STORIES. Frederic Battell Terry.

STORIES. New-York: The De Vinne Press, 1890. Octavo, pp. [1-4] [1-2] 3-77 [78] [79-80: blank] [note: first two and last leaves are blanks], original dark blue cloth, front panel stamped in gold, all edges untrimmed. First edition. Collection of seven short stories written when the author was fifteen, privately published as a memorial after his untimely death. Aside from the first, "An Uncomfortable Experience," about a boy and his refractory dog, these are all remarkably good stories. "The Death of the Nana" is a story of disguise and adventure in India and prefigures the image of Holmes and Moriarty going to their death together over the Reichenbach Falls (not to suggest that Doyle would have been likely to have seen this volume or borrowed from it for his 1893 story, "The Final Problem"). "A Curious Christmas Eve" features a feverish dream in which the statues in Central Park come to life and carry on with each other. In "The Organists," two musicians compete for the post of town organist, the sinister Italian mesmerizing the local German favorite son into playing drinking songs and the French national anthem before a doctor discovers the perfidy and ends it. "In the Court of the Lions" is set in the Alhambra where the narrator sees a supernatural reenactment of a slaughter from centuries before. "Stony Lonesome" features a ghost of a train conductor in Connecticut who warns his colleague behind him of the wreck on the tracks up ahead. "Inconnu" is set in France and involves a romantic quadrangle and science fictional poisons and mind control cooked up by a student of alchemy. Aside from the first, which should have been omitted, these are the work of someone with an obvious natural flair for storytelling and for establishing weird atmosphere and who would have probably gone on to significant accomplishments in the field if he had lived. The book is apparently unknown to fantasy bibliographers. A beautifully printed little volume. Theodore Low De Vinne was one of the premier printers and typographers of his time. Not in Bleiler (1948; 1978) or Reginald (1979; 1992). Wright (III) 5408. Cloth minutely rubbed at spine ends and corners, a bright, fine copy. (#148966).

Price: $250.00

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