"The first stage is like ordinary drinking, the second when you begin to see monstrous and cruel things," wrote Oscar Wilde of absinthe, "But if you can persevere you will enter in upon the third stage where your see things that you want to see."
Oscar suffered an illness from late 1899 which he called, "Mussel poisoning," which gave him red splotches on his arms, chest and back, when scratched. By September of 1900, he was bedridden. Doctor Maurice a’Court Tucker, from the Embassy, visited him often, but could only state that it was not syphilis, because syphilis did not itch. He also advised an operation on Wilde’s ear that had been painful since prison. It had been carried out in his room on October 10. Over the next weeks, he recuperated, enjoying visits from friends during which he made many of the famous last witticisms that are often reported as his last words, notably, "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has got to go.