Item #15113 LADY GRACE and Other Stories. In Three Volumes. Mrs. Henry Wood, née Ellen Price.
LADY GRACE and Other Stories. In Three Volumes.
LADY GRACE and Other Stories. In Three Volumes.

LADY GRACE and Other Stories. In Three Volumes.

London: Richard Bentley & Son, 1887. 2 pp Vol I undated ads. Original sage-green cloth decorated in black and lettered in gilt.

First Edition. The novella LADY GRACE occupies the first volume plus almost all of the second volume; three other tales fill out the rest.

In 1836 Ellen Price had married Henry Wood, and for twenty-plus years his banking and shipping career afforded them the good life in the South of France; then his business failed, the family returned to England, and out of financial necessity Ellen turned to writing novels (over thirty!) as the new breadwinner for the family of six. She quickly hit it big with EAST LYNNE (1861), paving the way for the popularity of her subsequent efforts. Henry Wood died in 1866, and the following year she bought the magazine Argosy, featuring the writing of female writers such as herself, Christina Rossetti, and herself; she kept writing until the end of her life -- in 1887, the year LADY GRACE was published.

... Which perhaps provides a hint regarding the remarkably sparse layout of these volumes' pages of text -- one-inch margins on all sides, just 21 lines per page, just 35-40 letters per line. Clearly, Bentley was trying to strreettch these four tales to fill three volumes. (The three-decker format began to die out in the mid-1880s -- due to readers' and authors' desire for more-concise writing, and due in particular to the brave publisher Vizetelly turning his back on the lending libraries; the three-volume format (and the libraries' major influence) would cease to exist in 1894.) This was a posthumous publication, issued on September 23, 1887: Ellen Wood had died on February 10th, after which Bentley probably scrambled to find unpublished manuscripts of hers, but didn't actually find enough to justify the three volumes that the libraries would demand -- and so he "made do" with what he had.

This particular set managed to avoid being "read to death" by the libraries' readers -- for it is in remarkably fine, bright condition (the slightest of rubbing at some corners, a couple of original patterned endpapers just starting). Outstanding condition for a 135-year-old three-volume title. Sadleir 3347 and pp 383-384, where he ranks LADY GRACE's scarcity in the top third; Wolff 7278. Item #15113

Price: $975.00