Charmed by Oscar Wilde

Reading The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and being wonderfully entertained. I am quoting from a luncheon party in Chapter 3:

‘”They say that when good Americans die they go to Paris,” chuckled Sir Thomas, who had a large wardrobe of Humour’s cast-off clothes.’

And…the Duchess’ carriage has arrived to take her away:

‘“How annoying!” she cried. “I must go. I have to call for my husband at the club, to take him to some absurd meeting at Willis’s Rooms, where he is going to be in the chair. If I am late, he is sure to be furious, and I couldn’t have a scene in this bonnet. It is far too fragile. A harsh word would ruin it.”’

And…in Chapter 4 there is this wonderful description of a theatre in the poor part of town, by Dorian Gray:

“Well I found myself seated in a horrid little private box, with a vulgar drop-scene staring me in the face. I looked out from behind the curtain and surveyed the house. It was a tawdry affair, all Cupids and cornucopias, like a third-rate wedding cake. The gallery and pit were fairly full, but the two rows of dingy stalls were quite empty, and there was hardly a person in what I suppose they called the dress-circle. Women went about with oranges and ginger-beer, and there was a terrible consumption of nuts going on.”

It must be thirty years, at least, since I read this so it’s been fabulous to spend time in that world – from my iPod Touch while sipping a café latte in my local café. He has such an amazing turn of phrase that I truly want to believe people really talked like that all the time. That ‘terrible consumption of nuts’ just made my day and almost had me sniggering out loud; I had to settle for a knowing smile at the clever wit and considerable charm of a man I’d love to have joined at many a luncheon.

I will add any others that fall upon me.


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