A letter from Lord Alfred Douglas to Oscar Wilde that I reproduce here speaks for itself and settles once for all, I imagine, the question of their relations. Had Lord Alfred Douglas not denied the truth and posed as Oscar Wilde’s patron, I should never have published this letter though it was given to me to establish the truth. This letter was written between Oscar’s first and second trial; ten days later Oscar Wilde was sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labor.
HOTEL DES DEUX MONDES
22, Avenue de l’Opera, 22 PARIS
Wednesday, May 15, 1895.
My darling Oscar:
Have just arrived here.
It seems too dreadful to be here without you, but I hope you will join me next week. Dieppe was too awful for anything; it is the most depressing place in the world, even Petits Chevaux was not to be had as the Casino was closed. They are very nice here, and I can stay as long as I like without paying my bill which is a good thing, as I am quite penniless.
The proprietor is very nice and most sympathetic; he asked after you at once and expressed his regret and indignation at the treatment you had received. I shall have to send this by a cab to the Gare du Nord to catch the post as I want you to get it first post tomorrow.
I am going to see if I can find Robert Sherard tomorrow if he is in Paris.
Charlie is with me and sends you his best love.
I had a long letter from More (Adey) this morning about you. Do keep up your spirits, my dearest darling. I continue to think of you day and night and I send you all my love.
I am always your own loving and devoted boy.
This letter now published for the first time is the most characteristic I received from Oscar Wilde in the years after his imprisonment. It dates I think from the winter of 1897, say some eight months after his release. F.H.
HOTEL DE NICE Rue des Beaux Arts PARIS
My dear Frank:
I cannot express to you how deeply touched I am by your letter — it is une vraie poignée de main. I simply long to see you and to come again in contact with your strong sane wonderful personality.
I cannot understand about the poem (The Ballad of Reading Gaol) my publisher tells me that, as I had begged him to do, he sent the two first copies to the “Saturday” and the “Chronicle”— and he also tells me that Arthur Symons told him he had written especially to you to ask you to allow him to do a signed article.
I suppose publishers are untrustworthy. They certainly always look it. I hope some notice will appear, as your paper, or rather yourself, is a great force in London and when you speak men listen.
I of course feel that the poem is too autobiographical and that real experience are alien things that should never influence one, but it was wrung out of me, a cry of pain, the cry of Marsyas, not the song of Apollo. Still, there are some good things in it. I feel as if I had made a sonnet out of skilly, and that is something.
When you return from Monte Carlo please let me know. I long to dine with you.
As regards a comedy, my dear Frank, I have lost the mainspring of life and art — la joie de vivre — it is dreadful. I have pleasures and passions, but the joy of life is gone. I am going under, the Morgue yawns for me. I go and look at my zinc bed there. After all I had a wonderful life, which is, I fear, over. But I must dine once with you first.
This web edition published by:
The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:15