Showing posts with label Bosie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bosie. Show all posts

Friday, March 4, 2011

Queensberry Tragedies

Lord Milo Douglas
Further to our tale about the NSW State Library putting on display letters from Lord Alfred Douglas to a lover in Australia, comes sad news about the death of one of Bosie's relatives.

 A coroner has ruled that the son of the current Marques of Queensberry and Bosie's great nephew Lord Milo Douglas killed himself  during a bout of manic depression. Milo, a charity worker was only 34 when he threw himself off a building in July last year after he had unsuccessfully attempted to have himself admitted to hospital. Douglas told nurses at the time he was hearing voices in his head urging him to harm other people.

The Douglas family has been littered with family tragdies. Milo Douglas's great grandfather and Bosie's grandfather, the 8th Marquess of Queensberry is rumoured to have shot himself while hunting although it was ruled an accident at the time.

Bosie-Lord Alfred Douglas

One of Bosie's uncles Lord James Douglas drank himself to oblivion and committed suicide by cutting his own throat. It was said he was infatuated with his twin sister Lady Florence.

Bosies eldest brother and heir to the Queensberry title Lord Drumlanrig died in a shooting accident. 

After the famous trial in which Oscar Wilde was ruined and disgraced, Bosie married a poet Olive Custance and they had one son Raymond who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent the rest his life in psychiatric hospitals, dying there in 1964.

Following the sensations of the Wilde trial  Bosie reconciled with Oscar before his death and settled down to become a man of letters, writing plays and producing sonnets that were well, received by his contemporaries. He died in 1945.                    

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Oscar Wilde, Bosie, Gay Marriage & The Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras

Two letters written by Oscar Wilde's lover Lord Alfred Douglas have been discovered in the Sydney State Library and put on display to co-incide with this Saturday's Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras.


The letters were written to one of Bosie's lovers Maurice Schwabe, who was banished to Australia by his family the year of Oscar Wilde's trial which scandalised Victorian England.

Schwabe was an old schoolfriend of Alfred Taylor who ran London's most notorious male brothel frequented by Wilde.

When Bosie was at Oxford he gave an old suit to a rent boy named Alfred Wood
In a pocket of that suit were the letters from Wilde in which he wrote of Bosie's "kissable lips". Wood found the letters and was soon blackmailing Oscar. Wilde paid 30 pounds for the letters but began an affair with Woods. It was to be his undoing.

Bosie bitterly complains in the 2 letters found in the library about Woods and what he is doing to Wilde.

On March 19th, 1893 Bosie opens one letter to Schwabe with " Darling Pretty Boy" and ends with:

''Goodbye now my dear darling beautiful Maurice; I send you all my love and millions of kisses all over your beautiful body. I am your loving boy-wife, or your little bitch if you prefer itBosie.''
Boy-wife ?. Bitch.  So nothing new there. The language hasn't changed-just the way of celebrating the lifestyle when 10,000 performers will troll up Oxford Street in stilettos on Saturday night watched by possibly a quarter of a million spectators. If they were alive no doubt Wilde and Bosie would be in the official Mardi Gras box at Taylor's Square with Dannii Minogue and Chris Crocker.

It's not known what Schwabe's fate was in Sydney. Previously he had travelled with Oscar and Bosie to Paris and had stayed at the Savoy with Wilde. His uncle  Frank Lockwood was the solicitor-general in London and had Schwabe's association with Wilde suppressed and his name was never mentioned during Wilde's trial.

Sydney in the 1890s
But if the family thought they were sending their son far away to avoid the depraved attractions found in London they were mistaken
With  female immigrants to the new colony in short supply Sydney had a notorious reputation throughout the Pacific as a den of iniquity with it's sly grog shops and male bordellos littered around the inner city areas of Darlinghurst and The Rocks.
When an offender was arrested for prostitution his police record was stamped with K.A.M.P- "known as male prostitute". It is claimed it was the beginning of the use of the word 'camp' in association with gayness ! Perhaps Maurice had felt right at home.