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When he had been away, he had been filled with terror lest other
eyes should look upon it. It had brought melancholy across his
passions. Its mere memory had marred many moments of joy. It
had been like conscience to him. Yes, it had been conscience. He
would destroy it.
He looked round, and saw the knife that had stabbed Basil
Hallward. He had cleaned it many times, till there was no stain left
upon it. It was bright, and glistened. As it had killed the painter, so
it would kill the painter’s work, and all that that meant. It would
kill the past, and when that was dead he would be free. It would
kill this monstrous soul-life, and without its hideous warnings, he
would be at peace. He seized the thing, and stabbed the picture
There was a cry heard, and a crash. The cry was so horrible in its
agony that the frightened servants woke, and crept out of their
rooms. Two gentlemen, who were passing in the Square below,
stopped, and looked up at the great house.
They walked on till they met a policeman, and brought him back.
The man rang the bell several times, but there was no answer.
Except for a light in one of the top windows, the house was all
dark. After a time, he went away, and stood in an adjoining portico
“Whose house is that, constable?” asked the elder of the two
“Mr. Dorian Gray’s, sir,” answered the policeman.
They looked at each other, as they walked away, and sneered. One
of them was Sir Henry Ashton’s uncle.
Inside, in the servants’ part of the house, the half-clad domestics
were talking in low whispers to each other. Old Mrs. Leaf was
crying, and wringing her hands.
Francis was as pale as death.
After about a quarter of an hour, he got the coachman and one of
the footmen and crept upstairs. They knocked, but there was no
reply. They called out. Everything was still. Finally, after vainly
trying to force the door, they got on the roof, and dropped down
on to the balcony. The windows yielded easily: their bolts were
When they entered, they found hanging upon the wall a splendid
portrait of their master as they had last seen him, in all the wonder
of his exquisite youth and beauty. Lying on the floor was a dead
man, in evening dress, with a knife in his heart. He was withered,
wrinkled, and loathsome of visage. It was not till they had
examined the rings that they recognized who it was.