To Charles Collette, 6 August 1877

ALS to Charles Collette [Monday] 6 August 1877. Single sheet, cream laid paper, no watermark, 176x111mm. Trace of fold. Fine. See also the earlier envelope addressed to Collette.

The Public Face of Wilkie Collins III 165-166.

Will you kindly let me have a 
line [del] to acknowledge the safe receipt of the 
proofs?

[90, Gloucester Place, 
Portman Square. W. 
London 
Augt 6th 1877

Dear Mr Collette,
I hear by a letter from 
Neville, received this morning, 
that your engagement is 
not completed yet --- although 
he has put off his "opening" 
to suit your convenience. 

If you had told me, 
when I had the pleasure of 
seeing you here, that you 
would not accept the part 
without first reading the 
piece, some time and 
trouble might have been 
saved. As it is, I 
of course hasten to send 
you the only copy of 
the piece that I possess. 
It is in rough proof, with 
corrections which were only 
intended for the printers' eye. 
But everything must give 
way to the absolute necessity of 
settling the "cast" at once. 

I must beg you /will/ consider 
the proofs herewith sent to you, 
as in every respect representing 
a private and confidential letter

I shall also be obliged if you 
will kindly let me have them 
back at your earliest convenience.

The part which [del: it] is 
offered to you is "Sergeant Cuff" 
(the detective policeman of the novel).

Very truly yours
Wilkie Collins

Charles Collette Esqr

NOTES

Charles Collette (29/7/1842-10/2/1924) was an actor and Wilkie was offering him the part of Cuff in the dramatic version of The Moonstone. He was a well-known performer from 1868 to 1907 as well as writing plays and taking his own companies on tour. Collette - perhaps wisely - did not take the part of Cuff, which was played to critical disdain by Thomas Swinbourne (d1895).

The Moonstone ran at the Olympic Theatre, Wych St, London from 17 September to 17 November 1877 to poor reviews. Henry Neville (1837-1879), who managed the Olympic from 1873-1879, directed the play and took the part of Franklin Blake for the early performances.


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