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inveterate impecuniosity of most of the artists who dealt with him.
As a rule, he never left his shop. He waited for people to come to
him. But he always made an exception in favor of Dorian Gray.
There was something about Dorian that charmed everybody. It was
a pleasure even to see him.
“What can I do for you, Mr. Gray?” he said, rubbing his fat
freckled hands. “I thought I would do myself the honour of coming
round in person. I have just got a beauty of a frame, sir. Picked it
up at a sale. Came from Fonthill, I believe. Admirably suited for a
religious subject, Mr. Gray.” “I am so sorry you have given
yourself the trouble of coming round, Mr. Hubbard. I shall
certainly drop in and look at the frame-though I don’t go in much
at present for religious art-but to-day, I only want a picture carried
to the top of the house for me. It is rather heavy, so I thought I
would ask you to lend me a couple of your men.” “No trouble at
all, Mr. Gray. I am delighted to be of any service to you.
Which is the work of art, sir?” “This,” replied Dorian, moving the
screen back. “Can you move it, covering and all, just as it is? I don’t
want it to get scratched going upstairs.” “There will be no
difficulty, sir,” said the genial frame-maker, beginning, with the
aid of his assistant, to unhook the picture from the long brass
chains by which it was suspended. “And, now, where shall we
carry it to, Mr. Gray?” “I will show you the way, Mr. Hubbard, if
you will kindly follow me. Or perhaps you had better go in front. I
am afraid it is right at the top of the house. We will go up by the
front staircase, as it is wider.” He held the door open for them, and
they passed out into the hall and began the ascent. The elaborate
character of the frame had made the picture extremely bulky, and
now and then, in spite of the obsequious protests of Mr. Hubbard,
who had the true tradesman’s spirited dislike of seeing a
gentleman doing anything useful, Dorian put his hand to it so as to
“Something of a load to carry, sir,” gasped the little man, when
they reached the top landing. And he wiped his shiny forehead.
“I am afraid it is rather heavy,” murmured Dorian, as he unlocked
the door that opened into the room that was to keep for him the
curious secret of his life and hide his soul from the eyes of men.
He had not entered the place for more than four years-not, indeed,
since he had used it first as a playroom when he was a child, and
then as a study when he grew somewhat older. It was a large, well-
proportioned room, which had been specially built by the last Lord
Kelso for the use of the little grandson whom, for his strange
likeness to his mother, and also for other reasons, he had always