Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
written to him a mad letter, ending with these idolatrous words:
“The world is changed because you are made of ivory, and gold.
The curves of your lips rewrite history.” The phrases came back to
his memory, and he repeated them over and over to himself. Then
he loathed his own beauty, and flinging the mirror to the floor
crushed it into silver splinters beneath his heel. It was his beauty
that had ruined him, his beauty and the youth that he had prayed
for. But for these two things, his life might have been free from
stain. His beauty had been to him but a mask, his youth but a
mockery. What was youth at best? A green, an unripe time, a time
of shallow moods, and sickly thoughts. Why had he worn its
livery? Youth had spoiled him.
It was better not to think of the past. Nothing could alter that. It
was of himself, and of his own future, that he had to think. James
Vane was hidden in a nameless grave in Selby churchyard. Alan
Campbell had shot himself one night in his laboratory, but had not
revealed the secret that he had been forced to know.
The excitement, such as it was, over Basil Hallward’s
disappearance would soon pass away. It was already waning. He
was perfectly safe there. Nor, indeed, was it the death of Basil
Hallward that weighed most upon his mind. It was the living
death of his own soul that troubled him. Basil had painted the
portrait that had marred his life. He could not forgive him that. It
was the portrait that had done everything. Basil had said things to
him that were unbearable, and that he had yet borne with patience.
The murder had been simply the madness of a moment. As for
Alan Campbell, his suicide had been his own act. He had chosen to
do it. It was nothing to him.
A new life! That was what he wanted. That was what he was
Surely he had begun it already. He had spared one innocent thing,
at any rate. He would never again tempt innocence. He would be
As he thought of Hetty Merton, he began to wonder if the portrait
in the locked room had changed. Surely it was not still so horrible
as it had been? Perhaps if his life became pure, he would be able to
expel every sign of evil passion from the face. Perhaps the signs of
evil had already gone away. He would go and look.
He took the lamp from the table and crept upstairs. As he unbarred
the door, a smile of joy flitted across his strangely young-looking
face and lingered for a moment about his lips. Yes, he would be
good, and the hideous thing that he had hidden away would no
longer be a terror to him. He felt as if the load had been lifted from