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    Wilkie Collins. After Dark. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1856. First edition. Presentation copy, inscribed, "To W. S. Herrick / from / Wilkie Collins. / February 1856." Two volumes. Octavo (7.75 x 4.875 inches; 197 x 123 mm.). viii, 315, [1, blank], 16 [publisher's ads]; [4, half-title and title], 322, [2, publisher's ads] pages. Publisher's full blind-stamped dark green cloth; spines lettered in gilt. Original light yellow endpapers. Edges untrimmed. Housed in custom blue cloth chemise in in book-backed slipcase, one-quarter dark blue morocco over blue cloth with red morocco spine labels, gilt tooling and five raised bands at spine. Both volumes slightly skewed. Fair amount of wear at edges, joints and spine ends of bindings; some splitting and chipping to cloth at joints, most pronounced at rear joint of second volume; possible repair at bottom of rear joint of first volume; spine ends pushed, one or two starting to fray; minimal loss to gilt at edges of backstrips. Boards rubbed and lightly soiled in a few spots; corners bumped with boards peeking through majority. Text block edges toned and somewhat roughened; top edges darkened. Faint soiling to endpapers; both rear hinges split but still sound. Normal age toning to pages with instances of rough opening, marginal spot-staining and thumbsoiling scattered throughout; occasional evidence of dog-earing with some dimples from handling. Very good.

    After Dark is Collins's first collection of short stories, all but one of which were published in Charles Dickens's Household Words before being collected in this work. "To the modern reader, the unmistakable first appearance of the real Collins in these excellent tales comes with a pleasurable shock after the mild bohemianism of the preceding novel, Hide and Seek. After Dark consists of six narratives of varying length and subject, ingeniously woven together into the pattern of a single story. At their best they are as good as anything the author ever wrote; even at their worst they are free from the perfunctory carelessness that mars so much of his later work" (Sadleir, Excursions in Victorian Bibliography, p. 130, 139). Presentation copy from Collins to W. S. Herrick, who Collins names in his preface: "I must also gratefully acknowledge an obligation of another kind to the accomplished artist, Mr W. S. Herrick, to whom I am indebted for the curious and interesting facts on which the tales of 'The Terribly Strange Bed' and 'The Yellow Mask' are founded." William Salter Herrick, a portrait painter, also left his ownership signature on the front free endpaper of the second volume. With red leather book label of Florence and Edward Kaye affixed to inside of chemise.

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