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    Doyle suggests to the actor playing Holmes, " you exit...remove your disguise with a sweep of your hand...The disguise is so admirable that I fear many hardly realise that it is not a double..."

    Arthur Conan Doyle Autograph Letter Signed "A Conan Doyle" on The Hôtel Métropole letterhead, one page, 5" x 7", London, [February 1911], to [O.P. Heggie]. In full, "I thought your performance very good indeed. Many thanks for it. I wonder whether it would be possible as you exit at the end of Scene I Act III to remove your disguise with a sweep of your hand on the 'Now then, Billy!' The disguise is so admirable that I fear many hardly realise [sic] that it is not a double." Lightly soiled. Fine condition. Accompanied by a copy of a letter from a member of the Heggie family from whom this letter was purchased. Oliver Peters Heggie (1877-1936) is best remembered for his later role as the blind hermit who befriends the Monster (Boris Karloff) with wine and tobacco in "The Bride of Frankenstein" (1935).
    "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" is one of 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. First published in Strand Magazine in February 1892, Conan Doyle, who later revealed that he thought this was his best Holmes story, wrote and produced a play based on it. O.P. Heggie appeared as Sherlock Holmes in the February 6-25, 1911 production of "The Speckled Band: An Adventure of Sherlock Holmes" at London's Strand Theatre. 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 Peters' 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. Hegge's disguise as the butler was so good that Conan Doyle wished he had given Hegge the credit he deserved so he asked Heggie if it were possible for him as he and Billy, the only actors on stage at the time, could quickly remove his disguise as he exited, revealing to the audience that he, not the fictitious "C. Later," was Peters, the butler. For whatever reason, Heggie didn't. The name "C. Later" continued to appear in the programs of future productions of "The Speckled Band."
    Letters of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle referring to Sherlock Holmes are rare and desirable. One signed "A.C.D." referred to "the Cardboard Box story" and "S.H." and sold for just over $12,000 at Sotheby's London in 1999. A second, signed "A Conan Doyle," sold for $16,838.50 at auction last year.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
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