[NEALE, W. Johnson] The Flying Dutchman: A Legend of the High Seas. London, Henry Colburn, 1839.
8vo. 3 vols. Dark blue calf over marbled boards, intricate gilt tooling to spine, four raised bands, red spine label to which title lettered in gilt, marbled endpapers; pp. [iv], 306, [ii], 303, 1 (ad), [ii], 312; an excellent copy internally with only the faintest and most occasional foxing, externally an attractive binding, particularly the spine which remains unfaded, the covers are midly rubbed in places, but little more than minor scuffing. Provenance: From the Library of the book collector Robert J Hayhurst, with his naval bookplate to front paste down. Hayhurst was a Lancashire chemist and bibliophile, who amassed a large number of Naval History, Travel, and eighteenth century Literature books during the 20th century. “A collector of books, in a delightful room at his home, white-painted bookshelves stacked high on all the available wall space show to advantage the hand-tooled leather bindings of a collection that has been acquired slowly and with discrimination over the years" (The Chemist and Druggist, 7 September, 1957).
First edition. Neale's three-volume maritime tale of gothic terror, which weaves murder, sharks, guns and more murder into a classic gothic novel of bad people doing bad things to each other. Pirates, mutiny and messages in bottles on the high seas give The Flying Dutchman all anyone could want from an adventure on the ocean. Scenes of particular note include:
A gunfight with a shark (the shark does not have a gun, alas)
An army of women assailing pirates from above with rocks and stones (which baffles the pirates)
A woman called Angela goes from the verge-of-death to a vigorous "embrace" with her daring lover to mourning a dead relative in the space of about 30-45 seconds
W. Johnson Neale was a sailor turned lawyer who later churned out a few nautical books as a side hustle, or perhaps to live vicariously. He once challenged his mentor -Marryat- to a duel, which Marryat declined on the grounds of Neale's social inferiority. The reason for Neale's dispute with Marryat is not recorded, but Marryat *did* publish a book called *The Phantom Ship* in the same year as this book, on the same legend. Neale resolved the disagreement by getting into a brawl with Marryat in Trafalgar Square on Guy Fawke's Night.