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Free Study Guide-The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde-Free BookNotes
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CHAPTER 15

Summary

That evening, Dorian Gray goes to a dinner party at Lady Narborough’s house. He looks perfectly dressed and perfectly at ease. The party is small and the guests boring. Dorian is relieved when he hears that Lord Henry will be coming. When Lord Henry arrives late, he carries on in his usual way with one aphorism after another much to Lady Narborough’s amusement. Dorian, for his part, cannot even eat. He is noticeably distracted. Lady Narborough asks him several times what is the matter and when the men are left alone after dinner for their cigars, Lord Henry questions him. Lord Henry asks him where he went the night before since he left the party early. Dorian first says he went home, then he says he went to the club, then he corrects himself again and says he walked around until half past two when he got home and had to ask his servant to let him in.

The two men chat a little longer. Dorian is planning a party at his country house the next weekend and they discuss the guest list. Dorian is interested in a Duchess and has invited her and her husband. Lord Henry warns him against her, saying she is too smart, and that women are best when they are weak and ignorant.


Dorian finally says he must leave. He goes home and opens the hiding place where he has put Basil Hallward’s coat and bag. He puts them on the fire and waits until they are completely burned up. Then he sits and looks at a cabinet for a long time fascinated. Finally, he gets up and gets a Chinese box out of it. He opens it and finds inside a green paste with a heavy odor. He hesitates with a strange smile and then puts the box back and closes the cabinet. He gets dressed and leaves the house. He hails a cab telling the man the address. The cab driver almost refuses since it is too far, but Dorian promises him a huge tip and they drive off toward the river.

Notes

Dorian seems, after all, not to have left his conscience upstairs in the room. He is nervous and distracted unable to focus on anything but what has happened. He tries to enjoy himself at the dinner party, but he can’t even eat. If he has gone to the dinner party to allay future suspicion, he has ended up doing just the opposite.

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