The Definitive Resource Of Oscar Wilde's Visits To America

Wilde Sees the Falls

Transcription of the report (right)

Buffalo Express, February 10th, 1882


And is at First Disappointed and Critical

~ But Grows Enthusiastic at Last

Special Dispatch

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont., Feb. 9 -- The day was all that could be desired for sight-seeing. Oscar Wilde, who made his headquarters at the Prospect House, breakfasted early, and wrapping himself in his long fur coat, stood out on the veranda of the hotel for nearly an hour steadily gazing at the scene before him. A carriage was ordered at nine o'clock, and in company with his agent, Mr. Vale, they started for the different points of interest. They returned at two o'clock. The change of scenery and fresh air seemed to please Mr. Wilde.

After dinner Wilde conversed on his morning’s adventure. To use his own words, he said: “When I first saw Niagara Falls I was disappointed in the outline. The design, it seemed to me, was wanting in grandeur and variety of line, but the colors were [1] beautiful. The dull gray waters flecked with green are lit with silver, being full of changing loveliness, for of all the most lovely colors are colors in motion. It was not till I stood underneath the Falls at Table Rock that I realized the majestic splendor and strength of the physical forces of nature here. The sight was far beyond what I had ever seen in Europe. It seems to me a sort of embodiment of pantheism. I thought of what Leonardo Da Vinci said once, that “the two most wonderful [1] things in the world are a woman’s smile and the motion of mighty waters."

Mr. Wilde wrote in the Prospect House private album:

"The roar of these waters is like the roar when the mighty wave of democracy breaks against the shores where kings lie couched at ease." "OSCAR WILDE"

This is the same album in which Sarah Bernhardt wrote, "How good is God to make such beautiful things."

Wilde leaves tonight by the Great Western and Michigan Central railways for Chicago.

Oscar Wilde In America | © John Cooper, 2024