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[72] his popularity; he had been heralded as the apostle of the aesthetic movement. At his first lecture, given at the old Boston Music Hall, he appeared in a black velvet court suit with ruffles, and black silk stockings, his hair long and curling on his shoulders. A few moments after he had taken his place on the platform, a string of Harvard students filed into the hall, dressed in caricature of the lecturer's costume, each with a sunflower in his coat and a peacock feather in his hand. Our mother, who was in the audience, recognized near the head of the procession her favorite grand-nephew, Winthrop Chanler. Wilde took this interruption in good part, welcoming the lads and turning the laugh against them. “Imitation is the sincerest flattery,” he said, “though this is a case where I might say, ‘Save me from my friends.’ ”

Wilde came several times to the house in Boston; later Uncle Sam brought him to spend a day or two at Oak Glen, where the household was thrown into a flutter by the advent of his valet. It was one thing to entertain the aesthete, another to put up the gentleman's gentleman. In spite of all the affectation of the aesthetic pose, Wilde proved a rarely entertaining guest. He talked amazingly well; in that company all that was best in the man came to the surface. He recited his noble poem, “The Ode to Albion,” under the trees of Oak Glen, and told endless stories of Swinburne, Whistler, and other celebrities of the day. The dreadful tragedy came later; at this time he was one of the most brilliant figures in the literary world.

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