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


But we are not likely to suffer from it, unless these fellows keep
chattering about this thing at dinner. I must tell them that the
subject is to be tabooed. As for omens, there is no such thing as an
omen. Destiny does not send us heralds. She is too wise or too
cruel for that. Besides, what on earth could happen to you, Dorian?
You have everything in the world that a man can want. There is no
one who would not be delighted to change places with you.”
“There is no one with whom I would not change places, Harry.
Don’t laugh like that. I am telling you the truth. The wretched
peasant who has just died is better off than I am. I have no terror of
Death. It is the coming of Death that terrifies me. Its monstrous
wings seem to wheel in the leaden air around me. Good heavens!
don’t you see a man moving, behind the trees there, watching me,
waiting for me?” Lord Henry looked in the direction in which the
trembling gloved hand was pointing. “Yes,” he said, smiling, “I see
the gardener waiting for you. I suppose he wants to ask you what
flowers you wish to have on the table to-night. How absurdly
nervous you are, my dear fellow! You must come and see my
doctor, when we get back to town.”

Dorian heaved a sigh of relief as he saw the gardener approaching.
The man touched his hat, glanced for a moment at Lord Henry in a
hesitating manner, and then produced a letter, which he handed to
his master. “Her Grace told me to wait for an answer,” he

Dorian put the letter into his pocket. “Tell Her Grace that I am
coming in,” he said, coldly. The man turned round, and went
rapidly in the direction of the house.

“How fond women are of doing dangerous things!” laughed Lord
Henry. “It is one of the qualities in them that I admire most. A
woman will flirt with anybody in the world as long as other people
are looking on.” “How fond you are of saying dangerous things,
Harry! In the present instance you are quite astray. I like the
Duchess very much, but I don’t love her.” “And the Duchess loves
you very much, but she likes you less, as you are so excellently
matched.” “You are talking scandal, Harry, and there is never any
basis for scandal.” “The basis of every scandal is an immoral
certainty,” said Lord Henry, lighting a cigarette.

“You would sacrifice anybody, Harry, for the sake of an epigram.”
“The world goes to the altar of its own accord,” was the answer.

“I wish I could love,” cried Dorian Gray, with a deep note of
pathos in his voice. “But I seem to have lost the passion, and
forgotten the desire. I am too much concentrated on myself. My
own personality has become a burden to me. I want to escape, to
go away, to forget. It was silly of me to come down here at all.
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