This book is one of the 'Fifty Two' series published by Hutchinson & Co at the end of the 19th century. The books, designed for boys and/or girls, had a strong moral and educational flavour, but were evidently popular, as the number of titles was considerable. This particular title appears to be somewhat rare, and thus may be of interest to the collector.
Alfred Henry Miles (1848-1929) was a prolific Victorian author, editor, anthologist, journalist, composer and lecturer who published hundreds of works on a wide range of topics, including poetry, warfare, household encyclopaedias and even advice to the lovelorn. He was Guardian of the Poor for six years and a member of the London Borough of Lewisham from 1904-06. He was also editor of 'The Fifty-two Library', a series of children's adventure stories, for which he compiled some fifty volumes (priced at five shillings [25p] apiece).
This book is in good general condition for its age, though with some wear consistent with use and (presumably) enjoyment. Bound in dark green cloth, it bears a striking illustration in black and pale grey on the front cover, with the title and author's name in gilt. The spine is also richly decorated with title, author's name, publisher and a gilt copy of the front cover's illustration. The covers are generally rather worn, with cracking at the lower rear spine angle, some frank damage to top and bottom of the spine, bumped corners, and some staining (see photos). All page edges are gilt. Within, the front free black endpaper is missing, and the rear endpaper is cracked the length of the spine. The binding is a little weak, but there are no loose pages, and apart from a little foxing and some stains here and there, the text is clean and clear throughout. Four illustrations by 'G.J.' adorn the stories.