LETTERS FROM WILKIE COLLINS 143 in the part, I returned it The subjoined is his answer :* " 90 GLOUCESTER PLACE, PORTMAN SQUARE, W., "April I4//&, 1885. " Thank you, dear Mary Anderson, for your letter. You confirm the doubt that I felt when I sent you the sketch of the first act—only as a specimen of the contemplated play—and you express so clearly your ideal of what the dramatic work should be which will attract your sympathies and enable you to do yourself justice that I already understand what is wanted—and I am eager to consult with you as to the details—to ask hundreds of questions and to try if we can together meet the one serious difficulty that I see—-finding a good subject. If something could be found in American history—not connected with wars—/ should like it best, because the dramatic writers of the United States have left that field free, and I could let my imagination go at a full gallop without the fear of unintentionally trespassing on the literary ground which the dramatists of Europe have so largely occupied. Some suggestive book * This and the following letters from Mr. Wilkie Collins are reproduced in these pages by kind permission of his literary executor, Mr. A. P. Watt.