Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
A cold rain began to fall, and the blurred street-lamps looked
ghastly in the dripping mist. The public-houses were just closing,
and dim men and women were clustering in broken groups round
their doors. From some of the bars came the sound of horrible
laughter. In others, drunkards brawled and screamed.
Lying back in the hansom, with his hat pulled over his forehead,
Dorian Gray watched with listless eyes the sordid shame of the
great city, and now and then he repeated to himself the words that
Lord Henry had said to him on the first day they had met, “To cure
the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the
soul.” Yes, that was the secret. He had often tried it, and would try
it again now. There were opium-dens, where one could buy
oblivion, dens of horror where the memory of old sins could be
destroyed by the madness of sins that were new.
The moon hung low in the sky like a yellow skull. From time to
time a huge misshapen cloud stretched a long arm across and hid
it. The gas-lamps grew fewer, and the streets more narrow and
gloomy. Once the man lost his way, and had to drive back half a
mile. A steam rose from the horse as it splashed up the puddles.
The side-windows of the hansom were clogged with a grey-flannel
“To cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means
of the soul!” How the words rang in his ears! His soul, certainly,
was sick to death. Was it true that the senses could cure it?
Innocent blood had been spilt. What could atone for that? Ah! for
that there was no atonement; but though forgiveness was
impossible, forgetfulness was possible still, and he was determined
to forget, to stamp the thing out, to crush it as one would crush the
adder that had stung one.
Indeed, what right had Basil to have spoken to him as he had
done? Who had made him a judge over others? He had said things
that were dreadful, horrible, not to be endured.
On and on plodded the hansom, going slower, it seemed to him, at
He thrust up the trap, and called to the man to drive faster. The
hideous hunger for opium began to gnaw at him. His throat
burned, and his delicate hands twitched nervously together. He
struck at the horse madly with his stick. The driver laughed, and
whipped up. He laughed in answer, and the man was silent.