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It was on the ninth of November, the eve of his own thirty-eighth
birthday, as he often remembered afterwards.
He was walking home about eleven o’clock from Lord Henry’s,
where he had been dining, and was wrapped in heavy furs, as the
night was cold and foggy. At the corner of Grosvenor Square and
South Audley Street a man passed him in the mist, walking very
fast, and with the collar of his grey ulster turned up. He had a bag
in his hand. Dorian recognized him. It was Basil Hallward. A
strange sense of fear, for which he could not account, came over
him. He made no sign of recognition, and went on quickly, in the
direction of his own house.
But Hallward had seen him. Dorian heard him first stopping on
the pavement and then hurrying after him. In a few moments his
hand was on his arm.
“Dorian! What an extraordinary piece of luck! I have been waiting
for you in your library ever since nine o’clock. Finally I took pity
on your tired servant, and told him to go to bed, as he let me out. I
am off to Paris by the midnight train, and I particularly wanted to
see you, before I left. I thought it was you, or rather your fur coat,
as you passed me. But I wasn’t quite sure. Didn’t you recognize
me?” “In this fog, my dear Basil? Why, I can’t even recognize
Grosvenor Square, I believe my house is somewhere about here,
but I don’t feel at all certain about it.
I am sorry you are going away, as I have not seen you for ages. But
I suppose you will be back soon?” “No: I am going to be out of
England for six months. I intend to take a studio in Paris, and shut
myself up till I have finished a great picture I have in my head.
However, it wasn’t about myself I wanted to talk. Here we are at
your door. Let me come in for a moment. I have something to say
to you.” “I shall be charmed. But won’t you miss your train?” said
Dorian Gray, languidly, as he passed up the steps and opened the
door with his latch-key.
The lamp-light struggled out through the fog, and Hallward
looked at his watch.
“I have heaps of time,” he answered. “The train doesn’t go till
twelve-fifteen, and it is only just eleven. In fact, I was on my way to
the club to look for you, when I met you. You see, I sha’n’t have
any delay about luggage, as I have sent on my heavy things. All I
have with me is in this bag, and I can easily get to Victoria in
twenty minutes.” Dorian looked at him and smiled. “What a way