
I can't believe it. Dorian is far too sensible." 
Dorian is far too wise not to do foolish things ' 
now and then, my dear Basil." 

" Marriage is hardly a thing that one can do now 
and then, Harry." 

" Except in America," rejoined Lord Henry, lan- 
guidly. " But I didn't say he was married. I said 
he w r as engaged to be married. There is a great 
difference. I have a distinct remembrance of being 
married, but I have no recollection at all of being 
engaged. I am inclined to think that I never was 

" But think of Dorian's birth, and position, and 


wealth. It would be absurd for him to marry so 
much beneath him." 

" If you want to make him marry this girl tell 
him that, Basil. He is sure to do it, then. Whenever 
a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always 
from the noblest motives." 

" I hope the girl is good, Harry. I don't want to 
see Dorian tied to some vile creature, who might 
degrade his nature and ruin his intellect." 

" Oh, she is better than good she is beautiful," 
murmured Lord Henry, sipping a glass of vermouth 
and orange-bitters. " Dorian says she is beautiful ; 
and he is not often wrong about things of that kind. 
Your portrait of him has quickened his appreciation 
of the personal appearance of other people. It has 
had that excellent effect, amongst others. We are 
to see her to-night, if that boy doesn't forget his 

" Are you serious ? " 

" Quite serious, Basil. I should be miserable if I 
thought I should ever be more serious than I am at 
the present moment." 

" But do you approve of it, Harry ? " asked the 
painter, walking up and down the room, and biting 
his lip. " You can't approve of it, possibly. It is 
some silly infatuation." 

" I never approve, or disapprove, of anything now. 
It is an absurd attitude to take towards life. We are 
not sent into the world to air our moral prejudices. 
I never take any notice of what common people say, 
and I never interfere with what charming people do. 
If a personality fascinates me, whatever mode of 
expression that personality selects is absolutely 
delightful to me. Dorian Gray falls in love with a 
beautiful girl who acts Juliet, and proposes to marry 
her. Why not ? If he wedded Messalina he would 
be none the less interesting. You know I am not 
a champion of marriage. The real drawback to 
marriage is that it makes one unselfish. And un- 
selfish people are colourless. They lack individuality. 


Still, there arc certain temperaments that marriage 
makes more complex. They retain their egotism, 
and add to it many other egos. They are forced 
to have more than one life. They become more 
highly organised, and to be highly organised Is, I 
should fancy, the object of man's existence. Besides, 
every experience is of value, and, whatever one may 
say against marriage, it is certainly an experience. 
I hope that Dorian Gray will make this girl his wife, 
passionately adore her for six months, and then 
suddenly become fascinated by someone else. He 
would be a wonderful study." 

" You don't mean a single word of all that, Harry ; 
you know you don't. If Dorian Gray's life were 
spoiled, no one would be sorrier than yourself. You 
are much better than you pretend to be." 

Lord Henry laughed. " The reason we all like 
to think so well of others is that we are all afraid 
for ourselves. The basis of optimism is sheer terror. 
We think that we are generous because we credit 
our neighbour with the possession of those virtues 
that are likely to be a benefit to us. We praise the 
banker that we may overdraw our account, and find 
good qualities in the highwayman in the hope that 
he may spare our pockets. I mean everything that 
I have said. I have the greatest contempt for 
optimism. As for a spoiled life, no life is spoiled 
but one whose growth is arrested. If you want 
to mar a nature, you have merely to reform it. As 
for marriage, of course that would be silly, but 
there are other and more interesting bonds between 
men and women. I will certainly encourage them. 
They have the charm of being fashionable. But 
here is Dorian himself. He will tell you more than 
I can." 

" My dear Harry, my dear Basil, you must both 
congratulate me 1 " said the lad, throwing off his 
evening cape with its satin-lined wings and shaking 
each of his friends by the hand in turn. " I have 
never been so happy. Of course it is sudden ; all 


really delightful things are. And yet it seems to 
me to be the one thing I have been looking for all 
my life." He was flushed with excitement and 
pleasure, and looked extraordinarily handsome. 

" I hope you will always be very happy, Dorian," 
said Hallward, " but I don't quite forgive you for 
not having let me know of your engagement. You 
let Harry know." 

" And I don't forgive you for being late for dinner," 
broke in Lord Henry, putting his hand on the lad's 
shoulder, and smiling as he spoke. " Come, let us 
sit down and try what the new chef here is like, and 
then you will tell us how it all came about." 

" There is really not much to tell," cried Dorian, 
as they took their seats at the small round table. 
" What happened was simply this. After I left 
you yesterday evening, Harry, I dressed, had some 
dinner at that little Italian restaurant in Rupert 
Street you introduced me to, and went down at 
eight o'clock to the theatre. Sibyl was playing 
Rosalind. Of course the scenery was dreadful, and 
the Orlando absurd. But Sibyl ! You should have 
seen her I When she came on in her boy's clothes 
she was perfectly wonderful. She wore a moss- 
coloured velvet jerkin with cinnamon sleeves, slim 
brown cross-gartered hose, a dainty little green cap 
with a hawk's feather caught in a jewel, and a 
hooded cloak lined with dull red. She had never 
seemed to me more exquisite. She had all the 
delicate grace of that Tanagra figurine that you have 
in your studio, Basil. Her hair clustered round her 
face like dark leaves round a pale rose. As for her 
acting well, you shall see her to-night. She is 
simply a born artist. I sat in the dingy box abso- 
lutely enthralled. I forgot that I was in London 
and in the nineteenth century. I was away with my 
love in a forest that no man had ever seen. After 
the performance was over I went behind, and spoke 
to her. As we were sitting together, suddenly there 
came into her eyes a look that I had never seen there 


before. My lips moved towards hers. We kissed 
each other. I can't describe to you what I felt at 
that moment. It seemed to me that all my life 
had been narrowed to one perfect point of rose- 
coloured joy. She trembled all over, and shook like 
a white narcissus. Then she flung herself on her 
knees and kissed my hands. I feel that I should not 
tell you all this, but I can't help it. Of course our 
engagement is a dead secret. She has not even told 
her own mother. I don't know what my guardians 
will say. Lord Radley is sure to be furious. I don't 
care. I shall be of age in less than a year, and then I 
can do what I like. I have been right, Basil, haven't 
I, to take my love out of poetry, and to find my 
wife in Shakespeare's plays ? Lips that Shakespeare 
taught to speak have whispered their secret in my 
ear. I have had the arms of Rosalind around me, 
and kissed Juliet on the mouth." 

" Yes, Dorian, I suppose you were right," said 
Hallward, slowly. 

" Have you seen her to-day ? " asked Lord Henry. 

Dorian Gray shook his head. " I left her in the 
forest of Arden, I shall find her in an orchard in 

Lord Henry sipped his champagne in a medita- 
tive manner. " At what particular point did you 
mention the word marriage, Dorian ? And what 
did she say in answer ? Perhaps you forgot all 
about it." 

" My dear Harry, I did not treat it as a business 
transaction, and I did not make any formal proposal. 
I told her that I loved her, and she said she was 
not worthy to be my wife. Not worthy 1 Why, 
the whole world is nothing to me compared with 

" Women are wonderfully practical," murmured 
Lord Henry " much more practical than we are. 
In situations of that kind we often forget to say 
anything about marriage, and they always remind 


Hallward laid his hand upon his arm. " Don't, 
Harry. You have annoyed Dorian. He is not like 
other men. He would never bring misery upon 
anyone. His nature is too fine for that." 

Lord Henry looked across the table. " Dorian is 
never annoyed with me," he answered. " I asked 
the question for the best reason possible, for the only 
reason, indeed, that excuses one for asking any 
question simple curiosity. I have a theory that 
it is always the women who propose to us, and not 
we who propose to the women. Except, of course, 
In middle-class life. But then the middle classes are 
not modern." 

Dorian Gray laughed, and tossed his head. " You 
are quite incorrigible, Harry ; but I don't mind. It 
is impossible to be angry with you. When you see 
Sibyl Vane you will feel that the man who could 
wrong her would be a beast, a beast without a heart. 
I cannot understand how anyone can wish to shame 
the thing he loves. I love Sibyl Vane. I want to 
place her on a pedestal of gold, and to see the world 
worship the woman who is mine. What is marriage ? 
An irrevocable vow. You mock at it for that. Ah I 
don't mock. It Is an irrevocable vow that I want 
to take. Her trust makes me faithful, her belief 
makes me good. When I am with her, I regret all 
that you have taught me. I become different from 
what you have known me to be. I am changed, and 
the mere touch of Sibyl Vane's hand makes me forget 
you and all your wrong, fascinating, poisonous, 
delightful theories." 

" And those are . . .? " asked Lord Henry, help- 
Ing himself to some salad. 

" Oh, your theories about life, your theories about 
love, your theories about pleasure. All your theories, 
in fact, Harry." 

" Pleasure is the only thing worth having a theory 
about," he answered, in his slow, melodious voice. 
" But I am afraid I cannot claim my theory as my 
own. It belongs to Nature, not to me. Pleasure Is 


Nature's test, her sign of approval. When we are 
happy \ve are always good, but when we are good 
we are not always happy." 

" Ah I but what do you mean by good ? " cried 
Basil Hallward. 

" Yes," echoed Dorian, leaning back in his chair, 
and looking at Lord Henry over the heavy clusters 
of purple-lipped irises that stood in the centre of 
the table, " what do you mean by good, Harry ? " 

" To be good is to be in harmony with one's self," 
he replied, touching the thin stem of his glass with 
his pale, fine-pointed fingers. " Discord is to be 
forced to be in harmony with others. One's own 
life that is the important thing. As for the lives 
of one's neighbours, if one wishes to be a prig or a 
Puritan, one can flaunt one's moral views about 
them, but they are not one's concern. Besides, 
Individualism has really the higher aim. Modern 
morality consists in accepting the standard of one's 
age. I consider that for any man of culture to 
accept the standard of his age is a form of the grossest 

" But, surely, if one lives merely for one's self, 
Harry, one pays a terrible price for doing so ? " 
suggested the painter. 

" Yes, we are overcharged for everything nowadays. 
I should fancy that the real tragedy of the poor is 
that they can afford nothing but self-denial. Beau- 
tiful sins, like beautiful things, are the privilege of 
the rich." 

" One has to pay in other ways but money." 

" What sort of ways, Basil ? " 

" Oh ! I should fancy in remorse, in suffering, in 
. . . well, in the consciousness of degradation." 

Lord Henry shrugged his shoulders. " My dear 
fellow, mediaeval art is charming, but mediaeval 
emotions are out of date. One can use them in 
fiction, of course. But then the only things that 
one can use in fiction are the things that one has 
ceased to use in fact. Believe me, no civilised man 


ever regrets a pleasure, and no uncivilised man ever 
knows what a pleasure is." 

" I know what pleasure is," cried Dorian Gray. 
" It is to adore someone." 

" That is certainly better than being adored," he 
answered, toying with some fruits. " Being adored 
is a nuisance. Women treat us just as Humanity 
treats its gods. They worship us, and are always 
bothering us to do something for them." 

" I should have said that whatever they ask for 
they had first given to us," murmured the lad, 
gravely. " They create Love in our natures. They 
have a right to demand it back." 

" That is quite true, Dorian," cried Hallward. 

" Nothing is ever quite true," said Lord Henry. 

" This is," interrupted Dorian. " You must admit, 
Harry, that women give to men the very gold of 
their lives." 

" Possibly," he sighed, " but they invariably 
want it back In such very small change. That is 
the worry. Women, as some witty Frenchman 
once put it, inspire us with the desire to do master- 
pieces, and always prevent us from carrying them 

" Harry, you are dreadful I I don't know why I 
like you so much." 

" You will always like me, Dorian," he replied. 
" Will you have some coffee, you fellows ? Waiter, 
bring coffee, and fine-champagne, and some cigarettes. 
No : don't mind the cigarettes ; I have some. Basil, 
I can't allow you to smoke cigars. You must have 
a cigarette. A cigarette is the perfect type of a 
perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one 
unsatisfied. What more can one want ? Yes, 
Dorian, you will always be fond of me. I represent 
to you all the sins you have never had the courage 
to commit." 

" What nonsense you talk, Harry I " cried the lad, 
taking a light from a fire-breathing silver dragon that 
the waiter had placed on the table. " Let us go 


down to the theatre. When Sibyl comes on the stage 
you will have a new ideal of life. She will represent 
something to you that you have never known." 

" I have known everything," said Lord Henry, 
with a tired look in his eyes, " but I am always ready 
for a new emotion. I am afraid, however, that, for 
me at any rate, there is no such thing. Still, your 
wonderful girl may thrill me. I love acting. It is so 
much more real than life. Let us go. "Dorian, you 
will come with me. I am so sorry, Basil, but there 
is only room for two in the brougham. You must 
follow us in a hansom." 

They got up and put on their coats, sipping their 
coffee standing. The painter was silent and pre- 
occupied. There was a gloom over him. He could 
not bear this marriage, and yet it seemed to him 
to be better than many other things that might have 
happened. After a few minutes, they all passed 
downstairs. He drove off by himself, as had been 
arranged, and watched the flashing lights of the 
little brougham in front of him. A strange sense of 
loss came over him. He felt that Dorian Gray would 
never again be to him all that he had been in the 
past. Life had come between them. . . . His eyes 
darkened, and the crowded, flaring streets became 
blurred to his eyes. When the cab drew up at the 
theatre, it seemed to him that he had grown years 


FOR some reason or other, the house was crowded 
that night, and the fat Jew manager who met them 
at the door was beaming from ear to ear with an oily, 
tremulous smile. He escorted them to their box 
with a sort of pompous humility, waving his fat 
jewelled hands, and talking at the top of his voice. 
Dorian Gray loathed him more than ever. He felt 
as if he had come to look for Miranda and had been 
met by Caliban. Lord Henry, upon the other hand, 
rather liked him. At least he declared he did, and 
insisted on shaking him by the hand, and assuring 
him that he was proud to meet a man who had dis- 
covered a real genius and gone bankrupt over a poet. 
Hallward amused himself with watching the faces in 
the pit. The heat was terribly oppressive, and the 
huge sunlight flamed like a monstrous dahlia with 
petals of yellow fire. The youths in the gallery had 
taken off their coats and waistcoats and hung them 
over the side. They talked to each other across the 
theatre, and shared their oranges with the tawdry 
girls who sat beside them. Some w r omen were laugh- 
ing in the pit. Their voices were horribly shrill and 
discordant. The sound of the popping of corks came 
from the bar. 

" What a place to find one's divinity in ! " said 
Lord Henry. 

" Yes ! " answered Dorian Gray. " It was here I 
found her, and she is divine beyond all living things. 
When she acts you will forget everything. These 
common, rough people, with their coarse faces and 
brutal gestures, become quite different when she Is 



on the stage. They sit silently and watch her. They 
weep and laugh as she wills them to do. She makes 
them as responsive as a violin. She spiritualises 
them, and one feels that they are of the same flesh 
and blood as one's self." 

" The same flesh and blood as one's self 1 Oh, I 
hope not I " exclaimed Lord Henry, who was scanning 
the occupants of the gallery through his opera-glass. 

" Don't pay any attention to him, Dorian," said 
the painter. " I understand what you mean, and I 
believe in this girl. Anyone you love must be mar- 
vellous, and any girl that has the effect you describe 
must be fine and noble. To spiritualise one's age 
that is something worth doing. If this girl can give 
a soul to those who have lived without one, if she can 
create the sense of beauty In people whose lives have 
been sordid and ugly, if she can strip them of their 
selfishness and lend them tears for sorrows that are 
not their own, she is worthy of all your adoration, 
worthy of the adoration of the world. This marriage 
Is quite right. I did not think so at first, but I admit 
it now. The gods made Sibyl Vane for you. With- 
out her you would have been incomplete." 

" Thanks, Basil," answered Dorian Gray, pressing 
his hand. " I knew that you would understand me. 
Harry is so cynical, he terrifies me. But here is 
the orchestra. It is quite dreadful, but it only lasts 
for about five minutes. Then the curtain rises, and 
you will see the girl to whom I am going to give all 
my life, to whom I have given everything that Is 
good in me." 

A quarter of an hour afterwards, amidst an ex- 
traordinary turmoil of applause, Sibyl Vane stepped 
on to the stage. Yes, she was certainly lovely to 
look at one of the loveliest creatures, Lord Henry 
thought, that he had ever seen. There was some- 
thing of the fawn in her shy grace and startled eyes. 
A faint blush, like the shadow of a rose in a mirror 
of silver, came to her cheeks as she glanced at the 
crowded, enthusiastic house. She stepped back a 


few paces, and her lips seemed to tremble. Basil 
Hallward leaped to his feet and began to applaud. 
Motionless, and as one in a dream, sat Dorian Gray, 
gazing at her. Lord Henry peered through his 
glasses, murmuring, " Charming I charming I " 

The scene was the hall of Capulet's house, and 
Romeo in his pilgrim's dress had entered with Mercutio 
and his other friends. The band, such as it was, 
struck up a few bars of music, and the dance began. 
Through the crowd of ungainly, shabbily-dressed 
actors, Sibyl Vane moved like a creature from a finer 
world. Her body swayed, while she danced, as a 
plant sways in the water. The curves of her throat 
were the curves of a white lily. Her hands seemed 
to be made of cool ivory. 

Yet she was curiously listless. She showed no 
sign of joy when her eyes rested on Romeo. The 
few words she had to speak 

Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, 
Which mannerly devotion shows in this ; 
For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch, 
And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss 

with the brief dialogue that follows, were spoken in 
a thoroughly artificial manner. The voice was ex- 
quisite, but from the point of view of tone it was 
absolutely false. It was wrong in colour. It took 
away all the life from the verse. It made the passion 

Dorian Gray grew pale as he watched her. He 
was puzzled and anxious. Neither of his friends 
dared to say anything to him. She seemed to them 
to be absolutely incompetent. They were horribly 

Yet they felt that the true test of any Juliet Is 
the balcony scene of the second act. They waited 
for that. If she failed there, there was nothing in 

She looked charming as she came out in the moon- 
light. That could not be denied. But the staginess 
of her acting was unbearable, and grew worse as she 


went on. Her gestures became absurdly artificial. 
She over-emphasised everything that she had to say. 
The beautiful passage 

Thou knowest the mask of night is on my face. 

Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek 

For that which thou hast heard me speak to-night 

was declaimed with the painful precision of a school- 
girl who has been taught to recite by some second- 
rate professor of elocution. When she leaned over 
the balcony and came to those wonderful lines 

Although I joy in thec, 
I have no joy of this contract to-night : 
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden ; 
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be 
Kre one can say, " It lightens." S\veet, good-night I 
This bud of love by summer's ripening breath 
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet 

she spoke the words as though they conveyed no 
meaning to her. It was not nervousness. Indeed, 
so far from being nervous, she was absolutely self- 
contained. It was simply bad art. She was a 
complete failure. 

Even the common, uneducated audience of the 
pit and gallery lost their interest in the play. They 
got restless, and began to talk loudly and to whistle. 
The Jew manager, who was standing at the back of 
the dress-circle, stamped and swore w r ith rage. The 
only person unmoved was the girl herself. 

When the second act was over there came a storm 
of hisses, and Lord Henry got up from his chair and 
put on his coat. " She is quite beautiful, Dorian," 
he said, " but she can't act. Let us go." 

" I am going to see the play through," answered 
the lad, in a hard, bitter voice. " I am awfully 
sorry that I have made you waste an evening, Harry. 
I apologise to you both." 

" My dear Dorian, I should think Miss Vane was 
ill," interrupted Hallward. " We will come some 
other night." 

" I wish she were ill," he rejoined. " But she 
seems to me to be simply callous and cold. She has 


entirely altered. Last night she was a great artist. 
This evening she is merely a commonplace, mediocre 

" Don't talk like that about anyone you love, 
Dorian. Love is a more wonderful thing than Art." 

" They are both simply forms of imitation," 
remarked Lord Henry. " But do let us go. Dorian, 
you must not stay here any longer. It is not good 
for one's morals to see bad acting. Besides, I don't 
suppose you will want your wife to act. So what 
does it matter if she plays Juliet like a wooden doll ? 
She is very lovely, and if she knows as little about 
life as she does about acting, she will be a delightful 
experience. There are only two kinds of people who 
[ are really fascinating people who know absolutely 
everything, and people who know absolutely nothing. 
Good heavens, my dear boy, don't look so tragic ! 
The secret of remaining young is never to have an 
emotion that is unbecoming. Come to the club with 
Basil and myself. We will smoke cigarettes and 
drink to the beauty of Sibyl Vane. She is beautiful. 
What more can you want ? " 

" Go away, Harry," cried the lad. " I want to be 
alone. Basil, you must go. Ah 1 can't you see 
that my heart is breaking ? " The hot tears came 
to his eyes. His lips trembled, and, rushing to the 
back of the box, he leaned up against the wall, hiding 
his face in his hands. 

" Let us go, Basil," said Lord Henry, with a 
strange tenderness in his voice ; and the two young 
men passed out together. 

A few moments afterwards the footlights flared up, 
and the curtain rose on the third act. Dorian Gray 
went back to his seat. He looked pale, and proud, 
and indifferent. The play dragged on, and seemed 
interminable. Half of the audience went out, 
tramping in heavy boots, and laughing. The whole 
thing was a fiasco. The last act was played to almost 
empty benches. The curtain went down on a titter, 
and some groans. 


As soon as it was over, Dorian Gray rushed behind 
the scenes into the greenroom. The girl was standing 
there alone, with a look of triumph on her face. Her 
eyes were lit with an exquisite fire. There was a 
radiance about her. Her parted lips were smiling 
over some secret of their own. 

When he entered, she looked at him, and an 
expression of infinite joy came over her. " How 
badly I acted to-night, Dorian I " she cried. 

" Horribly 1 " he answered, gazing at her in 
amazement " horribly ! It was dreadful. Are you 
ill ? You have no idea what it was. You have no 
idea what I suffered." 

The girl smiled. " Dorian," she answered, linger- 
ing over his name with long-drawn music in her 
voice, as though it were sweeter than honey to the 
red petals of her mouth " Dorian, you should have 
understood. But you understand now, don't you ? " 

" Understand what ? " he asked, angrily. 

" Why I was so bad to-night. Why I shall always 
be bad. Why I shall never act well again." 

He shrugged his shoulders. " You are ill, I 
suppose. When you are ill you shouldn't act. You 
make yourself ridiculous. My friends were bored. 
I was bored." 

She seemed not to listen to him. She was trans- 
figured with joy. An ecstasy of happiness dominated 

" Dorian, Dorian," she cried, " before I knew you, 
acting was the one reality of my life. It was only 
in the theatre that I lived. I thought that it was all 
true. I was Rosalind one night, and Portia the 
other. The joy of Beatrice was my joy, and the 
sorrows of Cordelia were mine also. I believed in 
everything. The common people who acted with me 
seemed to me to be godlike. The painted scenes were 
my world. I knew nothing but shadows, and I 
thought them real. You came oh, my beautiful 
love ! and you freed my soul from prison. You 
taught me what reality really is. To-night, for the 


first time in my life, I saw through the hollowness, 
the sham, the silliness of the empty pageant in which 
I had always played. To-night, for the first time, 1 
became conscious that the Romeo was hideous, and 
old, and painted, that the moonlight in the orchard 
was false, that the scenery was vulgar, and that the 
words I had to speak were unreal, were not my words, 
were not what I wanted to say. You had brought 
me something higher, something of which all art is 
but a reflection. You had made me understand what 
love really is. My love 1 my love I Prince Charming I 
Prince of life ! I have grown sick of shadows. You 
are more to me than all art can ever be. What have 
I to do with the puppets of a play ? When I came on 
to-night, I could not understand how it was that 
everything had gone from me. I thought that I was 
going to be wonderful. I found that I could do 
nothing. Suddenly it dawned on my soul what it all 
meant. The knowledge was exquisite to me. I 
heard them hissing, and I smiled. What could they 
know of love such as ours ? Take me away, Dorian 
take me away with you, where we can be quite 
alone. I hate the stage. I might mimic a passion 
that I do not feel, but I cannot mimic one that burns 
me like fire. Oh, Dorian, Dorian, you understand 
now what it signifies ? Even if I could do it, it 
would be profanation for me to play at being in love. 
You have made me see that." 

He flung himself down on the sofa, and turned 
away his face. " You have killed my love," he 

She looked at him in wonder, and laughed. He 
made no answer. She came across to him, and 
with her little fingers stroked his hair. She knelt 
down and pressed his hands to her lips. He drew 
them away, and a shudder ran through him. 

Then he leaped up, and went to the door. " Yes," 
he cried, " you have killed my love. You used to stir 
my imagination. Now you don't even stir my 
curiosity. You simply produce no effect. I loved 


you because you were marvellous, because you had 
genius and intellect, because you realised the dreams 
of great poets and gave shape and substance to the 
shadows of art. You have thrown it all away. You 
are shallow and stupid. My God 1 how mad I was 
to love you 1 What a fool I have been 1 You are 
nothing to me now. I will never see you again. I 
will never think of you. I will never mention your 
name. You don't know what you were to me, once. 
Why, once . . . Oh, I can't bear to think of it 1 I 
wish I had never laid eyes upon you ! You have 
spoiled the romance of my life. How little you can 
know of love, if you say it mars your art 1 Without 
your art you are nothing. I would have made you 
famous, splendid, magnificent. The world would 
have worshipped you, and you would have borne 
my name. What are you now ? A third-rate actress 
with a pretty face." 

The girl grew white, and trembled. She clenched 
her hands together, and her voice seemed to catch 
in her throat. " You are not serious, Dorian ? " 
she murmured. " You are acting." 

" Acting 1 I leave that to you. You do it so 
well," he answered bitterly. 

She rose from her knees, and, with a piteous 
expression of pain in her face, came across the room 
to him. She put her hand upon his arm, and looked 
into his eyes. He thrust her back. " Don't touch 
me 1 " he cried. 

A low moan broke from her, and she flung herself 
at his feet, and lay there like a trampled flower. 
" Dorian, Dorian, don't leave me I " she whispered. 
" I am so sorry I didn't act well. I was thinking of 
you all the time. But I will try indeed, I will 
try. It came so suddenly across me, my love for you. 
I think I should never have known it if you had not 
kissed me if we had not kissed each other. Kiss 
me again, my love. Don't go away from me. I 
couldn't bear it. Oh I don't go away from me. My 
brother . . . No ; never mind. He didn't mean it. 


He was in jest. . . . But you, oh ! can't you forgive 
me for to-night ? I will work so hard, and try to 
improve. Don't be cruel to me because I love 
you better than anything in the world. After all, 
it is only once that I have not pleased you. But you 
are quite right, Dorian. I should have shown 
myself more of an artist. It was foolish of me ; and 
yet I couldn't help it. Oh, don't leave me, don't 
leave me." A fit of passionate sobbing choked" her. 
She crouched on the floor like a wounded thing, and 
Dorian Gray, with his beautiful eyes, looked down 
at her, and his chiselled lips curled in exquisite disdain. 
There is always something ridiculous about the 
emotions of people whom one has ceased to love. 
Sibyl Vane seemed to him to be absurdly melo- 
dramatic. Her tears and sobs annoyed him. 

" I am going," he said at last, in his calm, clear 
voice. " I don't wish to be unkind, but I can't see 
you again. You have disappointed me." 

She wept silently, and made no answer, but crept 
nearer. Her little hands stretched blindly out, and 
appeared to be seeking for him. He turned on 
his heel, and left the room. In a few moments he 
was out of the theatre. 

Where he went to he hardly knew. He remem- 
bered wandering through dimly-lit streets, past gaunt 
black-shadowed archways and evil-looking houses. 
Women with hoarse voices and harsh laughter had 
called after him. Drunkards had reeled by cursing, 
and chattering to themselves like monstrous apes. 
He had seen grotesque children huddled upon door- 
steps, and heard shrieks and oaths from gloomy courts. 

As the dawn was just breaking he found himself 
close to Covent Garden. The darkness lifted, and, 
flushed with faint fires, the sky hollowed itself into 
a perfect pearl. Huge carts filled with nodding lilies 
rumbled slowly down the polished empty street. 
The air was heavy 'with the perfume of the flowers, 
and their beauty seemed to bring him an anodyne 
for his pain. He followed into the market, and 


watched the men unloading their waggons. A 
white ocked carter offered him some cherries. 
He thanked him, and wondered why he refused to 
accept any money for them, and began to eat them 
listlessly. They had been plucked at midnight, 
and the coldness of the moon had entered into 
them. A long line of boys carrying crates of striped 
tulips, and of yellow and red roses, defiled in front of 
him, threading their way through the huge jade- 
green piles of vegetables. Under the portico, with 
its grey sun-bleached pillars, loitered a troop of 
draggled bareheaded girls, waiting for the auction 
to be over. Others crowded rou'ud the swinging 
doors of the coffee-house in the Piazza. The heavy 
cart-horses slipped and stamped upon the rough 
stones, shaking their bells and trappings. Some of 
the drivers were lying asleep on a pile of sacks. Iris- 
necked, and pink-footed, the pigeons ran about 
picking up seeds. 

After a little while, he hailed a hansom, and drove 
home. For a few moments he loitered upon the 
doorstep, looking round at the silent Square with 
its blank, close-shuttered windows, and its staring 
blinds. The sky was pure opal now, and the roofs 
of the houses glistened like silver against it. From 
some chimney opposite a thin wreath of smoke was 
rising. It curled, a violet riband, through the 
nacre-coloured air. 

In the huge gilt Venetian lantern, spoil of some 
Doge's barge, that hung from the ceiling of the great 
oak-panelled hall of entrance, lights were still burn- 
ing from three flickering jets : thin blue petals of 
flame they seemed, rimmed with white fire. He 
turned them out, and, having thrown his hat and 
cape on the table, passed through the library towards 
the door of his bedroom, a large octagonal chamber 
on the ground floor that, in his new-born feeling for 
luxury, he had just had decorated for himself, and 
hung with some curious Renaissance tapestries that 
had been discovered stored in a disused attic at 


Selby Royal. As he was turning the handle of the 
door, his eye fell upon the portrait Basil Hallward 
had painted of him. He started back as if in sur- 
prise. Then he went on into his own room, looking 
somewhat puzzled. After he had taken the buttonhole 
out of his coat, he seemed to hesitate. Finally he 
came back, went over to the picture, and examined 
it. In the dim arrested light that struggled through 
the cream-coloured silk blinds, the face appeared to 
him to be a little changed. The expression looked 
different. One would have said that there was a 
touch of cruelty in the mouth. It was certainly 

He turned round, and, walking to the w r indow, 
drew up the blind. The bright dawn flooded the 
room, and swept the fantastic shadows into dusky 
corners, where they lay shuddering. But the strange 
expression that he had noticed in the face of the 
portrait seemed to linger there, to be more intensified 
even. The quivering, ardent sunlight showed him 
the lines of cruelty round the mouth as clearly as if 
he had been looking into a mirror after he had done 
some dreadful thing. 

He winced, and, taking up from the table an 
oval glass framed in ivory Cupids, one of Lord 
Henry's many presents to him, glanced hurriedly 
into its polished depths. No line like that warped 
his red lips. What did it mean ? 

He rubbed his eyes, and came close to the picture, 
and examined it again. There were no signs of any 
change when he looked into the actual painting, 
and yet there was no doubt that the whole expression 
had altered. It was not a mere fancy of his own. 
The thing was horribly apparent. 

He threw himself into a chair, and began to think. 
Suddenly there flashed across his mind what he had 
said in Basil Hallward's studio the day the picture 
had been finished. Yes, he remembered it perfectly. 
He had uttered a mad wish that he himself might 
remain young, and the portrait grow old ; that his 


own beauty might be untarnished, and the face on 
the canvas bear the burden of his passions and his 
sins ; that the painted image might be seared with 
the lines of suffering and thought, and that he might 
keep all the delicate bloom and loveliness of his 
then just conscious boyhood. Surely his wish had 
not been fulfilled ? Such things were impossible. 
It seemed monstrous even to think of them. And, 
yet, there was the picture before him, with the touch 
of cruelty in the mouth. 

Cruelty I Had he been cruel ? It was the girl's 
fault, not his. He had dreamed of her as a great 
artist, had given his love to her because he had 
thought her great. Then she had disappointed 
him. She had been shallow and unworthy. And, 
yet, a feeling of infinite regret came over him, as he 
thought of her lying at his feet sobbing like a little 
child. He remembered with what callousness he 
had watched her. Why had he been made like that ? 
Why had such a soul been given to him ? But he 
had suffered also. During the three terrible hours 
that the play had lasted, he had lived centuries of 
pain, seon upon aeon of torture. His life was well 
worth hers. She had marred him for a moment, If 
he had wounded her for an age. Besides, women 
were better suited to bear sorrow than men. They 
lived on their emotions. They only thought of 
their emotions. When they took lovers, it was 
merely to have someone with whom they could 
have scenes. Lord Henry had told him that, and 
Lord Henry knew what women were. Why should 
he trouble about Sibyl Vane ? She was nothing to 
him now. 

But the picture ? What was he to say of that ? 
It held the secret of his life, and told his story. It 
had taught him to love his own beauty. Would it 
teach him to loathe his own soul ? Would he ever 
look at it again ? 

No ; it was merely an illusion wrought on the 
troubled senses. The horrible night that he had 


passed had left phantoms behind it. Suddenly 
there had fallen upon his brain that tiny scarlet speck 
that makes men mad. The picture had not changed. 
It was folly to think so. 

Yet it was watching him, with its beautiful marred 
face and its cruel smile. Its bright hair gleamed 
in the early sunlight. Its blue eyes met his own. 
A sense of infinite pity, not for himself, but for the 
painted image of himself, came over him. It had 
altered already, and would alter more. Its gold 
would wither into grey. Its red and white roses 
would die. For every sin that he committed, a 
stain would fleck and wreck its fairness. But he 
would not sin. The picture, changed or unchanged, 
would be to him the visible emblem of conscience. 
He would resist temptation. He would not see 
Lord Henry any more would not, at any rate, 
listen to those subtle poisonous theories that in 
Basil Hallward's garden had first stirred within him 
the passion for impossible things. He would go 
back to Sibyl Vane, make her amends, marry her, 
try to love her again. Yes, it was his duty to do so. 
She must have suffered more than he had. Poor 
child ! He had been selfish and cruel to her. The 
fascination that she had exercised over him would 
return. They would be happy together. His life 
with her would be beautiful and pure. 

He got up from his chair, and drew a large screen 
right in front of the portrait, shuddering as he 
glanced at it. " How horrible ! " he murmured to 
himself, and he walked across to the window and 
opened it. When he stepped out on to the grass, he 
drew a deep breath. The fresh morning air seemed 
to drive away all his sombre passions. He thought 
only of Sibyl. A faint echo of his love came back 
to him. He repeated her name over and over again. 
The birds that were singing in the dew-drenched 
garden seemed to be telling the flowers about her. 


IT was long past noon when he awoke. His valet 
had crept several times on tiptoe into the room to 
see if he was stirring, and had wondered what made 
his young master sleep so late. Finally his bell 
sounded, and Victor came softly in with a cup of 
tea, and a pile of letters, on a small tray of old 
Sevres china, and drew back the olive-satin curtains, 
with their shimmering blue lining, that hung in 
front of the three tall windows. 

" Monsieur has well slept this morning," he said, 

" What o'clock is it, Victor ? " asked Dorian Gray, 

" One hour and a quarter, Monsieur." 

How late it was ! He sat up, and, having sipped 
some tea, turned over his letters. One of them 
was from Lord Henry, and had been brought by 
hand that morning. He hesitated for a moment, 
and then put it aside. The others he opened list- 
lessly. They contained the usual collection of cards, 
invitations to dinner, tickets for private views, 
programmes of charity concerts, and the like, that 
are showered on fashionable young men every morn- 
ing during the season. There was a rather heavy 
bill, for a chased silver Louis-Quinze toilet-set, that 
he had not yet had the courage to send on to his 
guardians, who were extremely old-fashioned people 
and did not realise that we live in an age w r hen 
unnecessary things are our only necessities ; and 
there were several very courteously worded communl- 



cations from Jermyn Street money-lenders offering 
to advance any sum of money at a moment's notice 
and at the most reasonable rates of interest. 

After about ten minutes he got up, and, throwing 
on an elaborate dressing-gown of silk-embroidered 
cashmere wool, passed into the onyx-paved bath- 
room. The cool water refreshed him after his long 
sleep. He seemed to have forgotten all that he 
had gone through. A dim sense of having taken 
part in some strange tragedy came to him once or 
twice, but there was the unreality of a dream about it. 

As soon as he was dressed, he went into the library 
and sat down to a light French breakfast, that had 
been laid out for him on a small round table close 
to the open window. It was an exquisite day. The 
warm air seemed laden with spices. A bee flew in, 
and buzzed round the blue-dragon bowl that, filled 
with sulphur-yellow roses, stood before him. He 
felt perfectly happy. 

Suddenly his eye fell on the screen that he had 
placed in front of the portrait, and he started. 

" Too cold for Monsieur ? " asked his valet, 
putting an omelette on the table. " I shut the 
window ? " 

Dorian shook his head. " I am not cold," he 

Was it all true ? Had the portrait really changed ? 
Or had it been simply his own imagination that had 
made him see a look of evil where there had been a 
look of joy ? Surely a painted canvas could not 
alter ? The thing was absurd. It would serve as 
a tale to tell Basil some day. It would make him 

And, yet, how vivid was his recollection of the 
whole thing I First in the dim twilight, and then 
in the bright dawn, he had seen the touch of cruelty 
round the warped lips. He almost dreaded his 
valet leaving the room. He knew that when he 
was alone he would have to examine the portrait. 
He was afraid of certainty. When the coffee and 


cigarettes had been brought and the man turned to 
go, he felt a wild desire to tell him to remain. As the 
door was closing behind him he called him back. 
The man stood waiting for his orders. Dorian looked 
at him for a moment. " I am not at home to any- 
one, Victor," he said, with a sigh. The man bowed 
and retired. 

Then he rose from the table, lit a cigarette, and 
flung himself down on a luxuriously-cushioned couch 
that stood facing the screen. The screen was an old 
one, of gilt Spanish leather, stamped and wrought 
with a rather florid Louis-Quatorze pattern. He 
scanned it curiously, wondering if ever before it had 
concealed the secret of a man's life. 

Should he move it aside, after all ? Why not let 
it stay there ? What was the use of knowing ? If 
the thing was true, it was terrible. If it was not 
true, why trouble about it ? But what if, by some 
fate or deadlier chance, eyes other than his spied 
behind, and saw the horrible change ? What should 
he do if Basil Hallward came and asked to look at 
his own picture ? Basil would be sure to do that. 
No ; the thing had to be examined, and at once. 
Anything would be better than this dreadful state 
of doubt. 

He got up, and locked both doors. At least he 
would be alone when he looked upon the mask of 
his shame. Then he drew the screen aside, and saw 
himself face to face. It was perfectly true. The 
portrait had altered. 

As he often remembered afterwards, and always 
with no small wonder, he found himself at first 
gazing at the portrait with a feeling of almost scientific 
interest. That such a change should have taken 
place was incredible to him. And yet it was a fact. 
Was there some subtle affinity between the chemical 
atoms, that shaped themselves into form and colour 
on the canvas, and the soul that was within him ? 
Could it be that what that soul thought, they realized ? 
that what it dreamed, they made true ? Or was 


there some other, more terrible reason ? He shud- 
dered, and felt afraid, and, going back to the couch, 
lay there, gazing at the picture in sickened horror. 

One thing, however, he felt that it had done for 
him. It had made him conscious how unjust, how 
cruel, he had been to Sibyl Vane. It was not too 
late to make reparation for that. She could still 
be his wife. His unreal and selfish love would yield 
to some higher influence, would be transformed into 
some nobler passion, and the portrait that Basil 
Hallward had painted of him would be a guide to 
him through life, would be to him what holiness is 
to some, and conscience to others, and the fear of 
God to us all. There were opiates for remorse, 
drugs that could lull the moral sense to sleep. But 
here was a visible symbol of the degradation of sin. 
Here was an ever-present sign of the ruin men 
brought upon their souls. 

Three o'clock struck, and four, and the half-hour 
rang its double chime, but Dorian Gray did not 
stir. He was trying to gather up the scarlet threads 
of life, and to weave them into a pattern ; to find 
his way through the sanguine labyrinth of passion 
through which he was wandering. He did not know 
what to do, or what to think. Finally, he went over 
to the table, and wrote a passionate letter to the 
girl he had loved, imploring her forgiveness, and 
accusing himself of madness. He covered page 
after page with wild words of sorrow, and wilder 
words of pain. There is a luxury in self-reproach. 
When we blame ourselves we feel that no one else 
has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not 
the priest, that gives us absolution. When Dorian 
had finished the letter, he felt that he had been 

Suddenly there came a knock to the door, and he 
heard Lord Henry's voice outside. " My dear boy, 
I must see you. Let me in at once. I can't bear 
your shutting yourself up like this." 

He made no answer at first, but remained quite 


still. The knocking still continued, and grew louder. 
Yes, it was better to let Lord Henry in, and to 
explain to him the new life he was going to lead, 
to quarrel with him if it became necessary to quarrel, 
to part if parting was inevitable. He jumped up, 
drew the screen hastily across the picture, and un- 
locked the door. 

" I am so sorry for it all, Dorian," said Lord 
Henry, as he entered. " But you must not think 
too much about it." 

" Do you mean about Sibyl Vane ? " asked the lad. 

" Yes, of course," answered Lord Henry, sinking 
into a chair, and slowly pulling off his yellow gloves. 
" It is dreadful, from one point of view, but it was 
not your fault. Tell me, did you go behind and 
see her, after the play was over ? " 

" Yes." 

" I felt sure you had. Did you make a scene 
with her ? " 

" I was brutal, Harry perfectly brutal. But it 
is all right now. I am not sorry for anything that 
has happened. It has taught me to know myself 

" Ah, Dorian, I am so glad you take it in that 
way I I was afraid I would find you plunged in 
remorse, and tearing that nice curly hair of yours." 

" I have got through all that," said Dorian, shaking 
his head, and smiling. " I am perfectly happy now. 
I know what conscience is, to begin with. It is not 
what you told me it was. It is the divinest thing 
in us. Don't sneer at it, Harry, any more at least 
not before me. I want to be good. I can't bear 
the idea of my soul being hideous." 

" A very charming artistic basis for ethics, Dorian I 
I congratulate you on it. But how are you going to 
begin ? " 

" By marrying Sibyl Vane." 

" Marrying Sibyl Vane ! " cried Lord Henry, 
standing up, and looking at him in perplexed amaze- 
ment. " But, my dear Dorian " 


" Yes, Harry, I know what you are going to say. 
Something dreadful about marriage. Don't say it. 
Don't ever say things of that kind to me again. 
Two days ago I asked Sibyl to marry me. I am not 
going to break my word to her. She is to be my 
wife ! " 

" Your wife ! Dorian ! . . . Didn't you get my 
letter ? I wrote to you this morning, and sent the 
note down, by my own man." 

" Your letter ? Oh, yes, I remember. I have not 
read it yet, Harry. I was afraid there might be 
something in it that I wouldn't like. You cut life 
to pieces with your epigrams." 

" You know nothing then ? " 

" What do you mean ? " 

Lord Henry walked across the room, and, sitting 
down by Dorian Gray, took both his hands in his 
own, and held them tightly. " Dorian," he said, 
" my letter don't be frightened was to tell you 
that Sibyl Vane is dead." 

A cry of pain broke from the lad's lips, and he 
leaped to his feet, tearing his hands away from 
Lord Henry's grasp. " Dead 1 Sibyl dead 1 It is 
not true 1 It is a horrible lie I How dare you say 

" It is quite true, Dorian," said Lord Henry, 
gravely. " It is in all the morning papers. I wrote 
down to you to ask you not to see anyone till I came. 
There will have to be an inquest, of course, and you 
must not be mixed up in it. Things like that make 
a man fashionable in Paris. But in London people 
are so prejudiced. Here, one should never make 
one's debut with a scandal. One should reserve 
that to give an interest to one's old age. I suppose 
they don't know your name at the theatre ? If 
they don't, it is all right. Did anyone see you 
going round to her room ? That is an important 

Dorian did not answer for a few moments. He 
was dazed with horror. Finally he stammered in a 


stifled voice, " Harry, did you say an inquest ? What 

did you mean by that ? Did Sibyl ? Oh, 

Harry, I can't bear it 1 But be quick. Tell me 
everything at once." 

" I have no doubt it was not an accident, Dorian, 
though it must be put in that way to the public. 
It seems that as she was leaving the theatre with 
her mother, about half-past twelve or so, she said 
she had forgotten something upstairs. They waited 
some time for her, but she did not come down again. 
They ultimately found her lying dead on the floor 
of her dressing-room. She had swallowed some- 
thing by mistake, some dreadful thing they use nt 
theatres. I don't know what it was, but it had 
either prussic acid or white lead in it. I should fancy 
it was prussic acid, as she seems to have died in- 

" Harry, Harry, it is terrible 1 " cried the lad. 

" Yes ; it is very tragic, of course, but you must 
not get yourself mixed up in it. I see by The Standard 
that she was seventeen. I should have thought she 
was almost younger than that. She looked such a 
child, and seemed to know so little about acting. 
Dorian, you mustn't let this thing get on your nerves. 
You must come and dine with me, and afterwards 
we will look in at the Opera. It is a Patti night, and 
everybody will be there. You can come to my sister's 
box. She has got some smart women with her." 

" So I have murdered Sibyl Vane," said Dorian 
Gray, half to himself " murdered her as surely as 
if I had cut her little throat with a knife. Yet the 
roses are not less lovely for all that. The birds 
sing just as happily in my garden. And to-night 
I am to dine with you, and then go on to the Opera, 
and sup somewhere, I suppose, afterwards. How 
extraordinarily dramatic life is I If I had read all 
this in a book, Harry, I think I would have wept 
over it. Somehow, now that it has happened actually, 
and to me, it seems far too wonderful for tears. 
Here is the first passionate love-letter I have ever 


written in my life. Strange, that my first passionate 
love-letter should have been addressed to a dead 
girl. Can they feel, I wonder, those white silent 
people we call the dead ? Sibyl I Can she feel, or 
know, or listen ? Oh, Harry, how I loved her once ! 
It seems years ago to me now. She was everything 
to me. Then came that dreadful night was it 
really only last night ? when she played so badly, 
and my heart almost broke. She explained it all 
to me. It was terribly pathetic. But I was not 
moved a bit. I thought her shallow. Suddenly 
something happened that made me afraid. I can't 
tell you what it was, but it was terrible. I said I 
would go back to her. I felt I had done wrong. And 
now she is dead. My God ! my God ! Harry, what 
shall I do ? You don't know the danger I am in, 
and there is nothing to keep me straight. She would 
have done that for me. She had no right to kill 
herself. It was selfish of her." 

" My dear Dorian," answered Lord Henry, taking 
a cigarette from his case, and producing a gold- 
latten matchbox, " the only way a woman can ever 
reform a man is by boring him so completely that 
he loses all possible interest in life. If you had 
married this girl you would have been wretched. Of 
course you would" have treated her kindly. One can 
always be kind to people about whom one cares 
nothing. But she would have soon found out that 
you were absolutely indifferent to her. And when 
a woman finds that out about her husband, she either 
becomes dreadfully dowdy, or wears very smart 
bonnets that some other woman's husband has to 
pay for. I say nothing about the social mistake, 
which would have been abject, which, of course, 
I would not have allowed, but I assure you that in 
any case the whole thing would have been an absolute 

" I suppose it would," muttered the lad, walking 
up and down the room, and looking horribly pale. 
" But I thought it was my duty. It is not my fault 


that this terrible tragedy has prevented my doing 
\\hat was right. I remember your saying once that 
there is a fatality about good resolutions that 
they are always made too late. Mine certainly were." 

" Good resolutions are useless attempts to interfere 
with scientific laws. Their origin is pure vanity. 
Their result is absolutely nil. They give us, now and 
then, some of those luxurious sterile emotions that 
have a certain charm for the weak. That is all that 
can be said for them. They are simply cheques that 
men draw on a bank where they have no account." 

" Harry," cried Dorian Gray, coming over and 
sitting down beside him, " why is it that I cannot 
feel this tragedy as much as I want to ? I don't think 
I am heartless. Do you ? " 

" You have done too many foolish things during 
the last fortnight to be entitled to give yourself that 
name, Dorian," answered Lord Henry, with his sweet, 
melancholy smile. 

The lad frowned. " I don't like that explanation. 
Harry," he rejoined, " but I am glad you don't think 
I am heartless. I am nothing of the kind. I know I 
am not. And yet I must admit that this thing that 
has happened does not affect me as it should. It 
seems to me to be simply like a wonderful ending to 
a wonderful play. It has all the terrible beauty of a 
Greek tragedy, a tragedy in which I took a great part, 
but by which I have not been wounded." 

" It is an interesting question," said Lord Henry, 
who found an exquisite pleasure in playing on the 
lad's unconscious egotism " an extremely interest- 
ing question. I fancy that the true explanation is 
this. It often happens that the real tragedies of life 
occur in such an inartistic manner that they hurt us 
by their crude violence, their absolute incoherence, 
their absurd want of meaning, their entire lack of 
style. They affect us just as vulgarity affects us. 
They give us an impression of sheer brute force, and 
we revolt against that. Sometimes, however, a 
tragedy that possesses artistic elements of beauty 


crosses our lives. If these elements of beauty are 
real, the whole thing simply appeals to our sense of 
dramatic effect. Suddenly we find that we are no 
longer the actors, but the spectators of the play. 
Or rather we are both. We watch ourselves, and the 
mere wonder of the spectacle enthralls us. In the 
present case, what is it that has really happened ? 
Someone has killed herself for love of you. I wish 
that I had ever had such an experience. It would 
have made me in love with love for the rest of my life. 
The people who have adored me there have not been 
very many, but there have been some have always 
insisted on living on, long after I had ceased to care 
for them, or they to care for me. They have become 
stout and tedious, and when I meet them they go in 
at once for reminiscences. That awful memory of 
woman ! What a fearful thing it is I And \vhat an 
utter intellectual stagnation it reveals ! One should 
absorb the colour of life, but one should never re- 
member its details. Details are always vulgar." 

" I must sow poppies in my garden," sighed Dorian. 

" There is no necessity," rejoined his companion. 
" Life has always poppies in her hands. Of course, 
now and then things linger. I once wore nothing 
but violets all through one season, as a form of artistic 
mourning for a romance that would not die. Ul- 
timately, however, it did die. I forget what killed 
it. I think it was her proposing to sacrifice the whole 
world for me. That is always a dreadful moment. 
It fills one with the terror of eternity. Well would 
you believe it ? a week ago, at Lady Hampshire's, 
I found myself seated at dinner next the lady in 
question, and she insisted on going over the whole 
thing again, and digging up the past, and raking up 
the future. I had buried my romance in a bed of 
asphodel. She dragged it out again, and assured 
me that I had spoiled her life. I am bound to state 
that she ate an enormous dinner, so I did not feel any 
anxiety. But what a lack of taste she showed I 
The one charm of the past is that it is the past. But 


women never know when the curtain has fallen. 
They always want a sixth act, and as soon as the 
interest of the play is entirely over they propose to 
continue it. If they were allowed their own way, 
every comedy would have a tragic ending, and every 
tragedy would culminate in a farce. They are charm- 
ingly artificial, but they have no sense of art. You 
are more fortunate than I am. I assure you, Dorian, 
that not one of the women I have known would have 
done for me what Sibyl Vane did for you. Ordinary 
women always console themselves. Some of them 
do it by going in for sentimental colours. Never trust 
a woman who wears mauve, whatever her age may 
be, or a woman over thirty-five who is fond of pink 
ribbons. It always means that they have a history. 
Others find a great consolation in suddenly dis- 
covering the good qualities of their husbands. They 
flaunt their conjugal felicity in one's face, as if it were 
the most fascinating of sins. Religion consoles some. 
Its mysteries have all the charm of a flirtation, a 
woman once told me ; and I can quite understand it. 
Besides, nothing makes one so vain as being told that 
one is a sinner. Conscience makes egotists of us all. 
Yes ; there is really no end to the consolations that 
women find in modern life. Indeed, I have not 
mentioned the most important one." 

" What is that, Harry ? " said the lad, listlessly. 

" Oh, the obvious consolation. Taking someone 
else's admirer when one lose's one's own. In good 
society that always whitewashes a woman. But 
really, Dorian, how different Sibyl Vane must have 
been from all the women one meets ! There is some- 
thing to me quite beautiful about her death. I am 
glad I am living in a century when such wonders 
happen. They make one believe in the reality of 
the things we all play with, such as romance, passion, 
and love." 

" I was terribly cruel to her. You forget that." 

" I am afraid that women appreciate cruelty, 
downright cruelty, more than anything else. They 


have wonderfully primitive instincts. We have 
emancipated them, but they remain slaves looking for 
their masters, all the same. They love being domi- 
nated. I am sure you were splendid. I have never 
seen you really and absolutely angry, but I can fancy 
how delightful you looked. And, after all, you said 
something to me the day before yesterday that seemed 
to me at the time to be merely fanciful, but that I see 
now was absolutely true, and it holds the key to 

" What was that, Harry ? " 

" You said to me that Sibyl Vane represented to 
you all the heroines of romance that she was Des- 
demona one night, and Ophelia the other ; that if she 
died as Juliet, she came to life as Imogen." 

" She will never come to life again now," muttered 
the lad, burying his face in his hands. 

" No, she will never come to life. She has played 
her last part. But you must think of that lonely 
death in the tawdry dressing-room simply as a strange 
lurid fragment from some Jacobean tragedy, as a 
wonderful scene from Webster, or Ford, or Cyril 
Tourneur. The girl never really lived, and so she 
has never really died. To you at least she was always 
a dream, a phantom that flitted through Shakespeare's 
plays and left them lovelier for its presence, a reed 
through which Shakespeare's music sounded richer 
and more full of joy. The moment she touched actual 
life, she marred it, and it marred her, and so she 
passed away. Mourn for Ophelia, if you like. Put 
ashes on your head because Cordelia was strangled. 
Cry out against Heaven because the daughter of Bra- 
bantio died. But don't waste your tears over Sibyl 
Vane. She was less real than they are." 

There was a silence. The evening darkened in the 
room. Noiselessly, and with silver feet, the shadows 
crept In from the garden. The colours faded wearily 
out of things. 

After some time Dorian Gray looked up. " You 
have explained me to myself, Harry," he mur- 


mured, with something of a sigh of relief. " I felt 
all that you have said, but somehow I was afraid of 
It, and I could not express it to myself. How well 
you know me I But we will not talk again of what 
has happened. It has been a marvellous experience. 
That is all. I wonder if life has still in store for me 
anything as marvellous." 

" Life has everything in store for you, Dorian. 
There is nothing that you, with your extraordinary 
good looks, will not be able to do." 

" But suppose, Harry, I became haggard, and old, 
and wrinkled ? What then ? " 

" Ah, then," said Lord Henry, rising to go 
" then, my dear Dorian, you would have to fight for 
your victories. As it is, they are brought to you. 
No, you must keep your good looks. We live in an 
age that reads too much to be wise, and that thinks 
too much to be beautiful. We cannot spare you. 
And now you had better dress, and drive down to 
the club. We are rather late, as it is." 

" I think I shall join you at the Opera, Harry. 
I feel too tired to eat anything. \Vhat is the number 
of your sister's box ? " 

" Twenty-seven, I believe. It is on the grand tier. 
You will see her name on the door. But I am sorry 
you won't come and dine." 

" I don't feel up to it," said Dorian, listlessly. 
" But I am awfully obliged to you for all that you 
have said to me. You are certainly my best friend. 
No one has ever understood me as you have." 

" We are only at the beginning of our friendship, 
Dorian," answered Lord Henry, shaking him by the 
hand. " Good-bye. I shall see you before nine- 
thirty, I hope. Remember, Patti is singing." 

As he closed the door behind him, Dorian Gray 
touched the bell, and in a few minutes Victor appeared 
with the lamps and drew the blinds down. He waited 
impatiently for him to go. The man seemed to take 
an interminable time over everything. 

As soon as he had left, he rushed to the screen, and 


drew it back. No ; there was no further change in 
the picture. It had received the news of Sibyl Vane's 
death before he had known of it himself. It was 
conscious of the events of life as they occurred. The 
vicious cruelty that marred the fine lines of the mouth 
had, no doubt, appeared at the very moment that the 
girl had drunk the poison, whatever it was. Or was 
it indifferent to results ? Did it merely take cog- 
nizance of what passed within the soul ? He won- 
dered, and hoped that some day he would see the 
change taking place before his very eyes, shuddering 
as he hoped it. 

Poor Sibyl ! what a romance it had all been ! She 
had often mimicked death on the stage. Then Death 
himself had touched her, and taken her with him. 
How had she played that dreadful last scene ? Had 
she cursed him, as she died ? No ; she had died for 
love of him, and love would always be a sacrament 
to him now. She had atoned for everything, by the 
sacrifice she had made of her life. He would not think 
any more of what she had made him go through, on 
that horrible night at the theatre. When he thought 
of her, it would be as a wonderful tragic figure sent 
on to the world's stage to show the supreme reality 
of Love. A wonderful tragic figure ? Tears came 
to his eyes as he remembered her childlike look, and 
winsome fanciful ways, and shy tremulous grace. 
He brushed them away hastily, and looked again at 
the picture. 

He felt that the time had really come for making 
his choice. Or had his choice already been made ? 
Yes, life had decided that for him life, and his 
own infinite curiosity about life. Eternal youth, 
infinite passion, pleasures subtle and secret, wild 
joys and wilder sins he was to have all these things. 
The portrait was to bear the burden of his shame : 
that was all. 

A feeling of pain crept over him as he thought of 
the desecration that was in store for the fair face on 
the canvas. Once, in boyish mockery of Narcissus, 


he had kissed, or feigned to kiss, those painted lips 
that now smiled so cruelly at him. Morning after 
morning he had sat before the portrait, wondering 
at its beauty, almost enamoured of it, as it seemed 
to him at times. Was it to alter now with every mood 
to which he yielded ? Was it to become a monstrous 
and loathsome thing, to be hidden away in a locked 
room, to be shut out from the sunlight that had so 
often touched to brighter gold the waving wonder 
of its hair ? The pity of it I the pity of it ! 

For a moment he thought of praying that the 
horrible sympathy that existed between him and 
the picture might cease. It had changed in answer 
to a prayer ; perhaps in answer to a prayer it might 
remain unchanged. And, yet, who, that knew any- 
thing about Life, would surrender the chance of re- 
maining always young, however fantastic that chance 
might be, or with what fateful consequences it might 
be fraught ? Besides, was it really under his control ? 
Had it indeed been prayer that had produced the 
substitution ? Might there not be some curious 
scientific reason for it all ? If thought could exercise 
its influence upon a living organism, might not thought 
exercise an influence upon dead and inorganic things ? 
Nay, without thought or conscious desire, might not 
things external to ourselves vibrate in unison with 
our moods and passions, atom calling to atom in secret 
love of strange affinity ? But the reason was of no 
importance. He would never again tempt by a prayer 
any terrible power. If the picture was to alter, it 
was to alter. That was all. Why inquire too closely 
into it ? 

For there would be a real pleasure in watching 
it. He would be able to follow his mind into its 
secret places. This portrait would be to him the 
most magical of mirrors. As it had revealed to 
him his own body, so it would reveal to him his 
own soul. And when winter came upon it, he 
would still be standing where spring trembles on 
the verge of summer. When the blood crept from 


its face, and left behind a pallid mask of chalk with 
leaden eyes, he would keep the glamour of boyhood. 
Not one blossom of his loveliness would ever fade. 
Not one pulse of his life would ever weaken. Like the 
gods of the Greeks, he would be strong, and fleet, 
and joyous. What did it matter what happened to 
the coloured image on the canvas ? He would be 
safe. That was everything. 

He drew the screen back into its former place in 
front of the picture, smiling as he did so, and passed 
into his bedroom, where his valet was already waiting 
for him. An hour later he was at the Opera, and 
Lord Henry was leaning over his chair. 


As he was sitting at breakfast next morning, Basil 
Hallward was shown into the room. 

" I am so glad I have found you, Dorian," he said, 
gravely. " I called last night, and they told me 
you were at the Opera. Of course I knew that was 
impossible. But I wish you had left word where you 
had really gone to. I passed a dreadful evening, 
half afraid that one tragedy might be followed by 
another. I think you might have telegraphed for 
me when you heard of it first. I read of it quite by 
chance in a late edition of The Globe, that I picked 
up at the club. I came here at once, and was miser- 
able at not finding you. I can't tell you how heart- 
broken I am about the whole thing. I know what you 
must suffer. But where were you ? Did you go 
down and see the girl's mother ? For a moment I 
thought of following you there. They gave the 
address in the paper. Somewhere in the Euston 
Road, isn't it ? But I was afraid of intruding upon 
a sorrow that I could not lighten. Poor woman ! 
What a state she must be in ! And her only child, 
too I What did she say about it all ? " 

" My dear Basil, how do I know ? " murmured 
Dorian Gray, sipping some pale-yellow wine from 
a delicate gold-beaded bubble of Venetian glass, and 
looking dreadfully bored. " I was at the Opera. 
You should have come on there. I met Lady Gwen- 
dolen, Harry's sister, for the first time. We were 
in her box. She is perfectly charming ; and Patti 
sang divinely. Don't talk about horrid subjects. If 
one doesn't talk about a thing, it has never happened. 



It is simply expression, as Harry says, that gives 
reality to things. I may mention that she was not 
the woman's only child. There is a son, a charming 
fellow, I believe. But he is not on the stage. He is 
a sailor, or something. And now, tell me about 
yourself and what you are painting." 

" You went to the Opera ? " said Hallward, 
speaking very slowly, and with a strained touch 
of pain in his voice. " You went to the Opera while 
Sibyl Vane was lying dead in some sordid lodging ? 
You can talk to me of other women being charming, 
and of Patti singing divinely, before the girl you 
loved has even the quiet of a grave to sleep in ? 
Why, man, there are horrors in store for that little 
white body of hers ! " 

" Stop, Basil ! I won't hear it I " cried Dorian, 
leaping to his feet. " You must not tell me about 
things. What is done is done. What is past is past." 

" You call yesterday the past ? " 

" What has the actual lapse of time got to do with 
it ? It is only shallow people who require years to 
get rid of an emotion. A man who is master of 
himself can end a sorrow as easily as he can invent 
a pleasure. I don't want to be at the mercy of my 
emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and 
to dominate them." 

" Dorian, this is horrible ! Something has changed 
you completely. You look exactly the same won- 
derful boy who, day after day, used to come down 
to my studio to sit for his picture. But you were 
simple, natural, and affectionate then. You were 
the most unspoiled creature in the whole world. Now, 
I don't know what has come over you. You talk as 
if you had no heart, no pity in you. It is all Harry's 
influence. I see that." 

The lad flushed up, and, going to the window, 
looked out for a few moments on the green, flicker- 
ing, sun-lashed garden. " I owe a great deal to 
Harry, Basil," he said, at last " more than I owe 
to you. You only taught me to be vain." 


" Well, I am punished for that, Dorian or shall 
be some day." 

" I don't know what you mean, Basil," he ex- 
claimed, turning round. " I don't know what you 
want. What do you want ? " 

" I want the Dorian Gray I used to paint," said 
the artist, sadly. 

" Basil," said the lad, going over to him, and 
putting his hand on his shoulder, " you have come 
too late. Yesterday when I heard that Sibyl Vane 
had killed herself " 

" Killed herself I Good heavens 1 is there no 
doubt about that ? " cried Hallward, looking up at 
him with an expression of horror. 

" My dear Basil 1 Surely you don't think it was 
a vulgar accident ? Of course she killed herself." 

The elder man buried his face in his hands. " How 
fearful," he muttered, and a shudder ran through 

" No," said Dorian Gray, " there is nothing fearful 
about it. It is one of the great romantic tragedies 
of the age. As a rule, people who act lead the most 
commonplace lives. They are good husbands, or faith- 
ful wives, or something tedious. You know what I 
mean middle-class virtue, and all that kind of 
thing. How different Sibyl was I She lived her 
finest tragedy. She was always a heroine. The 
last night she played the night you saw her she 
acted badly because she had known the reality of 
love. When she knew its unreality, she died, as 
Juliet might have died. She passed again into the 
sphere of art. There is something of the martyr 
about her. Her death has all the pathetic uselessness 
of martyrdom, all its wasted beauty. But, as I was 
saying, you must not think I have not suffered. If 
you had come in yesterday at a particular moment 
about half-past five, perhaps, or a quarter to six 
you would have found me in tears. Even Harry, 
who was here, who brought me the news, in fact, had 
no idea what I was going through. I suffered im- 


mensely. Then it passed away. I cannot repeat an 
emotion. No one can, except sentimentalists. And 
you are awfully unjust, Basil. You come down here 
to console me. That is charming of you. You find 
me consoled, and you are furious. How like a sym- 
pathetic person 1 You remind me of a story Harry 
told me about a certain philanthropist who spent 
twenty years of his life in trying to get some grievance 
redressed, or some unjust law altered I forget 
exactly what it was. Finally he succeeded, and 
nothing could exceed his disappointment. He had 
absolutely nothing to do, almost died of ennui, 
and became a confirmed misanthrope. And besides, 
my dear old Basil, if you really want to console me, 
teach me rather to forget what has happened, or to 
see it from the proper artistic point of view. Was 
it not Gautier who used to write about la consolation 
des arts ? I remember picking up a little vellum- 
covered book in your studio one day and chancing 
on that delightful phrase. Well, I am not like that 
young man you told me of when we were down at 
Marlow together, the young man who used to say 
that yellow satin could console one for all the miseries 
of life. I love beautiful things that one can touch 
and handle. Old brocades, green bronzes, lacquer- 
work, carved ivories, exquisite surroundings, luxury, 
pomp, there is much to be got from all these. But 
the artistic temperament that they create, or at any 
rate reveal, is still more to me. To become the spec- 
tator of one's own life, as Harry says, is to escape the 
suffering of life. I know you are surprised at my 
talking to you like this. You have not realised how 
I have developed. I was a schoolboy when you 
knew me. I am a man now. I have new passions, 
new thoughts, new ideas. I am different, but you 
must not like me less. I am changed, but you must 
always be my friend. Of course I am very fond of 
Harry. But I know that you are better than he is. 
You are not stronger you are too much afraid of 
life but you are better. And how happy we used 


to be together ! Don't leave me, Basil, and don't 
quarrel with me. I am what I am. There is nothing 
more to be said." 

The painter felt strangely moved. The lad was 
infinitely dear to him, and his personality had been 
the great turning-point in his art. He could not 
bear the idea of reproaching him any more. After 
all, his indifference was probably merely a mood 
that would pass away. There was so much in him 
that was good, so much in him that w r as noble. 

" Well, Dorian," he said, at length, with a sad 
smile, " I won't speak to you again about this horrible 
thing, after to-day. I only trust your name won't 
be mentioned in connection with it. The inquest is 
to take place this afternoon. Have they summoned 
you ? " 

Dorian shook his head and a look of annoyance 
passed over his face at the mention of the word 
" inquest." There was something so crude and 
vulgar about everything of the kind. " They don't 
know my name," he answered. 

" But surely she did ? " 

" Only my Christian name, and that I am quite 
sure she never mentioned to anyone. She told me 
once that they were all rather curious to learn who 
I was, and that she invariably told them my name 
was Prince Charming. It was pretty of her. You 
must do me a drawing of Sibyl, Basil. I should like 
to have something more of her than the memory of a 
few kisses and some broken pathetic words." 

" I will try and do something, Dorian, if it would 
please you. But you must come and sit to me your- 
self again. I can't get on without you." 

" I can never sit to you again, Basil. It is Im- 
possible ! " he exclaimed, starting back. 

The painter stared at him. " My dear boy, what 
nonsense ! " he cried. " Do you mean to say you 
don't like what I did of you ? Where is it ? Why 
have you pulled the screen in front of it ? Let me 
look at it. It is the best thing I have ever done. 


Do take the screen away, Dorian. It is simply 
disgraceful of your servant hiding my work like 
that. I felt the room looked different as I came 

" My servant has nothing to do with it, Basil. 
You don't imagine I let him arrange my room for 
me ? He settles my flowers for me sometimes that 
is all. No ; I did it myself. The light was too 
strong on the portrait." 

" Too strong ! Surely not, my dear fellow ? It 
is an admirable place for it. Let me see it." And 
Hallward walked towards the corner of the room. 

A cry of terror broke from Dorian Gray's lips, 
and he rushed between the painter and the screen. 
" Basil," he said, looking very pale, " you must not 
look at it. I don't wish you to." 

" Not look at my own work 1 you are not serious. 
Why shouldn't I look at it ? " exclaimed Hallward, 

" If you try to look at it, Basil, on my word of 
honour I will never speak to you again as long as I 
live. I am quite serious. I don't offer any ex- 
planation, and you are not to ask for any. But, 
remember, if you touch this screen, everything is 
over between us." 

Hallward was thunderstruck. He looked at 
Dorian Gray in absolute amazement. He had never 
seen him like this before. The lad was actually 
pallid with rage. His hands were clenched, and the 
pupils of his eyes were like disks of blue lire. He 
was trembling all over. 

" Dorian I " 

" Don't speak ! " 

" But what is the matter ? Of course I won't 
look at it if you don't want me to," he said, rather 
coldly, turning on his heel, and going over towards 
the window. " But, really, it seems rather absurd 
that I shouldn't see my own work, especially as I 
am going to exhibit it in Paris in the autumn. I 
shall probably have to give it another coat of varnish 


before that, so I must see it some day, and why 
not to-day ? " 

"To exhibit it? You want to exhibit it?" ex- 
claimed Dorian Gray, a strange sense of terror 
creeping over him. Was the world going to be shown 
his secret ? Were people to gape at the mystery of 
his life ? That was impossible. Something he did 
not know what had to be done at once. 

" Yes ; I don't suppose you will object to that. 
George Petit is going to collect all my best pictures 
for a special exhibition in the Rue de Seze, which 
will open the first week in October. The portrait 
will only be away a month. I should think you 
could easily spare it for that time. In fact, you are 
sure to be out of town. And if you keep it always 
behind a screen, you can't care much about it." 

Dorian Gray passed his hand over his forehead. 
There were beads of perspiration there. He felt 
that he was on the brink of a horrible danger. " You 
told me a month ago that you would never exhibit 
it," he cried. " Why have you changed your mind ? 
You people who go in for being consistent have just 
as many moods as others have. The only difference is 
that your moods are rather meaningless. You can't 
have forgotten that you assured me most solemnly 
that nothing in the world would induce you to send 
it to any exhibition. You told Harry exactly the 
same thing." He stopped suddenly, and a gleam 
of light came into his eyes. He remembered that 
Lord Henry had said to him once, half seriously and 
half in jest, " If you want to have a strange quarter 
of an hour, get Basil to tell you why he won't exhibit 
your picture. He told me why he wouldn't, and it 
was a revelation to me." Yes, perhaps Basil, too, 
had his secret. He would ask him and try. 

" Basil," he said, coming over quite close, and 
looking him straight in the face, " we have each 
of us a secret. Let me know yours and I shall tell 
you mine. What was your reason for refusing to 
exhibit my picture ? " 


The painter shuddered in spite of himself. " Dorian, 
if I told you, you might like me less than you do, and 
you would certainly laugh at me. I could not bear 
your doing either of those two things. If you wish 
me never to look at your picture again, I am content. 
I have always you to look at. If you wish the best 
work I have ever done to be hidden from the world, 
I am satisfied. Your friendship is dearer to me than 
any fame or reputation." 

" No, Basil, you must tell me," insisted Dorian 
Gray. " I think I have a right to know." His 
feeling of terror had passed away, and curiosity had 
taken its place. He was determined to find out Basil 
Hallward's mystery. 

" Let us sit down, Dorian," said the painter, look- 
ing troubled. " Let us sit down. And just answer 
me one question. Have you noticed in the picture 
something curious ? something that probably at 
first did not strike you, but that revealed itself to 
you suddenly ? " 

" Basil ! " cried the lad, clutching the arms of his 
chair with trembling hands, and gazing at him with 
wild, startled eyes. 

" I see you did. Don't speak. Wait till you 
hear what I have to say. Dorian, from the moment 
I met you, your personality had the most extra- 
ordinary influence over me. I was dominated, soul, 
brain, and power by you. You became to me the 
visible incarnation of that unseen ideal whose memory 
haunts us artists like an exquisite dream. I wor- 
shipped you. I grew jealous of everyone to whom you 
spoke. I wanted to have you all to myself. I was 
only happy when I was with you. When you were 
away from me you were still present in my art. . . . 
Of course I never let you know anything about this. 
It would have been impossible. You would not have 
understood it. I hardly understood it myself. I only 
knew that I had seen perfection face to face, and 
that the world had become wonderful to my eyes 
too wonderful, perhaps, for in such mad worships 


there Is peril, the peril of losing them, no less than 
the peril of keeping them. . . . Weeks and weeks 
went on, and I grew more and more absorbed In you. 
Then came a new development. I had drawn you 
as Paris in dainty armour, and as Adonis with hunts- 
man's cloak and polished boar-spear. Crowned with 
heavy lotus-blossoms you had sat on the prow of 
Adrian's barge, gazing across the green turbid Nile. 
You had leant over the still pool of some Greek wood- 
land, and seen in the water's silent silver the marvel 
of your own face. And it had all been what art should 
be, unconscious, ideal, and remote. One day, a fatal 
day I sometimes think, I determined to paint a 
wonderful portrait of you as you actually are, not in 
the costume of dead ages, but in your own dress and 
in your own time. Whether it was the Realism of 
the method, or the mere wonder of your own person- 
ality, thus directly presented to me without mist or 
V;il, I cannot tell. But I know that as I worked at 
it, every flake and film of colour seemed to me to reveal 
my secret. I grew afraid that others would know of 
my idolatry. I felt, Dorian, that I had told too much, 
that I had put too much of myself into it. Then it 
was that I resolved never to allow the picture to be 
exhibited. You were a little annoyed ; but then you 
did not realise all that it meant to me. Harry, to 
whom I talked about it, laughed at me. But I did 
not mind that. When the picture was finished, and 
I sat alone with it, I felt that I was right. . . . Well, 
after a few days the thing left my studio, and as soon 
as I had got rid of the intolerable fascination of its 
presence it seemed to me that I had been foolish in 
imagining that I had seen anything in it, more than 
that you were extremely good-looking, and that I 
could paint. Even now I cannot help feeling that it is 
a mistake to think that the passion one feels in crea- 
tion is ever really shown in the work one creates. 
Art is always more abstract than we fancy. Form 
and colour tell us of form and colour that Is all. It 
often seems to me that art conceals the artist far more 


completely than it ever reveals him. And so when I 
got this offer from Paris I determined to make your 
portrait the principal thing in my exhibition. It 
never occurred to me that you would refuse. I see 
now that you were right. The picture cannot be 
shown. You must not be angry with me, Dorian, for 
what I have told you. As I said to Harry, once, you 
are made to be worshipped." 

Dorian Gray drew a long breath. The colour 
came back to his cheeks, and a smile played about 
his lips. The peril was over. He was safe for the 
time. Yet he could not help feeling infinite pity for 
the painter who had just made this strange con- 
fession to him, and wondered if he himself would ever 
be so dominated by the personality of a friend. Lord 
Henry had the charm of being very dangerous. But 
that was all. He was too clever and too cynical to 
be really fond of. Would there ever be someone who 
would fill him with a strange idolatry ? Was that 
one of the things that life had in store ? 

" It is extraordinary to me, Dorian," said Hall- 
ward, " that you should have seen this in the portrait. 
Did you really see it ? " 

" I saw something in it," he answered, "-something 
that seemed to me very curious." 

" Well, you don't mind my looking at the thing 
now ? " 

Dorian shook his head. " You must not ask me 
that, Basil. I could not possibly let you stand in 
front of that picture." 

" You will some day, surely ? " 

" Never." 

" Well, perhaps you are right. And now good-bye, 
Dorian. You have been the one person in my life 
who has really influenced my art. Whatever I have 
done that is good, I owe to you. Ah I you don't know 
what it cost me to tell you all that I have told you." 

" My dear Basil," said Dorian, " what have you 
told me ? Simply that you felt that you admired 
me too much. That Is not even a compliment." 


" It was not intended as a compliment. It was a 
confession. Now that I have made it, something 
seems to have gone out of me. Perhaps one should 
never put one's worship into words." 

" It was a very disappointing confession." 

" Why, what did you expect, Dorian ? You didn't 
see anything else in the picture, did you ? There was 
nothing else to see ? " 

" No ; there was nothing else to see. Why do 
you ask ? But you mustn't talk about worship. 
It is foolish. You and I are friends, Basil, and we 
must always remain so." 

' You have got Harry," said the painter, sadly. 

" Oh, Harry 1 " cried the lad, with a ripple of 
laughter. " Harry spends his days in saying what 
is incredible, and his evenings in doing what is im- 
probable. Just the sort of life I would like to lead. 
But still I don't think I would go to Harry if I were in 
trouble. I would sooner go to you, Basil." 

" You will sit to me again ? " 

" Impossible ! " 

" You spoil my life as an artist by refusing, Dorian. 
No man came across two ideal things. Few come 
across one." 

" I can't explain it to you, Basil, but I must never 
sit to you again. There is something fatal about a 
portrait. It has a life of its own. I will come and 
have tea with you. That will be just as pleasant." 

" Pleasanter for you, I am afraid," murmured Hall- 
ward, regretfully. " And now good-bye. I am sorry 
you won't let me look at the picture once again. 
But that can't be helped. I quite understand what 
you feel about it." 

As he left the room, Dorian Gray smiled to himself. 
Poor Basil ! how little he knew of the true reason ! 
And how strange it was that, instead of having been 
forced to reveal his own secret, he had succeeded, 
almost by chance, in wresting a secret from his friend 1 
How much that strange confession explained to him I 
The painter's absurd fits of jealousy, his wild devotion, 


his extravagant panegyrics, his curious reticences 
he understood them all now, and he felt sorry. There 
seemed to him to be something tragic in a friendship 
so coloured by romance. 

He sighed, and touched the bell. The portrait 
must be hidden away at all costs. He could not run 
such a risk of discovery again. It had been mad of 
him to have allowed the thing to remain, even for an 
hour, in a room to which any of his friends had access. 


WHEN his servant entered, he looked at him stead- 
fastly, and wondered if he had thought of peering 
behind the screen. The man was quite impassive, 
and waited for his orders. Dorian lit a cigarette, 
and walked over to the glass and glanced into it. 
He could see the reflection of Victor's face perfectly. 
It was like a placid mask of servility. There was 
nothing to be afraid of, there. Yet he thought it 
best to on his guard. 

Speaking very slowly, he told him to tell the house- 
keeper that he wanted to see her, and then to go to 
the frame-maker and ask him to send two of his men 
round at once. It seemed to him that as the man left 
the room his eyes wandered in the direction of the 
screen. Or was that merely his own fancy ? 

After a few moments, in her black silk dress, with 
old-fashioned thread mittens on her wrinkled hands, 
Mrs. Leaf bustled into the library. He asked her for 
the key of the schoolroom. 

" The old schoolroom, Mr. Dorian ? " she exclaimed. 
" Why, it is full of dust. I must get it arranged, and 
put straight before you go into it. It is not fit for 
you to see, sir. It is not, indeed." 

" I don't want it put straight, Leaf. I only want 
the key." 

" Well, sir, you'll be covered with cobwebs if you 
go into it. Why, it hasn't been opened for nearly 
five years, not since his lordship died." 

He winced at the mention of his grandfather. He 
had hateful memories of him. " That does not 



matter," he answered. " I simply want to see the 
place that is all. Give me the key." 

" And here is the key, sir," said the old lady, going 
over the contents of her bunch with tremulously 
uncertain hands. " Here is the key. I'll have it off 
the bunch in a moment. But you don't think of living 
up there, sir, and you so comfortable here ? " 

" No, no," he cried, petulantly. " Thank you, 
Leaf. That will do." 

She lingered for a few moments, and was garrulous 
over some detail of the household. He sighed, and 
told her to manage things as she thought best. She 
left the room, wreathed in smiles. 

As the door closed, Dorian put the key in his pocket, 
and looked round the room. His eye fell on a large, 
purple satin coverlet heavily embroidered with gold, 
a splendid piece of late seventeenth-century Venetian 
work that his grandfather had found in a convent 
near Bologna. Yes, that would serve to wrap the 
dreadful thing in. It had perhaps served often as a 
pall for the dead. Now it was to hide something that 
had a corruption of its own, worse than the corruption 
of death itself something that would breed horrors 
and yet would never die. What the worm was to the 
corpse, his sins would be to the painted image on the 
canvas. They would mar its beauty, and eat away its 
grace. They would defile it, and make it shameful. 
And yet the thing would still live on. It would be 
always alive. 

He shuddered, and for a moment he regretted that 
he had not told Basil the true reason why he had 
washed to hide the picture away. Basil would have 
helped him to resist Lord Henry's influence, and the 
still more poisonous influences that came from his 
own temperament. The love that he bore him 
for it was really love had nothing in it that was not 
noble and intellectual. It was not that mere physical 
admiration of beauty that is born of the senses, and 
that dies when the senses tire. It was such love as 
Michael Angelo had known, and Montaigne, and 


Winckelmann, and Shakespeare himself. Yes, Basil 
could have saved him. But it was too late now. The 
past could always be annihilated. Regret, denial, or 
forgetfulness could do that. But the future was 
inevitable. There were passions in him that would 
find their terrible outlet, dreams that would make the 
shadow of their evil real. 

He took up from the couch the great purple-and- 
gold texture that covered it, and, holding it in his 
hands, passed behind the screen. Was the face on 
the canvas viler than before ? It seemed to him 
that it was unchanged ; and yet his loathing of it 
was intensified. Gold hair, blue eyes, and rose-red 
lips they all were there. It was simply the ex- 
pression that had altered. That was horrible in 
its cruelty. Compared to what he saw in it of censure 
or rebuke, how shallow Basil's reproaches about Sibyl 
Vane had been ! how shallow, and of what little 
account ! His own soul was looking out at him from 
the canvas and calling him to judgment. A look of 
pain came across him, and he flung the rich pall over 
the picture. As he did so, a knock came to the door. 
He passed out as his servant entered. 

" The persons are here, Monsieur." 

He felt that the man must be got rid of at once. 
He must not be allowed to know where the picture 
was being taken to. There was something sly about 
him, and he had thoughtful, treacherous eyes. Sitting 
down at the writing-table, he scribbled a note to Lord 
Henry, asking him to send him round something to 
read, and reminding him that they were to meet at 
eight-fifteen that evening. 

" Wait for an answer," he said, handing it to him, 
" and show the men in here." 

In two or three minutes there was another knock, 
and Mr. Hubbard himself, the celebrated frame-maker 
of South Audley Street, came in with a somewhat 
rough-looking young assistant. Mr. Hubbard was a 
florid, red-whiskered little man, whose admiration 
for art was considerably tempered by the inveterate 


Impecunlosity of most of the artists who dealt with 
him. As a rule, he never left his shop. He waited 
for people to come to him. But he always made an 
exception In favour of Dorian Gray. There was some- 
thing about Dorian that charmed everybody. It was 
a pleasure even to see him. 

" What can I do for you, Mr. Gray ? " he said, 
rubbing his fat freckled hands. " I thought I would 
do myself the honour of coming round in person. 
I have just got a beauty of a frame, sir. Picked it 
up at a sale. Old Florentine. Came from Fonthill, 
I believe. Admirably suited for a religious subject, 
Mr. Gray." 

" I am so sorry you have given yourself the trouble 
of coming round, Mr. Hubbard. I shall certainly drop 
in and look at the frame though I don't go in much 
at present for religious art but to-day I only want a 
picture carried to the top of the house for me. It Is 
rather heavy, so I thought I would ask you to lend me 
a couple of your men." 

" No trouble at all, Mr. Gray. I am delighted to 
be of any service to you. Which is the work of art, 
sir ? " 

" This," replied Dorian, moving the screen back. 
" Can you move it, covering and all, just as It Is ? 
I don't want it to get scratched going upstairs." 

" There will be no difficulty, sir," said the genial 
frame-maker, beginning, with the aid of his assistant, 
to unhook the picture from the long brass chains by 
which it was suspended. " And, now, where shall 
we carry it to, Mr. Gray ? " 

" I will show you the way, Mr. Hubbard, If you 
will kindly follow me. Or perhaps you had better go 
In front. I am afraid It Is right at the top of the 
house. We will go up by the front staircase, as It Is 

He held the door open for them, and they passed 
out into the hall and began the ascent. The elaborate 
character of the frame had made the picture extremely 
bulky, and now and then, In spite of the obsequious 


protests of Mr. Hubbard, who had the true tradesman's 
spirited dislike of seeing a gentleman doing anything 
useful, Dorian put his hand to it so as to help them. 

" Something of a load to carry, sir," gasped the little 
man, when they reached the top landing. And he 
wiped his shiny forehead. 

" I am afraid it is rather heavy," murmured Dorian, 
as he unlocked the door that opened into the room 
that was to keep for him the curious secret of his life 
and hide his soul from the eyes of men. 

He had not entered the place for more than four 
years not, indeed, since he had used it first as a 
play-room when he was a child, and then as a study 
when he grew somewhat older. It was a large, well- 
proportioned room, which had been specially built 
by the last Lord Kelso for the use of the little grand- 
son whom, for his strange likeness to his mother, and 
also for other reasons, he had always hated and de- 
sired to keep at a distance. It appeared to Dorian to 
have but little changed. There was the huge Italian 
cassone, with its fantastically-painted panels and its 
tarnished gilt mouldings, in which he had so often 
hidden himself as a boy. There the satinwood book- 
case filled with his dog-eared schoolbooks. On the 
wall behind it was hanging the same ragged Flemish 
tapestry, where a faded king and queen were playing 
chess in a garden, while a company of hawkers rode 
by, carrying hooded birds on their gauntleted wrists. 
How well he remembered it all ! Every moment 
of his lonely childhood came back to him as he looked 
round. He recalled the stainless purity of his boyish 
life, and it seemed horrible to him that it was here 
the fatal portrait was to be hidden away. How little 
he had thought, in those dead days, of all that was in 
store for him ! 

But there was no other place in the house so secure 
from prying eyes as this. He had the key, and no 
one else could enter it. Beneath its purple pall, the 
face painted on the canvas could grow bestial, sodden, 
and unclean. What did it matter ? No one could 


see it. He himself would not see it. Why should 
he watch the hideous corruption of his soul ? He 
kept his youth that was enough. And, besides, 
might not his nature grow finer, after all ? There 
was no reason that the future should be so full of 
shame. Some love might come across his life, and 
purify him, and shield him from those sins that seemed 
to be already stirring in spirit and in flesh those 
curious unpictured sins whose very mystery lent them 
their subtlety and their charm. Perhaps, some day, 
the cruel look would have passed away from the 
scarlet sensitive mouth, and he might show to the 
world Basil Hallward's masterpiece. 

No ; that was impossible. Hour by hour, and week 
by week, the thing upon the canvas was growing old. 
It might escape the hideousness of sin, but the hideous- 
ness of age was in store for it. The cheeks would 
become hollow or flaccid. Yellow crow's-feet would 
creep round the fading eyes and make them horrible. 
The hair would lose its brightness, the mouth would 
gape or droop, would be foolish or gross, as the mouths 
of old men are. There would be the wrinkled throat, 
the cold, blue-veined hands, the twisted body, that 
he remembered in the grandfather who had been so 
stern to him in his boyhood. The picture had to be 
concealed. There was no help for it. 

" Bring it in, Mr. Hubbard, please," he said, wearily, 
turning round. " I am sorry I kept you so long. I 
was thinking of something else." 

" Always glad to have a rest, Mr. Gray," answered 
the frame-maker, who was still gasping for breath. 
" Where shall we put it, sir ? " 

" Oh, anywhere. Here : this will do. I don't 
want to have it hung up. Just lean it against the 
wall. Thanks." 

" Might one look at the work of art, sir ? " 

Dorian started. " It would not interest you, Mr. 
Hubbard," he said, keeping his eye on the man. 
He felt ready to leap upon him and fling him to the 
ground if he dared to lift the gorgeous hanging that 


concealed the secret of his life. " I shan't trouble 
you any more now. I am much obliged for your kind- 
ness in coming round." 

" Not at all, not at all, Mr. Gray. Ever ready to 
do anything for you, sir." And Mr. Hubbard tramped 
downstairs, followed by the assistant, who glanced 
back at Dorian with a look of shy wonder in his rough, 
uncomely face. He had never seen anyone so mar- 

When the sound of their footsteps had died away, 
Dorian locked the door, and put the key in his pocket. 
He felt safe now. No one would ever look upon the 
horrible thing. No eye but his would ever see his 

On reaching the library he found that it was just 
after five o'clock, and that the tea had been already 
brought up. On a little table of dark perfumed wood 
thickly encrusted wth nacre, a present from Lady 
Radley, his guardian's wife, a pretty professional 
invalid, who had spent the preceding winter in Cairo, 
was lying a note from Lord Henry, and beside it was 
a book bound in yellow paper, the cover slightly torn 
and the edges soiled. A copy of the third edition of 
The St. James's Gazette had been placed on the tea- 
tray. It was evident that Victor had returned. He 
wondered if he had met the men in the hall as they 
were leaving the house, and had wormed out of them 
what they had been doing. He would be sure to miss 
the picture had no doubt missed it already, while 
he had been laying the tea-things. The screen had 
not been set back, and a blank space was visible on 
the wall. Perhaps some night he might find him 
creeping upstairs and trying to force the door of the 
room. It was a horrible thing to have a spy in one's 
house. He had heard of rich men who had been black- 
mailed all their lives by some servant who had read 
a letter, or overheard a conversation, or picked up a 
card with an address, or found beneath a pillow a 
withered flower or a shred of crumpled lace. 

He sighed, and, having poured himself out some 


tea, opened Lord Henry's note. It was simply to 
say that he sent him round the evening paper, and 
a book that might interest him, and that he would 
be at the club at eight-fifteen. He opened The St. 
James's languidly, and looked through it. A red 
pencil-mark on the fifth page caught his eye. It 
drew attention to the following paragraph : 

" INQUEST ON AN ACTRESS. An inquest was held 
this morning at the Bell Tavern, Hoxton Road, by 
Mr. Danby, the District Coroner, on the body of 
Sibyl Vane, a young actress recently engaged at the 
Royal Theatre, Holborn. A verdict of death by 
misadventure was returned. Considerable sympathy 
was expressed for the mother of the deceased, who 
was greatly affected during the giving of her own 
evidence, and that of Dr. Birrell, who had made the 
post-mortem examination of the deceased." 

He frowned, and, tearing the paper in two, went 
across the room and flung the pieces away. How 
ugly it all was I And how horribly real ugliness made 
things 1 He felt a little annoyed with Lord Henry 
for having sent him the report. And it was certainly 
stupid of him to have marked it with red pencil. 
Victor might have read it. The man knew more than 
enough English for that. 

Perhaps he had read it, and had begun to suspect 
something. And, yet, what did it matter ? What 
had Dorian Gray to do with Sibyl Vane's death ? 
There was nothing to fear. Dorian Gray had not 
killed her. 

His eye fell on the yellow book that Lord Henry 
had sent him. What was it, he wondered. He 
went towards the little pearl-coloured octagonal 
stand, that had always looked to him like the work 
of some strange Egyptian bees that wrought in 
silver, and taking up the volume, flung himself into 
an armchair, and began to turn over the leaves. 
After a few minutes he became absorbed. It was 

the strangest book that he had ever read. It seemed 
to him that in exquisite raiment, and to the delicate 
sound of flutes, the sins of the world were passing in 
dumb show before him. Things that he had dimly 
dreamed of were suddenly made real to him. Things 
of which he had never dreamed were gradually re- 

It was a novel without a plot, and with only one 
character, being, indeed, simply a psychological study 
of a certain young Parisian, who spent his life trying 
to realise in the nineteenth century all the passions and 
modes of thought that belonged to every century 
except his own, and to sum up, as it were, in himself 
the various moods through which the world-spirit 
had ever passed, loving for their mere artificiality 
those renunciations that men have unwisely called 
virtue, as much as those natural rebellions that wise 
men still call sin. The style in which it was written was 
that curious jewelled style, vivid and obscure at once, 
full of argot and of archaisms, of technical expressions 
and of elaborate paraphrases, that characterises the 
work of some of the finest artists of the French school 
of Symbolisles. There were in it metaphors as monstrous 
as orchids, and as subtle in colour. The life of the 
senses was described in the terms of mystical philo- 
sophy. One hardly knew at times whether one was 
reading the spiritual ecstasies of some mediaeval saint 
or the morbid confessions of a modern sinner. It 
was a poisonous book. The heavy odour of incense 
seemed to cling about its pages and to trouble the 
brain. The mere cadence of the sentences, the subtle 
monotony of their music, so full as it was of complex 
refrains and movements elaborately repeated, produced 
in the mind of the lad, as he passed from chapter to 
chapter, a form of reverie, a malady of dreaming, that 
made him unconscious of the falling day and creeping 

Cloudless, and pierced by one solitary star, a 
copper-green sky gleamed through the windows. 
He read on by its wan light till he could read no more. 


Then, after his valet had reminded him several times 
of the lateness of the hour, he got up, and, going into 
the next room, placed the book on the little Florentine 
table that always stood at his bedside, and began to 
dress for dinner. 

It was almost nine o'clock before he reached the 
club, where he found Lord Henry sitting alone, in 
the morning-room, looking very much bored. 

" I am so sorry, Harry," he cried, " but really it is 
entirely your fault. That book you sent me so 
fascinated me that I forgot how the time was going." 

" Yes : I thought you would like it," replied his 
host, rising from his chair. 

" I didn't say I liked it, Harry. I said it fascinated 
me. There is a great difference." 

" Ah, you have discovered that ? " murmured Lord 
Henry. And they passed into the dining-room. 


FOR years, Dorian Gray could not free himself from 
the influence of this book. Or perhaps it would be 
more accurate to say that he never sought to free him- 
self from it. He procured from Paris no less than 
nine large-paper copies of the first edition, and had 
them bound in different colours, so that they might 
suit his various moods and the changing fancies of a 
nature over which he seemed, at times, to have almost 
entirely lost control. The hero, the wonderful young 
Parisian, in whom the romantic and the scientific 
temperaments were so strangely blended, became to 
him a kind of prefiguring type of himself. And, in- 
deed, the whole book seemed to him to contain the 
story of his own life, written before he had lived it. 

In one point he was more fortunate than the novel's 
fantastic hero. He never knew never, indeed, had 
any cause to know that somewhat grotesque dread 
of mirrors, and polished metal surfaces, and still 
water, which came upon the young Parisian so early 
in his life, and was occasioned by the sudden decay 
of a beauty that had once, apparently, been so re- 
markable. It was with an almost cruel joy and 
perhaps in nearly every joy, as certainly in every plea- 
sure, cruelty has its place that he used to read the 
latter part of the book, with its really tragic, if some- 
what over-emphasised, account of the sorrow and 
despair of one who had himself lost what in others, 
and in the world, he had most dearly valued. 

For the wonderful beauty that had so fascinated 
Basil Hallward, and many others besides him, seemed 


never to leave him. Even those who had heard the 
most evil things against him, and from time to time 
strange rumours about his mode of life crept through 
London and became the chatter of the clubs, could not 
believe anything to his dishonour when they saw him. 
He had always the look of one who had kept himself 
unspotted from the world. Men who talked grossly 
became silent when Dorian Gray entered the room. 
There was something in the purity of his face that re- 
buked them. His mere presence seemed to recall to 
them the memory of the innocence that they had 
tarnished. They wondered how one so charming 
and graceful as he was could have escaped the stain of 
an age that was at once sordid and sensual. 

Often, on returning home from one of those mys- 
terious and prolonged absences that gave rise to such 
-strange conjecture among those who were his friends, 
or thought that they were so, he himself would creep 
upstairs to the locked room, open the door with the 
key that never left him now, and stand, with a mirror, 
in front of the portrait that Basil Hallward had 
painted of him, looking now at the evil and ageing 
face on the canvas, and now at the fair young face that 
laughed back at him from the polished glass. The 
very sharpness of the contrast used to quicken his 
sense of pleasure. He grew more and more enamoured 
of his own beauty, more and more interested in the 
corruption of his own soul. He would examine with 
minute care, and sometimes with a monstrous and 
terrible delight, the hideous lines that seared the 
wrinkling forehead, or crawled around the heavy sen- 
sual mouth, wondering sometimes which were the 
more horrible, the signs of sin or the signs of age. 
He would place his white hands beside the coarse 
bloated hands of the picture, and smile. He mocked 
the misshapen body and the failing limbs. 

There were moments, indeed, at night, when, 
lying sleepless in his own delicately-scented chamber, 
or in the sordid room of the little ill-famed tavern 
near the Docks, which, under an assumed name, and 


In disguise, it was his habit to frequent, he would 
think of the ruin he had brought upon his soul, with 
a pity that was all the more poignant because it 
was purely selfish. But moments such as these were 
rare. That curiosity about life which Lord Henry 
had first stirred in him, as they sat together in the 
garden of their friend, seemed to increase with gratifi- 
cation. The more he knew, the more he desired to 
know. He had mad hungers that grew more ravenous 
as he fed them. 

Yet he was not really reckless, at any rate in his 
relations to society. Once or twice every month 
during the winter, and on each Wednesday evening 
while the season lasted, he would throw open to the 
world his beautiful house and have the most cele- 
brated musicians of the day to charm his guests with 
the wonders of their art. His little dinners, in the 
settling of which Lord Henry always assisted him, 
were noted as much for the careful selection and plac- 
ing of those invited, as for the exquisite taste shown 
in the decoration of the table, with its subtle sym- 
phonic arrangements of exotic flow r ers, and embroidered 
cloths, and antique plate of gold and silver. Indeed, 
there were many, especially among the very young 
men, who saw, or fancied that they saw, in Dorian 
Gray the true realisation of a type of which they had 
often dreamed in Eton or Oxford days, a type that was 
to combine something of the real culture of the scholar 
with all the grace and distinction and perfect manner 
of a citizen of the world. To them he seemed to be of 
the company of those whom Dante describes as having 
sought to " make themselves perfect by the worship 
of beauty." Like Gautier, he was one for whom " the 
visible world existed." 

And, certainly, to him Life itself was the first, 
the greatest, of the arts, and for it all the other arts 
seemed to be but a preparation. Fashion, by which 
what is really fantastic becomes for a moment uni- 
versal, and Dandyism, which, in its own way, is an 
attempt to assert the absolute modernity of beauty, 


had, of course, their fascination for him. His mode 
of dressing, and the particular styles that from time 
to time he affected, had their marked influence on the 
young exquisites of the Mayfair balls and Pall Mall 
club windows, who copied him in everything that he 
did, and tried to reproduce the accidental charm of 
his graceful, though to him only half-serious, fopperies. 

For, while he was but too ready to accept the posi- 
tion that was almost immediately offered to him on 
his coming of age, and found, indeed, a subtle pleasure 
in the thought that he might really become to the 
London of his own day what to imperial Neronian 
Rome the author of the " Satyricon " once had been, 
yet in his inmost heart he desired to be something more 
than a mere arbiter elegantiarum, to be consulted on 
the wearing of a jewel, or the knotting of a necktie, 
or the conduct of a cane. He sought to elaborate 
some new scheme of life that would have its reasoned 
philosopy and its ordered principles, and find in the 
spiritualising of the senses its highest realisation. 

The worship of the senses has often, and with much 
justice, been decried, men feeling a natural instinct of 
terror about passions and sensations that seem stronger 
than themselves, and that they are conscious of sharing 
with the less highly organised forms of existence. But 
it appeared to Dorian Gray that the true nature of 
the senses had never been understood, and that they 
had remained savage and animal merely because the 
world had sought to starve them into submission or to 
kill them by pain, instead of aiming at making them 
elements of a new spirituality, of which a fine instinct 
for beauty was to be the dominant characteristic. 
As he looked back upon man moving through History, 
he was haunted by a feeling of loss. So much had been 
surrendered ! and to such little purpose 1 There had 
been mad wilful rejections, monstrous forms of self- 
torture and self-denial, whose origin was fear, and 
whose result was a degradation infinitely more terrible 
than that fancied degradation from w r hich, in their 
Ignorance, they had sought to escape, Nature, in her 


wonderful irony, driving out the anchorite to feed with 
the wild animals of the desert and giving to the 
hermit the beasts of the field as his companions. 

Yes : there was to be, as Lord Henry had pro- 
phesied, a new Hedonism that was to recreate life, 
and to save it from that harsh, uncomely puritanism 
that is having, in our own day, its curious revival. 
It was to have its service of the intellect, certainly ; 
yet, it was never to accept any theory or system that 
would involve the sacrifice of any mode of passionate 
experience. Its aim, indeed, was to be experience 
itself, and not the fruits of experience, sweet or bitter 
as they might be. Of the asceticism that deadens 
the senses, as of the vulgar profligacy that dulls them, 
it was to know nothing. But it was to teach man 
to concentrate himself upon the moments of a life 
that is itself but a moment. 

There are few of us who have not sometimes 
wakened before dawn, either after one of those dream- 
less nights that make us almost enamoured of death, 
or one of those nights of horror and misshapen joy, 
when through the chambers of the brain sweep 
phantoms more terrible than reality itself, and in- 
stinct with that vivid life that lurks in all grotesques, 
and that lends to Gothic art its enduring vitality, this 
art being, one might fancy, especially the art of those 
whose minds have been troubled with the malady of 
reverie. Gradually white fingers creep through the 
curtains, and they appear to tremble. In black 
fantastic shapes, dumb shadows crawl into the corners 
of the room, and crouch there. Outside, there is the 
stirring of birds among the leaves, or the sound of men 
going forth to their work, or the sigh and sob of the 
wind coming down from the hills, and wandering round 
the silent house, as though it feared to wake the 
sleepers, and yet must needs call forth sleep from 
her purple cave. Veil after veil of thin dusky gauze 
is lifted, and by degrees the forms and colours of 
tilings are restored to them, and we watch the dawn 
remaking the world in its antique pattern. The wan 


mirrors get back their mimic life. The flameless 
tapers stand where we had left them, and beside 
them lies the half-cut book that we had been studying, 
or the wired flower that we had worn at the ball, or 
the letter that we had been afraid to read, or that 
we had read too often. Nothing seems to us changed. 
Out of the unreal shadows of the night comes back 
the real life that we had known. We have to resume 
it where we had left off, and there steals over us a 
terrible sense of the necessity for the continuance of 
energy in the same wearisome round of stereotyped 
habits, or a wild longing, it may be, that our eyelids 
might open some morning upon a world that had been 
refashioned anew in the darkness for our pleasure, 
a world in which things would have fresh shapes 
and colours, and be changed, or have other secrets, 
a world in which the past would have little or no 
place, or survive, at any rate, in no conscious form 
of obligation or regret, the remembrance even of 
joy having its bitterness, and the memories of pleasure 
their pain. 

It was the creation of such worlds as these that 
seemed to Dorian Gray to be the true object, or 
amongst the true objects, of life ; and in his search 
for sensations that would be at once new and delight- 
ful, and possess that element of strangeness that is 
so essential to romance, he would often adopt certain 
modes of thought that he knew to be really alien to 
his nature, abandon himself to their subtle influences, 
and then, having, as it were, caught their colour and 
satisfied his intellectual curiosity, leave them with 
that curious indifference that is not imcompatible with 
a real ardour of temperament, and that indeed, 
according to certain modern psychologists, is often a 
condition of it. 

It was rumoured of him once that he was about 
to join the Roman Catholic communion ; and cer- 
tainly the Roman ritual had always a great attraction 
for him. The daily sacrifice, more awful really than 
all the sacrifices of the antique world, stirred him as 


much by its superb rejection of the evidence of the 
senses as by the primitive simplicity of its elements 
and the eternal pathos of the human tragedy that it 
sought to symbolise. He loved to kneel down on 
the cold marble pavement, and watch the priest, in 
his stiff flowered vestment, slowly and with white 
hands moving aside the veil of the tabernacle, or 
raising aloft the jewelled lantern-shaped monstrance 
with that pallid wafer that at times, one would fain 
think, is indeed the " perm's cselestis," the bread of 
angels, or, robed in the garments of the Passion of 
Christ, breaking the Host into the chalice, and smiting 
his breast for his sins. The fuming censers, that 
the grave boys, in their lace and scarlet, tossed into 
the air like great gilt flowers, had their subtle fascina- 
tion for him. As he passed out, he used to look with 
wonder at the black confessionals, and long to sit in 
the dim shadow of one of them and listen to men and 
women whispering through the worn grating the true 
story of their lives. 

But he never fell into the error of arresting his 
intellectual development by any formal acceptance 
of creed or system, or of mistaking, for a house in 
which to live, an inn that is but suitable for the so- 
journ of a night, or for a few hours of a night in which 
there are no stars and the moon is in travail. Mys- 
ticism, with its marvellous power of making common 
things strange to us, and the subtle antinomianism 
that always seems to accompany it, moved him for 
a season ; and for a season he inclined to the material- 
istic doctrines of the Darwinismus movement In 
Germany, and found a curious pleasure in tracing the 
thoughts and passions of men to some pearly cell in 
the brain, or some white nerve in the body, delighting 
in the conception of the absolute dependence of the 
spirit on certain physical conditions, morbid or 
healthy, normal or diseased. Yet, as has been said 
of him before, no theory of life seemed to him to be 
of any importance compared with life itself. He felt 
keenly conscious of how barren all intellectual specula- 


tion is when separated from action and experiment. 
He knew that the senses, no less than the soul, have 
their spiritual mysteries to reveal. 

And so he would now study perfumes, and the 
secrets of their manufacture, distilling heavily-scented 
oils, and burning odorous gums from the East. He 
saw that there was no mood of the mind that had not 
its counterpart in the sensuous life, and set himself 
to discover their true relations, wondering what there 
was in frankincense that made one mystical, and In 
ambergris that stirred one's passions, and in violets 
that woke the memory of dead romances, and in musk 
that troubled the brain, and in champak that stained 
the imagination ; and seeking often to elaborate a 
real psychology of perfumes, and to estimate the 
several influences of sweet-smelling roots, and scented 
pollen-laden flowers, or aromatic balms, and of dark 
and fragrant woods, of spikenard that sickens, of 
hovenia that makes men mad, and of aloes that are 
said to be able to expel melancholy from the soul. 

At another time he devoted himself entirely to music, 
and in a long latticed room, with a vermilion-and-gold 
ceiling and walls of olive-green lacquer, he used to 
give curious concerts, in which mad gypsies tore wild 
music from little zithers, or grave yellow-shawled 
Tunisians plucked at the strained strings of mon- 
strous lutes, while grinning negroes beat monotonously 
upon copper drums, and, crouching upon scarlet mats, 
slim turbaned Indians blew through long pipes of 
reed or brass, and charmed, or feigned to charm, 
great hooded snakes and horrible horned adders. 
The harsh intervals and shrill discords of barbaric 
music stirred him at times when Schubert's grace, and 
Chopin's beautiful sorrows, and the mighty harmonies 
of Beethoven himself, fell unheeded on his ear. He 
collected together from all parts of the world the 
strangest instruments that could be found, either in 
the tombs of dead nations or among the few savage 
tribes that have survived contact with Western 
civilisations, and loved to touch and try them. He 


had the mysterious juruparis of the Rio Negro Indians, 
that women are not allowed to look at, and that even 
youths may not see till they have been subjected to 
fasting and scourging, and the earthen jars of the 
Peruvians that have the shrill cries of birds, and flutes 
of human bones such as Alfonso de Ovalle heard in 
Chili, and the sonorous green jaspers that are found 
near Cuzco and give forth a note of singular sweetness. 
He had painted gourds filled with pebbles that rattled 
when they were shaken ; the long clarin of the Mexi- 
cans, into which the performer does not blow, but 
through which he inhales the air ; the harsh lure 
of the Amazon tribes, that is sounded by the sentinels 
who sit all day long in high trees, and can be heard, 
it is said, at a distance of three leagues ; the teponaztli, 
that has two vibrating tongues of wood, and is beaten 
with sticks that are smeared with an elastic gum ob- 
tained from the milky juice of plants ; the yo/Z-bells 
of the Aztecs, that are hung in clusters like grapes ; 
and a huge cylindrical drum, covered with the skins 
of great serpents, like the one that Bernal Diaz saw 
when he went with Cortes into the Mexican temple, 
and of whose doleful sound he has left us so vivid a 
description. The fantastic character of these In- 
struments fascinated him, and he felt a curious delight 
in the thought that Art, like Nature, has her monsters, 
things of bestial shape and with hideous voices. Yet, 
after some time, he wearied of them, and would sit 
in his box at the Opera, either alone or with Lord 
Henry, listening in rapt pleasure to " Tannhauser," 
and seeing in the prelude to that great work of art a 
presentation of the tragedy of his own soul. 

On one occasion he took up the study of jewels, 
and appeared at a costume ball as Anne de Joyeuse, 
Admiral of France, in a dress covered with five hun- 
dred and sixty pearls. This taste enthralled him for 
years, and, indeed, may be said never to have left 
him. He would often spend a whole day settling and 
resettling in their cases the various stones that he had 
collected, such as the olive-green chrysoberyl that 


turns red by lamplight, the cymophane with its 
wire-like line of silver, the pistachio-coloured peridot, 
rose-pink and wine-yellow topazes, carbuncles of 
fiery scarlet with tremulous four-rayed stars, flame- 
red cinnamon-stones, orange and violet spinels, and 
amethysts with their alternate layers of ruby and 
sapphire. He loved the red gold of the sunstone, and 
the moonstone's pearly whiteness, and the broken 
rainbow of the milky opal. He procured from 
Amsterdam three emeralds of extraordinary size and 
richness of colour, and had a turquoise de la vieille 
roche that was the envy of all the connoisseurs. 

He discovered wonderful stories, also, about jewels. 
In Alphonso's " Clericalis Disciplina " a serpent was 
mentioned with eyes of real jacinth, and in the ro- 
mantic history of Alexander, the Conqueror of Emathia 
was said to have found in the vale of Jordan snakes 
" with collars of real emeralds growing on their backs." 
There was a gem in the brain of the dragon, Philos- 
tratus told us, and " by the exhibition of golden 
letters and a scarlet robe " the monster could be 
thrown into a magical sleep, and slain. According 
to the great alchemist, Pierre de Boniface, the dia- 
mond rendered a man invisible, and the agate of India 
made him eloquent. The cornelian appeased anger, 
and the hyacinth provoked sleep, and the amethyst 
drove away the fumes of wine. The garnet cast out 
demons, and the hydropicus deprived the moon of her 
colour. The selenite waxed and waned with the 
moon, and the meloceus, that discovers thieves, could 
be affected only by the blood of kids. Leonardus 
Camillus had seen a white stone taken from the brain 
of a newly-killed toad, that was a certain antidote 
against poison. The bezoar, that was found in the 
heart of the Arabian deer, was a charm that could 
cure the plague. In the nests of Arabian birds was 
the aspilates, that, according to Democritus, kept the 
wearer from any danger by fire. 

The King of Ceilan rode through his city with a 
large ruby in his hand, at the ceremony of his 


coronation. The gates of the palace of John the Priest 
were " made of sardius, with the horn of the horned 
snake inwrought, so that no man might bring poison 
within." Over the gable were " two golden apples, 
in which were two carbuncles," so that the gold might 
shine by day, and the carbuncles by night. In 
Lodge's strange romance " A Margarite of America " 
it was stated that in the chamber of the queen one 
could behold " all the chaste ladies of the world, 
inchased out of silver, looking through fair mirrours 
of chrysolites, carbuncles, sapphires, and greene 
emeraults." Marco Polo had seen the inhabitants of 
Zipangu place rose-coloured pearls in the mouths of 
the dead. A sea-monster had been enamoured of the 
pearl that the diver brought to King Perozes, and had 
slain the thief, and mourned for seven moons over its 
loss. When the Huns lured the king into the great 
pit, he flung it away Procopius tells the story nor 
was it ever found again, though the Emperor Anas- 
tasius offered five hundred-weight of gold pieces for it. 
The King of Malabar had shown to a certain Venetian 
a rosary of three hundred and four pearls, one for 
every god that he worshipped. 

When the Duke de Valentinois, son of Alexander 
VI., visited Louis XII. of France, his horse was 
loaded with gold leaves, according to BrantSme, 
and his cap had double rows of rubies that threw 
out a great light. Charles of England had ridden in 
stirrups hung with four hundred and twenty-one 
diamonds. Richard II. had a coat, valued at thirty 
thousand marks, which was covered with balas rubies. 
Hall described Henry VIII., on his way to the Tower 
previous to his coronation, as wearing " a jacket of 
raised gold, the placard embroidered with diamonds 
and other rich stones, and a great bauderike about his 
neck of large balasses." The favourites of James I. 
wore earrings of emeralds set in gold filigrane. Edward 
II. gave to Piers Gaveston a suit of red-gold armour 
studded with jacinths, a collar of gold roses set with 
turquoise-stones, and a skull-cap parscmt with pearls. 


Henry II. wore jewelled gloves reaching to the elbow, 
and had a hawk-glove sewn with twelve rubies and 
fifty-two great orients. The ducal hat of Charles the 
Rash, the last Duke of Burgundy of his race, was 
hung with pear-shaped pearls, and studded with 

How exquisite life had once been 1 How gorgeous 
in its pomp and decoration I Even to read of the 
luxury of the dead was wonderful. 

Then he turned his attention to embroideries, and 
to the tapestries that performed the office of frescoes 
in the chill rooms of the Northern nations of Europe. 
As he investigated the subject and he always had an 
extraordinary faculty of becoming absolutely absorbed 
for the moment in whatever he took up he was al- 
most saddened by the reflection of the ruin that Time 
brought on beautiful and wonderful things. He, 
at any rate, had escaped that. Summer followed 
summer, and the yellow jonquils bloomed and died 
many times, <md nights of horror repeated the story 
of their shame, but he was unchanged. No winter 
marred his face or stained his llower-like bloom. How 
different it was with material things 1 Where had 
they passed to ? Where was the great crocus-coloured 
robe, on which the gods fought against the giants, 
that had been worked by brown girls for the pleasure 
of Athena ? Where, the huge velarium that Nero 
had stretched across the Colosseum at Rome, that 
Titan sail of purple on which was represented the 
starry sky, and Apollo driving a chariot drawn by 
white gilt-reined steeds ? He longed to see the curious 
table-napkins wrought for the Priest of the Sun, 
on which were displayed all the dainties and viands 
that could be wanted for a feast ; the mortuary 
cloth of King Chilperic, with its three hundred golden 
bees ; the fantastic robes that excited the indignation 
of the Bishop of Pontus, and were figured with " lions, 
panthers, bears, dogs, forests, rocks, hunters all, 
in fact, that a painter can copy from nature ; " and 
the coat that Charles of Orleans once wore, on the 


sleeves of which were embroidered the verses of a song 
beginning " J\Iadame, je suis tout joyeux," the musical 
accompaniment of the words being wrought in gold 
thread, and each note, of square shape in those days, 
formed with four pearls. He read of the room that 
was prepared at the palace at Rheims for the use of 
Queen Joan of Burgundy, and was decorated with 
" thirteen hundred and twenty-one parrots, made in 
broidery, and blazoned with the king's arms, and five 
hundred and sixty-one butterflies, whose wings were 
similarly ornamented with the arms of the queen, 
the whole worked in gold." Catherine de Medicis 
had a mourning-bed made for her of black velvet 
powdered with crescents and suns. Its curtains were 
of damask, with leafy wreaths and garlands, figured 
upon a gold and silver ground, and fringed along the 
edges with broideries of pearls, and it stood in a room 
hung with rows of the queen's devices in cut black 
velvet upon cloth of silver. Louis XIV. had gold 
embroidered caryatides fifteen feet high in his apart- 
ment. The state bed of Sobieski, King of Poland, 
was made of Smyrna gold brocade embroidered in 
turquoises with verses from the Koran. Its supports 
were of silver gilt, beautifully chased, and profusely 
set with enamelled and jewelled medallions. It had 
been taken from the Turkish camp before Vienna, 
and the standard of Mohammed had stood beneath 
the tremulous gilt of its canopy. 

And so, for a whole year, he sought to accumulate 
the most exquisite specimens that he could find of 
textile and embroidered work, getting the dainty 
Delhi muslins, finely wrought with gold-thread pal- 
mates, and stitched over with iridescent beetles' 
wings ; the Dacca gauzes, that from their trans- 
parency are known in the East as " woven air," and 
" running water," and " evening dew " ; strange 
figured cloths from Java ; elaborate yellow Chinese 
hangings ; books bound in tawny satins or fair blue 
silks, and wrought with fleurs de lys, birds, and images; 
veils of lads worked in Hungary point ; Sicilian bro- 


cades, and stiff Spanish velvets ; Georgian work with 
its gilt coins, and Japanese Foukousas with their green- 
toned golds and their marvellously-plumaged birds. 

He had a special passion, also, for ecclesiastical 
vestments, as indeed he had for everything con- 
nected with the service of the Church. In the long 
cedar chests that lined the west gallery of his house 
he had stored away many rare and beautiful specimens 
of what is really the raiment of the Bride of Christ, 
who must wear purple and jewels and fine linen that 
she may hide the pallid macerated body that is worn 
by the suffering that she seeks for, and wounded by 
self-inflicted pain. He possessed a gorgeous cope of 
crimson silk and gold-thread damask, figured with a 
repeating pattern of golden pomegranates set in six- 
petalled formal blossoms, beyond which on either side 
was the pine-apple device wrought in seed-pearls. 
The orphreys were divided into panels representing 
scenes from the life of the Virgin, and the coronation 
of the Virgin was figured in coloured silks upon the 
hood. This was Italian work of the fifteenth century. 
Another cope was of green velvet, embroidered with 
heart-shaped groups of acanthus-leaves, from which 
spread long-stemmed white blossoms, the details of 
which were picked out with silver thread and coloured 
crystals. The morse bore a seraph's head in gold- 
thread raised work. The orphreys were woven in a 
diaper of red and gold silk, and were starred with 
medallions of many saints and martyrs, among 
whom was St. Sebastian. He had chasubles, also, of 
amber-coloured silk, and blue silk and gold brocade, 
and yellow silk damask and cloth of gold, figured with 
representations of the Passion and Crucifixion of 
Christ, and embroidered with lions and peacocks and 
other emblems ; dalmatics of white satin and pink silk 
damask, decorated with tulips and dolphins and jleurs 
de lys ; altar frontals of crimson velvet and blue 
linen ; and many corporals, chalice-veils, and sudaria. 
In the mystic offices to which such things were put, 
there was something that quickened his imagination. 


For these treasures, and everything that he collected 
in his lovely house, were to be to him means of for- 
getfulness, modes by which he could escape, for a 
season, from the fear that seemed to him at times to 
be almost too great to be borne. Upon the walls of 
the lonely locked room where he had spent so much of 
his boyhood, he had hung with his own hands the 
terrible portrait whose changing features showed him 
the real degradation of his life, and in front of it had 
draped the purple-and-gold pall as a curtain. For 
weeks he would not go there, would forget the hideous 
painted thing, and get back his light heart, his wonder- 
ful joyousness, his passionate absorption in mere 
existence. Then, suddenly, some night he would creep 
out of the house, go down to dreadful places near 
Blue Gate Fields, and stay there, day after day, until 
he was driven away. On his return he would sit in 
front of the picture, sometimes loathing it and himself, 
but filled, at other times, with that pride of indivi- 
dualism that is half the fascination of sin, and smiling 
with secret pleasure, at the misshapen shadow that 
had to bear the burden that should have been his own. 

After a few years he could not endure to be long 
out of England, and gave up the villa that he had 
shared at Trouville with Lord Henry, as well as the 
little white walled-in house at Algiers where they had 
more than once spent the winter. He hated to be 
separated from the picture that was such a part of 
his life, and was also afraid that during his absence 
someone might gain access to the room, in spite of the 
elaborate bars that he had caused to be placed upon 
the door. 

He was quite conscious that this would tell them 
nothing. It was true that the portrait still preserved, 
under all the foulness and ugliness of the face, its 
marked likeness to himself ; but what could they 
learn from that ? He would laugh at anyone who 
tried to taunt him. He had not painted it. What 
was it to him how vile and full of shame it looked ? 
Even if he told them, would they believe it ? 


Yet he was afraid. Sometimes when he was 
down at his great house in Nottinghamshire, enter- 
taining the fashionable young men of his own rank 
who were his chief companions, and astounding the 
county by the wanton luxury and gorgeous splendour 
of his mode of life, he would suddenly leave his guests 
and rush back to town to see that the door had not 
been tampered with, and that the picture was still 
there. What if it should be stolen ? The mere 
thought made him cold with horror. Surely the 
world would know his secret then. Perhaps the 
world already suspected it. 

For, while he fascinated many, there were not a 
few who distrusted him. He was very nearly black- 
balled at a West End club of which his birth and 
social position fully entitled him to become a member, 
and it was said that on one occasion when he was 
brought by a friend into the smoking-room of the 
Churchill, the Duke of Berwick and another gentleman 
got up in a marked manner and went out. Curious 
stories became current about him after he had passed 
his twenty-fifth year. It was rumoured that he had 
been seen brawling with foreign sailors in a low den 
in the distant parts of Whitechapel, and that he con- 
sorted with thieves and coiners and knew the mysteries 
of their trade. His extraordinary absences became 
notorious, and, when he used to reappear again in 
society, men would whisper to each other in corners, 
or pass him with a sneer, or look at him with cold 
searching eyes, as though they were determined to 
discover his secret. 

Of such insolences and attempted slights he, of 
course, took no notice, and in the opinion of most 
people his frank debonair manner, his charming 
boyish smile, and the infinite grace of that wonderful 
youth that seemed never to leave him, were in them- 
selves a sufficient answer to the calumnies, for so they 
termed them, that were circulated about him. It 
was remarked, however, that some of those who had 
been most intimate with him appeared, after a time, 


to shun him. Women who had wildly adored him, 
and for his sake had braved all social censure and set 
convention at defiance, were seen to grow pallid with 
shame or horror if Dorian Gray entered the room. 

Yet these whispered scandals only increased, in the 
eyes of many, his strange and dangerous charm. 
His great wealth was a certain element of security. 
Society, civilised society at least, is never very ready 
to believe anything to the detriment of those who are 
both rich and fascinating. It feels instinctively that 
manners are of more importance than morals, and, 
in its opinion, the highest respectability is of much 
less value than the possession of a good chef. And, 
after all, it is a very poor consolation to be told that 
the man who has given one a bad dinner, or poor wine, 
is irreproachable in his private life. Even the cardinal 
virtues cannot atone for half-cold entrees, as Lord 
Henry remarked once, in a discussion on the subject ; 
and there is possibly a good deal to be said for his view. 
For the canons of good society are, or should be, the 
same as the canons of art. Form is absolutely es- 
sential to it. It should have the dignity of a cere- 
mony, as well as its unreality, and should combine 
the insincere character of a romantic play with the 
wit and beauty that make such plays delightful to us. 
Is insincerity such a terrible thing ? I think not. It 
is merely a method by which we can multiply our 

Such, at any rate, was Dorian Gray's opinion. He 
used to wonder at the shallow psychology of those 
who conceive the Ego in man as a thing simple, 
permanent, reliable, and of one essence. To him, 
man was a being with myriad lives and myriad sen- 
sations, a complex multiform creature that bore within 
itself strange legacies of thought and passion, and 
whose very flesh was tainted with the monstrous 
maladies of the dead. He loved to stroll through the 
gaunt cold picture-gallery of his country house and 
look at the various portraits of those whose blood 
flowed in his veins. Here was Philip Herbert, de- 


scribed by Francis Osborne, in his " Memoires on the 
Reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James," as one 
who was " caressed by the Court for his handsome 
face, which kept him not long company." Was it 
young Herbert's life that he sometimes led? Had 
some strange poisonous germ crept from body to body 
till it had reached his own ? Was it some dim sense 
of that ruined grace that had made him so suddenly, and 
almost without cause, give utterance, in Basil Hall- 
ward's studio, to the mad prayer that had so changed 
his life ? Here, in gold-embroidered red doublet, 
jewelled surcoat, and gilt-edged ruff and wrist-bands, 
stood Sir Anthony Sherard, with his silver-and-black 
armour piled at his feet. What had this man's legacy 
been ? Had the lover of Giovanna of Naples be- 
queathed him some inheritance of sjn and shame ? 
Were his own actions merely the dreams that the 
dead man had not dared to realise ? Here, from the 
fading canvas, smiled Lady Elizabeth Devereux, In 
her gauze hood, pearl stomacher, and pink slashed 
sleeves. A flower was in her right hand, and her 
left clasped an enamelled collar of white and damask 
roses. On a table by her side lay a mandolin and an 
apple. There were large green rosettes upon her 
little pointed shoes. He knew her life, and the 
strange stories that were told about her lovers. Had 
he something of her temperament in him ? These 
oval heavy-lidded eyes seemed to look curiously at 
him. What of George Willoughby, with his powdered 
hair and fantastic patches ? How evil he looked I 
The face was saturnine and swarthy, and the sensual 
lips seemed to be twisted with disdain. Delicate 
lace ruffles fell over the lean yellow hands that were so 
over-laden with rings. He had been a macaroni of the 
eighteenth century, and the friend, in his youth, of 
Lord Ferrars. What of the second Lord Beckenham, 
the companion of the Prince Regent in his wildest 
days, and one of the witnesses at the secret marriage 
with Mrs. Fitzherbert ? How proud and handsome 
he was, with his chestnut curls and insolent pose ! 


What passions had he bequeathed ? The world had 
looked upon him as infamous. He had led the orgies 
at Carlton House. The star of the Garter glittered 
upon his breast. Beside him hung the portrait of his 
wife, a pallid, thin-lipped woman in black. Her 
blood, also, stirred within him. How curious it all 
seemed 1 And his mother with her Lady Hamilton 
face, and her moist wine-dashed lips he knew what 
he had got from her. He had got from her his beauty, 
and his passion for the beauty of others. She laughed 
at him in her loose Bacchante dress. There were vine 
leaves in her hair. The purple spilled from the cup 
she was holding. The carnations of the painting had 
withered, but the eyes were still wonderful in their 
depth and brilliancy of colour. They seemed to 
follow him wherever he went. 

Yet one had ancestors in literature, as well as in 
one's own race, nearer perhaps in type and tempera- 
ment, many of them, and certainly with an influence 
of which one was more absolutely conscious. There 
were times when it appeared to Dorian Gray that the 
whole of history was merely the record of his own life, 
not as he had lived it in act and circumstance, but 
as his imagination had created it for him, as it had 
been in his brain and in his passions. He felt that he 
had known them all, those strange terrible figures that 
had passed across the stage of the world and made 
sin so marvellous, and evil so full of subtlety. It 
seemed to him that in some mysterious way their 
lives had been his own. 

The hero of the wonderful novel that had so In- 
fluenced his life had himself known this curious fancy. 
In the seventh chapter he tells how, crowned with 
laurel, lest lightning might strike him, he had sat, as 
Tiberius, in a garden at Capri, reading the shameful 
books of Elephantis, while dwarfs and peacocks 
strutted round him, and the flute-player mocked the 
swinger of the censer ; and, as Caligula, had caroused 
with the green-shirted jockeys in their stables and 
supped in an Ivory manger with a jewel-frontleted 


horse ; and, as Domitian, had wandered through a 
corridor lined with marble mirrors, looking round with 
haggard eyes for the reflection of the dagger that 
was to end his days, and sick with that ennui, that 
terrible tsediam vilse, that comes on those to whom 
life denies nothing ; and had peered through a clear 
emerald at tlie red shambles of the Circus, and then, 
in a litter of pearl and purple drawn by silver-shod 
mules, been carried through the Street of Pome- 
granates to a House of Gold, and heard men cry 
on Nero Caesar as he passed by ; and, as Elagabalus, 
had painted his face with colours, and plied the 
distaff among the women, and brought the Moon from 
Carthage, and given her in mystic marriage to the Sun. 
Over and over again Dorian used to read this 
fantastic chapter, and the two chapters immediately 
following, in which, as in some curious tapestries or 
cunningly-wrought enamels, were pictured the awful 
and beautiful forms of those whom Vice and Blood 
and Weariness had made monstrous or mad : Filippo, 
Duke of Milan, who slew his wife, and painted her lips 
with a scarlet poison that her lover might suck death 
from the dead thing he fondled ; Pietro Barbi, the 
Venetian, known as Paul the Second, who sought 
in his vanity to assume the title of Formosus, and 
whose tiara, valued at two hundred thousand florins, 
was bought at the price of a terrible sin ; Gian Maria 
Visconti, who used hounds to chase living men, and 
whose murdered body was covered with roses by a 
harlot who had loved him ; the Borgia on his white 
horse, with Fratricide riding beside him, and his 
mantle stained with the blood of Perotto ; Pietro 
Riario, the young Cardinal Archbishop of Florence, 
child and minion of Sixtus IV., whose beauty was 
equalled only by his debauchery, and who received 
Leonora of Aragon in a pavilion of white and crimson 
silk, filled with nymphs and centaurs, and gilded a 
boy that he might serve at the feast as Ganymede or 
Hylas ; Ezzelin, whose melancholy could be cured 
only by the spectacle of death, and who had a passion 


for red blood, as other men have for red wine the 
son of the Fiend, as was reported, and one who had 
cheated his father at dice when gambling with him 
for his own soul ; Giambattista Cibo, who in mockery 
took the name of Innocent, and into whose torpid 
veins the blood of three lads was infused by a Jewish 
doctor ; Sigismondo Malatesta, the lover of Isotta, 
and the lord of Rimini, whose effigy was burned at 
Rome as the enemy of God and man, who strangled 
Polyssena with a napkin, and gave poison to Ginevra 
d'Este in a cup of emerald, and in honour of a shame- 
ful passion built a pagan church for Christian wor- 
ship ; Charles VI., who had so wildly adored his 
brother's wife that a leper had warned him of the 
insanity that was coming on him, and who, when his 
brain had sickened and grown strange, could only be 
soothed by Saracen cards painted with the images of 
Love and Death and Madness ; and, in his trimmed 
jerkin and jewelled cap and acanthus-like curls, 
Grifonetto Baglioni, who slew Astorre with his bride, 
and Simonetto with his page, and whose comeliness was 
such that, as he lay dying in the yellow piazza, of 
Perugia, those who had hated him could not choose 
but weep, and Atalanta, who had cursed him, blessed 

There was a horrible fascination in them all. He 
saw them at night, and they troubled his imagination 
in the day. The Renaissance knew of strange manners 
of poisoning poisoning by a helmet and a lighted 
torch, by an embroidered glove and a jewelled fan, 
by a gilded pomander and by an amber chain. Dorian 
Gray had been poisoned by a book. There were mo- 
ments when he looked on evil simply as a mode through 
which he could realise his conception of the beautiful. 


IT was on the ninth of November, the eve of his own 
thirty-eighth birthday, as he often remembered after- 

He was walking home about eleven o'clock from 
Lord Henry's, where he had been dining, and was 
wrapped in heavy furs, as the night was cold and 
foggy. At the corner of Grosvenor Square and South 
Audley Street a man passed him in the mist, walking 
very fast, and with the collar of his grey ulster turned 
up. He had a bag in his hand. Dorian recognised 
him. It was Basil Hallward. A strange sense of fear, 
for which he could not account, came over him. He 
made no sign of recognition, and went on quickly in 
the direction of his own house. 

But Hallward had seen him. Dorian heard him 
first stopping on the pavement, and then hurrying 
after him. In a few moments his hand was on his 

" Dorian 1 What an extraordinary piece of luck 1 
I have been waiting for you in your library ever since 
nine o'clock. Finally I took pity on your tired 
servant, and told him to go to bed, as he let me out. 
I am off to Paris by the midnight train, and I parti- 
cularly wanted to see you before I left. I thought it 
was you, or rather your fur coat, as you passed me. 
But I wasn't quite sure. Didn't you recognise me ? " 

" In this fog, my dear Basil ? Why, I can't even 
recognise Grosvenor Square. I believe my house is 
somewhere about here, but I don't feel at all certain 
about it. I am sorry you are going away, as I have 



not seen you for ages. But I suppose you will be 
back soon ? " 

" No : I am going to be out of England for six 
months. I intend to take a studio in Paris, and 
shut myself up till I have finished a great picture I 
have in my head. However, it wasn't about myself 
I wanted to talk. Here we are at your door. Let 
me come in for a moment. I have something to say 
to you." 

" I shall be charmed. But won't you miss your 
train ? " said Dorian Gray, languidly, as he passed 
up the steps and opened the door with his latchkey. 

The lamp-light struggled out through the fog, and 
Hallward looked at his watch. " I have heaps of 
time," he answered. " The train doesn't go till 
twelve-fifteen, and it is only just eleven. In fact, 
I was on my way to the club to look for you, when 
I met you. You see, I shan't have any delay about 
luggage, as I have sent on my heavy things. All I 
have with me is in this bag, and I can easily get to 
Victoria in twenty minutes." 

Dorian looked at him and smiled. " What a way 
for a fashionable painter to travel ! A Gladstone 
bag, and an ulster I Come in, or the fog will get 
into the house. And mind you don't talk about 
anything serious. Nothing is serious nowadays. At 
least nothing should be." 

Hallward shook his head as he entered, and followed 
Dorian into the library. There was a bright wood 
fire blazing in the large open hearth. The lamps 
were lit, and an open Dutch silver spirit-case stood, 
with some siphons of soda-water and large cut-glass 
tumblers, on a little marqueterie table. 

" You see your servant made me quite at home, 
Dorian. He gave me everything I wanted, including 
your best gold-tipped cigarettes. He is a most 
hospitable creature. I like him much better than the 
Frenchman you used to have. What has become of 
the Frenchman, by the bye ? " 

Dorian shrugged his shoulders. " I believe he 


married Lady Radley's maid, and has established her 
in Paris as an English dressmaker. Anglomania is 
very fashionable over there now, I hear. It seems 
silly of the French, doesn't it ? But do you know ? 
lie \vas not at all a bad servant. I never liked him, 
but I had nothing to complain about. One often 
imagines things that are quite absurd. He was 
really very devoted to me, and seemed quite sorry 
when he went away. Have another brandy-and-soda? 
Or would you like hock-and-seltzer ? I always take 
hock-and-seltzer myself. There is sure to be some 
in the next room." 

" Thanks, I won't have anything more," said the 
painter, taking his cap and coat off, and throwing 
them on the bag that he had placed in the corner. 
" And now, my clear fellow, I want to speak to you 
seriously. Don't frown like that. You make it so 
much more difficult for me." 

" What is it all about ? " cried Dorian, in his 
petulant way, flinging himself down on the sofa. 
" I hope it is not about myself. I am tired of myself 
to-night. I should like to be somebody else." 

" It is about yourself," answered Hallward, in 
his grave, deep voice, " and I must say it to you. I 
shall only keep you half an hour." 

Dorian sighed, and lit a cigarette. " Half an 
hour ! " he murmured. 

" It is not much to ask of you, Dorian, and it Is 
entirely for your own sake that I am speaking. I 
think it right that you should know that the most 
dreadful things are being said against you in London." 

" I don't wish to know anything about them. I 
love scandals about other people, but scandals about 
myself don't interest me. They have not got the 
charm of novelty." 

" They must interest you, Dorian. Every gentle- 
man is interested in his good name. You don't want 
people to talk of you as something vile and degraded. 
Of course you have your position, and your wealth, 
and all that kind of thing. But position and wealth 


are not everything. Mind you, I don't believe these 
rumours at all. At least, I can't believe them when 
I see you. Sin is a thing that writes itself across a 
man's face. It cannot be concealed. People talk 
sometimes of secret vices. There are no such things. 
If a wretched man has a vice, it shows itself in the 
lines of his mouth, the droop of his eyelids, the 
moulding of his hands even. Somebody I won't 
mention his name, but you know him came to me 
last year to have his portrait done. I had never seen 
him before, and had never heard anything about him 
at the time, though I have heard a good deal since. 
He offered an extravagant price. I refused him. 
There was something in the shape of his fingers that I 
hated. I know now that I was quite right in what I 
fancied about him. His life is dreadful. But you, 
Dorian, with your pure, bright, innocent face, and 
your marvellous untroubled youth I can't believe 
anything against you. And yet I see you very 
seldom, and you never come down to the studio now, 
and when I am away from you, and I hear all these 
hideous things that people are whispering about you, 
I don't know what to say. Why is it, Dorian, that 
a man like the Duke of Berwick leaves the room of 
a club when you enter it ? Why is it that so many 
gentlemen in London will neither go to your house 
nor invite you to theirs ? You used to be a friend of 
Lord Staveley. I met him at dinner last week. Your 
name happened to come up in conversation, in con- 
nection with the miniatures you have lent to the 
exhibition at the Dudley. Staveley curled his lip, 
and said that you might have the most artistic tastes, 
but that you were a man whom no pure-minded girl 
should be allowed to know, and whom no chaste 
woman should sit in the same room with. I reminded 
him that I was a friend of yours, and asked him what 
he meant. He told me. He told me right out 
before everybody. It was horrible ! Why Is your 
friendship so fatal to young men ? There was that 
wretched boy in the Guards who committed suicide. 


You were his great friend. There was Sir Henry 
Ashlon, who had to leave England, with a tarnished 
name. You and he were inseparable. What about 
Adrian Singleton, and his dreadful end ? What 
about Lord Kent's only son, and his career ? I met 
his father yesterday in St. James's Street. He 
seemed broken with shame and sorrow. What about 
the young Duke of Perth ? What sort of life has he 
got now ? What gentleman would associate with 
him ? " 

" Stop, Basil. You are talking about things of 
which you know nothing," said Dorian Gray, biting 
his lip, and with a note of infinite contempt in his 
voice. " You ask me why Berwick leaves a room 
when I enter it. It is because I know everything 
about his life, not because he knows anything about 
mine. With such blood as he has in his veins, how 
could his record be clean ? You ask me about Henry 
Ashton and young Perth. Did I teach the one his 
vices, and the other his debauchery ? If Kent's silly 
son takes his wife from the streets what is that to 
me ? If Adrian Singleton writes his friend's name 
across a bill, am I his keeper ? I know how people 
chatter in England. The middle classes air their 
moral prejudices over their gross dinner-tables, and 
whisper about what they call the profligacies of their 
betters in order to try and pretend that they are in 
smart society, and on intimate terms with the people 
they slander. In this country it is enough for a man 
to have distinction and brains for every common 
tongue to wag against him. And what sort of lives 
do these people, who pose as being moral, lead them- 
selves ? My dear fellow, you forget that we are in 
the native land of the hypocrite." 

" Dorian," cried Hallward, " that is not the ques- 
tion. England is bad enough, I know, and English 
society is all wrong. That is the reason why I want 
you to be fine. You have not been fine. One has 
a right to judge of a man by the effect he has over 
his friends. Yours seem to lose all sense of honour, 


of goodness, of purity. You have filled them with 
a madness for pleasure. They have gone down into 
the depths. You led them there. Yes : you led 
them there, and yet you can smile, as you are smiling 
now. And there is worse behind. I know you and 
Harry are inseparable. Surely for that reason, if 
for none other, you should not have made his sister's 
name a by-word." 

" Take care, Basil. You go too far." 
" I must speak, and you must listen. You shall 
listen. When you met Lady Gwendolen, not a 
breath of scandal had ever touched her. Is there a 
single decent woman in London now who would 
drive with her in the Park ? Why, even her children 
are not allowed to live with her. Then there are 
other stories stories that you have been seen creeping 
at dawn out of dreadful houses and slinking in disguise 
into the foulest dens in London. Are they true ? 
Can they be true ? When I first heard them, I 
laughed. I hear them now, and they make me 
shudder. What about your country house, and the 
life that is led there ? Dorian, you don't know what 
is said about you. I won't tell you that I don't want 
to preach to you. I remember Harry saying once 
that every man who turned himself into an amateur 
curate for the moment always began by saying that, 
and then proceeded to break his word. I do want 
to preach to you. I want you to lead such a life as 
will make the world respect you. I want you to have 
a clean name and a fair record. I want you to get 
rid of the dreadful people you associate with. Don't 
shrug your shoulders like that. Don't be so in- 
different. You have a wonderful influence. Let it 
be for good, not for evil. They say that you corrupt 
everyone with whom you become intimate, and that 
it is quite sufficient for you to enter a house, for 
shame of some kind to follow after. I don't know 
whether it is so or not. How should I know ? But 
it is said of you. I am told things that it seems 
impossible to doubt. Lord Gloucester was one of 


my greatest friends at Oxford. He showed me a 
letter that his wife had written to him when she was 
dying alone in her villa at Mentone. Your name was 
implicated in the most terrible confession I ever read. 
I told him that it was absurd that I knew you 
thoroughly, and that you were incapable of anything 
of the kind. Know you ? I wonder do I know you ? 
Before I could answer that, I should have to see your 

" To see my soul 1 " muttered Dorian Gray, 
starting up from the sofa and turning almost white 
from fear. 

" Yes," answered Hallward, gravely, and with 
deep-toned sorrow in his voice " to see your soul. 
But only God can do that." 

A bitter laugh of mockery broke from the lips of 
the younger man. " You shall see it yourself, to- 
night I " he cried, seizing a lamp from the table. 
" Come : it is your own handiwork. Why shouldn't 
you look at it ? You can tell the world all about 
it afterwards, if you choose. Nobody would believe 
you. If they did believe you, they w T ould like me 
all the better for it. I know the age better than you 
do, though you will prate about it so tediously. 
Come, I tell you. You have chattered enough about 
corruption. Now you shall look on it face to face." 

There was the madness of pride in every word he 
uttered. He stamped his foot upon the ground in 
his boyish insolent manner. He felt a terrible joy 
at the thought that someone else was to share his 
secret, and that the man who had painted the portrait 
that was the origin of all his shame was to be bur- 
dened for the rest of his life with the hideous memory 
of what he had done. 

" Yes," he continued, coming closer to him, and 
looking steadfastly into his stern eyes, " I shall show 
you my soul. You shall see the thing that you fancy 
only God can see." 

Hallward started back. " This is blasphemy, 
Dorian I " he cried. " You must not say things like 


that. They are horrible, and they don't mean 

' You think so ? " He laughed again. 

" I know so. As for what I said to you to-night, 
I said it for your good. You know I have been always 
a staunch friend to you." 

" Don't touch me. Finish what you have to say." 

A twisted flash of pain shot across the painter's 
face. He paused for a moment, and a wild feeling 
of pity came over him. After all, what right had 
he to pry into the life of Dorian Gray ? If he had 
done a tithe of what was rumoured about him, how 
much he must have suffered 1 Then he straightened 
himself up, and walked over to the fireplace, and 
stood there, looking at the burning logs with their 
frost-like ashes and their throbbing cores of flame. 

" I am waiting, Basil," said the young man, in a 
hard, clear voice. 

He turned round. " What I have to say is this," 
he cried. " You must give me some answer to these 
horrible charges that are made against you. If you 
tell me that they are absolutely untrue from begin- 
ning to end, I shall believe you. Deny them, Dorian, 
deny them I Can't you see what I am going through ? 
My God I don't tell me that you are bad, and corrupt, 
and shameful." 

Dorian Gray smiled. There was a curl of contempt 
in his lips. " Come upstairs, Basil," he said, quietly. 
" I keep a diary of my life from day to day, and it 
never leaves the room in which it is written. I shall 
show it to you if you come with me." 

" I shall come with you, Dorian, if you wish it. 
I see I have missed my train. That makes no matter. 
I ean go to-morrow. But don't ask me to read any- 
thing to-night. All I want is a plain answer to my 

" That shall be given to you upstairs. I could 
not give it here. You will not have to read long." 


HE passed out of the room, and began the ascent, 
Basil Halhvard following close behind. They walked 
softly, as men do instinctively at night. The lamp 
cast fantastic shadows on the wall and staircase. A 
rising wind made some of the windows rattle. 

When they reached the top landing, Dorian set 
the lamp down on the floor, and taking out the key 
turned it in the lock. " You insist on knowing, 
Basil ? " he asked, in a low voice. 

" Yes." 

" I am delighted," he answered, smiling. Then 
he added, somewhat harshly, " You are the one man 
in the world who is entitled to know everything about 
me. You have had more to do with my life than you 
think : " and, taking up the lamp, he opened the door 
and went in. A cold current of air passed them, and 
the light shot up for a moment in a flame of murky 
orange. He shuddered. " Shut the door behind 
you," he whispered, as he placed the lamp on the 

Halhvard glanced round him, with a puzzled ex- 
pression. The room looked as if it had not been 
lived in for years. A faded Flemish tapestry, a cur- 
tained picture, an old Italian cassonc, and an almost 
empty bookcase that was all that it seemed to 
contain, besides a chair and a table. As Dorian 
Gray was lighting a half-burned candle that was 
standing on the mantelshelf, he saw that the whole 
place was covered with dust, and that the carpet 



was in holes. A mouse ran scuffling behind the 
wainscoting. There was a damp odour of mildew. 

" So you think that it is only God who sees the 
soul, Basil ? Draw that curtain back, and you will 
see mine." 

The voice that spoke was cold and cruel. " You 
are mad, Dorian, or playing a part," muttered Hall- 
ward, frowning. 

" You won't ? Then I must do it myself," said 
the young man ; and he tore the curtain from its 
rod, and flung it an the ground. 

An exclamation of horror broke from the painter's 
lips as he saw in the dim light the hideous face on 
the canvas grinning at nLa. There was something 
in its expression that filled him with disgust and 
loathing. Good heavens ! it was Dorian Gray's own 
face that he was looking at ! The horror, whatever 
it was, had not yet entirely spoiled that marvellous 
beauty. There was still some gold in the thinning 
hair and some scarlet on the sensual mouth. The 
sodden eyes had kept something of the loveliness of 
their blue, the noble curves had not yet completely 
passed away from chiselled nostrils and from plastic 
throat. Yes, it was Dorian himself. But who had 
done it ? He seemed to recognise his own brush- 
work, and the frame was his own design. The idea 
was monstrous, yet he felt afraid. He seized the 
lighted candle, and held it to the picture. In the 
left-hand corner was his own name, traced in long 
letters of bright vermilion. 

It was some foul parody, some infamous, ignoble 
satire. He had never done that. Still, it was his 
own picture. He knew it, and he felt as if his blood 
had changed In a moment from fire to sluggish ice. 
His own picture ! What did it mean ? Why had 
it altered ? He turned, and looked at Dorian Gray 
with the eyes of a sick man. His moufrNtwitched, 
and his parched tongue seemed unable to articulate. 
He passed his hand across his forehead. It was 
dank with clammy sweat. 


The young man was leaning against the mantel- 
shelf, watching him with that strange expression 
that one sees on the faces of those who are absorbed 
In a play when some great artist is acting. There 
was neither real sorrow in it nor real joy. There was 
simply the passion of the spectator, with perhaps a 
flicker of triumph in his eyes. He had taken the 
flower out of his coat, and was smelling it, or pre- 
tending to do so. 

" What does this mean ? " cried Haliward, at 
last. His own voice sounded shrill and curious in 
his ears. 

" Years ago, when I was a boy," said Dorian Gray, 
crushing the flower in his hand, " you met me, 
flattered me, and taught me to be vain of my good 
looks. One day you introduced me to a friend of 
yours, who explained to me the wonder of youth, 
and you finished the portrait of me that revealed to 
me the wonder of beauty. In a mad moment, that, 
even now, I don't know whether I regret or not, I 
made a wish, perhaps you would call it a prayer . . ." 

" I remember it 1 Oh, how well I remember it ! 
No 1 the thing is impossible. The room is damp. 
Mildew has got into the canvas. The paints I used 
had some wretched mineral poison in them. I tell 
you the thing is impossible." 

" Ah, what is impossible ? " murmured the young 
man, going over to the window, and leaning his 
forehead against the cold, mist-stained glass. 

" You told me you had destroyed it." 

" I was wrong. It has destroyed me." 

" I don't believe it is my picture." 

" Can't you see your ideal in it ? " said Dorian, 

" My ideal, as you call it . . ." 

" As you called it." 

" There was nothing evil in it, nothing shameful. 
You were to me such an ideal as I shall never meet 
again This is the face of a satyr." 

" It is the face of my soul." 


" Christ I what a thing I must have worshipped I 
It has the eyes of a devil." 

" Each of us has Heaven and Hell in him, Basil," 
cried Dorian, with a wild gesture of despair. 

Hallward turned again to the portrait, and gazed 
at it. " My God ! if it is true," he exclaimed, " and 
this is what you have done with your life, why, you 
must be worse even than those who talk against 
you fancy you to be ! " He held the light up again 
to the canvas, and examined it. The surface seemed 
to be quite undisturbed, and as he had left it. It 
was from within, apparently, that the foulness and 
horror had come. Through some strange quickening 
of inner life the leprosies of sin were slowly eating 
the thing away. The rotting of a corpse in a watery 
grave was not so fearful. 

His hand shook, and the candle fell from its socket 
on the floor, and lay there sputtering. He placed 
his foot on it and put it out. Then he flung himself 
into the rickety chair that was standing by the 
table and buried his face in his hands. 

" Good God, Dorian, what a lesson I what an 
awful lesson I " There was no answer, but he could 
hear the young man sobbing at the window. " Pray, 
Dorian, pray," he murmured. " What is it that 
one was taught to say in one's boyhood ? ' Lead 
us not into temptation. Forgive us our sins. Wash 
away our iniquities.' Let us say that together. The 
prayer of your pride has been answered. The prayer 
of your repentance will be answered also. I wor- 
shipped you too much. I am punished for it. You 
worshipped yourself too much. We are both 

Dorian Gray turned slowly around, and looked at 
him with tear-dimmed eyes. " It is too late, Basil," 
he faltered. 

" It is never too late, Dorian. Let us kneel down 
and try if we cannot remember a prayer. Isn't 
there a verse somewhere, ' Though your sins be as 
scarlet, yet I will make them as white as snow ' ? " 


" Those words mean nothing to me now." 

" Hush 1 don't say that. You have done enough 
evil in your life. My God I don't you see that 
accursed thing leering at us ? " 

Dorian Gray glanced at the picture, and suddenly 
an uncontrollable feeling of hatred for Basil Hallward 
came over him, as though it had been suggested to 
him by the image on the canvas, whispered into his 
ear by those grinning lips. The mad passions of a 
hunted animal stirred within him, and he loathed 
the man who was seated at the table, more than in 
his whole life he had ever loathed anything. He 
glanced wildly around. Something glimmered on 
the top of the painted chest that faced him. His 
eye fell on it. He knew what it was. It was a knife 
that he had brought up, some days before, to cut a 
piece of cord, and had forgotten to take away with 
him. He moved slowly towards it, passing Hallward 
as he did so. As soon as he got behind him, he 
seized it, and turned round. Hallward stirred in his 
chair as if he was going to rise. He rushed at him, 
and dug the knife into the great vein that is behind 
the ear, crushing the man's head down on the table, 
and stabbing again and again. 

There was a stifled groan, and the horrible sound 
of someone choking with blood. Three times the 
outstretched arms shot up convulsively, waving 
grotesque stiff-fingered hands in the air. He stabbed 
him twice more, but the man did not move. Some- 
thing began to trickle on the floor. He waited for 
a moment, still pressing the head down. Then he 
threw the knife on the table, and listened. 

He could hear nothing but the drip, drip on the 
threadbare carpet. He opened the door and went 
out on the landing. The house was absolutely quiet. 
No one was about. For a few seconds he stood 
bending over the balustrade, and peering down into 
the black seething well of darkness. Then he took 
out the key and returned to the room, locking himself 
in as he did so. 


The thing was still seated in the chair, straining 
over the table with bowed head, and humped back, 
and long fantastic arms. Had it not been for the 
red jagged tear in the neck, and the clotted black 
pool that was slowly widening on the table, one would 
have said that the man was simply asleep. 

How quickly it had all been done 1 He felt 
strangely calm, and, walking over to the window, 
opened it, and stepped out on the balcony. The 
wind had blown the fog away, and the sky was like 
a monstrous peacock's tail, starred with myriads of 
golden eyes. He looked down, and saw the police- 
man going his rounds and flashing the long beam of 
his lantern on the doors of the silent houses. The 
crimson spot of a prowling hansom gleamed at the 
corner, and then vanished. A woman in a fluttering 
shawl was creeping slowly by the railings, staggering 
as she went. Now and then she stopped, and peered 
back. Once, she began to sing in a hoarse voice. 
The policeman strolled over and said something to 
her. She stumbled away, laughing. A bitter blast 
swept across the Square. The gas-lamps flickered, 
aud became blue, and the leafless trees shook their 
black iron branches to and fro. He shivered, and 
went back, closing the window behind him. 

Having reached the door, he turned the key, and 
opened it. He did not even glance at the murdered 
man. He felt that the secret of the whole thing was 
not to realise the situation. The friend who had 
painted the fatal portrait to which all his misery 
had been due, had gone out of his life. That was 

Then he remembered the lamp. It was a rather 
curious one of Moorish workmanship, made of dull 
silver inlaid with arabesques of burnished steel, and 
studded with coarse turquoises. Perhaps it might 
be missed by his servant, and questions would be 
asked. He hesitated for a moment, then he turned 
back and took it from the table. He could not help 
seeing the dead thing. How still it was 1 How 


horribly white the long hands looked ! It was like 
a dreadful wax image. 

Having locked the door behind him, he crept 
quietly downstairs. The woodwork creaked, and 
seemed to cry out as if in pain. He stopped several 
times, and waited. No : everything was still. It 
was merely the sound of his own footsteps. 

When he reached the library, he saw the bag and 
coat in the corner. They must be hidden away 
somewhere. He unlocked a secret press that was 
in the wainscoting, a press in which he kept his own 
curious disguises, and put them into it. He could 
easily burn them afterwards. Then he pulled out 
his watch. It was twenty minutes to two. 

He sat down, and began to think. Every year 
every month, almost men were strangled in England 
for what he had done. There had been a madness 
of murder in the air. Some red star had come too 
close to the earth. . . . And yet what evidence was 
there against him ? Basil Hallward had left the 
house at eleven. No one had seen him come in 
again. Most of the servants were at Selby Royal. 
His valet had gone to bed. . . . Paris ! Yes. It was 
to Paris that Basil had gone, and by the midnight 
train, as he had intended. With his curious reserved 
habits, it would be months before any suspicions 
would be aroused. Months 1 Everything could be 
destroyed long before then. 

A sudden thought struck him. He put on his fur 
coat and hat, and went out into the hall. There 
he paused, hearing the slow heavy tread of the police- 
man on the pavement outside, and seeing the flash 
of the bull's-eye reflected in the window. He waited, 
and held his breath. 

After a few moments he drew back the latch, and 
slipped out, shutting the door very gently behind him. 
Then he began ringing the bell. In about five minutes 
his valet appeared half dressed, and looking very 

" I am sorry to have had to wake you up, Francis," 


he said, stepping in ; " but I had forgotten my latch- 
key. What time is it ? " 

" Ten minutes past two, sir," answered the man, 
looking at the clock and blinking. 

" Ten minutes past two ? How horribly late ! 
You must wake me at nine to-morrow. I have some 
work to do." 

" All right, sir." 

" Did anyone call this evening ? " 

" Mr. Hallward, sir. He stayed here till eleven, 
and then he went away to catch his train." 

" Oh 1 I am sorry I didn't see him. Did he leave 
any message ? " 

" No, sir, except that he would write to you from 
Paris, if he did not find you at the club." 

" That will do, Francis. Don't forget to call me 
at nine to-morrow." 

" No, sir." 

The man shambled down the passage in his slippers. 

Dorian Gray threw his hat and coat upon the table, 
and passed into the library. For a quarter of an 
hour he walked up and down the room biting his lip, 
and thinking. Then he took down the Blue Book from 
one of the shelves, and began to turn over the leaves. 
" Alan Campbell, 152, Hertford Street, Mayfair." 
Yes ; that was the man he wanted. 


AT nine o'clock the next morning his servant came 
In with a cup of chocolate on a tray, and opened the 
shutters. Dorian was sleeping quite peacefully, lying 
on his right side, with one hand underneath his 
cheek. He looked like a boy who had been tired out 
with play, or study. 

The man had to touch him twice on the shoulder 
before he woke, and as he opened his eyes a faint 
smile passed across his lips, as though he had been 
lost in some delightful dream. Yet he had not 
dreamed at all. His night had been untroubled by 
any images of pleasure or of pain. But youth smiles 
without any reason. It is one of its chiefest charms. 

He turned round, and, leaning upon his elbow, 
began to sip his chocolate. The mellow November 
sun came streaming into the room. The sky was 
bright, and there was a genial warmth in the air. 
It was almost like a morning in May. 

Gradually the events of the preceding night crept 
with silent blood-stained feet into his brain, and 
reconstructed themselves there w r ith terrible distinct- 
ness. He winced at the memory of all that he had 
suffered, and for a moment the same curious feeling 
of loathing for Basil Hallward that had made him 
kill him as he sat In the chair, came back to him, 
and he grew cold with passion. The dead man was 
still sitting there, too, and in the sunlight now. How 
horrible that was I Such hideous things were for the 
darkness, not for the day. 

He felt that if he brooded on what he had gone 



through he would sicken or grow mad. There were 
sins whose fascination was more in the memory than 
in the doing of them ; strange triumphs that gratified 
the pride more than the passions, and gave to the 
intellect a quickened sense of joy, greater than any 
joy they brought, or could ever bring, to the senses. 
But this was not one of them. It was a thing to be 
driven out of the mind, to be drugged with poppies, 
to be strangled lest it might strangle one itself. 

When the half-hour struck, he passed his hand 
across his forehead, and then got up hastily, and 
dressed himself with even more than his usual care, 
giving a good deal of attention to the choice of his 
necktie and scarf-pin, and changing his rings more 
than once. He spent a long time also over breakfast, 
tasting the various dishes, talking to his valet about 
some new liveries that he was thinking of getting made 
for the servants at Selby, and going through his 
correspondence. At some of the letters he smiled. 
Three of them bored him. One he read several times 
over, and then tore up with a slight look of annoyance 
in his face. " That awful thing, a woman's memory 1 " 
as Lord Henry had once said. 

After he had drunk his cup of black coffee, he wiped 
his lips slowly with a napkin, motioned to his servant 
to wait, and going over to the table sat down and 
wrote two letters. One he put hi his pocket, the other 
he handed to the valet. 

" Take this round to 152, Hertford Street, Francis, 
and if Mr. Campbell is out of town, get his address." 

As soon as he was alone, he lit a cigarette, and 
began sketching upon a piece of paper, drawing first 
flowers, and bits of architecture, and then human 
faces. Suddenly he remarked that every face that 
he drew seemed to have a fantastic likeness to Basil 
Hallward. He frowned, and, getting up, went over 
to the bookcase and took out a volume at hazard. 
He was determined that he would not think about 
what had happened until it became absolutely 
necessary that he should do so. 


When he had stretched himself on the sofa, he 
looked at the title-page of the book. It was Gautier's 
" Emaux et Came'es," Charpentier's Japanese-paper 
edition, with the Jacquemart etching. The binding 
was of citron-green leather, with a design of gilt 
trellis-work and dotted pomegranates. It had been 
given to him by Adrian Singleton. As he turned over 
the pages his eye fell on the poem about the hand of 
Lacenaire, the cold yellow hand " da sapplice encore 
mal lavee," with its downy red hairs and its " doigts 
de faune." He glanced at his own white taper fingers, 
shuddering slightly in spite of himself, and passed on, 
till he came to those lovely stanzas upon Venice : 

" Sur une gamme chromatique, 
Le sein de perlcs ruisselant, 
La Venus de 1 Adriatique 

Sort de 1'eau son corps rose et blanc. 

* Los domes, sur 1'azur des ondcs 

Suivant la phrase au pur contour, 
S'enflent comme des gorges rondes 
Que souleve un soupir d'amour. 

*' L'esquif aborde et me depose, 
Jetant son amarre au pilier, 
Devant une facade rose, 

Sur le marbre d'un escalier." 

How exquisite they were 1 As one read them, 
one seemed to be floating down the green water- 
ways of the pink and pearl city, seated in a black 
gondola with silver prow and trailing curtains. The 
mere lines looked to him like those straight lines 
of turquoise-blue that follow one as one pushes 
out to the Lido. The sudden flashes of colour 
reminded him of the gleam of the opal-and-iris- 
thronted birds that flutter round the tall honey- 
combed Campanile, or stalk, with such stately grace, 
through the dim, dust-stained arcades. Leaning 
back with half-closed eyes, he kept saying over and 
over to himself : j 

" Devant une facade rose, 

Sur le marbre d'un escalier." 


The whole of Venice was in those two lines. He 
remembered the autumn that he had passed there, 
and a wonderful love that had stirred him to mad, 
delightful follies. There was romance in every place. 
But Venice, like Oxford, had kept the background for 
romance, and, to the true romantic, background was 
everything, or almost everything. Basil had been 
with him part of the time, and had gone wild over 
Tintoret. Poor Basil 1 what a horrible way for a man 
to die ! 

He sighed, and took up the volume again, an. I 
tried to forget. He read of the swallows that fly 
in and out of the little cafe at Smyrna where the Hadjis 
sit counting their amber beads and the turbaned 
merchants smoke their long tasselled pipes and talk 
gravely to each other ; he read of the Obelisk in the 
Place de la Concorde that weeps tears of granite in 
its lonely sunless exile, and longs to be back by the 
hot lotus-covered Nile, w r here there are Sphinxes, and 
rose-red ibises, and white vultures with gilded claws, 
and crocodiles, with small beryl eyes, that crawl over 
the green steaming mud ; he began to brood over those 
verses which, drawing music from kiss-stained marble, 
tell of that curious statue that Gautier compares to 
a contralto voice, the " monsire charmanl " that 
couches hi the porphyry-room of the Louvre. But 
after a time the book fell from his hand. He grew 
nervous, and a horrible fit of terror came over him. 
What if Alan Campbell should be out of England? 
Days would elapse before he could come back. Per- 
haps he might refuse to come. What could he do 
then ? Every moment was of vital importance. 
They had been great friends once, five years before 
almost inseparable, indeed. Then the intimacy 
had come suddenly to an end. When they met in 
society now, it was only Dorian Gray who smiled ; 
Alan Campbell never did. 

He was an extremely clever young man, though 
he had no real appreciation of the visible arts, and 
whatever little sense of the beauty of poetry he 


possessed lie had gained entirely from Dorian. His 
dominant intellectual passion was for science. At 
Cambridge he had spent a great deal of his time 
working in the Laboratory, and had taken a good 
class in the Natural Science Tripos of his year. In- 
deed, he was still devoted to the study of chemistry, 
and had a laboratory of his own, in which he used to 
shut himself up all day long, greatly to the annoyance 
of. his mother, who had set her heart on his standing 
for Parliament, and had a vague idea that a chemist 
was a person who made up prescriptions. He was 
an excellent musician, however, as well, and played 
both the violin and the piano better than most 
amateurs. In fact, it was music that had first brought 
him and Dorian Gray together music and that inde- 
finable attraction that Dorian seemed to be able to 
exercise whenever he wished, and indeed exercised 
often without being conscious of it. They had met at 
Lady Berkshire's the night that Rubinstein played 
there, and after that used to be always seen together 
at the Opera, and wherever good music was going 
on. For eighteen months their intimacy lasted. 
Campbell was always either at Selby Royal or in 
Grosvenor Square. To him, as to many others, 
Dorian Gray was the type of everything that is 
wonderful and fascinating in life. Whether or not 
a quarrel had taken place between them no one 
ever knew. But suddenly people remarked that 
they scarcely spoke when they met, and that Camp- 
bell seemed always to go away early from any party 
at which Dorian Gray was present. He had changed, 
too was strangely melancholy at times, appeared 
almost to dislike hearing music, and would never 
himself play, giving as his excuse, when he was called 
upon, that he was so absorbed in science that he had 
no time left in which to practise. And this was 
certainly true. Every day he seemed to become more 
Interested in biology, and his name appeared once or 
twice in some of the scientific reviews, in connection 
with certain curious experiments. 


This was the man Dorian Gray was waiting for. 
Every second he kept glancing at the clock. As 
the minutes went by he became horribly agitated. 
At last he got up, and began to pace up and down the 
room, looking like a beautiful caged thing. He took 
long stealthy strides. His hands were curiously cold. 

The suspense became unbearable. Time seemed 
to him to be crawling with feet of lead, while he by 
monstrous winds was being swept towards the jagged 
edge of some black cleft of precipice. He knew what 
was waiting for him there ; saw it indeed, and, 
shuddering, crushed with dank hands his burning lids 
as though he would have robbed the very brain of 
sight, and driven the eyeballs back into their cave. 
It was useless. The brain had its own food on which 
it battened, and the imagination, made grotesque by 
terror, twisted and distorted as a living thing by 
pain, danced like some foul puppet on a stand, and 
grinned through moving masks. Then, suddenly, 
Time stopped for him. Yes : that blind, slow- 
breathing thing crawled no more, and horrible 
thoughts, Time being dead, raced nimbly on in front, 
and dragged a hideous future from its grave, and 
showed it to him. He stared at it. Its very horror 
made him stone. 

At last the door opened, and his servant entered. 
He turned glazed eyes upon him. 

" Mr. Campbell, sir," said the man. 

A sigh of relief broke from his parched lips, and the 
colour came back to his cheeks. 

" Ask him to come in at once, Francis." He felt 
that he was himself again. His mood of cowardice 
had passed away. 

The man bowed, and retired. In a few moments 
Alan Campbell walked in, looking very stern and 
rather pale, his pallor being intensified by his cpal- 
black hair and dark eyebrows. 

" Alan ! this is kind of you. I thank you for 

" I had intended never to enter your house again, 


Gray. But you said it was a matter of life and 
death." His voice was hard and cold. He spoke 
with slow deliberation. There was a look of con- 
tempt in the steady searching gaze that he turned 
on Dorian. He kept his hands in the pockets of 
his Astrakhan coat, and seemed not to have noticed 
the gesture with which he had been greeted. 

" Yes : it is a matter of life and death, Alan, and 
to more than one person. Sit down." 

Campbell took a chair by the table, and Dorian 
sat opposite to him. The two men's eyes met. In 
Dorian's there was infinite pity. He knew that what 
he was going to do was dreadful. 

After a strained moment of silence, he leaned across 
and said, very quietly, but watching the effect of 
each word upon the face of him he had sent for, " Alan, 
in a locked room at the top of this house, a room to 
which nobody but myself has access, a dead man is 
seated at a table. He has been dead ten hours now. 
Don't stir, and don't look at me like that. Who the 
man is, why he died, how he died, are matters that do 
not concern you. What you have to do is this " 

" Stop, Gray. I don't want to know anything 
further. Whether what you have told me is true or 
not true, doesn't concern me. I entirely decline 
to be mixed up in your life. Keep your horrible 
secrets to yourself. They don't interest me any more." 

" Alan, they will have to interest you. This one 
will have to interest you. I am awfully sorry for you, 
Alan. But I can't help myself. You are the one 
man who is able to save me. I am forced to bring 
you into the matter. I have no option. Alan, you 
are scientific. You know about chemistry, and 
things of that kind. You have made experiments. 
What you have got to do Is to destroy the thing that is 
upstairs to destroy it so that not a vestige of it will 
be left. Nobody saw this person come into the house. 
Indeed, at the present moment he is supposed to be hi 
Paris. He will not be missed for months. When 
he is missed, there must be no trace of him found 


here. You, Alan, you must change him, and every- 
thing that belongs to him, into a handful of ashes that 
I may scatter in the air." 

" You are mad, Dorian." 

" Ah 1 I was waiting for you to call me Dorian." 

" You are mad, I tell you mad to imagine that 
I would raise a finger to help you, mad to make 
this monstrous confession. I will have nothing to 
do with this matter, whatever it is. Do you think 
I am going to peril my reputation for you ? What 
is it to me what devil's work you are up to ? " 

" It was suicide, Alan." 

" I am. glad of that. But who drove him to it? 
You, I should fancy." 

" Do you still refuse to do this for me ? " 

" Of course I refuse. I will have absolutely nothing 
to do with it. I don't care what shame comes on you. 
You deserve it all. I should not be sorry to see 
you disgraced, publicly disgraced. How dare you ask 
me, of all men in the world, to mix myself up in this 
horror ? I should have thought you knew more about 
people's characters. Your friend Lord Henry Wotton 
can't have taught you much about psychology, what- 
ever else he has taught you. Nothing will induce me 
to stir a step to help you. You have come to the 
wrong man. Go to some of your friends. Don't 
come to me." 

" Alan, it was murder. I killed him. You don't 
know what he had made me suffer. Whatever my 
life is, he had more to do with the making or the 
marring of it than poor Harry has had. He may not 
have intended it, the result was the same." 

" Murder I Good God, Dorian, is that what you 
have come to ? I shall not inform upon you. It is 
not my business. Besides, without my stirring in the 
matter, you are certain to be arrested. Nobody 
ever commits a crime without doing something stupid. 
But I will have nothing to do with it." 

" You must have something to do with it. Wait, 
wait a moment ; listen to me. Only listen, Alan. 


All I ask of you is to perform a certain scientific 
experiment. You go to hospitals and dead-houses, 
and the horrors that you do there don't affect you. 
If in some hideous dissecting-room or fetid laboratory 
you found this man lying on a leaden table with red 
gutters scooped out in it for the blood to flow through, 
you would simply look upon him as an admirable 
subject. You would not turn a hair. You would 
not believe that you were doing anything wrong. 
On the contrary, you would probably feel that you 
were benefiting the human race, or increasing the sum 
of knowledge in the world, or gratifying intellectual 
curiosity, or something of that kind. What I want 
you to do is merely what you have often done before. 
Indeed, to destroy a body must be far less horrible 
than what you are accustomed to work at. And, 
remember, it is the only piece of evidence against me. 
If it is discovered, I am lost ; and it is sure to be 
discovered unless you help me." 

" I have no desire to help you. You forget that. 
I am simply indifferent to the whole thing. It has 
nothing to do with me." 

" Alan, I entreat you. Think of the position I 
am in. Just before you came I almost fainted with 
terror. You may know terror yourself some day. 
No ! don't think of that. Look at the matter purely 
from the scientific point of view. You don't inquire 
where the dead things on which you experiment come 
from. Don't inquire now. I have told you too much 
as it is. But I beg of you to do this. We were friends 
once, Alan." 

" Don't speak about those days, Dorian : they are 

" The dead linger sometimes. The man upstairs 
will not go away. He is sitting at the table with 
bowed head and outstretched arms. Alan 1 Alan 1 
if you don't come to my assistance I am ruined. 
Why, they will hang me, Alan ! Don't you under- 
stand ? They will hang me for what I have done." 

" There is no good in prolonging this scene. I 


absolutely refuse to do anything in the matter. It 
is insane of you to ask me." 
' You refuse ? " 
' Yes." 

' I entreat you, Alan." 
' It is useless." 

The same look of pity came into Dorian Gray's 
eyes. Then he stretched out his hand, took a piece 
of paper, and wrote something on it. He read it over 
twice, folded it carefully, and pushed it across the 
table. Having done this, he got up, and went over 
to the window. 

Campbell looked at him in surprise, and then took 
up the paper, and opened it. As he read it, his face 
became ghastly pale, and he fell back in his chair. 
A horrible sense of sickness came over him. He felt 
as if his heart was beating itself to death in some empty 

After two or three minutes of terrible silence, 
Dorian turned round, and came and stood behind 
him, putting his hand upon his shoulder. 

" I am so sorry for you, Alan," he murmured, 
" but you leave me no alternative. I have a letter 
written already. Here it is. You see the address. 
If you don't help me, I must send it. If you don't 
help me, I will send it. You know what the result 
will be. But you are going to help me. It is im- 
possible for you to refuse now. I tried to spare you. 
You will do me the justice to admit that. You were 
stern, harsh, offensive. You treated me as no man 
has ever dared to treat me no living man, at any 
rate. I bore it all. Now it is for me to dictate terms." 

Campbell buried his face in his hands, and a shudder 
passed through him. 

" Yes, it is my turn to dictate terms, Alan. You 
know what they are. The thing is quite simple. 
Come, don't work yourself into this fever. The 
thing has to be done. Face it, and do it." 

A groan broke from Campbell's lips, and he shivered 
all over. The ticking of the clock on the mantelpiece 


seemed to him to be dividing Time into separate atoms 
of agony, each of which was too terrible to be borne. 
He felt as if an iron ring was being slowly tightened 
round his forehead, as if the disgrace with which he 
was threatened had already come upon him. The 
hand upon his shoulder weighed like a hand of lead. 
It was intolerable. It seemed to crush him. 

" Come, Alan, you must decide at once." 

" I cannot do it," he said, mechanically, as though 
words could alter things. 

" You must. You have no choice. Don't delay." 

He hesitated a moment. " Is there a fire in the 
room upstairs ? " 

" Yes, there is a gas-fire with asbestos." 

" I shall have to go home and get some things from 
the laboratory." 

" No, Alan, you must not leave the house. Write 
out on a sheet of note-paper what you want, and my 
servant will take a cab and bring the things back to 

Campbell scrawled a few lines, blotted them, and 
addressed an envelope to his assistant. Dorian 
took the note up and read it carefully. Then he 
rang the bell, and gave it to his valet, with orders to 
return as soon as possible, and to bring the things 
with him. 

As the hall door shut, Campbell started nervously, 
and, having got up from the chair, went over to the 
chimney-piece. He was shivering with a kind of ague. 
For nearly twenty minutes, neither of the men spoke. 
A fly buzzed noisily about the room, and the ticking 
of the clock was like the beat of a hammer. 

As the chime struck one, Campbell turned round, 
and, looking at Dorian Gray, saw that his eyes were 
filled with tears. There was something in the purity 
and refinement of that sad face that seemed to enrage 
him. " You are infamous, absolutely infamous ! " 
he muttered. 

" Hush, Alan : you have saved my life," said Dorian. 

" Your life ? Good heavens 1 what a life that 


Is 1 You have gone from corruption to corruption, 
and now you have culminated in crime. In doing 
what I am going to do, what you force me to do, it 
is not of your life that I am thinking." 

" Ah, Alan," murmured Dorian, with a sigh, 
" I wish you had a thousandth part of the pity for 
me that I have for you." He turned away as he 
spoke, and stood looking out at the garden. Campbell 
made no answer. 

After about ten minutes a knock came to the door, 
and the servant entered, carrying a large mahogany 
chest of chemicals, with a long coil of steel and platinum 
wire and two rather curiously-shaped iron clamps. 

" Shall I leave the things here, sir ? " he asked 

" Yes," said Dorian. " And I am afraid, Francis, 
that I have another errand for you. What is the 
name of the man at Richmond who supplies Selby 
with orchids ? " 

" Harden, sir." 

" Yes Harden. You must go down to Richmond 
at once, see Harden personally, and tell him to send 
twice as many orchids as I ordered, and to have as 
few white ones as possible. In fact, I don't want 
any \vhite ones. It is a lovely day, Francis, and 
Richmond is a very pretty place, otherwise I wouldn't 
bother you about it." 

" No trouble, sir. At what time shall I be back? " 

Dorian looked at Campbell. " How long will your 
experiment take, Alan ? " he said, in a calm, in- 
different voice. The presence of a third person in 
the room seemed to give him extraordinary courage. 

Campbell frowned, and bit his lip. " It will take 
about five hours," he answered. 

" It will be time enough, then, if you are back at 
half-past seven, Francis. Or stay : just leave my 
things out for dressing. You can have the evening 
to yourself. I am not dining at home, so I shall not 
want you." 

" Thank you, sir," said the man, leaving the room. 


" Now, Alan, there is not a moment to be lost. 
How heavy this chest is I I'll take it for you. You 
bring the other things." He spoke rapidly, and in 
an authoritative manner. Campbell felt dominated 
by him. They left the room together. 

When they reached the top landing, Dorian 
took out the key and turned it in the lock. Then 
he stopped, and a troubled look came into his eyes. 
He shuddered. " I don't think I can go in, Alan," 
he murmured. 

" It is nothing to me. I don't require you," said 
Campbell, coldly. 

Dorian half opened the door. As he did so, he saw 
the face of his portrait leering In the sunlight. On 
the floor in front of it the torn curtain was lying. He 
remembered that the night before he had forgotten, 
for the first time in his life, to hide the fatal canvas, 
and was about to rush forward, when he drew back 
with a shudder. 

What was that loathsome red dew that gleamed, 
wet and glistening, on one of the hands, as though 
the canvas had sweated blood ? How horrible it was ! 
more horrible, it seemed to him for the moment, 
than the silent thing that he knew was stretched 
across the table, the thing whose grotesque misshapen 
shadow on the spotted carpet showed him that it had 
not stirred, but was still there, as he had left It. 

He heaved a deep breath, opened the door a little 
wider, and with half-closed eyes and averted head 
walked quickly in, determined that he would not look 
even once upon the dead man. Then, stooping down, 
and taking up the gold and purple hanging, he flung it 
right over the picture. 

There he stopped, feeling afraid to turn round, and 
his eyes fixed themselves on the intricacies of the 
pattern before him. He heard Campbell bringing in 
the heavy chest, and the irons, and the other things 
that he had required for his dreadful work. He began 
to wonder if he and Basil Hallward had ever met, and, 
if so, what they had thought of each other. 


" Leave me now," said a stern voice behind him. 

He turned and hurried out, just conscious that the 
dead man had been thrust back into the chair, and 
that Campbell was gazing into a glistening yellow face. 
As he was going downstairs he heard the key being 
turned in the lock. 

It was long after seven when Campbell came back 
Into the library. He was pale, but absolutely calm. 
" I have done what you asked me to do," he muttered. 
" And now, good-bye. Let us never see each other 

" You have saved me from ruin, Alan. I cannot 
forget that," said Dorian, simply. 

As soon as Campbell had left, he went upstairs. 
There was a horrible smell of nitric acid In the room. 
But the thing that had been sitting at the table was 


THAT evening, at eight-thirty, exquisitely dressed 
and wearing a large buttonhole of Parma violets, 
Dorian Gray was ushered into Lady Narborough's 
drawing-room by bowing servants. His forehead was 
throbbing with maddened nerves, and he felt wildly 
excited, but his manner as he bent over his hostess's 
hand was as easy and graceful as ever. Perhaps one 
never seems so much at one's ease as when one has to 
play a part. Certainly no one looking at Dorian Gray 
that night could have believed that he had passed 
through a tragedy as horrible as any tragedy of our 
age. Those finely-shaped fingers could never have 
clutched a knife for sin, nor those smiling lips have 
cried out on God and goodness. He himself could 
not help wondering at the calm of his demeanour, 
and for a moment felt keenly the terrible pleasure of 
a double life. 

It was a small party, got up rather in a hurry by 
Lady Narborough, who was a very clever woman, 
with what Lord Henry used to describe as the re- 
mains of really remarkable ugliness. She had proved 
an excellent wife to one of our most tedious am- 
bassadors, and having buried her husband properly 
in a marble mausoleum, which she had herself de- 
signed, and married off her daughters to some rich, 
rather elderly men, she devoted herself now to the 
pleasures of French fiction, French cookery, and French 
esprit when she could get it. 

Dorian was one of her special favourites, and she 
always told him that she was extremely glad she had 



not met him in early life. " I know, my dear, I should 
have fallen madly in love with you," she used to say, 
" and thrown my bonnet right over the mills for your 
sake. It is most fortunate that you were not thought 
of at the time. As it was, our bonnets were so un- 
becoming, and the mills were so occupied in trying to 
raise the wind, that I never had even a flirtation with 
anybody. However, that was all Narborough's 
fault. He was dreadfully short-sighted, and there Is 
no pleasure in taking in a husband who never sees 

Her guests this evening were rather tedious. The 
fact was, as she explained to Dorian, behind a very 
shabby fan, one of her married daughters had come 
up quite suddenly to stay with her, and, to make 
matters worse, had actually brought her husband with 
her. " I think it is most unkind of her, my dear," 
she whispered. " Of course I go and stay with them 
every summer after I come from Homburg, but then 
an old woman like me must have fresh air sometimes, 
and besides, I really wake them up. You don't know 
what an existence they lead down there. It is pure 
unadulterated country life. They get up early, 
because they have so much to do, and go to bed early 
because they have so little to think about. There 
has not been a scandal in the neighbourhood since the 
time of Queen Elizabeth, and consequently they all 
fall asleep after dinner. You shan't sit next either 
of them. You shall sit by me, and amuse me." 

Dorian murmured a graceful compliment, and 
looked round the room. Yes : it was certainly a 
tedious party. Two of the people he had never seen 
before, and the others consisted of Ernest Harrowden, 
one of those middle-aged mediocrities so common in 
London clubs who have no enemies, but are thoroughly 
disliked by their friends ; Lady Ruxton, an over- 
dressed woman of forty-seven, with a hooked nose, 
who was always trying to get herself compromised, 
but was so peculiarly plain that to her great disappoint- 
ment no one would ever believe anything against 


her ; Mrs. Erlynne, a pushing nobody, with a delight- 
ful lisp, and Venetian-red hair ; Lady Alice Chapman, 
his hostess's daughter, a dowdy dull girl, with one of 
those characteristic British faces, that, once seen, 
are never remembered ; and her husband, a red- 
cheeked, white-whiskered creature who, like so many 
of his class, was under the impression that inordinate 
joviality can atone for an entire lack of ideas. 

He was rather sorry he had come, till Lady Nar- 
borough, looking at the great ormolu gilt clock that 
sprawled in gaudy curves on the mauve-draped mantel- 
shelf, exclaimed : " How horrid of Henry Wotton 
to be so late 1 I sent round to him this morning on 
chance, and he promised faithfully not to disappoint 

It was some consolation that Harry was to be there, 
and when the door opened and he heard his slow 
musical voice lending charm to some insincere apology, 
he ceased to feel bored. 

But at dinner he could not eat anything. Plate 
after plate went away untasted. Lady Narborough 
kept scolding him for what she called " an insult to 
poor Adolphe, who invented the menu specially for 
you," and now and then Lord Henry looked across 
at him, wondering at his silence and abstracted 
manner. From time to time the butler filled his glass 
with champagne. He drank eagerly, and his thirst 
seemed to increase. 

" Dorian," said Lord Henry, at last, as the chaud- 
froid was being handed round, " what is the matter 
with you to-night ? You are quite out of sorts." 

" I believe he is in love," cried Lady Narborough, 
" and that he is afraid to tell me for fear I should 
be jealous. He is quite right. I certainly should." 

" Dear Lady Narborough," murmured Dorian, 
smiling, " I have not been in love for a whole week 
not, in fact, since Madame de Ferrol left town." 

" How you men can fall in love with that woman I " 
exclaimed the old lady. " I really cannot understand 

" It is simply because she remembers you when 
you were a little girl, Lady Narborough," said Lord 
Henry. " She is the one link between us and your 
short frocks." 

" She does not remember my short frocks at all, 
Lord Henry. But I remember her very well at 
Vienna thirty years ago, and how decolletee she was 

" She is still decolletee," he answered, taking an 
olive in his long fingers; "and when she is in a very 
smart gown she looks like an Edition de luxe of a bad 
French novel. She is really wonderful, and full of 
surprises. Her capacity for family affection is ex- 
traordinary. When her third husband died, her hair 
turned quite gold from grief." 

" How can you, Harry ! " cried Dorian. 

" It is a most romantic explanation," laughed the 
hostess. " But her third husband, Lord Henry I 
You don't mean to say Ferrol is the fourth." 

" Certainly, Lady Narborough." 

" I don't believe a word of it." 

" Well, ask Mr. Gray. He is one of her most in- 
timate friends." 

" Is it true, Mr. Gray ? " 

" She assures me so, Lady Narborough," said 
Dorian. " I asked her whether, like Marguerite de 
Navarre, she had their hearts embalmed and hung 
at her girdle. She told me she didn't, because none 
of them had had any hearts at all." 

" Four husbands I Upon my word that is Irop 
de zele." 

" Trop d'audace, I tell her," said Dorian. 

" Oh 1 she is audacious enough for anything, my 
dear. And what is Ferrol like ? I don't know him." 

" The husbands of very beautiful women belong 
to the criminal classes," said Lord Henry, sipping 
his wine. 

Lady Narborough hit him with her fan. " Lord 
Henry, I am not at all surprised that the world says 
that you are extremely wicked." 


" But what world says that ? " asked Lord Henry, 
elevating his eyebrows. " It can only be the next 
world. This world and I are on excellent terms." 

" Everybody I know says you are very wicked," 
cried the old lady, shaking her head. 

Lord Henry looked serious for some moments. 
" It is perfectly monstrous," he said, at last, " the 
way people go about nowadays saying things against 
one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely 

" Isn't he incorrigible ? " cried Dorian, leaning 
forward in his chair. 

" I hope so," said his hostess, laughing.' " But 
really if you all worship Madame de Ferrol in this 
ridiculous way, I shall have to marry again so as to 
be in the fashion." 

" You will never marry again, Lady Narborough," 
broke in Lord Henry. " You were far too happy. 
When a woman marries again it is because she de- 
tested her first husband. When a man marries 
again, it is because he adored his first wife. Women 
try their luck ; men risk theirs." 

" Narborough wasn't perfect," cried the old lady. 

" If he had been, you would not have loved him, 
my dear lady," was the rejoinder. " Women love 
us for our defects. If we have enough of them they 
will forgive us everything, even our intellects. You 
will never ask me to dinner again, after saying this, 
I am afraid, Lady Narborough ; but it is quite true." 

" Of course it is true, Lord Henry. If we women 
did not love you for your defects, where would you 
all be ? Not one of you would ever be married. You 
would be a set of unfortunate bachelors. Not, how- 
ever, that that would alter you much. Nowadays all 
the married men live like bachelors, and all the bache- 
lors like married men." 

" Fin de siecle," murmured Lord Henry. 

" Fm du globe," answered his hostess. 

" I wish it were fin du globe," said Dorian, with a 
sigh. " Life is a great disappointment." 


" Ah, my dear," cried Lady Narborough, putting 
on her gloves, " don't tell me that you have exhausted 
Life. When a man says that one knows that Life 
has exhausted him. Lord Henry is very wicked, and 
I sometimes wish that I had been ; but you are made 
to be good you look so good. I must find you a nice 
wife. Lord Henry, don't you think that Mr. Gray 
should get married ? " 

" I am always telling him so, Lady Narborough," 
said Lord Henry, with a bow. 

" Well, we must look out for a suitable match for 
him. I shall go through Debrett carefully to-night, 
and draw out a list of all the eligible young ladies." 

" With their ages, Lady Narborough ? " asked 

" Of course, with their ages, slightly edited. But 
nothing must be done in a hurry. I want it to be 
what The Morning Post calls a suitable alliance, and 
I want you both to be happy." 

" What nonsense people talk about happy mar- 
riages 1 " exclaimed Lord Henry. " A man can be 
happy with any woman, as long as he does not love 

" Ah ! what a cynic you are ! " cried the old lady, 
pushing back her chair, and nodding to Lady Ruxton. 
" You must come and dine with me soon again. You 
are really an admirable tonic, much better than what 
Sir Andrew prescribes for me. You must tell me what 
people you would like to meet, though. I want it to 
be a delightful gathering." 

" I like men who have a future, and women who 
have a past," he answered. " Or do you think that 
would make it a petticoat party ? " 

" I fear so," she said, laughing, as she stood up. 
" A thousand pardons, my dear Lady Ruxton," she 
added. " I didn't see you hadn't finished your 

" Never mind, Lady Narborough. I smoke a 
great deal too much. I am going to limit myself, 
for the future." 


" Pray don't, Lady Ruxton," said Lord Henry. 
" Moderation is a fatal thing. Enough is as bad 
as a meal. More than enough is as good as a feast." 

Lady Ruxton glanced at him curiously. " You 
must come and explain that to me some afternoon, 
Lord Henry. It sounds a fascinating theory," she 
murmured, as she swept out of the room. 

" Now, mind you don't stay too long over your 
politics and scandal," cried Lady Narborough from 
the door. " If you do, we are sure to squabble up- 

The men laughed, and Mr. Chapman got up solemnly 
from the foot of the table and came up to the top. 
Dorian Gray changed his seat, and went and sat by 
Lord Henry. Mr. Chapman began to talk in a loud 
voice about the situation in the House of Commons. 
He guffawed at his adversaries. The word doctrinaire 
word full of terror to the British mind reappeared 
from time to time between his explosions. An 
alliterative prefix served as an ornament of oratory. 
He hoisted the Union Jack on the pinnacles of 
Thought. The inherited stupidity of the race sound 
English common sense he jovially termed it was 
shown to be the proper bulwark for Society. 

A smile curved Lord Henry's lips, and he turned 
round and looked at Dorian. 

" Are you better, my dear fellow ? " he asked. 
" You seemed rather out of sorts at dinner." 

" I am quite well, Harry. I am tired. That 
is all." 

" You were charming last night. The little Duchess 
is quite devoted to you. She tells me she is going 
down to Selby." 

" She has promised to come on the twentieth." 

" Is Monmouth to be there too ? " 

" Oh, yes, Harry." 

" He bores me dreadfully, almost as much as he 
bores her. She is very clever, too clever for a 
woman. She lacks the indefinable charm of weakness. 
It is the feet of clay that makes the gold of the image 


precious. Her feet are very pretty, but they are not 
feet of clay. White porcelain feet, if you like. They 
have been through the fire, and what fire does not 
destroy, it hardens. She has had experiences." 

" How long has she been married ? " asked Dorian. 

" An eternity, she tells me. I believe, according 
to the peerage, it is ten years, but ten years with 
Monmouth must have been like eternity, with time 
thrown in. Who else is coming ? " 

" Oh, the Willoughbys, Lord Rugby and his wife, 
our hostess, Geoffrey Clouston, the usual set. I have 
asked Lord Grotrian." 

" I like him," said Lord Henry. " A great many 
people don't, but I find him charming. He atones 
for being occasionally somewhat over-dressed, by 
being always absolutely over-educated. He is a very 
modern type." 

" I don't know if he will be able to come, Harry. 
He may have to go to Monte Carlo with his father." 

" Ah I what a nuisance people's people are 1 Try 
and make him come. By the way, Dorian, you ran 
off very early last night. You left before eleven. 
What did you do afterwards ? Did you go straight 
home ? " 

Dorian glanced at him hurriedly, and frowned. 
" No, Harry," he said at last, " I did not get home 
till nearly three." 

" Did you go to the club ? " 

" Yes," he answered. Then he bit his lip. " No, 
I don't mean that. I didn't go to the club. I 
walked about. I forget what I did. . . . How in- 
quisitive you are, Harry 1 You always want to 
know what one has been doing. I always want to 
forget what I have been doing. I came in at half- 
past two, if you wish to know the exact time. I 
had left my latch-key at home, and my servant had 
to let me in. If you want any corroborative evidence 
on the subject you can ask him." 

Lord Henry shrugged his shoulders. " My dear 
fellow, as if I cared I Let us go up to the drawing- 


room. No sherry, thank you, Mr. Chapman. Some- 
thing has happened to you, Dorian. Tell me what it 
Is. You are not yourself to-night." 

" Don't mind me, Harry. I am irritable, and out 
of temper. I shall come round and see you to-morrow 
or next day. Make my excuses to Lady Narborough. 
I shan't go upstairs. I shall go home. I must go 

" All right, Dorian. I daresay I shall see you to- 
morrow at tea-time. The Duchess is coming." 

" I will try to be there, Harry," he said, leaving 
the room. As he drove back to his own house he 
was conscious that the sense of terror he thought 
he had strangled had come back to him. Lord 
Henry's casual questioning had made him lose his 
nerves for the moment, and he wanted his nerve still. 
Things that were dangerous had to be destroyed. He 
winced. He hated the idea of even touching them. 

Yet it had to be done. He realised that, and when 
he had locked the door of his library, he opened the 
secret press into which he had thrust Basil Hallward's 
coat and bag. A huge fire w r as blazing. He piled 
another log on it. The smell of the singeing clothes 
and burning leather was horrible. It took him 
three-quarters of an hour to consume everything. At 
the end he felt faint and sick, and having lit some 
Algerian pastilles in a pierced copper brazier, he bathed 
his hands and forehead with a cool musk-scented 

Suddenly he started. His eyes grew strangely 
bright, and he gnawed nervously at his under-lip. 
Between two of the windows stood a large Florentine 
cabinet, made out of ebony, and inlaid with ivory 
and blue lapis. He watched it as though it were a 
thing that could fascinate and make afraid, as though 
it held something that he longed for and yet almost 
loathed. His breath quickened. A mad craving 
came over him. He lit a cigarette and then threw it 
away. His eyelids drooped till the long fringed lashes 
almost touched his cheek. But he still watched the 


cabinet. At last he got up from the sofa on which 
he had been lying, went over to it, and, having un- 
locked it, touched some hidden spring. A triangular 
drawer passed slowly out. His fingers moved in- 
stinctively towards it, dipped in, and closed on some- 
thing. It was a small Chinese box of black and gold- 
dust lacquer, elaborately wrought, the sides patterned 
with curved waves, and the silken cords hung with 
round crystals and tasselled in plaited metal threads. 
He opened it. Inside was a green paste, waxy in 
lustre, the odour curiously heavy and persistent. 

He hesitated for some moments, with a strangely 
immobile smile upon his face. Then shivering, 
though the atmosphere of the room was terribly 
hot, he drew himself up, and glanced at the clock. 
It was twenty minutes to twelve. He put the box 
back, shutting the cabinet doors as he did so, and 
went Into his bedroom. 

As midnight was striking bronze blows upon the 
dusky air, Dorian Gray dressed commonly, and with 
a muffler wrapped round his throat, crept quietly out 
of the house. In Bond Street he found a hansom 
with a good horse. He hailed it, and in a low voice 
gave the driver an address. 

The man shook his head. " It is too far for me," 
he muttered. 

44 Here is a sovereign for you," said Dorian. " You 
shall have another if you drive fast." 

" All right, sir," answered the man, " you will be 
there in an hour," and after his fare had got in he 
turned his horse round, and drove rapidly towards 
the river. 


A COLD rain began to fall, and the blurred street- 
lamps looked ghastly in the dripping mist. The 
public-houses were just closing, and dim men and 
women were clustering in broken groups round their 
doors. From some of the bars came the sound of hor- 
rible laughter. In others, drunkards brawled and 

Lying back in the hansom, with his hat pulled 
over his forehead, Dorian Gray watched with listless 
eyes the sordid shame of the great city, and now 
and then he repeated to himself the words that Lord 
Henry had said to him on the first day they had met, 
" To cure the soul by means of the senses, and the 
senses by means of the soul." Yes, that was the 
secret. He had often tried it, and would try it again 
now. There were opium-dens, where one could buy 
oblivion, dens of horror where the memory of old sins 
could be destroyed by the madness of sins that were 

The moon hung low In the sky like a yellow skull. 
From time to time a huge misshapen cloud stretched 
a long arm across and hid it. The gas-lamps grew 
fewer, and the streets more narrow and gloomy. Once 
the man lost his way, and had to drive back half a 
mile. A steam rose from the horse as it splashed up 
the puddles. The side-windows of the hansom were 
clogged with a grey-flannel mist. 

" To cure the soul by means of the senses, and the 
senses by means of the soul ! " How the words rang 
in his ears ! His soul, certainly, was sick to death. 


Was it true that the senses could cure it ? Innocent 
blood had been spilt. What could atone for that ? 
Ah I for that there was no atonement ; but though 
forgiveness was impossible, forgetfulness was possible 
still, and he was determined to forget, to stamp the 
thing out, to crush it as one would crush the adder 
that had stung one. Indeed, what right had Basil 
to have spoken to him as he had done ? Who had made 
him a judge over others ? He had said things that 
were dreadful, horrible, not to be endured. 

On and on plodded the hansom, going slower, it 
seemed to him, at each step. He thrust up the trap, 
and called to the man to drive faster. The hideous 
hunger for opium began to gnaw at him. His throat 
burned, and his delicate hands twitched nervously 
together. He struck at the horse madly with his 
stick. The driver laughed, and whipped up. He 
laughed in answer, and the man was silent. 

The way seemed interminable, and the streets 
like the black web of some sprawling spider. The 
monotony became unbearable, and, as the mist 
thickened, he felt afraid. 

Then they passed by lonely brickfields. The fog 
was lighter here, and he could see the strange bottle- 
shaped kilns with their orange fan-like tongues of fire. 
A dog barked as they went by, and far away in the 
darkness some wandering sea-gull screamed. The 
horse stumbled in a rut, then swerved aside, and broke 
Into a gallop. 

After some time they left the clay road, and rattled 
again over rough-paven streets. Most of the windows 
were dark, but now and then fantastic shadows were 
silhouetted against some lamp-lit blind. He watched 
them curiously. They moved like monstrous mar- 
ionettes, and made gestures like live things. He hated 
them. A dull rage was in his heart. As they turned 
a corner a woman yelled something at them from an 
open door, and two men ran after the hansom for 
about a hundred yards. The driver beat at them 
with his whip. 


It Is said that passion makes one think in a circle. 
Certainly with hideous iteration the bitten lips of 
Dorian Gray shaped and reshaped those subtle words 
that dealt with soul and sense, till he had found hi 
them the full expression, as it were, of his mood, and 
justified, by intellectual approval, passions that 
without such justification would still have dominated 
his temper. From cell to cell of his brain crept the 
one thought ; and the wild desire to live, most terrible 
of all man's appetites, quickened into force each 
trembling nerve and fibre. Ugliness that had once 
been hateful to him because it made things real, be- 
came dear to him now for that very reason. Ugliness 
was the one reality. The coarse brawl, the loathsome 
den, the crude violence of disordered life, the very vile- 
ness of thief and outcast, were more vivid, in their 
intense actuality of impression, than all the gracious 
shapes of Art, the dreamy shadows of Song. They 
were what he needed for forgetfulness. In three days 
he w r ould be free. 

Suddenly the man drew up w r ith a jerk at the top 
of a dark lane. Over the low roofs and jagged chimney 
stacks of the houses rose the black masts of ships. 
\Vreaths of white mist clung like ghostly sails to the 

" Somewhere about here, sir, ain't it ? " he asked 
huskily through the trap. 

Dorian started, and peered round. " This will 
do," he answered, and, having got out hastily, and 
given the driver the extra fare he had promised him, 
he walked quickly in the direction of the quay. Here 
and there a lantern gleamed at the stern of some huge 
merchantman. The light shook and splintered in the 
puddles. A red glare came from an outward-bound 
steamer that was coaling. The slimy pavement 
looked like a wet mackintosh. 

He hurried on towards the left, glancing back now 
and then to see if he was being followed. In about 
seven or eight minutes he reached a small shabby 
house, that was wedged in between two gaunt factories. 


In one of the top-windows stood a lamp. He stopped, 
and gave a peculiar knock. 

After a little time he heard steps in the passage, 
and the chain being unhooked. The door opened 
quietly, and he went in without saying a word to the 
squat misshapen figure that flattened itself into the 
shadow as he passed. At the end of the hall hung a 
tattered green curtain that swayed and shook in the 
gusty wind which had followed him in from the street. 
He dragged it aside, and entered a long, low room 
which looked as if it had once been a third-rate danc- 
ing-saloon. Shrill flaring gas-jets, dulled and dis- 
torted in the fly-blown mirrors that faced them, were 
ranged round the walls. Greasy reflectors of ribbed 
tin backed them, making quivering discs of light. 
The floor was covered with ochre-coloured sawdust, 
trampled here and there into mud, and stained with 
dark rings of spilt liquor. Some Malays were crouch- 
ing by a little charcoal stove playing with bone 
counters, and showing their white teeth as they 
chattered. In one corner, with his head buried in 
his arms, a sailor sprawled over a table, and by the 
tawdrily-painted bar that ran across one complete 
side stood two haggard women mocking an old man 
who was brushing the sleeves of his coat with an ex- 
pression of disgust. " He thinks he's got red ants 
on him," laughed one of them, as Dorian passed by. 
The man looked at her in terror and began to 

At the end of the room there was a little stair- 
case, leading to a darkened chamber. As Dorian 
hurried up its three rickety steps, the heavy odour 
of opium met him. He heaved a deep breath, and 
his nostrils quivered with pleasure. When he entered, 
a young man with smooth yellow hair, who was bend- 
ing over a lamp, lighting a long thin pipe, looked up 
at him, and nodded in a hesitating manner. 

" You here, Adrian ? " muttered Dorian. 

" Where else should I be ? " he answered, listlessly. 
" None of the chaps will speak to me now." 


" I thought you had left England." 

" Darlington is not going to do anything. My 
brother paid the bill at last. George doesn't speak 
to me either. ... I don't care," he added, with 
a sigh. " As long as one has this stuff, one doesn't 
want friends. I think I have had too many friends." 

Dorian winced, and looked round at the grotesque 
things that lay in such fantastic postures on the 
ragged mattresses. The twisted limbs, the gaping 
mouths, the staring lustreless eyes, fascinated him. 
He knew in what strange heavens they were suffer- 
ing, and what dull hells were teaching them the 
secret of some new joy. They were better off than 
he was. He was prisoned in thought. Memory, 
like a horrible malady, was eating his soul away. 
From time to time he seemed to see the eyes of Basil 
Hallward looking at him. Yet he felt he could not 
stay. The presence of Adrian Singleton troubled 
him. He wanted to be where no one would know who 
he was. He wanted to escape from himself. 

" I am going on to the other place," he said, after 
a pause. 

"On the wharf?" 

" Yes." 

" That mad-cat is sure to be there. They won't 
have her in this place now." 

Dorian shrugged his shoulders. " I am sick of 
women who love one. Women who hate one are 
much more interesting. Besides, the stuff is better." 

" Much the same." 

" I like it better. Come and have something to 
drink. I must have something." 

" I don't want anything," murmured the young 

" Never mind." 

Adrian Singleton rose up wearily, and followed 
Dorian to the bar. A half-caste, in a ragged turban 
and a shabby ulster, grinned a hideous greeting as 
he thrust a bottle of brandy and two tumblers in front 
of them. The women sidled up, and began to chatter. 


Dorian turned his back on them, and said something 
In a low voice to Adrian Singleton. 

A crooked smile, like a Malay crease, writhed across 
the face of one of the women. " We are very proud 
to-night," she sneered. 

" For God's sake don't talk to me," cried Dorian, 
stamping his foot on the ground. " What do you 
want ? Money ? Here it is. Don't ever talk to 
me again." 

Two red sparks flashed for a moment in the woman's 
sodden eyes, then flickered out, and left them dull and 
glazed. She tossed her head, and raked the coins 
off the counter with greedy fingers. Her companion 
watched her enviously. 

" It's no use," sighed Adrian Singleton. " I don't 
care to go back. What does it matter ? I am quite 
happy here." 

' You will write to me if you want anything, won't 
you ? " said Dorian, after a pause. 

" Perhaps." 

" Good-night, then." 

" Good-night," answered the young man, passing 
up the steps, and wiping his parched mouth with a 

Dorian walked to the door with a look of pain in 
his face. As he drew the curtain aside a hideous 
laugh broke from the painted lips of the woman 
who had taken his money. " There goes the devil's 
bargain ! " she hiccoughed, in a hoarse voice. 

" Curse you ! " he answered, " don't call me that." 

She snapped her fingers. " Prince Charming is 
what you like to be called, ain't it ? " she yelled after 

The drowsy sailor leapt to his feet as she spoke, 
and looked wildly round. The sound of the shutting 
of the hall door fell on his ear. He rushed out as if 
In pursuit. 

Dorian Gray hurried along the quay through the 
drizzling rain. His meeting with Adrian Singleton 
had strangely moved him, and he wondered if the 


ruin of that young life was really to be laid at his 
door, as Basil Halhvard had said to him with such 
infamy of insult. He bit his lip, and for a few seconds 
his eyes grew sad. Yet, after all, what did it matter 
to him ? One's days were too brief to take the burden 
of another's errors on one's shoulders. Each man 
lived his own life, and paid his own price for living it. 
The only pity was one had to pay so often for a single 
fault. One had to pay over and over again, indeed. 
In her dealings with man Destiny never closed her 

There are moments, psychologists tell us, when 
the passion for sin, or for what the world calls sin, 
so dominates a nature, that every fibre of the body, 
as every cell of the brain, seems to be Instinct with 
fearful impulses. Men and women at such moments 
lose the freedom of their will. They move to their 
terrible end as automatons move, Choice Is taken 
from them, and conscience is either killed, or, if it 
lives at all, lives but to give rebellion its fascination, 
and disobedience its charm. For all sins, as theo- 
logians weary not of reminding us, are sins of dis- 
obedience. When that high spirit, that morning-star 
of evil, fell from heaven, it was as a rebel that he 

Callous, concentrated on evil, with stained mind, 
and soul hungry for rebellion, Dorian Gray hastened 
on, quickening his step as he went, but as he darted 
aside into a dim archway, that had served him often 
as a short cut to the ill-famed place where he was 
going, he felt himself suddenly seized from behind, and 
before he had time to defend himself he was thrust 
back against the wall, with a brutal hand round his 

He struggled madly for life, and by a terrible effort 
wrenched the tightening fingers away. In a second 
he heard the click of a revolver, and saw the gleam 
of a polished barrel pointing straight at his head, and 
the dusky form of a short thick-set man facing him. 

" What do you want ? " he gasped. 


" Keep quiet," said the man. " If you stir, I 
shoot you." 

' You are mad. What have I done to you ? " 

" You wrecked the life of Sibyl Vane," was the 
answer, " and Sibyl Vane was my sister. She killed 
herself. I know it. Her death is at your door. 
I swore I would kill you in return. For years I have 
sought you. I had no clue, no trace. The two people 
who could have described you were dead. I knew 
nothing of you but the pet name she used to call you. 
I heard it to-night by chance. Make your peace with 
God, for to-night you are going to die." 

Dorian Gray grew sick with fear. " I never knew 
her," he stammered. " I never heard of her. You 
are mad." 

" You had better confess your sin, for as sure as 
I am James Vane, you are going to die." There 
was a horrible moment. Dorian did not know what 
to say or do. " Down on your knees I " growled the 
man. " I give you one minute to make your peace 
no more. I go on board to-night for India, and I must 
do my job first. One minute. That's all." 

Dorian's arms fell to his side. Paralysed with 
terror, he did not know what to do. Suddenly a 
wild hope flashed across his brain. " Stop," he cried. 
" How long ago is it since your sister died ? Quick, 
tell me I " 

" Eighteen years," said the man. " Why do you 
ask me ? What do years matter ? " 

" Eighteen years," laughed Dorian Gray, with 
a touch of triumph in his voice. " Eighteen years 1 
Set me under the lamp and look at my face 1 " 

James Vane hesitated for a moment, not under- 
standing what was meant. Then he seized Dorian 
Gray and dragged him from the archway. 

Dim and wavering as was the wind-blown light, 
yet it served to show him the hideous error, as it 
seemed, into which he had fallen, for the face of 
the man he had sought to kill had all the bloom of 
boyhood, all the unstained purity of youth. He 


seemed little more than a lad of twenty summers, 
hardly older, if older indeed at all, than his sister had 
been when they had parted so many years ago. It 
was obvious that this was not the man who had 
destroyed her life. 

He loosened his hold and reeled back. " My God I 
my God I " he cried, " and I would have murdered 
you 1 " 

Dorian Gray drew a long breath. ' You have 
been on the brink of committing a terrible crime, 
my man," he said, looking at him sternly. "Let 
this be a warning to you not to take vengeance into 
your own hands." 

" Forgive me, sir," muttered James Vane. " I 
was deceived. A chance word I heard in that damned 
den set me on the wrong track." 

" You had better go home, and put that pistol 
away, or you may get into trouble," said Dorian, 
turning on his heel, and going slowly down the street. 

James Vane stood on the pavement in horror. 
He was trembling from head to foot. After a little 
while a black shadow that had been creeping along 
the dripping wall, moved out into the light and 
came close to him with stealthy footsteps. He felt 
a hand laid on his arm and looked round with a 
start. It was one of the women who had been 
drinking at the bar. 

" Why didn't you kill him ? " she hissed out, 
putting her haggard face quite close to his. " I 
knew you were following him when you rushed out 
from Daly's. You fool 1 You should have killed 
him. He has lots of money, and he's as bad as 

" He is not the man I am looking for," he answered, 
" and I want no man's money. I want a man's life. 
The man whose life I want must be nearly forty now. 
This one is little more than a boy. Thank God, I 
have not got his blood upon my hands." 

The woman gave a bitter laugh. " Little more 
than a boy ! " she sneered. " Why, man, it's nigh 


on eighteen years since Prince Charming made me 
what I am." 

" You lie 1 " cried James Vane. 

She raised her hand up to heaven. " Before God 
I am telling the truth," she cried. 

" Before God ? " 

" Strike me dumb If it ain't so. He is the worst 
one that comes here. They say he has sold him- 
self to the devil for a pretty face. It's nigh on eighteen 
years since I met him. He hasn't changed much 
since then. I have though," she added, with a sickly 

" You swear this ? " 

" I swear it," came In hoarse echo from her flat 
mouth. " But don't give me away to him," she 
whined ; " I am afraid of him. Let me have some 
money for my night's lodging." 

He broke from her with an oath, and rushed to the 
corner of the street, but Dorian Gray had dis- 
appeared. When he looked back, the woman had 
vanished also. 


A WEEK later Dorian Gray was sitting In the con- 
servatory at Selby Royal talking to the pretty 
Duchess of Monmouth, who with her husband, a 
jaded-looking man of sixty, was amongst his guests. 
It was tea-time, and the mellow light of the huge 
lace-covered lamp that stood on the table lit up the 
delicate china and hammered silver of the service 
at which the Duchess was presiding. Her white 
hands were moving daintily among the cups, and her 
full red lips were smiling at something that Dorian 
had whispered to her. Lord Henry was lying back 
in a silk-draped wicker chair looking at them. On a 
peach-coloured divan sat Lady Narborough pretend- 
ing to listen to the Duke's description of the last 
Brazilian beetle that he had added to his collection. 
Three young men in elaborate smoking-suits were 
handing tea-cakes to some of the women. The house- 
party consisted of twelve people, and there were more 
expected to arrive on the next day. 

" What are you two talking about ? " said Lord 
Henry, strolling over to the table, and putting his 
cup down. " I hope Dorian has told you about 
my plan for rechristening everything, Gladys. It 
Is a delightful idea." 

" But I don't want to be rechristened, Harry," 
rejoined the Duchess, looking up at him with her 
wonderful eyes. " I am quite satisfied with my 
own name, and I am sure Mr. Gray should be satisfied 
with his." 

" My dear Gladys, I would not alter either name 


for the world. They are both perfect. I was thinking 
chiefly of flowers. Yesterday I cut an orchid, for my 
buttonhole. It was a marvellous spotted thing, as 
effective as the seven deadly sins. In a thoughtless 
moment I asked one of the gardeners what it was called. 
He told me it was a fine specimen of Robinsoniana, 
or something dreadful of that kind. It is a sad 
truth, but we have lost the faculty of giving lovely 
names to things. Names are everything. I never 
quarrel with actions. My one quarrel is with words. 
That is the reason I hate vulgar realism in literature. 
The man who could call a spade a spade should be 
compelled to use one. It is the only thing he is fit 

" Then what should we call you, Harry ? " she 

" His name Is Prince Paradox," said Dorian. 

" I recognise him in a flash," exclaimed the Duchess. 

" I won't hear of it," laughed Lord Henry, sinking 
into a chair. " From a label there is no escape I 
I refuse the title." 

" Royalties may not abdicate," fell as a warning 
from pretty lips. 

" You wish me to defend my throne, then ? " 

" Yes." 

" I give the truths of to-morrow." 

" I prefer the mistakes of to-day," she answered. 

" You disarm me, Gladys," he cried, catching the 
wilfulness of her mood. 

" Of your shield, Harry : not of your spear." 

" I never tilt against Beauty," he said, with a wave 
of his hand. 

" That is your error, Harry, believe me. You 
value beauty far too much." 

" How can you say that ? I admit that I think 
that it is better to be beautiful than to be good. 
But on the other hand no one is more ready than I am 
to acknowledge that it is better to be good than to 
be ugly." 

" Ugliness is one of the seven deadly sins, then ? " 


cried the Duchess. " What becomes of your simile 
about the orchid ? " 

" Ugliness is one of the seven deadly virtues, 
Gladys. You, as a good Tory, must not underrate 
them. Beer, the Bible, and the seven deadly virtues 
have made our England what she is." 

" You don't like your country, then ? " she asked. 
" I live in it." 

" That you may censure it the better." 
" Would you have me take the verdict of Europe 
on it ? " he inquired. 

" What do they say of us?" 

" That Tartu fie has emigrated to England and 
opened a shop." 

" Is that yours, Harry ? " 
" I give it to you." 
" I could not use it. It Is too true." 
" You need not be afraid. Our countrymen never 
recognise a description." 
" They are practical." 

" They are more cunning than practical. When 
they make up their ledger, they balance stupidity 
by wealth, and vice by hypocrisy." 
" Still, we have done great things." 
" Great things have been thrust on us, Gladys." 
" We have carried their burden." 
" Only as far as the Stock Exchange." 
She shook her head. " I believe in the race," 
she cried. 

It represents the survival of the pushing." 

It has development." 

Decay fascinates me more." 

What of Art ? " she asked. 

It is a malady." 

Love ? " 

An illusion." 

Religion ? " 

The fashionable substitute for Belief." 

You are a sceptic." 

Never I Scepticism is the beginning of Faith." 


" What are you ? " 

" To define is to limit." 

" Give me a clue." 

" Threads snap. You would lose your way in the 

"You bewilder me. Let us talk of someone else." 

" Our host is a delightful topic. Years ago he was 
christened Prince Charming." 

" Ah ! don't remind me of that," cried Dorian Gray. 

" Our host is rather horrid this evening," answered 
the Duchess, colouring. " I believe he thinks that 
Monmouth married me on purely scientific principles 
as the best specimen he could find of a modern butter- 

" Well, I hope he won't stick pins Into you. 
Duchess," laughed Dorian. 

" Oh I my maid does that already, Mr. Gray, when 
she is annoyed with me." 

" And what does she get annoyed with you about, 
Duchess ? " 

" For the most trivial things, Mr. Gray, I assure 
you. Usually because I come in at ten minutes to 
nine and tell her that I must be dressed by half- 
past eight." 

" How unreasonable of her ! You should give her 

" I daren't, Mr. Gray. Why, she invents hats for 
me. You remember the one I wore at Lady Hil- 
stone's garden-party ? You don't, but it Is nice of 
you to pretend that you do. Well, she made it out 
of nothing. All good hats are made out of nothing." 

" Like all good reputations, Gladys," interrupted 
Lord Henry. " Every effect that one produces gives 
one an enemy. To be popular one must be a medio- 

" Not with women," said the Duchess, shaking 
her head ; " and women rule the world. I assure 
you we can't bear mediocrities. We women, as some- 
one says, love with our ears, just as you men love with 
your eyes, if you ever love at all." 


" It seems to me that we never do anything else," 
murmured Dorian. 

" Ah I then, you never really love, Mr. Gray," 
answered the Duchess, with mock sadness. 

" My dear Gladys I " cried Lord Henry. " How 
can you say that ? Romance lives by repetition, 
and repetition converts an appetite into an art. 
Besides, each time that one loves is the only tune 
one has ever loved. Difference of object does not 
alter singleness of passion. It merely Intensifies 
it. We can have in life but one great experience 
at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that 
experience as often as possible." 

" Even when one has been wounded by it, Harry ? " 
asked the Duchess, after a pause. 

" Especially when one has been wounded by it," 
answered Lord Henry. 

The Duchess turned and looked at Dorian Gray 
with a curious expression in her eyes. " What do 
you say to that, Mr. Gray ? " she inquired. 

Dorian hesitated for a moment. Then he threw 
his head back and laughed. " I always agree with 
Harry, Duchess." 

" Even when he Is wrong ? " 

" Harry is never wrong, Duchess." 

" And does his philosophy make you happy ? " 

" I have never searched for happiness. Who 
wants happiness ? I have searched for pleasure." 

" And found it, Mr. Gray ? " 

" Often. Too often." 

The Duchess sighed. " I am searching for peace," 
she said, " and if I don't go and dress, I shall have 
none this evening." 

" Let me get you some orchids, Duchess," cried 
Dorian, starting to his feet, and walking down the 

" You are flirting disgracefully with him," said 
Lord Henry to his cousin. " You had better take 
care. He is very fascinating." 

" If he were not, there would be no battle." 


" Greek meets Greek, then ? " 

" I am on the side of the Trojans. They fought 
for a woman." 

" They were defeated." 

" There are worse things than capture," she 
answered. Cj 

" You gallop with a loose rein." 

" Pace gives life," was the riposte. 

" I shall write it in my diary to-night." 

" What ? " 

" That a burnt child loves the fire." 

" I am not even singed. My wings are untouched." 

" You use them for everything, except flight." 

" Courage has passed from men to women. It 
Is a new experience for us." 

" You have a rival." 

" Who ? " 

He laughed. " Lady Narborough," he whispered. 
" She perfectly adores him." 

" You fill me with apprehension. The appeal to 
Antiquity is fatal to us who are romanticists." 

" Romanticists I You have all the methods of 

" Men have educated us." 

" But not explained you." 

" Describe us as a sex," was her challenge. 

" Sphynxes without secrets." 

She looked at him, smiling. " How long Mr. 
Gray is ! " she said. " Let us go and help him. I 
have not yet told him the colour of my frock." 

" Ah 1 you must suit your frock to his flowers, 

That would be a premature surrender." 
Romantic Art begins with its climax." 
I must keep an opportunity for retreat." 
In the Parthian manner ? " 
They found safety in the desert. I could not 
do that." 

" Women are not always allowed a choice," he 
answered, but hardly had he finished the sentence 


before from the far end of the conservatory came 
a stifled groan, followed by the dull sound of a heavy 
fall. Everybody started up. The Duchess stood 
motionless in horror. And with fear in his eyes Lord 
Henry rushed through the flapping palms to find 
Dorian Gray lying face downwards on the tiled floor 
In a death-like swoon. 

He was carried at once into the blue drawing-room, 
and laid upon one of the sofas. After a short time he 
came to himself, and looked round with a dazed ex- 

" What has happened ? " he asked. " Oh I I 
remember. Am I safe here, Harry ? " He began to 

" My dear Dorian," answered Lord Henry, " you 
merely fainted. That was all. You must have 
overtired yourself. You had better not come down 
to dinner. I will take your place." 

" No, I will come down," he said, struggling to his 
feet. " I would rather come down. I must not be 

He went to his room and dressed. There was a 
wild recklessness of gaiety in his manner as he sat 
at table, but now and then a thrill of terror ran through 
him when he remembered that, pressed against the 
window of the conservatory, like a white handker- 
chief, he had seen the face of James Vane watching 


THE next day he did not leave the house, and, indeed, 
spent most of the time in his own room, sick with 
a wild terror of dying, and yet indifferent to life itself. 
The consciousness of being hunted, snared, tracked 
down, had begun to dominate him. If the tapestry 
did but tremble in the wind, he shook. The dead 
leaves that were blown against the leaded panes 
seemed to him like his own wasted resolutions and wild 
regrets. When he closed his eyes, he saw again the 
sailor's face peering through the mist-stained glass, 
and horror seemed once more to lay its hand upon his 

But perhaps it had been only his fancy that had 
called vengeance out of the night, and set the hideous 
shapes of punishment before him. Actual life was 
chaos, but there was something terribly logical in 
the imagination. It was the imagination that set 
remorse to dog the feet of sin. It was the imagination 
that made each crime bear its misshapen brood. In 
the common world of fact the wicked were not 
punished, nor the good rewarded. Success was given 
to the strong, failure thrust upon the weak. That 
was all. Besides, had any stranger been prowling 
round the house he would have been seen by the 
servants or the keepers. Had any footmarks been 
found on the flower-beds, the gardeners would have 
reported it. Yes : it had been merely fancy. Sibyl 
Vane's brother had not come back to kill him. He 
had sailed away in his ship to founder in some winter 


sea. From him, at any rate, he was safe. Why, 
the man did not know who he was, could not know 
who he was. The mask of youth had saved him. 

And yet if it had been merely an illusion, how 
terrible it was to think that conscience could raise 
such fearful phantoms, and give them visible form, 
and make them move before one ! What sort of life 
would his be, if day and night, shadows of his crime 
were to peer at him from silent corners, to mock him 
from secret places, to whisper in his ear as he sat 
at the feast, to wake him with icy fingers as he lay 
asleep I As the thought crept through his brain, he 
grew pale with terror, and the air seemed to him to 
have become suddenly colder. Oh ! in what a wild 
hour of madness he had killed his friend ! How ghastly 
the mere memory of the scene I He saw it all again. 
Each hideous detail came back to him with added 
horror. Out of the black cave of Time, terrible and 
swathed in scarlet, rose the image of his sin. When 
Lord Henry came in at six o'clock, he found him crying 
as one whose heart will break. 

It was not till the third day that he ventured to 
go out. There was something in the clear, pine- 
scented air of that winter morning that seemed 
to bring him back his joyousness and his ardour for 
life. But it was not merely the physical conditions 
of environment that had caused the change. His own 
nature had revolted against the excess of anguish that 
had sought to maim and mar the perfection of its 
calm. With subtle and finely-wrought tempera- 
ments it is always so. Their strong passions must 
either bruise or bend. They either slay the man, or 
themselves die. Shallow sorrows and shallow loves 
live on. The loves and sorrows that are great are 
destroyed by their own plenitude. Besides, he had 
convinced himself that he had been the victim of a 
terror-stricken imagination, and looked back now on 
his fears with something of pity and not a little of 

After breakfast he walked with the Duchess for 


an hour in the garden, and then drove across the park 
to join the shooting-party. The crisp frost lay like 
salt upon the grass. The sky was an inverted cup 
of blue metal. A thin film of ice bordered the flat 
reed-grown lake. 

At the corner of the pine-wood he caught sight of 
Sir Geoffrey Glouston, the Duchess's brother, jerking 
two spent cartridges out of his gun. He jumped from 
the cart, and having told the groom to take the mare 
home, made his way towards his guest through the 
withered bracken and rough undergrowth. 

" Have you had good sport, Geoffrey ? " he asked. 

" Not very good, Dorian. I think most of the birds 
have gone to the open. I dare say it will be better 
after lunch, when we get to new ground." 

Dorian strolled along by his side. The keen 
aromatic air, the brown and red lights that glimmered 
in the wood, the hoarse cries of the beaters ringing 
out from time to time, and the sharp snaps of the guns 
that followed, fascinated him, and filled him with a 
sense of delightful freedom. He was dominated by 
the carelessness of happiness, by the high indifference 
of joy. 

Suddenly from a lumpy tussock of old grass, some 
twenty yards in front of them, with black-tipped 
ears erect, and long hinder limbs throwing it for- 
ward, started a hare. It bolted for a thicket of alders. 
Sir Geoffrey put his gun to his shoulder, but there was 
something in the animal's grace of movement that 
strangely charmed Dorian Gray, and he cried out at 
once, " Don't shoot it, Geoffrey. Let it live." 

" What nonsense, Dorian I " laughed his companion, 
and as the hare bounded into the thicket he fired. 
There were two cries heard, the cry of a hare in pain, 
which is dreadful, the cry of a man in agony, which 
is worse. 

" Good heavens I I have hit a beater ! " exclaimed 
Sir Geoffrey. " What an ass the man was to get in 
front of the guns ! Stop shooting there 1 " he called 
out at the top of his voice. " A man is hurt." 


The head-keeper came running up with a stick In 
his hand. 

" Where, sir ? Where is he ? " he shouted. At 
the same time the firing ceased along the line. 

" Here," answered Sir Geoffrey, angrily, hurrying 
towards the thicket. "Why on earth don't you keep 
your men back ? Spoiled my shooting for the day." 

Dorian watched them as they plunged into the alder- 
clump, brushing the lithe, swinging branches aside. 
In a few moments they emerged, dragging a body after 
them into the sunlight. He turned away in horror. 
It seemed to him that misfortune followed wherever 
he went. He heard Sir Geoffrey ask if the man was 
really dead, and the affirmative answer of the keeper. 
The wood seemed to him to have become suddenly 
alive with faces. There was the trampling of myriad 
feet, and the low buzz of voices. A great copper- 
breasted pheasant came beating through the boughs 

After a few moments, that were to him, in his per- 
turbed state, like endless hours of pain, he felt a hand 
laid on his shoulder. He started, and looked round. 

" Dorian," said Lord Henry, " I had better tell 
them that the shooting is stopped for to-day. It 
would not look well to go on." 

" I wish it were stopped for ever, Harry," he 
answered, bitterly. " The whole thing is hideous 
and cruel. Is the man . . . ? " 

He could not finish the sentence. 

" I am afraid so," rejoined Lord Henry. " He 
got the whole charge of shot in his chest. He must 
have died almost instantaneously. Come ; let us 
go home." 

They walked side by side in the direction of the 
avenue for nearly fifty yards without speaking. 
Then Dorian looked at Lord Henry, and said, with a 
heavy sigh, " It is a bad omen, Harry, a very bad 

" What is ? " asked Lord Henry. " Oh I this 
accident, I suppose. My dear fellow, It can't be 


helped. It was the man's own fault. Why did he 
get in front of the guns ? Besides, it's nothing to 
us. It Is rather awkward for Geoffrey, of course. 
It does not do to pepper beaters. It makes people 
think that one is a wild shot. And Geoffrey is not ; 
he shoots very straight. But there is no use talking 
about the matter." 

Dorian shook his head. " It is a bad omen, Harry. 
I feel as if something horrible were going to happen 
to some of us. To myself, perhaps," he added, pass- 
ing his hand over his eyes, with a gesture of pain. 

The elder man laughed. " The only horrible thing 
In the world is ennui, Dorian. That is the one sin 
for which there is no forgiveness. But we are not 
likely to suffer from it, unless these fellows keep 
chattering about this thing at dinner. I must tell them 
that the subject is to be tabooed. As for omens, 
there is no such thing as an omen. Destiny does not 
send us heralds. She is too wise or too cruel for that. 
Besides, what on earth could happen to you, Dorian ? 
You have everything in the world that a man can want. 
There is no one who would not be delighted to change 
places with you." 

" There is no one with whom I would not change 
places, Harry. Don't laugh like that. I am telling 
you the truth. The wretched peasant who has just 
died is better off than I am. I have no terror of 
Death. It is the coming of Death that terrifies me. 
Its monstrous wings seem to wheel in the leaden 
air around me. Good heavens I don't you see a man 
moving behind the trees there, watching me, waiting 
for me ? " 

Lord Henry looked in the direction in which the 
trembling gloved hand was pointing. " Yes," he 
said, smiling, " I see the gardener waiting for you. 
I suppose he wants to ask you what flowers you wish 
to have on the table to-night. How absurdly nervous 
you are, my dear fellow I You must come and see 
my doctor, when we get back to town." 

Dorian heaved a sigh of relief as he saw the gardener 


approaching. The man touched his hat, glanced for 
a moment at Lord Henry in a hesitating manner, and 
then produced a letter, which he handed to his master. 
" Her Grace told me to wait for an answer," he mur- 

Dorian put the letter into his pocket. " Tell her 
Grace that I am coming in," he said, coldly. The man 
turned round, and went rapidly in the direction of 
the house. 

" How fond women are of doing dangerous things I " 
laughed Lord Henry. " It is one of the qualities in 
them that I admire most. A woman will flirt with 
anybody in the world as long as other people are 
looking on." 

" How fond you are of saying dangerous things, 
Harry ! In the present instance you are quite 
astray. I like the Duchess very much, but I don't 
love her." 

" And the Duchess loves you very much, but she 
likes you less, so you are excellently matched." 

" You are talking scandal, Harry, and there Is 
never any basis for scandal." 

" The basis of every scandal is an immoral cer- 
tainty," said Lord Henry, lighting a cigarette. 

" You would sacrifice anybody, Harry, for the sake 
of an epigram." 

" The world goes to the altar of its own accord," 
was the answer. 

" I wish I could love," cried Dorian Gray, with a 
deep note of pathos in his voice. " But I seem to 
have lost the passion, and forgotten the desire. I 
am too much concentrated on myself. My own 
personality has become a burden to me. I want 
to escape, to go away, to forget. It was silly of me 
to come down here at all. I think I shall send a wire 
to Harvey to have the yacht got ready. On a yacht 
one is safe." 

" Safe from what, Dorian ? You are in some 
trouble. Why not tell me what it is ? You know 
I would help you." 


" I can't tell you, Harry," he answered, sadly. 
" And I dare say it is only a fancy of mine. This 
unfortunate accident has upset me. I have a horrible 
presentiment that something of the kind may happen 
to me." 

" What nonsense I " 

" I hope it is, but I can't help feeling it. Ah ! 
here is the Duchess, looking like Artemis in a tailor- 
made gown. You see we have come back, Duchess." 

" I have heard all about it, Mr. Gray," she an- 
swered. " Poor Geoffrey is terribly upset. And 
it seems that you asked him not to shoot the hare. 
How curious ! " 

" Yes, it was very curious. I don't know what 
made me say it. Some whim, I suppose. It looked 
the loveliest of little live things. But I am sorry 
they told you about the man. It is a hideous subject." 

" It is an annoying subject," broke in Lord Henry. 
" It has no psychological value at all. Now if 
Geoffrey had done the thing on purpose, how interest- 
ing he would be I I should like to know someone who 
had committed a real murder." 

" How horrid of you, Harry ! " cried the Duchess. 
" Isn't it, Mr. Gray ? Harry, Mr. Gray is ill again. 
He is going to faint." 

Dorian drew himself up with an effort, and smiled. 
" It is nothing, Duchess," he murmured ; " my 
nerves are dreadfully out of order. That is all. I 
am afraid I walked too far this morning. I didn't 
hear what Harry said. Was it very bad ? You musl 
tell me some other time. I think I must go and lie 
down. You will excuse me, won't you ? " 

They had reached the great flight of steps that led 
from the conservatory on to the terrace. As the glass 
door closed behind Dorian, Lord Henry turned and 
looked at the Duchess with his slumberous eyes. 
" Are you very much in love with him ? " he asked. 

She did not answer for some time, but stood gazing 
at the landscape. " I wish I knew," she said at last. 

He shook his head. " Knowledge would be fatal. 


It is the uncertainty that charms one. A mist makes 
things wonderful." 

One may lose one's way." 

All ways end at the same point, my dear Gladys." 

What is that ? " 


It was my debut in life," she sighed. 

It came to you crowned." 

I am tired of strawberry leaves." 

They become you." 

Only in public." 

You would miss them," said Lord Henry. 

I will not part with a petal." 

Monmouth has ears." 

Old age is dull of hearing." 

Has he never been jealous ? " 

I wish he had been." 
He glanced about as if in search of something. 
" What are you looking for ? " she inquired. 

" The button from your foil," he answered. " You 
have dropped it." 

She laughed. " I have still the mask." 
" It makes your eyes lovelier," was his reply. 
She laughed again. Her teeth showed like white 
seeds in a scarlet fruit. 

Upstairs, in his own room, Dorian Gray was lying 
on a sofa, with terror in every tingling fibre of his 
body. Life had suddenly become too hideous a 
burden for him to bear. The dreadful death of the 
unlucky beater, shot in the thicket like a wild animal, 
had seemed to him to prefigure death for himself also. 
He had nearly swooned at what Lord Henry had said 
in a chance mood of cynical jesting. 

At five o'clock he rang his bell for his servant and 
gave him orders to pack his things for the night- 
express to town, and to have the brougham at the door 
by eight-thirty. He was determined not to sleep 
another night at Selby Royal. It was an ill-omened 
place. Death walked there in the sunlight. The 
grass of the forest had been spotted with blood. 


Then he wrote a note to Lord Henry, telling him 
that he was going up to town to consult his doctor, 
and asking him to entertain his guests in his absence. 
As he was putting it into the envelope, a knock came 
to the door, and his valet informed him that the head- 
keeper wished to see him. He frowned, and bit his 
lip. " Send him in," he muttered, after some mo- 
ments' hesitation. 

As soon as the man entered Dorian pulled his cheque- 
book out of a drawer, and spread it out before him. 

" I suppose you have come about the unfortunate 
accident of this morning, Thornton ? " he said, taking 
up a pen. 

' Yes, sir," answered the gamekeeper. 

" Was the poor fellow married ? Had he any 
people dependent on him? " asked Dorian, looking 
bored. " If so, I should not like them to be left 
In want, and will send them any sum of money you 
may think necessary." 

" We don't know who he is, sir. That is what I 
took the liberty of coming to you about." 

" Don't know who he is ? " said Dorian, listlessly. 
" What do you mean ? Wasn't he one of your 
men ? " 

" No, sir. Never saw him before. Seems like a 
sailor, sir." 

The pen dropped from Dorian Gray's hand, and 
he felt as it his jieart had suddenly stopped beating. 
" A sailor ? " he cried out. " Did you say a sailor ? " 

" Yes, sir. He looks as if he had been a sort of 
sailor ; tattooed on both arms, and that kind of 

" Was there anything found on him ? " said Dorian, 
leaning forward and looking at the man with startled 
eyes. " Anything that would tell his name ? " 

" Some money, sir not much, and a six-shooter. 
There was no name of any kind. A decent-looking 
man, sir, but rough-like. A sort of sailor, we 

Dorian started to his feet. A terrible hope fluttered 


past him. He clutched at it madly. " Where is 
the body ? " he exclaimed. " Quick 1 I must see 
it at once." 

" It is in an empty stable in the Home Farm, 
sir. The folk don't like to have that sort of thing 
in their houses. They say a corpse brings bad luck." 

" The Home Farm 1 Go there at once and meet 
me. Tell one of the grooms to bring my horse round. 
No. Never mind. I'll go to the stables myself. 
It will save time." 

In less than a quarter of an hour Dorian Gray was 
galloping down the long avenue as hard as he could 
go. The trees seemed to sweep past him in spectral 
procession, and wild shadows to fling themselves 
across his path. Once the mare swerved at a white 
gate-post and nearly threw him. He lashed her 
across the neck with his crop. She cleft the dusky air 
like an arrow. The stones flew from her hoofs. 

At last he reached the Home Farm. Two men 
were loitering in the yard. He leapt from the saddle 
and threw the reins to one of them. In the farthest 
stable a light was glimmering. Something seemed 
to tell him that the body was there, and he hurried 
to the door, and put his hand upon the latch. 

There he paused for a moment, feeling that he 
was on the brink of a discovery that would either 
make or mar his life. Then he thrust the door open, 
and entered. 

On a heap of sacking in the far 'corner was lying 
the dead body of a man dressed in a coarse shirt 
and a pair of blue trousers. A spotted handkerchief 
had been placed over the face. A coarse candle, 
stuck in a bottle, sputtered beside it. 

Dorian Gray shuddered. He felt that his could 
not be the hand to take the handkerchief away, and 
called out to one of the farm-servants to come to him. 

" Take that thing off the face. I wish to see 
it," he said, clutching at the doorpost for support. 

When the farm-servant had done so, he stepped 
forward. A cry of joy broke from his lips. The 


man who had been shot in the thicket was James 

He stood there for some minutes looking at the 
dead body. As he rode home, his eyes were full of 
tears, for he knew he was safe. 


" THERE Is no use your telling me that you are going 
to be good," cried Lord Henry, dipping his white 
fingers into a red copper bowl filled with rose-water. 
" You're quite perfect. Pray, don't change." 

Dorian Gray shook his head. " No, Harry, I 
have done too many dreadful things in my life. 
I am not going to do any more. I began my good 
actions yesterday." 

<( Where were you yesterday ? " 

" In the country, Harry. I was staying at a little 
inn by myself." 

" My dear boy," said Lord Henry, smiling, " any- 
body can be good in the country. There are no 
temptations there. That is the reason why people 
who live out of town are so absolutely uncivilised. 
Civilisation is not by any means an easy thing to attain 
to. There are only two ways by which man can reach 
It. One is by being cultured, the other by being 
currupt. Country people have no opportunity of 
being either, so they stagnate." 

" Culture and corruption," echoed Dorian. " I 
have known something of both. It seems terrible 
to me now that they should ever be found together. 
For I have a new ideal, Harry. I am going to alter. 
I think -I have altered." 

" You have not yet told me what your good action 
was. Or did you say you had done more than one ? " 
asked his companion, as he spilt into his plate a little 
crimson pyramid of seeded strawberries, and through 



a perforated shell-shaped spoon snowed white sugar 
upon them. 

" I can tell you, Harry. It is not a story I could 
tell to anyone else. I spared somebody. It sounds 
vain, but you understand what I mean. She was 
quite beautiful, and wonderfully like Sibyl Vane. 
I think it was that which first attracted me to her. 
You remember Sibyl, don't you ? How long ago 
that seems 1 Well, Hetty was not one of our own 
class, of course. She was simply a girl in a village. 
But I really loved her. I am quite sure that I loved 
her. All during this wonderful May that we have 
been having, I used to run down and see her two or 
three times a week. Yesterday she met me in a little 
orchard. The apple-blossoms kept tumbling down on 
her hair, and she was laughing. We were to* have 
gone away together this morning at dawn. Suddenly 
I determined to leave her as flower-like as I had 
found her." 

" I should think the novelty of the emotion must 
have given you a thrill of real pleasure, Dorian," 
Interrupted Lord Henry. " But I can finish your 
idyll for you. You gave her good advice, and broke 
her heart. That was the beginning of your reforma- 

" Harry, you are horrible 1 You mustn't say 
these dreadful things. Hetty's heart is not broken. 
Of course she cried, and all that. But there is no 
disgrace upon her. She can live, like Perdita, in 
her garden of mint and marigold." 

" And weep over a faithless Florizel," said Lord 
Henry, laughing, as he leant back in his chair. " My 
dear Dorian, you have the most curiously boyish 
moods. Do you think this girl will ever be really 
contented now with anyone of her own rank ? I 
suppose she will be married some day to a rough carter 
or a grinning ploughman. Well, the fact of having 
met you, and loved you, will teach her to despise 
her husband, and she will be wretched. From a 
moral point of view, I cannot say that I think much 


of your great renunciation. Even as a beginning, it 
Is poor. Besides, how do you know that Hetty isn't 
floating at the present moment in some star-lit mill- 
pond, with lovely water-lilies round her, like 
Ophelia ? " 

" I can't bear this, Harry I You mock at every- 
thing, and then suggest the most serious tragedies. 
I am sorry I told you now. I don't care what you 
say to me. I know I was right in acting as I did. 
Poor Hetty ! As I rode past the farm this morning, 
I saw her white face at the window, like a spray of 
jasmine. Don't let us talk about it any more, and 
don't try to persuade me that the first good action 
I have done for years, the first little bit of self-sacrifice 
I have ever known, is really a sort of sin. I want to 
be better. I am going to be better. Tell me some- 
thing about yourself. What is going on in town ? 
I have not been to the club for days." 

" The people are still discussing poor Basil's dis- 

" I should have thought they had got tired of that 
by this time," said Dorian, pouring himself out some 
wine, and frowning slightly. 

" My dear boy, they have only been talking about 
it for six weeks, and the British public are really not 
equal to the mental strain of having more than one 
topic every three months. They have been very 
fortunate lately, however. They have had my own 
divorce-case, and Alan Campbell's suicide. Now 
they have got the mysterious disappearance of an 
artist. Scotland Yard still insists that the man in the 
grey ulster who left for Paris by the midnight train on 
the ninth of November was poor Basil, and the French 
police declare that Basil never arrived in Paris at all. 
I suppose in about a fortnight we shall be told that 
he has been seen in San Francisco. It is an odd 
thing, but everyone who disappears is said to be 
seen at San Francisco. It must be a delightful city, 
and possess all "the attractions of the next world." 

" What do you think has happened to Basil ? " 


asked Dorian, holding up his Burgundy against the 
light, and wondering how it was that he could discuss 
the matter so calmly. 

" I have not the slightest idea. If Basil chooses 
to hide himself, it is no business of mine. If he is 
dead, I don't want to think about him. Death is 
the only thing that ever terrifies me. I hate it." 

" \Vhy ? " said the younger man, wearily. 

" Because," said Lord Henry, passing beneath his 
nostrils the gilt trellis of an open vinaigrette box, 
" one can survive everything nowadays except that. 
Death and vulgarity are the only two facts in the 
nineteenth century that one cannot explain away. 
Let us have our coffee in the music-room, Dorian. 
You must play Chopin to me. The man with whom 
my wife ran away played Chopin exquisitely. Poor 
Victoria ! I was very fond of her. The house is 
rather lonely without her. Of course married life is 
merely a habit, a bad habit. But then one regrets 
the loss even of one's worst habits. Perhaps one 
regrets them the most. They are such an essential 
part of one's personality." 

Dorian said nothing, but rose from the table 
and, passing into the next room, sat down to the 
piano and let his fingers stray across the white and 
black ivory of the keys. After the coffee had been 
brought in, he stopped, and, looking over at Lord 
Henry, said, " Harry, did it ever occur to you that 
Basil was murdered ? " 

Lord Henry yawned. " Basil was very popular, 
and always wore a Waterbury watch. Why should 
he have been murdered ? He was not clever enough 
to have enemies. Of course he had a wonderful 
genius for painting. But a man can paint like 
Velasquez and yet be as dull as possible. Basil was 
really rather dull. He only interested me once, and 
that was when he told me, years ago, that he had a 
wild adoration for you, and that you were the domi- 
nant motive of his art." 

" I was very fond of Basil," said Dorian, with a 


note of sadness in his voice. " But don't people 
say thnt he was murdered ? " 

" Oh, some of the papers do. It does not seem 
to me to be at all probable. I know there are dreadful 
places in Paris, but Basil was not the sort of man to 
have gone to them. He had no curiosity. It was his 
chief defect." 

" What would you say, Harry, if I told you that 
I had murdered Basil ? " said the younger man. He 
watched him intently after he had spoken. 

" I would say, my dear fellow, that you were 
posing for a character that doesn't suit you. All 
crime is vulgar, just as all vulgarity is crime. It Is 
not in you, Dorian, to commit a murder. I am 
sorry if I hurt your vanity by saying so, but I assure 
you it is true. Crime belongs exclusively to the 
lower orders. I don't blame them in the smallest 
degree. I should fancy that crime was to them what 
art is to us, simply a method of procuring extraordinary 

" A method of procuring sensations ? Do you 
think, then, that a man who has once committed a 
murder could possibly do the same crime again ? 
Don't tell me that." 

" Oh ! anything becomes a pleasure If one does It 
too often," cried Lord Henry, laughing. " That Is 
one of the most important secrets of life. I should 
fancy, however, that murder is always a mistake. 
One should never do anything that one cannot talk 
about after dinner. But let us pass from poor Basil. 
I wish I could believe that he had come to such a 
really romantic end as you suggest ; but I can't. I 
dare say he fell into the Seine off an omnibus, and 
that the conductor hushed up the scandal. Yes: 
I should fancy that was his end. I see him lying now 
on his back under those dull-green waters with the 
heavy barges floating over him, and long weeds catch- 
ing in his hair. Do you know, I don't think he would 
have done much more good work. During the last 
ten years his painting had gone off very much." 


Dorian heaved a sigh, and Lord Henry strolled 
across the room and began to stroke the head of a 
curious Java parrot, a large grey-plumaged bird, 
with pink crest and tail, that was balancing itself 
upon a bamboo perch. As his pointed fingers touched 
it, it dropped the white scurf of crinkled lids over 
black glass-like eyes, and began to sway backwards 
and forwards. 

" Yes," he continued, turning round, and taking 
his handkerchief out of his pocket ; " his painting 
had quite gone off. It seemed to me to have lost 
something. It had lost an ideal. When you and 
he ceased to be great friends, he ceased to be a great 
artist. What was it separated you ? I suppose he 
bored you. If so, he never forgave you. It's a habit 
bores have. By the way, what has become of that 
wonderful portrait he did of you ? I don't think I 
have ever seen it since he finished it. Oh ! I remember 
your telling me years ago that you had sent it down 
to Selby, and that it had got mislaid or stolen on the 
way. You never got it back ? What a pity I It 
was really a masterpiece. I remember I wanted to 
buy it. I wish I had now. It belonged to Basil's 
best period. Since then, his work was that curious 
mixture of bad painting and good intentions that 
always entitles a man to be called a representative 
British artist. Did you advertise for it ? You 

" I forget," said Dorian. " I suppose I did. But 
I never really liked it. I am sorry I sat for it. The 
memory of the thing is hateful to me. Why do you 
talk of it ? It used to remind me of those curious lines 
in some play ' Hamlet,' I think how do they 

" ' Like the painfing of a sorrow, 
A face without a heart.' 

Yes : that Is what it was like." 

Lord Henry laughed. " If a man treats life ar- 
tistically, his brain is his heart," he answered, sinking 
Into an arm-chair. 


Dorian Gray shook his head, and struck some 
soft chords on the piano. " ' Like the painting 
of a sorrow,' " he repeated, " ' a face without a 
heart.' 5: 

The elder man lay back and looked at him with 
half-closed eyes. " By the way, Dorian," he said, 
after a pause, " ' what does it profit a man if he gain 
the whole world and lose ' how does the quotation 
run ? ' his own soul ' ? " 

The music jarred and Dorian Gray started, and 
stared at his friend. " Why do you ask me that, 
Harry ? " 

" My dear fellow," said Lord Henry, elevating 
his eyebrows in surprise, " I asked you because I 
thought you might be able to give me an answer. 
That is all. I was going through the Park last Sun- 
day, and close by the Marble Arch there stood a little 
crowd of shabby-looking people listening to some 
vulgar street-preacher. As I passed by, I heard the 
man yelling out that question to his audience. It 
struck me as being rather dramatic. London is very 
rich in curious effects of that kind. A wet Sunday, 
an uncouth Christian in a mackintosh, a ring of sickly 
white faces under a broken roof of dripping umbrellas, 
and a wonderful phrase flung into the air by shrill, 
hysterical lips it was really very good in its way, 
quite a suggestion. I thought of telling the prophet 
that Art had a soul, but that man had not. I am 
afraid, however, he would not have understood 

" Don't, Harry. The soul is a terrible reality. 
It can be bought, and sold, and bartered away. It 
can be poisoned, or made perfect. There is a soul 
in each one of us. I know it." 

" Do you feel quite sure of that, Dorian?" 

" Quite sure." 

" Ah ! then it must be an illusion. The things one 
feels absolutely certain about are never true. That 
is the fatality of Faith, and the lesson of Romance. 
How grave you are 1 Don't be so serious. What 


have you or I to do with the superstitions of our age ? 
No : we have given up our belief in the soul. Play 
me something. Play me a nocturne, Dorian, and, as 
you play, tell me, in a low voice, how you have kept 
your youth. You must have some secret. I am only 
ten years older than you are, and I am wrinkled, 
and worn, and yellow. You are really wonderful, 
Dorian. You have never looked more charming 
than you do to-night. You remind me of the day 
I saw you first. You were rather cheeky, very shy, 
and absolutely extraordinary. You have changed, 
of course, but not in appearance. I wish you would 
tell me your secret. To get back my youth I would 
do anything in the world, except take exercise, get 
up early, or be respectable. Youth ! There is no- 
thing like it. It's absurd to talk of the ignorance 
of youth. The only people to whose opinions I listen 
now with any respect are people much younger than 
myself. They seem in front of me. Life has revealed 
to them her latest wonder. As for the aged, I always 
contradict the aged. I do it on principle. If you ask 
them their opinion on something that happened 
yesterday, they solemnly give you the opinions 
current in 1820, when people w r ore high stocks, be- 
lieved in everything, and knew absolutely nothing. 
How lovely that thing you are playing is ! I wonder 
did Chopin write it at Majorca, with the sea weeping 
round the villa, and the salt spray dashing against 
the panes ? It is marvellously romantic. What a 
blessing it is that there is one art left to us that is not 
imitative I Don't stop. I want music to-night. It 
seems to me that you are the young Apollo, and that 
I am Marsyas listening to you. I have sorrows, Dorian, 
of my own, that even you know nothing of. The 
tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one 
is young. I am amazed sometimes at my own 
sincerity. Ah, Dorian, how happy you are ! What 
an exquisite life you have had ! You have drunk 
deeply of everything. You have crushed the grapes 
against your palate. Nothing has been hidden from 


you. And it has all been to you no more than the 
sound of music. It has not marred you. You are 
still the same." 

" I am not the same, Harry." 

" Yes : you are the same. I wonder what the 
rest of your life will be. Don't spoil it by renun- 
ciations. At present you are a perfect type. Don't 
make yourself incomplete. You are quite flawless 
now. You need not shake your head : you know 
you are. Besides, Dorian, don't deceive yourself. 
Life is not governed by will or intention. Life is 
a question of nerves, and fibres, and slowly built-up 
cells in which thought hides itself and passion has 
its dreams. You may fancy yourself safe, and 
think yourself strong. But a chance tone of colour 
in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume 
that you had once loved and that brings subtle 
memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that 
you had come across again, a cadence from a piece 
of music that you had ceased to play I tell you, 
Dorian, that it is on things like these that our lives 
depend. Browning writes about that somewhere; but 
our own senses will imagine them for us. There are 
moments when the odour of lilas blanc passes suddenly 
across me, and I have to live the strangest month of 
my life over again. I wish I could change places with 
you, Dorian. The world has cried out against us both, 
but it has always worshipped you. It always will 
worship you. You are the type of what the age is 
searching for, and what it is afraid it has found. I 
am so glad that you have never done anything, never 
carved a statue, or painted a picture, or produced 
anything outside of yourself ! Life has been your 
art. You have set yourself to music. Your days 
are your sonnets." 

Dorian rose up from the piano, and passed his 
hand through his hair. " Yes, life has been ex- 
quisite," he murmured, " but I am not going to 
have the same life, Harry. And you must not say 
these extravagant things to me. You don't know 


everything about me. I think that If you did, even 
you would turn from me. You laugh. Don't laugh." 

" Why have you stopped playing, Dorian ? Go 
back and give me the nocturne over again. Look 
at that great honey-coloured . moon that hangs in 
the dusky air. She is waiting for you to charm her, 
and if you play she will come closer to the earth. 
You won't ? Let us go to the club, then. It has been 
a charming evening, and we must end it charmingly. 
There is some one at White's who wants immensely 
to know you young Lord Poole, Bournemouth's 
eldest son. He has already copied your neckties, 
and has begged me to introduce him to you. He 
Is quite delightful, and rather reminds me of you." 

" I hope not," said Dorian, with a sad look in his 
eyes. " But I am tired to-night, Harry. I shan't 
go to the club. It is nearly eleven, and I want to 
go to bed early." 

" Do stay. You have never played so well as 
to-night. There was something in your touch that 
was wonderful. It had more expression than I 
had ever heard from it before." 

" It is because I am going to be good," he answered, 
smiling. " I am a little changed already." 

" You cannot change to me, Dorian," said Lord 
Henry. " You and I will always be friends." 

" Yet you poisoned me with a book once. I 
should not forgive that. Harry, promise me that 
you will never lend that book to any one. It does 

" My dear boy, you are really beginning to moralise. 
You will soon be going about like the converted, and 
the revivalist, warning people against all the sins 
of which you have grown tired. You are much too 
delightful to do that. Besides, it is no use. You 
and I are what we are, and will be what we will be. 
As for being poisoned by a book, there is no such thing 
as that. Art has no influence upon action. It annihi- 
lates the desire to act. It is superbly sterile. The 
books that the world calls immoral are books that show 


the world its own shame. That is all. But we won't 
discuss literature. Come round to-morrow. I am 
going to ride at eleven. We might go together, and 
I will take you to lunch afterwards with Lady Brank- 
some. She is a charming woman, and wants to 
consult you about some tapestries she is thinking 
of buying. Mind you come. Or shall we lunch 
with our little Duchess ? She says she never sees 
you now. Perhaps you are tired of Gladys ? I 
thought you would be. Her clever tongue gets on 
one's nerves. Well, in any case, be here at eleven." 

" Must I really come, Harry ? " 

" Certainly. The Park is quite lovely now. I 
don't think there have been such lilacs since the year 
I met you." 

" Very well. I shall be here at eleven," said 
Dorian. " Good-night, Harry." As he reached the 
door he hesitated for a moment, as if he had something 
more to say. Then he sighed and went out. 


IT was a lovely night, so warm that he threw his 
coat over his arm, and did not even put his silk scarf 
round his throat. As he strolled home, smoking 
his cigarette, two young men in evening dress passed 
him. He heard one of them whisper to the other, 
" That is Dorian Gray." He remembered how pleased 
he used to be when he was pointed out, or stared at, 
or talked about. He was tired of hearing his own 
name now. Half the charm of the little village where 
he had been so often lately w y as that no one knew who 
he was. He had often told the girl whom he had 
lured to love him that he was poor, and she had be- 
lieved him. He had told her once that he was wicked, 
and she had laughed at him, and answered that 
wicked people were always very old and very ugly. 
What a laugh she had I just like a thrush singing. 
And how pretty she had been in her cotton dresses 
and her large hats ! She knew nothing, but she 
had everything that he had lost. 

When he reached home, he found his servant 
waiting up for him. He sent him to bed, and threw 
himself down on the sofa in the library, and began 
to think over some of the things that Lord Henry had 
said to him. 

Was it really true that one could never change ? 
He felt a wild longing for the unstained purity of his 
boyhood his rose-white boyhood, as Lord Henry 
had once called it. He knew that he had tarnished 
himself, filled his mind with corruption, and given 
horror to his fancy ; that he had been an evil influence 


to others, and had experienced a terrible joy in being 
so ; and that, of the lives that had crossed his own, 
It had been the fairest and the most full of promise 
that he had brought to shame. But was it all irre- 
trievable ? Was there no hope for him ? 

Ah ! in what a monstrous moment of pride and 
passion he had prayed that the portrait should bear 
the burden of his days, and he keep the unsullied 
splendour of eternal youth ! All his failure had' 
been due to that. Better for him that each sin of his 
life had brjought its sure, swift penalty along with it. 
There was purification in punishment. Not " For- 
give us our sins," but " Smite us for our iniquities " 
should be the prayer of a man to a most just God. 

The curiously carved mirror that Lord Henry had 
given to him, so many years ago now, was standing 
on the table, and the white-limbed Cupids laughed 
round it as of old. He took it up, as he had done 
on that night of horror, when he had first noted 
the change in the fatal picture, and with wild, tear- 
dimmed eyes looked into its polished shield. Once, 
some one who had terribly loved him had written 
to him a mad letter, ending with these idolatrous 
words : " The world is changed because you are made 
of ivory and gold. The curves of your lips rewrite 
history." The phrases came back to his memory, 
and he repeated them over and over to himself. 
Then he loathed his own beauty, and, flinging the 
mirror on the floor, crushed it into silver splinters 
beneath his heel. It was his beauty that had ruined 
him, his beauty and the youth that he had prayed 
for. But for those two things, his life might have been 
free from stain. His beauty had been to him but a 
mask, his youth but a mockery. What was youth 
at best ? A green, an unripe time, a time of shallow 
moods and sickly thoughts. Why had he worn its 
livery ? Youth had spoiled him. 

It was better not to think of the past. Nothing 
could alter that. It was of himself, and of his own 
future, that he had to think. James Vane was 


hidden in a nameless grave in Selby churchyard. 
Alan Campbell had shot himself one night in his 
laboratory, but had not revealed the secret that he 
had been forced to know. The excitement, such 
as it was, over Basil Hallward's disappearance would 
soon pass away. It was already waning. He was 
perfectly safe there. Nor, indeed, was it the death 
of Basil Hallward that weighed most upon his mind. 
It was the living death of his own soul that troubled 
him. Basil had painted the portrait that had marred 
his life. He could not forgive him that. It was the 
portrait that had done everything. Basil had said 
things to him that were unbearable, and that he had 
yet borne with patience. The murder had been 
simply the madness of a moment. As for Alan Camp- 
bell, his suicide had been his own act. He had chosen 
to do it. It was nothing to him. 

A new life I That was what he wanted. That 
was what he was waiting for. Surely he had begun 
it already. He had spared one innocent thing, at 
any rate. He would never again tempt innocence. 
He would be good. 

As he thought of Hetty Merton, he began to wonder 
If the portrait in the locked room had changed. Surely 
it was not still so horrible as it had been ? Perhaps 
if his life became pure, he would be able to expel every 
sign of evil passion from the face. Perhaps the signs 
of evil had already gone away. He would go and 

He took the lamp from the table and crept upstairs. 
As he unbarred the door a smile of joy flitted across 
his strangely young-looking face and lingered for a 
moment about his lips. Yes, he would be good, and 
the hideous thing that he had hidden away would no 
longer be a terror to him. He felt as if the load had 
been lifted from him already. 

He went in quietly, locking the door behind him, 
as was his custom, and dragged the purple hanging 
from the portrait. A cry of pain and indignation 
broke from him. He could see no change, save that 


In the eyes there was a look of cunning, and In the 
mouth the curved "wrinkle of the hypocrite. The 
thing was still loathsome more loathsome, if possible, 
than before and the scarlet dew that spotted the 
hand seemed brighter, and more like blood newly spilt. 
Then he trembled. Had it been merely vanity that 
had made him do his one good deed ? Or the desire 
for a new sensation, as Lord Henry had hinted, with 
his mocking laugh ? Or that passion to act a part 
that sometimes makes us do things finer than we are 
ourselves ? Or, perhaps, all these ? And why was 
the red stain larger than it had been ? It seemed 
to have crept like a horrible disease over the wrinkled 
fingers. There was blood on the painted feet, as 
though the thing had dripped blood even on the 
hand that had not held the knife. Confess ? Did 
it mean that he was to confess ? To give himself 
up, and be put to death ? He laughed. He felt 
that the idea was monstrous. Besides, even if he 
did confess, who would believe him ? There was no 
trace of the murdered man anywhere. Everything be- 
longing to him had been destroyed. He himself had 
burned what had been below-stairs. The world would 
simply say that he was mad. They would shut him 
up if he persisted in his story. . . . Yet it was his 
duty to confess, to sutler public shame, and to make 
public atonement. There was a God who called upon 
men to tell their sins to earth as well as to heaven. 
Nothing that he could do would cleanse him till he 
had told his own sin. His sin ? He shrugged his 
shoulders. The death of Basil Hallward seemed very 
little to him. He was thinking of Hetty Merton. 
For it was an unjust mirror, this mirror of his soul 
that he was looking at. Vanity ? Curiosity ? Hy- 
pocrisy ? Had there been nothing more in his re- 
nunciation than that ? There had been something 
more. At least he thought so. But who could 
tell ? . . . No. There had been nothing more. 
Through vanity he had spared her. In hypocrisy he 
had worn the mask of goodness. For curiosity's sake 


he had tried the denial of self. He recognised that 

But this murder was it to dog him all his life ? 
Was he always to be burdened by his past ? Was 
he really to confess ? Never. There was only one 
bit of evidence left against him. The picture itself 
that was evidence. He would destroy it. Why 
had he kept it so long ? Once it had given him plea- 
sure to watch it changing and growing old. Of late 
he had felt no such pleasure. It had kept him awake 
at night. When he had been away, he had been 
filled with terror lest other eyes should look upon it. It 
had brought melancholy across his passions. Its mere 
memory had marred many moments of joy. It had 
been like conscience to him. Yes, it had been con- 
science. He would destroy it. 

He looked round, and saw the knife that had 
stabbed Basil Hallward. He had cleaned it many 
times, till there was no stain left upon it. It was 
bright, and glistened. As it had killed the painter, 
so it would kill the painter's work, and all that that 
meant. * It would kill the past, and when that was 
dead he would be free. It would kill this monstrous 
soul-life, and, without its hideous warnings, he would 
be at peace. He seized the thing, and stabbed the 
picture with it. 

There was a cry heard, and a crash. The cry was 
so horrible in its agony that the frightened servants 
woke, and crept out of their rooms. Two gentlemen, 
who were passing in the Square below, stopped, and 
looked up at the great house. They walked on till 
they met a policeman, and brought him back. The 
man rang the bell several times, but there was no 
answer. Except for a light in one of the top windows, 
the house was all dark. After a time, he went away 
and stood in an adjoining portico and watched. 

" Whose house is that, constable ? " asked the elder 
of the two gentlemen. 

" Mr. Dorian Gray's, sir," answered the policeman. 

They looked at each other, as they walked away, 


and sneered. One of them was Sir Henry Ashton's 

Inside, in the servants' part of the house, the 
half-clad domestics were talking in low whispers to 
each other. Old Mrs. Leaf was crying and wringing 
her hands. Francis was as pale as death. 

After about a quarter of an hour, he got the coach- 
man and one of the footmen and crept upstairs. They 
knocked, but there was no reply. They called out. 
Everything was still. Finally, after vainly trying to 
force the door, they got on the roof, and dropped down 
on to the balcony. The windows yielded easily : 
their bolts were old. 

When they entered they found, hanging upon 
the wall, a splendid portrait of their master as they 
had last seen him, in all the wonder of his exquisite 
youth and beauty. Lying on the floor was a dead 
man, in evening dress, with a knife in his heart. He 
was withered, wrinkled, and loathsome of visage. 
It was not till they had examined the rings that they 
recognised who it was. 




OWING to the number of unauthorised editions of 
various times both in America and on the Continent 
of Europe, it has become necessary to indicate which 
are the only authorised editions of Oscar Wilde's 

Many of the pirated editions are incomplete in that 
they omit the Preface and seven additional chapters 
which were first published in the London edition of 
1891. In other cases certain passages have been 
mutilated, and faulty spellings and misprints are 


(I) First published in Lippincott's Monthly Maga- 
zine, July, 1890. London : Ward, Lock & Co. 
Copyrighted in London. 

Published simultaneously in America. Philadelphia : 
J.-B. Lippincott Co. Copyrighted in the United States 
of America. 

(II) A Preface to " Dorian Gray." Fortnightly 
Review, March 1, 1891. London : Chapman & Hall, 
(All rights reserved.) 



(III) With the Preface and Seven additional 
chapters. London, New York, and Melbourne : 
Ward, Lock & Co. (n. d.). 

(Of this edition 250 copies were issued on L.P., 
dated 1891.) 

(IV) The same. London, New York, and Mel- 
bourne : Ward, Lock & Bowden. (n. d.). 

(Published 1894 or 1895.) See Stuart Mason's 
" Art and Morality " (page 153). 


were issued by Charles Carrington, Publisher and 
Literary Agent, late of 13 Faubourg Montmartre, 
Paris, and 10 Rue de la Tribune, BRUSSELS (Belgium), 
to whom the Copyright belongs. 

(V) Small 8vo, vii 334 pages, printed on English 
antique wove paper, silk-cloth boards. 500 copies, 

(VI) The same, vii 327 pages, silk-cloth boards. 
500 copies, 1905. 

Of this edition 100 copies were issued on hand-made 

(VII) 4to, vi 312 pages, broad margins, claret- 
coloured paper wrappers, title on label on the outside. 
250 copies. Price 10s. 6d. 1908 (February). 

(VIII) Cr. 8vo, uniform with Methuen's (London) 
complete edition of Wilde's Works, xi 362 pages, 
printed on hand-made paper, white cloth, gilt extra. 

1000 copies. Price 12s. 6d. 1908 (April 16). 

Of this edition 80 further copies were printed on 
Imperial Japanese vellum, full vellum binding, gilt 
extra. Price 42s. 

(IX) Illustrated edition. Containing seven full- 


paged illustrations by Paul Thiriat, engraved on Wood 
by Eug6ne Dete (both of Paris), and artistically 
printed by Brendon & Son, Ltd. (of Plymouth), 4to, 
vi 312 pages, half parchment bound, with corners, and 
flcur-de-lys on side. 1908-9. Price 15s. 

(X) Small edition, uniform with Messrs. Methuen's 
issue of " Oscar Wilde's Works " at same price. 
12mo, xii and 352 pages. 2000 copies. Bound in 
green cloth. 1910. Price 5s. 

It follows from all this that, with the exception of 
the version in Lippincott's Magazine only those editions 
are authorised to be sold in Great Britain and her 
Colonies which bear the imprimatur of Ward, Lock 
& Co., London, or Charles Carrington, Paris and 
Brussels ; and that all other editions, whether 
American, Continental (save Carrington' s Paris editions 
above specified) or otherwise, may not be sold within 
British jurisdiction without infringing the Berne law 
of literary copyright and incurring the disagreements 
that may therefrom result. 


To possess a good edition 

is surely the desire of every one. 




is a charming Edition, suitable for the pocket 
or bookshelf. Size 6| X 4 X f inch thick. 
Printed in large type on a thin but thoroughly 
opaque paper, with photogravure frontispiece 
and title-page to each volume on Japanese vellum. 

The 3 Volumes are 

Comedies, Histories, Tragedies. 

Cloth, 3/- each net. Lambskin, 3/6 each net 

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To be had from all Booksellers or the Publishers 


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Ask y ar Bookseller to show you Gordon's Our 
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They form a comprehensive collection of 

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The Caxton Series 


Printed in large, clear type on antique wove 
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Herrick's Hesperides and Noble Numbers. 

With Illustrations by REGINALD SAVAGE. Two 


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