“Is it Best to be Laughing-Mad, or Crying-Mad, in the World?”
Titmarsh, M.A. [pseud. of William Thackeray]. Mrs. Perkins's ball. [London]: Chapman & Hall (pr. by Vizetelly Brothers & Co.), . 4to (21.6 cm, 8.5"). , engr. t.-p., 46,  pp.; 1 fold. col. plt., 20 col. plts. $400.00
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First edition, first issue of this Thackeray publication, intended as aChristmas gift book. The wry satire on the attendees of a society ball commences when our humble narrator is strong-armed into taking the Mulligan of Ballymulligan — a bumptious Irishman — to an upper-crust dance featuring young maidens on matrimonial lookout, frivolous society men, old maids, members of the Foreign Office, illustrious literary rivals, those who polka and those who don't, plus a host of other characters captured in brief but telling detail. Each of the delightfully droll vignettes features an illustrationengraved after Thackeray's own design, along with a frontispiece, engraved title-page, and oversized folding plate, for a total of22 hand-colored plates.
Van Duzer 140; NCBEL, III, 857. Publisher's printed pink paper–covered boards, in red cloth clamshell case with gilt-stamped publication information on spine; binding faded, rubbed, and dust-soiled though not “sad,” with case showing moderate shelfwear, spotting, and signs of handling. Inside cover of clamshell case with pencilled annotations regarding issue points; front free endpaper with 19th-century inked inscription of Mrs. James Tradut [?] and with another pencilled annotation on points in a different hand. Light foxing and occasional smudges to pages and plates; overall a very reasonable copy of this delightful first edition. (37999)