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Collins reputation was such that he was the subject of several dedications or grateful mentions in book prefaces.


The earliest reference that has been located is The King's Mail by Henry Holl published in three volumes in 1863 by Sampson Low.  The last paragraph of Preface includes: "A word of thanks to my friend Wilkie Collins for introducing me to my publishers."  A presentation copy of The King's Mall was present in Collins's library (Baker).  Henry Holl (1811-1884) was an actor, playwright and novelist.  Possibly he met Collins through Edmund Yates, son of Frederick and Elizabeth Yates who managed the Adelphi Theatre which staged Holl's melodrama Grace Huntley in the 1836-7 season.  Holl wrote several other plays including Louise: or the White Scarf (1825); Wapping Old Stairs (1825); The Forest Keeper (1860); The Love Bird (1884) and The Widow of Toledo (1884).  His other novels were More Secrets than One (1864); The Old House in Crosby Square (1864); White Favour (1866); The Golden Bait (1871); and A History of the War, 1870-1 (1871).


A much more prolific author, Thomas Wilkinson Speight (1830-1915) mentions Collins in his introduction to Under Lock and Key: A Story.  The novel was originally published in three volumes by Tinsley Brothers in 1869 and possibly because of Tinsley's recent disagreement with Collins over the second edition of The Moonstone (1868) Speight is keen to insert the following disclaimer:

"In justice to himself the author thinks it requisite to state that the entire plan of this story was sketched out, and several of the chapters written, before the first lines of Mr. Wilkie Collins's "Moonstone" had been given to the public.  He has further denied himself the pleasure of reading "The Moonstone" till after the completion of his own story, so as to preclude any possible charge of having derived the outline of his plot from the work of another writer.  London , February, 1869."


The story does, in fact, contain several echoes of The Moonstone - Indians, a valuable diamond, drugs, and an 'impossible' theft from a locked room - but the plot is entirely different and an excellent story in its own right.  There is a modern facsimile reprint in the Arno Press Collection, Literature of Mystery and Detection (1976).  Speight appears to have returned to an Eastern theme with The Doom of Siva in 1898 and to jewels with The Celestial Ruby (1904) and The Fate of Hara Diamond in 1907.


In 1870, James Payn dedicated Gwendoline's Harvest to Collins: "This book is dedicated to WILKIE COLLINS, ESQ., by his friend, The Author."  The dedication also appears in the Tauchnitz edition of the same year but was subsequently dropped in later English editions in one volume.  Payn was a long-standing friend both of Collins and Dickens, a prolific novelist, journalist and editor of Chamber's Journal and The Cornhill.  In Some Literary Recollections (1884), Payn recalls


"I had reason to be grateful to 'Lost Sir Massingberd'.  It attracted the attention of some of my masters in the art of fiction, and among them that of my friend Wilkie Collins.  He has probably long forgotten the gracious words which he bestowed upon it, but I remember them as though they were spoken yesterday instead of twenty years ago.  Accustomed as was the author of 'The Moonstone' to strike at the root of the mystery, he told me that he could not guess what had become of my missing baronet."


Blanche Roosevelt (1853-1898) (full name Blanche Roosevelt Tucker Macchetta) was an American singer and writer.  In 1887 she wrote Verdi: Milan and "Othello."  Being a short life of Verdi, with letters written about Milan and the new opera of Othello: represented for the first time on the stage of La Scala Theatre, Feb. 5, 1887.  Her book has the following dedication to Collins on p. [5]:


"To Wilkie Collins.  My Dear Friend.  When I left England for Italy , you said, "Do write me all about Verdi, Milan , and the new opera 'Othello'."  I have taken you at your word; only the letters, like most feminine epistles, have stretched away into limitless pages, and from a few vagabond sheets have grown into a volume.  I am sure you will never again ask a woman to write to you, even from Paradise ; but in the mean time, here is the result of your amiability, and knowing that the work would never have been written without you, I dedicate it to you.  I hope also that it may recall to your mind not alone a composer, a country, and a people whom you have long so professionally admired, but likewise the humble colleague who, with the world, owes you more delightful hours than any pen - not your own - could ever hope to repay.  With expression of sincerest regard,  Affectionately yours, Blanche Roosevelt.  Paris , June 1887."


Blanche Roosevelt wrote studies of H. W. Longfellow, Victorien Sardou, and Gustave Dore as well as Stage Struck: or She Would be an Opera Singer.  She also wrote at least three novels including The Copper Queen which was present in Collins's library.  She had given up the stage after marrying the Marquis d'Alligri.  She became the mistress of Guy de Maupassant, coming to London with him in 1886.  This is possibly when she met Collins.  She was killed in a carriage accident and there is still a statue of her in Brompton Cemetery .


Ghost's Gloom written by J. Gibb Holmes (Swan Sonnenschein, London 1889) also carries a dedication to Collins on p. [iii]: "To Wilkie Collins,Esq., This Novel is gratefully dedicated by an admirer of his genius and a recipient of his kindness."  There is no evidence of what the kindness may have been although we can conjecture it might have been the advice of the successful writer to the novice.  There is no mention of Holmes in any of Collins's letters but there was a copy of the novel in Collins's library.  J. G. Holmes (with no apparent connection to Oliver Wendell Holmes) appears to have written two other books, Pearl Sutton's Love in 1888 and In Sinful Paths: a Story of the Euston Road in 1889.


Possibly of greater interest is Eugene Sue's A Romance of the West Indies published in New York by F. Tennyson Neely in 1898.  It was translated from the French by Marian Longfellow and dedicated to Collins:

"To the memory of WILKIE COLLINS, author and artist, who first directed my attention to this work and suggested its translation into English, I dedicate this book in kindly remembrance.  The Translator."

Collins had always been an eager enthusiast of French literature and along with the works of Le Sage, Dumas and Balzac had read the sensational novels of Sue in his youth.  Marian Longfellow was the niece of the poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, whom Collins met during his reading tour of America in 1873-1874.  He possibly met her along with Longfellow’s three daughters at their home in Cambridge, Mass. which became "... a point of visit for distinguished foreigners."  Marian was well known as a poet, lecturer, essayist and translator.


In 1899 we come to Whose Deed? By Hadley Welford ( London : Jarrold & Sons). This has the cryptic note on p. [5] in a ruled box: "To the Memory of G. H., H. H., and Wilkie Collins."  The 'H' is possibly a family name since a copy has been seen with the author's presentation inscription: "To Aunt H. Wishing her many happy returns of July 16th - with the Author's Love. 1899."


Indirect acknowledgements to Collins took the form of Women in Red, Black and in one case Mauve.  The latter was a play by Watts Phillips.  The Woman in Mauve: A Sensation Drama in Three Acts was first performed at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Liverpool, in Decmber1864 and subsequently at the Haymarket Theatre, London , from 18 March 1865.  In the first scene of Act I, Lancelot Harvey, a surgeon, proclaims: "The sensation disease is contagious, I suppose, a sort of social earthquake that shakes alike the parlour and the kitchen."  He then surprises Frank Jocelyn, an artist, reading The Woman in White.  Without "raising his head from the book" according to the stage directions, Jocelyn says "What a novel!  Charming! Admirable! The interest begins with almost the very first line.  I do hope no one will come dropping in to interrupt me."  Jocelyn then reads out loud the early scene at the crossroads where Hartright first encounters the Woman in White.


In addition to book dedications, there were various, more ephemeral tributes to Collins.  The earliest appear to be musical dedications in the wave of the huge popularity of The Woman in White from the early1860s.  S. M. Ellis in Wilkie Collins, Le Fanu and Others (1931) described how The Woman in White was so popular that "every possible commodity was labelled "Woman in White".  There were "Woman in White" cloaks and bonnets, "Woman in White" perfumes and all manner of toilet requisites."


With words by J. E. Carpenter and music by C. W. Glover, The Woman in White was dedicated to Collins with these words:


"The morning was fresh & the sea bright & clear,

All the world & his wife were upon the Chain Pier,

I followed of course _ when _ imagine my fright,

There close to my side stood the Lady in White.


Dedicated to Wilkie Collins Esqe"


The sheet music was illustrated by R. J. Hammerton and published by Lith Metzler & Co. of Great Marlborough Street, London at the price of 2/6.


The Woman in White Waltz doesn't carry any words of dedication but is clearly influenced by the novel.  The colour illustration shows the meeting by the gravestone in Cumberland between Anne Catherick dressed in white and Walter Hartright.  The music was written by C. H. R. Marriott and published by Boosey & Sons Musical Library of Holles Street, London at 4/-.


In May 1861, about the time of the publication of the first one volume edition of The Woman in White, Collins replied to a correspondent:

"Pray accept my thanks for your kind letter and for the little Poem enclosed, which I have read with great pleasure, and which appears to me to possess the merit - by no means a common one - of being very well adapted for music, both in sentiment and versification. I assure you I feel very sincerely the compliment which you have paid to my book - and I need therefore hardly add that I willingly accede to your proposal to mention on the title page of "Laura's Song" that it was suggested by the perusal of my story."


The Fosco Galop was similarly dedicated to Collins by G. Richardson and published by Cramer Wood & Co. and Lamborn Cock & Co at 4/-.  This particular music cover has portraits of the actor, George Vining, as himself and as Fosco.  It is of later issue, coinciding with the production of the dramatic version of The Woman in White at the Olympic Theatre from 9 October 1871.  Vining co-directed the play with Collins but was replaced because of illness by Wybert Reeve as Fosco from 11 January 1872.


Earlier, however, the overture to The Frozen Deep by Francesco Berger was dedicated to Charles Dickens with no mention of Collins.  Similarly, The No Thoroughfare Galop by Charles Coote 'as performed nightly at the Adelphi Theatre' (1867-1868) is  'By Kind Permission of Charles Dickens Esqre.'


Collins does not appear to have been the dedicatee of likely authors such as Mary Braddon, Charles Reade or Edmund Yates.  It is very likely, however, that the above instances miss some important dedications so it would be of interest to hear from anyone who knows of other examples.

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