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



For some reason or other, the house was crowded that night, and
the fat Jew manager who met them at the door was beaming from
ear to ear with an oily, tremulous smile. He escorted them to their
box with sort of pompous humility, waving his fat jewelled hands,
and talking at the top of his voice. Dorian Gray loathed him more
than ever. He felt as if he had come to look for Miranda and had
been met by Caliban. Lord Henry, upon the other hand, rather
liked him. At least he declared he did, and insisted on shaking him
by the hand, and assuring him that he was proud to meet a man
who had discovered a real genius and gone bankrupt over a poet.
Hallward amused himself with watching the faces in the pit.

The heat was terribly oppressive, and the huge sunlight flamed
like a monstrous dahlia with petals of yellow fire. The youths in
the gallery had taken off their coats and waistcoats and hung them
over the side. They talked to each other across the theatre, and
shared their oranges with the tawdry girls who sat beside them.
Some women were laughing in the pit. Their voices were horribly
shrill and discordant. The sound of the popping of corks came
from the bar.

“What a place to find one’s divinity in!” said Lord Henry.
“Yes!” answered Dorian Gray. “It was here I found her, and she is
divine beyond all living things. When she acts you will forget
everything. These common, rough people, with their coarse faces
and brutal gestures, become quite different when she is on the
stage. They sit silently and watch her. They weep and laugh as
she wills them to do. She makes them as responsive as a violin. She
spiritualizes them, and one feels that they are of the same flesh and
blood as one’s self.” “The same flesh and blood as one’s self! Oh, I
hope not!” exclaimed Lord Henry, who was scanning the
occupants of the gallery through his opera-glass.

“Don’t pay an attention to him, Dorian,” said the painter. “I
understand what you mean, and I believe in this girl. Any one you
love must be marvellous, and any girl that has the effect you
describe must be fine and noble. To spiritualize one’s age-that is
something worth doing. If this girl can give a soul to those who
have lived without one, if she can create the sense of beauty in
people whose lives have been sordid and ugly, if she can strip
them of their selfishness and lend them tears for sorrows that are
not their own, she is worthy of all your adoration, worthy of the
adoration of the world. This marriage is quite right. I did not think
so at first, but I admit it now. The gods made Sibyl Vane for you.
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