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flinging himself on the divan, he buried his face in the cushions, as
though he was praying.
“This is your doing, Harry,” said the painter, bitterly.
Lord Henry shrugged his shoulders. “It is the real Dorian Gray-
that is all.” “It is not.” “If it is not, what have I to do with it?” “You
should have gone away when I asked you,” he muttered.
“I stayed when you asked me,” was Lord Henry’s answer.
“Harry, I can’t quarrel with my two best friends at once, but
between you both you have made me hate the finest piece of work
I have ever done, and I will destroy it. What is it but canvas and
colour? I will not let it come across our three lives and mar them.”
Dorian Gray lifted his golden head from the pillow, and with
pallid face and tear-stained eyes looked at him, as he walked over
to the deal painting-table that was set beneath the high curtained
window. What was he doing there? His fingers were straying
about among the litter of tin tubes and dry brushes, seeking for
something. Yes, it was for the long palette-knife, with its thin blade
of lithe steel.
He had found it at last. He was going to rip up the canvas.
With a stifled sob the lad leaped from the couch, and, rushing over
to Hallward, tore the knife out of his hand, and flung it to the end
of the studio. “Don’t, Basil, don’t!” he cried. “It would be murder!”
“I am glad you appreciate my work at last, Dorian,” said the
painter, coldly, when he had recovered from his surprise. “I never
thought you would.” “Appreciate it? I am in love with it, Basil. It is
part of myself. I feel that.” “Well, as soon as you are dry, you shall
be varnished, and framed, and sent home. Then you can do what
you like with yourself.” And he walked across the room and rang
the bell for tea. “You will have tea, of course, Dorian? And so will
you, Harry? Or do you object to such simple pleasures?” “I adore
simple pleasures,” said Lord Henry. “They are the last refuge of
the complex. But I don’t like scenes, except on the stage. What
absurd fellows you are, both of you! I wonder who it was defined
man as a rational animal. It was the most premature definition ever
given. Man is many things, but he is not rational. I am glad he is
not, after all: though I wish you chaps would not squabble over the
picture. You had much better let me have it, Basil. This silly boy
doesn’t really want it, and I really do.” “If you let any one have it
but me, Basil, I shall never forgive you!” cried Dorian Gray; “and I
don’t allow people to call me a silly boy.”
“You know the picture is yours, Dorian. I gave it to you before it
existed.” “And you know you have been a little silly, Mr. Gray,
and that you don’t really object to being reminded that you are
extremely young.” “I should have objected very strongly this