Preface

           Thestudiowasfilledwiththerichodourofroses,andwhenthelightsummerwindstirredamidstthetreesofthegarden, therecamethroughtheopendoortheheavyscentofthelilac,orthemoredelicateperfumeofthepink-floweringthorn. 

           FromthecornerofthedivanofPersiansaddle-bagsonwhichhewaslying,smoking,aswashiscustom,innumerablecigarettes, LordHenryWottoncouldjustcatchthegleamofthehoney-sweetandhoney-colouredblossomsofalaburnum, whosetremulousbranchesseemedhardlyabletobeartheburdenofabeautysoflame-likeastheirs; andnowandthenthefantasticshadowsofbirdsinflightflittedacrossthelongtussore-silkcurtainsthatwerestretchedinfrontofthehugewindow, producingakindofmomentaryJapaneseeffect,andmakinghimthinkofthosepallid,jade-facedpaintersofTokyo who,throughthemediumofanartthatisnecessarilyimmobile,seektoconveythesenseofswiftnessandmotion. Thesullenmurmurofthebeesshoulderingtheirwaythroughthelongunmowngrass, orcirclingwithmonotonousinsistenceroundthedustygilthornsofthestragglingwoodbine, seemedtomakethestillnessmoreoppressive. ThedimroarofLondonwaslikethebourdonnoteofadistantorgan. 

           Inthecentreoftheroom,clampedtoanuprighteasel,stoodthefull-lengthportraitofayoungmanofextraordinarypersonalbeauty, andinfrontofit,somelittledistanceaway,wassittingtheartisthimself,BasilHallward, whosesuddendisappearancesomeyearsagocaused,atthetime,suchpublicexcitementandgaverisetosomanystrangeconjectures. 

           Ashelookedatthegraciousandcomelyformhehadsoskilfullymirroredinhisart, asmileofpleasurepassedacrosshisface,andseemedabouttolingerthere. 

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