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prejudices. I never take any notice of what common people say,
and I never interfere with what charming people do. If a
personality fascinates me, whatever mode of expression that
personality selects is absolutely delightful to me. Dorian Gray falls
in love with a beautiful girl who acts Juliet, and proposes to marry
her. Why not? If he wedded Messalina he would be none the less
interesting. You know I am not a champion of marriage. The real
drawback to marriage is that it makes one unselfish. And unselfish
people are colourless. They lack individuality. Still, there are
certain temperaments that marriage makes more complex. They
retain their egotism, and add to it many other egos. They are forced
to have more than one life.

They become highly organized, and to be highly organized is, I
should fancy, the object of man’s existence. Besides, every
experience is of value, and, whatever one may say against
marriage, it is certainly an experience. I hope that Dorian Gray will
make this girl his wife, passionately adore her for six months, and
then suddenly become fascinated by some one else. He would be a
wonderful study.” “You don’t mean a single word of all that,
Harry; you know you don’t. If Dorian Gray’s life were spoiled, no
one would be sorrier than yourself. You are much better than you
pretend to be.”

Lord Henry laughed. “The reason we all like to think so well of
others is that we are all afraid for ourselves. The basis of optimism
is sheer terror. We think that we are generous because we credit
our neighbour with the possession of those virtues that are likely to
be a benefit to us. We praise the banker that we may overdraw our
account, and find good qualities in the highwayman in the hope
that he may spare our pockets. I mean everything that I have said. I
have the greatest contempt for optimism. As for a spoiled life, no
life is spoiled but one whose growth is arrested. If you want to mar
a nature, you have merely to reform it. As for marriage, of course
that would be silly, but there are other and more interesting bonds
between men and women. I will certainly encourage them. They
have the charm of being fashionable. But here is Dorian himself.
He will tell you more than I can.” “My dear Harry, my dear Basil,
you must both congratulate me!” said the lad, throwing off his
evening cape with its satin-lined wings, and shaking each of his
friends by the hand in turn. “I have never been so happy. Of course
it is sudden: all really delightful things are. And yet it seems to me
to be the one thing I have been looking for all my life.” He was
flushed with excitement and pleasure, and looked extraordinarily
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