Contained in an 1894-95 first edition pair of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Books is a letter to Mrs Hinkson, an Irish poet, novelist and friend of Yeats, in which Kipling, writing in 1907 from Cape Town, offers guidance for her son, Mere, on the pronunciation of some of the characters’ names.
He then adds: “I hope he doesn’t read too much. We kept our daughter [Josephine] back as much as we could but it didn’t seem to make any difference in the long run. I had to read Treasure Island, The Black Arrow, Kidnapped to Mere last year.
“There’s a lot of pure joy in Treasure Island tell Bunny… isn’t it curious to see what the little new self-formed soul takes or rejects… as it goes along with life.”
In 2004, as part of the Maurice Neville library the pair had sold for $12,000 (then £6720). This time the price was £7000.
Conrad's first book
A signed, first state copy of Joseph Conrad’s first book, Almayer’s Folly. A Story of an Eastern River, that in 2013 had sold in the same rooms for £3200 as part of the Conrad collection of Stanley J Seeger, was this time bid to £5000.
Beneath his bold signature it is inscribed “My very first attempt at writing…”, but the catalogue entry also noted something he later wrote in A Personal Record, an autobiographical work of 1919.
“Books may be written in all sorts of places… I indulge in the pleasant fancy that the shade of old Flaubert… might have hovered with amused interest over the decks of a 2000-ton steamer called the Adowa, on board of which, gripped by the inclement winter alongside a quay in Rouen, the tenth chapter of Almayer’s Folly was begun…”