Joseph Hatton (1841-1907) edited a number of magazines and he may have been referring to the Sunday Times which he edited in the 1870s. There are no references to him in Collins's letters. He was a member of the Garrick club and may have met Collins there. He is wrong about Collins living in York-place, though he is probably referring to Gloucester-place which is nearby. The piece contains an illustration of three negro minstrels on the stage for no apparent reason apart from Collins's simile. The story about The Moonstone is not known elsewhere and the anecdote must date to 1877 when Collins was dramatising the story.


Among the most sincere mourners of Charles Reade was the late Wilkie Collins. The other day, chatting with a New York friend, he showed me a letter in which Collins paid a noble tribute to the generous and lovable character of Reade. Wilkie Collins for many years lived in York-place. You pass the house when going along Baker-street, as you drive to St. Johnís Wood to see a cricket match at Lordís. A solid, substantial English home, with a host who was always courtly and hospitable. He took delight in his work and would talk with you about it. Ö


On the other hand, poor Wilkie Collinsís features are familiar to the public, the short body, the large, powerful head. If you had seen him sitting at a table, you might have thought him a giant; and when he rose you found he was not even of medium height. In this he resembled the late Douglas Jerrold. As the editor of a magazine, I once called upon Mr. Collins with proposals for a new story. He showed me with pride his latest novel printed in several foreign languages. I remember that it did me good to find a man who had made his mark so perfectly frank in showing me that his success gave him real pleasure He spoke enthusiastically of the hopes he entertained of the book upon which he was then engaged. He told me that he was dramatising "The Moonstone." I ventured to hope that he would make much of the three dusky guardians of the stolen gem. In the novel they exercise an immense influence, full of dramatic suggestiveness. "No." he said; "I have cut them out; I am afraid they would look like three negro minstrels on the stage." Mr. Collins in early life was on the literary staff of the Leader, one, of the brightest and most brilliant of our weekly journals about five-and-thirty years ago. His first novel was, "Antonina," which was bought and published by the elder Bentley. About three years afterwards (the interval being filled with several stories, including "Basil") he began to write for Dickens in Household Words, since which time he has given to the world a series of novels that have thrilled the imaginations of millions of readers in all parts of the world, and added to the picture galleries of fiction such well-known creations as Count Fosco, Captain Wragge and Geoffrey Delamayne.

From 'Pippins and Cheese; - An after-dinner chat.' Pick-Me-Up 26 October 1892 p51

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