When he lent out books, he wrote his name on the front free endpaper, and added a formula that indicated that the book had not become the property of the borrower. In his biography about Ricketts, Paul Delaney referred to such a copy from the collection of Dr Robert Hillenbrand. Upon inquiry it appeared that Dr. Hillenbrand still has this book in his possession and he sent some scans for this blog (for which I sincerely thank Dr. Robert Hillenbrand).
The inscription reads:
This belongs to C.S. Ricketts & not to R. Wills.
|Maurice Maeterlinck, The Life of the Bee (1901):|
owner's inscription of Charles Ricketts
(Collection Dr Robert Hillenbrand)
|Postcard from Maurice Maeterlinck to Charles Ricketts,|
15 January 1921 (Collection Dr Robert Hillenbrand)
This copy was acquired from Henry Sotheran on 3 February 1937. It had been sold before in 1933, by Christie's, in an auction of "valuable books on the fine arts from the collection of C.H. Shannon, Esq., R.A. and the late Charles Ricketts, Esq., R.A."
From this we can conclude that the inscription had done its job. R. Wills had understood that this was not her or his book and had neatly returned it to the lender.