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The Criminal Trials of Oscar Wilde
Transcript Excerpts of the First Criminal Trial (April 26 to May 1, 1895)

Testimony of Charles Parker

Charles Parker was examined by Mr. C. F. Gill

Parker - I am 21 years of age. I have a brother, William. I have been engaged as a valet and my brother as a groom. At the beginning of 1893 I was out of employment. I remember one day at that time being with my brother at the St. James's Restaurant, in the bar. While there Taylor came up and spoke to us. He was an entire stranger. He passed the compliments of the day, and asked us to have a drink. We got into conversation with him. He spoke about men.

Gill - In what way?

P - He called attention to the prostitutes who frequent Piccadilly Circus and remarked, "I can't understand sensible men wasting their money on painted trash like that. Many do though. But there are a few who know better. Now, you could get money in a certain way easily enough if you cared to." I understood to what Taylor alluded and made a coarse reply.

G - I am obliged to ask you what it was you actually said?

P - I do not like to say.

G - You were less squeamish at the time, I dare say. I ask you for the words?

P - I said that if any old gentleman with money took a fancy to me, I was agreeable. I was agreeable. I was terribly hard up.

G - What did Taylor say?

P - He laughed and said that men far cleverer, richer and better than I preferred things of that kind. After giving Taylor our address we parted.

G - Did Taylor mention the prisoner Wilde?

P - Not at that time.

G - Where did you first meet Wilde?

P - Taylor asked us to visit him next day at Little College Street. We went the next morning. He said he could introduce us to 'a man who was good for plenty of money', and that we were to meet him at the St. James's bar. We went the next evening to the St. James's and saw Taylor there. He took us to a restaurant in Rupert Street. I think it was the Solferino. We were shown upstairs to a private room, in which there was a dinner table laid for four. After a while Wilde came in and I was formally introduced. I had never seen him before, but I had heard of him. We dined about eight o'clock. We all four sat down to dinner, Wilde sitting on my left.

G - Who made the fourth?

P - My brother, William Parker. I had promised Taylor that he should accompany me. G - Was the dinner a good dinner?

P - Yes. The table was lighted with red-shaded candles. We had plenty of champagne with our dinner and brandy and coffee afterwards. We all partook of it. Wilde paid for the dinner.

G - Of what nature was the conversation?

P - General, at first. Nothing was then said as to the purposes for which we had come together.

G - And then?

P - Subsequently Wilde said to me. "This is the boy for me! Will you go to the Savoy Hotel with me?" I consented, and Wilde drove me in a cab to the hotel. Only he and I went, leaving my brother and Taylor behind. At the Savoy we went first to Wilde's sitting room on the second floor.

G - More drink was offered you there?

P - Yes, we had liqueurs. Wilde then asked me to go into his bedroom with him.

G - Let us know what occurred there.

P - He committed the act of sodomy upon me.

G - With your consent?

[Parker did not reply.]

G - Did Wilde give you any money on that occasion?

P - Before I left Wilde gave me 2, telling me to call at the Savoy Hotel in a week. I went there about a week afterwards at eleven o'clock at night. We had supper, with champagne. Wilde on that occasion committed the same acts as on the first occasion. I stayed about two hours. When I left, Wilde gave me 3. I remember subsequently going with my brother to 13 Little College Street. We slept there with Taylor. Taylor told us on that occasion that he had gone through a form of marriage with a youth named Mason.

G - Did he say who acted as the woman?

P - Yes; he said he did; that he was in woman's dress, and that they had a wedding breakfast... I stayed with Taylor at Chapel Street for about a fortnight. Wilde used to call there, and the same thing occurred as at the Savoy. I had for a fortnight or three weeks a room at 50 Park Walk, Chelsea. At the time I was living at Park Walk, Wilde visited me there. I was asked by Wilde to imagine that I was a woman and that he was my lover. I had to keep up this illusion. I used to sit on his knees and he used to [censored]... as a man might amuse himself with a girl. Wilde insisted on this filthy make-believe being kept up. Wilde visited me at Park Walk one night between half-past eleven or twelve. He came in a cab, and drove away after staying about a quarter of an hour. Wilde kept his cab standing outside. In consequence of this incident my landlady gave me notice to leave and I left.

G - Apart from money, did Wilde give you any presents?

P - Yes, he gave me a silver cigarette case and a gold ring. I don't suppose boys are different to girls in acquiring presents from them who are fond of them.

G - You pawned the cigarette case and the ring?

P - Yes.

G - Where else did you visit Wilde?

P - I visited Wilde at his rooms in St. James's Place. Taylor gave me the address. Wilde had a bedroom and a sitting room opening into each other. I have been there in the morning and to tea in the afternoon.

[Parker described a sexual act which he said took place with Wilde on one of these occasions.]

G - Where else have you been with Wilde?

P - To Kettner's Restaurant.

G - What happened there?

P - We dined there. We always had a lot of wine. Wilde would talk of poetry and art during dinner, and of the old Roman days.

G - On one occasion you proceeded from Kettner's, to Wilde's house?

P - Yes. We went to Tite Street. It was very late at night. Wilde let himself and me in with a latchkey. I remained the night, sleeping with the prisoner, and he himself let me out in the early morning before anyone was about.

G - Where else have you visited this man?

P - At the Albemarle Hotel. The same thing happened there.

G - Where did your last interview take place?

P - I last saw Wilde in Trafalgar Square about nine months ago. He was in a hansom and saw me. He alighted from the hansom and spoke to me.

G - What did he say?

P - He asked me how I was and said, "Well, you are looking as pretty as ever." He did not ask me to go anywhere with him then.

G - During the period of your acquaintance with Wilde did you frequently see Taylor?

P - Yes.

G - Who else did you meet at Little College Street?

P - Atkins, Wood, and Scarfe, amongst others.

G - Did you continue your acquaintance with Taylor until a certain incident occurred last August? You were arrested in the course of a police raid on a certain house in Fitzroy Street?

P - Yes.

G - Orgies of the most disgraceful kind used to happen there?

P - Yes.

Mr. Grain (attorney for Taylor) - My lord, I must protest against the introduction of matter extraneous to the indictment. Surely I have enough to answer.

Mr. Gill - I wish to show that Parker ceased his acquaintance with Taylor after that incident... When did you cease your association with Taylor?

P - In August, 1894. I went away into the country and took up another occupation.

Mr. Justice Charles - What was the occupation?

P - I enlisted. While I was with my regiment I was seen by Lord Queensberry's solicitor, and he took down a statement from me.

G - Until you became acquainted with Taylor had you ever been mixed up with men in the commission of indecent acts?

P - No, never.

ClarkeCross-examined by Sir Edward Clarke - On what date did you enlist?

P - On 3rd September.

C - When were you seen in the country in reference to this case?

P - Towards the end of March.

C - Did you state at Bow Street that you received 30 not to say anything about a certain case?

P - Yes. I stated at the Police Court that I had received 30, part of moneys extorted from a gentleman with whom I had committed acts of indecency. I received the 30 a few days before I was arrested in August, 1894. 1 can't remember the exact date, but it was a month or two before I enlisted.

C - I don't ask the name of the gentleman from whom the money was extorted, but I do ask the names of the two men who got the money and gave you 30?

P - Wood and Allen. I could not tell you where Allen is now. He used to live in Crawford Street. Wood is a witness in this case, I know.

C - When had the incident occurred in consequence of which you received the 30-how long before?

P - I cannot think.

C - You had had indecent behaviour with the gentleman in question?

P - Yes, but only on one occasion, at Camera Square, Chelsea.

C - Where you were living?

P - Yes.

C - Did the gentleman come to your room?

P - Yes.

C - By your invitation?

P - He asked me if he could come.

C - And you took him home with you?

P - Yes.

C - Did Wood and Allen happen to come in while the gentleman was there?

P - No.

C - How much did Wood and Allen tell you they got?

P - I can't remember.

C - Try and remember?

P - 300 or 400.

C - Was that the first sum of money you had received under circumstances of that kind?

P - Yes.

C - What did you do with the 30?

P - Spent it.

C - And then went into the army?

P - I spent it in about a couple of days.

C - I'll leave that question. You say positively that Mr. Wilde committed sodomy with you at the Savoy?

P - Yes.

C - But you have been in the habit of accusing other gentlemen of the same offence?

P - Never, unless it has been done.

C - I submit that you blackmail gentlemen?

P - No, sir. I have accepted money, but it has been offered to me to pay me for the offence. I have been solicited. I have never suggested this offence to gentlemen....

C - When you allowed yourself to be introduced to Mr. Wilde you knew perfectly well the purpose for which the introduction was made?

P - Yes.

C - At the dinner, Mr. Wilde was the principal conversationalist, I suppose?

P - Yes.

C - And you found him a brilliant and an amusing talker?

P - Yes.

C - Was the door locked during the time you describe?

P - On the first visit to the Savoy Hotel Wilde locked the bedroom door. I did not see any servants as I left the hotel. I went away in a hansom. As to the second visit Wilde told me the night and the time to come again. I found Wilde occupying the same rooms. I gave my name and the hall porter showed me up by the lift. Wilde on this occasion, too, locked the bedroom door. The waiter who served the supper of course saw me there. It was on the second or third floor; I cannot be certain which. In the sitting room Mr. Wilde rang a bell for the waiter, and the waiter went for drinks and brought them in. The sitting room and bedroom opened one into the other. Mr. Wilde did not lock the sitting room door, but he locked that of the bedroom. I did not know Mr. Wilde even by sight till I was introduced to him at the restaurant. I did not see anybody but a hall boy at the hotel entrance.

C - There was no concealment about your visit, was there? You gave your name, were shown up, and in going away you did not attempt to avoid any of the servants?

P - That's so.

C - Did you hear that Wood had got 20 or 30 from Mr. Wilde for some letters?

BosieP - I did not hear that he got the money. I heard from someone, I can't remember from whom, that Wood got the letters out of some clothes which were given to him by Lord Alfred Douglas. I never saw the letters.

C - Were Wilde's rooms on the ground floor at St. James's Place very public ones?

P - Yes. There were men servants about. The sitting room was a sort of library there were a good many books about.

C - Do you suggest that in rooms such as you have described and so situated this kind of conduct went on again and again?

P - Yes.

C - There was not the smallest concealment about your visit with Mr. Wilde to the music-hall?

P - No.

C - You shared a box with him at the Pavilion?

P - Yes.

Re-examined by Mr. Gill - Did you know Lord Alfred Douglas?

P - Yes. Taylor introduced me to him. I know that the letters referred to belonged to Lord Alfred Douglas. Until I met Taylor I did not know Atkins, Wood, Allen, Cliburn, or Burton.

G - When did you first make the acquaintance of Wood?

P - About six months before he went to America.

© Matt & Andrej Koymasky - 1997 / 2008 8


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