Page 10 - September 2017
P. 10

|  Noble Truths  |                                  |  Ron Prosser   (9405)  |


            ome little time ago I was given a   me in the loss of my dear, gentle,
            beautiful book as an example of   and aff ectionate brother. Only by his
       Shand book-binding, and what a        loving and cheerful co-operation have
       remarkable treasure it has turned out   the ‘Noble Truths’ contained in this
       to be.                                volume been collected; and they are
         The volume is full-bound in red     through God’s blessing, a source of true
       leather using a heavy board case with   comfort and strength to me in my great
       chamfered edges, and a rounded,       bereavement. W.H.W.”
       5-corded spine with a hollow. The       So there was a deceased loving
       front, back and spine are gold-tooled   brother – older, younger, twin,
       including, amazingly, the turn-ins    perhaps. I had to know more.
       on both covers and the top, tail and     Kelly’s 1901 Directory for
       foredges of the covers and the spine.   Abergavenny came up trumps. W.H.W
       Surprisingly there is no headband.    of The Pentré was undoubtedly Lieut-
       The book block of 284 pages has been   Col. William Henry Wheeley, DL, JP.
       immaculately gilded on all three edges   He was Chairman of the Bench, and he
       and red and gold marble endpapered.   lived with his brother Lieut-Col. James
         It is a real joy to hold and to handle.  Seager Wheeley, DL.
         The text typeface looks like Caslon,     They were two military men of the
       with headings in an earlier version of   Royal Monmouth Engineer Militia, and
       Stephenson Blake’s Bologna. The page   my guess is that William was the older,
       size is 7” x 4½”.                     for the London Gazette showed that at
         Having dealt with all these technical   a later time William became a Colonel.
       details, the extra interest for me    The only military campaign I can so far
       came with the imprint on the Title    trace was on 11 November 1834, when
       Page clearly stating ‘Privately Printed   William was involved in quelling a riot
       and Not for Sale’. An early personal   of miners in West Bromwich, so I am
       indulgence from someone after my own   left wondering more about two soldiers
       heart! But who was he or she? There is   who lived together and produced a
       no author listed, but the preface gave   compassionate private book of Noble
       a clue as it concluded with the initials   Truths being quotations from well-
       W.H.W. and an address, The Pentré,    known authors which inspired and
       Abergavenny, December, 1901.          consoled them.
         The book had been printed by Hazel,    The fi rst chapter of Noble Truths is
       Watson and Viney, that prestigious    appropriately for us about books and
       printing company, so it was obviously   I have suggested to our editor that he
       ordered by a wealthy individual; but   may like to include one or two as fi llers
       there was no point in contacting them   in future editions of Small Printer, so
       for they were long gone.              here is Noble Truth 1 as an example:
         There was one other clue, however,   “I have somewhere seen it observed
       in the Dedication, which was ‘To      that we should make the same use of
       My Brother’ with a sad little note:   a Book that the bee does of a fl ower;
       “Before the contents of this book were   she steals sweets from it, but does not
       placed in the printer’s hands, a deep   injure it.”
       and heavy sorrow has fallen upon      This is attributed to Colton.
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