Charles James Ward, Esq.: Charles James Ward, an employee of Coutts bank, was a lifelong friend of Collins and named as executor of his will in 1882. His brother, Edward Ward the painter, was an even closer friend. See next note.
I have founded the main event. . . a fact within my own knowledge: in 1848 Collins played an important part in arranging the secret marriage of Henrietta and Edward Ward; the secrecy was due to her parents' opposition to the match--the bride was not yet sixteen years old. Collins gave the bride away. Afterwards she returned to the parental home for three months until an elopement in August which was also masterminded by Collins.
Twelve years after Collins's death, Thomas Seccombe's entry in the Dictionary of National Biography claimed that 'intimacies formed as a young man led to [ Collins] being harrassed after he became famous, in a manner which proved very prejudicial to his peace of mind'. Is it possible that this refers to a secret marriage? Such a hypothesis would explain why Collins married neither Caroline Graves not Martha Rudd. Kenneth Robinson, Collins's most level-headed biographer, writes that 'it is probable that Wilkie had recently undergone a violent emotional experience and wrote Basil as a form of catharsis' ( Wilkie Collins ( London, 1951), 64).
In deriving the lesson: in the first edition this reads 'In deriving the moral lesson'. The outraged response to Basil may have induced Collins to minimize his claims as to the moral value of the novel.