Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 4

  • One afternoon, a month later, Dorian Gray was reclining in a luxurious arm- chair, in the little library of Lord Henry's house in Mayfair. It was, in it_ay, a very charming room, with its high panelled wainscoting of olive-staine_ak, its cream-coloured frieze and ceiling of raised plasterwork, and it_rickdust felt carpet strewn with silk, long-fringed Persian rugs. On a tin_atinwood table stood a statuette by Clodion, and beside it lay a copy of Le_ent Nouvelles, bound for Margaret of Valois by Clovis Eve and powdered wit_he gilt daisies that Queen had selected for her device. Some large blue chin_ars and parrot-tulips were ranged on the mantelshelf, and through the smal_eaded panes of the window streamed the apricot-coloured light of a summer da_n London.
  • Lord Henry had not yet come in. He was always late on principle, his principl_eing that punctuality is the thief of time. So the lad was looking rathe_ulky, as with listless fingers he turned over the pages of an elaboratel_llustrated edition of Manon Lescaut that he had found in one of the book- cases. The formal monotonous ticking of the Louis Quatorze clock annoyed him.
  • Once or twice he thought of going away.
  • At last he heard a step outside, and the door opened. "How late you are, Harry!" he murmured.
  • "I am afraid it is not Harry, Mr. Gray," answered a shrill voice.
  • He glanced quickly round and rose to his feet. "I beg your pardon. I thought—"
  • "You thought it was my husband. It is only his wife. You must let me introduc_yself. I know you quite well by your photographs. I think my husband has go_eventeen of them."
  • "Not seventeen, Lady Henry?"
  • "Well, eighteen, then. And I saw you with him the other night at the opera."
  • She laughed nervously as she spoke, and watched him with her vague forget-me- not eyes. She was a curious woman, whose dresses always looked as if they ha_een designed in a rage and put on in a tempest. She was usually in love wit_omebody, and, as her passion was never returned, she had kept all he_llusions. She tried to look picturesque, but only succeeded in being untidy.
  • Her name was Victoria, and she had a perfect mania for going to church.
  • "That was at Lohengrin, Lady Henry, I think?"
  • "Yes; it was at dear Lohengrin. I like Wagner's music better than anybody's.
  • It is so loud that one can talk the whole time without other people hearin_hat one says. That is a great advantage, don't you think so, Mr. Gray?"
  • The same nervous staccato laugh broke from her thin lips, and her finger_egan to play with a long tortoise-shell paper-knife.
  • Dorian smiled and shook his head: "I am afraid I don't think so, Lady Henry. _ever talk during music—at least, during good music. If one hears bad music, it is one's duty to drown it in conversation."
  • "Ah! that is one of Harry's views, isn't it, Mr. Gray? I always hear Harry'_iews from his friends. It is the only way I get to know of them. But you mus_ot think I don't like good music. I adore it, but I am afraid of it. It make_e too romantic. I have simply worshipped pianists— two at a time, sometimes, Harry tells me. I don't know what it is about them. Perhaps it is that the_re foreigners. They all are, ain't they? Even those that are born in Englan_ecome foreigners after a time, don't they? It is so clever of them, and suc_ compliment to art. Makes it quite cosmopolitan, doesn't it? You have neve_een to any of my parties, have you, Mr. Gray? You must come. I can't affor_rchids, but I share no expense in foreigners. They make one's rooms look s_icturesque. But here is Harry! Harry, I came in to look for you, to ask yo_omething— I forget what it was—and I found Mr. Gray here. We have had such _leasant chat about music. We have quite the same ideas. No; I think our idea_re quite different. But he has been most pleasant. I am so glad I've see_im."
  • "I am charmed, my love, quite charmed," said Lord Henry, elevating his dark, crescent-shaped eyebrows and looking at them both with an amused smile. "S_orry I am late, Dorian. I went to look after a piece of old brocade i_ardour Street and had to bargain for hours for it. Nowadays people know th_rice of everything and the value of nothing."
  • "I am afraid I must be going," exclaimed Lady Henry, breaking an awkwar_ilence with her silly sudden laugh. "I have promised to drive with th_uchess. Good-bye, Mr. Gray. Good-bye, Harry. You are dining out, I suppose?
  • So am I. Perhaps I shall see you at Lady Thornbury's."
  • "I dare say, my dear," said Lord Henry, shutting the door behind her as, looking like a bird of paradise that had been out all night in the rain, sh_litted out of the room, leaving a faint odour of frangipanni. Then he lit _igarette and flung himself down on the sofa.
  • "Never marry a woman with straw-coloured hair, Dorian," he said after a fe_uffs.
  • "Why, Harry?"
  • "Because they are so sentimental."
  • "But I like sentimental people."
  • "Never marry at all, Dorian. Men marry because they are tired; women, becaus_hey are curious: both are disappointed."
  • "I don't think I am likely to marry, Harry. I am too much in love. That is on_f your aphorisms. I am putting it into practice, as I do everything that yo_ay."
  • "Who are you in love with?" asked Lord Henry after a pause.
  • "With an actress," said Dorian Gray, blushing.
  • Lord Henry shrugged his shoulders. "That is a rather commonplace debut."
  • "You would not say so if you saw her, Harry."
  • "Who is she?"
  • "Her name is Sibyl Vane."
  • "Never heard of her."
  • "No one has. People will some day, however. She is a genius."
  • "My dear boy, no woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They neve_ave anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triump_f matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals."
  • "Harry, how can you?"
  • "My dear Dorian, it is quite true. I am analysing women at present, so I ough_o know. The subject is not so abstruse as I thought it was. I find that, ultimately, there are only two kinds of women, the plain and the coloured. Th_lain women are very useful. If you want to gain a reputation fo_espectability, you have merely to take them down to supper. The other wome_re very charming. They commit one mistake, however. They paint in order t_ry and look young. Our grandmothers painted in order to try and tal_rilliantly. Rouge and esprit used to go together. That is all over now. A_ong as a woman can look ten years younger than her own daughter, she i_erfectly satisfied. As for conversation, there are only five women in Londo_orth talking to, and two of these can't be admitted into decent society.
  • However, tell me about your genius. How long have you known her?"
  • "Ah! Harry, your views terrify me."
  • "Never mind that. How long have you known her?"
  • "About three weeks."
  • "And where did you come across her?"
  • "I will tell you, Harry, but you mustn't be unsympathetic about it. After all, it never would have happened if I had not met you. You filled me with a wil_esire to know everything about life. For days after I met you, somethin_eemed to throb in my veins. As I lounged in the park, or strolled dow_iccadilly, I used to look at every one who passed me and wonder, with a ma_uriosity, what sort of lives they led. Some of them fascinated me. Other_illed me with terror. There was an exquisite poison in the air. I had _assion for sensations… . Well, one evening about seven o'clock, I determine_o go out in search of some adventure. I felt that this grey monstrous Londo_f ours, with its myriads of people, its sordid sinners, and its splendi_ins, as you once phrased it, must have something in store for me. I fancied _housand things. The mere danger gave me a sense of delight. I remembered wha_ou had said to me on that wonderful evening when we first dined together, about the search for beauty being the real secret of life. I don't know what _xpected, but I went out and wandered eastward, soon losing my way in _abyrinth of grimy streets and black grassless squares. About half-past eigh_ passed by an absurd little theatre, with great flaring gas-jets and gaud_lay-bills. A hideous Jew, in the most amazing waistcoat I ever beheld in m_ife, was standing at the entrance, smoking a vile cigar. He had greas_inglets, and an enormous diamond blazed in the centre of a soiled shirt.
  • 'Have a box, my Lord?' he said, when he saw me, and he took off his hat wit_n air of gorgeous servility. There was something about him, Harry, tha_mused me. He was such a monster. You will laugh at me, I know, but I reall_ent in and paid a whole guinea for the stage-box. To the present day I can'_ake out why I did so; and yet if I hadn't— my dear Harry, if I hadn't—_hould have missed the greatest romance of my life. I see you are laughing. I_s horrid of you!"
  • "I am not laughing, Dorian; at least I am not laughing at you. But you shoul_ot say the greatest romance of your life. You should say the first romance o_our life. You will always be loved, and you will always be in love with love.
  • A grande passion is the privilege of people who have nothing to do. That i_he one use of the idle classes of a country. Don't be afraid. There ar_xquisite things in store for you. This is merely the beginning."
  • "Do you think my nature so shallow?" cried Dorian Gray angrily.
  • "No; I think your nature so deep."
  • "How do you mean?"
  • "My dear boy, the people who love only once in their lives are really th_hallow people. What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I cal_ither the lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination. Faithfulness is t_he emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellect—simply _onfession of failure. Faithfulness! I must analyse it some day. The passio_or property is in it. There are many things that we would throw away if w_ere not afraid that others might pick them up. But I don't want to interrup_ou. Go on with your story."
  • "Well, I found myself seated in a horrid little private box, with a vulga_rop-scene staring me in the face. I looked out from behind the curtain an_urveyed the house. It was a tawdry affair, all Cupids and cornucopias, like _hird-rate wedding-cake. The gallery and pit were fairly full, but the tw_ows of dingy stalls were quite empty, and there was hardly a person in what _uppose they called the dress-circle. Women went about with oranges an_inger-beer, and there was a terrible consumption of nuts going on."
  • "It must have been just like the palmy days of the British drama."
  • "Just like, I should fancy, and very depressing. I began to wonder what o_arth I should do when I caught sight of the play-bill. What do you think th_lay was, Harry?"
  • "I should think 'The Idiot Boy', or 'Dumb but Innocent'. Our fathers used t_ike that sort of piece, I believe. The longer I live, Dorian, the more keenl_ feel that whatever was good enough for our fathers is not good enough fo_s. In art, as in politics, les grandperes ont toujours tort."
  • "This play was good enough for us, Harry. It was Romeo and Juliet. I mus_dmit that I was rather annoyed at the idea of seeing Shakespeare done in suc_ wretched hole of a place. Still, I felt interested, in a sort of way. At an_ate, I determined to wait for the first act. There was a dreadful orchestra, presided over by a young Hebrew who sat at a cracked piano, that nearly drov_e away, but at last the drop-scene was drawn up and the play began. Romeo wa_ stout elderly gentleman, with corked eyebrows, a husky tragedy voice, and _igure like a beer-barrel. Mercutio was almost as bad. He was played by th_ow-comedian, who had introduced gags of his own and was on most friendl_erms with the pit. They were both as grotesque as the scenery, and tha_ooked as if it had come out of a country-booth. But Juliet! Harry, imagine _irl, hardly seventeen years of age, with a little, flowerlike face, a smal_reek head with plaited coils of dark-brown hair, eyes that were violet well_f passion, lips that were like the petals of a rose. She was the lovelies_hing I had ever seen in my life. You said to me once that pathos left yo_nmoved, but that beauty, mere beauty, could fill your eyes with tears. I tel_ou, Harry, I could hardly see this girl for the mist of tears that cam_cross me. And her voice—I never heard such a voice. It was very low at first, with deep mellow notes that seemed to fall singly upon one's ear. Then i_ecame a little louder, and sounded like a flute or a distant hautboy. In th_arden-scene it had all the tremulous ecstasy that one hears just before daw_hen nightingales are singing. There were moments, later on, when it had th_ild passion of violins. You know how a voice can stir one. Your voice and th_oice of Sibyl Vane are two things that I shall never forget. When I close m_yes, I hear them, and each of them says something different. I don't kno_hich to follow. Why should I not love her? Harry, I do love her. She i_verything to me in life. Night after night I go to see her play. One evenin_he is Rosalind, and the next evening she is Imogen. I have seen her die i_he gloom of an Italian tomb, sucking the poison from her lover's lips. I hav_atched her wandering through the forest of Arden, disguised as a pretty bo_n hose and doublet and dainty cap. She has been mad, and has come into th_resence of a guilty king, and given him rue to wear and bitter herbs to tast_f. She has been innocent, and the black hands of jealousy have crushed he_eedlike throat. I have seen her in every age and in every costume. Ordinar_omen never appeal to one's imagination. They are limited to their century. N_lamour ever transfigures them. One knows their minds as easily as one know_heir bonnets. One can always find them. There is no mystery in any of them.
  • They ride in the park in the morning and chatter at tea-parties in th_fternoon. They have their stereotyped smile and their fashionable manner.
  • They are quite obvious. But an actress! How different an actress is! Harry!
  • why didn't you tell me that the only thing worth loving is an actress?"
  • "Because I have loved so many of them, Dorian."
  • "Oh, yes, horrid people with dyed hair and painted faces."
  • "Don't run down dyed hair and painted faces. There is an extraordinary char_n them, sometimes," said Lord Henry.
  • "I wish now I had not told you about Sibyl Vane."
  • "You could not have helped telling me, Dorian. All through your life you wil_ell me everything you do."
  • "Yes, Harry, I believe that is true. I cannot help telling you things. Yo_ave a curious influence over me. If I ever did a crime, I would come an_onfess it to you. You would understand me."
  • "People like you—the wilful sunbeams of life—don't commit crimes, Dorian. Bu_ am much obliged for the compliment, all the same. And now tell me— reach m_he matches, like a good boy—thanks—what are your actual relations with Siby_ane?"
  • Dorian Gray leaped to his feet, with flushed cheeks and burning eyes. "Harry!
  • Sibyl Vane is sacred!"
  • "It is only the sacred things that are worth touching, Dorian," said Lor_enry, with a strange touch of pathos in his voice. "But why should you b_nnoyed? I suppose she will belong to you some day. When one is in love, on_lways begins by deceiving one's self, and one always ends by deceivin_thers. That is what the world calls a romance. You know her, at any rate, _uppose?"
  • "Of course I know her. On the first night I was at the theatre, the horrid ol_ew came round to the box after the performance was over and offered to tak_e behind the scenes and introduce me to her. I was furious with him, and tol_im that Juliet had been dead for hundreds of years and that her body wa_ying in a marble tomb in Verona. I think, from his blank look of amazement, that he was under the impression that I had taken too much champagne, o_omething."
  • "I am not surprised."
  • "Then he asked me if I wrote for any of the newspapers. I told him I neve_ven read them. He seemed terribly disappointed at that, and confided to m_hat all the dramatic critics were in a conspiracy against him, and that the_ere every one of them to be bought."
  • "I should not wonder if he was quite right there. But, on the other hand, judging from their appearance, most of them cannot be at all expensive."
  • "Well, he seemed to think they were beyond his means," laughed Dorian. "B_his time, however, the lights were being put out in the theatre, and I had t_o. He wanted me to try some cigars that he strongly recommended. I declined.
  • The next night, of course, I arrived at the place again. When he saw me, h_ade me a low bow and assured me that I was a munificent patron of art. He wa_ most offensive brute, though he had an extraordinary passion fo_hakespeare. He told me once, with an air of pride, that his five bankruptcie_ere entirely due to 'The Bard,' as he insisted on calling him. He seemed t_hink it a distinction."
  • "It was a distinction, my dear Dorian—a great distinction. Most people becom_ankrupt through having invested too heavily in the prose of life. To hav_uined one's self over poetry is an honour. But when did you first speak t_iss Sibyl Vane?"
  • "The third night. She had been playing Rosalind. I could not help going round.
  • I had thrown her some flowers, and she had looked at me—at least I fancie_hat she had. The old Jew was persistent. He seemed determined to take m_ehind, so I consented. It was curious my not wanting to know her, wasn't it?"
  • "No; I don't think so."
  • "My dear Harry, why?"
  • "I will tell you some other time. Now I want to know about the girl."
  • "Sibyl? Oh, she was so shy and so gentle. There is something of a child abou_er. Her eyes opened wide in exquisite wonder when I told her what I though_f her performance, and she seemed quite unconscious of her power. I think w_ere both rather nervous. The old Jew stood grinning at the doorway of th_usty greenroom, making elaborate speeches about us both, while we stoo_ooking at each other like children. He would insist on calling me 'My Lord,'
  • so I had to assure Sibyl that I was not anything of the kind. She said quit_imply to me, 'You look more like a prince. I must call you Prince Charming.'"
  • "Upon my word, Dorian, Miss Sibyl knows how to pay compliments."
  • "You don't understand her, Harry. She regarded me merely as a person in _lay. She knows nothing of life. She lives with her mother, a faded tire_oman who played Lady Capulet in a sort of magenta dressing-wrapper on th_irst night, and looks as if she had seen better days."
  • "I know that look. It depresses me," murmured Lord Henry, examining his rings.
  • "The Jew wanted to tell me her history, but I said it did not interest me."
  • "You were quite right. There is always something infinitely mean about othe_eople's tragedies."
  • "Sibyl is the only thing I care about. What is it to me where she came from?
  • From her little head to her little feet, she is absolutely and entirel_ivine. Every night of my life I go to see her act, and every night she i_ore marvellous."
  • "That is the reason, I suppose, that you never dine with me now. I thought yo_ust have some curious romance on hand. You have; but it is not quite what _xpected."
  • "My dear Harry, we either lunch or sup together every day, and I have been t_he opera with you several times," said Dorian, opening his blue eyes i_onder.
  • "You always come dreadfully late."
  • "Well, I can't help going to see Sibyl play," he cried, "even if it is onl_or a single act. I get hungry for her presence; and when I think of th_onderful soul that is hidden away in that little ivory body, I am filled wit_we."
  • "You can dine with me to-night, Dorian, can't you?"
  • He shook his head. "To-night she is Imogen," he answered, "and to-morrow nigh_he will be Juliet."
  • "When is she Sibyl Vane?"
  • "Never."
  • "I congratulate you."
  • "How horrid you are! She is all the great heroines of the world in one. She i_ore than an individual. You laugh, but I tell you she has genius. I love her, and I must make her love me. You, who know all the secrets of life, tell m_ow to charm Sibyl Vane to love me! I want to make Romeo jealous. I want th_ead lovers of the world to hear our laughter and grow sad. I want a breath o_ur passion to stir their dust into consciousness, to wake their ashes int_ain. My God, Harry, how I worship her!" He was walking up and down the roo_s he spoke. Hectic spots of red burned on his cheeks. He was terribl_xcited.
  • Lord Henry watched him with a subtle sense of pleasure. How different he wa_ow from the shy frightened boy he had met in Basil Hallward's studio! Hi_ature had developed like a flower, had borne blossoms of scarlet flame. Ou_f its secret hiding-place had crept his soul, and desire had come to meet i_n the way.
  • "And what do you propose to do?" said Lord Henry at last.
  • "I want you and Basil to come with me some night and see her act. I have no_he slightest fear of the result. You are certain to acknowledge her genius.
  • Then we must get her out of the Jew's hands. She is bound to him for thre_ears—at least for two years and eight months— from the present time. I shal_ave to pay him something, of course. When all that is settled, I shall take _est End theatre and bring her out properly. She will make the world as mad a_he has made me."
  • "That would be impossible, my dear boy."
  • "Yes, she will. She has not merely art, consummate art-instinct, in her, bu_he has personality also; and you have often told me that it is personalities, not principles, that move the age."
  • "Well, what night shall we go?"
  • "Let me see. To-day is Tuesday. Let us fix to-morrow. She plays Juliet to- morrow."
  • "All right. The Bristol at eight o'clock; and I will get Basil."
  • "Not eight, Harry, please. Half-past six. We must be there before the curtai_ises. You must see her in the first act, where she meets Romeo."
  • "Half-past six! What an hour! It will be like having a meat-tea, or reading a_nglish novel. It must be seven. No gentleman dines before seven. Shall yo_ee Basil between this and then? Or shall I write to him?"
  • "Dear Basil! I have not laid eyes on him for a week. It is rather horrid o_e, as he has sent me my portrait in the most wonderful frame, speciall_esigned by himself, and, though I am a little jealous of the picture fo_eing a whole month younger than I am, I must admit that I delight in it.
  • Perhaps you had better write to him. I don't want to see him alone. He say_hings that annoy me. He gives me good advice."
  • Lord Henry smiled. "People are very fond of giving away what they need mos_hemselves. It is what I call the depth of generosity."
  • "Oh, Basil is the best of fellows, but he seems to me to be just a bit of _hilistine. Since I have known you, Harry, I have discovered that."
  • "Basil, my dear boy, puts everything that is charming in him into his work.
  • The consequence is that he has nothing left for life but his prejudices, hi_rinciples, and his common sense. The only artists I have ever known who ar_ersonally delightful are bad artists. Good artists exist simply in what the_ake, and consequently are perfectly uninteresting in what they are. A grea_oet, a really great poet, is the most unpoetical of all creatures. Bu_nferior poets are absolutely fascinating. The worse their rhymes are, th_ore picturesque they look. The mere fact of having published a book o_econd-rate sonnets makes a man quite irresistible. He lives the poetry tha_e cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not realize."
  • "I wonder is that really so, Harry?" said Dorian Gray, putting some perfume o_is handkerchief out of a large, gold-topped bottle that stood on the table.
  • "It must be, if you say it. And now I am off. Imogen is waiting for me. Don'_orget about to-morrow. Good-bye."
  • As he left the room, Lord Henry's heavy eyelids drooped, and he began t_hink. Certainly few people had ever interested him so much as Dorian Gray, and yet the lad's mad adoration of some one else caused him not the slightes_ang of annoyance or jealousy. He was pleased by it. It made him a mor_nteresting study. He had been always enthralled by the methods of natura_cience, but the ordinary subject-matter of that science had seemed to hi_rivial and of no import. And so he had begun by vivisecting himself, as h_ad ended by vivisecting others. Human life—that appeared to him the one thin_orth investigating. Compared to it there was nothing else of any value. I_as true that as one watched life in its curious crucible of pain an_leasure, one could not wear over one's face a mask of glass, nor keep th_ulphurous fumes from troubling the brain and making the imagination turbi_ith monstrous fancies and misshapen dreams. There were poisons so subtle tha_o know their properties one had to sicken of them. There were maladies s_trange that one had to pass through them if one sought to understand thei_ature. And, yet, what a great reward one received! How wonderful the whol_orld became to one! To note the curious hard logic of passion, and th_motional coloured life of the intellect—to observe where they met, and wher_hey separated, at what point they were in unison, and at what point they wer_t discord—there was a delight in that! What matter what the cost was? On_ould never pay too high a price for any sensation.
  • He was conscious—and the thought brought a gleam of pleasure into his brow_gate eyes—that it was through certain words of his, musical words said wit_usical utterance, that Dorian Gray's soul had turned to this white girl an_owed in worship before her. To a large extent the lad was his own creation.
  • He had made him premature. That was something. Ordinary people waited til_ife disclosed to them its secrets, but to the few, to the elect, th_ysteries of life were revealed before the veil was drawn away. Sometimes thi_as the effect of art, and chiefly of the art of literature, which deal_mmediately with the passions and the intellect. But now and then a comple_ersonality took the place and assumed the office of art, was indeed, in it_ay, a real work of art, life having its elaborate masterpieces, just a_oetry has, or sculpture, or painting.
  • Yes, the lad was premature. He was gathering his harvest while it was ye_pring. The pulse and passion of youth were in him, but he was becoming self- conscious. It was delightful to watch him. With his beautiful face, and hi_eautiful soul, he was a thing to wonder at. It was no matter how it al_nded, or was destined to end. He was like one of those gracious figures in _ageant or a play, whose joys seem to be remote from one, but whose sorrow_tir one's sense of beauty, and whose wounds are like red roses.
  • Soul and body, body and soul—how mysterious they were! There was animalism i_he soul, and the body had its moments of spirituality. The senses coul_efine, and the intellect could degrade. Who could say where the fleshl_mpulse ceased, or the psychical impulse began? How shallow were the arbitrar_efinitions of ordinary psychologists! And yet how difficult to decide betwee_he claims of the various schools! Was the soul a shadow seated in the hous_f sin? Or was the body really in the soul, as Giordano Bruno thought? Th_eparation of spirit from matter was a mystery, and the union of spirit wit_atter was a mystery also.
  • He began to wonder whether we could ever make psychology so absolute a scienc_hat each little spring of life would be revealed to us. As it was, we alway_isunderstood ourselves and rarely understood others. Experience was of n_thical value. It was merely the name men gave to their mistakes. Moralist_ad, as a rule, regarded it as a mode of warning, had claimed for it a certai_thical efficacy in the formation of character, had praised it as somethin_hat taught us what to follow and showed us what to avoid. But there was n_otive power in experience. It was as little of an active cause as conscienc_tself. All that it really demonstrated was that our future would be the sam_s our past, and that the sin we had done once, and with loathing, we would d_any times, and with joy.
  • It was clear to him that the experimental method was the only method by whic_ne could arrive at any scientific analysis of the passions; and certainl_orian Gray was a subject made to his hand, and seemed to promise rich an_ruitful results. His sudden mad love for Sibyl Vane was a psychologica_henomenon of no small interest. There was no doubt that curiosity had much t_o with it, curiosity and the desire for new experiences, yet it was not _imple, but rather a very complex passion. What there was in it of the purel_ensuous instinct of boyhood had been transformed by the workings of th_magination, changed into something that seemed to the lad himself to b_emote from sense, and was for that very reason all the more dangerous. It wa_he passions about whose origin we deceived ourselves that tyrannized mos_trongly over us. Our weakest motives were those of whose nature we wer_onscious. It often happened that when we thought we were experimenting o_thers we were really experimenting on ourselves.
  • While Lord Henry sat dreaming on these things, a knock came to the door, an_is valet entered and reminded him it was time to dress for dinner. He got u_nd looked out into the street. The sunset had smitten into scarlet gold th_pper windows of the houses opposite. The panes glowed like plates of heate_etal. The sky above was like a faded rose. He thought of his friend's youn_iery-coloured life and wondered how it was all going to end.
  • When he arrived home, about half-past twelve o'clock, he saw a telegram lyin_n the hall table. He opened it and found it was from Dorian Gray. It was t_ell him that he was engaged to be married to Sibyl Vane.