146 A FEW MEMORIES
plain English, will you choose the day and the hour of the afternoon when I shall not be in the way, and ask your brother to send me just a line, which I shall be only too happy to obey ? Over and over again I have thought of writing, and have put it off in the hope of being well enough to speak for myself. At last there is nothing the matter but weakness and certain vagaries of the optic nerves, which persist in seeing a pattern of their own making, as black as black lace, in this form:
\_Here follows drawing^
" It might be prettier, might it not ? I think it is a reptile of the pre-Adamite period.
"With kindest remembrances to my kind friends at home,
" Always yours affectionately,
" WILKIE COLLINS."
The play mentioned by Mr. Collins was never finished, though in one of his later letters he still expressed his usual interest in the subject. " I have got Bancroft's History of the United States," he said, " and mean to try if I can find a hint in that long book which may suggest something ap-