(by Phiilip Holberton)
Dunsterville pointed out a little fact to me which has made me rabidly furious with M. H. P. [Matthew Henry Pugh, their Housemaster] You will not recollect that he once changed my dormitory - just before I left - and insisted upon the change with an unreasoning violence that astonished me. Thereafter followed a row, I think. I objected to be transferred because my little room was a snug one, had no prefect, and allowed me to spread my boxes and kit. About this time M. H. P, who must be a very Stead in his morals and virtuous knowledge of impurity and bestiality, transferred me to my old room, clearing out the other two boys who occupied it.This letter rages with disgust and revulsion, and I believe it expresses Kipling’s true and lasting attitude.
It never struck me that the step was anything beyond an averagely lunatic one on the part of M. H. P. - I was not innocent in some respects, as the fish girls of Appledore could have testified had they chosen - but I certainly didn't suspect anything. Dunsterville told me on Wednesday, in the plain ungarnished tongue of youth the why and the wherefore of my removal according to M. H. P. , and by the light of later knowledge I see very clearly what that moral but absolutely tactless Malthusian must have suspected. It's childish and ludicrous, I know, but at the present moment I am conscious of a deep and personal hatred against the man which I would give a good deal to satisfy. I knew he thought me a liar but I did not know that he suspected me of being anything much worse. But 'tis an unsavoury subject and a most unsavoury man. Let us drop him off the penpoint and burn incense to cleanse the room.
Extraordinarily importunate person, this Mr. Balestier. Tell him to enquire again in six months. (Waugh, One Man’s Road, Chapman & Hall, 1935)Yet barely a month later (12 July 1890) Wolcott wrote to his friend William Dean Howells:
Lately I have been seeing even more of Kipling with whom I am writing a story in collaboration.This was The Naulahka.
Quite apart from his personal charm, Wolcott appealed to Kipling in various ways: as a confidant, with that role vacant in the absence of Trix, cousin Margaret and Mrs Hill; as an American, capable of sharing Kipling's own sense of 'foreignness'; as someone intimate with the English literary scene, yet not constrained by its archaic gentility; and as a doer, above all revealed through his campaign against the American publishing pirates.This was indeed a powerful attraction for Kipling: Wolcott could help to get American copyright for his work. In fact this was one of the reasons why he had come to England – so that his company could offer to publish authorised editions of English books in America to secure copyright there. At the time American publishers were not bound by international copyright agreements. However, their friendship was well-established before he began to help Kipling in this way.
Before The Naulahka began to appear in print, (in instalments in The Century Magazine from November 1891) there was an understanding between Rudyard and Wolcott’s sister Caroline.' Notwithstanding, Kipling set off in August 1891 on a voyage to the Cape, New Zealand and Australia. He had hoped to go on and visit R. L. Stevenson in Samoa, but the captain of a boat which might or might not go there was “too devotedly drunk”. So he headed back to India and his parents in Lahore.The Naulahka was still appearing in instalments in The Century Magazine. Kipling wrote the last few pages while crossing the Atlantic on SS Teutonic on his honeymoon. Barrack-Room Ballads was published by Methuen in England in March 1892.
There, around Christmas, he got a telegram from Carrie saying “WOLCOTT DEAD STOP COME BACK TO ME STOP. He was back in London on 10 January 1892, and on 18th he and Carrie were married.