The Mark Twain Birth-day Book
“Dedicated by special permission of Mr S L Clemens to MARK TWAIN”
Remington & Co, London; nd; circa 1888; 4th edition.
Hardback; 105 x 150 mm; dark brown boards with black titles on spine that may originally have been gold but, if so, the gold has rubbed off; pictorial front cover of a boy fishing, a frog jumping, and a river boat in the background; titles on the front cover in gold; a pictorial back cover of a dog; 288 pages; all edges gilt. No dust jacket.
The book is in fair condition. There are no loose pages but there is cracking along the gutter internally at various places, particularly the endpapers. The edges of the covers are worn as is the spine, particularly at top and bottom. The pages are tanned. The verso of the front free endpaper is noted in fading black ink “Janet Mary Wigram from A.I.L. 8 Nov. 1888”. As intended, at various dates the names of individuals have been written in, on the recto, in ink. A few quotes have been marked or amended. Some foxing in places. There is a crease at page 119/120 which has dented the neighbouring pages. Small tears at the top of pages 239/240 and 243/244. A piece of paper with a name on it has been stuck to November 10, page 247.There are a few small dog ears here and there.
The book is intended to be used to record the birthdays of family, friends, etc on the recto. Printed against each date, on the verso, is a quote or quotes from Mark Twain’s works. The charm of this book, and it seems its intention, is that the quotes against each date can be taken jokingly, one hopes, to refer to the person whose birthday falls on that date and whose name is written against it. For example, April 29: “there is no use arguing with a person like this”.