This little book shows its age (230 years), but is nevertheless in remarkably good condition. Evidently one of a set of 3 volumes, it contains five classic French dramas, 3 by Corneille, and 2 by Racine. Of particular interest to the collector, however, are the detailed ink-written notes inscribed on the first two blank pages, the name of (presumably) the original owner "Ann Cranstown Fryer, Nov. 23rd 1798" at the top of the first page of the first drama, and a pasted bookplate inside the front cover, stating that the volume was presented to the "Home for Disengaged Governesses" by "Miss Fryer". One can only speculate about the lady's life and interests, but this is a fascinating relic of a bygone age. A more recent owner's name is also ink-written inside the front cover.
The book retains its original binding of brown leather, with traces of gilt banding, and an impression of the title and volume number (1), just visible on the spine. The leather is (not unnaturally) very worn at all edges and corners, and the surface is somewhat faded and scratched; at the top & bottom of the spine it is completely worn away. Inside, however, the binding is firm, with no loose pages, and only the front gutter shows a little weakness, with the binding cord visible. There is foxing on the first few, and last few, pages, but very little in the main body of the text block. There is a small brown stain at pp.10-11. The rear endpaper is stained with a brown edge-mark, is slightly foxed, and also marked with small black (?ink? marks).