MOENS, William John Charles. English Travellers And Italian Brigands. A Narrative Of Capture And Captivity … Second Edition, revised, with Additions. London, Hurst and Backett, 1866.
Two volumes, 8vo. Original red cloth with bevelled edges; pp. xviii, , 318; xii, 330, portrait, folding map, two wood-engraved vignettes to titles and four wood-engraved plates; binding a little marked, map lightly spotted, otherwise a very good copy, printed on high-quality wove paper; bookplate Charles Benson.
An uncomon and unusual book, the narrative by an English traveller who was captured by brigands in Sicily for ransom, including gun battles between the army and his captors in the mountains, and his liberation. Appended are statistics of obductions for ransom in the Mezzogiorno, and the final sums paid. 'In January 1865 he [Moens, or Möens] and his wife, Anne, sixth daughter of Thomas Walters of Heathfield Park, Addington, whom he had married on 3 August 1863, went to Sicily and Naples. On 15 May, while returning from Paestum, he and another Englishman were suddenly captured near Battipaglia by a band of about thirty brigands. Möens, a pioneer of amateur photography, had been photographing the temples. Mrs Möens took refuge in the village, but Möens himself remained in the brigands' custody for over three months, during which time he was dragged over the mountains, ill clad and often hungry. Italian soldiers pursued the band, but it was only on 26 August that Möens was released, after paying a ransom of £5100. In 1866 he published a lively account of the episode in English Travellers and Italian Brigands. He devoted the profits from this popular book to building a school near his home at Boldre' (ODNB).