To Benjamin Webster, 3 March 1869

ALS to Benjamin Webster, [Wednesday] 3 March 1869. 206x134mm, book folded, mourning paper with thin black edge, engraved address, u/l case gothic type centred, no visible watermark. Several small tears along edges repaired with tape, signs of mounting. Pasted on the blank fourth side is the front cover only of the associated black edged envelope 71x112mm with penny red stamp glued on.

The Public Face of Wilkie Collins II 130

[90, Gloucester Place,
Portman Square. W.]
3rd March 1869

My dear Webster, 
I was very sorry 
to miss you when you 
called yesterday. I 
had gone to my lawyer 
with your son's draft 
of the agreement. It 
requires some alterations 
in form-which will 
be [deleted letters] immediately 
proposed to your son.
In the meantime, let 
us consider the substanc
as agreed on between 
you and me-and let 
me hear what I can 
do towards helping the 
piece forward on your 
stage. I expect 
to see Fechter, here, 
either tonight or 
if you have any letter 
or message for him, I 
will take care that 
he has it.
Yours ever
Wilkie Collins 
Benjamin Webster Esqr
Proposed advertisement:
In Preparation, a Drama 
in three acts, by Wilkie 
Collins and Charles Fechter.
N.B. I leave you to do 
what is necessary about 
Fechter's re-appearance in 
the new Drama.
Benjamin Webster Esqr 
Adelphi Theatre 
Strand W.C

[Envelope is postmarked] 

LONDON W 5 MR 3 69

Benjamin Webster (1797-1882), actor, proprietor, manager of the Theatre Royal Adelphi. The theatre had been rebuilt by T H Wyatt and Stephen Salter and in 1869 a new Royal entrance was built. Although the theatre is still on the same site - Adelphi Theatre, Strand, London WC2E 7NA - it was rebuilt in 1930 and nothing of the original theatre now remains.

The play referred to is Black and White which was written by Collins from an idea by Charles Fechter (1824-1879). It opened at the Adelphi on 29 March 1869 and ran for 60 nights.

Webster as Joey Ladle in Collins's adaptation of No Thoroughfare which ran at The Adelphi for 151 performances from 26 December 1867 to 20 June 1868. Fourth from left is Charles Fechter as Obenreizer.

Collins was still mourning the death of his mother Harriet on 19 March 1868. This black-edged letter is just within the year's mourning period.

All material on these pages is Paul Lewis 1997-2005