London: Chapman and Hall, 1904. Item #04021
"Tell it to the Marines"
A Near Fine Copy in the Original Pictorial Dust Jacket
With Eight Half-Tone Plates by Arthur Rackham
[RACKHAM, Arthur]. DRURY, Major W.P. The Peradventures of Private Pagett. With Eight Illustrations by Arthur Rackham. London: Chapman and Hall, 1904.
First edition. Octavo. (7 5/16 x 4 13/16 inches; 185 x 122 mm). , 242,  pp. Eight half-tone plates by Rackham.
Publisher's orange-red cloth pictorially stamped and lettered in black on front cover and spine. Minimal rubbing to extremities, light marginal foxing throughout. Complete with the very scarce publisher's light gray pictorial dust jacket.
A near fine copy - the first in dust jacket that we have ever seen.
"There is nothing serious about the stories of Mr. Pagett, ex-private of Marines, and some of them are very amusing. The most entertaining in the book is the account of "The Lower-Deck Tantum Club," (pp. 97-127) which spread confusion through the whole of Malta by driving a " single- horse " tandem pell-mell through the island. People who like comic sketches dealing with both "Services" (Private Pagett was "soldier and sailor too"), and who are not wearied by the account of the hero's perpetual drunkenness, will be amused by this short collection of stories of land and sea. (The Spectator Archive).
Lieutenant-Colonel William Price Drury CBE (1861-1949) was a Royal Marine Light Infantry officer, novelist, playwright, and Mayor of Saltash from 1929 to 1931. Drury was the author of a range of plays and novels, many with naval themes. He wrote The Peradventures of Private Pagett in 1904. Perhaps his best known play The Flag Lieutenant (1908) was filmed three times: twice as a silent film - in 1919 by Percy Nash and in 1926 by Maurice Elvey - and then again for sound in 1932 by Henry Edwards. The Further Adventures of the Flag Lieutenant was also filmed in 1927, after the huge success of Elvey's adaptation. The preface of Drury's collection The Tadpole of an Archangel (1898) helped to popularize the expression 'Tell it to the Marines.' Drury attributed the phrase to Charles II reporting that the King made the remark to Samuel Pepys. Drury later admitted the attribution was a fabrication. Drury also wrote a poem entitled The Dead Marines in tribute to the Royal Marines after the Duke of Clarence supposedly called empty alcohol bottles "Dead Marines". The Royal Marines Barracks at Stonehouse, Plymouth have a Drury Room containing his desk and memorabilia.
Riall, p. 61; Latimore and Haskell p. 23.