1860 · Paris
Uncommon volume of cautionary tales — mixed with a few more domestic in nature — by Rigaud, a Parisian publisher and notable children's author who also wrote La Morale en action, Histoire des animaux célèbres, Le Livre des jeunes personnes vertueuses, Les Fêtes de l'enfance, etc. These are the types of stories which encourage little boys and girls to behave themselves and obey their elders, lest they end up disfiguring themselves with fire or being mauled by a bear. The first tale is a rather bloody account of a Zouave regiment; their vivandière, Catherine la Cantinière, rushes to a soldier's aid with a bayonet of her own in one illustration, while another battlefield scene is depicted complete with a chopped-off head lying in the foreground. A total of => eight hand-colored full-page lithographs by Charles Vallet illustrate the stories; in addition to the two mentioned above, other images show Mlle. Hermine with her two nicely dressed pupils, a naughty young lady pretending to be a ghost to scare her friend, and spectators gawping at a bear in a zoo.
Quérard (La France littéraire, vol. XII) claims that this work was first published in 1859, but no examples of any such appearance are found by WorldCat; if the present example is not the first printing, it is certainly a very early one.
Provenance: Front pastedown with inked inscription: "Duchess of Somerset [/] 1875" (presumably Margaret Shaw-Stewart Seymour, widow of the 11th Duke of Somerset, d. 1880). Most recently in the library of American collector Albert A. Howard, small booklabel ("AHA") at rear. Publisher's red cloth, front cover and spine with gilt-stamped title, front cover with gilt-stamped oval medallion title frame, back cover with gilt-stamped urn and flowers vignette; spine sunned with cloth chipping at joints and frayed at extremities. All edges gilt. Title-page with small portion of outer edge repaired some time ago. Mild age-toning and offsetting around guard tissues; last few leaves foxed. => An attractive (if somewhat alarming) production. (Inventory #: 37890)