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My dear Dorian, it is quite true. I am analysing women at present, so I ought to know. The subject is not so abstruse as I thought it was. I find that, ultimately, there are only two kinds of women, the plain and the coloured. The plain women are very useful. If you want to gain a reputation for respectability, you have merely to take them down to supper. The other women are very charming. They commit one mistake, however. They paint in order to try and look young. Our grandmothers painted in order to try and talk brilliantly. Rouge and esprit used to go together. That is all over now. As long as a woman can look ten years younger than her own daughter, she is perfectly satisfied. As for conversation, there are only five women in London worth talking to, and two of these can't be admitted into decent society. However, tell me about your genius. How long have you known her?

Can anybody shed some light as to which five women are being referred to here in this excerpt from The Picture of Dorian Gray?

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Do you have any reason to think that Wilde had five specific women in mind? Since the entire passage is an exercise in hyperbole and clearly not to be taken literally, I'd assume the same holds for this sentence. –  Nate Eldredge Oct 3 '13 at 16:31
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This question appears to be off-topic because it is about the content of a work of fiction, not about English language and usage –  Colin Fine Oct 3 '13 at 17:18
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closed as off-topic by Colin Fine, TimLymington, user49727, MrHen, Kristina Lopez Oct 3 '13 at 21:59

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