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around at the grotesque things that lay in such fantastic postures
on the ragged mattresses. The twisted limbs, the gaping mouths,
the staring lustreless eyes, fascinated him. He knew in what
strange heavens they were suffering, and what dull hells were
teaching them the secret of some new joy. They were better off than
he was. He was prisoned in thought. Memory, like a horrible
malady, was eating his soul away. From time to time he seemed to
see the eyes of Basil Hallward looking at him. Yet he felt he could
not stay. The presence of Adrian Singleton troubled him. He
wanted to be where no one would know who he was. He wanted
to escape from himself.
“I am going on to the other place,” he said, after a pause.
“On the wharf?” “Yes.” “That mad-cat is sure to be there. They
won’t have her in this place now.” Dorian shrugged his shoulders.
“I am sick of women who love one. Women who hate one are
much more interesting. Besides, the stuff is better.” “Much the
same.” “I like it better. Come and have something to drink. I must
have something.” “I don’t want anything,” murmured the young
“Never mind.” Adrian Singleton rose up wearily, and followed
Dorian to the bar. A half caste, in a ragged turban and a shabby
ulster, grinned a hideous greeting as he thrust a bottle of brandy
and two tumblers in front of them. The women sidled up, and
began to chatter. Dorian turned his back on them, and said
something in a low voice to Adrian Singleton.
A crooked smile, like a Malay crease, writhed across the face of one
of the women. “We’re very proud to-night,” she sneered.
“For God’s sake don’t talk to me,” cried Dorian, stamping his foot
on the ground. “What do you want? Money? Here it is. Don’t ever
talk to me again.” Two red sparks flashed for a moment in the
woman’s sodden eyes, then flickered out, and left them dull and
glazed. She tossed her head, and raked the coins off the counter
with greedy fingers. Her companion watched her enviously.
“It’s no use,” sighed Adrian Singleton “I don’t care to go back.
What does it matter? I am quite happy here.” “You will write to me
if you want anything, won’t you?” said Dorian, after a pause.
“Perhaps.” “Good-night, then.” “Good-night,” answered the young
man, passing up the steps, and wiping his parched mouth with a
Dorian walked to the door with a look of pain in his face. As he
drew the curtain aside a hideous laugh broke from the painted lips
of the woman who had taken the money. “There goes the devil’s
bargain!” she hiccoughed, in a hoarse voice.