Paris: Calmann Lévy, 1881. First Edition. Slim octavo (23.5cm.); contemporary half brown morocco over marbled boards by R. Raparlier, gilt spine in six compartments, top edge gilt, marbled endpapers, publisher's green printed front wrapper bound in; ,95pp. Leather a bit dried and rubbed with a few faint surface scratches, brief paper flaw to front pastedown from previously removed ex libris, minor soil to bound-in front wrapper, else a Very Good, internally sound copy, in attractive contemporary binding. Item #1343
With tipped in 2pp. autograph letter, signed, on first two panels of single folded sheet of plain blue paper, original mailing envelope included. Addressed to Monsieur Mallarmé, 89 rue de Rome, Paris, the poet and critic Stéphane Mallarmé's residence from 1875 until his death in 1898. Though undated, almost certainly penned in the early spring of 1879 based on the contents of the letter, as follows:
"Monsieur et cher confrère, Je crains bien d'étre en retard de quelques jours. Je ne me souviens plus si c'est le 20 ou le 25 que je vous ai envoyé ma cotisation le mois dernier. Mettons, si vous le voulez bien le 25 pour l'avenir et je serai exact. J'espère que le malade va mieux et que le printemps qui se décide à venir luis sera de bon secours. Croyez, Monsieur et confrère, à tous mes sentiments dévoués. A. Dumas fils." ["Dear sir and colleague, I'm afraid of being late by a few days. I can't remember if it was the 20th or the 25th that I sent you my dues last month. Let's say, if you don't mind, the 25th from now on and I shall be exact. I hope the convalescent [le malade] is better and that the coming spring will bring him health. Believe me, Sir and colleague, I am your devoted A. Dumas fils" (our translation).]
Most likely the letter concerns late dues paid for Dumas' membership to the literary club of the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, founded by Charles Nodier, and headed at the time by Mallarmé. The patient to whom Dumas refers is Mallarmé's eight-year-old son Anatole, who succumbed to endocarditis later that year, the greatest tragedy of the poet's life, and the inspiration of numerous poems published under the title "Pour un Tombeau d'Anatole."