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Gertrude Winn [and 5 other Novels]

 
Gertrude Winn [and 5 other Novels] by ROSS, Ellen, Nelsie Brook; William Mcgregor Ross (1863)

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Author: ROSS, Ellen, Nelsie Brook; William Mcgregor Ross
Title: Gertrude Winn; Or Our Nation's Curse: How it Works in Homes. A Story from Real Life [with] A Candle Lighted by the Lord: A Life Story for the Old and the Young, and the Rich and the Poor [3 copies, with] Little Mother Mattie [with] The Angel's Charge...
 
Year: 1863
Publisher: S W Partridge [&] Swan Sonnenschein [7] George Allen and Unwin
Place: London
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: Yes
 
Price: £200
 
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A collection from two talented generations of the same family comprising six novels by Nelsie Brook, later Mrs Ellen Ross, five of them inscribed to her son the early twentieth century Kenyan colonial administrator William McGregor Ross, together with his own hard-hitting assessment of the future for Kenya under the colonial yoke. Mrs Ross grew up in Cheltenham as Nelsie Brook in the 1840s and '50s, setting her first novel in nearby Bristol before achieving some success as the writer of pious Victorian fiction. Her childhood diaries (held by the Bodleian Library in Oxford) record a comfortable middle class childhood of regular church attendance at the Countess of Huntingdon's Chapel with the occasional excitement of a visiting preacher such as the glamorous John Bartholomew Gough who made a great impression on the young Brook, but also a childhood overshadowed by the death of her brother in 1859. All these ingredients appear in her novels the first of which is a Temperance tale set in Bristol and the second, written under her married name and inscribed decades later to her son William McGregor Ross, concludes with a child's harrowing death. The books have stayed in the family until recently and are in excellent condition. Five of the six are inscribed to her son, William McGregor Ross (sometimes spelled 'MacGregor', sometimes 'McGregor') who rose to become a high-ranking colonial official in the British East African Protectorate where he served as Director of Public Works and after retirement published an influential assessment of the country, Kenya from Within; the family copy of this book is here, annotated by his sister with excerpts from contemporary reviews. (The Bodleian also holds Ross's journal of her 1911 visit to her son in East Africa which offers a remarkable account of life in late colonial Kenya.) The seven volumes are as follows: Nelsie Brook, Gertrude Winn; Or Our Nation's Curse: How it Works in Homes. A Story from Real Life, London William Tweedie, 1863, later full pebbled morocco, gilt. Mrs Ellen Ross, A Candle Lighted by the Lord: A Life Story for the Old and the Young, and the Rich and the Poor, 1876, Strahan and Co, a fine copy inscribed on the first blank: 'William MacGregor Ross from Mother - Ellen Ross Dec. 4, 1913' (William McGregor Ross was still serving in East Africa at this time so this gift was presumably made during one of this trips to England.) Mrs Ellen Ross, Little Mother Mattie, 1880, William Mullan and Son, London and Belfast, three novellas, fine cloth, gilt, inscribed on half title: 'William MacGregor Ross, from Mother - Ellen Ross. Dec 4, 1913.' [Mrs Ellen Ross] A Candle Lighted by the Lord. 1887, William Mullan and Son, Belfast, fine cloth, gilt, inscribed on half title: 'William MacGregor Ross, from Mother - Ellen Ross. Dec 4, 1913.' Ellen Ross, The Angel's Charge and other Stories, 1888, Swan Sonnenschein, fine cloth, gilt, inscribed on verso of first blank: 'William MacGregor Ross, from his Mother on the day of publication. March 14. 1888.' Mrs Ross, A Candle Lighted by the Lord, S W Patridge, no date, c 1900, inscribed on first blank: 'William MacGregor Ross, from Mother - Ellen Ross. Dec 4, 1913.' William McGregor Ross, Kenya From Within, A Short Political History, 1927. George Allen and Unwin, pp 486. Publisher's black cloth, worn. Slip of paper laid in: 'This was Aunt Nellie's (E.B.Ross) [William's sister] copy. She made the press-notice excerpts. N. McG.R. Aug '69'. Front paste-down and first blank covered with 'Very brief excerpts from Press Notices' evidently copied by WMR's proud sibling.
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