ABELL, Lucia Elizabeth. Recollections of the Emperor Napoleon, during the First Three Years of his Captivity on the Island of St. Helena: including the Time of his Residence at her Father's House, "The Briars". London, John Murray, 1844.
8vo. Original green cloth, blocked in gilt with Napoleonic insignia on the upper cover (in blind on the lower cover) and bees on the spine; pp. xii, [Directions for the Binder printed slip], 251, 16 (publisher's advertisements); lithographic frontispiece view of "The Briars", 5 wood-engraved plates, being views of Longwood, Friar's Valley, Ladder Hill, etc.; cloth a little marked, a little spotted at beginning and end, due to offsetting from endpapers, otherwise a rather good copy; provenance: two long tipped in letters from 1897 dicussing Mrs Abell's book, and her relatives as well as St. Helena and Napoleon memorabilia. Before her marriage Mrs Abell had been Betsy Balcombe and the letters discuss the Balcombe family in relation to Napoleon. Illegible ownership iscription, dated 1844 at top of front fly-leaf; bookplate A. A. Borradaile, and a ms. mote stating that the volume was refurbished by Sangorski and Suttcliffe in 1955, on opposite fly-leaf.
First edition, scarce. One of the most interesting volumes of personal recollections of Napoleon's captivity on St. Helena. Lucia Elizabeth 'Betsy' Balcombe Abell (1802-1871) was a friend of Napoleon during his exile at Saint Helena. Her and her family's closeness to Napoleon attracted the suspicion of Governor Hudson Lowe and the European press had a feast by reporting on a 'love affair' between the girl and the 47-year-old ex-emperor. Betsy remained a friend of the Bounaparte family throughout her life. In 1960, Betsy Balcombe's grandniece, the Australian writer Dame Mabel Brookes (1890–1975), bought 'The Briars' and gave it to the French nation.