Consequences. A Novel ... in three Volumes ...

London: Richard Bentley and Son ... 1891.

3 vols., 8vo., titles printed in red and black, original publisher’s dark red ribbed cloth in check-patterns, small stain on the upper cover of volume I, and a short tear to the spine of volume I, otherwise a very good copy.


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First edition. A hasty marriage to a beautiful Spanish girl leads the young army officer George Kerr to repent at leisure. After a violent domestic quarrel in which he assaults his young wife, appalled at ‘the horror of the disgrace he had brought upon his manhood’, Kerr attempts suicide. The gun fails. Instead he fakes his own death by drowning, leaving his clothes on the shore and departing for South America under an assumed name.

The story resumes twenty-five years later when Kerr (alias David Fergus) returns from the New World having achieved fame and fortune as a colonel in the Confederate Army. Only now does he discover that he is the father of a grown son, and the consequences of the impulsive actions of his youth become clear.

The author was a lieutenant in the Second West India Regiment and afterwards a captain in the Royal Engineers Militia. He was also an expert swordsman, for many years amateur champion of Great Britain, hence the lengthy scene involving student duelling at Heidelberg University. Later he became a newspaper proprietor in Liverpool. Consequences was his first novel. Bentley Private List, 12 January 1891; Wolff 1146.

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