Cruikshank's Plague — “It's my Cousin, M'am” & “The Cats Did It”
Mayhew, Augustus, & Henry Mayhew. The greatest plague of life, or, The adventures of a lady in search of a good servant. London: David Bogue, 1847. 8vo (18.5 cm, 7.25"). I: 48 pp.; 2 plts. II: [16 (adv.)], 49–96 pp.; 2 plts. III: [2 (adv.)], 97–144 pp.; 2 plts. IV: [16 (adv.)], 145–92 pp.; 2 plts. V: [16 (adv.)], 193–240, [8 )adv.)] pp.; 2 plts. VI: [16 (adv.)], 241–86,  pp.; 2 plts.
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First edition, in original parts, illustrated with12 etched plates and a cover “Glyphograph” by George Cruikshank. Written by regular Punch contributors the Mayhew brothers and told in the first person, this novel treats a subject often visited in Punch: the comically ineffective servant girl. Cruikshank's witty illustrations are “expansively good-natured,” according to Robert L. Patten in George Cruikshank: A Revaluation (p. 118), and emphasize the joyful absurdity of their subjects.
Issued in six monthly installments in printed wrappers, the sextet is contained in a red morocco and cloth clamshell case.
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NSTC 2M21803; Cohn, Bibliographical Catalogue of the Works Illustrated by George Cruikshank, 527. Clamshell case as above, spine with gilt-stamped publication information. Wrappers age-toned, especially so on pt. I, and with small stains on pts. I and VI; spine and edges of pt. I rubbed. Pages and plates clean. (23942)
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