The curtains moved gently in the summer wind. The smell of flowers came in through the open window. And in the distance there was the faint noise of London traffic. It was very peaceful in the artist’s studio.
Lord Henry Wotton was lying back in a large chair, smoking a cigarette. He was watching the blue smoke rise to the ceiling. And he was also watching his friend Basil Hallward, the artist. Basil was standing in front of a painting which was nearly finished. It was the portrait of a young man — a very beautiful young man.
Basil and Lord Henry were good friends. They had studied at Oxford University together. Now they were both about thirty years old. Basil worked very hard and he was a well-known artist. Lord Henry, who was called Harry by his friends, did not work at all. He was a rich man. He spent his money on expensive food and clothes, and on valuable books and paintings.
Lord Henry pointed towards the painting. ‘That is the best portrait you have ever painted, Basil,’ he said.
‘You must show it in the best art gallery in London,’ Lord Henry continued. ‘Everybody must see it.’
‘I am not going to show this picture in a gallery,’ Basil replied.
‘Not going to show it?’ said Harry in surprise. ‘You artists are silly people. You want to be famous. You become famous. Then you don’t like being famous.
‘Think, Basil. It’s bad when people talk about you, but it’s worse when they don’t talk about you! Why won’t you show the picture?’
‘I know you will laugh at me, Harry,’ answered Basil. ‘But I can’t show the picture because it shows too much of me. It is too much like me.’
‘Nonsense,’ said Harry. ‘The picture does not look like you at all. You have black hair and a strong, intelligent face. But you are not beautiful, Basil. The young man in the portrait has blond hair and a pale face. And he is beautiful.’
‘You don’t understand me at all, Harry,’ said Basil. ‘I don’t mean that I look like Dorian Gray.’
|Download||txt rtf mobi epub fb2 pdf mp3|