KINGSLEY, Charles; PATON, J. Illustrator
The Water-Babies: A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby
London & Cambridge: Macmillan, 1863. Small square octavo. (8 x 6 1/8 inches). [viii], , 3-350, [1 advertisement], 1 blank. Without the L'Envoi leaf which was canceled early on by Kingsley. Inserted frontispiece and full-page illustration opposite p. 145. With eight large engraved initial chapter letters. Gift inscription on front flyleaf.
Original green fine-grain cloth, front cover with gilt triple-rule border enclosing a pictorial gilt center device depicting Tom, a Fish and a Sea-Horse. Spine ruled and lettered in gilt. Dark brown coated endpapers, top edge gilt. With the binders ticket of Burn of Kirby St., on the rear pastedown.
First edition, second state.
Charles Kingsley was a rural vicar in Victorian England, and the "land-baby" of the sub-title was his youngest son, five-year-old Grenville Arthur. In writing this fairy tale about the underwater adventures of Tom, a chimney-sweep's climbing-boy, Kingsley uttered many a sermon. But along with his zeal for Anglican Christianity he also brought into play his enthusiasm for nature and his strong sense of indignation at the Victorian practice of using small children as laborers. The sole difference between the first and second states is the removal of the L'Envoi leaf. The first state "contains a leaf bearing a poem, L'Envoi. Kingsley had second thoughts about this while the book was being printed, and he had the leaf removed, but not before a few hundred copies of the book had already gone forth." (Gottlieb, Early Children's Books and Their Illustration, 113).