This curious tale, with its parodic second section echoing Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress' appeared in 1890, just after the author had moved to London from Scotland. The book is enhanced with 23 original illustrations by Harry Furniss (1854-1925), a well-known illustrator of the time who not only worked with Lewis Carroll (not entirely harmoniously), but also wrote and published some 29 books on his own account, as well as producing illustrations of social events for such publications as the Illustrated London News.
John Davidson (1857–1909) was a Scottish poet, playwright and novelist, best known for his ballads. He also did translations from French and German. His first published work was "Bruce", a chronicle play in the Elizabethan manner, which appeared with a Glasgow imprint in 1886. Four other plays, "Smith, a Tragic Farce" (1888), "An Unhistorical Pastoral" (1889), "Aromantic Farce" (1889), and the brilliant pantomimic "Scaramouch in Naxos" (1889) were also published while he was in Scotland. In 1889 he moved to London where he frequented 'Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese' and joined the 'Rhymers' Club'. Besides writing for the 'Speaker', the 'Glasgow Herald', and other papers, he produced several novels and tales, of which the best was "Perfervid" (1890), but these prose works were written to bring in money, and are not well known. In 1909, financial difficulties, along with physical and mental health problems, led to his eventual suicide.
Our copy is a first edition copy, bound in red cloth with black lettering and illustration on the front, black and gilt lettering on the spine, and a publisher's motif imprinted on the back. There are surprisingly few external signs of wear - some slight bumping of corners, and a little shelf wear to top & bottom of the spine - and the page tops are apparently tinted green/grey. Some spots of foxing on the edges of the text block, but only minimal migration into the book itself, whose binding is generally firm, and pages clean and bright. The patterned endpapers are a little browned at the edges. The frontispiece retains its tissue guard. The paper used is somewhat shiny, and this makes the book surprisingly heavy for its size.