The Dinner Knell: Elegy in an English Dining-Room.

London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 36 Essex Street W.C.; [printed by] Butler & Tanner Ltd., [1932].

Small octavo (19.5 x 12 cm.), 137, [1] pages. FIRST EDITION. A collection of thoughts – not quite idle thoughts – "gastronomical, literary, and political (though heedless of ephemeral policies)" from the preface. Welby was an interesting character, born and raised in India by parents who forbade him from speaking English until the age of six, he became a journalist, a war correspondent, and a literary critic. Most interest in Swinburne and Arthur Simmons, he was decidedly a Victorian and Edwardian living in a later time. This book, dedicated to his friend André Simon, spends much time ruminating on English cuisine, in the context of the many influences found in the restaurants and in cookbooks of the 19th century. He was politically to the right, and seemed keenly aware that the aristocratic culture he was so fond of was fading fast in the first third of the 20th century. His writing is concise and very pleasant, and there are many interesting observations throughout. Some toning to endpapers, a few light marks to a few pages and to text block edges. In publisher's red cloth, gilt-titled and decorated, with a bit of light soil, and a small water stain to the top edge of the rear board. With a small rubber stamp, "Cayless", presumed an ownership stamp, to the front paste down, and again, in slightly different form, to the title page. Overall, near very good. Scarce.

Price: $150.00