Picture Of Dorian Gray
The studio was filled with the rich smell of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of lilac. Beyond the soft sounds of the garden were the dim noises of London
In the centre of the room, clamped to an upright easel, stood the full-length portrait of a young man of extraordinary beauty, and in front of it, some little distance away, was sitting the artist himself, Basil Hallward, whose sudden disappearance some years ago had caused, at the time, such public excitement.
'It is your best work, Basil, the best thing you have ever done,' said Lord Henry lazily. 'You should send it next year to the Tate Gallery. The Academy is too large. Whenever I have gone there, there have been either so many people that I have not been able to see the pictures, which was dreadful, or so many pictures that I have not been able to see the people, which was worse. The Tate Gallery is really the only place.'
'I don't think I will send it anywhere,' he answered, tossing his head back in that odd way that used to make his friends laugh at him at Oxford. 'No, I won't send it anywhere.'
Lord Henry raised his eyebrows and looked at him in amazement. 'Not sending it anywhere? My dear friend, why? Have you any reason? What strange people you painters are! You do anything in the world to gain a reputation. As soon as you have one, you seem to want to throw it away. It is silly of you, for there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. A portrait like this would set you far above all the young men in England, and make the old men quite jealous if old men are ever capable of any emotion.'
'I know you will laugh at me,' he replied, 'but I really can't exhibit it. I have put too much of myself into it.'
Lord Henry stretched himself out on the sofa and laughed.
'Too much of yourself in it! I really can't see anything that looks like you, with your rugged strong face and your coal-black hair, and this young man, who looks so handsome. Of course, you have an intellectual expression and all that. I think that he is just some brainless beautiful creature who should be always here in winter when we have no flowers to look at, and always here in summer when we want something to cool our intelligence. Don't flatter yourself, Basil: you are not in the least like him.'
'You don't understand me, Harry,' answered the artist. 'Of course, I am not like him. I know that perfectly well. In fact, I prefer not to be beautiful with Dorian Gray's good looks. We shall all suffer for what the gods have given us, suffer terribly.'
'Dorian Gray? Is that his name?' asked Lord Henry, walking across the studio towards Basil Hallward.
'Yes, that is his name. I didn't intend to tell it to you.'
'But why not?'
'Oh, I can't explain.' said Basil. 'When I like people a lot, I never tell their names to my other friends. I love secrets, that 's all.'
'Of course,' agreed his friend. 'Life is much more exciting when you have secrets.'