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    AC Benus
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

The Great Mirror of Same-Sex Love - Prose - 41. from an Eyewitness to Wilde’s Second Trial

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from an Eyewitness to Wilde’s Second Trial…

 

I am very sorry I have not written before. Ever since I arrived, I have been all day at the Old Bailey and dining out in the evening and coming home very tired. Please forgive me.

Oscar has been quite superb. His speech about the Love that dares not tell his name was simply wonderful, and carried the whole court right away; quite a tremendous burst of applause. Here was this man, who had been for a month in prison and loaded with insults and crushed and buffeted, perfectly self-possessed, dominating the Old Bailey with his fine presence and musical voice. He has never had so great a triumph, I am sure, as when the gallery burst into applause[.] […]

Public opinion too has undergone a very great revulsion [to the charges], so everyone seems to think – nine out of the twelve jurors were for him. […]

—Max Beerbohm to Reggie Turner[i]

letter of May 3rd, 1895

 

 

 

…concerning the Crowd Outside the Trial…

 

It was horrible leaving the court day after day and having to pass through a knot of [rent boys, known as] renters (the younger Parker wearing Her Majesty's uniform, another form of female attire) who were allowed to hang around after giving their evidence and to wink at likely persons[.]

—Max Beerbohm to Reggie Turner[ii]

letter of May 3rd, 1895

 

 

 

 


[i] from an eyewitness to Wilde’s Second Trial” Max Beerbohm The Love of Friends (New York 1997), ps. 165-166

[ii] concerning the crowd outside the trial” Max Beerbohm The Love of Friends (New York 1997), p. 166

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Copyright © 2021 AC Benus; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Although I loved reading this first hand account, it was bittersweet. I read, again, Wilde’s speech from that day in court. It really was quite brilliant. Unfortunately, as we all know, he did not sway the jury in his favor. However, for that moment in time, he eloquently spoke from the heart and may have given hope to some in attendance. 

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AC Benus

Posted (edited)

18 minutes ago, 84Mags said:

Although I loved reading this first hand account, it was bittersweet. I read, again, Wilde’s speech from that day in court. It really was quite brilliant. Unfortunately, as we all know, he did not sway the jury in his favor. However, for that moment in time, he eloquently spoke from the heart and may have given hope to some in attendance. 

Thanks, 84Mags. The eye-opening info in this private letter is that the jury did not want to convict. Wilde's 'folly', as understood by the English elite at the time, was assuming his status as a high-status individual would shield him from the power of the wig to make an example of him.

Beerbohm's info is that Wilde's assumptions were true and he was acquitted by a jury process that the judge betrayed and tossed out. Instead, the English elite class ordered the jury to "do the decent thing" so the judge could sentence Wilde (as nothing but an uppish Irishman) to two years at hard labor, knowing it was tantamount to a death sentence. That is the history not in the books, but what Beerbohm's letter reveals 

 

Edited by AC Benus
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2 hours ago, AC Benus said:

Thanks, 84Mags. The eye-opening info in this private letter is that the jury did not want to convict. Wilde's 'folly', as understood by the English elite at the time, was assuming his status as a high-status individual would shield him from the power of the wig to make an example of him.

Beerbohm's info is that Wilde's assumptions were true and he was acquitted by a jury process that the judge betrayed and tossed out. Instead, the English elite class ordered the jury to "do the decent thing" so the judge could sentence Wilde (as nothing but an uppish Irishman) to two years at hard labor, knowing it was tantamount to a death sentence. That is the history not in the books, but what Beerbohm's letter reveals 

 

That is what I really enjoy about The Great Mirror! I learn with each posting. 

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On 1/4/2022 at 4:29 PM, 84Mags said:

That is what I really enjoy about The Great Mirror! I learn with each posting. 

Thank you!!!

I think you will like the next one too. I'm about to post something from a culture we've yet to touch upon :)

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