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dorian gray drew a long breath. the colour came back to his cheeks, and a smile played about his lips. the peril was over. he was safe for the time. yet he could not help feeling infinite pity for the painter who had just made this strange confession to him, and wondered if he himself would ever be so dominated by the personality of a friend. lord henry had the charm of being very dangerous. but that was all. he was too clever and too cynical to be really fond of. would there ever be some one who would fill him with a strange idolatry? was that one of the things that life had in store?
"my child, you are far too young to think of falling in love. besides, what do you know of this young man? you dont even know his name. the whole thing is most inconvenient, and really, when james is going away to australia, and i have so much to think of, i must say that you should have shown more consideration. however, as i said before, if he is rich . . ."
and, certainly, to him life itself was the first, the greatest, of the arts, and for it all the other arts seemed to be but a preparation. fashion, by which what is really fantastic becomes for a moment universal, and dandyism, which, in its own way, is an attempt to assert the absolute modernity of beauty, had, of course, their fascination for him. his mode of dressing, and the particular styles that from time to time he affected, had their marked influence on the young exquisites of the mayfair balls and pall mall club windows, who copied him in everything that he did, and tried to reproduce the accidental charm of his graceful, though to him only half-serious fopperies.
"i hope it is, but i cant help feeling it. ah! here is the duchess, looking like artemis in a tailor-made gown. you see we have come back, duchess."
james vane bit his lip. "watch over sibyl, mother," he cried, "watch over her."