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for a whole week-not, in fact, since Madame de Ferrol left town.”
“How you men can fall in love with that woman!” exclaimed the
old lady. “I really cannot understand it.” “It is simply because she
remembers you when you were a little girl, Lady Narborough,”
said Lord Henry. “She is the one link between us and your short
frocks.” “She does not remember my short frocks at all, Lord
Henry. But I remember her very well at Vienna thirty years ago,
and how dicolletee she was then.” “She is still dicolletee,” he
answered, taking an olive in his long fingers; “and when she is in a
very smart gown she looks like an edition de luxe of a bad French
novel. She is really wonderful, and full of surprises. Her capacity
for family affection is extraordinary. When her third husband died,
her hair turned quite gold from grief.” “How can you, Harry!”
cried Dorian.

“It is a most romantic explanation,” laughed the hostess. “But her
third husband, Lord Henry! You don’t mean to say Ferrol is the

“Certainly, Lady Narborough.” “I don’t believe a word of it.”
“Well, ask Mr. Gray. He is one of her most intimate friends.” “Is it
true, Mr. Gray?” “She assures me so, Lady Narborough,” said
Dorian. “I asked her whether, like Marguerite de Navarre, she had
their hearts embalmed and hung at her girdle.

She told me she didn’t, because none of them had had any hearts at
all.” “Four husbands! Upon my word that is trop de zele.” “Trop d’
audace, I tell her,” said Dorian.

“Oh! she is audacious enough for anything, my dear. And what is
Ferrol like? I don’t know him.” “The husbands of very beautiful
women belong to the criminal classes,” said Lord Henry, sipping
his wine.

Lady Narborough hit him with her fan. “Lord Henry, I am not at
all surprised that the world says that you are extremely wicked.”
“But what world says that?” asked Lord Henry, elevating his
eyebrows. “It can only be the next world. This world and I are on
excellent terms.” “Everybody I know says you are very wicked,”
cried the old lady, shaking her head.

Lord Henry looked serious for some moments. “It is perfectly
monstrous,” he said, at last, “the way people go about nowadays
saying things against one behind one’s back that are absolutely and
entirely true.” “Isn’t he incorrigible?” cried Dorian, leaning
forward in his chair.

“I hope so,” said his hostess, laughing. “But really if you all
worship Madame de Ferrol in this ridiculous way, I shall have to
marry again so as to be in the fashion.” “You will never marry
again, Lady Narborough,” broke in Lord Henry. “You were far too
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