Oscar or Abraham?
The Choice of Florence Balcombe
For the past several months, Florence Balcombe has been dating Oscar, the baby boy of Speranza, an unconventional poetess who fights for women’s rights. To the outrage of many, the six-foot Speranza coolly justifies her public extravagances by saying that she is “above respectability.”
Like his memorable mother, young Oscar is colorful and sensitive and writes poetry from the heart. But Florence Balcombe is the daughter of a lieutenant colonel who sees no value in poetry or the boys who write it. Colonel Balcombe much prefers young Abraham Stoker, a boy that had been sickly as a child but who “whipped himself into manhood” with a diet of discipline and athletic endurance. And like the Colonel, Abraham works as a civil servant. He is a file clerk at the courthouse.
In a single moment of decision, Florence rejects the marriage proposal of young Oscar Wilde and chooses to become Mrs. Abraham Stoker instead. Brokenhearted, Oscar immediately flees to London and drowns himself in poetry and Absinthe. Later that year he wins the coveted Newdigate Prize for his poem, Ravenna, and it ignites in him a burning desire to achieve stardom. Since his mother had taught him to view everything in life as a performance, young Oscar begins making a spectacle of everything, sometimes even hailing a cab just to cross the street. He has his clothes tailored by theater costumiers. He feels they better understand the dramatic effect that he is trying to achieve. Soon Oscar is the talk of all England.
Back home in Ireland, an intimidated Abraham Stoker decides to publish a book of his own. Needless to say, “The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland” is not a huge success. But Oscar rules London as a poet and playwright where his short stories and magazine features are in high demand.
When a powerful politician accuses Oscar of homosexuality, he quickly responds with a lawsuit. Sadly, the old politician achieved his fame by writing the official rulebook for boxing.
Oscar loses the lawsuit. The politician, Queensberry, counter-sues and on May 25, 1895, Oscar Wilde is sentenced to 2 years at hard labor for the crime of indecency.
Shortly after he is released from prison Oscar learns that Florence’s husband, ‘Bram Stoker, has written another book. Within 3 years Dracula has outsold every other book in history except the Bible.
On November 30, 1900, Oscar Finegal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde lay down and died in a rented room in Paris. He was 46 years old. Doctors say that an infection of the inner ear was the likely culprit.
But his closest friends did not agree.
They said it was a broken heart.
Roy H Williams