London: Eyre and Spottiswode, 1901. Original pale green and brown cloth (5 3/4 inches tall), decorated in gilt, coated endpapers, all edges gilt. Faint toning to center, small blemsh to front board, else Fine. Item #1430
"WE FIRST PRAY FOR THE KING AND THE ROYAL FAMILY...WHEN A NATION GROWS CARELESS AND FOGETS TO PRAY, GOD OFTEN SENDS A BAD KING"
First edition of these instructions on the Faith of the Church of England for younger readers—bound in a splendid Art Nouveau-style binding and illustrated with a frontispiece photograph of a child kneeling at evening prayer. Very charming.
Composed of 52 chapters—one for each Sunday—the Child's Guide to the Book of Common Prayer is preceded with "Of Such," the author's brief Introductory Letter or Preface: "A strange title is it not? Well, if you read the first fifty-one chapters and then the last one, I think you will find out that whoever you may be—boy or girl, rich or poor, clever or ignorant—you are really one of those whom the title indicates; it is your happiest possession. Your sincere friend, Ernest Esdaile." Published in the year of Queen Victoria's death, chapter XX ("The Two State Prayers") mentions that "we have as a nation sustained the severest blow of modern times by the passing of our beloved Queen." Esdaile advises his young readers: "We pray first for the King and the Royal Family" because he cautions, "when a nation grows careless and forgets to pray, God often sends a bad king." Printed for Eyre and Spottiswoode ("His Majesty's Printers") under the General Editorship of Charlotte M. Yonge, the book is dedicated by Esdaile: "To My Son, Dudley, Whose conduct both in and out of Church has inspired the idea, I affectionately dedicate 'The Child's Guide to the Book of Common Prayer.'"