William "Willie" Charles Kingsbury Wilde (1852 - 1899)

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Managed by: Margaret, (C)
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About William "Willie" Charles Kingsbury Wilde

Did I tell you that I saw a good deal of [Oscar’s] brother Willie at Broadstairs? Quel monstre! Dark, oily, suspecte [sic] yet awfully like Oscar: he has Oscar’s coy, carnal smile & fatuous giggle & nota little of Oscar’s spirit.  But he is awful – a veritable tragedy of family likeness.’

– Max and Will, Max Beerbohm and William Rothenstein, Their Friendship and Letters 1893-1945.  Edited, with Introductions and Notes by Mary M. Lago and Karl Beckson.  London: 1975 p.21.

One wonders why, such being Max’s opinion, he ‘saw a good deal’ of Willie. But many years later, even a more kindly memory of Willie makes him a figure of fun.  My sister Constance came home one day and summoned my mother and me; she was quivering to tell us what had happened.  She knew in advance it was the sort of thing my mother would adore.  Well, Constance had been walking along the street and met Willie Wilde – Oscar’s brother. In one  hand, he was carrying a huge leg of mutton by the narrow part; with his free hand he swept off his  hat and bent over double in a grand, ceremonial bow.  There was something so grotesquely funny in the way she did it, conveying both the mutton and the bow.  We decided it was a first class thing.’

– Max Beerbohm, quoted in S.N. Behrman: Conversations with Max.  London: Hamish Hamilton 1960 p.38.

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