"MENACED BY A BRISTLING WALL OF ICE-AXES AND ALPENSTOCKS": FIRST EDITION OF TWAIN'S A TRAMP ABROAD, WITH AN ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT LEAF FROM THE BOOK WRITTEN BY TWAIN
TWAIN, Mark. A Tramp Abroad. Hartford, Connecticut: American Publishing Company; London: Chatto & Windus, 1880. Octavo, original pictorial gilt-stamped brown cloth. $13,500.
First edition of Twain's wonderful account of his walking trip through the Black Forest and the Alps, profusely illustrated, with a tipped-in autograph manuscript leaf from the work in Twain's hand.
"Besides his accounts of Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy, Twain includes local folklore (some of which he made up) and slips in several sketches that have little or nothing to do with Europe, including one of his most famous comic tales, 'Jim Baker's Bluejay Yarn" (MacDonnell, 42). Twain called the work "a gossipy volume… written by one loafer for a brother loafer to read" (LeMaster & Wilson, 743). Includes over 30 full-page wood-engravings, as well as nearly 300 in-text vignettes (including, as the title page states, "three or four pictures made by the author of this book without outside help"). The illustrations comprise "an integral part of [the book's] humor" (Rasmussen, 489). The manuscript leaf, written in Twain's hand with bluish purple ink, is a section of a satirical passage (Chapter 37, page 432) describing a supposed alpine ascent of the Zermatt in Switzerland. After being abandoned by their guide, who surreptitiously places an old ram in his place, "[the fury of the baffled] expedition exceeded all bounds. They even wanted to wreak their unreasoning vengeance on this innocent dumb brute. But I stood between them & their prey, menaced by a bristling wall of ice-axes and alpenstocks, & proclaimed that there was but one road to this murder, & it was over my corpse. Even as I spoke I saw that my doom was sealed, except a miracle supervened to divert these madmen from their fell [purpose]." Wherein the ram butts him and the expedition breaks into laughter. With first state frontispiece (captioned "Moses"), state B of the portrait frontispiece (no definite sequence), state A of the text-block, and state B of the cover stamping. BAL 3386. Johnson, 33-35. MacDonnell, 41-43. McBride, 60-61. Bookplate, small bookseller stamp, contemporary owner signature.
Front inner paper hinge split but sound, text generally fine; small stain to front board, wear to spine ends, mild toning to spine of original cloth. An exceptionally good unrestored copy of this classic narrative, with a wonderful manuscript leaf.