Oscar Wilde, His Life and Confessions, by Frank Harris

Chapter 13

Oscar Attacks Queensberry and is Worsted

It was weakness in Oscar and not strength that allowed him to be driven to the conflict by Lord Alfred Douglas; it was his weakness again which prevented him from abandoning the prosecution, once it was begun. Such a resolution would have involved a breaking away from his associates and from his friends; a personal assertion of will of which he was incapable. Again and again he answered my urging with:

“I can’t, Frank, I can’t.”

When I pointed out to him that the defence was growing bolder — it was announced one morning in the newspapers that Lord Queensberry, instead of pleading paternal privilege and minimising his accusation, was determined to justify the libel and declare that it was true in every particular — Oscar could only say weakly:

“I can’t help it, Frank, I can’t do anything; you only distress me by predicting disaster.”

The fibres of resolution, never strong in him, had been destroyed by years of self-indulgence, while the influence whipping him was stronger than I guessed. He was hurried like a sheep to the slaughter.

Although everyone who cared to think knew that Queensberry would win the case, many persons believed that Oscar would make a brilliant intellectual fight, and carry off the honours, if not the verdict.

The trial took place at the Central Criminal Court on April 3rd, 1895. Mr. Justice Collins was the judge and the case was conducted at first with the outward seemliness and propriety which are so peculiarly English. An hour before the opening of the case the Court was crowded, not a seat to be had for love or money: even standing room was at a premium.

The Counsel were the best at the Bar; Sir Edward Clarke, Q.C., Mr. Charles Mathews, and Mr. Travers Humphreys for the prosecution; Mr. Carson, Q.C., Mr. G.C. Gill and Mr. A. Gill for the defence. Mr. Besley, Q.C., and Mr. Monckton watched the case, it was said, for the brothers, Lord Douglas of Hawick and Lord Alfred Douglas.

While waiting for the judge, the buzz of talk in the court grew loud; everybody agreed that the presence of Sir Edward Clarke gave Oscar an advantage. Mr. Carson was not so well known then as he has since become; he was regarded as a sharp-witted Irishman who had still his spurs to win. Some knew he had been at school with Oscar, and at Trinity College was as high in the second class as Oscar was in the first. It was said he envied Oscar his reputation for brilliance.

Suddenly the loud voice of the clerk called for silence.

As the judge appeared everyone stood up and in complete stillness Sir Edward Clarke opened for the prosecution. The bleak face, long upper lip and severe side whiskers made the little man look exactly like a nonconformist parson of the old days, but his tone and manner were modern — quiet and conversational. The charge, he said, was that the defendant had published a false and malicious libel against Mr. Oscar Wilde. The libel was in the form of a card which Lord Queensberry had left at a club to which Mr. Oscar Wilde belonged: it could not be justified unless the statements written on the card were true. It would, however, have been possible to have excused the card by a strong feeling, a mistaken feeling, on the part of a father, but the plea which the defendant had brought before the Court raised graver issues. He said that the statement was true and was made for the public benefit. There were besides a series of accusations in the plea (everyone held his breath), mentioning names of persons, and it was said with regard to these persons that Mr. Wilde had solicited them to commit a grave offence and that he had been guilty with each and all of them of indecent practices. . . . ” My heart seemed to stop. My worst forebodings were more than justified. Vaguely I heard Clarke’s voice, “grave responsibility . . . serious allegations . . . credible witnesses . . . Mr. Oscar Wilde was the son of Sir William Wilde . . . ” the voice droned on and I awoke to feverish clearness of brain. Queensberry had turned the defence into a prosecution. Why had he taken the risk? Who had given him the new and precise information? I felt that there was nothing before Oscar but ruin absolute. Could anything be done? Even now he could go abroad — even now. I resolved once more to try and induce him to fly.

My interest turned from these passionate imaginings to the actual. Would Sir Edward Clarke fight the case as it should be fought? He had begun to tell of the friendship between Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas; the friendship too between Oscar Wilde and Lady Queensberry, who on her own petition had been divorced from the Marquis; would he go on to paint the terrible ill-feeling that existed between Lord Alfred Douglas and his father, and show how Oscar had been dragged into the bitter family squabble? To the legal mind this had but little to do with the case.

We got, instead, a dry relation of the facts which have already been set forth in this history. Wright, the porter of the Albemarle Club, was called to say that Lord Queensberry had handed him the card produced. Witness had looked at the card; did not understand it; but put it in an envelope and gave it to Mr. Wilde.

Mr. Oscar Wilde was then called and went into the witness box. He looked a little grave but was composed and serious. Sir Edward Clarke took him briefly through the incidents of his life: his successes at school and the University; the attempts made to blackmail him, the insults of Lord Queensberry, and then directed his attention to the allegations in the plea impugning his conduct with different persons. Mr. Oscar Wilde declared that there was no truth in any of these statements. Hereupon Sir Edward Clarke sat down. Mr. Carson rose and the death duel began.

Mr. Carson brought out that Oscar Wilde was forty years of age and Lord Alfred Douglas twenty-four. Down to the interview in Tite Street Lord Queensberry had been friendly with Mr. Wilde.

“Had Mr. Wilde written in a publication called The Chameleon?”

“Yes.”

“Had he written there a story called ‘The Priest and the Acolyte’?”

“No.”

“Was that story immoral?”

Oscar amused everyone by replying:

“Much worse than immoral, it was badly written,” but feeling that this gibe was too light for the occasion he added:

“It was altogether offensive and perfect twaddle.”

He admitted at once that he did not express his disapproval of it; it was “beneath him to concern himself with the effusions of an illiterate undergraduate.”

“Did Mr. Wilde ever consider the effect in his writings of inciting to immorality?”

Oscar declared that he aimed neither at good nor evil, but tried to make a beautiful thing. When questioned as to the immorality in thought in the article in The Chameleon, he retorted “that there is no such thing as morality or immorality in thought.” A hum of understanding and approval ran through the court; the intellect is profoundly amoral.

Again and again he scored in this way off Mr. Carson.

“No work of art ever puts forward views; views belong to the Philistines and not to artists.” . . .

“What do you think of this view?”

“I don’t think of any views except my own.”

All this while Mr. Carson had been hitting at a man on his own level; but Oscar Wilde was above him and not one of his blows had taken effect. Every moment, too, Oscar grew more and more at his ease, and the combat seemed to be turning completely in his favour. Mr. Carson at length took up “Dorian Gray” and began cross-examining on passages in it.

“You talk about one man adoring another. Did you ever adore any man?”

“No,” replied Oscar quietly, “I have never adored anyone but myself.”

The Court roared with laughter. Oscar went on:

“There are people in the world, I regret to say, who cannot understand the deep affection that an artist can feel for a friend with a beautiful personality.”

He was then questioned about his letter (already quoted here) to Lord Alfred Douglas. It was a prose-poem, he said, written in answer to a sonnet. He had not written to other people in the same strain, not even to Lord Alfred Douglas again: he did not repeat himself in style.

Mr. Carson read another letter from Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas, which paints their relations with extraordinary exactness. Here it is:

DEAREST OF ALL BOYS —

Your letter was delightful, red and yellow wine to me; but I am sad and out of sorts. Bosie, you must not make scenes with me. They kill me, they wreck the loveliness of life. I cannot see you, so Greek and gracious, distorted with passion. I cannot listen to your curved lips saying hideous things to me. I would sooner (‘here a word is indecipherable,’ Mr. Carson went on, ‘but I will ask the witness’)12 — than have you bitter, unjust, hating. . . . I must see you soon. You are the divine thing I want, the thing of genius and beauty; but I don’t know how to do it. Shall I come to Salisbury? My bill here is £49 for a week. I have also got a new sitting-room. . . . Why are you not here, my dear, my wonderful boy? I fear I must leave — no money, no credit, and a heart of lead.

YOUR OWN OSCAR.

Oscar said that it was an expression of his tender admiration for Lord Alfred Douglas.

“You have said,” Mr. Carson went on, “that all the statements about persons in the plea of justification were false. Do you still hold to that assertion?”

“I do.”

Mr. Carson then paused and looked at the Judge. Justice Collins shuffled his papers together and announced that the cross-examination would be continued on the morrow. As the Judge went out, all the tongues in the court broke loose. Oscar was surrounded by friends congratulating him and rejoicing.

I was not so happy and went away to think the matter out. I tried to keep up my courage by recalling the humorous things Oscar had said during the cross-examination. I recalled too the dull commonplaces of Mr. Carson. I tried to persuade myself that it was all going on very well. But in the back of my mind I realised that Oscar’s answers, characteristic and clever as many of them were, had not impressed the jury, were indeed rather calculated to alienate them. He had taken the purely artistic standpoint, had not attempted to go higher and reach a synthesis which would conciliate the Philistine jurymen as well as the thinking public, and the Judge.

Mr. Carson was in closer touch with the jury, being nearer their intellectual level, and there was a terrible menace in his last words. To-morrow, I said to myself, he will begin to examine about persons and not books. He did not win on the literary question, but he was right to bring it in. The passages he had quoted, and especially Oscar’s letters to Lord Alfred Douglas, had created a strong prejudice in the minds of the jury. They ought not to have had this effect, I thought, but they had. My contempt for Courts of law deepened: those twelve jurymen were anything but the peers of the accused: how could they judge him?

* * * * *

The second day of the trial was very different from the first. There seemed to be a gloom over the Court. Oscar went into the box as if it had been the dock; he had lost all his spring. Mr. Carson settled down to the cross-examination with apparent zest. It was evident from his mere manner that he was coming to what he regarded as the strong part of his case. He began by examining Oscar as to his intimacy with a person named Taylor.

“Has Taylor been to your house and to your chambers?”

“Yes.”

“Have you been to Taylor’s rooms to afternoon tea parties?”

“Yes.”

“Did Taylor’s rooms strike you as peculiar?”

“They were pretty rooms.”

“Have you ever seen them lit by anything else but candles even in the day time?”

“I think so. I’m not sure.”

“Have you ever met there a young man called Wood?”

“On one occasion.”

“Have you ever met Sidney Mavor there at tea?”

“It is possible.”

“What was your connection with Taylor?”

“Taylor was a friend, a young man of intelligence and education: he had been to a good English school.”

“Did you know Taylor was being watched by the police?”

“No.”

“Did you know that Taylor was arrested with a man named Parker in a raid made last year on a house in Fitzroy Square?”

“I read of it in the newspaper.”

“Did that cause you to drop your acquaintance with Taylor?”

“No; Taylor explained to me that he had gone there to a dance, and that the magistrate had dismissed the case against him.”

“Did you get Taylor to arrange dinners for you to meet young men?”

“No; I have dined with Taylor at a restaurant.”

“How many young men has Taylor introduced to you?”

“Five in all.”

“Did you give money or presents to these five?”

“I may have done.”

“Did they give you anything?”

“Nothing.”

“Among the five men Taylor introduced you to, was one named Parker?”

“Yes.”

“Did you get on friendly terms with him?”

“Yes.”

“Did you call him ‘Charlie’ and allow him to call you ‘Oscar’?”

“Yes.”

“How old was Parker?”

“I don’t keep a census of people’s ages. It would be vulgar to ask people their age.”

“Where did you first meet Parker?”

“I invited Taylor to Kettner’s13 on the occasion of my birthday, and told him to bring what friends he liked. He brought Parker and his brother.”

“Did you know Parker was a gentleman’s servant out of work, and his brother a groom?”

“No; I did not.”

“But you did know that Parker was not a literary character or an artist, and that culture was not his strong point?”

“I did.”

“What was there in common between you and Charlie Parker?”

“I like people who are young, bright, happy, careless and original. I do not like them sensible, and I do not like them old; I don’t like social distinctions of any kind, and the mere fact of youth is so wonderful to me that I would sooner talk to a young man for half an hour than be cross examined by an elderly Q.C.”

Everyone smiled at this retort.

“Had you chambers in St. James’s Place?”

“Yes, from October, ‘93, to April, ‘94.”

“Did Charlie Parker go and have tea with you there?”

“Yes.”

“Did you give him money?”

“I gave him three or four pounds because he said he was hard up.”

“What did he give you in return?”

“Nothing.”

“Did you give Charlie Parker a silver cigarette case at Christmas?”

“I did.”

“Did you visit him one night at 12:30 at Park Walk, Chelsea?”

“I did not.”

“Did you write him any beautiful prose-poems?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Did you know that Charlie Parker had enlisted in the Army?”

“I have heard so.”

“When you heard that Taylor was arrested what did you do?”

“I was greatly distressed and wrote to tell him so.”

“When did you first meet Fred Atkins?”

“In October or November, ‘92.”

“Did he tell you that he was employed by a firm of bookmakers?”

“He may have done.”

“Not a literary man or an artist, was he?”

“No.”

“What age was he?”

“Nineteen or twenty.”

“Did you ask him to dinner at Kettner’s?”

“I think I met him at a dinner at Kettner’s.”

“Was Taylor at the dinner?”

“He may have been.”

“Did you meet him afterwards?”

“I did.”

“Did you call him ‘Fred’ and let him call you ‘Oscar’?”

“Yes.”

“Did you go to Paris with him?”

“Yes.”

“Did you give him money?”

“Yes.”

“Was there ever any impropriety between you?”

“No.”

“When did you first meet Ernest Scarfe?”

“In December, 1893.”

“Who introduced him to you?”

“Taylor.”

“Scarfe was out of work, was he not?”

“He may have been.”

“Did Taylor bring Scarfe to you at St. James’s Place?”

“Yes.”

“Did you give Scarfe a cigarette case?”

“Yes: it was my custom to give cigarette cases to people I liked.”

“When did you first meet Mavor?”

“In ‘93.”

“Did you give him money or a cigarette case?”

“A cigarette case.”

“Did you know Walter Grainger?” . . . and so on till the very air in the court seemed peopled with spectres.

On the whole Oscar bore the cross-examination very well; but he made one appalling slip.

Mr. Carson was pressing him as to his relations with the boy Grainger, who had been employed in Lord Alfred Douglas’ rooms in Oxford.

“Did you ever kiss him?” he asked.

Oscar answered carelessly, “Oh, dear, no. He was a peculiarly plain boy. He was, unfortunately, extremely ugly. I pitied him for it.”

“Was that the reason why you did not kiss him?”

“Oh, Mr. Carson, you are pertinently insolent.”

“Did you say that in support of your statement that you never kissed him?”

“No. It is a childish question.”

But Carson was not to be warded off; like a terrier he sprang again and again:

“Why, sir, did you mention that this boy was extremely ugly?”

“For this reason. If I were asked why I did not kiss a door-mat, I should say because I do not like to kiss door-mats.” . . .

“Why did you mention his ugliness?”

“It is ridiculous to imagine that any such thing could have occurred under any circumstances.”

“Then why did you mention his ugliness, I ask you?”

“Because you insulted me by an insulting question.”

“Was that a reason why you should say the boy was ugly?”

(Here the witness began several answers almost inarticulately and finished none of them. His efforts to collect his ideas were not aided by Mr. Carson’s sharp staccato repetition: “Why? why? why did you add that?”) At last the witness answered:

“You sting me and insult me and at times one says things flippantly.”

Then came the re-examination by Sir Edward Clarke, which brought out very clearly the hatred of Lord Alfred Douglas for his father. Letters were read and in one letter Queensberry declared that Oscar had plainly shown the white feather when he called on him. One felt that this was probably true: Queensberry’s word on such a point could be accepted.

In the re-examination Sir Edward Clarke occupied himself chiefly with two youths, Shelley and Conway, who had been passed over casually by Mr. Carson. In answer to his questions Oscar stated that Shelley was a youth in the employ of Mathews and Lane, the publishers. Shelley had very good taste in literature and a great desire for culture. Shelley had read all his books and liked them. Shelley had dined with him and his wife at Tite Street. Shelley was in every way a gentleman. He had never gone with Charlie Parker to the Savoy Hotel.

A juryman wanted to know at this point whether the witness was aware of the nature of the article, “The Priest and the Acolyte,” in The Chameleon.

“I knew nothing of it; it came as a terrible shock to me.”

This answer contrasted strangely with the light tone of his reply to the same question on the previous day.

The re-examination did not improve Oscar’s position. It left all the facts where they were, and at least a suspicion in every mind.

Sir Edward Clarke intimated that this concluded the evidence for the prosecution, whereupon Mr. Carson rose to make the opening speech for the defence. I was shivering with apprehension.

He began by admitting the grave responsibility resting on Lord Queensberry, who accepted it to the fullest. Lord Queensberry was justified in doing all he could do to cut short an acquaintance which must be disastrous to his son. Mr. Carson wished to draw the attention of the jury to the fact that all these men with whom Mr. Wilde went about were discharged servants and grooms, and that they were all about the same age. He asked the jury also to note that Taylor, who was the pivot of the whole case, had not yet been put in the box. Why not? He pointed out to the jury that the very same idea that was set forth in “The Priest and the Acolyte” was contained in Oscar Wilde’s letters to Lord Alfred Douglas, and the same idea was to be found in Lord Alfred Douglas’ poem, “The Two Loves,”14 which was published in The Chameleon. He went on to say that when, in the story of “The Priest and the Acolyte,” the boy was discovered in the priest’s bed,15 the priest made the same defence as Mr. Wilde had made, that the world does not understand the beauty of this love. The same idea was found again in “Dorian Gray,” and he read two or three passages from the book in support of this statement. Mr. Wilde had described his letter to Lord Alfred Douglas as a prose sonnet. He would read it again to the court, and he read both the letters. “Mr. Wilde says they are beautiful,” he went on, “I call them an abominable piece of disgusting immorality.”

At this the Judge again shuffled his papers together and whispered in a quiet voice that the court would sit on the morrow, and left the room.

The honours of the day had all been with Mr. Carson. Oscar left the box in a depressed way. One or two friends came towards him, but the majority held aloof, and in almost unbroken silence everyone slipped out of the court. Strange to say in my mind there was just a ray of hope. Mr. Carson was still laying stress on the article in The Chameleon and scattered passages in “Dorian Gray”; on Oscar’s letters to Lord Alfred Douglas and Lord Alfred Douglas’ poems in The Chameleon. He must see, I thought, that all this was extremely weak. Sir Edward Clarke could be trusted to tear all such arguments, founded on literary work, to shreds. There was room for more than reasonable doubt about all such things.

Why had not Mr. Carson put some of the young men he spoke of in the box? Would he be able to do that? He talked of Taylor as “the pivot of the case,” and gibed at the prosecution for not putting Taylor in the box. Would he put Taylor in the box? And why, if he had such witnesses at his beck and call, should he lay stress on the flimsy, weak evidence to be drawn from passages in books and poems and letters? One thing was clear: if he was able to put any of the young men in the box about whom he had examined Oscar, Oscar was ruined. Even if he rested his defence on the letters and poems he’d win and Oscar would be discredited, for already it was clear that no jury would give Oscar Wilde a verdict against a father trying to protect his son. The issue had narrowed down to terrible straits: would it be utter ruin to Oscar or merely loss of the case and reputation? We had only sixteen hours to wait; they seemed to me to hold the last hope.

I drove to Tite Street, hoping to see Oscar. I was convinced that Carson had important witnesses at his command, and that the outcome of the case would be disastrous. Why should not Oscar even now, this very evening, cross to Calais, leaving a letter for his counsel and the court abandoning the idiotic prosecution.

The house at Tite Street seemed deserted. For some time no one answered my knocking and ringing, and then a man-servant simply told me that Mr. Wilde was not in: he did not know whether Mr. Wilde was expected back or not; did not think he was coming back. I turned and went home. I thought Oscar would probably say to me again:

“I can do nothing, Frank, nothing.”

* * * * *

The feeling in the court next morning was good tempered, even jaunty. The benches were filled with young barristers, all of whom had made up their minds that the testimony would be what one of them called “nifty.” Everyone treated the case as practically over.

“But will Carson call witnesses?” I asked.

“Of course he will,” they said, “but in any case Wilde does not stand a ghost of a chance of getting a verdict against Queensberry; he was a bally fool to bring such an action.”

“The question is,” said someone, “will Wilde face the music?”

My heart leapt. Perhaps he had gone, fled already to France to avoid this dreadful, useless torture. I could see the hounds with open mouths, dripping white fangs, and greedy eyes all closing in on the defenceless quarry. Would the huntsman give the word? We were not left long in doubt.

Mr. Carson continued his statement for the defence. He had sufficiently demonstrated to the jury, he thought, that, so far as Lord Queensberry was concerned, he was absolutely justified in bringing to a climax in the way he had, the connection between Mr. Oscar Wilde and his son. A dramatic pause.

A moment later the clever advocate resumed: unfortunately he had a more painful part of the case to approach. It would be his painful duty to bring before them one after the other the young men he had examined Mr. Wilde about and allow them to tell their tales. In no one of these cases were these young men on an equality in any way with Mr. Wilde. Mr. Wilde had told them that there was something beautiful and charming about youth which led him to make these acquaintances. That was a travesty of the facts. Mr. Wilde preferred to know nothing of these young men and their antecedents. He knew nothing about Wood; he knew nothing about Parker; he knew nothing about Scarfe, nothing about Conway, and not much about Taylor. The truth was Taylor was the procurer for Mr. Wilde and the jury would hear from this young man Parker, who would have to tell his unfortunate story to them, that he was poor, out of a place, had no money, and unfortunately fell a victim to Mr. Wilde. (Sir Edward Clarke here left the court.)

On the first evening they met, Mr. Wilde called Parker “Charlie” and Parker called Mr. Wilde “Oscar.” It may be a very noble instinct in some people to wish to break down social barriers, but Mr. Wilde’s conduct was not ordered by generous instincts. Luxurious dinners and champagne were not the way to assist a poor man. Parker would tell them that, after this first dinner, Mr. Wilde invited him to drive with him to the Savoy Hotel. Mr. Wilde had not told them why he had that suite of rooms at the Savoy Hotel. Parker would tell them what happened on arriving there. This was the scandal Lord Queensberry had referred to in his letter as far back as June or July last year. The jury would wonder not at the reports having reached Lord Queensberry’s ears, but that Oscar Wilde had been tolerated in London society as long as he had been. Parker had since enlisted in the Army, and bore a good character. Mr. Wilde himself had said that Parker was respectable. Parker would reluctantly present himself to tell his story to the jury.

All this time the court was hushed with awe and wonder; everyone was asking what on earth had induced Wilde to begin the prosecution; what madness had driven him and why had he listened to the insane advice to bring the action when he must have known the sort of evidence which could be brought against him.

After promising to produce Parker and the others Mr. Carson stopped speaking and began looking through his papers; when he began again, everyone held his breath; what was coming now? He proceeded in the same matter-of-fact and serious way to deal with the case of the youth, Conway. Conway, it appeared, had known Mr. Wilde and his family at Worthing. Conway was sixteen years of age. . . . At this moment Sir Edward Clarke returned with Mr. Charles Mathews, and asked permission of the judge to have a word or two with Mr. Carson. At the close of a few minutes’ talk between the counsel, Sir Edward Clarke rose and told the Judge that after communicating with Mr. Oscar Wilde he thought it better to withdraw the prosecution and submit to a verdict of “not guilty.”

He minimised the defeat. He declared that, in respect to matters connected with literature and the letters, he could not resist the verdict of “not guilty,” having regard to the fact that Lord Queensberry had not used a direct accusation, but the words “posing as,” etc. Besides, he wished to spare the jury the necessity of investigating in detail matter of the most appalling character. He wished to make an end of the case — and he sat down.

Why on earth did Sir Edward Clarke not advise Oscar in this way weeks before? Why did he not tell him his case could not possibly be won?

I have heard since on excellent authority that before taking up the case Sir Edward Clarke asked Oscar Wilde whether he was guilty or not, and accepted in good faith his assurance that he was innocent. As soon as he realised, in court, the strength of the case against Oscar he advised him to abandon the prosecution. To his astonishment Oscar was eager to abandon it. Sir Edward Clarke afterwards defended his unfortunate client out of loyalty and pity, Oscar again assuring him of his innocence.

Mr. Carson rose at once and insisted, as was his right, that this verdict of “not guilty” must be understood to mean that Lord Queensberry had succeeded in his plea of justification.

Mr. Justice Collins thought that it was not part of the function of the Judge and jury to insist on wading through prurient details, which had no bearing on the matter at issue, which had already been decided by the consent of the prosecutors to a verdict of “not guilty.” Such a verdict meant of course that the plea of justification was proved. The jury having consulted for a few moments, the Clerk of Arraigns asked:

“Do you find the plea of justification has been proved or not?”

Foreman: “Yes.”

“You say that the defendant is ‘not guilty,’ and that is the verdict of you all?”

Foreman: “Yes, and we also find that it is for the public benefit.”

The last kick to the dead lion. As the verdict was read out the spectators in the court burst into cheers.

Mr. Carson: “Of course the costs of the defence will follow?”

Mr. Justice Collins: “Yes.”

Mr. C.F. Gill: “And Lord Queensberry may be discharged?”

Mr. Justice Collins: “Certainly.”

The Marquis of Queensberry left the dock amid renewed cheering, which was taken up again and again in the street.

12 The words which Mr. Carson could not read were: “I would sooner be rented than, etc.” Rent is a slang term for blackmail.

13 A famous Italian restaurant in Soho: it had several “private rooms.”

14 This early poem of Lord Alfred Douglas is reproduced in the Appendix at the end of this book together with another poem by the same author, which was also mentioned in the course of the trial.

15 Mr. Carson here made a mistake; there is no such incident in the story: the error merely shows how prejudiced his mind was.

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 12:30