11 April 2012

On Wednesday the Tenth

Today is the eleventh. I don't mean to confuse, but so much of Grant Allen's bibliography bewilders, bedevils and befuddles. The Cruise of the Albatross; or, When Was Wednesday the Tenth?, the subject of  the previous post, is all too typical. It first appeared as "Wednesday the Tenth", serialized in a British girl's magazine called Atalanta. The novella made its American debut with the 1890 Lothrop edition pictured above. Yankee boys were treated to images that had been denied young English roses. Here, for example, are the well-toned men of Tanaki:  

Even in retreat, they appear a very formidable force:

Allen was a recognized name when Wednesday the Tenth first appeared between cloth covers, but not so much that he could carry a British edition. This was, as I've said, a slight work. A mere 121 pages of sparsely-laid type, and still I found it a bit of a chore to reach the end. No surpass, then, that it was republished only once... or twice.

In 1898 Lothrop repackaged the novella as The Cruise of the Albatross; or, When Was Wednesday the Tenth? The title page mentions nothing of the previous title, but it has all sorts of other information, including a credit to "Bridgman" for the illustrations.

This would be the busy L.J. Bridgman (1857-1931), whose work can also be found in works by Rudyard Kipling and a whole lot of forgotten writers like Eustace Leroy Williams and Mary Hazelton Wade. My copy includes two plates. Not profusely illustrated, but illustrated none the less.

A much more common Lothrop edition, also dated 1898, was issued under this cover. More often than not it is this that is described by booksellers as the "First Edition". Some copies have the Bridgman plates, some do not.

Caveat emptor.


  1. Those booksellers would probably defend their bibliographic error by saying something along the lines of: "But it is a first edition with this cover." Or use that term "1st thus" which to me is a pretentious way to avoid calling a book a reprint. Take that, members of the ABAA!

  2. I share your frustration, John. I've seen "1st thus" applied to everything to publication under a new imprint to, if you can believe it, trim size. Frankly, when I see the term my eyes roll... even on the rare occasion when the term is warranted.