[inscribed to Llewelyn Davies] Garden City NY: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1915. Original dark blue cloth.
First American Edition of this collection of six short stories. The English edition had been published in 1908, and in the same year one of the stories, "The Duel," was published alone by McClure of New York (as "The Point of Honor"). A few months later McClure went under and was bought out by Doubleday -- but since Doubleday could not acquire the copyright to most of the other five tales (because they had already been published in England), he was in no hurry to publish this volume -- until the success of CHANCE in 1913 prompted him to do so (hence the seven-year delay of the American A SET OF SIX). All of this undoubtedly prompted a small printing, making this one of the scarcer American editions of Conrad. In his "author's note" Conrad expresses his satisfaction at having this tale restored "to its proper home and surroundings," rather than cutting down the American edition to "A Set of Five." (The volume is "rounded out" with the addition of "The Romantic Story of Joseph Conrad," much of it gleaned from Richard Curle's biography of the year before.)
This is a copy from the first printing (without a double-rule border around the title page); the second printing was for the limp leather "Deep Sea" format, and the third printing does have the double-rule border. It is in very good condition -- with no appreciable flaws other than dull spine lettering. Cagle A13d.
Provenance: in addition to the discreet bookplate of Conrad super-collector Stanley J. Seeger, the front endpaper is inscribed by Conrad, "Mr & Mrs | H. [A.?] Llewelyn Davies | with friendly regards | from J. Conrad | 1915." (It is difficult to tell Conrad's capital "H" from his capital "A" -- as he varied them considerably; we have examined numerous capital "A"s and "H"s in his hand, and frankly this character looks like neither.) Conrad was a good friend of J. M. Barrie, and Barrie was in turn very close to the Llewelyn Davies family -- so Conrad most likely inscribed this volume as a favor to Barrie. Arthur and Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (she was the daughter of the French-born author and cartoonist George duMaurier) had five boys -- with whom Barrie was "obsessed" (per Barrie's biographer). The five boys were George, John, Peter, Michael and Nicholas -- whom Barrie turned into George (the father) Darling, John Darling, Peter Pan, and Michael Nicholas Darling. If the capital letter in the inscription is an "H", we don't know exactly who in the Llewelyn Davies family this might have been; if it is an "A", the book was presented to the parents of the five boys. Item #12667