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DOYLE, Sir Arthur Conan. Autograph manuscript of the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton," signed three times ("A Conan Doyle" in two places, "Arthur Conan
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DOYLE, Sir Arthur Conan. Autograph manuscript of the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton," signed three times ("A Conan Doyle" in two places, "Arthur Conan Doyle" at end), written "Undershaw, Hindhead," n.d. [ca.1904, published 1904, collected in The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1905)]. [With:] STEELE, Frederic Dorr, artist. Original drawing of the character Charles Augustus Milverton, made in 1904 and published with the story in its first appearance in Collier's. Pen-and ink and black crayon on paper, 225 x 185mm. approximately, framed.\n\n22 pages, folio, 321 x 201mm., neatly penned in dark ink on rectos only of sheets of ledger-ruled foolscap (a typical paper for Doyle), consisting of the author's calligraphic title-page: "Sherlock Holmes Series The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton A Conan Doyle Original Manuscript," text of the story on 21 pages. The first page headed by Doyle: "The Return of Sherlock Holmes VII The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton" (Doyle's original title "The Adventure of the Worst Man in London" has been neatly lined through and the new title added by the author); the printer's copy, with word-count in pencil at top of first page text ("6,800 wds"). THE TEXT EXHIBITING SOME 70 AUTHORIAL EMENDATIONS AND DELETIONS, the majority in ink (probably made during first writing), others apparently made at an intermediate point, some 15 in purple pencil likely added at a final stage. These and many variations from the printed text are carefully tabulated by Peter Richard in The Milverton Manuscript: An Analysis, London: The Milvertonians of Hampstead, 1963. The manuscript is partially paginated by Doyle in pencil at top left corners (omitting 1,4,19,20,21). BOUND FOR THE AUTHOR in simple vellum over paper boards, plain glazed endpapers. Upper cover inscribed by the author: "Sherlock Holmes A Conan Doyle The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton." (Boards slightly bowed, minor soiling). Enclosed in a cloth chemise and half red morocco slipcase.\n\nHOLMES AND WATSON IN "THE ADVENTURE OF CHARLES AUGUSTUS MILVERTON"\nThe story, a dark tale of high-society blackmail set in fashionable Hampstead, features a memorable villain, Charles Augustus Milverton. The great detective himself brands Milverton "the worst man in London...the King of all the blackmailers." Doyle depicts him as "a man of fifty, with a large intellectual head, a round, plump, hairless face, perpetual frozen smile, and two keen grey eyes, which gleamed brightly from behind broad, golden-rimmed glasses. There was something of Mr. Pickwick's benevolence in his appearance, marred only by the insincerity of the fixed smile and by the hard glitter of restless and penetrating eyes. His voice was as smooth and suave as his countenance." Elsewhere in the story, Holmes tells Watson that Milverton reminds him of a venemous serpent: "I've had to do with fifty murderers in my career, but the worst of them never gave me the repulsion which I have for this fellow." The story is the only one in which Holmes, posing as the plumber, Escott, gets engaged (to Agatha, the housmaid, in search of evidence), and the only one in which Holmes commits burglary.\n\n"The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton" was first published in Collier's for March 26, 1904 with illustrations by Frederic Dorr Steele, and republished in The Strand Magazine for April 1904 (with illustrations by Sidney Paget). It was first collected in book form as the seventh story in The Return of Sherlock Holmes (London, 1905).\n\nProvenance: A. Conan Doyle -- George B. Baker of Paterson, New Jersey (sale, American Art Association, 30 January 1923, lot 246) -- William Randolph Hearst -- Edgar W. Smith, successor to Christopher Morley as head of the Baker Street Irregulars of America, purchased from Scribner's in the 1940s -- Carl H. Anderson, who acquired the Smith Collection en bloc in the 1960s -- The present owner, purchased from the House of El Dieff, New York, 1975. (2)
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