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“I suppose you have heard the news, Basil?” said Lord Henry that
evening, as Hallward was shown into a little private room at the
Bristol where dinner had been laid for three.

“No, Harry,” answered the artist, giving his hat and coat to the
bowing waiter.

“What is it? Nothing about politics, I hope? They don’t interest me.
There is hardly a single person in the House of Commons worth
painting; though many of them would be the better for a little
whitewashing.” “Dorian Gray is engaged to be married,” said Lord
Henry, watching him as he spoke.

Hallward started, and then frowned. “Dorian engaged to be
married!” he cried. “Impossible!” “It is perfectly true.” “To
whom?” “To some little actress or other.” “I can’t believe it. Dorian
is far too sensible.” “Dorian is far too wise not to do foolish things
now and then, my dear Basil.” “Marriage is hardly a thing that one
can do now and then, Harry.”

“Except in America,” rejoined Lord Henry, languidly. “But I didn’t
say he was married. I said he was engaged to be married. There is
a great difference. I have a distinct remembrance of being married,
but I have no recollection at all of being engaged. I am inclined to
think that I never was engaged.” “But think of Dorian’s birth, and
position, and wealth. It would be absurd for him to marry so much
beneath him.” “If you want to make him marry this girl tell him
that, Basil. He is sure to do it, then. Whenever a man does a
thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.” “I
hope the girl is good, Harry. I don’t want to see Dorian tied to
some vile creature, who might degrade his nature and ruin his
intellect.” “Oh, she is better than good-she is beautiful,”
murmured Lord Henry, sipping a glass of vermouth and orange-
bitters. “Dorian says she is beautiful; and he is not often wrong
about things of that kind. Your portrait of him has quickened his
appreciation of the personal appearance of other people. It has had
that excellent effect, amongst others. We are to see her to-night, if
that boy doesn’t forget his appointment.” “Are you serious?”
“Quite serious, Basil. I should be miserable if I thought I should
ever be more serious than I am at the present moment.”

“But do you approve of it, Harry?” asked the painter, walking up
and down the room, and biting his lip. “You can’t approve of it,
possibly. It is some silly infatuation.” “I never approve, or
disapprove, of anything now. It is an absurd attitude to take
towards life. We are not sent into the world to air our moral
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