New York: Charles Webster & Co., 1893. 8vo. 260 pp., plus 9 pages of publisher’s advertisements. FIRST EDITION, FIRST STATE. Frontispiece by Dan Beard. Original tan publisher’s cloth with pictorial decoration on the front board in gilt, brown, and black, and gilt title on spine. An excellent copy. Item #16198
First edition, first printing, with the frontispiece inserted, of this group of short stories from Twain. The title story features a bet brought to life by Henry Adams, as he is the subject of two brothers’ consideration on how an American would spend a million pound bank note in Victorian London. It has repeatedly been adapted for film and television, its most notable version starring Gregory Peck. Other stories include “A cure for the blues,” “The enemy conquered; or, love triumphant,” and “A petition to the Queen of England” about tax relief.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), better known by his most-used pen name, Mark Twain, is a hallmark of classic American literature. Author of The adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel, The adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain is known for his radical civil rights views and often-censored subject matter. His works run the gamut from novels, to collections of letters, to humorous stories about nineteenth century steamboat culture.