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Dorian Gray shook his head. “I left her in the forest of Arden, I
shall find her in an orchard in Verona.” Lord Henry sipped his
champagne in a meditative manner. “At what particular point did
you mention the word marriage, Dorian? And what did she say in
answer? Perhaps you forgot all about it.” “My dear Harry, I did
not treat it as a business transaction, and I did not make any formal
proposal. I told her that I loved her, and she said she was not
worthy to be my wife. Not worthy! Why, the whole world is
nothing to me compared with her.”

“Women are wonderfully practical,” murmured Lord Henry,
“much more practical than we are. In situations of that kind we
often forget to say anything about marriage, and they always
remind us.” Hallward laid his hand upon his arm. “Don’t, Harry.
You have annoyed Dorian. He is not like other men. He would
never bring misery upon any one, His nature is too fine for that.”
Lord Henry looked across the table. “Dorian is never annoyed with
me,” he answered. “I asked the question for the best reason
possible, for the only reason, indeed, that excuses one for asking
any question-simply curiosity. I have a theory that it is always the
women who propose to us, and not we who propose to the women.
Except, of course, in the middle-class life. But then the middle
classes are not modern.” Dorian Gray laughed, and tossed his
head. “You are quite incorrigible, Harry; but I don’t mind. It is
impossible to be angry with you. When you see Sibyl Vane you
will feel that the man who could wrong her would be a beast, a
beast without a heart. I cannot understand how any one can wish
to shame the thing he loves. I love Sibyl Vane. I want to place her
on a pedestal of gold, and to see the world worship the woman
who is mine. What is marriage? An irrevocable vow. You mock at
it for that. Ah! don’t mock. It is an irrevocable vow that I want to

Her trust makes me faithful, her belief makes me good. When I am
with her, I regret all that you have taught me. I become different
from what you have known me to be. I am changed, and the mere
touch of Sibyl Vane’s hand makes me forget you and all your
wrong, fascinating, poisonous, delightful theories.” “And those
are...?” asked Lord Henry, helping himself to some salad.

“Oh, your theories about life, your theories about love, your
theories about pleasure. All your theories, in fact, Harry.”
“Pleasure is the only thing worth having a theory about,” he
answered, in his slow, melodious voice. “But I am afraid I cannot
claim my theory as my own. It belongs to Nature, not to me.
Pleasure is Nature’s test, her sign of approval.
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