Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
A week later Dorian Gray was sitting in the conservatory at Selby
Royal talking to the pretty Duchess of Monmouth, who with her
husband, a jaded-looking man of sixty, was amongst his guests. It
was tea-time, and the mellow light of the huge lace-covered lamp
that stood on the table lit up the delicate china and hammered
silver of the service at which the Duchess was presiding. Her white
hands were moving daintily among the cups, and her full red lips
were smiling at something that Dorian had whispered to her. Lord
Henry was lying back in a silkdraped wicker chair looking at them.
On a peach-coloured divan sat Lady Narborough pretending to
listen to the Duke’s description of the last Brazilian beetle that he
had added to his collection. Three young men in elaborate
smokingsuits were handing tea-cakes to some of the women. The
house-party consisted of twelve people, and there were more
expected to arrive on the next day.
“What are you two talking about?” said Lord Henry, strolling over
to the table, and putting his cup down. “I hope Dorian has told you
about my plan for rechristening everything, Gladys. It is a
delightful idea.” “But I don’t want to be rechristened, Harry,”
rejoined the Duchess, looking up at him with her wonderful eyes.
“I am quite satisfied with my own name, and I am sure Mr. Gray
should be satisfied with his.”
“My dear Gladys, I would not alter either name for the world.
They are both perfect. I was thinking chiefly of flowers. Yesterday I
cut an orchid, for my buttonhole. It was a marvellous spotted
thing, as effective as the seven deadly sins.
In a thoughtless moment I asked one of the gardeners what it was
called. He told me that it was a fine specimen of Rooinsoniana, or
something dreadful of that kind. It is a sad truth, but we have lost
the faculty of giving lovely names to things. Names are everything.
I never quarrel with actions. My one quarrel is with words. That is
the reason I hate vulgar realism in literature. The man who could
call a spade a spade should be compelled to use one. It is the only
thing he is fit for.” “Then what should we call you, Harry?” she
“His name is Prince Paradox,” said Dorian.
“I recognize him in a flash,” exclaimed the Duchess.
“I won’t hear of it,” laughed Lord Henry, sinking into a chair.
“From a label there is no escape! I refuse the title.” “Royalties may
not abdicate,” fell as a warning from pretty lips.