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


Hallward turned again to the portrait, and gazed at it. “My God! if
it is true,” he exclaimed, “and this is what you have done with
your life, why, you must be worse even than those who talk
against you fancy you to be!” He held the light up again to the
canvas, and examined it. The surface seemed to be quite
undisturbed, and as he had left it. It was from within, apparently,
that the foulness and horror had come. Through some strange
quickening of inner life the leprosies of sin were slowly eating the
thing away. The rotting of a corpse in a watery grave was not so

His hand shook, and the candle fell from its socket on the floor,
and lay there sputtering. He placed his foot on it and put it out.
Then he flung himself into the rickety chair that was standing by
the table and buried his face in his hands.

“Good God, Dorian, what a lesson! What an awful lesson!” There
was no answer, but he could hear the young man sobbing at the
window. “Pray, Dorian, pray,” he murmured. “What is it that one
was taught to say in one’s boyhood? ‘Lead us not into temptation.
Forgive us our sins. Wash away our iniquities.’ Let us say that
together. The prayer of your pride has been answered. The prayer
of your repentance will be answered also. I worshipped you too
much. I am punished for it. You worshipped yourself too. We are
both punished.” Dorian Gray turned slowly around, and looked at
him with tear-dimmed eyes.

“It is too late, Basil,” he faltered.
“It is never too late, Dorian. Let us kneel down and try if we cannot
remember a prayer. Isn’t there a verse somewhere, ‘Though your
sins be as scarlet, yet I will make them as white as snow’?” “Those
words mean nothing to me now.”

“Hush! don’t say that. You have done enough evil in your life. My
God! Don’t you see that accursed thing leering at us?” Dorian Gray
glanced at the picture, and suddenly an uncontrollable feeling of
hatred for Basil Hallward came over him, as though it had been
suggested to him by the image on the canvas, whispered into his
ear by those grinning lips. The mad passions of a hunted animal
stirred within him, and he loathed the man who was seated at the
table, more than in his whole life he had ever loathed anything.

He glanced wildly around. Something glimmered on the top of the
painted chest that faced him. His eye fell on it. He knew what it
was. It was a knife that he had brought up, some days before, to
cut a piece of cord, and had forgotten to take away with him. He
moved slowly towards it, passing Hallward as he did so. As soon
as he got behind him, he seized it, and turned round. Hallward
stirred in his chair as if he was going to rise. He rushed at him, and
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