Antiquities & Oddities

//Antiquities & Oddities
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  • Weddings, disappointments, Christmas, sea storms and exotic India are all involved in what seems to be a very dramatic narrative.
  • Said Sir Gilbert Parker: 'Who the original of ‘Donovan Pasha’ was I shall never say, but he was real. There is, however, in the House of Commons today a young and active politician once in the Egyptian service, and who bears a most striking resemblance to the purely imaginary portrait which Mr. Talbot Kelly, the artist, drew of the Dicky Donovan of the book. This young politician, with his experience in the diplomatic service, is in manner, disposition, capacity, and in his neat, fine, and alert physical frame, the very image of Dicky Donovan, as in my mind I perceived him; and when I first saw him I was almost thunderstruck, because he was to me Dicky Donovan come to life. There was nothing Dicky Donovan did or said or saw or heard which had not its counterpart in actual things in Egypt. The germ of most of the stories was got from things told me, or things that I saw, heard of, or experienced in Egypt itself. The first story of the book—‘While the Lamp Holds Out to Burn’—was suggested to me by an incident which I saw at a certain village on the Nile, which I will not name. Suffice it to say that the story in the main was true. Also the chief incident of the story, called ‘The Price of the Grindstone—and the Drum’, is true. The Mahommed Seti of that story was the servant of a friend of mine, and he did in life what I made him do in the tale. ‘On the Reef of Norman’s Woe’, which more than one journal singled out as showing what extraordinary work was being done in Egypt by a handful of British officials, had its origin in something told me by my friend Sir John Rogers, who at one time was at the head of the Sanitary Department of the Government of Egypt.'

  • The bizarre and hauntingly beautiful sketchbook diary of Charles Altamont Doyle, father of Arthur Conan Doyle, who in 1889 was confined to the dreary Montrose Royal Lunatic Asylum in Scotland. He would spend the rest of his life in asylums but the question remains:  was he actually mad? Readers may judge for themselves: the diary, long forgotten by the family and auctioned off in a job lot of books in 1955, then stored for another twenty years - is a wondrous blend of words and watercolour, facts and fancies and exquisitely detailed depictions of fairies and birds. At the core of the quips and Punch-like cartoons is a desperately lonely man, struggling to hold onto reality by facing his fears and fantasies through the medium of his art.  Arthur's biographers have had very little to say about Charles or the circumstances that led the family to institutionalise him; what clues might the diary hold? Beautiful colour illustrations.

  • Little Nell Trent lives in the quiet gloom of the old curiosity shop with her ailing grandfather, for whom she cares with selfless devotion. But when they are unable to pay their debts to the stunted, lecherous and demonic money-lender Daniel Quilp, the shop is seized and they are forced to flee, thrown into a shadowy world in which there seems to be no safe haven. Dickens's portrayal of the innocent, tragic Nell made The Old Curiosity Shop an instant bestseller that captured the hearts of the nation, even as it was criticised for its sentimentality by figures such as Oscar Wilde. Yet alongside the story's pathos are some of Dickens's greatest comic and grotesque creations: the ne'er-do-well Dick Swiveller, the mannish lawyer Sally Brass, the half-starved 'Marchioness' and the lustful, loathsome Quilp himself. Colour plates.

  • A 1937 mystery in which, no doubt, the bodies pile up and the femmes are fatale - or fainting - in the best tradition of the genre. Illustrated by J. Philips Paterson. A fabulous period piece for fans of the traditional detective story.
  • The evergreen story of the schoolteacher who gets it right in the end. 1939  10th edition.  Previous owner's name erased.
  • Orange Boards.  No Dust Jacket.  1953.  Good condition.
  • Religious Tract Society.  Gilt edged pages.  A sewn book, quite rare.
  • Contains prize certificate dated 1934. Age spotting on front end papers.
  • Film Edition 1965, 6th impression.  Minor age spotting to front end papers.
  • A classic of Australian Literature.  Book Club Edition, dust jacket covered with plastic.  Has previous owner's name and two tape ghosts.
  • Once upon a time, deep in an enchanted forest, Judy helped her grandmother run The Shop Under the Willow Tree, which sold everything from used birds's nests and new quills for porcupines to medicines for sick animals. But the peaceful woodland life was suddenly disrupted when Sam and charming Miss Smith (who is really a witch in disguise!) open a rival shop which lures customers away.  When Judy discovers that Same is not only cheating the animals but is also plotting her destruction, she resolves to save the woodlanders from their wickedness.  One of Nichols' fantasy trilogy for children.
  • Hardback, no dust jacket.  1st UK edition, 1949.  Contains previous owner's name and has some age spotting.
  • A very unusual book that predicts the course of World War II with 99% accuracy - yet it was written in 1933.  Jonathon Cape 1934 edition, 6th impression.  Some age spotting on the first few pages.
  • Hardback, 1952 edition.  Contains previous owner's name.  First several pages have some age spotting.
  • The story of the dysfunctional and dirt poor Walden family, headed by patriarch Ty Ty, who is firmly convinced that there is treasure buried on his land, treasure that dates back to the glory days of the clan.  He is determined to find it, and drives his family to dig up the entire property in a frenzied effort to find it - but the acre dedicated to God must not be touched!  Made into a film with Robert Ryan and Tina Louise, well away from her ditzy Gilligan's Island role.
  • 'Blue Hills' was THE unmissable radio serial.
  • Sale!
    Religious Tract Society - improving stories for children. Research shows that this was published in 1936 after the author's death in 1923.
  • A young woman finds herself pregnant 'on the wrong side of the blanket' in 1961. The attitude to single mothers was very different then; her father kicks her out of their home and she moves into a dingy rooming house. Against her will she becomes involved with the characters who live there, some of them who are outcasts in their own way - Toby, the budding Jewish writer; John, the huge, gentle Negro musician and Mavis, the old dear living in a room stuffed full of souvenirs of a theatrical past. When she decides that she will keep her baby rather than offer him for adoption or have an abortion - highly illegal then - she begins to receive unexpected help from this odd assortment as well as her boss, an eccentric in his own right. A very well told story.