DOUGLAS, Lord Alfred Sonnets London: The Academy Publishing Company, 1909.
Thin 8vo., publisher's grey boards, lettered in gilt to upper board; grey endpapers; pp. [ix], 10-30, [ii]; with two tipped-in letters, the first affixed by the corner to the ffep from 'Alfred Douglas to 'Mr Ellis', the second more of a memoir, or collection of notes dated March 7th 1917, by an unknown author, but concerning a meeting between the writer, Douglas, and Ellis, to whom the ALS is written; and a cutting of 'Primrose Hill' by Olive Custance, wife of Douglas, also tipped-in; a near-fine example (ribbon marker slightly worn but present), with a fascinating association.
First edition, (but blindstamped 2nd to the title page).
The ALS to the front paste-down, written from 26 Church Row in Hampstead and dated Oct 28. 1913, reads: "Dear Mr Ellis, I shall be in on Thursday about 4-30 & shall be pleased to see you. Yours sincerely Alfred Douglas." Above it, in the same hand as the notes, has been written 'From little me to me - a gift.'
The notes are intruiging. In them, the writer discusses a meeting between him or herself with Douglas and 'The Chevalier (Stewart M. Ellis). The anonymous writer writes that Doulgas, when he arrived "looked about the room at various things, my biography of Prince Charlie… my portrait of Mrs Percy Wyndham who he told me was his aunt. My crucifix (the beautiful one) which he thought might be Spanish…" the writer says, of Douglas, that "he has a beautiful voice & charming smile, very high-strung and nervous, I should think, and a feeling of great sadness about him… from the feeling I get of him I do not believe one word of those horrid tales about him." He also elucidates about this particular copy: "I told him I'd asked at the Bodley head for the 1st edition of his sonnets amd they gave me the 2nd. So he said - it's a secret - but the fact is they were all printed by the Academy Press, at the same time, and he foolishly as someone told him - for it lessened their value - has a part of them stamped 2nd edition. So really they are all 1st edition in spite of the stamp."
A curious copy with an insightful set of notes concerning the poet.