WILKIE COLLINS IS ROMEO 145
the way? Illness, nothing but illness, has kept me away. My heart has been running down like a clock that is out of repair. For the last fortnight the doctor has been winding me up again. He is getting on well enough with his repairs, but I have been (medically) intoxicated with sal volatile and spirits of chloroform; the result has been a new idea of a ghost story. I am hard at work frightening myself, and trying to frighten the British reader.
" Ever yours,
" WILKIE COLLINS."
" 90 GLOUCESTER PLACE, PORTMAN SQUARE, W., "January 2o£/i, 1888.
" Mr. Terriss, dear Mary Anderson, is not Romeo. I am Romeo—because I am in sympathy with you. At the time when, by my calculation, you must have been writing your nice little note, I was asking myself at what time in the afternoon I should be most likely to find you at home and disengaged if I put my patch on my weak eye and called at Cromwell House. When may I climb the area railings, with my umbrella in one hand and my guitar in the other, and hope to see Juliet in the balcony (well wrapped up)? In