Bernard Shaw, Frank Harris & Oscar Wilde

By Robert Harborough Sherard | Go to book overview

XIV
WHERE "FAKIR" BOLTS

THE insincerity of Harris's professions of keen interest in and deep affection for Oscar Wilde is, I think, clearly shown by the fact that though he lived in London and, according to his own account, could do just anything he liked with the highest Government officials, he never made the least effort to see Wilde in prison until the summer of 1896, "a year or so" after Wilde's incarceration, at a time when it was being bruited abroad that Wilde had been allowed the use of writing materials and was supposed to be engaged on literary composition, in the intervals of picking oakum and turning the crank.This news would suggest to Harris, editor and business-man, that there might be eventual profit for him in renewing the acquaintance of the disgraced prisoner.From the day of Wilde's conviction till the middle of September, when I induced Constance Wilde to come to England and visit her husband—when she was reconciled to him—not a living soul, except myself, went near the unhappy man.He "became due" for a visit from two friends on August 25th, and I at once applied to the Governor to be allowed to come and see him on that day.I duly received my pass. It was available for two persons, but mine was the only name inscribed upon it. Where was Harris that day and why had he not applied? Why did he give no sign of life even after my visit had been described far and wide in the Press, chiefly with malevolent comment? We were friends at the time and he could have come to me or have sent the two‐ horse brougham to take me to him in his exalted sphere to hear from me an account of my visit to Wandsworth Gaol, more

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