Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde
(16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900)
was an Irish writer and poet.
After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s.
Today he is remembered for his epigrams, plays and the circumstances of his imprisonment, followed by his early death.
But not in my mythos. Oscar is all too alive, holding court in his own chambers deep within the haunted jazz club, Meilori's.
Here is an excerpt of Sam McCord visiting him for what may be the last time from CREOLE KNIGHTS:
I looked around me. Everyone was so caught up in their own words and thoughts that they hadn't even noticed my arrival.
Oscar, dressed as always as the most colorful of peacocks but as tall as an ostrich, was bending his head next to the hot sunset of Cora's hair.
He laughed. Then, he smiled and spoke to both the courtesan and de Morny in a gossip’s whisper.
"You ask what I stole from the good Captain. Why his words, of course. One evening I spied what he was writing to his beloved Meilori and quite brazenly used them in my letter to my wife, Constance, that I was writing at the same time."
Cora hushed, "You actually read one of his love letters to Lady Meilori?"
"Indeed and borrowed from it quite boldly. What were those words now? Ah, yes:
'What can I tell you by letter? Nothing that I would tell you in person. The message of love travels not by pen and ink. Your presence here would not make you any more real, for I feel your fingers in my hair, and your cheek brushing mine. The air is full of the music of your voice, my soul and body seem no longer mine but mingled in some strange way with yours. I feel incomplete without you. Always and Forever, Samuel.'"
"Of course I signed my own --"
Oscar tilted his head, stiffened as he heard the chiming of my spurs. His eyes met mine. He turned pale.
"S-Sam, I meant no harm."
"None taken, Ostrich. In fact, I'm honored that a poet like yourself didn't feel diminished borrowing from an weary pilgrim like me."
Cora's fingers went to her mouth. "Sam, you look --"
"--like hell? You just came from the Demeter. Me? I came here through my night club in New Orleans ... a few years after that voyage."
Comte de Morny wasn't called the shark of Paris for nothing. His mind was quick. His eyes even quicker.
"How few would that be, Captain? Your face seems about the same. But your eyes ...."
"They've seen a few more sights than they wanted, Comte."
Oscar looked uncomfortable. "You can't blame them for being curious, Uncle Sam. It never hurts to ask."
I made a face. "Unless you ask for hurt."
Oscar looked pained. "I would not have had you heard me talk about Meilori, Sam. I know when she left you seven years ago --"
Cora looked shocked. "S-She left you? But you and she are so much in love."
Oscar snorted, "Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same."
Cora frowned, "You two are married? And still she left you?"
I shrugged. "She seems to think my heart left her first."
Cora's long fingers tenderly touched my cheek, staring up at me. "No one who could see the loss in your eyes would believe that."
Oscar sighed, "One of the many things you learn in prison is that things are what they are and will be what they will be."
DeMorny cocked his balding head. "Meaning?"
"Meaning that selfishness is not living as one wishes but demanding that others live that way as well. Meilori wanted Sam to be both what he is and what she wanted him to be. An impossible demand."
"Maybe," I said. "Or maybe I threw away a treasure because I wasn't smart enough to find a way to keep it."
Oscar's sad eyes bored into mine. "Ordinary riches can be stolen or lost. Real riches cannot. In your soul, Sam, are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you. Not even by you. The love you still have for Meilori is one of those things."
I grasped his shoulder firm. "That's why I come here, Ostrich. You help put things into perspective for me."