A short story by John Francis Bloxam published in The Chameleon in December, 1894. It is notable because Oscar Wilde and his alleged lover Lord Alfred Douglas had also published in this magazine and had read this story, which was used against Wilde during his trial for buggery. In his sworn testimony, Wilde was ruthless, denouncing it as "disgusting, perfect twaddle." As Wilde lied about just about everything else in his testimony, we may never know his true opinion of the work. The relevent excerpt from the trial transcript and court records follow.

Edward Carson-- You read "The Priest and the Acolyte"?
Oscar Wilde--Yes.
C-- You have no doubt whatever that that was an improper story?
W--From the literary point of view it was highly improper. It is impossible for a man of literature to judge it otherwise; by literature, meaning treatment, selection of subject, and the like. I thought the treatment rotten and the subject rotten.
C--You are of opinion, I believe, that there is no such thing as an immoral book?
W--Yes.
C--May I take it that you think "The Priest and the Acolyte" was not immoral?
W--It was worse; it was badly written.
C--Was not the story that of a priest who fell in love with a boy who served him at the altar, and was discovered by the rector in the priest's room, and a scandal arose?
W--I have read it only once, in last November, and nothing will induce me to read it again. I don't care for it. It doesn't interest me...
C--Do you think the story blasphemous?
W--I think it violated every artistic canon of beauty.
C-- I wish to know whether you thought the story blasphemous?
W--The story filled me with disgust. The end was wrong.
C--Answer the question, sir. Did you or did you not consider the story blasphemous?
W--I thought it disgusting.
C--I am satisfied with that. You know that when the priest in the story administers poison to the boy, he uses the words of the sacrament of the Church of England?
W--That I entirely forgot.
C--Do you consider that blasphemous?
W--I think it is horrible. "Blasphemous" is not a word of mine.

{Carson then read from "The Priest and the Acolyte."}:

Just before the consecration the priest took a tiny phial from the pocket of his cassock, blessed it, and poured the contents into the chalice.

When the time came for him to receive from the chalice, he raised it to his lips, but did not taste of it.

He administered the sacred wafer to the child, and then he took his hand; he turned towards him; but when he saw the light in the beautiful face he turned again to the crucifix with a low moan. For one instant his courage failed him; then he turned to the little fellow again, and held the chalice to his lips:

"The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life."

C--Do you approve of those words?
W—I think them disgusting, perfect twaddle....I strongly objected to the whole story. I took no steps to express disapproval of The Chameleon because I think it would have been beneath my dignity as a man of letters to associate myself with an Oxford undergraduate's productions. I am aware that the magazine may have been circulated among the undergraduates of Oxford. I do not believe that any book or work of art ever had any effect whatever on morality.

The story itself:

Honi soit qui mal y pense

Part 1
Part 2

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