Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
whether it is 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 absurdthat 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 soul.” “To see my soul!” 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!” 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 would
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 some one
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 burdened 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!” he cried. “You must not say things
like that. They are horrible, and they don’t mean anything.” “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 always been 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! 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.