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lord henry walked across the room, and sitting down by dorian gray, took both his hands in his own and held them tightly. "dorian," he said, "my letter--dont be frightened--was to tell you that sibyl vane is dead."
"with an actress," said dorian gray, blushing.
"is that yours, harry?"
he discovered wonderful stories, also, about jewels. in alphonsos clericalis disciplina a serpent was mentioned with eyes of real jacinth, and in the romantic history of alexander, the conqueror of emathia was said to have found in the vale of jordan snakes "with collars of real emeralds growing on their backs." there was a gem in the brain of the dragon, philostratus told us, and "by the exhibition of golden letters and a scarlet robe" the monster could be thrown into a magical sleep and slain. according to the great alchemist, pierre de boniface, the diamond rendered a man invisible, and the agate of india made him eloquent. the cornelian appeased anger, and the hyacinth provoked sleep, and the amethyst drove away the fumes of wine. the garnet cast out demons, and the hydropicus deprived the moon of her colour. the selenite waxed and waned with the moon, and the meloceus, that discovers thieves, could be affected only by the blood of kids. leonardus camillus had seen a white stone taken from the brain of a newly killed toad, that was a certain antidote against poison. the bezoar, that was found in the heart of the arabian deer, was a charm that could cure the plague. in the nests of arabian birds was the aspilates, that, according to democritus, kept the wearer from any danger by fire.
with his subtle smile, lord henry watched him. he knew the precise psychological moment when to say nothing. he felt intensely interested. he was amazed at the sudden impression that his words had produced, and, remembering a book that he had read when he was sixteen, a book which had revealed to him much that he had not known before, he wondered whether dorian gray was passing through a similar experience. he had merely shot an arrow into the air. had it hit the mark? how fascinating the lad was!