Antiquities & Oddities

//Antiquities & Oddities
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  • 1947 edition.
  • A riotous account of Aussie Army tactics.
  • Red Boards, no dust jacket.
  • What did famous actress Marina Gregg see just before a murder was committed in her house? Who or what caused her expression to change so violently that one observer was reminded of the famous quote from Tennyson?
  • 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. Cover art by Colin Lewis.