Out of Harness. Sir William a'BECKETT, à BECKETT.
Out of Harness
Out of Harness

Out of Harness

London, J.J. Guillaume, Chester Square, and Melbourne, James J. Blundell & Co., 44 Collins Street, [1854].

Duodecimo, [iv] (both versos blank), 100 pages.

Original blue cloth lettered and decorated in gilt on the spine, and decorated in blind on the front and rear covers; cloth a little marked, lightly bumped and worn at the extremities; front joint broken at some stage, but stabilized amateurishly with an excess of paste, which has stained a strip of cloth on the front cover adjacent to the joint; flyleaves glued to the pastedowns (probably at the same time, judging by the workmanship); half-title partly detached; mild signs of use and age (the first few leaves are moderately finger-marked, light inconsequential pencilling to a few pages); overall a decent copy.

Sir William à Beckett (1806-1869), was 'Chief Justice of Victoria' when the book was published. 'From 1843 à Beckett suffered from some form of paralysis in the legs, reputedly derived from an injury while playing cricket at Lord's. The affliction worsened and in February 1853 he was granted two years leave. With his wife and sons he went to England, where he consulted physicians but found no relief from his condition. However, the family managed to travel on the Continent, à Beckett being lifted into and out of the carriage by his sons. Notes of their tour through Switzerland and Italy were published as "Out of Harness" (London, 1854)' ('Australian Dictionary of Biography'). His introductory note to the book provides some still-useful advice: 'I purposefully omitted keeping any record, whilst en route, of my recent itinerations; and I would recommend all who can trust to observation and memory to follow my example. A glance at many things is sufficient, whilst all that is really deserving of recollection will probably obtain it without constant recourse to the pencil or pen. Moreover, there is a responsibility and restraint in wandering about, ink-horn and note-book in hand, from which I would fain be free'. Ferguson 5625 ('there are two editions, one dated 1854, the other undated'). The undated title leaf in this copy is a cancel.

Item #118397

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