Allahabad: A.H. Wheeler & Co., 1891. 4 preliminary + 5 pp undated ads. Original diagonally-divided red and blue cloth.
First (Suppressed) Edition. A.H. Wheeler, publisher of the "Indian Railway Series," had been Kipling's authorized publisher in India. However, after Kipling left India for England, Wheeler promptly prepared for publication three more collections of Kipling pieces, without authority: THE CITY OF DREADFUL NIGHT AND OTHER SKETCHES, THE SMITH ADMINISTRATION and LETTERS OF MARQUE. Kipling insisted that all three editions be entirely destroyed, and today there is only one known copy of the first title and only six known copies of the second title. But LETTERS OF MARQUE does turn up: although it was estimated that only about 100 (out of 1,000 printed) copies escaped destruction, the book today does not seem to be that scarce.
This copy, as with most known copies, has a Wheeler price stamp on the front free endpaper, plus a stamp showing this copy's date of dispatch from the publisher's premises (17 Nov '91 -- the book was published in October). The volume is in very good-plus condition, with a bit of wear at one corner of the spine, and the typical minor "lifting" of the cloth. For some reason, this book almost always turns up in this approximate condition. Richards A61 (citing ink-stamped dates ranging from 5 Oct 1891 to 11 Jan 1892; most copies we have seen bore a date in November); Stewart 95; Livingston 74. Item #14735