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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library-The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde


117

believe them when I see you. Sin is a thing that writes itself across
a manís 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 wonít 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 canít 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 donít 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 connection 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 pureminded girl should be allowed to know,
and whom no chaste woman would 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 Ashton, 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 Kentís only son, and his career? I met his father yesterday in
St. Jamesís 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?Ē

ďStop, Basil. You are talking about things of which you know
nothing,Ē said Dorian Gray, biting his lip, and with a note of
infinite contempt in his voice. ďYou 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
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