With Illustrations. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1896. 10 pp undated ads. Original black (very dark purple?) cloth decorated in gilt.
First Edition of this novel that curiously combines the sport of boxing and the Regency period. The eponymous narrator is a country boy who wishes to go to sea, but winds up with his fashionable uncle in London -- where soon his best friend is "Boy Jim," who hopes to become a bare-knuckle boxer like his blacksmith uncle.
[Doyle] had always been fond of boxing, had revelled in the history of the prize-ring, and in RODNEY STONE his enthusiasm and knowledge are apparent... As usual the action-episodes are first-rate; and as usual the historical personages are not an integral part of the story... but Doyle wanted to reconstruct an age, and so Nelson, the Prince Regent, Sheridan, Fox, Beau Brummell... and others, pop in and out of the pages for the sole purpose of creating a 'period piece' [Pearson].
The illustrations are by Sidney Paget, who also did the Sherlock Holmes illustrations. The tale was adapted into a 1913 silent film "The House of Temperley"; 70 years later it was dramatized for BBC Radio.
Though this book was issued in considerable numbers, we find it to be surprisingly uncommon today -- especially in acceptable condition. This is a remarkably fine copy -- best we have seen in our 40+ years in business -- with no external soil or wear, though the front endpaper is slightly cracked. Green & Gibson A20a. Housed in a morocco-backed slipcase with inner chemise. Item #15344