Page images

Number 1

Autumn, 1899



BY EUGENE FIELD. (“Ad Lectorem," here reprinted, formed the introduction to "First Editions of American Authors," that long-time out-of-print book done by Herbert S. Stone and published by Stone & Kimball in 1893. As a foreword to the BOOKLover's audience it is all that could be desired and its resurrection will, we know, be welcomed by every reader.]

The introduction to so dignified a volume as prize, poignant anguish has been experienced by this should be wholly dispassionate: so the task the rest of us, and none has suffered more than I; to which I apply myself is a difficult one; for for though I covet not the responsibilities of a since last evening I have been perturbed, un scapegoat, God knows I would cheerfully bear, wontedly perturbed, in spirit. I was planning instead of that man Way, the burden of shame the preface to this very volume, and had about resulting from having done a bookseller. It is true determined to begin this Ad Lectorem, in wise that I have one of these first “Ballades;' but what fashion, with that equally wise answer which of that? Can an appreciative man have too much Plato made to Ximenes the Cretan, when the of a good thing-when that good thing is a rare latter asked the famous philosopher collector why

first edition? he preferred a first edition to an "eighteen thou You gather from this that I love "first editions;" sandth'-I had nearly reached this determination, so I do, although I should tell you at once that the I say, when who should burst in upon me but my number of first editions I actually possess is very charming bibliophilic friend, W. Irving Way, few; furthermore, the few are not particularly bearing the astounding information that he had

But some time I shall have a larger and just picked up a first edition of Andrew Lang's more interesting collection; I am quite sure I "XXIII Ballades in Blue China" for eighty cents, sliall, for I have located a number of treasures, a treasure recently listed by the Scribners at and am conducting so aggressive and withal so twenty dollars!

discreet a campaign for their comprehension that It seems that during a regular visit to the Saints they are practically mine already. Three of these and Sinners Corner that day, Mr. Way conceived lovely morceaux I happened upon in a New Engthe notion to investigate other parts of McClurg's land town quite recently. No, I shall not name book-mart adjacent to that resort oi bibliomaniacs, that town! I had been permitted to prowl in the and some good fairy tempted him to search out library of the little house where for many years and cast curious and lingering and loving eyes have lived two female relatives--women of refined upon a certain case in which lay a number of tastes and much culture. At last I said, “Are these dainty parchment-covered books. In the lot Mr. all the books you have?" The answer was, “Yes, , Way detected a copy of the “Ballades in Blue these are all, except, perhaps, a few queer little China;" and he asked the handmaiden in attend old worthless specimens in the back room upstairs." ance thereabouts to show him that pretty volume, To that back room I hurried, and bless me! the and let him hold it tenderly and reverently in bis first books I clapped eyes on were three delibands. He marveled when he looked at the book cious little Hawthornes-"Grandfather's Chair," and found no price therein; and from mere "Famous Old People," and "Liberty Tree"--each curiosity (as he alleges, and as I do fully believe) of the date of 1841, and each in the quaint orighe demanded the price; and the guileless hand- inal covers, as clean and beautiful as when they maiden (God bless 'er!), after consulting with a first came from the binder. My friends seemed veiled, mysterious person in the financial depart- surprised when I expressed delight at this find; ment of the establishment, answered that although they artlessly told me that about a year before they the regular price of that book was one dollar, the had sold for fifty cents a barrelful of just such "old usual reduction of 20 per cent to the trade would stuff” to a peripatetic junk-dealer. be allowed in this instance. Mr. Way further Several years ago I accompanied a party of amamore alleges (and this also do I implicitly believe) leur anglers upon an excursion to Quincy, Ill. As that the time occupied in getting that book of I was the only expert—the only member of the Ballades into his possession, and in getting his party that had any positive genius for fishing-I eighty cents into the hands of McClurg & Co., soon wearied of paddling about in the sterile waters was neither more nor less time than is required of that section, and forth with applied myself to visby a ray of light to travel 186,000 miles, linear iting the places of interest in Quincy. I went first measurement.

to the Soldiers' Home, and presently called upon Since it became known that for a few paltry Major Rawson, the officer in charge. That courdimes our fellow hunter acquired that genuine teous gentleman gave me access to his library;

and one of the first objects I spied therein was a juncture, come the lines which he addressed to first edition of Whittier's "Mogg Megone,"--as

his noble patron: dainty a little treasure as you could hope to see. "Mæcenas, scion of a house of bibliophiles, With a magnanimity I shall ever commend, Major What varying lusts the bibliomaniac crowd reveals! Rawson bade me put the book in my pocket, if I

Lo, here are those who spend their hoard of gold

Upon such volumes only as are wormed and old; fancied it. It had been kicking about, he said, for

Here those who every tempting biblio-bait evade the last fifty years. After some discreet expostu

Except new quartos with octavo prints inlaid! lation, I did the Major's bidding; and that charm This one for Indian histories searcheth wide and far, ing little Whittier is now one of my most precious

While these for Dickens or for Cruikshank rabid are,

And here again for Cromwell these harangue, possessions.

While others-spendthrift maniacs!—bawl for Lang! I cite these instances, not because they are new

For witchcraft lore or fairy some engage, in the avocation of book-hunting, but because, on While others gloat o'er Gilray's bawdy page. the contrary, they occur in the experience of every Egypt, Americana, Drama, Costume, Art, bibliophile. Mr. Way's experience with the Lang Burns, Goldsmith, Shelley, Byror, Bonaparte, Ballades was a genuine oasis; in fact, the desert of

The Syntax Tours, Hunt's jar of honey-sweets,

Rosetti, Frognall Dibdin, Chap-Books, Scotland, Keats, Mr. Way's career seems to me—and I say this in

Scott, Hogarth, Rogers, Grolier, Chivalry, De Foe, no spirit of bitterness—the desert of his career

Fitzgerald, Eliot, Balladry, Boccaccio, seems to me to be strewn with oases. I recollect Black letter Chaucers, Shakespeare, Bewick, Blakethat less than a year ago this same gentleman These vellum-bound, and these of modern make;

Each has a faction all too ready to protest picked up for twenty-five cents a first edition of Lowell's “Fable for Critics.” Some men have

Tbat his especial bibliomaniac fad is best,

And each as ready to declare the lot a genius for that particular kind of luck. My

Of other fads are nothing more than rot! admirable friend, the Rev. Dr. Bristol, is continu Each hugs his petted petty mania to his heart. ally unearthing one treasure or arother, his most Scorning these trifles all, I choose the better part,

The Whittier, Stoddard, Catlin, Hawthorne, Pue, remarkable discovery having been a folio Shake

Simms, Stedman, Aldrich, Dana, Whitman, Stowe, speare with the author's autographic inscription

Holmes, Irving, Lowell, Howells, Riley, Browne-therein. Then there is my other swooping friend, These and the others of Columbian renownO. F. Carpenter. What should he do one fateful Th se, representing by their verse and story, day but step into a second-hand book shop (just

The nobler share of my dear country's glory-before my arrival) and pick up, for a wretched

These love I best; my homage these command

When coming virgin from the author's head and hand: quarter of a dollar, a first edition of Howells'

The First Edition, wholly unrevised “Poems of Two Friends”!

It appears ever to

(By other men too frequently despised,, have been my fate to be simply and only an acces To-fills me with ineffable delight, sory after the fact. Still (I say this not boastingly), And so I soar ad astra--out of sight.” I seem to bear my chastening much more kindly

There are few collectors (if I do say it myself) than does the learned Dr. William F. Poole rest who, when it comes to fads involving books, are under his disappointments; for it is reported of as liberal and unprejudiced as I am. I often wonthis profound witchologist that, having heard that der at my liberality, for my most intimate compana collector in Boston had acquired the exceedingly

ions are collectors seemingly given over, body and rare tract which Cotton Mather wrote upon "The soul, to the gratification of such narrow little Trewe and Righteous

Righteous Damnation of Salem passions as only a bibliomaniac can have as the Witches,” he forthwith contributed to a contem result of the wretched maggot that wriggles in porary review an ingenious and scholarly paper, his brain. And if I were not of unusual strength of proving most satisfactorily and conclusively that

character, I should have become a sadly corrupted no such city, town, or village as Salem ever did person by this time, for these companions and exist or could have existed. This is the same Dr. friends to whom I refer have been preaching and Poole who, ‘at the John A. Rice sale, purchased practicing their curious, nonsensical heresies the original pine stake at which old Mother Be. around me for a long time. There are three or Joyful Hubbard was burned for a witch, Danvers, four notable exceptions within the circle of my June 14, 1683. I have seen the stake; it is some acquaintances. Mr. DeWitt Miller, Mrs. Henry what foxed and spotted, but yet in pretty fair

J. Willing and Mr. Harlow N. Higinbotham have second-hand condition.

shared in the sacrifices of righteousness; no temptaNot all book collectors are collectors of first tion hath taken them, and they have fled from idoleditions; herein we see the just nicely of that great atry. With me in the temple of orthodoxy and at natural law which ordains that there shall be the shrine of First Editions they have reverently neither more birds than there are worms, nor more knelt and worshiped, and therefore goodness and collectors than there are first editions. With what mercy shall follow us all the days of our life. But truth and delicacy the immortal Venusian hath as for these others, what perversity hath seized touched upon this, and how appropriately, at this upon them, and how blindly have they trod the

[ocr errors]

downward paths that lead not through pleasant heresy, I am pained to note.

heresy, I am pained to note. And Angling--oh! pastures and by quiet waters. The pampered what a lot of these maniacs there are! I must darling of Luck-tbat same Mr. W. Irving Way, specify James L. High, for he has a superb, yes, of whom I have already spoken-how utter lost a wickedly superb number of Waltons; H. A. is he in his idolatry of Lang! And another such Sherwin (Cleveland) and William Parsons (Seatis O. W. Brewer, who, I had almost said, can out tle) are also victims to this absurd passion. Dr. Way Way in the particular of the literature Harper, president of our new university, is gathwhich he of the brindle-hair hath put out. Myering together a library of Hebrew. John Johnlord North, who is Mr. Brewer's business associate, ston (Milwaukee) is the only collector of Sir is consumed of a lust after Lamb, and by what Walter Scott I know of. R. M. Whipple and abominable and crafty arts I know not! he has Byron L. Smith are interested in birds and rail on divers occasions foisted upon me certain little against the Angling heretics. C. L. Morehouse is editions of that author's work which I did not want a tireless hunter for American humor. A. J. Cox and never shall care for. The passion for so-called has a powerful weakness for dramatic and tobacco, "standard authors” possesses J. W. Bradley (Mil and other redoubtable dramatic hunters are H. L. waukee), J. P. Breitling (Oak Park), Willard Tel Hamlin, Sol Smith Russell and Guy Magee. ler (Denver), C. H. V. Lewis (Kansas City), while At last accounts, my revered pastor, Dr. F. W. an equally violent greed for large paper copies Gunsaulus, hungered and thirsted after Cromweland editions de luxe continually inflames and goads liana and the wormed folios of Melancihon. The George W. Vanderbilt (New York), R. E. Plumb learned Dr. Poole hath a rabies for Cotton Mather (Detroit), Paul Lemperly (Cleveland), Frank sermons and demonology, and he is now writing a O'Bear (St. Louis), W. D. Guthrie (New York), book to prove that the earth is flat, and that W. W. Ellis (Milwaukee), F. W. M. Cutcheon (St. Columbus did not discover America. My degenPaul), H. A. Rust and Charles B. Cleveland (Chi erate Scotch brother-in-law. John F. Ballantyne, is cago). My theological adviser (before the Briggs possessed of a seven-devil lust for county histories schism), Rev. Dr. Melancthon Woolsey Stryker, and maps. Francis Wilson, the actor, is stark sees good in hymnology only, and the Rev. Dr. mad after editions de luxe, and so, I suspect, is the Robert W. Patterson (Evanston) has for many ingenious and charming Brander Matthews, for years been an enthusiastic collector of hymn with evident pride he introduced me to his debooks. As for the statesmanly Charles B. Far lightful collection a few weeks ago. Edward S. well, he has accumulated a large number of curi Brewer (Springfield, Mass.) has picked up a vast ous and rare Bibles; his son-in-law, Hobart C. number of New England chap-books; and the Chatfield Taylor, is partial to the literature of collection of Thackeray, Lamb and Dickens which coaching. I think it is pretty generally conceded Augustin Daly has made is simply marvelous. that my friend, Edward Ayer, has the largest and The most curious fad I know of is that of niy most valuable collection of American-Indian his friend, E. J. Boring (Chicago), for the literature of tories in the country, and James W. Ellsworth has mushrooms; it strikes nie as being funnier even gone prodigiously into incunabula. William than that fad which Slason Thompson developed Henry Smith dotes upon political history, while at one time-a fad for books about musquashes or H. J. Furber, Jr., is equally interested in the fusty muskrats. He collected three little volumes on literature of political economy. I have not seen this subject and traveled all the way to St. John, J.J. Hagerman's (Colorado Springs) Napoleonana, N. S., for a fourth, but, unhappily, that capital but I am told that it is the noblest collection of the burned before he got there. I am aware that St. kind in the country. C. L. Freer (Detroit) in- John is not in Nova Scotia, but by letting this clines to the Kelinscott press publications; A. W. error stand for correction in the second edition I Krech (St. Paul) and J. O'Brien (Chicago) are en make this first edition all the more valuable to thusiastic Cruikshank hunters, and our own the possessor. But I am not yet done, for here Harry B. Smith finds summum bonum in Byron comes my Chicago friend, S. C. Payson, a famous and Thackeray; his Dickens collection is very collector of Cruikshank, and with him I see the large. United States Senator Wolcott plunges aldermanic Mannierre and versatile Egbert Jamieuniversally into poetry. Another statesman, the son, two ardent lovers of Americana. And, by my . ingenious Benjamin T. Cable, is at present daft halidom, I must not forget the learned Judge Elafter Washingtoniana, having recovered of an at liott Anthony, whose lovely library of ten thoutack of missal

mania. My professional associate, sand volumes proves his predilection for history. Frances M. Larned, is assotted upon the literature Of course Col. Henry L. Turner hath a heart that of Paris in general, and of the night-side thereof inclines to the literature of war and the military, in particular. E. B. Gould collects art books, so so also hath Col. C. W. Laing; and our charming also does J. J. Hill (St. Paul); and my friend, J. E. friend, F. W. Gookin, is possessor of a pleasing Woodhead, is dipping into the extra-illustrated madness for Japanese art in literature. Mrs. J. S.


Brockwelder, whose home is Morgan Park, col then, too, I was only too glad to get away from the lects books on Iceland; and here we have Messrs. discussion of a subject which I saw was far above F. W. Porter and Fred L. Fake, who are agog for and beyond the intellectual, spiritual, and sentieverything that has been printed about coins. mental comprehension of my host. Two Chicago gentlemen, Messrs. G. E. Wright “What a wonderful handkerchief!" I cried. and H. B. Mitchell, have gone deeply and enthusi "You like it?" he asked. “Yes, it is handsome, astically into theosophy and astrology, and W. E. and I am very proud of it. I intend to have it Kelly collects works on Arctic exploration. Now, framed; for it is a great rarity, illustrating, as you then, here are more Waltonians--more anglo- observe, incidents in the life of Napoleon Bonamaniacs--H. S. Farwell and Charles P. McAvoy parte!" and E. F. Lawrence. Alfred Bull affects early Thereupon he spread the handkerchief out beprinting; that admirable gentleman, Prof. G. fore my view.


It was of cotton, and its dimensions Brown Goode of Washington has gone largely were possibly 30 by 24 inches; the colors employed into books about Virginia, and here kave in the composition were red, brown and yellow, A. H. Butler of Lockport, Ill., who can never get and these were now faded to a lamentable degree. enough about the occult arts and sciences, while, By means of these faded colors, there were depictvery naturally indeed, my otherwise exemplary ed upon that fabric of cotton divers scenes in the friend, George P. Upton, is consumed of a passion life of the First Napoleon,--his exploits in Egypt, for the literature of music.

Austria, among the Mohammedans, in Spain, Italy, A motley aggregation surely! Motley's the only etc. The whole, evidently of British manufacture, name for it. Yet could I swell the list, and tell was intended to satirize the conqueror,-his exmany interesting tales of these hopeless maniacs, ploits and his methods. Presumably, kerchiefs of were I pot warned by the printer against making this particular character were exceedingly popular this porch more ostentatious than the edifice into in England and in Prussia seventy-five or eighty which I am introducing you.

years ago; and, as presumably, they were sold at This much, however. I must say: in spite of all that time for sixpence apiece. Mr. Stone told me, contaminating influences and these heretical en with evident pride, that he had given fifteen dolvironments, I have pursued unfalteringly and en lars for this specimen; and then he went on to exthusiastically the better and straight path; and I plain that he was a collector of Napoleonana, and am proud of that appreciation and recognition of he hoped that I would visit him sometime and inmy wisdom and my loyalty which the compilers spect his large collection of cracked vases wasband publishers of this volume exhibit in asking bowls, teacups, and other things, each of which me to provide the prefatory note. O brethren, it had a picture of "the Immortal Corsican" upon it. is good to be of "the stock of Israel, of the tribe "Inscrutable Providence!" thought I. “Here in of Benjamin!"

this nineteenth century lives and moves and has Not very long ago I dined with my esteemed his being, in the very heart of our progressed and friend, Melville E. Stone. On that occasion he re progressive civilization, a man who rails at the saferred, in a tone expressive of poignant regret, to cred, the immortal beauties of first editions, and the fact that one of his sons was engaged in “the grovels before painted rags and cracked crockery! Quixotic business of compiling a catalogue of the Perverse and wicked generation! They have for. first editions of American authors.” The scheme saken the Lord; they have 'served Baal and Ashwas one that he deemed wholly impracticable; taroth!” there was "nothing in it," he said. I undertook It was not always so. In the palmy days of to argue this matter; but none of my arguments Hellenic philosophy, poesy, and art, -yes, now we (which, I will admit in all modesty, were wholly come to that conversation between Plato and Xisound and incontrovertible,) had any effect upon menes, and I would not for the world have omitted this usually candid and judicially-minded gentle. it; for no essay can be scholarly and dignified unman, further than, seemingly, to irritate him. Nay, less the author gropes back twenty or thirty cenMr. Stone (pere) finally gave me to understand turies for material and data. that first editions were worthless, that collectors of "Tell me, O Plato," quoth Ximenes the Cretan, first editions were imbeciles, and that, ergo, a cata -"tell me why it is, if it be true, as the Cynics logue of first editions must be and was the flower say, that you prefer a first edition to an eighteen and fruition of general worthlessness and specific thousandth?” imbecility,

"By the dog! it is true,” quoth Plato, “and I Somewhat heated by his earnestness, Mr. Stone make no denial of it; for, O Ximenes, although I very casually but very naturally drew a handker have love for all good books, yet have Ian especial chief from his pocket, and wiped the sweat from and particular love unto those that are called first his os frontis. I could not help noticing that hand editions. And to the truth of this will Crito bear kerchief, it was so remarkable of size and color; witness; for he hath the bookstall near the Acro

isit you


polis, over against the Attic salt-cellars, and he

THE BOOK THIEF. knoweth a genuine original from a doctored spec

Ah! gentle thief! imen."

I marked the absent-minded air "But why, O Plato, have you this special pre With which you tucked away my rare ference?"

Book in your pocket. "Mehercule! that were not hard to answer. For

'Twas past belief,

I saw you near the open case, although men may love all women, may they not

But yours was such an honest face also love, before the others, certain special and

I did not lock it. particular women? Do you not hear each day, O

I knew you lacked Ximenes, this one and that commend Lycastra, That one to make your set complete. the widow of Timop? And do you not also hear, And when the book you chanced to meet, each day, others praise the beauty of Chaia, the

You recognized it.

And when attacked daughter of Anaxagoras the Thracian?”

By rage of bibliophilic greed, "Yes, by the shield of Pallas! that do I hear."

You prigged that small Quantin Ovide, "And truly, they are fair to look upon, and

Although I prized it. pleasing to converse with. Both, too, would wed;

I will not sue for Chaia bath just turned of eighteen, and Ly Nor bring your family to shame castra hath cast old Timon's asbes to the winds."

By giving up your honored name "Now, by the club of Hercules!" quoth Ximenes,

To heartless prattle.

I'll 't would like me not to wed with that Lycastra!

And under your weary eyes, Albeit she is fair and virtuous, she is widow; and

Secrete and carry off the prize, I'd have wone of such. When I am wed, 'twill be

My vanished chattel. with some virgin like Chaia, fresh from her fath

-IRVING BROWN's “Ballads of a Bookworm." er's arm. I'll have no widow to my wife; sooner will I women folk forswear!"

BOOK STEALING. "But softly, O Ximenes! think well before you Translated from

article by Albert Sim in La speak. The widow hath experience in the harsh

Revue Bleue. ordeal of life; all crudeness hath been purged away, Borrowers of books have always, and that much offensive traits deleted; there is to find in her none more so even than rats or book worms, fire or of the absurd impossibilities and exuberant here water, been the terror of bibliophiles. "Ite ad sies of youth; she is matured and attuned to the vendentes!” Scarron had inscribed over the enuses of sensibility and happiness.”

trance to his library. "The devil take all bor"To the dog with the widow! You speak after rowers of books" was one of the humorous the manner of the sophists, O Plato! This do I mottoes with which the cynical and learned swear before the gods immortal: with no widow artist, Du Moustier, in the reign of Louis XIII., will I wed!”

ornaniented the door of his study in the garrets "Now for my answer, O Ximenes!

of the Louvre. philosophy to love all books; but 'tis my practice But something beyond selfishness and jealousy to search out, and comprebend, and have and hold are found to be connected with the passion for unto my special love and delectation, the virgin books: a mania for appropriating them, it has book that is come fresh and unrevised from the been often proved, occasionally and by degrees author of its being. For, by the thunderbolts of creeps in; occasionally the lover of books beZeus and by the beard of Pluto! that book reflect. comes a thief. How many people even eth truthfully the mind of him that made it; no tempted to think as Tallemant des Reaux once selfish consideration nor mean desire to pander to said, "That to steal books is not stealing, provided the conceits of the world hath abridged or expur that one does not afterwards sell them.” In supgated it; it breatheth the breath of unfettered port of this avowal the tell-tale author of the Hisyouth, exuberance, candor, and unsophisticated toriettes relates the curious scene which took wisdom. In such a book we have him that begot place one day between Monsignor Pamfili, who and bore it; in that which followeth, it is too often became later on Pope Innocent X., and the artist to see simply the intellectual skeleton, docked,

Daniel du Moustier, he who consigned so emphattrimmed, curried, bridled, caparisoned, and handicapped by the critics and other evil spirits of ically to the devil all borrowers of books: "CarA ter-Thought and Politic Suggestion,-even as

dinal Barbarini having come to France as legate the horse is bridled and handicapped by his jockey. during the pontificate of his uncle, felt a curiosity It is, therefore, O Ximenes, to choose the first to see the study of Du Moustier and Du Moustier edition, as you would choose the maiden Chaia;

himself. Innocent X., then Monsignor Pamfili, for the first edition, like the maiden, giveth unto

was at the time dalary and chief officer of the its possessor such sweet virginal delectation as maketh it sacred in the opinion of all that be legate's suite. He accompanied Barbarini on his righteously and gently minded.”

visit to Di Moustier, and seeing on the table

Tis my


« PreviousContinue »