A Set of Tales. With Some Colloquial Sketches entitled A Few Crusted Characters. (London: Osgood, McIlvaine & Co., 1894.) Original olive green cloth decorated in brown.
First Edition. This collection (eight tales plus nine "crusted characters," most of which were written in 1890-1891) was published a few years after TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES and the year before JUDE THE OBSCURE. It was originally planned as a volume bound identically to A GROUP OF NOBLE DAMES (which was in pale brown cloth), but two weeks before publication the publisher wrote Hardy, "We have thought it wise, in deference to the wishes of the trade, to change the cover to the extent of having a dark cloth and adding the title on the [front] side."~This is a very good copy (minor rubbing at the extremities, endpapers cracking, faint marking on the rear cover). Purdy pp 81-86. Provenance: bookplate of (and signed by) Jean Hersholt, the Danish-born actor (in 1924 he was Marcus in "Greed" (based on Frank Norris's McTEAGUE), and in 1937 he was Shirley Temple's grandfather in "Heidi"), who was a prominent book collector -- his Hans Christian Andersen collection resides today in the Library of Congress; penciled signature of the bibliographer of Victorian literature, Walter E. Smith. Item #13802