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


tightened round his forehead, as if the disgrace with which he was
threatened had already come upon him. The hand upon his
shoulder weighed like a band of lead. It was intolerable. It seemed
to crush him.

“Come, Alan, you must decide at once.” “I cannot do it,” he said
mechanically, as though words could alter things.

“You must. You have no choice. Don’t delay.” He hesitated a
moment. “Is there a fire in the room upstairs?” “Yes, there is a gas-
fire with asbestos.” “I shall have to go home and get some things
from the laboratory.” “No, Alan, you must not leave the house.
Write out on a sheet of notepaper what you want, and my servant
will take a cab and bring the things back to you.” Campbell
scrawled a few lines, blotted them, and addressed an envelope to
his assistant. Dorian took the note up and read it carefully. Then he
rang the bell, and gave it to his valet, with orders to return as soon
as possible, and to bring the things with him.

As the hall door shut, Campbell started nervously, and, having got
up from the chair, went over to the chimney-piece. He was
shivering with a kind of ague.

For nearly twenty minutes, neither of the men spoke. A fly buzzed
noisily about the room, and the ticking of the clock was like the
beat of a hammer.

As the chime struck one, Campbell turned round, and, looking at
Dorian Gray, saw that his eyes were filled with tears. There was
something in the purity and refinement of that sad face that
seemed to enrage him. “You are infamous, absolutely infamous!”
he muttered.

“Hush, Alan: you have saved my life,” said Dorian.
“Your life? Good heavens! what a life that is. You have gone from
corruption to corruption, and you have culminated in crime. In
doing what I am going to do, what you force me to do, it is not of
your life that I am thinking.” “Ah, Alan,” murmured Dorian, with
a sigh, “I wish you had a thousandth part of the pity for me that I
have for you.” He turned away as he spoke, and stood looking out
at the garden. Campbell made no answer.

After about ten minutes a knock came to the door, and the servant
entered, carrying a large mahogany chest of chemicals, with a long
coil of steel and platinum wire and two rather curiously-shaped
iron clamps.

“Shall I leave the things here, sir?” he asked Campbell.
“Yes,” said Dorian. “And I am afraid, Francis, that I have another
errand for you. What is the name of the man at Richmond who
supplies Selby with orchids?” “Harden, sir.”
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