Quotes, Beginnings, India


Next to a requited attachment, one of the most convenient things that a young man can carry about with him at the beginning of his career, is an unrequited attachment. It makes him feel important and businesslike, and blasé, and cynical;


This is from “On the Strength of a Likeness“” in Plain Tales from the Hills, It describes a casual flirtation that disconcertingly awakes serious feelings.

At this time Kipling was aged twenty-one and – with at least part of his head -thought  himself as afflicted by unrequited love for Flo Garrat, for whom he had fallen as a teenager. She was the original of Maisie in his later novel, The Light that Failed.

Some people say that there is no romance in India. Those people are wrong. Our lives hold quite as much romance as is good for us. Sometimes more.


This is from “Miss Youghal’s Sais” in Plain Tales from the Hills.

Strickland, a police officer deeply versed in Indian Ways, falls in love with Miss Youghal, but is disapproved of by her parents. He disguises himself as a native servant, and is taken on as her groom.

When an elderly general flirts with the girl, Strickland listens for a while, and then jumps out and threatens in fluent English to throw the general over the cliff. The general is amused and impressed, and puts in a good word for Strickland with her parents. He is accepted, and the story ends happily.

After marriage arrives a reaction, sometimes a big, sometimes a little one ; but it comes sooner or later, and must be tided over by both parties if they desire the rest of their lives to go with the current.


This is the opening passage from “Three and an Extra” from Plain Tales from the Hills

Mrs Cusack-Bremmil loses her baby, and her grief estranges her husband’s affections. Mrs Hauksbee sees the situation and flirts outrageously with him.

Mrs Cusack-Bremmil deciding that the memory of a dead child is not worth a lost husband, buys a magnificent new gown, and attends a ball at which she is not expected. She makes a superb entrance, and carries her husband off again.