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


Who else is coming?” “Oh, the Willoughbys, Lord Rugby and his
wife, our hostess, Geoffrey Clouston, the usual set. I have asked
Lord Grotrian.” “I like him,” said Lord Henry. “A great many
people don’t, but I find him charming. He atones for being
occasionally somewhat over-dressed, by being always absolutely
over-educated. He is a very modern type.” “I don’t know if he will
be able to come, Harry. He may have to go to Monte Carlo with his
father.” “Ah! what a nuisance people’s people are! Try and make
him come. By the way, Dorian, you ran off very early last night.
You left before eleven. What did you do afterwards? Did you go
straight home?” Dorian glanced at him hurriedly, and frowned.
“No, Harry,” he said at last, “I did not get home till nearly three.”
“Did you go to the club?” “Yes,” he answered. Then he bit his lip.
“No, I don’t mean that. I didn’t go to the club. I walked about. I
forget what I did.... How inquisitive you are, Harry! You always
want to know what one has been doing. I always want to forget
what I have been doing. I came in at half-past two, if you wish to
know the exact time.

I had left my latchkey at home, and my servant had to let me in. If
you want any corroborative evidence on the subject you can ask
him.” Lord Henry shrugged his shoulders. “My dear fellow, as if I
cared! Let us go up to the drawing-room. No sherry, thank you,
Mr. Chapman. Something has happened to you, Dorian. Tell me
what it is. You are not yourself to-night.” “Don’t mind me, Harry. I
am irritable, and out of temper. I shall come round and see you to-
morrow or next day. Make my excuses to Lady. Narborough. I
sha’n’t go upstairs. I shall go home. I must go home.” “All right,
Dorian. I dare say I shall see you to-morrow at tea-time. The
Duchess is coming.” “I will try to be there, Harry,” he said, leaving
the room. As he drove back to his own house he was conscious that
the sense of terror he thought he had strangled had come back to
him. Lord Henry’s casual questioning had made him lose his
nerves for the moment, and he wanted his nerve still. Things that
were dangerous had to be destroyed. He winced. He hated the idea
of even touching them.

Yet it had to be done. He realized that, and when he had locked the
door of his library, he opened the secret press into which he had
thrust Basil Hallward’s coat and bag. A huge fire was blazing. He
piled another log on it. The smell of singeing clothes and burning
leather was horrible. It took him three-quarters of an hour to
consume everything. At the end he felt faint and sick, and having
lit some Algerian pastilles in a pierced copper brazier, he bathed
his hands and forehead with a cool musk-scented vinegar.
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