(Notes edited by John Radcliffe)
... slender, pale complexion, dark brown hair and grey eyes, with black lashes and delicately pencilled eyebrows. In those eyes lay the chief fascination of her face. So expressive were they that they seemed to deepen or pale in colour according to passing emotion .. it was impossible to predict how she would act at any given point. There was a certain fascination in this, and fascinating she certainly was ...In her youth Alice had written sonnets, and sang beautifully. She was a lively witty woman, and in Simla Lord Dufferin, the Viceroy, said of her: 'Dullness and Mrs. Kipling cannot exist in the same room.' Mrs Kipling was aged forty-eight when this poem was written.
Their daughter, Beatrice, a delightful girl who had only recently come out from home, had inherited most of her mother's wit and skill, and later proved herself no mean novelist and poet. Looking back over all these years, it seems to me that I, uncouth youth that I was, felt rather shy in the company of this brilliant, witty girl.Charles Allen suggests (page 190) that another reason that Trix did not attract the attention of young men, may have been that the Kiplings were not very high on the social scale in Simla. This changed, however, when they became friendly with the Viceroy, Lord Dufferin.
[KJ 059 p. 11]
I'm sitting alone by the fire,In KJ 163 (p.22), Professor F L Standley of Florida University reports an item in the Poetry Collection, Strozier Library, Florida State University. On page 124 of a first edition of Departmental Ditties, Barrack Room Ballads and Other Verses (New York, 1890) there is a marginal note which purports to be by Kipling, and states that the poem is 'after Thos. Hood.' However, we have established that it is not in Kipling's hand.
Dressed just as I came from the dance,
In a robe even you would admire,—
It cost a cool thousand in France;
I'm bediamonded out of all reason,
My hair is done up in a cue:
In short, sir, "the belle of the season"
Is wasting an hour on you...
There is a flavor not unlike "The Belle of the Ballroom" about "My Rival", and it is written in the stanza of "Sketch of a Young Lady Five Months Old".Whatever its origins, there seems no doubt that Kipling's readers in Simla would have found familiar echoes in the piece.