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realized?- that what it dreamed, they made true? Or was there
some other, more terrible reason? He shuddered, and felt afraid,
and, going back to the couch, lay there, gazing at the picture in
One thing, however, he felt that it had done for him. It had made
him conscious how unjust, how cruel, he had been to Sibyl Vane. It
was not too late to make reparation for that. She could still be his
wife. His unreal and selfish love would yield to some higher
influence, would be transformed into some nobler passion, and the
portrait that Basil Hallward had painted of him would be a guide
to him through life, would be to him what holiness is to some, and
conscience to others, and the fear of God to us all. There were
opiates for remorse, drugs that could lull the moral sense to sleep.
But here was a visible symbol of the degradation of sin. Here was
an ever-present sign of the ruin men brought upon their souls.
Three o’clock struck, and four, and the half-hour rang its double
chime, but Dorian Gray did not stir. He was trying to gather up the
scarlet threads of life, and to weave them into a pattern; to find his
way through the sanguine labyrinth of passion through which he
was wandering. He did not know what to do, or what to think.
Finally, he went over to the table and wrote a passionate letter to
the girl he had loved, imploring her forgiveness, and accusing
himself of madness. He covered page after page with wild words
of sorrow, and wilder words of pain. There is a luxury in self-
reproach. When we blame ourselves we feel that no one else has a
right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us
absolution. When Dorian had finished the letter, he felt that he had
Suddenly there came a knock to the door, and he heard Lord
Henry’s voice outside. “My dear boy, I must see you. Let me in at
once. I can’t bear your shutting yourself up like this.” He made no
answer at first, but remained quite still. The knocking still
continued, and grew louder. Yes, it was better to let Lord Henry in,
and to explain to him the new life he was going to lead, to quarrel
with him if it became necessary to quarrel, to part if parting was
inevitable. He jumped up, drew the screen hastily across the
picture, and unlocked the door.
“I am so sorry for it all, Dorian,” said Lord Henry, as he entered.
“But you must not think too much about it.” “Do you mean about
Sibyl Vane?” asked the lad.
“Yes, of course,” answered Lord Henry, sinking into a chair, and
slowly pulling off his yellow gloves. “It is dreadful, from one point
of view, but it was not your fault. Tell me, did you go behind and
see her, after the play was over?” “Yes.” “I felt sure you had. Did