Approximately six months have passed. As Chapter 19 opens, Dorian and Lord Henry apparently have just dined at the older man's home. Despite recently having gone through a divorce, Lord Henry is his usual witty self. Dorian seems more pensive, even grave. They are discussing Dorian's vow to change his behavior.
Lord Henry says that Dorian is perfectly fine as he is. Dorian, however, says that he has done "too many dreadful things" in his life. He wants to reform. In fact, he began the previous day. He was staying alone at a small inn in the country and was seeing a young girl named Hetty Merton. She reminded him of Sibyl Vane in her beauty and innocence. A simple village girl, Dorian is fairly sure that he loved her. They were to run off together that morning at dawn, but he spared the child by leaving her "as flowerlike as I had found her."
Lord Henry brings up the disappearance of Basil; he also mentions his own divorce and Alan Campbell's suicide. Lord Henry allows that only death and vulgarity cannot be explained. He asks Dorian to play the piano. Dorian plays for a while but stops and asks Lord Henry if he ever thought that Basil might have been murdered. Lord Henry dismisses the idea with a quip. When Dorian asks what Lord Henry would say if Dorian claimed to be the murderer, Lord Henry states that the crime does not suit Dorian; it is too vulgar. Lord Henry then asks about Basil's portrait of Dorian. Dorian confirms that it was lost or stolen, but he never cared much for it anyway.
Lord Henry tells of walking through the park the previous Sunday and observing a group of people listening to a preacher who asked, "What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" (See Mark 8:36 in the New Testament for the precise language.) Lord Henry found this "uncouth Christian" to be "curious" and "hysterical." Dorian, however, is not amused.
Lord Henry has no interest in a serious discussion and...