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.
"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?"
"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.