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Chapter 14

  • At nine o'clock the next morning his servant came in with a cup of chocolat_n a tray and opened the shutters. Dorian was sleeping quite peacefully, lyin_n his right side, with one hand underneath his cheek. He looked like a bo_ho had been tired out with play, or study.
  • The man had to touch him twice on the shoulder before he woke, and as h_pened his eyes a faint smile passed across his lips, as though he had bee_ost in some delightful dream. Yet he had not dreamed at all. His night ha_een untroubled by any images of pleasure or of pain. But youth smiles withou_ny reason. It is one of its chiefest charms.
  • He turned round, and leaning upon his elbow, began to sip his chocolate. Th_ellow November sun came streaming into the room. The sky was bright, an_here was a genial warmth in the air. It was almost like a morning in May.
  • Gradually the events of the preceding night crept with silent, blood-staine_eet into his brain and reconstructed themselves there with terribl_istinctness. He winced at the memory of all that he had suffered, and for _oment the same curious feeling of loathing for Basil Hallward that had mad_im kill him as he sat in the chair came back to him, and he grew cold wit_assion. The dead man was still sitting there, too, and in the sunlight now.
  • How horrible that was! Such hideous things were for the darkness, not for th_ay.
  • He felt that if he brooded on what he had gone through he would sicken or gro_ad. There were sins whose fascination was more in the memory than in th_oing of them, strange triumphs that gratified the pride more than th_assions, and gave to the intellect a quickened sense of joy, greater than an_oy they brought, or could ever bring, to the senses. But this was not one o_hem. It was a thing to be driven out of the mind, to be drugged with poppies, to be strangled lest it might strangle one itself.
  • When the half-hour struck, he passed his hand across his forehead, and the_ot up hastily and dressed himself with even more than his usual care, givin_ good deal of attention to the choice of his necktie and scarf-pin an_hanging his rings more than once. He spent a long time also over breakfast, tasting the various dishes, talking to his valet about some new liveries tha_e was thinking of getting made for the servants at Selby, and going throug_is correspondence. At some of the letters, he smiled. Three of them bore_im. One he read several times over and then tore up with a slight look o_nnoyance in his face. "That awful thing, a woman's memory!" as Lord Henry ha_nce said.
  • After he had drunk his cup of black coffee, he wiped his lips slowly with _apkin, motioned to his servant to wait, and going over to the table, sat dow_nd wrote two letters. One he put in his pocket, the other he handed to th_alet.
  • "Take this round to 152, Hertford Street, Francis, and if Mr. Campbell is ou_f town, get his address."
  • As soon as he was alone, he lit a cigarette and began sketching upon a piec_f paper, drawing first flowers and bits of architecture, and then huma_aces. Suddenly he remarked that every face that he drew seemed to have _antastic likeness to Basil Hallward. He frowned, and getting up, went over t_he book-case and took out a volume at hazard. He was determined that he woul_ot think about what had happened until it became absolutely necessary that h_hould do so.
  • When he had stretched himself on the sofa, he looked at the title-page of th_ook. It was Gautier's Emaux et Camees, Charpentier's Japanese-paper edition, with the Jacquemart etching. The binding was of citron-green leather, with _esign of gilt trellis-work and dotted pomegranates. It had been given to hi_y Adrian Singleton. As he turned over the pages, his eye fell on the poe_bout the hand of Lacenaire, the cold yellow hand "du supplice encore ma_avee," with its downy red hairs and its "doigts de faune." He glanced at hi_wn white taper fingers, shuddering slightly in spite of himself, and passe_n, till he came to those lovely stanzas upon Venice:
  • Sur une gamme chromatique, Le sein de peries ruisselant, La Venus d_'Adriatique Sort de l'eau son corps rose et blanc.
  • Les domes, sur l'azur des ondes Suivant la phrase au pur contour, S'enflen_omme des gorges rondes Que souleve un soupir d'amour.
  • L'esquif aborde et me depose, Jetant son amarre au pilier, Devant une facad_ose, Sur le marbre d'un escalier.
  • How exquisite they were! As one read them, one seemed to be floating down th_reen water-ways of the pink and pearl city, seated in a black gondola wit_ilver prow and trailing curtains. The mere lines looked to him like thos_traight lines of turquoise-blue that follow one as one pushes out to th_ido. The sudden flashes of colour reminded him of the gleam of the opal-and- iris-throated birds that flutter round the tall honeycombed Campanile, o_talk, with such stately grace, through the dim, dust-stained arcades. Leanin_ack with half-closed eyes, he kept saying over and over to himself:
  • "Devant une facade rose, Sur le marbre d'un escalier."
  • The whole of Venice was in those two lines. He remembered the autumn that h_ad passed there, and a wonderful love that had stirred him to mad delightfu_ollies. There was romance in every place. But Venice, like Oxford, had kep_he background for romance, and, to the true romantic, background wa_verything, or almost everything. Basil had been with him part of the time, and had gone wild over Tintoret. Poor Basil! What a horrible way for a man t_ie!
  • He sighed, and took up the volume again, and tried to forget. He read of th_wallows that fly in and out of the little cafe at Smyrna where the Hadjis si_ounting their amber beads and the turbaned merchants smoke their lon_asselled pipes and talk gravely to each other; he read of the Obelisk in th_lace de la Concorde that weeps tears of granite in its lonely sunless exil_nd longs to be back by the hot, lotus-covered Nile, where there are Sphinxes, and rose-red ibises, and white vultures with gilded claws, and crocodiles wit_mall beryl eyes that crawl over the green steaming mud; he began to broo_ver those verses which, drawing music from kiss-stained marble, tell of tha_urious statue that Gautier compares to a contralto voice, the "monstr_harmant" that couches in the porphyry-room of the Louvre. But after a tim_he book fell from his hand. He grew nervous, and a horrible fit of terro_ame over him. What if Alan Campbell should be out of England? Days woul_lapse before he could come back. Perhaps he might refuse to come. What coul_e do then? Every moment was of vital importance.
  • They had been great friends once, five years before— almost inseparable, indeed. Then the intimacy had come suddenly to an end. When they met i_ociety now, it was only Dorian Gray who smiled: Alan Campbell never did.
  • He was an extremely clever young man, though he had no real appreciation o_he visible arts, and whatever little sense of the beauty of poetry h_ossessed he had gained entirely from Dorian. His dominant intellectua_assion was for science. At Cambridge he had spent a great deal of his tim_orking in the laboratory, and had taken a good class in the Natural Scienc_ripos of his year. Indeed, he was still devoted to the study of chemistry, and had a laboratory of his own in which he used to shut himself up all da_ong, greatly to the annoyance of his mother, who had set her heart on hi_tanding for Parliament and had a vague idea that a chemist was a person wh_ade up prescriptions. He was an excellent musician, however, as well, an_layed both the violin and the piano better than most amateurs. In fact, i_as music that had first brought him and Dorian Gray together—music and tha_ndefinable attraction that Dorian seemed to be able to exercise whenever h_ished— and, indeed, exercised often without being conscious of it. They ha_et at Lady Berkshire's the night that Rubinstein played there, and after tha_sed to be always seen together at the opera and wherever good music was goin_n. For eighteen months their intimacy lasted. Campbell was always either a_elby Royal or in Grosvenor Square. To him, as to many others, Dorian Gray wa_he type of everything that is wonderful and fascinating in life. Whether o_ot a quarrel had taken place between them no one ever knew. But suddenl_eople remarked that they scarcely spoke when they met and that Campbel_eemed always to go away early from any party at which Dorian Gray wa_resent. He had changed, too—was strangely melancholy at times, appeare_lmost to dislike hearing music, and would never himself play, giving as hi_xcuse, when he was called upon, that he was so absorbed in science that h_ad no time left in which to practise. And this was certainly true. Every da_e seemed to become more interested in biology, and his name appeared once o_wice in some of the scientific reviews in connection with certain curiou_xperiments.
  • This was the man Dorian Gray was waiting for. Every second he kept glancing a_he clock. As the minutes went by he became horribly agitated. At last he go_p and began to pace up and down the room, looking like a beautiful cage_hing. He took long stealthy strides. His hands were curiously cold.
  • The suspense became unbearable. Time seemed to him to be crawling with feet o_ead, while he by monstrous winds was being swept towards the jagged edge o_ome black cleft of precipice. He knew what was waiting for him there; saw it, indeed, and, shuddering, crushed with dank hands his burning lids as though h_ould have robbed the very brain of sight and driven the eyeballs back int_heir cave. It was useless. The brain had its own food on which it battened, and the imagination, made grotesque by terror, twisted and distorted as _iving thing by pain, danced like some foul puppet on a stand and grinne_hrough moving masks. Then, suddenly, time stopped for him. Yes: that blind, slow-breathing thing crawled no more, and horrible thoughts, time being dead, raced nimbly on in front, and dragged a hideous future from its grave, an_howed it to him. He stared at it. Its very horror made him stone.
  • At last the door opened and his servant entered. He turned glazed eyes upo_im.
  • "Mr. Campbell, sir," said the man.
  • A sigh of relief broke from his parched lips, and the colour came back to hi_heeks.
  • "Ask him to come in at once, Francis." He felt that he was himself again. Hi_ood of cowardice had passed away.
  • The man bowed and retired. In a few moments, Alan Campbell walked in, lookin_ery stern and rather pale, his pallor being intensified by his coal-blac_air and dark eyebrows.
  • "Alan! This is kind of you. I thank you for coming."
  • "I had intended never to enter your house again, Gray. But you said it was _atter of life and death." His voice was hard and cold. He spoke with slo_eliberation. There was a look of contempt in the steady searching gaze tha_e turned on Dorian. He kept his hands in the pockets of his Astrakhan coat, and seemed not to have noticed the gesture with which he had been greeted.
  • "Yes: it is a matter of life and death, Alan, and to more than one person. Si_own."
  • Campbell took a chair by the table, and Dorian sat opposite to him. The tw_en's eyes met. In Dorian's there was infinite pity. He knew that what he wa_oing to do was dreadful.
  • After a strained moment of silence, he leaned across and said, very quietly, but watching the effect of each word upon the face of him he had sent for,
  • "Alan, in a locked room at the top of this house, a room to which nobody bu_yself has access, a dead man is seated at a table. He has been dead ten hour_ow. Don't stir, and don't look at me like that. Who the man is, why he died, how he died, are matters that do not concern you. What you have to do i_his—"
  • "Stop, Gray. I don't want to know anything further. Whether what you have tol_e is true or not true doesn't concern me. I entirely decline to be mixed u_n your life. Keep your horrible secrets to yourself. They don't interest m_ny more."
  • "Alan, they will have to interest you. This one will have to interest you. _m awfully sorry for you, Alan. But I can't help myself. You are the one ma_ho is able to save me. I am forced to bring you into the matter. I have n_ption. Alan, you are scientific. You know about chemistry and things of tha_ind. You have made experiments. What you have got to do is to destroy th_hing that is upstairs— to destroy it so that not a vestige of it will b_eft. Nobody saw this person come into the house. Indeed, at the presen_oment he is supposed to be in Paris. He will not be missed for months. Whe_e is missed, there must be no trace of him found here. You, Alan, you mus_hange him, and everything that belongs to him, into a handful of ashes that _ay scatter in the air."
  • "You are mad, Dorian."
  • "Ah! I was waiting for you to call me Dorian."
  • "You are mad, I tell you—mad to imagine that I would raise a finger to hel_ou, mad to make this monstrous confession. I will have nothing to do wit_his matter, whatever it is. Do you think I am going to peril my reputatio_or you? What is it to me what devil's work you are up to?"
  • "It was suicide, Alan."
  • "I am glad of that. But who drove him to it? You, I should fancy."
  • "Do you still refuse to do this for me?"
  • "Of course I refuse. I will have absolutely nothing to do with it. I don'_are what shame comes on you. You deserve it all. I should not be sorry to se_ou disgraced, publicly disgraced. How dare you ask me, of all men in th_orld, to mix myself up in this horror? I should have thought you knew mor_bout people's characters. Your friend Lord Henry Wotton can't have taught yo_uch about psychology, whatever else he has taught you. Nothing will induce m_o stir a step to help you. You have come to the wrong man. Go to some of you_riends. Don't come to me."
  • "Alan, it was murder. I killed him. You don't know what he had made me suffer.
  • Whatever my life is, he had more to do with the making or the marring of i_han poor Harry has had. He may not have intended it, the result was th_ame."
  • "Murder! Good God, Dorian, is that what you have come to? I shall not infor_pon you. It is not my business. Besides, without my stirring in the matter, you are certain to be arrested. Nobody ever commits a crime without doin_omething stupid. But I will have nothing to do with it."
  • "You must have something to do with it. Wait, wait a moment; listen to me.
  • Only listen, Alan. All I ask of you is to perform a certain scientifi_xperiment. You go to hospitals and dead-houses, and the horrors that you d_here don't affect you. If in some hideous dissecting-room or fetid laborator_ou found this man lying on a leaden table with red gutters scooped out in i_or the blood to flow through, you would simply look upon him as an admirabl_ubject. You would not turn a hair. You would not believe that you were doin_nything wrong. On the contrary, you would probably feel that you wer_enefiting the human race, or increasing the sum of knowledge in the world, o_ratifying intellectual curiosity, or something of that kind. What I want yo_o do is merely what you have often done before. Indeed, to destroy a bod_ust be far less horrible than what you are accustomed to work at. And, remember, it is the only piece of evidence against me. If it is discovered, _m lost; and it is sure to be discovered unless you help me."
  • "I have no desire to help you. You forget that. I am simply indifferent to th_hole thing. It has nothing to do with me."
  • "Alan, I entreat you. Think of the position I am in. Just before you came _lmost fainted with terror. You may know terror yourself some day. No! don'_hink of that. Look at the matter purely from the scientific point of view.
  • You don't inquire where the dead things on which you experiment come from.
  • Don't inquire now. I have told you too much as it is. But I beg of you to d_his. We were friends once, Alan."
  • "Don't speak about those days, Dorian—they are dead."
  • "The dead linger sometimes. The man upstairs will not go away. He is sittin_t the table with bowed head and outstretched arms. Alan! Alan! If you don'_ome to my assistance, I am ruined. Why, they will hang me, Alan! Don't yo_nderstand? They will hang me for what I have done."
  • "There is no good in prolonging this scene. I absolutely refuse to do anythin_n the matter. It is insane of you to ask me."
  • "You refuse?"
  • "Yes."
  • "I entreat you, Alan."
  • "It is useless."
  • The same look of pity came into Dorian Gray's eyes. Then he stretched out hi_and, took a piece of paper, and wrote something on it. He read it over twice, folded it carefully, and pushed it across the table. Having done this, he go_p and went over to the window.
  • Campbell looked at him in surprise, and then took up the paper, and opened it.
  • As he read it, his face became ghastly pale and he fell back in his chair. _orrible sense of sickness came over him. He felt as if his heart was beatin_tself to death in some empty hollow.
  • After two or three minutes of terrible silence, Dorian turned round and cam_nd stood behind him, putting his hand upon his shoulder.
  • "I am so sorry for you, Alan," he murmured, "but you leave me no alternative.
  • I have a letter written already. Here it is. You see the address. If you don'_elp me, I must send it. If you don't help me, I will send it. You know wha_he result will be. But you are going to help me. It is impossible for you t_efuse now. I tried to spare you. You will do me the justice to admit that.
  • You were stern, harsh, offensive. You treated me as no man has ever dared t_reat me—no living man, at any rate. I bore it all. Now it is for me t_ictate terms."
  • Campbell buried his face in his hands, and a shudder passed through him.
  • "Yes, it is my turn to dictate terms, Alan. You know what they are. The thin_s quite simple. Come, don't work yourself into this fever. The thing has t_e done. Face it, and do it."
  • A groan broke from Campbell's lips and he shivered all over. The ticking o_he clock on the mantelpiece seemed to him to be dividing time into separat_toms of agony, each of which was too terrible to be borne. He felt as if a_ron ring was being slowly tightened round his forehead, as if the disgrac_ith which he was threatened had already come upon him. The hand upon hi_houlder weighed like a hand of lead. It was intolerable. It seemed to crus_im.
  • "Come, Alan, you must decide at once."
  • "I cannot do it," he said, mechanically, as though words could alter things.
  • "You must. You have no choice. Don't delay."
  • He hesitated a moment. "Is there a fire in the room upstairs?"
  • "Yes, there is a gas-fire with asbestos."
  • "I shall have to go home and get some things from the laboratory."
  • "No, Alan, you must not leave the house. Write out on a sheet of notepape_hat you want and my servant will take a cab and bring the things back t_ou."
  • Campbell scrawled a few lines, blotted them, and addressed an envelope to hi_ssistant. Dorian took the note up and read it carefully. Then he rang th_ell and gave it to his valet, with orders to return as soon as possible an_o bring the things with him.
  • As the hall door shut, Campbell started nervously, and having got up from th_hair, went over to the chimney-piece. He was shivering with a kind of ague.
  • For nearly twenty minutes, neither of the men spoke. A fly buzzed noisil_bout the room, and the ticking of the clock was like the beat of a hammer.
  • As the chime struck one, Campbell turned round, and looking at Dorian Gray, saw that his eyes were filled with tears. There was something in the purit_nd refinement of that sad face that seemed to enrage him. "You are infamous, absolutely infamous!" he muttered.
  • "Hush, Alan. You have saved my life," said Dorian.
  • "Your life? Good heavens! what a life that is! You have gone from corruptio_o corruption, and now you have culminated in crime. In doing what I am goin_o do—what you force me to do— it is not of your life that I am thinking."
  • "Ah, Alan," murmured Dorian with a sigh, "I wish you had a thousandth part o_he pity for me that I have for you." He turned away as he spoke and stoo_ooking out at the garden. Campbell made no answer.
  • After about ten minutes a knock came to the door, and the servant entered, carrying a large mahogany chest of chemicals, with a long coil of steel an_latinum wire and two rather curiously shaped iron clamps.
  • "Shall I leave the things here, sir?" he asked Campbell.
  • "Yes," said Dorian. "And I am afraid, Francis, that I have another errand fo_ou. What is the name of the man at Richmond who supplies Selby with orchids?"
  • "Harden, sir."
  • "Yes—Harden. You must go down to Richmond at once, see Harden personally, an_ell him to send twice as many orchids as I ordered, and to have as few whit_nes as possible. In fact, I don't want any white ones. It is a lovely day, Francis, and Richmond is a very pretty place— otherwise I wouldn't bother yo_bout it."
  • "No trouble, sir. At what time shall I be back?"
  • Dorian looked at Campbell. "How long will your experiment take, Alan?" he sai_n a calm indifferent voice. The presence of a third person in the room seeme_o give him extraordinary courage.
  • Campbell frowned and bit his lip. "It will take about five hours," h_nswered.
  • "It will be time enough, then, if you are back at half-past seven, Francis. O_tay: just leave my things out for dressing. You can have the evening t_ourself. I am not dining at home, so I shall not want you."
  • "Thank you, sir," said the man, leaving the room.
  • "Now, Alan, there is not a moment to be lost. How heavy this chest is! I'l_ake it for you. You bring the other things." He spoke rapidly and in a_uthoritative manner. Campbell felt dominated by him. They left the roo_ogether.
  • When they reached the top landing, Dorian took out the key and turned it i_he lock. Then he stopped, and a troubled look came into his eyes. H_huddered. "I don't think I can go in, Alan," he murmured.
  • "It is nothing to me. I don't require you," said Campbell coldly.
  • Dorian half opened the door. As he did so, he saw the face of his portrai_eering in the sunlight. On the floor in front of it the torn curtain wa_ying. He remembered that the night before he had forgotten, for the firs_ime in his life, to hide the fatal canvas, and was about to rush forward, when he drew back with a shudder.
  • What was that loathsome red dew that gleamed, wet and glistening, on one o_he hands, as though the canvas had sweated blood? How horrible it was!—mor_orrible, it seemed to him for the moment, than the silent thing that he kne_as stretched across the table, the thing whose grotesque misshapen shadow o_he spotted carpet showed him that it had not stirred, but was still there, a_e had left it.
  • He heaved a deep breath, opened the door a little wider, and with half-close_yes and averted head, walked quickly in, determined that he would not loo_ven once upon the dead man. Then, stooping down and taking up the gold-and- purple hanging, he flung it right over the picture.
  • There he stopped, feeling afraid to turn round, and his eyes fixed themselve_n the intricacies of the pattern before him. He heard Campbell bringing i_he heavy chest, and the irons, and the other things that he had required fo_is dreadful work. He began to wonder if he and Basil Hallward had ever met, and, if so, what they had thought of each other.
  • "Leave me now," said a stern voice behind him.
  • He turned and hurried out, just conscious that the dead man had been thrus_ack into the chair and that Campbell was gazing into a glistening yello_ace. As he was going downstairs, he heard the key being turned in the lock.
  • It was long after seven when Campbell came back into the library. He was pale, but absolutely calm. "I have done what you asked me to do," he muttered "An_ow, good-bye. Let us never see each other again."
  • "You have saved me from ruin, Alan. I cannot forget that," said Dorian simply.
  • As soon as Campbell had left, he went upstairs. There was a horrible smell o_itric acid in the room. But the thing that had been sitting at the table wa_one.