A Smile of Fortune | The Secret Sharer | Freya of the Seven Isles. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1912. Original olive green cloth.
First Edition, third and final (correct) binding state. This collection of three tales is known primarily for the middle one, "The Secret Sharer" -- Conrad's best-known short story excepting "Heart of Darkness."
The binder made an error on the binding of 'TWIXT LAND & SEA: on the front cover he listed the third tale as "Freya of the Secret Isles." The error was discovered after only about twenty copies had been issued (the rare first binding state); on the other copies that had already been bound up, the word "Secret" was buffed out and the word "Seven" printed over it -- though the erroneous word remains evident underneath (the second binding state). Finally, those copies not yet bound up (the majority) were done so in this smoother cloth, with the error corrected. Never mind the error, Conrad did not like this binding anyway, as he wrote to his agent Pinker:
I have had my free copies from Dent. Can't say the appearance of the spinach-coloured volume fascinates me. The paper and the type are fairly ugly too. [quoted in Supino]
This copy is in near-fine condition (just a trace of wear at the spine ends). Supino A16.1.0, binding C; Cagle A16a.1, binding c. Provenance: bookplate of George Heron Milne (1887-1948), who for decades was a librarian at the Library of Congress, and for his last dozen years was Chief of the Congressional Reading Room; unfortunately he penned numerous notes within the text of this copy. Item #15119