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“Oh! my maid does that already, Mr. Gray, when she is annoyed
with me.” “And what does she get annoyed with you about,
Duchess?” “For the most trivial things, Mr. Gray, I assure you.
Usually because I come in at ten minutes to nine and tell her that I
must be dressed by half-past eight.”
“How unreasonable of her! You should give her warning.” “I
daren’t, Mr. Gray. Why, she invents hats for me. You remember the
one I wore at Lady Hilstone’s garden-party? You don’t, but it is
nice of you to pretend that you do. Well, she made it out of
nothing. All good hats are made out of nothing.” “Like all good
reputations, Gladys,” interrupted Lord Henry. “Every effect that
one produces gives one an enemy. To be popular one must be a
mediocrity.” “Not with women,” said the Duchess, shaking her
head, “and women rule the world. I assure you we can’t bear
mediocrities. We women, as some one says, love with our ears, just
as you men love with your eyes, if you ever love at all.” “It seems
to me that we never do anything else,” murmured Dorian.
“Ah! then, you never really love, Mr. Gray,” answered the
Duchess, with mock sadness.
“My dear Gladys!” cried Lord Henry. “How can you say that?
Romance lives by repetition, and repetition converts an appetite
into an art. Besides, each time that one loves is the only time one
has ever loved. Difference of object does not alter singleness of
passion. It merely intensifies it. We can have in life but one great
experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that
experience as often as possible.” “Even when one has been
wounded by it, Harry?” asked the Duchess, after a pause.
“Especially when one has been wounded by it,” answered Lord
The Duchess turned and looked at Dorian Gray with a curious
expression in her eyes. “What do you say to that, Mr. Gray?” she
Dorian hesitated a moment. Then he threw back his head and
laughed. “I always agree with Harry, Duchess.” “Even when he is
wrong?” “Harry is never wrong, Duchess.” “And does his
philosophy make you happy?” “I have never searched for
happiness. Who wants happiness? I have searched for pleasure.”
“And found it, Mr. Gray?” “Often. Too often.” The Duchess sighed.
“I am searching for peace,” she said, “and if I don’t go and dress, I
shall have none this evening.” “Let me get you some orchids,
Duchess,” cried Dorian, starting to his feet, and walking down the