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


and over to himself: “Devant une facade rose, Sur le marbre d’un

The whole of Venice was in those two lines. He remembered the
autumn that he had passed there, and a wonderful love that had
stirred him to mad, delightful follies. There was romance in every
place. But Venice, like Oxford, had kept the background for
romance, and, to the true romantic, background was everything, or
almost everything. Basil had been with him part of the time, and
had gone wild over Tintoret. Poor Basil! what a horrible way for a
man to die!

He sighed, and took up the volume again, and tried to forget. He
read of the swallows that fly in and out of the little cafe at Smyrna
where the Hadjis sit counting their amber beads and the turbaned
merchants smoke their long tasselled pipes and talk gravely to each
other; he read of the Obelisk in the Place de la Concorde that weeps
tears of granite in its lonely sunless exile, and longs to be back by
the hot lotus-covered Nile, where there are Sphinxes, and rose-red
ibises, and white vultures with gilded claws, and crocodiles, with
small beryl eyes, that crawl over the green steaming mud; he began
to brood over those verses which, drawing music from kiss-stained
marble, tell of that curious statue that Gautier compares to a
contralto voice, the “monstre charmant” that couches in the
porphyry-room of the Louvre. But after a time the book fell from
his hand. He grew nervous, and a horrible fit of terror came over
him. What if Alan Campbell should be out of England? Days
would elapse before he could come back. Perhaps he might refuse
to come. What could he do then? Every moment was of vital

They had been great friends once, five years before-almost
inseparable, indeed. Then the intimacy had come suddenly to an
end. When they met in society now, it was only Dorian Gray who
smiled; Alan Campbell never did.

He was an extremely clever young man, though he had no real
appreciation of the visible arts, and whatever little sense of the
beauty of poetry he possessed he had gained entirely from Dorian.
His dominant intellectual passion was for science. At Cambridge
he had spent a great deal of his time working in the Laboratory,
and had taken a good class in the Natural Science Tripos of his
year. Indeed, he was still devoted to the study of chemistry, and
had a laboratory of his own, in which he used to shut himself up
all day long, greatly to the annoyance of his mother, who had set
her heart on his standing for parliament and had a vague idea that
a chemist was a person who made up prescriptions. He was an
excellent musician, however, as well, and played both the violin
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