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The Faun of Rome: A Romance

by Oscar Wilde, edited by Nate Maturin

Nate Maturin, Author

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Letter 15: Wilde to Tafani, 16 June 1877

16 June, 1877

1 Merrion Sq, Dublin

My dear old friend,

The mood here is now rather sombre. Dear old Henry has, it is my sad duty to report, passed away, and but a few days after we had dined together. It was such a shock to us. Yet, of Henry’s estate, to which we had always supposed we might be heirs, Willie and I are astonished to find that the greatest part, more than eight-tenths thereof, is set aside for my father’s hospital [St Mark’s, NM]. To me, but £100, and I in straitened circumstances following that fine imposed unjustly by the College. And this small sum only if I remain a Protestant! He binds similarly his portion of my fishing lodge in Connemara, which we held jointly, leaving a reversionary interest to Willie. I have written to Blair to notify him of these small additional incentives that my relative sees fit to impose upon me from beyond the veil. He will be as much indignant as I myself, I cannot doubt. Such discrimination seems to me very much beyond!

More glum news follows. I have seen to the proofs of my sonnet Heu Miserande Puer, which has been rather hastily laid out and looks simply bad as it stands. Bad poetry because of an author’s foible is one thing, but because of an editor’s?! I am sure they will manage the repairs as specified, and await the second proof as confirmation.

I rather envy you your travels. My vision of Italy’s delights has faded now somewhat, and it feels at moments as though my Kenyon, Hilda and Miriam play out their lives in an Irish farmhouse. I have been reading Morris rather to keep up my spirits. There is something very spiritual but also worldly about him. One can lay hold of the spirituality, I mean to say, and without any quibble about what tint or shade it bears.



You must not be wounded at my suggestion that you travel elsewhere this summer, please. I would not have you angry with me. My mother chastised me also. She would have so enjoyed having an accomplished Italian scholar as a new addition to her circles, but I would not deprive you of the pleasure of Rome for her sake!

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