London: T. Egerton, Military Library, Whitehall, 1817. Two twelvemo volumes: , 289, ; , 311, . Later nineteenth-century three-quarter red calf, marbled boards, raised bands, spine compartments decorated and lettered in gilt, green morocco spine labels, robin’s-egg blue endpapers, all edges stained blue. Bound with half-titles and without terminal blanks; binder’s tickets in both volumes: “Broadbere, Pembroke Square, Bargate, Southampton.” Library stamps of Pyt House, Tisbury, Wiltshire, to front endpapers. Ink presentation inscriptions in both volumes. Pencil notes to title of Volume I and page 65 in Volume II, faint occasional foxing, light shelfwear to bindings.
Third edition of Jane Austen’s most popular novel, first published in 1813. This was the final edition of Pride and Prejudice issued by her original publisher Thomas Egerton, and the first two-volume edition; Austen is still identified only as “the Author of ‘Sense and Sensibility’” on the title pages, although an early owner has penciled “Miss Austen” in the first volume. The rocky courtship of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy would set the tone for the next two centuries of romantic comedy: “After abusing you so abominably to your face, I could have no scruple in abusing you to all your relations.” The presentation inscriptions in these volumes read: “To Margaret Dixon / with love from / Geoffrey Sparrow / Salisbury April 5 1921.” (Dixon and Sparrow would marry soon after.) Gilson A5. A very good example of an English literary classic, in an attractive nineteenth-century binding.