HUEFFER, Ford Madox (1873-1939). The 'Half Moon'. A Romance of the Old World and the New. London: Eveleigh Nash, 1909. 8° (occasional spotting). Original blue cloth, lettered in black and gilt. PRESENTATION COPY, front free endpaper inscribed "To Mary, Ford Madox Hueffer 18th March MCMIX".
FIRST EDITION of this historical novel, set in the 17th century, in which the English witch of Rye, Anne Jed, eventually causes the death of the hero who has failed to return her love. The earliest review noted by Harvey is dated 19 March 1909, the day after this copy was inscribed. The recipient was almost certainly Hueffer's sister-in-law, Mary Martindale, with whom it is speculated he began an affair some time between 1901 and 1903. Saunders observes that he may have been preoccupied by Mary even before 1901, for in The Inheritors, completed a year before the move to Winchelsea, the narrator, Etchingham Granger, has fallen hopelessly in love with a nameless lady who lives with him as his sister. However, by March 1909, the date of his unemotive inscription, the affair would have been over; Hueffer was living in London, engaged in both his editorship of The English Review and his blossoming relationship with the novelist, Violet Hunt, daughter of the Pre-Raphaelite painter, Alfred Hunt. Harvey A27.