The unfinished 'Stalky' story
These introductory notes by Jeffery Lewins and Lisa Lewis, were written for the Kipling Journal of March 2004, in which can be found the full text of the story, and a fuller account of the manuscript. They are reproduced here in a shortened form by kind permission of the authors, and of the Editor of the Kipling Journal, David Page.
| notes on the text
notes on the other Stalky stories
The Burrows, lying between the school and the sea, was a waste of bent rush and grass running out into hundreds of acres of fascinating sand-hills called the Bunkers, where a few old people played golf. In the early days of the School there was a small Club-house for golfers close to Pebble-ridge, but, one wild winter night, the sea got up and drove the Pebble-ridge clean through the Club basement, and the walls fell out, and we rejoiced, for even then golfers wore red coats and did not like us to use the links. We played as a matter of course and thought nothing of it.It was natural then for Kipling to consider basing a story on the links and the "old gentleman" in a “red coat”. Red coats and red jumpers were commonly worn at the end of the 19th century to distinguish gentleman-players from others using the “common” links.
Now there is a new Club-house, and cars take the old, red, excited men to and from their game and all the great bunkers are known and written about; but we were there first, long before golf became a fashion or a disease, and we turned out one of the earliest champion amateur golfers of all England.