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."
"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?"
"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.