"IF I WERE A YOUNGER MAN I WOULD ENJOY A VISIT TO THE STATES": LOVELY FIRST EDITION OF NOW WE ARE SIX, WITH AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED BY ILLUSTRATOR ERNEST SHEPARD
MILNE, A.A. Now We Are Six. With Decorations by Ernest H. Shepard. London: Methuen, (1927). Small octavo, original gilt-stamped pictorial red cloth, pictorial endpapers, top edge gilt, original dust jacket. $3000.
First edition of the third of Milne’s beloved “Pooh” books, in which children “can see themselves, while adults catch nostalgic glimpses of the children they once were,” with a two-page autograph letter signed by illustrator Ernest Shepard laid in.
This delightful collection of poetry, featuring Christopher Robin and his famous bear, is the third book in Milne's classic "Pooh Quartet." Along with the first book, When We Were Very Young (1924), this title "enjoyed immediate and phenomenal success, and through the years the fun and surprise in them, and the gaiety evoked by their meticulous meter, amusing rhymes and pictorial quality have made them only a little less known to English-speaking children than the rhymes of Mother Goose… In these poems children can see themselves, while adults catch nostalgic glimpses of the children they once were, the children they once knew, or see with absolute clarity the very children to whom they are reading the rhymes" (Meigs et al., 594).
The letter, on one 5-1/2 by 7-inch sheet of Shepard's Lodsworth letterhead, dated 17 August 1970, reads: "Dear Mr. Austin, Thank you for kindly sending me your magazine 'Mount Vernon.' It is a most interesting catalogue of the many beautiful things in George Washington's home. If I were a younger man I would enjoy a visit to the States to see the house and grounds. It is particularly interesting for me as I have an early Regency house in Sussex and have, over the years, collected quite a number of pieces of period furniture and also two high bookcases from an old Georgian house Hammersmith (W. London) that I lived in as a boy. The Terrace, called 'Theresa Terrace' was demolished soon after we left to make way for shops—such is life! When I left London and with my wife, soon after our marriage, went to live in Surrey we paid 2/6 a week rent for our tiny cottage. We had no mod. cons. and I had to fetch our drinking water from a cottage 1/4 mile away. This was 1904 when you could buy quite good pieces of furniture from the cottagers for a few shillings (until the dealers got wise to it and bought up all the good pieces). Thank you again for 'Mount Vernon.' Yours sincerely, Ernest H. Shepard." The Air Mail envelope, addressed by Shepard, is laid in as well. Issued in the same year as the first American trade edition as well as an English signed limited edition, also of 200 copies. Payne IIIA. Cutler & Stiles, 116.
Letter fine. Book about-fine, dust jacket with short closed tear to upper edge of rear panel and minor dust soiling, near-fine.