Title: CONTINUATION OF THE MOVING ADVENTURES OF OLD...
Binding: Soft cover
Book Condition: Fair16 printed pages, each with a blank verso. Each page has a contemporary hand-coloured copper engraved illustration occupying the upper two-thirds, above four line rhyming doggerel and a single block capital moral title (with the exception of page 16 that has the image between 6 & 4 lined verse respectively and in a smaller font). Contemporary owner's signature on blank verso of page one. All pages toned with creasing, slight wear to corners and edges, and some minor damage and straining in the gutter. Ink annotation in margin of page 3. Short closed tear at top of page 9. 2 short closed tears in margin of page 12. Short closed tears on pages 13 & 14. Page 15 torn horizontally across and held with historical amateur gummed paper repair on verso. Page 16 with three marginal tears at the side. 10.5 x 12.5 cm. Original sewn card printed covers (spine very worn and missing at the foot; upper cover legible ("Price 1s. plain, or 1s. 6d. coloured") but toned and worn at the corners and very slightly cracked at the bottom edge; back cover equally patinated with two short tears near the bottom of the spine and torn vertically in the lower half of the outer margin, not affecting the text. The back cover advertises nine "Improved Books for Children. Lately Published" for the publisher and printer ("Charles Squire, Printer, Furnival's In-Court, London"). Presumably, with one fewer advertised titles, this copy predates the 1806 (1807?) copy held by the Library of the University of California Los Angeles with rose wrappers and paper title label, and which "Seems to be nearly identical in its engraved text to the Ball copy which has a printed cover and is published by W. & T. Darton, 1806." Osborne Collection p677/678. WorldCat locates a single copy and adds that it has been "attributed to the pen of the Duchess of L**** ; and illustrated with elegant engravings after Sir Joshua". The publishing history of the many versions of the Old Dame Trot story is almost as elusive as the title character of the book. Drawn from oral culture and probably in oral circulation almost a century before the first printed editions appeared in the early 1800s. In Darton's Continuation, the cat in the story illustrated waywardness redeemed through learning. The pages of humorous activities involve the cat playing skittles, milking an ass and cumulate in the feline finding herself a lover: While the DAME was gone out. To get a nice Tart, Madam Puss had a lover. Concealed in a Cart. (1807, p. 4) The cat and her lover have kittens and finally all the brood are sent to school where they can no longer get up to the mischief of wearing the Dame's best caps (p. 15) or, bizarrely, firing guns (p. 11) and storming a fort (p. 13). Instead the kittens are content, like good children, to learn their books (p. 16). The link between child reader and cat/kitten is strong and the (not so implicit) message is that education is the way to mould over-exuberant children into rational citizens. Scarce early nineteenth century chapbook whose sense of humour has had a profound impact on a wide range of print cultures for children. Seller Inventory # 5079