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


was no name of any kind. A decent-looking man, sir, but rough-
like. A sort of sailor we think.” Dorian started to his feet. A terrible
hope fluttered past him. He clutched at it madly. “Where is the
body?” he exclaimed. “Quick! I must see it at once.” “It is in an
empty stable in the Home Farm, sir. The folk don’t like to have that
sort of thing in their houses. They say a corpse brings bad luck.”
“The Home Farm! Go there at once and meet me. Tell one of the
grooms to bring my horse round. No. Never mind. I’ll go to the
stables myself. It will save time.”

In less than a quarter of an hour Dorian Gray was galloping down
the long avenue as hard as he could go. The trees seemed to sweep
past him in spectral procession, and wild shadows to fling
themselves across his path. Once the mare swerved at a white gate-
post and nearly threw him. He lashed her across the neck with his
crop. She cleft the dusky air like an arrow. The stones flew from
her hoofs.

At last he reached the Home Farm. Two men were loitering in the
yard. He leapt from the saddle and threw the reins to one of them.
In the farthest stable a light was glimmering. Something seemed to
tell him that the body was there, and he hurried to the door, and
put his hand upon the latch.

There he paused for a moment, feeling that he was on the brink of
a discovery that would either make or mar his life. Then he thrust
the door open, and entered.

On a heap of sacking in the far corner was lying the dead body of a
man dressed in a coarse shirt and a pair of blue trousers. A spotted
handkerchief had been placed over the face. A coarse candle, stuck
in a bottle, sputtered beside it.

Dorian Gray shuddered. He felt that his could not be the hand to
take the handkerchief away, and called out to one of the farm-
servants to come to him.

“Take that thing off the face. I wish to see it,” he said, clutching at
the doorpost for support.

When the farm-servant had done so, he stepped forward. A cry of
joy broke from his lips. The man who had been shot in the thicket
was James Vane.

He stood there for some minutes looking at the dead body. As he
rode home, his eyes were full of tears, for he knew that he was safe.
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