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you must not say these extravagant things to me. You don’t know
everything about me. I think that if you did, even you would turn
from me. You laugh. Don’t laugh.” “Why have you stopped
playing, Dorian? Go back and give me the nocturne over again.
Look at that great honey-coloured moon that hangs in the dusky

She is waiting for you to charm her, and if you play she will come
closer to the earth. You won’t? Let us go to the club, then. It has
been a charming evening, and we must end it charmingly. There is
some one at White’s who wants immensely to know you-young
Lord Poole, Bournemouth’s eldest son. He has already copied your
neckties, and has begged me to introduce him to you. He is quite
delightful, and rather reminds me of you.” “I hope not,” said
Dorian, with a sad look in his eyes. “But I am tired to-night, Harry.
I sha’n’t go to the club. It is nearly eleven, and I want to go to bed
early.” “Do stay. You have never played so well as to-night. There
was something in your touch that was wonderful. It had more
expression than I had ever heard from it before.” “It is because I
am going to be good,” he answered, smiling. “I am a little changed
already.” “You cannot change to me, Dorian,” said Lord Henry.
“You and I will always be friends.” “Yet you poisoned me with a
book once. I should not forgive that. Harry, promise me that you
will never lend that book to any one. It does harm.” “My dear boy,
you are really beginning to moralize. You will soon be going about
like the converted, and the revivalist, warning people against all
the sins of which you have grown tired. You are much too
delightful to do that. Besides, it is no use. You and I are what we
are, and will be what we will be. As for being poisoned by a book,
there is no such thing as that. Art has no influence upon action.

It annihilates the desire to act. It is superbly sterile. The books that
the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own
shame. That is all. But we won’t discuss literature. Come round to-
morrow. I am going to ride at eleven. We might go together, and I
will take you to lunch afterwards with Lady Branksome. She is a
charming woman, and wants to consult you about some tapestries
she is thinking of buying. Mind you come. Or shall we lunch with
our little Duchess? She says she never sees you now. Perhaps you
are tired of Gladys? I thought you would be. Her clever tongue
gets on one’s nerves. Well, in any case, be here at eleven.” “Must I
really come, Harry?” “Certainly. The Park is quite lovely now. I
don’t think there have been such lilacs since the year I met you.”
“Very well. I shall be here at eleven,” said Dorian. “Good-night,
Harry.” As he reached the door he hesitated for a moment, as if he
had something more to say. Then he sighed and went out.
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