(notes edited by
Some of the short tales of Kipling’s twenties are Browningesque in their acceptance of the centrality of love in a man’s life, and others in their presentation of special cases in love. “In Error,” “On the Strength of a Likeness” and “Wressley of the Foreign Office” (All in Plain Tales from the Hills) are subjects that Browning might have used and “Bitters Neat” is a negative illustration of :Harry Ricketts (page 99) detects the influence of Jane Austen and Thackeray, while Jan Montefiore comments (p. 17):
Oh, the little more, and how much it is !
And the little less, and what worlds away !
[Robert Browning, “By the Fireside.”]
The young Kipling writes, notoriously, as a knowing insider of colonial India hailed by Victorian contemparies as ‘the Revealer of the East’ … He knows about Simla’s unpredictable tolerance for illicit liaisons…This reflects the catchphrase - irritating to some readers - that often appears in Kipling's early work: 'that is another story', hinting at his knowledge and suggesting that he could tell more if he cared to do so. This is, however, a remarkable story, that might well have been written by an elderly roué, and from a young man of twenty-one it is surprising. One wonders if he was assisted by his father or mother. Alice Kipling may well have added a touch of acid.