“I DOUBT WHETHER FOR HIS OWN GOOD HE IS TO BE TRUSTED WITH MONEY”: WASHINGTON IRVING’S SKETCH BOOK, WITH INTRIGUING AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED BY IRVING TIPPED IN
(IRVING, Washington). The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1882. Two volumes. Royal octavo, early 20th-century full brown crushed morocco, raised bands, watered silk endpapers, all edges gilt.
Edition de Luxe of Irving’s Sketch Book, featuring “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” richly illustrated with 150 wood-engravings printed on india paper and mounted throughout, number 84 of only 500 copies. This copy with an autograph letter signed by Irving with revealing content from his time in London skillfully window-mounted on a preliminary blank.
This deluxe edition finely reprints and illustrates the well-loved sketches by the “Father of American Literature,” including the tales of Rip Van Winkle and Ichabod Crane. “Irving’s graceful, humorous, stylistically careful writing is in the tradition of Addison, Steele and Goldsmith,” and his Sketch Book was an immediate success in the United States when it was first published pseudonymously in seven parts in 1819-20 (Hart, 369). Like Emerson, Irving “married American literature to the literature of the world. He has every right to retain the title enthusiastically bestowed upon him, of ‘Father of American Literature.’ And if all else were lost, Rip Van Winkle and Ichabod Crane will live forever” (Kunitz & Haycraft, 407). The three-page letter, penned entirely by Irving and signed by him, on a folded sheet of 7-1/4 by 9-inch paper, is dated London, 13th July, 1831. In it Irving pleas with his correspondent to take care of a young man whom it would seem has been calling upon Irving and asking for money: “My dear Col, This young man has been again at my door when it was not in my power to see him. He said he had some message from you, & ended by getting some money of my servant. I entreat you to leave whatever is necessary for his relief down for him? I doubt whether for his own good he is to be trusted with money, let his board & lodging therefore be guaranteed, and paid by you, or your clerk at the end of the week, or on his departure. His clothes, if not yet redeemed & delivered to him, had better [not?] be delivered to him until on board ship: lest he should pawn them again. But do not let him want anything necessary for his comfortable subsistence until fairly afloat, when of course he will be taken care of by the captain. I am extremely sorry to give you this trouble, but you are in the way of taking care of these stray sheep and have fences about you who understand it & can take the trouble off of your head. I know not how to set about it, and am liable to be harassed and importuned and imposed upon by applicants of this sort. I shall refuse to see him, trusting that you will do all the needful for him. Very truly yours, Washington Irving.” Langfeld & Blackburn, 82.
Only very light reinforcement to joints. Fine condition, with a wonderful signed autograph letter.