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strike him. He turned to Hallward, and said, “My dear fellow, I
have just remembered.” “Remembered what, Harry?” “Where I
heard the name of Dorian Gray.” “Where was it?” asked Hallward,
with a slight frown.
“Don’t look so angry, Basil. It was at my aunt, Lady Agatha’s. She
told me she had discovered a wonderful young man, who was
going to help her in the East End, and that his name was Dorian
Gray. I am bound to state that she never told me he was good-
looking. Women have no appreciation of good looks; at least, good
women have not. She said that he was very earnest, and had a
beautiful nature. I at once pictured to myself a creature with
spectacles and lank hair, horribly freckled, and tramping about on
huge feet. I wish I had known it was your friend.” “I am very glad
you didn’t, Harry.” “Why?” “I don’t want you to meet him.” “You
don’t want me to meet him?” “No.” “Mr. Dorian Gray is in the
studio, sir,” said the butler, coming into the garden.
“You must introduce me now,” cried Lord Henry, laughing.
The painter turned to his servant, who stood blinking in the
sunlight. “Ask Mr. Gray to wait, Parker: I shall be in in a few
moments.” The man bowed, and went up the walk.
Then he looked at Lord Henry. “Dorian Gray is my dearest
friend,” he said.
“He has a simple and beautiful nature. Your aunt was quite right
in what she said of him. Don’t spoil him. Don’t try to influence
him. Your influence would be bad.
The world is wide, and has many marvellous people in it. Don’t
take away from me the one person who gives to my art whatever
charm it possesses; my life as an artist depends on him. Mind,
Harry, I trust you.” He spoke very slowly, and the words seemed
wrung out of him almost against his will.
“What nonsense you talk!” said Lord Henry, smiling, and, taking
Hallward by the arm, he almost led him into the house.