(notes by Alastair Wilson)
In 1893 he spent a holiday in England and published a collection of his stories, Steve Brown's Bunyip and other Stories. He had become acquainted with Rudyard Kipling who wrote an introductory poem for the volume.However, Kipling himself wrote (Letters vol. 2, Ed. Pinney pp. 110-114) to W.E Henley, dated December 2 1893 from ‘Naulakha’, his home in Vermont:
If you can ever find anything decent to say about a book called “Steve Brown’s Bunyip” please do. I don’t care about the author – don’t know him – but I know that a word in his praise fills with joy two or three dear old ladies who were very sweet to me when I was a little fellow.If Kipling did not know Barry, then one wonders how he came to write these verses for Barry’s book. The clue must be in the reference to the “two or three dear old ladies”. These were undoubtedly the ladies of Warwick Gardens, in London, Mary and Georgiana Craik and Hannah Winnard, with whom Kipling became acquainted as a young teenager, and with whom he kept in contact, visiting them when he became a literary ‘lion’ in London in 1889-91. It seems surprising that in the letter to Henley Kipling did not mention that he had written introductory verses to Barry's volume, but perhaps this would have breached another principle, of refraining from comment on another writer's work.
Far and wide our bands have gone,that makes the white ash spin the ash from the fire on the widow’s hearth.
Hy-Brazil and Babylon
And cities of Cathaia.
With merry oath and laughter, and a smile upon their lips...In with content to wait their watch / And warm before the blaze once home, on leave, they are content to take what England offers before setting out once more to continue their work (see ‘The Brushwood Boy’ (The Day’s Work p. 389):
‘Perfect ! Perfect ! There’s no place like England—when you’ve done your work’[Stanza 11] The weary widow by the Northern Gate hears of those who do not return, but whose ghosts wander around her (metaphorical) house.
‘That’s the proper way to look at it, my son.’