"TO RAGS OLDEST FRIEND OF ALL": WARMLY INSCRIBED BY H.G. WELLS TO HIS SCIENTIFIC ADVISOR AND CLOSE FRIEND RICHARD GREGORY
WELLS, H.G. Babes in the Darkling Wood. London: Secker & Warburg, 1940. Octavo, original green cloth, original dust jacket. $3000.
First edition of Wells’ wartime novel, inscribed by him on the title page to his close friend and scientific advisor Richard Gregory, "To RAGs oldest friend of all. From H.G. 22-1-14."
In his introductory essay to Babes in the Darkling Wood, H.G. Wells describes this story of young people in wartime as a novel of ideas dedicated to "the tradition of discussing fundamental human problems in dialogue form." Currey, 416. Hammond A28. Wells, 41. Inscribed to noted British scientist and Wells' lifelong friend Sir Richard Arman Gregory. In Wells' first work of fiction, he dedicated the work to Gregory as his "dearest friend." The two met while students at the Normal School of Science in South Kensington. They jointly authored a textbook, Honours Physiography, in 1891. Reportedly, Gregory was the one person with whom Wells never quarreled. A professor of astronomy, Gregory also possessed expertise in physics, chemistry and other disciplines; he wrote several textbooks and eventually assumed the editorship of the journal Nature, to which Wells frequently contributed. The author often turned to Gregory, and to the experts Gregory contacted on Wells' behalf, for insight and encouragement when writing his famous "scientific romances." After Wells' death, Gregory worked to establish the H.G. Wells Memorial to preserve public attention to his friend's body of work. Throughout his life Gregory was a passionate advocate for science—"It is necessary to believe in the holiness of scientific work," he once declared—and "an optimist about man's future" (Horrabin, in New Scientist, April 11, 1957).
Scattered light foxing; original cloth with fading to spine, faint stain to top board. Price-clipped dust jacket with chips to spine ends. An extremely good copy with notable provenance.