Very Pleased to Meet You

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A young man stands on a doorstep as a stout, middle-aged woman opens the door to let him in
Very pleased to meet you, Madam... || The devil take her, I thought she was at vespers.

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The Getty Research Institute, the Internet Archive

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Description

A young man stands on a doorstep with his hat in his hands as a stout, middle-aged woman opens the door to let him in, and her daughter does some needlework by the window in the background.
This series relies, for its comic effect, on the fact that people, sometimes, do not quite mean what they say. The first part of the caption is what the characters actually say, the second is what they really think.

The caption reads in the original French: Enchanté, madame, de vous rencontrer… || Le diable l’emporte, je la croyais à vêpres.

This book is missing all the usual markers of regular book publishing: it has no title page, no author’s or artist’s name, no publication date, no colophon. It is made of a consistent series of thirty hand-colored and numbered lithographs sorted in ascending order, followed by the publisher’s catalog. It seems possible that they were privately bound together on behalf of Caroline Janetta, Countess of Essex (whose bookplate can be found on the inside cover), but never publicly released in book form. The date we mention (which applies only to the lithographs: the catalog was printed at a later date) is informed by the publisher’s address, which changed during the course of 1841.

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