nine o'clock the next morning his servant came in with a cup
of chocolate on a tray and opened the shutters. Dorian was sleeping
quite peacefully, lying on his right side, with one hand underneath
his cheek. He looked like a boy who had been tired out with play,
The man had to touch him twice
on the shoulder before he woke, and as he opened his eyes a faint
smile passed across his lips, as though he had been lost in some
delightful dream. Yet he had not dreamed at all. His night had
been untroubled by any images of pleasure or of pain. But youth
smiles without any reason. It is one of its chiefest charms.
He turned round, and leaning
upon his elbow, began to sip his chocolate. The mellow November
sun came streaming into the room. The sky was bright, and there
was a genial warmth in the air. It was almost like a morning
Gradually the events of the preceding
night crept with silent, blood-stained feet into his brain and
reconstructed themselves there with terrible distinctness. He
winced at the memory of all that he had suffered, and for a moment
the same curious feeling of loathing for Basil Hallward that
had made him kill him as he sat in the chair came back to him,
and he grew cold with passion. 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 the day.
He felt that if he brooded on
what he had gone through he would sicken or grow mad. There were
sins whose fascination was more in the memory than in the doing
of them, strange triumphs that gratified the pride more than
the passions, and gave to the intellect a quickened sense of
joy, greater than any joy they brought, or could ever bring,
to the senses. But this was not one of them. 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 then got up hastily
and dressed himself with even more than his usual care, giving
a good deal of attention to the choice of his necktie and scarf-pin
and changing 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 that he was thinking of getting made
for the servants at Selby, and going through his correspondence.
At some of the letters, he smiled. Three of them bored him. One
he read several times over and then tore up with a slight look
of annoyance in his face. "That awful thing, a woman's memory!"
as Lord Henry had once said.
After he had drunk his cup of
black coffee, he wiped his lips slowly with a napkin, motioned
to his servant to wait, and going over to the table, sat down
and wrote two letters. One he put in his pocket, the other he
handed to the valet.
"Take this round to 152,
Hertford Street, Francis, and if Mr. Campbell is out of town,
get his address."
As soon as he was alone, he lit
a cigarette and began sketching upon a piece of paper, drawing
first flowers and bits of architecture, and then human faces.
Suddenly he remarked that every face that he drew seemed to have
a fantastic likeness to Basil Hallward. He frowned, and getting
up, went over to the book-case and took out a volume at hazard.
He was determined that he would not think about what had happened
until it became absolutely necessary that he should do so.
When he had stretched himself
on the sofa, he looked at the title-page of the book. It was
Gautier's Emaux et Camees, Charpentier's Japanese-paper edition,
with the Jacquemart etching. The binding was of citron-green
leather, with a design of gilt trellis-work and dotted pomegranates.
It had been given to him by Adrian Singleton. As he turned over
the pages, his eye fell on the poem about the hand of Lacenaire,
the cold yellow hand "du supplice encore mal lavée,"
with its downy red hairs and its "doigts de faune."
He glanced at his own white taper fingers, shuddering slightly
in spite of himself, and passed on, till he came to those lovely
stanzas upon Venice:
"Sur une gamme chromatique, How exquisite
they were! As one read them, one seemed to be floating down the
green water-ways of the pink and pearl city, seated in a black
gondola with silver prow and trailing curtains. The mere lines
looked to him like those straight lines of turquoise-blue that
follow one as one pushes out to the Lido. The sudden flashes
of colour reminded him of the gleam of the opal-and-iris-throated
birds that flutter round the tall honeycombed Campanile, or stalk,
with such stately grace, through the dim, dust-stained arcades.
Leaning back with half-closed eyes, he kept saying over and over
Le sein de peries ruisselant,
La Venus de l'Adriatique
Sort de l'eau son corps rose et blanc.Les domes, sur l'azur des
Suivant la phrase au pur contour,
S'enflent comme des gorges rondes
Que souleve un soupir d'amour.L'esquif aborde et me dépose,
Jetant son amarre au pilier,
Devant une facade rose,
Sur le marbre d'un escalier."
"Devant une façade
rose,The whole of Venice was in those
two lines. He remembered the autumn that he had passed there,
and a wonderful love that had stirred him to mad delightful follies.
There was romance in every place. But Venice, like Oxford, had
kept the background for romance, and, to the true romantic, background
was everything, 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 to die!
Sur le marbre d'un escalier."
He sighed, and took up the volume
again, and tried to forget. He read of the swallows that fly
in and out of the little cafe at Smyrna where the Hadjis sit
counting their amber beads and the turbaned merchants smoke their
long tasselled pipes and talk gravely to each other; he read
of the Obelisk in the Place de la Concorde that weeps tears of
granite in its lonely sunless exile and 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
with small beryl eyes that crawl over the green steaming mud;
he began to brood over those verses which, drawing music from
kiss-stained marble, tell of that curious statue that Gautier
compares to a contralto voice, the "monstre charmant"
that couches in the porphyry-room of the Louvre. But after a
time the book fell from his hand. He grew nervous, and a horrible
fit of terror came over him. What if Alan Campbell should be
out of England? Days would elapse before he could come back.
Perhaps he might refuse to come. What could he 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
in society now, it was only Dorian Gray who smiled: Alan Campbell
He was an extremely clever young
man, though he had no real appreciation of the visible arts,
and whatever little sense of the beauty of poetry he possessed
he had gained entirely from Dorian. His dominant intellectual
passion was for science. At Cambridge he had spent a great deal
of his time working in the laboratory, and had taken a good class
in the Natural Science Tripos 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 day long, greatly
to the annoyance of his mother, who had set her heart on his
standing for Parliament and had a vague idea that a chemist was
a person who made up prescriptions. He was an excellent musician,
however, as well, and played both the violin and the piano better
than most amateurs. In fact, it was music that had first brought
him and Dorian Gray together music and that indefinable
attraction that Dorian seemed to be able to exercise whenever
he wished and, indeed, exercised often without
being conscious of it. They had met at Lady Berkshire's the night
that Rubinstein played there, and after that used to be always
seen together at the opera and wherever good music was going
on. For eighteen months their intimacy lasted. Campbell was always
either at Selby Royal or in Grosvenor Square. To him, as to many
others, Dorian Gray was the type of everything that is wonderful
and fascinating in life. Whether or not a quarrel had taken place
between them no one ever knew. But suddenly people remarked that
they scarcely spoke when they met and that Campbell seemed always
to go away early from any party at which Dorian Gray was present.
He had changed, too was strangely melancholy
at times, appeared almost to dislike hearing music, and would
never himself play, giving as his excuse, when he was called
upon, that he was so absorbed in science that he had no time
left in which to practise. And this was certainly true. Every
day he seemed to become more interested in biology, and his name
appeared once or twice in some of the scientific reviews in connection
with certain curious experiments.
This was the man Dorian Gray
was waiting for. Every second he kept glancing at the clock.
As the minutes went by he became horribly agitated. At last he
got up and began to pace up and down the room, looking like a
beautiful caged thing. He took long stealthy strides. His hands
were curiously cold.
The suspense became unbearable.
Time seemed to him to be crawling with feet of lead, while he
by monstrous winds was being swept towards the jagged edge of
some 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 he would have robbed the very brain
of sight and driven the eyeballs back into their 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 a living thing by pain, danced like some foul puppet on a
stand and grinned through 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, and
showed 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 upon him.
"Mr. Campbell, sir,"
said the man.
A sigh of relief broke from his
parched lips, and the colour came back to his cheeks.
"Ask him to come in at once,
Francis." He felt that he was himself again. His mood of
cowardice had passed away.
The man bowed and retired. In
a few moments, Alan Campbell walked in, looking very stern and
rather pale, his pallor being intensified by his coal-black hair
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 a matter of
life and death." His voice was hard and cold. He spoke with
slow deliberation. There was a look of contempt in the steady
searching gaze that he 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. Sit down."
Campbell took a chair by the
table, and Dorian sat opposite to him. The two men's eyes met.
In Dorian's there was infinite pity. He knew that what he was
going 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
but myself has access, a dead man is seated at a table. He has
been dead ten hours now. 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 is this
"Stop, Gray. I don't want
to know anything further. Whether what you have told me is true
or not true doesn't concern me. I entirely decline to be mixed
up in your life. Keep your horrible secrets to yourself. They
don't interest me any more."
"Alan, they will have to
interest you. This one will have to interest you. I am awfully
sorry for you, Alan. But I can't help myself. You are the one
man who is able to save me. I am forced to bring you into the
matter. I have no option. Alan, you are scientific. You know
about chemistry and things of that kind. You have made experiments.
What you have got to do is to destroy the thing that is upstairs
to destroy it so that not a vestige of it will be left. Nobody
saw this person come into the house. Indeed, at the present moment
he is supposed to be in Paris. He will not be missed for months.
When he is missed, there must be no trace of him found here.
You, Alan, you must change him, and everything that belongs to
him, into a handful of ashes that I may 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 help you, mad to
make this monstrous confession. I will have nothing to do with
this matter, whatever it is. Do you think I am going to peril
my reputation for 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't care what shame
comes on you. You deserve it all. I should not be sorry to see
you disgraced, publicly disgraced. How dare you ask me, of all
men in the world, to mix myself up in this horror? I should have
thought you knew more about people's characters. Your friend
Lord Henry Wotton can't have taught you much about psychology,
whatever else he has taught you. Nothing will induce me to stir
a step to help you. You have come to the wrong man. Go to some
of your friends. 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 it than poor Harry has had. He may not have intended it, the
result was the same."
"Murder! Good God, Dorian,
is that what you have come to? I shall not inform upon 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
doing something 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 scientific experiment.
You go to hospitals and dead-houses, and the horrors that you
do there don't affect you. If in some hideous dissecting-room
or fetid laboratory you found this man lying on a leaden table
with red gutters scooped out in it for the blood to flow through,
you would simply look upon him as an admirable subject. You would
not turn a hair. You would not believe that you were doing anything
wrong. On the contrary, you would probably feel that you were
benefiting the human race, or increasing the sum of knowledge
in the world, or gratifying intellectual curiosity, or something
of that kind. What I want you to do is merely what you have often
done before. Indeed, to destroy a body must 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, I
am 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 the whole thing.
It has nothing to do with me."
"Alan, I entreat you. Think
of the position I am in. Just before you came I almost fainted
with terror. You may know terror yourself some day. No! don't
think 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 do this. We were friends
"Don't speak about those
days, Dorian they are dead."
"The dead linger sometimes.
The man upstairs will not go away. He is sitting at the table
with bowed head and outstretched arms. Alan! Alan! If you don't
come to my assistance, I am ruined. Why, they will hang me, Alan!
Don't you understand? They will hang me for what I have done."
"There is no good in prolonging
this scene. I absolutely refuse to do anything in 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 his hand, 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 got up 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. A horrible
sense of sickness came over him. He felt as if his heart was
beating itself to death in some empty hollow.
After two or three minutes of
terrible silence, Dorian turned round and came and 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't help me, I must send it. If you don't help me, I
will send it. You know what the result will be. But you are going
to help me. It is impossible for you to refuse 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
to treat me no living man, at any rate. I bore
it all. Now it is for me to dictate 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 thing is quite simple.
Come, don't work yourself into this fever. The thing has to be
done. Face it, and do it."
A groan broke from Campbell's
lips and he shivered all over. The ticking of the clock on the
mantelpiece seemed to him to be dividing time into separate atoms
of agony, each of which was too terrible to be borne. He felt
as if an iron ring was being slowly tightened round his forehead,
as if the disgrace with which he was threatened had already come
upon him. The hand upon his shoulder weighed like a hand of lead.
It was intolerable. It seemed to crush him.
"Come, Alan, you must decide
"I cannot do it," he
said, mechanically, as though words could alter things.
"You must. You have no choice.
He hesitated a moment. "Is
there a fire in the room upstairs?"
"Yes, there is a gas-fire
"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 notepaper what you want
and my servant will take a cab and bring the things back to you."
Campbell scrawled a few lines,
blotted them, and addressed an envelope to his assistant. Dorian
took the note up and read it carefully. Then he rang the bell
and gave it to his valet, with orders to return as soon as possible
and to bring the things with him.
As the hall door shut, Campbell
started nervously, and having got up from the chair, 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
noisily about 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 purity and 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 corruption to corruption,
and now you have culminated in crime. In doing what I am going
to 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 of
the pity for me that I have for you." He turned away as
he spoke and stood looking out at the garden. Campbell made no
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 and platinum 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 for
you. What is the name of the man at Richmond who supplies Selby
You must go down to Richmond at once, see Harden personally,
and tell him to send twice as many orchids as I ordered, and
to have as few white ones 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
you about it."
"No trouble, sir. At what
time shall I be back?"
Dorian looked at Campbell. "How
long will your experiment take, Alan?" he said in a calm
indifferent voice. The presence of a third person in the room
seemed to give him extraordinary courage.
Campbell frowned and bit his
lip. "It will take about five hours," he answered.
"It will be time enough,
then, if you are back at half-past seven, Francis. Or stay: just
leave my things out for dressing. You can have the evening to
yourself. 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'll take it for
you. You bring the other things." He spoke rapidly and in
an authoritative manner. Campbell felt dominated by him. They
left the room together.
When they reached the top landing,
Dorian took out the key and turned it in the lock. Then he stopped,
and a troubled look came into his eyes. He shuddered. "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 portrait leering in the
sunlight. On the floor in front of it the torn curtain was lying.
He remembered that the night before he had forgotten, for the
first time 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 of the hands, as though
the canvas had sweated blood? How horrible it was!
more horrible, it seemed to him for the moment, than the silent
thing that he knew was stretched across the table, the thing
whose grotesque misshapen shadow on the spotted carpet showed
him that it had not stirred, but was still there, as he had left
He heaved a deep breath, opened
the door a little wider, and with half-closed eyes and averted
head, walked quickly in, determined that he would not look even
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 themselves on the intricacies
of the pattern before him. He heard Campbell bringing in the
heavy chest, and the irons, and the other things that he had
required for his 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 thrust back into the chair
and that Campbell was gazing into a glistening yellow face. As
he was going downstairs, he heard the key being turned in the
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
"And now, 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 of nitric acid in
the room. But the thing that had been sitting at the table was
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