Before you get worried, I am and will remain as common as dirt. I know little
about this man, except what I have been told. I havent even seen the movie.
Very kind Findadeath.com friend Dominic Druce took the time to put together this
account of the death of Oscar Wilde for us. Thank you Dominic.
Wilde was released from prison 19 May 1897, and wandered between a small band
of friends in England, France and Italy for the next few years. Since the death
of his wife in 1898 he had been denied access to his two sons and given 150 a
year from her estate to live on. Given his extravagant tastes, this did not go
August 1899 he moved from the Hotel Marsollier to the Hotel
dAlsace on the Rue des Beaux-Arts (today this is
just called LHotel), the owner Jean Dupoirier, having paid off Wildes
debts at the former hotel.
He spent the days wandering the streets of Paris, drinking with old friends and
supporters who would bump into to him and, shocked by his appearance, feed him,
or being blanked by former friends.
April 2, 1900, he went to Palermo and Rome with a friend who paid for him
before returning to Paris. A typical day began with breakfast brought up to him
at 11, 2pm - a cutlet and two hard boiled eggs, 5pm - he went to the Café de la
Regence, then dined at the Café de Paris until 2 or 3 in the morning. The hotel
also provided him with a ration of five bottles a week of Couvoisier. Oscar kept
fat n sassy.
His former lover, Lord Alfred Douglas (Bosie), inherited
20,000 on the death
of his father, the Marquess of Queensbury, the cause of Wildes downfall.
(Very long but interesting story. That much I know.) During a meal at the Café de la Paix, Wilde asked Bosie if he could have an income from his money. Bosie
had one of his idiosyncratic tantrums and announced, "I cant afford to
spend anything except on myself," and accused Wilde of "wheedling like
an old whore." Wilde replied, "If you do not recognise my claim, there
is nothing more to be said.
Oscar suffered an illness from late 1899 which he called, "Mussel
poisoning," which gave him red splotches on his arms, chest and back, when
scratched. By September of 1900, he was bedridden. Doctor Maurice aCourt
Tucker, from the Embassy, visited him often, but could only state that it was
not syphilis, because syphilis did not itch. He also advised an operation on
Wildes ear that had been painful since prison. It had been carried out in his
room on October 10. Over the next weeks, he recuperated, enjoying visits from
friends during which he made many of the famous last witticisms that are often
reported as his last words, notably, "My wallpaper and I are fighting a
duel to the death. One or other of us has got to go," "I am dying
beyond my means," and, "I cant even afford to die."
October 29th, he got out of bed and had dinner in his room before
going to a café with Robert Ross, one-time lover and devoted supporter. They
drank absinthe. Warned that it was poison to him, he replied, "And what
have I to live for?"
This in from Findadeath.com friend Scott Williams (as
always, Thank You.) -
"Just yesterday in the news, a U.S. university unlocked the chemical secret
of "Absinthe" which Oscar was imbibing prior to his decline and demise. Made from the root extract of "wormwood", it has a property that aggravates and
disrupts the chemical coordination of brain cell communication in a big way, like, total chaos. It was said to be all the rage among artists and such in
Paris at the time even though the French Govt. had outlawed it in 1815. The euphoria was intense, but too often resulted in seizures and, delirium, as
noted in Oscars' final days. Sounds like he should have stuck to the Couvoisier."
SEPTEMBER 2002 More on Absinthe
Findadeath.com friend Steve McSomething sends us
this: It is a translucent turquoise liquor, which at its strongest can be
160 proof. It is banned in all but three countries (the Czech Republic
being one of those where it is available). During World War II, every
Czech adult was rationed a half-liter of it per month. I had a few shots
in Prague a couple of years ago. No seizures or delirium; it tasted like
The next morning he had a cold and earache. Dr. Tucker diagnosed an abscess
in his ear.
Through November he felt worse. Morphine was no longer working as a
painkiller, so he switched to opium, chloral and champagne.
From November 27th, he began having periods of delirium, but
otherwise still discussed news and literature. November 29th he was
described as, "thin, his flesh livid, his breathing heavy," and with a
In the evening, Ross brought Father Cuthbert Dunne and Wilde was asked if he
wanted to see him. Wilde made a sign with his hands and Dunne gave him
At 5:30 am on November 30th, a loud death rattle began "like
the turning of a crank." Foam and blood came from his mouth. He died at
1:50 pm. He had barely breathed his last breath, when his body exploded with
fluids from the ear, nose, mouth and other orifices. Kablooie.
He was cleaned up and dressed in a white night shirt, and covered in a white
sheet and palm branches. Maurice Gilbert took this
Bosie arrived on December 2nd for the funeral on the 3rd,
which was described as "cheap," at which he was chief-mourner. Father
Cuthbert Dunne said requiem mass at St. Germain-des-Pres before the hearse
(bearing the number 13) made its way to Bagneux Cemetery, followed by four
carriages, Ross and Bosie in the first. As the fourteen mourners pushed for a
better view, Bosie almost fell into the grave. Serves the bitch right.
The grave was marked, "Oscar Wilde RIP Oct 16th 1854 Nov
30th 1900." There was a Latin quotation from Job which
translates as, "To my words they durst add nothing, and my speech dropped
In 1909 his remains were moved to Pere Lachaise under Jacob Epsteins monument
(with the broken off pee pee), paid for by a Mrs. Carew. Robert Rosss ashes
were placed in the tomb in 1918.
Trivia: the wallpaper is supposed to have been recreated at LHotel, and
there is now a plaque
to Oscar, just above the front door.