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DOYLE, Arthur Conan (1859-1930). Manuscript journal, “Baby’s Book,” 1909 – 1916. 16 pp., small 8vo notebook bound in leather-backed card. Forty-eight pages total, final 32-pages blank.
THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN 
DOYLE, Arthur Conan (1859-1930). Manuscript journal, “Baby’s Book,” 1909 – 1916. 16 pp., small 8vo notebook bound in leather-backed card. Forty-eight pages total, final 32-pages blank.

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DOYLE, Arthur Conan (1859-1930). Manuscript journal, “Baby’s Book,” 1909 – 1916. 16 pp., small 8vo notebook bound in leather-backed card. Forty-eight pages total, final 32-pages blank.

“WHO IS HE? A COMMON DOYLE!”

A loving journal of the birth and early growth of three of Conan Doyle’s five children, Denis Percy Stewart (17 March 1909 – 9 March 1955), Adrian Malcolm (19 November 1910 – 3 June 1970). And Jean Lena Annette (1912-1997). We see not just the doting parent, but the novelist's eye for the telling hints of character and the story-teller's pleasure in amusing anecdotes. Most of the journal is devoted to Denis: “Baby was born March 17th about 6 p.m.,” it begins. “St. Patrick’s Day 1909. He was christened Denis Stewart Percy Conan Doyle. April 17th... Began to crow a little – googa noises – when about one month old.... Aug. 3. In splendid form. Developed a very rouguish laugh. More alert.” Two years later Doyle notes that baby Denis “showed some curious characteristics.” When he’s “had enough of anyone or anything he always said Ta Ta. ‘Ta Ta, man!’ To the doctor…and so on.... He is a remarkable mimic, taking off the exact note & tone. He should have a very clear ear for music.” Another child now makes an appearance in the journal: “Little Adrian (3 months old) weighs 10 lbs 6 ounces which is just the same as Denis at the same age.” The interaction between Denis, Adrian and Doyle’s youngest, Jean Lena Annette (referred to only as Baby in the journal) make for some amusing entries: “His mother having reproached Denis by saying that Adrian & Baby took their medicine well, he said ‘Brave souls!’” Denis’s wit comes through in this “Story of Dennis [ca. 1916]. He pretended all day to be the German Emperor. On being told that I would be angry he said, ‘Who is he? A common Doyle!’”

In an entry form about 1916, Doyle records that “Adrian asked if God was listening to his conversation. On being told that he was he said, ‘Well, it’s very rude of him.’ Baby who had quarreled with Adrian but who had to include him in [her] prayers said, ‘God bless horrid Adrian.’” Another theological query (from which child is unclear) closes the journal: “‘Would Christ play cricket.’ ‘Yes, if it would give pleasure.’ ‘I wonder if he could bowl Googlies.’”

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