JAMES, Henry. A Small Boy and Others. London, 1913.
8°(225 x 140mm.). Photogravure portrait (title lightly spotted). Original cloth (slightly rubbed). Provenance: HOWARD STURGIS'S COPY, front endpaper signed and dated April 1913 by Sturgis, with family tree drawn in ink on front pastedown, together with an IMPORTANT AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED from Henry James to Howard Sturgis, 105 Pall Mall [London], '12th or 13th May 1913', giving details of James's family (relating to this volume of autobiography), 10 pages, written on five leaves, 255 x 205mm, enclosed in a pocket at end inscribed and initialled by Sturgis, 'H.J.'s answers to certain questions of mine on matters of his family history a propos of this book'. Also enclosed in the book is a typewritten letter signed by Henry James to the Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University, Lamb House, 24 October 1912, declining to give an address under the Leslie Stephen lectureship on the grounds of his ill health, 2 pages, 4to, and a letter from Donald Brien to John Sparrow referring to James's letter to Sturgis.
An interesting association copy, with a fine letter, written with great warmth and affection, in reply to a letter from Sturgis commenting on Henry James's recently published story of his early years. 'Your letter is adorable; only how can I do anything towards clearing up those pale antediluvian spectres when I want so just to circle round and round you?..However your enquiries touch me deeply as showing the sweetness of your interest - and there isn't really much of a muddle'. James proceeds, in nine numbered paragraphs, to untangle the complicated web of relationships between his innumerable cousins, uncles and aunts, among them Lydia 'the mother of the 'inimitable' Masons of Tours and Paris', and his uncle Howard who 'became of an almost épouvantable badness, alas later on - of about the same intensity as your goodness'. In a splendid last paragraph James also refers with a mixture of admiration and alarm to Edith Wharton who had at last obtained her divorce from her profligate husband, 'Teddy is now definitely and legally 'put away' (I mean divorced - and incomed) by formal process of french law; the whole business terminated and consummated. And how I both long and shudder (though that's a rude word) to see the great author, or authoress of the deed'.
Howard Sturgis(1854-1920), English-born and educated at Eton and Cambridge, was the son of Bostonian friends of Henry James's youth. James held him in great affection, often visiting him at his house at Windsor ('I do want to come down for or toward tea time only & shall presently have proposed it'). He concludes charmingly 'But its you dearest Howard who are the object of the utterest Sehnsucht of your tenderest old Henry James'. This is the only letter from the important Henry James/Howard Sturgis correspondence which is not at Harvard University.