With Illustrations by E.A. Abbey, Percy MacQuoid and Joseph Nash. London: Chatto & Windus, 1884. 32 pp ads dated Sept 1884. Original red cloth decorated in black.
First Edition of this collection of fourteen short "good stories" -- about twenty pages each, on average. One of the more amusing -- or enraging, depending on one's point of view -- is "Exchange of Animals," where, opposite an illustration of a woman held with a leash on an auction block (this book was published two years before THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE, which would open with a very similar event), a man says,
Gentlemen, I have to offer to your notice my wife... It is her wish as well as mine to part for ever, and will be sold without reserve to the highest bidder. Gentlemen, the lot now offered for competition has been to me a bosom serpent. I took it for my comfort and the good of my house; but it became my tormentor, a domestic curse, a night invasion, and a daily devil. The Lord deliver us from termagant wives, and troublesome widows! Gentlemen, avoid them as you would a mad dog, a roaring lion, a loaded pistol, cholera morbus, or any other pestilential phenomenon.
(Despite such a sales pitch, the man winds up pleased to get a Newfoundland dog plus twenty shillings for his wife.)
This is a very good-plus copy, with the one noteworthy flaw that the bright red cloth is rather darkened on the spine -- as is often the case with this color. NCBEL III 880. Item #12933