Letter to O. P. Heggie (undated 1911)
This letter was written by Arthur Conan Doyle in 1911 to O. P. Heggie, a stage actor who played Sherlock Holmes in the 6-25 february 1911 production of The Speckled Band: An Adventure of Sherlock Holmes at The Strand Theatre, London.
Conan Doyle had playfully listed in all programs since opening night that "C. Later" played the part of "Peters — a Butler." In the play. Holmes disguised himself as the butler and his pageboy, Billy, was disguised as Peter's young daughter, Amelia. In fact, the actor who portrayed Holmes was also Peters, but Conan Doyle wanted the audience to think that another actor was Peters. Heggie's disguise as the butler was so good that Conan Doyle wished he had given Heggie the credit he deserved. In another letter he had asked Heggie if it were possible for him to quickly remove his disguise as he left the stage at the end of a scene. Evidently, he didn't. Now, he asks the actor if he could reveal he was also the butler during the curtain call. The name "C. Later" continued to appear in the programs of future productions of "The Speckled Band."
My dear Sir
Just a line to thank you again for your splendid Holmes. It really is a very excellent performance.
Your disguise is so remarkable that I have grave doubts whether your audience give you the personal credit which is your due. Why not in taking the call restore the contour of your face & doff your wig. I'm sure they think it is a double.
- Yours very truly,
- Arthur Conan Doyle.
- Photo courtesy © Brian W. Pugh Collection.