The Little Lady of the Big House
Author: John "Jack" Griffith London (1876-1916)
Publisher: MacMillan Company
Place: New York
[vi]+392+[393-394]+[4 ad] pages with frontispiece in color. Small octavo (7 3/4" x 5 1/4") bound in original publisher's blue cloth with lettering to front cover decoration with pictorial view of "The Big House" in cream and orange, a Spanish hacienda, Modeled on Mrs Phoebe Hearst's Hacienda del Pozo de Verona at Pleasanton, California. In foreground are black palm trees and light blue walk. e and gilt lettering to spine. In original pictorial jacket. ( BAL 11966; Sisson & Martens, p. 87) First edition of which 18,448 copies were printed.
The Little Lady of the Big House was his last novel to be published during London's lifetime.The story concerns a love triangle The protagonist, Dick Forrest, is a rancher with a poetic streak (his "acorn song" recalls London's play, The Acorn Planters). His wife, Paula, is a vivacious, athletic, and sexually self-aware woman, who falls in love with Evan Graham, an old friend of her husband. Unable to choose between the two men, she wounds herself mortally with a rifle in what her husband is certain is a suicide.
Biographer Clarice Stasz writes that the book is "not autobiography", but speaks of London's "frank borrowing from his life with Charmian", his second wife, and says it is "psychologically valid as a mirror of events during [the] winter [of 1912–13]". Paula, like Charmian, is subject to insomnia and is unable to bear children. Based on a reading of Charmian's diary, Stasz identifies Evan Graham with two real-life men named Laurie Smith and Allan Dunn. (Wikipedia)
Ink ownership signature on front free endpaper dated Christmas 1918, volume with slight rubbing at corners and spine ends. Jacket a bit toned and soiled, wear at edges, a few chips, two about a half-inch, one on front panel affecting two letters of the title, the other at spine head not affecting lettering else near fine in about very good jacket.