Just So Stories For Little Children.
With illustrations by the author.London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1902 Stock Code: 137861
Inscribed by the authorFirst edition, third printing (two months after the first), inscribed by the author, "Janet Aitken from her obliged and obedient servant the author Jul. 1911", on the title page; Kipling has struck through his printed name and signed it below. Then three years old, Janet Gladys Kidd, née Aitken, later Campbell, later Montagu (1908-1988), was the daughter of Kipling's close friend Max Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook, the highly influential Canadian-British newspaper tycoon and politician; this copy has the Beaverbrook bookplate to the front pastedown.
Beaverbrook and Kipling met in 1910 when Beaverbrook relocated his family to the UK from Canada. In her autobiography, Janet recalls Kipling, whom as a child she nicknamed "Mr Sad": "He had a drooping moustache and never seemed to smile... I felt a bit sorry for him but never said so because he never seemed to notice I was there... He would stand staring soulfully at us as we clattered past... I was always pleased to see him" (p. 18-19). Kipling advised Beaverbrook on the purchase of Cherkely Court, his Surrey country house, and became godfather to Beaverbrook's youngest son, Peter. Later a rift developed between Beaverbrook and Kipling, who endorsed Irish Home Rule. Janet recalled her sadness at his departure from Cherkely: Kipling "had come to seem as much a part of the house as we were. It was all about Ireland, I knew that... For Kipling, sad, dear Rudyard Kipling, the British Empire was life itself. He could not watch any part of it die. He wrote a poem in the Cherkley visitors book... 'The four best gifts beneath the sun, Love peace and health and honest friends'" (pp. 46-47). Despite the efforts of Janet and Kipling's daughter Elsie, the two never reconciled.
Signed copies of this title are rare, especially with such a close association; just six other inscribed copies are known.
Large octavo. Original red pictorial cloth, titles to spine and front cover in black and white. Housed in a red cloth flat-back box by the Chelsea Bindery.
With 22 full-page illustrations by the author.
Spine faded, covers otherwise bright, extremities a little frayed and rubbed, contents slightly foxed, rear hinge partly cracked but holding; a very good copy.
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