Archive for August 4th, 2010

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
In 1891 Wilde was in Paris and one evening accompanied by William Rothestein the painter, and Robert Sherard went to Chateau Rouge a notorious night haunt of the Paris underworld. Some street Arabs waylaid them and Wilde managed to pacify them with drinks as peace offerings.
They repaired to the nearest café for a round of drinks. Later Robert Sherard too drunk took upon himself for the safety of his friends. He stood up unsteadily to declare if anyone meddled with his friend Oscar Wilde should soon be sorry for himself.
Wilde could only feebly restrain him thus, “Robert you are defending us at the risk of our lives.”
James S. Osgood, McIlavaine &Co, relatively a new firm published Wilde’s works Intentions (essay), Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime and other stories. The firm had made it a point to advertise that their books were published simultaneously in London and New York.
One morning Richard Le Gallienne the poet called on Wilde and found him somewhat moody. He broke the news solemnly that Osgood was dead. “Poor Osgood! He is a great loss to me.” Observed he , a picture of sorrow. “However,” he said his face brightening, “I suppose they will bury him simultaneously in London and New York.”
This Irish wit of unparalleled insouciance came out of the prison a broken man. Shortly after his release his friends including Mrs. Leverson ’the Sphinx’ and her husband called on him. Typically their English reticence didn’t prepare them for the painful interview ahead. They dreaded it.
At last Wilde entered easy and without a shadow of his prison experience coming through in the manner he laughed and greeted them. He greeted the Sphinx thus, “Sphinx, how marvelous of you to know exactly the right hat to wear at seven o’clock in the morning to meet a friend who has been away. You can’t have got up, you must have sat up.”

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