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


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,” murmured 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
idea. 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
indifferent. 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 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! And how delightful other people’s
emotions were!- 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 conversation 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
<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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