Illustrated. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1902. 12 pp undated ads. Original light olive-green cloth decorated in black, lighter green and gilt.
First American (and first illustrated) Edition of this fantasy tale about a sensuous mermaid who comes ashore, and the man who must choose between her and his "conventional" fiancée -- a general idea taken up by Hollywood numerous times over the years (see "Splash"). THE SEA LADY is in many ways similar to Wells's THE WONDERFUL VISIT (1895), with a mermaid rather than an angel serving as a foil for conventional English life. "It may not be too much to say that the Sea Lady, 'a hussy,'... was simply the first strong reflection of the demands being made in Wells's life with [his wife] Jane, demands that would take him far away from conventional morality, into the open sea that beckoned" [Smith].
This copy is in the primary binding of light olive-green cloth, with the decoration (initialed "RR" -- Rome Richardson) in black, lighter green and gilt; a secondary binding has the same design, but in black on dark green cloth. Condition is just about fine (spine faded to honey brown as always, the merest hint of soil). See Wells Soc. 21; Hammond B8; Currey p. 522. Item #14778