A Tale for Young People of All Ages. With One Hundred and Ninety Illustrations. London: Chatto & Windus, 1881. 32 pp ads dated Nov 1881. Original red cloth pictorially decorated in black.
First Edition of Twain's historical tale for the young. During the last years of Henry VIII's reign, a prince finds a pauper who looks exactly like him and persuades him to exchange clothes -- at which time the prince is chased from the palace, is forced to live as a pauper, and experiences first-hand the wretchedness of the poor and the cruelty of the law.
The London edition was intentionally published before the American edition, for copyright purposes; it was published in late November 1881, followed quickly by (or perhaps simultaneous with) the Montreal edition, both of which were followed by the (1882-dated) Boston edition in mid-to-late December. This English edition is much scarcer than the American edition, perhaps because it came out during the brief period when flourished the ill-conceived idea of binding leaves with staples; said staples quickly proved to do the job miserably, so by the mid-1880s binders reverted to using string.
This copy has the primary ad catalogue dated November 1881, and is in near-fine condition (minor darkening of the spine, volume slightly askew as usual for this 400-page volume); there is light damage to the gutter between pages 176 and 177, the result of the aforementioned stapled gatherings. The original patterned endpapers are clean and intact (remarkable for such a hefty book); the front free one has an early gift inscription (son to father, December 1882). McBride pp 70-72; Blanck 3396. Item #13698