First edition. Inscribed on front fly leaf "To Miss Pigot with every kind wish from M. I. Stevenson, May 1885."" With the bookplate of the noted collector Doris Louise Benz.
London: Longmans, Green, 1885.
12mo, original blue cloth decoratively stamped and lettered in gilt, top edges gilt, in half blue morocco slipcase by Sangorski. Lower spine edge slightly rubbed, a tad cocked, else fine.
A fine association copy presented to a friend of Mrs. Stevenson soon after the book was published. After the death of Stevenson's father, he and his mother were often together. She accompanied him to America when he spent some time at Saranac and on his voyage through the South Sea Islands which followed. When he settled in Samoa, she became a permanent member of the household.
Miss Pigot went to India at the age of seventeen and worked there as a missionary. In November 1882 charges had been made "against the moral character" of Ms. Mary Pigot, then Superintendent of the Female Mission in Calcutta, The charges were brought in a document given to the Rev. William Hastie, who had been dismissed from his post as Principal of the Foreign Missions College in Calcutta, in 1883. He had appealed the charges "want of tact and tempers and his discourtesy" and in spite of an eight hour speech in his defense lost the appeal. Mr. Hastie had sent the charges to the Foreign Missions Committee with a post script in effect confirming the charges. The Committee handed the paper to Ms. Pigot who happened to be in Edinburgh on a visit. She returned to Calcutta and raised a libel action against Hastie. She finally won the case and Hastie was found guilty of malicious libel. The Commissioners had investigated the accusation against Ms. Pigot and found "the only serious charge brought home to Miss Pigot was that she had unwittingly appointed a Roman Catholic as matron of the orphanage, and had retained her services after she knew the fact that she was not a Protestant". . This was Miss Pigot's chief fault and it is said that the Commissioners "saw no reason to believe that she tolerated any known impropriey, and they have a strong impression, from what they have learned elsewhere, that the orphanage was no worse off in respect to its native agents than all other mission of similar character."
Fanny wrote to her mother-in-law in May, 1884 "He [Stevenson] was greatly taken up with the Miss Pigot triumph, and wrote her a short note when he first heard of it, to say so." Miss Pigot wrote in July, 1884 "Mrs. T. Stevenson has made me her debtor for many years. And my intense appreciation of literature has bound me in full homage to her gifted son whose gem of a letter is a treasure to possess."
A fine copy in the preferred binding in which the apostrophe in the word "Child's" on the spine has a curved tail, quite scarce thus. Other copies of the first, and second, editions as well, have been noted on which this apostrophe resembles a small figure seven. [Beinecke 192. Hayward 297. Booth and Mehew The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, v. IV pp. 71, 79. Yale Letters, Letter 1005. Lewis and Mills, Feminist Postcolonial Theory. Kent, Converting Women.].