London: Chapman & Hall, 1879. Original scarlet cloth decorated in black.
First Edition, third binding state (three-volumes-in-one), of this adventurous tale. "The plot is one of his most interesting, ingenious, elaborate, and unexpected" [Walpole]. John Caldigate goes to Australia to seek his fortune in the gold mines, and winds up living with one Euphemia Smith; after his return to England and his subsequent marriage, Euphemia tracks him down to blackmail him, saying he was already married to her. A postal clerk, of all people, carries the day by proving that an envelope addressed by Caldigate to Euphemia as "Mrs. Caldigate" is a forgery. In all, one of Trollope's better yarns -- featuring, in a way, himself!. (Trollope began as a postal clerk at age 19 (in 1834), and continued rising in the organization until 1866; he is credited as being an originator of the British circular red postal box, after the postal service sent him to the Channel Islands to come up with a better way for residents to mail their letters; he adapted what he had seen in Paris.)
The primary binding was three volumes in lilac-grey cloth decorated in black; there was subsequently a secondary binding of three volumes in dark green cloth; this was in turn followed by this binding of three-volumes-in-one in scarlet cloth. These various binding states indicate that the book did not sell well; there was only this one printing of the first edition.
The volume has 888 pages of text (290+296+302); all three title and Contents pages are included, but there is only one half-title at the beginning (as is proper for this binding). It is in very good-plus condition, with remarkably little wear for such a hefty volume. The spine is faded, as usual for bright red cloth, and there is a crease down the middle of it -- again, a frequent trait of three-in-one bindings; the original pale-yellow endpapers are glued at the gutter so the volume remains tight. Sadleir (TROLLOPE) 55: he ranks JOHN CALDIGATE in the highest of four levels of scarcity among Trollope's works -- specifically, twelfth of the 53 titles. So -- this is a scarce original binding state of a scarce Trollope title. Item #14757