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<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde


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! 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 missed.” “Basil, this is extraordinary! I
must see Dorian Gray.” Hallward got up from his 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!” “Poets are not so scrupulous as you are. They
know how useful passion is for publication. Nowadays 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 some one who treats it as if it were a
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