by John McGivering)
|notes on the text|
My Chief took me in hand, and for three years or so I loathed him. He had to break me in and I knew nothing.Indeed Andrew Lycett (p. 97) suggests that in writing of 'Aurelian McGoggin' Kipling had more than a touch of his own early experiences in mind:
Something of Myself pp. 40-41
Hitherto, like the hero of "The Conversion of Aurelian McGoggin", Rudyard had been too `intellectually "beany" ' and, while not subscribing to McGoggin's positivism, he had worked too hard and paid the price. He had been finding what old-timers already knew: that it is difficult to be too dogmatic in an India `where you really see humanity- raw, brown, naked humanity - with nothing between it and the blazing sky, and only the used-up, over-handed earth underfoot' . India had its own rhythms and ways, and one had to learn to adapt.
Certainly, as with McGoggin, Rudyard had discovered that `no man can toil eighteen annas in the rupee in June without suffering'. As the doctor in that story put it, in treating McGoggin (significantly a man - like Kipling, Ed. - whose grandfathers on both sides were Wesleyan preachers), `There are a good many things you can't understand; and, by the time you have put in my length of service, you'll know exactly how much a man dare call his own in this world.