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


Gray. He is her latest protege.” “Humph! Tell your Aunt Agatha,
Harry, not to bother me with any more of her charity appeals. I am
sick of them. Why, the good woman thinks that I have nothing to
do but write cheques for her silly fads.” “All right, Uncle George,
I’ll tell her, but it won’t have any effect. Philanthropic people lose
all sense of humanity. It is their distinguishing characteristic.” The
old gentleman growled approvingly, and rang the bell for his

Lord Henry passed up the low arcade into Burlington Street, and
turned his steps in the direction of Berkeley Square.

So that was the story of Dorian Gray’s parentage. Crudely as it had
been told to him, it had yet stirred him by its suggestion of a
strange, almost modern romance. A beautiful woman risking
everything for a mad passion. A few wild weeks of happiness cut
short by a hideous, treacherous crime. Months of voiceless agony,
and then a child born in pain. The mother snatched away by death,
the boy left to solitude and the tyranny of an old and loveless man.
Yes; it was an interesting background. It posed the lad, made him
more perfect as it were. Behind every exquisite thing that existed,
there was something tragic. Worlds had to be in travail, that the
meanest flower might blow.... And how charming he had been at
dinner the night before, as with startled eyes and lips parted in
frightened pleasure he had sat opposite to him at the club, the red
candleshades staining to a richer rose the wakening wonder of his
face. Talking to him was like playing upon an exquisite violin. He
answered to every touch and thrill of the bow.... There was
something terribly enthralling in the exercise of influence. No other
activity was like it. To project one’s soul into some gracious form,
and let it tarry there for a moment; to hear one’s own intellectual
views echoed back to one with all the added music of passion and
youth; to convey one’s temperament into another as though it were
a subtle fluid or a strange perfume: there was a real joy in that-
perhaps the most satisfying joy left to us in an age so limited and
vulgar as our own, an age grossly carnal in its pleasures, and
grossly common in its aims.... He was a marvellous type, too, this
lad, whom by so curious a chance he had met in Basil’s studio, or
could be fashioned into a marvellous type, at any rate. Grace was
his, and the white purity of boyhood, and beauty such as old Greek
marbles have kept for us. There was nothing that one could not do
with him. He could be made a Titan or a toy. What a pity it was
that such beauty was destined to fade!... And Basil? From a
psychological point of view, how interesting he was! The new
manner in art, the fresh mode of looking at life, suggested so
strangely by the merely visible presence of one who was
<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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