"Well, in the beginning he was the most enchanting company, don't you know. His conversation was so simple and natural and flowing — not at all epigrammatic, which would have been unbearable. He saved that for his plays, thank heaven. My brother Herbert [Beerbohm Tree] produced Oscar's play A Woman of No Importance. During rehearsals, at the Haymarket, we used to go to a little bar around the corner where they served sandwiches. Oscar asked for a watercress sandwich. When the waiter brought it, it seemed to Oscar excessive. 'I asked for a watercress sandwich,' he said to the waiter — oh, in the friendliest manner possible, smiling at him as if asking for, and being sure of, the waiter's sympathy — 'not for a loaf of bread with a field in the middle of it.'" . . .
"But, you know" — Max's eyes darkened with regret, and his brow furrowed — "as Oscar became more and more successful, he became . . ." Max paused, as if he couldn't bear to say it, but he did say it. "He became arrogant. He felt himself omnipotent, and he became gross not in body only — he did become that — but in his relations with people. He brushed people aside; he felt he was beyond the ordinary human courtesies that you owe people even if they are, in your opinion, beneath you."
-- Max Beerbohm, quoted in Behrman, S. N. Portrait of Max: An Intimate Memoir of Sir Max Beerbohm. New York: Random House, 1960.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Charlie Sheen reminds me of Oscar Wilde...
...only in this regard: