The Young Kipling
In the latter part of the nineteenth century an American girl married an Englishman who had been appointed by Lord Salisbury to fill the chair of Science at the Muir Central College, Allahabad University, at Allahabad, India. The following are extracts from her diary and from letters written to her home people
ALLAHABAD, December 1887
Dear C. — I've met an unusually interesting man with the uncommon name of Rudyard Kipling. It happened this way. We were invited to dine with the Allens, who are neighbors. Mr. Allen, the proprietor of the Pioneer of Allahabad and of the Civil and Military Gazette of Lahore, is always on the lookout for the best material for his papers. Some very interesting articles have been appearing in the Pioneer entitled 'Letters of Marque,' which were unsigned, and we were all inquiring as to the author, who had supposedly come from the Punjab.
When we were seated at table, and conversation was in full swing, my partner called my attention to a short dark-haired man of uncertain age, with a heavy moustache and wearing very thick glasses, who sat opposite, saying: 'That is Rudyard Kipling, who has just come from Lahore to be on the staff of the Pi. He is writing those charming sketches of the native states, "Letters of Marque," which the Pi is publishing.'
Of course I was interested at once, for I had been fascinated by these unusual articles so cleverly written. The author has struck a new vein, and everyone was talking about the information he displayed.
Mr. Kipling looks about forty, as he is beginning to be bald, but he is in reality just twenty-two. He was animation itself, telling his stories admirably, so that those about him were kept in gales of laughter. He fairly scintillated, but when more sober topics were discussed he was posted along all lines.
After dinner, when the men joined the ladies in the drawing-room, evidently the rising young author had marked me for an American, and, seeking copy perhaps, he came to the fireplace where I was standing and began questioning me about my homeland. I am surprised at his knowledge of people and places. He is certainly worth knowing, and we shall ask him to dinner soon.
Life in an Indian Station is varied, and one great pleasure is the opportunity of meeting delightful people. I must explain that the Pioneer is the leading newspaper of India. It is a sheet of abounding interest to all Government servants, because it publishes a list of promotions, sailings, and everything that is important for the Anglo-Indian exile to know. There are Reuter telegrams covering the news of the world, English letters by noted correspondents, local items, which, with its dignified literary style, combine to make its daily appearance an event.
Dear People: We give a garden party to-morrow. I never saw more perfect turf. About twenty old women have been squatting down picking out each stray weed and bottling it, while Umar the head gardener looks on. There are two fine tennis courts and six badminton courts where we can accommodate six or eight players at each. A badminton court is smaller than a tennis court, the net being narrower and higher. The game is played with racquet and feathered cork and is a very merry one with good players who keep the shuttlecock over the net with many rallies. The place will look very festive with the daintily gowned women, the sporting subalterns, the serious civilians, the bountifully spread tables, and the attentive servants in their picturesque uniforms and white turbans.
We sent a note to Rudyard Kipling inviting him to come to the garden party. He replied in a characteristic note saying that the tongue of Pennsylvania was the one language he long and ardently had desired to learn. He would be late, as he had to help put a paper to bed. He does not play tennis, but is quite good at badminton. He said he was pleased to come, and if life here was to be tempered with Allahabadminton he would begin to take comfort. He has told us much of his early life at school.
Dear J. — I had a lovely surprise this afternoon. A messenger from the Pioneer office appeared bringing me a book from the young man I told you of meeting at the Allens'. We have become quite well acquainted and we both enjoy his cleverness. The title of Kipling's collection of stories, which first came out in the Civil and Military Gazette, is Plain Tales from the Hills, and it has this amusing inscription:—
Between the gum pot and the shears,
The weapons of my grimy trade,
In divers moods and various years
These forty foolish yams were made.
And some were writ to fill a page
And some — but these are not so many —
To soothe a finely moral rage
And all to turn an honest penny.
And some I gathered from my friends
And some I looted from my foes,
And some — All's fish that Heaven sends—
Are histories of private woes.
And some are Truth, and some are Lie,
And some exactly half and half,
I've heard some made a woman cry —
I know some made a woman laugh.
I do not view them with delight
And, since I know that you may read 'em,
I'd like to thoroughly rewrite,
Remould, rebuild, retouch, reword 'em.
Would they were worthier. That's too late—
Cracked pictures stand no further stippling.
Forgive the faults.
To Mrs. Hill
From Rudyard Kipling.
Our acquaintance with Mr. Kipling is progressing. His parents are quite noted people who now live at Lahore, in the Punjab. The father, John Lockwood Kipling, an architect and designer, was sent to Bombay by the English Government to take charge of the art school, and while there he designed the markets and several of the noted buildings. Young Kipling's mother is very talented. She is the oldest daughter of a Wesleyan Methodist minister, the Reverend George D. Macdonald. When the Kiplings were married they spent their honeymoon beside a little lake in England called Rudyard, and so when, on December 30, 1865, a son was born to them they called him by the name of the place where they had been so enchantingly happy.
Rudyard was educated at the United Services College, the famous school Westward Ho! in Devon, where he remained four years.
His great sorrow was that he could not enter the army, owing to his poor eyesight, and it was particularly hard for him to associate constantly with those who were preparing for the Service. Here at Allahabad I have met two young subalterns who were at Westward Ho! at the same time. They say he was so brilliant and cynical that he was most cordially hated by his fellow students. He was a leading member of the literary and debating societies, and editor of the school newspaper. He says that he earned his first money for a sonnet written for the London World, for which he received a guinea, and never since has he had any money which has given him such joy. He fairly thrilled when he spoke of it.
It seems that after his school days he went to London and stayed with his aunt and uncle. They felt that he was seeing too much of life about town, so it was arranged with the proprietor of the Pioneer and Civil and Military Gazette that he should come out to India to work on the latter paper. In response to the message, 'Kipling will do,' he, at sixteen, started out on his journalistic career. He tells amid roars of laughter how he pretended to be years older, and so had a rare time coming to India. In Lahore he was with his own people, for the Kiplings had been transferred from Bombay to the Punjab, and J. Lockwood Kipling was in charge of the art school of Lahore and curator of the museum.
Young Kipling is certainly all things to all people. He talks equally well to High Court Judge or to a scientist, and I hear he can make first-class love to the latest belle in Simla.
He soon became known from one end of India to the other by his 'turnovers.' The first page of the C. and M. is filled with advertisements up to the last column, and for this column Kipling wrote a story, a poem, a clever political skit, or whatever struck his fancy, so that he made quite a reputation. These articles were called 'turnovers' because they were continued to the first column of the second page, after which came the editorial.
Dear C. — I am the proud possessor of Rudyard Kipling's Early Verses, a small book bound in deep maroon, with back and corners of black striped with gold, about one half inch thick, 41/2 by 6, published by Shamus Din, Bookbinder, Mouch Gate, Mahala Sahdman Lahore, with a small 3/4-inch blue sticker in corner of cover. The inscription is 'January 1889: from Rudyard Kipling, these the first of his ventures into print.' One of the rhymes is the tale of his experiences coming out to India when he was about sixteen. He had grown a dark beard and for mischief was posing as a man of the world, making love to all and sundry aboard ship, which experience he portrays in 'Amour de Voyage.'
Mr. Kipling's characters as a rule have some foundation in real life. Mrs. Hauksbee is a charming personality who is well known in India. She is in appearance exactly the opposite to his description. She is wonderfully clever and a great wire-puller. She presented him with a Bible early in his Indian career with the advice to study it carefully and follow its literary style. No one is more apt than he with appropriate Biblical quotations, as all can see.
It is so interesting to us to learn the background of some of R. K.'s poems and stories. 'My Rival' in Departmental Ditties has much truth in it, as the two characters are his beautiful sister Trix and a delightful woman I knew at Simla who really merited all the praise that was given her, as she was so youthful and attractive. The latter is also the heroine of the 'Venus Annodomini' in the Plain Tales, and that is a very truthful picture too.
In 'Three and an Extra' the incident happened at Allahabad to a lady who has become one of my dear friends. I think R. K. gives his best description of Mrs. Hauksbee in this story.
I shall never forget the glee in which R. K. came in one afternoon saying, 'What do you suppose I just came across in reading the proof of this week's English letter? Andrew Lang says, "Who is Mr. Rudyard Kipling?"' He was so pleased that they really had heard of him in England, for in all modesty he intends to make his mark in the world.
He has his trials in the office, as his articles and poems must be cut to fit. The foreman used to say, "Your po'try good sir, just coming proper length today."
One of Rudyard's stories, 'The Recrudescence of Imray,' had its origin in an incident at our home. There was a strange odor in the dining room, and by luncheon time it had become stronger and later was unbearable. As the ceilings are made of cloth to give an air chamber to cool the room, the thatch man was called, and upon investigation he discovered that a wee squirrel had died under the roof. R. studied a while and then exclaimed, 'I have it,' and the result was that terrible story of the sudden disappearance of Imray, whose body sagged on the ceiling cloth and finally tumbled down on the table. His own servant had killed him because he had called his child handsome, thus casting the evil eye on him. After I came to India one of the first things I learned was to say to a mother, in order to warn off the evil eye, "What an ugly child you have,' no matter how winning the infant.
Dear M. — Rudyard was called from Allahabad to Lahore to edit the C. & M. Gazette, so he sent us a letter expressing the great joy he has at being among his own people once more, but with sadness at the many changes. He tells of being gummed into an office chair from eight in the morning till six at night, and how he has to work after dinner with nothing in the wide world to show for it except an indigestible paper which most people throw down with the genial remark, 'Oh, nothing in the Civil and Military as usual.'
How Kipling does love those wild men of the North! He calls them his own folk. They are savage, boastful, arrogant, and hot-headed, and these vagrant loafers, snaky-lipped and vulture-eyed, come to pay their respects to him.
His description of the Indian pressroom on a hot-weather night is great. He says that it is lit by flickering dips with a hurricane lamp, here and there. The half-naked men who turn the presses look picturesque in the uncertain light as they loll against the black walls and wait for their call, the presses look mysterious and ghastly, and from the far end comes the tick-tick of the type being set up by white-sheeted yawners. They carry candles, and if they tilt them too much the grease gutters on to the type so printing is impossible. He makes the scene quite Indian-like by telling of some little boys who have not the least business there who have curled up on one of the big tables and gone to sleep.
How I do wish you might meet this interesting man!
The outcome of his being with these Ishmaelites in North India is his tale "Dray Wara Yow Dee' and he says the incident of the killing is bodily cribbed from a frontier murder case deposition.
I am quite flattered. R. K. writes that he spent the afternoon alternately browsing over a pipe and trying to hack out a causerie intime between two girls at Simla. Because he finds it is very difficult to get the hang of conversation between girls, he asks me on some idle afternoon to look over and check the thing, as he hasn't a single sympathetic soul there to discuss things with and he is choked up with a half-dozen plans and outlines of stories. The proof came with a very wide margin for my corrections. I was gullible enough to criticize what he had written. To-day he replies that he has laughed a great deal at my verdict. I do not approve of much that he writes and I'm not backward in saying so — but he goes on just the same, maligning us. He calls the story 'Poor Dear Mamma' and it is about two girls discussing a dance. One of them is in love with a man who is devoting himself to her mother. The conversation is very amusing.
Why Mr. Kipling is the recipient of many a confession I never can see, as he makes use of every item for his work that he can glean. This was clearly shown once when he was at the Lahore Club. A friend came in bubbling over with newly found love. R. sat at a table idly playing with a pencil. In reality he was taking down word for word what this gallant captain was saying — thoroughly enjoying his subtlety, for he intended to use every expression and he did that very thing, first as a story for the Week's News and then combined with other tales which made up The Story of the Gadsbys.
Rudyard Kipling has arrived to stay at the Charleville Hotel for a few days. He feels that he is condescending, as this is not a fashionable place and his heart is at Simla, the seat of Government, where he meets worth-while people, grist for his writing. However, he can go nowhere in the Himalaya Mountains where he will get a better view of the snows. He is the most susceptible person I ever knew. As he came up the winding road he glimpsed a girl's head in a window, 'a golden-haired beauty,' and he has been talking about her ever since. I think I know her, so I hope they can meet at a dance. Otherwise I don't see how we shall entertain him. He is full of notions and plans for his Soldier Stories. Learoyd with his Yorkshire dialect is beyond me, though he tries to explain.
Rudyard is called back to the Pioneer, and we are discussing whether we should generously offer to take him in to our house for a little while rather than to let him go to the Club in this desolate season. He has his own trap — the 'Pig and Whistle,' as he calls the turnout — and his own servant, so he would not be much trouble and might prove a pleasant companion.
I don't know how we shall like it to have our home life invaded by him, but it will be impossible for him to stay at the bungalow, for the compound is dug up preparatory to making the new lawn and it is too unhealthy for anyone to live there during the rains in this age-old country. We can give him the Blue Room for his study and the guestroom with the big four-poster mahogany bed. Did I ever tell you that this bed was brought to India in the time of the East India Company? Things which came out in the old days are passed on from one to another. A friend said when she first called that she admired a certain chair and decided to buy it when I left India.
To continue, R. can have the dressing room, bath, and east verandah, so he can be very comfortable. He can write at night to his heart's content when a story takes possession of him and 'the child must be born.' These Indian bathrooms are very different from ours at home. The floor is of hard chunam (plaster), with a high partition for the tub, which is filled as needed by the bhisti from his goatskin, which is suspended from his shoulder. The Blue Room has every convenience and is quite private, with its own verandah and entrance from the hall. Kadir Baksh can take complete charge of his master and his part of the house. His man is quite a character. He is tall and commanding in appearance and is wholly dependable, which is well, as Rudyard, who lives in the clouds, needs some earthly care.
The Pioneer publishes a weekly paper containing, stories, poems, and sketches, a kind of supplement called the Week's News, for which the youthful editor was expected to write a story filling several columns. His first notification of this was in seeing, as he came from the north into Allahabad, a huge advertisement in the railway stations saying that 'Rudyard Kipling, author of Plain Tales from the Hills, will write a series of stories for the Week's News beginning with the next number! This did not disturb the young man, whose only difficulty was in getting time from his routine work to write out the tales with which his brain was teeming. There was no extra payment for these stories.
Dear J. — When 'The Man Who Would Be King' was germinating in R. K.'s mind he was lunching with us. Suddenly he demanded names for his characters. A. promptly said, 'Well, the queerest name I ever heard was that of a missionary I met in the Himalayas when we were both tramping—"Peachey Taliaferro Wilson."' Of course Rudyard seized that at once. I could think of no name to give, so R. said, 'Well, who was the most prominent man in your home town?' Of course you know that I replied 'Mr. Dravo,' and sure enough he used these very names, adding a t to Dravo.
Later he was sitting at a desk busily writing. A. was in a big chair and I was near by. His custom was to push off a sheet from the pad as fast as he had filled it with his tiny fine writing, letting it fall to the floor. A. picked up the sheets, read and passed them to me, our one complaint being that we could read this thrilling story faster than the author furnished it.
Speaking of 'His Majesty the King,' R. K. said he had a very tender comer in his heart for little children, but there was not often an opportunity for showing it.
I never saw anyone more devoted to children, and alas there are so few in this station; all old enough have been sent to England, but Dr. and Mrs. J. Murray Irwin have a darling little girl who is my godchild. When she comes to the house there is nothing that R. will not do to amuse her. He plays bear, crawling over the floor, and he will endure every sort of teasing. On her birthday he wrote to accompany my small gift a gay little verse beginning:—
Imperious wool-booted sage,
Tho' your years as men reckon are three,
You are wiser than ten times your age
And your faithfulest servants are we.
At last R. K. is coming into his own, for he is permitted to collect the stories he has written for the Week's News into a more permanent form to be published by Wheeler, in the Railway Edition. The covers are to be a grayish blue and the pater is designing them.
The first one, of Soldiers Three, came for inspection and has been severely criticized by Ruddy. Mulvaney is not smart enough in the way he stands, and the barracks are not just right. I shall keep the pencil sketch, as it will be interesting to compare.
What a life he leads, all among the babblings of the Chamber of Commerce and the unsavory detail of the days among the dockets, departmental orders, and the queer expositions of human frailty, vanity, greed, and malice that a newspaper offers. With it all he watches for suggestive ideas for his tales. For instance:—
'The Judgment of Dungara' had its origin in a statement that A. made at the dinner table concerning the Nilgiri nettle, which has most persistent stinging qualities. R. made use of every item of information he could gain, and in a few days the story of the great God Dungara appeared in the Week's News. It has a vivid description of the loneliness of a mission station in the interior. 'Isolation that weighs upon the waking eyelids and drives you by force headlong into the labors of the day.' The missionary, besides giving his flock the Bread of Life, had taught them to weave white cloth from the glossy fibres of a plant that grew near by. The Civil Service official was due, and the converts, usually naked, were to appear for the first time clothed in their new garments, made, alas, from this terrible nettle. It was woven fire that ran through their limbs and gnawed into their bones. Needless to say, they broke ranks and rushed to the river, 'writhing, stamping, twisting and shedding garments, pursued by the thunder of the trumpet of the God Dungara."
The need in India for hospitals for native women is very great. Dr. Bielby, the Kiplings' physician at Lahore, was going home to England, so she was asked to present to Queen Victoria the dire necessity for some help for the secluded zenana women. She did so, and as a result the Lady DuTerin Fund for a chain of hospitals throughout India was raised by means of everyone giving a day's pay, from the richest rajah down to the humblest ryot—from the Viceroy to Tommy Atkins. This stirred the soul of Rudyard, so he wrote for the Pioneer 'The Song of the Women' — prefacing the poem with the address of the women of Uttarpara to Lady Dufferin which had been published in the Pioneer. 'Our feelings in this matter are shared by thousands of our sisters throughout the land and of this we are assured by many signs not likely to come under the observation of the outside world.'
Kipling brought the first copy of the paper just fresh from the press to us and, tossing it over, said, "What do you think of that?" He is rather cynical about the whole matter, for the giving of money is not voluntary, but practically compulsory.
Kipling's friends felt that it was unfair to him to keep writing stories for the two papers without any extra remuneration, so he was persuaded to discontinue them. He wound up with "The Last of the Stories.' He pictures a visit of his old friend, the Devil of Discontent, who lives at the bottom of the inkpot, but emerges half a day after each story has been printed with a host of useless suggestions for its betterment. This Devil of Discontent is the proprietor of the largest hell in existence, the Limbo of Lost Endeavor, where the souls of all the characters go. He takes the author below, where his characters are passed in review before him — till his heart turns sick. 'The Last of the Stories' closes, 'Now the proof that this is absolutely true lies in the fact that there will be no other to follow it,' and there were no more for the Week's News — a great loss to the Indian public. He was not permitted to sign any of his work.
We invited Rud to stay at our house while we are away, as he is at the N. W. P. Club and he could have more room and also enjoy Bhoj's cooking. He has written of his good times and of his trials.
It seems that the ayah thought this was her opportunity for a tamasha, so she celebrated by having guests in the compound. That meant noisy ekkas jingling down the avenue and the night, vocal with much tinkling of anklets to the accompaniment of the sitar. Rud says he had no notion that forty poor rupees could create such a devilment for so long.
Evidently he is not idling, as he says Mulvaney 'came' with a rush on the blue couch in the Blue Room, and if he walked one mile up and down as he was hacking it out, he walked three. Old 'Pig and Whistle' is getting lame, so R. is pattering about in the dust, to his infinite weariness and discontent.
Dear ONES: You know we live in a famous old bungalow which has been standing since the Mutiny days of 1857, when nearly every house was destroyed. R. K. so appreciated the privilege of staying in our lovely home while we were away that he wrote a clever sketch for us which tells of our daily life, our occupations, and our servants. He pictures the attractive verandah where we live most of the time, the long avenue of thick-leaved shisham trees leading to the house, and he gives many amusing incidents. He calls this 'Celebrities at Home,' borrowing the title from a series of articles now coming out in an English paper.
Some day maybe I'll send you the manuscript, which is at first in his fine handwriting, but toward the last is hurriedly scribbled.
The Week's News demanded a Christmas story which would fill a whole sheet of the paper. R. K. brooded over this awhile; the result was 'Baa, Baa, Black Sheep,' which is a true story of his early life when he was sent with his little sister to England to be educated. It is next to impossible to bring up English children in India, not because they could not have literary advantages here, but on account of the bad influence the close contact with the native servant has on the child. He is a slave to every whim, so Sonny Baba grows too domineering to suit the fancy of an English parent. No self-reliance can be learned while under the pampering care of bearer or ayah. Also, once a chi chi accent — as English contaminated by a native tongue is termed — is acquired, it is rarely lost even after years of later life in England, and pure speech is an essential, according to an Englishman. 'Baa, Baa, Black Sheep' recounts Kipling's experiences at the hands of Aunty Rosa, the stern Englishwoman who made her living by taking in the little waifs from Anglo-India who must be separated from their parents. The hardest choice a woman must make in India is to decide whether it is best to go home with her children or to stay with her husband.
A friend took Ruddy and Trix from Bombay on the long sea voyage, and saw them established in the 'home,' where little Trix was adored and petted but Ruddy was accused of storytelling. There was great jealousy of his brightness in contrast to that of the son of Aunty Rosa. He learned to escape punishment by deceit, and there was no one to teach him the difference between right and wrong. He, poor child, at six was left in the house with a servant while Trix was taken off on a holiday with the mother and her son. Ruddy read and read from the boxful of books that his father had sent him, reading from daylight to dark, till he had devoured them all; then, forlorn indeed, having strained his eyes and being utterly alone, he entertained himself by measuring the whole house hand over hand.
It was pitiful to see Kipling living over the experience, pouring out his soul in the story, as the drab life was worse than he could possibly describe it. His eyesight was permanently impaired, and, as he had heretofore only known love and tenderness, his faith in people was sorely tried. When he was writing this he was a sorry guest, as he was in a towering rage at the recollection of those days. His summing up in the closing words shows the influence on his whole life.
'We are just as much Mother's as if we had never gone. Not altogether, for when young lives have drunk deep of the bitter waters of hate, suspicion, and despair, all the love in the world will not wholly take away that knowledge, although it may turn darkened eyes for a while to the light and teach faith where no faith was.'
Rudyard was planning to go direct to England, when suddenly the idea occurred to him that he would like to see something of the world first, and as he had helped us look up routes he begged to be allowed to accompany us. Then Mr. Allen asked him to write letters on the trip for the Pi, which would pay his expenses. We agreed to have him join us, so he writes that he will arrive 'an awful grimy dirty unshaven bricklayer and the great —— will perchance come down to the station and blandly tumble over me and then go home and tell his friends that my journey is solely undertaken in the interests of the Pioneer and I shall loaf down the platform with an unclean pipe in my mouth and then I'll be fairly embarked on the way to the high seas.'
CALCUTTA, March 9, 1889
Here we are, ready to start on our long journey to climes unknown. Rud has loaded us up with a delightful array of books, and he proudly exhibits two black leather manifold books in which he plans to write his 'Sea to Sea' letters for the Pioneer with an occasional 'turnover' for the Civil and Military Gazette of Lahore, his first love.
He has just received Wee Willie Winkie, with its attractive cover designed by his father. This is the inscription for my presentation copy:—
I cannot write, I cannot think,
I only eat and sleep and drink.
They say I was an author once,
I know I am a happy dunce,
Who snores along the deck and waits
To catch the rattle of the plates,
Who drowns ambition in a sea of Lager and of Tivoli.
I cannot write, I cannot sing,
I long to hear the meal bell ring;
I cannot sing, I cannot write,
I am a walking Appetite.
But you insist and I obey—
On Steamer Madura,
Now rolling through a tepid sea,
to Mrs. Hill from me,
A journalist unkempt and inky
With all regards, Wee Willie Winkie.
The covers were torn off from the whole six of the Wheeler edition on account of some postal law, and the letter press sent on to England to Andrew Lang, so that Ruddy may be already introduced when he arrives in London.
The Babu at the Meteorological office at Allahabad will collect the 'Sea to Sea' letters as they appear in the Pioneer and bind them, so we can have a record of our trip without keeping a diary, though all India will be looking on.
I was present at the inception of Ruddy's Barrack Room Ballads. We were on the British India steamer Africa sailing toward Singapore, standing by the rail, when he suddenly began to hum, 'Rum-ti-tum-tra-la'—shaking the ashes from his pipe overboard. I was used to this, knowing something was stirring in his brain. Humming in a musical tone, he exclaimed, 'I have it. I'll write some Tommy Atkins Ballads,' and this idea kept simmering for months, with an occasional outbreak in soldierlike language. While we were at Moulmein lunching by a graceful pagoda hung with tinkling brass ornaments at the slender top and with a very broad base, he put forth the opinion that the Burmans had simply copied nature in their building, pointing to a near-by toddy palm tree, and certainly the shape was identical., while the tinkling resembled the rustling of the leaves.
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN, May 11
We are sailing to-day for America. When Ruddy went to the shop to buy books for our Pacific trip he found an American pirated edition of his own tales. He was so furious that he stalked out of the shop and bought us nothing, to our great dismay. He declared that he would pronounce a curse on the American people in his very next letter, and for one thing it should be on the slovenly way in which Americans speak, — just like servants, — for the English are so particular about pure speech. I think it is because their lower classes drop the h or use dialect, as we do not. When R. met a girl on the steamer who spoke with a very Southern accent he said his curse was working, though we noticed that he was very devoted to this same sweet maiden from South Carolina.
Mr. Kipling has arrived after his Western tour, where he had many experiences, novel and trying. He seems very happy to be once more with his Anglo-Indian friends, for he has been lonely without letters from his home people. He is settled in the rooms at the College, where he has a living room with open fireplace, a spacious bedroom and bath. There is a couch, where I think he spends most of his time, smoking, reading, and meditating, but not doing much writing. He is absorbing the experiences which are so different in Pennsylvania surroundings from his Lahore days.
A. has a dark room rigged up at the College and the negatives made on that wonderful trip are being transformed into memory books for Rudyard, ourselves, and others.
BEAVER, August 1889
I've been painting a set of dessert plates with a design of our wild flowers to take back to India. One day Mr. Kipling, who has seemed unusually preoccupied, demanded china and paint. We wondered what project was being evolved in that fertile brain and now we know, for he has put upon six fruit plates some clever verses, about ten lines each, which he painted directly on the china without any notes.
His subjects are Plums, Peach, Berries, Watermelon, Apples, Grapes.
I'll copy the verses soon. They are rather badly painted in dark blue, as he was not accustomed to china paints and did not know how to use the turpentine. We tried to help, but he was too speedy for us.
The time has arrived for another parting, as A.'s leave is nearly up. R. K. will meet us in New York, to sail with us on the City of Berlin. We shall leave him in London to achieve his world-wide fame, as he is sure to do. In his visits to Washington, Philadelphia, Buffalo, and Boston he has made many friends; he has gained new material for his writing, and he feels that his American experiences have been well worth while. He behaved quite decently while at Beaver, for when he felt grumpy he kept it to himself. The servants were puzzled by him, especially when he demanded that the barber shave him in bed. He swapped stories with our Senator and townfolk, arousing interest wherever he went.
Now we are off for our five years of exile.