[1905 in dust jacket] With Illustrations by F H. Townsend. London: Macmillan and Co., 1905. Original white cloth with gilt vignette, with dust jacket.
First Separate Edition (having first appeared, unillustrated, in TRAFFICS AND DISCOVERIES the year before). This is
an allegory of a limbo of lost children tended by a blind woman, children who are not yet ready for Heaven and come back for a space to inhabit earth... The agony of the past, the yearning for Josephine [Kipling's daughter, who had died of pneumonia at the age of seven in 1899], the grief for all dead children are to be found in THEY. [Birkenhead]
'THEY' is printed on the recto only of each leaf, and is beautifully illustrated with 15 Townsend color plates.
This copy is of the first issue, with the printer's name "Bemrose Dalziel Ltd." on p. 80. It is in fine condition (volume slightly askew), with none of the cover soil typical for this white cloth; this is largely due to the presence of the very scarce dust jacket (likewise first state -- withOUT the Macmillan logo on the front panel). The jacket has minor spotting, and small chips or tears at some corners, but is quite whole and in no way "improved" -- and in any event is quite scarce). Richards A203; Stewart 303. Housed in a cloth slipcase with leather label, with inner chemise. Item #14101