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, foxing to plates, otherwise a rather good copy; provenance: contemporary ownership inscription by a subscriber to this book, John London on front 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. 'Even a look, a tone of the voice, a gesture, in an unreserved moment, will give an insight into the real disposition, which years of a more formal intercourse would fail to convey; and this is particularly the case in the association of a person of mature age with very young people. There is generally a confiding candour and openness about them which invites confidence in return, and which tempts a man of the world to throw off the iron mask of reserve and caution, and to assume once more the simplicity of a little child. This, at least, took place in my intercourse with Napoleon' (p 233).