WIL3CIE COLLINS 141
the streets where Dr. Johnson had walked, rattling his stick along the area railings, returning to touch any he had missed; and into the gardens where the Lancaster and York roses were plucked, the comparative antiquity of everything adding a delightful novelty to all we saw.
We soon left our little house in Maida Vale for a larger one in Cromwell Road, which, alas! had no garden, and in consequence never grew dear to me. It was there I first met Wilkie Collins. He was " completely out of the world," to quote his own words, and pi^eferred coming to us en famille, thus enabling us to have him quite to ourselves, and at his best. His anecdotes of Thackeray, Dickens, and Charles Reade were far more interesting than anything we could have read concerning them; for, in recounting his reminiscences, he added to them his own personal magnetism. His description of Reade laying his head upon his shoulder and crying at the funeral of Dickens, and his own feeling of desolation when, in turn, he, the last of the quartette, stood at the grave of Reade, were pathetic in the extreme. A great sufferer from gout in the eyes, he was forced to seek relief in opium. It was un-