As they entered they saw Dorian Gray. He was seated at the piano,
With his back to them, turning over the pages of a volume of Schumann’s
“Forest Scenes.” “You must lend me these, Basil,” he cried.
“I want to learn them. They are perfectly charming.”
“That entirely depends on how you sit to-day, Dorian.”
“Oh, I am tired of sitting, and I don’t want a life-sized portrait
Of myself,” answered the lad, swinging round on the music-stool
In a wilful, petulant manner. When he caught sight of Lord Henry,
A faint blush coloured his cheeks for a moment, and he started up.
“I beg your pardon, Basil, but I didn’t know you had any one
“This is Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian, an old Oxford friend of mine.
I have just been telling him what a capital sitter you were,
And now you have spoiled everything.”
have not spoiled my pleasure in meeting you, Mr. Gray,”
Said Lord Henry, stepping forward and extending his hand.
“My aunt has often spoken to me about you. You are one of
Her favourites, and, I am afraid, one of her victims also.”
“I am in Lady Agatha’s black books at present,” answered Dorian
With a funny look of penitence. “I promised to go to a club in
Whitechapel with her last Tuesday, and I really forgot all about it.
We were to have played a duet together – three duets, I believe.
I don’t know what she will say to me. I am far too frightened
“Oh, I will make your peace with my aunt. She is quite devoted to you.
And I don’t think it really matters about your not being there. The audience
Probably thought it was a duet. When Aunt Agatha sits down to the piano,
She makes quite enough noise for two people.”
“That is very horrid to her, and not very nice to me,”
Answered Dorian, laughing.
Lord Henry looked at him. Yes, he was certainly wonderfully handsome,
With his finely curved scarlet lips, his frank blue eyes, his crisp
Gold hair. There was something in his face that made one trust him at once.
All the candour of youth was there, as well as all youth’s passionate purity.
One felt that he had kept himself unspotted from the world. No wonder Basil
Hallward worshipped him.
“You are too charming to go in for philanthropy, Mr. Gray – far too charming.”
And Lord Henry flung himself down on the divan and opened his cigarette-case.
The painter had been busy mixing his colours and getting his brushes ready.
He was looking worried, and when he heard Lord Henry’s last remark, he glanced
At him, hesitated for a moment, and then said, “Harry, I want to finish this
Picture to-day. Would you think it awfully rude of me if I asked you to
Lord Henry smiled and looked at Dorian Gray. “Am I to go, Mr. Gray?”
“Oh, please don’t, Lord Henry. I see that Basil is in one of his sulky moods,
And I can’t bear him when he sulks. Besides, I want you to tell me why I
Should not go in for philanthropy.”
“I don’t know that I shall tell you that, Mr. Gray. It is so
Tedious a subject that one would have to talk seriously about it.
But I certainly shall not run away, now that you have asked me to stop.
You don’t really mind, Basil, do you? You have often told me that you
Liked your sitters to have some one to chat to.”
Hallward bit his lip. “If Dorian wishes it, of course you must stay.
Dorian’s whims are laws to everybody, except himself.”
Lord Henry took up his hat and gloves. “You are very pressing, Basil, but I
Am afraid I must go. I have promised to meet a man at the Orleans.
Good-bye, Mr. Gray. Come and see me some afternoon in Curzon Street.