To John Palgrave Simpson, 27 December 1875

ALS to John Palgrave Simpson, [Monday] 27 December 1875. 4pp, laid 8vo, no visible watermark. A circle approximately 2.5cm in diameter neatly cut out with scissors near the bottom of last sheet, affecting some words. Headed paper, address ranged right in black gothic type. Bound into an extra-illustrated two volume edition of The Letters of Leigh Hunt, Smith Elder, London 1862. The book was edited by James Henry Leigh Hunt's son, Wilkie's acquaintance, Thornton Leigh Hunt.

The Public Face of Wilkie Collins III 110-111

[90, Gloucester Place,
Portman Square. W.]
27th Decr 1875
My dear Palgrave Simpson,

You sent me a
letter /(from Mr Sasse/ which, in your
own words, "evidently 
implied an absence 
of all trustworthiness in 
Mr Bernstein," and 
you added that "this
was the second time 
that doubts had been 
thrown on his character".

It is surely one man's 
duty to tell another 
when this sort of attack

is made on his reputation?
I thought it (and I think 
it still) my duty to 
Mr Bernstein to let 
him know that was 
being written about him 
behind his back - more 
especially as it had 
produced sufficient effect 
on your mind to make 
you feel uneasy about 
the fate of the piece -
after I had previously 
vouched for Mr Bernstein 
as a perfectly trustworthy 

So far as I can venture 
to offer an opinion, in 
the present state of the 
affair, it seems to 
me that you (or Clayton) 
might write to Mr 
Bernstein - saying 
whatever you think 
right on this question 
of Mr Sasse's attack 
on his character - 
to inqui[re] what he 
had [done] towards 
produci[ng "]All For Her"
on the German stage 
before he returned the 
manuscript. Until 
you know this, it does 
not seem to me to be 
easy to decide whether 
this course that he has 
taken [del: is] /in sending back the play, is/, or is not, 
detrimental to the 
interests of the piece.

Forgive this late 
answer to your letter. 
I have been suffering 
from rheumatism.

With hearty good 
wishes to you and to 
Clayt[on for] the New 

Ever yours
Wilkie Collins

John Palgrave Simpson (1807-1887) was a playwright and novelist and also secretary of the Society for Dramatic Authors from 1868. His drama All For Her opened at the Mirror theatre (formerly The Duke's Theatre) in Holborn on 18 October 1875. Wilkie knew him well and corresponded with him from 1857.

John Clayton (1843-1888), whose real name was John Alfred Calthrop, was an actor. On 2 March 1873 Wilkie wrote to Palgrave Simpson asking him to ask Clayton if he would play the part of Julian Gray in The New Magdalen. Clayton apparently declined. Later Clayton went on to manage Toole's Theatre, Charing Cross.

Mr Sasse is unidentified but was presumably German.


All material on these pages is Paul Lewis 1997-2005