[inscribed by the author] London: Hurst and Blackett, 1867. 16 pp Vol III ads dated November 1866. Original blind-stamped blue-violet cloth with spines stamped in gilt.
First Edition of this collection of tales: Vol I consists entirely of "Leyton Hall," Vol II consists of "Hearts are Trumps," "Mind Your Own Business" and "The Talking Spell," and Vol III contains seven stories mostly having to do with Christmas. Mark Lemon (1809-1870) was the co-founder (in 1841 with Henry Mayhew) of Punch Magazine, and was a talented playwright and actor. He was born about two years before Charles Dickens, and died 17 days before him -- and it is as a close friend of Dickens (and a partner in numerous dramatic efforts) that Lemon is perhaps best-known today. But he also wrote numerous novels and tales, including at least three three-volume titles such as LEYTON HALL.
This set is in very good-plus condition (very minor edge-wear including a subtle repair at the head of Vol I's spine, two Vol III leaves with a minor printing flaw caused by a pre-printing crease). Not in Sadleir; Wolff 4048 (a presentation copy, "To my sister Lally with my love, Mark Lemon Dec 31, 1866").
This is an inscribed presentation copy, reading on the Vol I half-title "Mrs Warner with Mark Lemon's love, Dec 31st, 1866". In histories of Punch, Mrs. Ann Warner is referred to as Mark Lemon's sister-in-law -- and the proprietress of one of the main watering-holes of the Punch Crowd (including Lemon and Thackeray), the Shakespeare Room at her Bedford Hotel in Covent Garden. Although the volumes are dated 1867, this inscription is dated on the last day of 1866, just like Wolff's copy cited above. Item #14654