Page images
PDF
EPUB

the necessaries of life that could be bought then look to themselves, nor as these remarks intended with a piece of gold, and to contrast them with to be even approximately full. Rather are they the meagre display such a sum would purchase discursive and in praise of catalogues in the mass; now. The truth, perhaps, is that, although ed 11 intended merely to put some one else with more cation was less widely diffused in the days of the space and time at his disposal in the way of resStuarts, it was more deep and thorough. A cuing them from the neglect into which they have sayant was then like a huge octopus that devas fallen. The next chapter is more specific, for in tates whole districts and daily grows fatter and that we will take a very famous sale of less antimore bloated at the expense of everything that quity and endeavor to draw comparisons between moves within reach of its spreading tendrils. then and now. And these comparisons will per

To this effect are we taught by these ancient haps be very odious, for it will necessarily appeal catalogues, which, however, do not exhaust all directly to the cupidity of every bookworm that their interest in mere matters of prices and breathes, to every book hunter who prowls around fashion. We can learn much from their pages

in search of rarities, and returns home-empty and advertisements of the manners and customs handed. of our ancestors in Bookland. It seems that there [Here endeth Chapter I. From “The Romance of Book

Collecting,” published by Elliot Stock, London.] were traveling auctioneers a couple of centuries ago who prefaced their remarks with eulogies of

* the Mayor and Corporation of each town at which

ECCENTRICITIES OF AUTHORS. they stopped, by way, no doubt, of securing their patronage. Sales began at 8 o'clock in the morn

BY KATHERINE LOUISE SMITH. ing then, and went on, with a midday interval for The public always takes an interest in the refreshment, until late at night. Sometimes the methods of literary people. The modes in which auctioneer sold by the candle-end—that is to say, men write are varied. Where one thinks night lit a morsel of candle on putting up some coveted and solitude conducive to the flow of thought, volume for competition, and knocked it down to another takes the cold light of day to jot down him who had bid the most when the light flickered ideas that occur to him. The consensus of opinout. This was, distinctly, an excellent method ion among writers themselves is that it is hard for bolstering up excitement, for every splutter work, and the reading public has little or no idea must have been good for a hasty advance, re of the time and labor expended in the preparagretted very possibly when the modicum of tallow tion of a book. entered on a fresh lease of life. When not selling Balzac recommended the night for the artist's by the candle-end, an auctioneer would dispose of work and the day for the author's drudgery. about thirty lots in the course of an hour, and Southey used the evening for poetry and creative was quite willing to accept the most trifling bids. power, and Schiller not only sat at his desk at Business is more rapidly conducted now, for few night with champagne near him, but was often auctioneers stop to curse their fate or to regale heard declaiming while every one was in bed. their audience with anecdotes, as one George He found it impossible to work in a room except Smalridge, who in 1689 wrote and published a it was filled with the scent of rotten apples, skit on the prevalent way of doing business, says which he kept in a drawer in his writing desk. it was quite the usual custom in his day. His tract Byron was another night hawk. He always is written in Latin, under the title “ Auctio Davis wrote at night and was a late riser. He would iana," and gives a fanciful account of the ex return from ball or theater and scribble for hours traordinary proceedings that took place at the sale before retiring. As a man he was eccentric, ate of the books of Richard Davis, an ancient book little, smoked much, and drank green tea in the seller of Oxford, who had fallen into the clutches evening. Meat and wine be avoided. of the bailiffs. The auctioneer commences with a Daudet's secret as a novelist was his close study dirge said, or perhaps sung, over the miserable of actual life, and he confessed that the characDavis: "O the vanity of human wishes! O the ters in his political novels and those of other changeableness of fate and its settled unkindness works were drawn from nature. He wrote rapto us,” etc. Each book is extolled at length, and idly, and while the ink was still wet would toss there are pages of lamentation and woe as Hobbes sheet after sheet to his wife for criticism. of Malmesbury, his "Leviathan," "a very large Bulwer was another rapid writer; the novel and famous beast,” is knocked down, by mistake, “Harold” was written in less than a month, but for the misearable sum of five pieces of silver. the writer had scarcely any rest by day or night.

An exhaustive chapter on early book auctions He often rewrote before publication, and it is inwould necessarily commence with the dispersion teresting to know that the "Lady of Lyons" was of the stock of Bonaventure and Abraham Elzevir written in only ten days. at Leyden in April, 1653; but the Elzevirs must The publishers of Henry Ward Beecher's works

are accredited with saying, "He wrote with ra sight he had the branches cut, as he found himpidity, in a large, sprawling hand, the lines were self unable to think at all. We read that Buffon wide apart and thinly scattered."

could pot think unless in full dress, and he had a Wilkie Collins was one of the greatest of novel hair dresser call twice a day to arrange his hair, plotters. He would make a skeleton and proceed as the working on his head acted as a stimulant.to clothe it, and when he started to write would How to Write. keep on until the fit left him.

There is a story told of Hawthorne, that he made out notes of eccentric persons and places,

THE BOOK COLLECTOR. and always wiped his pen on his dressing gown. A number of years ago many of the best books His wife noticed it, and one day, bringing his pen in the library of Henry Probasco, of Cincinnati, to the accustomed spot, the author found stitched were purchased privately for the Newberry Lithereon a butterfly pen wiper with red and black brary, of Chicago. Lately Mr. Probasco decided wings. This was removed and

a fresh one to dispose of the remaining portion of his book colstitched on as occasion required.

lection, and accordingly the final part was sold at Unlike Hawthorne, who desired to be alone auction during last winter (January 16-20), the when he wrote, Burns composed while walking sale being a most successful one, a large and inin the open air. When he felt he could imagine terested audience attending each session. There in verse he retired to his room and committed his were 1773 lots in the sale catalogue, and the total, thoughts to paper. A bowl of punch also helped though not announced, must have been large. him to court the muses. Wordsworth liked to The most important of the Probasco books was compose aloud, and did it to such an extent that Purchas' “Pilgrimes," 1625.26, bound in red the peasants questioned his sapity. This habit morocco, hy Bedford. It was a fine copy, though of talking aloud was also peculiar to Southey. it did not have the right map on page 65 of Vol.

Of Dickens we are told that "some quaint little I., of which Quaritch says but three copies are bronze figures over his desk were as much needed known. Most copies, including the Probasco, for the easy flow of his writing as blue ink or have on this page a small map of the world enquill pen." Method was everything to this pro- titled "Designatio Orbis Christiani” and headed lific writer. He would walk all over town at “Hondius his Map of the Christian World," which night, and, as a rule, worked in the morning. is but a duplicate of that on page 115 of the same

Probably the most industrious of writers was book. The right map, which is in the Grenville Sir Walter Scott. He arose early and did much copy in the British Museum, in the Ives copy work while others were in bed “Woodstock” was sold here in 1891, and in a copy catalogued by completed in less than two weeks after his bank Quaritch in 1890 at £80 (there may be other exruptcy, he worked so rapidly. His literary labors amples) is entitled “Typis Orbis Terrarum” and is brought him in $50,000 a year.

headed “Hondius his Map of the World." But "Marmion” was composed while the author was the "Pilgrimes," with either map, is a book of imwith his cavalry and sitting on a charger. By far portance to collectors of Americana by reason of the greater part of "The Bride of Lammermoor" its great historic value, Samuel Purchas having and "Ivan boe" were dictated while under the ter let, as Winsor says, over twelve hundred separate rible stimulus of physical pain which wrung narrators of the world's explorations tell their groans from the author.

Scott would turn on his own story, including those who had been on the pillow with a groan of anguish, but would keep New England coast. Vols. I.-IV., dated 1625, on dictating, and would often arise in excitement, contain these accounts, and Vol. V., dated 1626, walk up and down and act the part. He led a with the title "Purchas his Pilgrimage,” is the temperate life, but died carlier than Balzac, who fourth edition of a work first issued in 1613 and lived abnormally. Poor Scott used to say he en contains an historic account of the customs and vied the people that could walk on all fours, religions of the different countries of the world. meaning that the continuous exercise of his imag The Probasco copy of Purchas brought the fair ination tired him. De Quincy believed that any price of $375. Rice's copy, the first sold in the writer who took artificial methods for stimulating United States, fetched in 1870, $375, Menzie's, the the intellect would work longer than the more Sobelewski copy, sold in 1876 for $425, Murphy's, temperate man and stimulants are used by many. the Duke of York's copy, bought $265 in 1884, Eating while at work is a favorite custom with Kennedy's $475 in 1889, Barlow's $325 in 1890, authors. Addison kept his bottle of wine, Schil Ives', with the right map, $450 in 1891, and Banler drank coffee, and Shelly munched bread while croft's $350 at the Lenox Library duplicate sale composing

in 1895. The "Pilgrimes" has rarely approached Kant used to look at an old tower while compos these prices in the London market, the best recent ing and when the trees grew and hid it from price,"according to records, being the £73 paid in

July, 1887, for a copy containing the right map in one, $60; Corneille's “Euvres,” 1854, on Hol“Typis Orbis Terrarum,” of which (vide catalogue) land paper, with two sets of the plates, $69; Jones' "Mr. Grenville's is the only other known.” Last "Alhambra," 1842, $48; Walpole's “Anecdotes of spring in Boston the Pequot Library, of South Paintings," 1828, the Yemeniz copy, $51.25, and port, Conn., secured for $382.50 Charles Deane's Crowe and Cavalcaselle's "History of Painting in copies of the "Pilgrimes,” the "Pilgrimage” of Italy," 1864-72, $91.50. 1613, 1614, 1617, and Thomas Prince's own copy A Horn Book, one sheet mounted on a wooden of Vol. IV. of the "Pilgrimes," all sold together in tablet and containing the alphabet, the vowels, one lot, The Lenox Library has four copies of the Lord's Prayer, etc., sold low at $147, Walton's the "Pilgrimes," there is a copy in the New York Polyglot edition of the Bible, London, 1657, six Historical Society Library, and Judge Sewall's volumes, with the "Lexicon," 1669, two volumes, copy is in the Library of Harvard College. None brought $98, and Touson's edition of Cæsar, of the great private collections of American books London, 1712, went for $50, The latter, which in this country is, we believe, without a copy of Lowndes considered the "most sumptuous" clasPurchas' conglomerate work.

sical work England has produced, was at one A book of great beauty was the Probasco copy time highly regarded by collectors. The Probasco of Hamilton's "Memoires du Comte de Gram copy contained the forty-second plate, representmont,” London (1793), vellum printed, the por- ing a bull, which is often lacking. traits being proofs before letter on satin, in a Whittier, who did not write for the mere glory handsome binding (green morocco), by Stagge of writing, but used his gift in the manner he meier. Lowndes, who apparently describes this thought was best, frequently withheld his name very copy, makes the error of stating that the from what he had written. This reticence is portraits were colored. In 1796, he says, Edwards especially annoying to bibliographers, who do wanted £50 for this copy, which during the one not always understand the feelings of writers who hundred and three years that have since elapsed hide their authorship of certain books, and it is has done its share of wandering. Last week the the despair of collectors who fancy the collections sum of $230 was paid for it. No other copy on of their works are complete and then discover vellum seems to be known.

that a previously unknown publication has Hakluyt's "Voyages,” edition of 1599-1600, in turned up. The discovery of Whittier's "Narrathree volumes, red morocco, by Jenkins and Cecil, tive of James Williams" caused the revision of seytitle-pages mended and that to Vol. III. backed, eral bibliographies, and now it has been found sold for $75 at the Probasco sale. The first vol that the modest poet wrote a history of Haverhill, ume contained the rare "Voyage to Cadiz," which Mass., which was published in 1832 as the work does not belong in this edition, having been sup of an imaginary "B. L. Mirick," and a copy sold pressed after the volume dated 1598 was issued, on January 19 in Boston fetched $32. the reprinted 1599 title-page not mentioning it. On March 27th, 1830, Whittier advertised in the Needless to say, the seldom seen map of Emeric

Haverhill Gazette that he proposed publishing a Mollineaux was not in this copy, which does not history of Haverhill, Mass., the price to be 8772 compare favorably with others sold in late cents if the number of pages did not exceed 200, years.

but $1 if over 200. On the editorial page of the Many fine art and illustrated books were to be same issue he asked the countenance of his friends found in the Probasco collection, and all were in and neighbors in his undertaking and, in addition, the very best condition. Remarkably fine were said: "Our present situation affords us an ample the copies of Montfaucon's "L'Antiquite,” 1719, opportunity for a thorough examination of the five volumes in ten, with the "Supplement,” 1724, town records, and for obtaining such information five volumes, and "Les Monumens de la Monarchie connected with the early history of the town as Francoise," 1729-33, selling for $165. Gould's may be necessary for the accomplishment of our “Trochlidiae, or Family of Humming Birds,” 1861, design.” Though he signed the advertisement in brought $225; Shaw's "Dresses and Decorations of 1830, he did not give his name as author of "The the Middle Ages," 1843, one of twelve copies on History of Haverhill, Mass.," which A. W. Thayer large paper, $50; “L'Imitation de Jesus Christ,” published in 1832 in Haverhill, but used the pen one of 103 copies published for the Paris Exposi name of "B. L. Mirick" instead. The "History," tion in 1855 and beautifully bound by Cape in

which is a duodecimo, contains 227 pages (Sabin red morocco (the copy once owned by M. le says 277 in his “Dictionary"), and was issued in Comte de Saint Georges), $117; Roberts' “Holy boards, with a folding plate. Collectors and dealLand," 1642-49, $132; the Halliwell Shakespeare, ers have always known the book as one of the 1853-65, No. 56 of the 150 printed, $176; Boydell's rarest of town histories, though they have never "Collections of Prints illustrating the Dramatic suspected Whittier's authorship. Brinley's copy, Works of Shakespeare,” 1803, two volumes bound boards, sold for $3 in 1879, Guild's, boards, for $8

in 1887, Coburn's, half morocco, for $5.75 in 1888, graphs on subjects which are neglected or glozed and Bartlett's boards, for $5.25 in 1895. The copy in the text-books as in the tomes. Still, one has sold last week was in the original boards.

the satisfaction of observing that, whereas "hisAt the same sale Swift's "Gulliver's Travels,” tory” is little read by the general, the vogue of London, 1726, first edition, morocco, by Riviere, the monograph increases. sold for $42, the Rusch Bible, 1478-80, four vol. The old Civilites—those of the sixteenth, sevenumes, for $76, Thackeray's “Vanity Fair," first teenth and eighteenth centuries (there are earlier edition and with the Lord Steyne portrait, but ones, of course; and the Romaunt of the Rose is, bound in calf, for $16, the Aldine Ovid, 1502-3, for in very many parts, a Civilite of the fourteenth $22.50, and Latimer's "Sermons," 1546-48, outer century)—are becoming rare ; but they are not portion of first title-page restored, for $12. The impossible as "finds," and cheap finds, on the Kelniscott Press books sold fetched these prices: bookstalls of the Paris Quays, and now and again "The Wood Beyond the World," 1894, $17, "Syr a Civilite crops up in the catalogue of a French Percyvelle of Gales," 1895, $15.50, Herrick's dealer. Of the two that are before me, one is “Poems,” 1895, $15, and "Child Christopher and dated 1695 and the other 1782. They are both Goldilind the Fair," 1895, $15, and "Laudes Beatae occupied with the civilities of the table, and one Mariæ Virginis," 1896, the first book printed in may see in them, with no great trouble of reading three colors, $16.50.

between the lines, precisely how Paris dined in On January 12 there was sold a copy of Keith's

the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. There "Notes of the True Church with the Application are differences between the two treatises, but they of them to the Church of England and the Great are not important; and the sage who writes only Sin of Separation from Her," which Bradford had seven years before the Revolution is still hamprinted in New York in 1704. This was but a mering away at the same points of etiquette which fair copy of a rare Bradford imprint, the title-page engaged his predecessor. At the very close of and a few margins being repaired, and it sold for the eighteenth century it is still necessary to re$50. The same copy had brought $76 on Novem mind your host that he should not chastise his ber 22, 1897, in the same auction room.

servants at table, and the guest that if he swallows Mitchell's "Picture of New York," 1828, fetched his wine too rapidly he may choke himself, "which $19 on January 13, $2 less than the last copy sold is impolite and inconvenient." had brought (Feb. 21, 1898, $21). The "Acts" of In the eighteenth century (and within eighteen New Jersey from 1702 to 1776 sold for $15, the years of the nineteenth) you sit down to table “Votes and Proceedings of the Assembly of New

with your hat on-removing it only if your health York from 1777 to 1778,” for $19, and “An Account

is toasted by “a person of quality,” or if you are at the Conflagration of the Principal Part of the constrained to rise before the meal is over-and First Ward of the City of New York," 1835, for every Civilite enjoins upon you to go to dinner $23.50. The price paid for the latter, a little with your hands clean. Apparently there is only paper pamphlet once thought of slight value, is one towel, for the Civilite requests that “a dry significant as showing the interest taken by col corner be left for the person who is to use it afterlectors in early New York matter.--Literature. wards.” Grace being said, and the guests tabled,

there is a whole code for the employment of the

napkin. It is to be unfolded in a leisurely way, Two QUAINT BOOKS ON 17TH AND 18TH

BOOKS ON 17TH AND 18TH and not as if the guests were in a hurry to pounce CENTURY TABLE ETIQUETTE.

upon the viands. It is to be spread over the

knees, and carried up to the chin. You may wipe Is it necessary to say, by way of preface, that your knife and spoon on it after every course, but the little treatises which in French are called the napkin is not to be used as a pocket-handkerCivilites, correspond to our manuals of Polite chief, nor as a toothpick. It is equally an unSociety, of Correct Conversation, of Behaviour, and politeness to wipe your face or to scour your plate so forth? The English opuscule is lightly es with it. teemed by superior reviewers (perhaps the French The first dish being served, it is recommended one of the present day is not thought much of by to the guest “not to gaze at it as if he wished it reviewers on the Temps and the Debats), but the all for himself,” not to thrust out his plate "as if next and succeeding centuries will divert them it were impossible for him to await his turn in selves over it, and the first historian who can be decency,” and “on no account to smack his lips." induced to take a proper view of his functions The first dish is a potage, in which there are probwill find it a useful sidelight upon social history. ably some solids floating. If one of these burns The best, the most entertaining, and the most in your mouth badly, "make as little fuss over it as forming parts of the historian's business continue possible,” remove it quietly, with your napkin to be done for him by the humble writer of mono over your mouth, and “pass it quickly behind

TWO QUAINT BOOKS ON 17TH AND 18TH CENTURY TABLE ETIQUETTE. 215 your back” to the waiter. . "Politeness requires proper to make two mouthfuls of one spoonful. that these things be done politely, but you are Persons of good breeding never swallow without not expected to commit suicide" (mais elle ne pre masticating. If the plate before you is not quite tend pas que l'on soit homicide de soymeme).

clean, do not scrape it with your fingers ; ask for With the arrival of the solids on the table, the another. It is impossible to admire the guest who rules for the polite diner-out need a little explana- regards his neighbors with a sidelong glance to tion, for at first sight they seem to be addressed to see if their plates are better filled than his. Do a dinner-party of savages. What, for instance, not try to eat soup with a fork. The plate should should one make of the following: "Nothing is not be scraped with the spoon or fork as if the more improper than for the guest to lick his fing guest expected never to dine again. Make as ers, or to wipe them on the tablecloth or the little noise as possible in swallowing. Do not bread.” This to the raffine who sups habitually pile up your plate till it will hold no more. Do

rith royalty! But the truth and the explanation not on any account clutch your plate with your are that until the seventeenth century was well left hand, as if you feared that some one would advanced everybody in France ate with his fingers. snatch it from you. Meat should not be dipped It was so at the "magnificent” Court of Francis I, in the salt cellar or the mustard-pot; take a little at the Courts of Henri II and Louis XIV, the salt and mustard on your plate. No one of good glass of regal fashion, thrust his hand into the breeding beats a bone on the table, or shakes it, platter like the trooper feeding in camp. Touch to extract the marrow; it is better to leave the ing this matter, there was but one point of differ marrow alone." ence between the tables of the great and those of It would seem to have been po less necessary to the unlearned ; at the former, you advanced three instruct the guest as to what he should and should fingers delicately to the dish, and took a morsel not say at the table on the subject of the viands quickly at bazard ; at the latter, you went a-hunt that were served to him. Guard against a tooing in the dish till you had made a prize of your candid criticism, is the perennial counsel of the favorite piece. Observe that the fork was not un sage. If, on the other hand, the host seeks your known in mediæval France, but in those days it voice as to the dish that is before you, "you will was rather admired as a work of art than polished then reply cheerfully and politely and as advanfor the uses of the dinner-table. The dandies tageously as possible.” But “there is no occasion and mignons of the depraved Court of Henri III to launch out in complaints, as, that the dish conwere the first to use it in the modern style, and tains too much pepper or too much salt, or is too there is private mention of a proposal to poison hot or too cold, or not properly served. Such disthe King by means of a hollow fork, from the courses are liable to give pain to the host, who is prongs of which the liquid should trickle into his usually not to blame, and who has perhaps not plate. But the innovation was tres mal recue," noticed that anything is wrong with the dish.” and the moralists proclaimed it indecent. From An opposite fault which the Civilite is at pains to the seventeenth century, nevertheless, the ad correct is "the breaking out into extravagant vance of the fork (which the savage finds in the praise of every dish that is placed on the table. pronged twig, as he finds the bowl in the gourd The person who does this will always be set down and the plate in the broad leaf and the shell) may as too much sujet a son ventre.be dated ; but the old habit clings, and the Civilite For wine and drinking, there is another set of of 1695 is still admonishing the guest that he prescripts. In the Civilites of the seventeenth must not lick his fivgers or wipe them on the century you will generally read that it is proper bread, and the Civilite of 1782 is still dinning into and preferable to take off your glass at a draught. the ears of the elegant that “viands are served This counsel glances at the epoch when one glass with the fork and not with the hand." There are served the whole table, in which circumstances it similar injunctions or prohibitions as to the lick was not polite to leave a heel-tap for your neighing of the spoon, and these again are echoes from bour. Up to the middle of the sixteenth centhe era when each guest dipped his private spoon tury, and even in good company, the host and his into the tureen, and when, in consequence, it was guests had rarely more than a single glass between recommended not to lick that instrument before them, and when a lady drank it was customary plunging it in a second time. The brilliant notion for an attendant to stand at either side of her, of the ladle is due to a certain Duc de Montausier, holding a napkin under her chin. In the early and that reformer was set down as a person who seventeenth century it was only at the tables of sought too much refinement at the board.

the wealthy that every guest had his glass, and at Other rules as to eating, with which the Civilites this date the glasses were not placed on the table, bristle, surprise us at this day by their seeming as with us, but ranged on a sideboard, so that you naivete. "Avoid putting a second morsel into the must call for drink at your need. The glass mouth before the first is swallowed. It is im found its place at the guest's right hand not

« PreviousContinue »