Diary of the Late Watch
Contemporary half morocco and marbled paper over flexible boards; 150x184mm; pp. , with title-p. vignette and 10 illustrations in pencil and black ink wash, heightened in white. Also including an awesome bookplate (see below). Dedicated to Mary Adam Hendry and signed "Abby," this little story in verse is told from the point of view of a dog, who is mistreated nearly everywhere he goes -- especially compared to the household cat. The dedication is a bit gloomy, defending a man (difficult to deciper but, perhaps, Kelly) who'd never gotten his just desserts, and met an "untimely and tragic end." It concludes: "In that gloom which such events naturally produce grant me I pray you Madam that consolation I always derive from your friendship and the honour of describing myself your ladyship's most devoted, most humble, and most obedient servant." It is in this spirit, perhaps, that the author offers this disquieting story -- the choice of a black ink wash also contributes to the tone. Or, the dedication also suggests that this may be the work of the afronted Mr. Kelly himself, "Dis/tinguised by the same easy and eloquent stile of versification, the present work is free from these improbabilities which with dif/ficulty are avoided in a narrative composed entirely from hearsay." Nonetheless, it is nicely carried out. Penmanship is legible, illustrations are adept, striking, ghostly. (Two of the illustrations are randomly inserted, and not a part of the story. One shows a lion encountering a mongoose. The other shows dogs chasing a sheep over a rock.) The bookplate provides this strange volume's only moment of levity. A delightfully crude trio of stick figures depict a woman, a dog, and a man "hanging" from gallows that he is much too large for. It is accompanied by the text (in full): "Man hanging for love with his Dog barking at him. Viva. Voce. Drawn when Printing was in its Cradle. The Occasion of this dangling Story, was causd by Mary Worthless who hated him and set him about it. Go hang thyself quoth cruel she, Go hang thyself I say. The Man obeyd her presently, And made himself away. The Criticks do not make out whether he walk’d off or went off, neither does the figure determine which [NB]. No matter if the Man is longer than the gallows, He smokes and drinks his glass like honest Fellows." A unique, if dark, item. Bookseller Inventory # D1013
Title: Diary of the Late Watch
Publisher: Ardrossan (Scotland)
Publication Date: 1833
Book Condition: Very Good
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
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