Oscar Wilde Complete Illustrated Works
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Book may have numerous typos, missing text, images, or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1909. Excerpt: . .. THE PORTRAIT OF MR. W. H. IHAD been dining with Erskine in his pretty little house in Birdcage Walk, and we were sitting in the library over our coffee and cigarettes, when the question of literary forgeries happened to turn up in conversation. I cannot at present remember how it was that we struck upon this somewhat curious topic, as it was at that time, but I know that we had a long discussion about Macpherson, Ireland, and Chatterton, and that with regard to the last I insisted that his so-called forgeries were merely the result of an artistic desire for perfect representation, that we had no right to quarrel with an artist for the conditions under which he chooses to present his work, and that all Art being to a certain degree a mode of acting, an attempt to realise one's own personality on some imaginative plane out of reach of the trammelling accidents and limitations of real life, to censure an artist for a forgery was to confuse an ethical with an aesthetical problem. Erskine, who was a good deal older than I was, and had been listening to me with the amused deference of a man of forty, suddenly put his hand upon my shoulder and said to me, 'What would you say about a young man who had a strange theory about a certain work of art, believed in his theory, and committed a forgery in order to prove it?' 'Ah! that is quite a different matter,' I answered. Erskine remained silent for a few moments, looking at the thin grey threads of smoke that were rising from his cigarette. 'Yes,' he said, after a pause, 'quite different. ' There was something in the tone of his voice, a slight touch of bitterness perhaps, that excited my curiosity. * Did you ever know anybody who did that ?' I cried. 'Yes,' he answered, throwing his cigarette into the fire,--' a great friend of mine, Cyril Grah. ..