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<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde



He passed out of the room and began the ascent, Basil Hallward
following close behind. They walked softly, as men do instinctively
at night. The lamp cast fantastic shadows on the wall and staircase.
A rising wind made some of the windows rattle.

When they reached the top landing, Dorian set the lamp down on
the floor and taking out the key turned it in the lock. “You insist on
knowing, Basil?” he asked, in a low voice.

“Yes.” “I am delighted,” he answered, smiling. Then he added,
somewhat harshly: “You are the one man in the world who is
entitled to know everything about me.

You have had more to do with my life than you think:” and, taking
up the lamp, he opened the door and went in. A cold current of air
passed them, and the light shot up for a moment in a flame of
murky orange. He shuddered. “Shut the door behind you,” he
whispered, as he placed the lamp on the table.

Hallward glanced around him, with a puzzled expression. The
room looked as if it had not been lived in for years. A faded
Flemish tapestry, a curtained picture, an old Italian cassone, and an
almost empty bookcase-that was all that it seemed to contain,
besides a chair and a table. As Dorian Gray was lighting a half-
burned candle that was standing on the mantelshelf he saw that the
whole place was covered with dust, and that the carpet was in
holes. A mouse ran scuffling behind the wainscoting. There was a
damp odour of mildew.

“So you think that it is only God who sees the soul, Basil? Draw
that curtain back, and you will see mine.” The voice that spoke was
cold and cruel. “You are mad, Dorian, or playing a part,” muttered
Hallward, frowning.

“You won’t? Then I must do it myself,” said the young man; and
he tore the curtain from its rod, and flung it on the ground.

An exclamation of horror broke from the painter’s lips as he saw in
the dim light the hideous face on the canvas grinning at him. There
was something in its expression that filled him with disgust and
loathing. Good heavens! it was Dorian Gray’s own face that he was
looking at! The horror, whatever it was, had not yet entirely
spoiled that marvellous beauty. There was still some gold in the
thinning hair and some scarlet on the sensual mouth. The sodden
eyes had kept something of the loveliness of their blue, the noble
curves had not yet completely passed away from chiselled nostrils
and from plastic throat. Yes, it was Dorian himself.
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