JAMES, Henry (1843-1916). The Ambassadors. London: Methuen, 1903. 8° (slight worming at lower margin in last third of book, occasional spots). Original cloth (spine faded, slightly frayed at head and with small soil mark near foot, minor damp mark on front cover, a few wormholes to lower cover, inner hinges slightly split). PRESENTATION COPY TO F.M. HUEFFER, the front free endpaper inscribed, "For Ford Madox Hueffer Henry James September 29th 1903".
FIRST EDITION. Hueffer first met hs literary idol in 1896, but their friendship did not become established until 1901, when the Hueffers moved to Winchelsea, within walking distance of Lamb House, James's residence in Rye. In his biography (Henry James: The Master, 1901-1916, 1972, pp. 38-45), Edel questions whether James ever had any feelings except contempt for the brash young writer with his Pre-Raphaelite background, and in Return to Yesterday Hueffer certainly gives an ambiguous account of his reception at their first meeting. However, the emergence of these presentation copies from James to Hueffer does indicate that, for a period at least, there was mutual regard between them. Even though their friendship was irreparably damaged by Hueffer's desertion of his wife, Elsie, for Violet Hunt, James was among the contributors to the first issue of Hueffer's English Review (in a letter to Violet, he described the Hueffer's divorce as "painfully unedifying"). Edel & Laurence A58.