Quotes Journeys

September 4th to 10th


We envied no one—not even when skunks wandered into our cellar and, knowing the nature of the beasts, we immobilised ourselves till it should please them to depart. But our neighbours saw no humour in our proceedings. Here was a stranger of an unloved race, currently reported to “make as much as a hundred dollars out of a ten-cent bottle of ink,” and who had “pieces in the paper written about him”—


This is from “The Committee of Ways and Means” in Kiplin’s autobiographu, Something of Myself , his last piece of sustained writing.

In 1892 the Kipling;s had marries and set forth on their honeymoon across America, and the Pacific to Japan, planning to visit Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa.

Their journey was cut short when a bank failed with all their savings, and they had to hasten back to Vermont in New England, where they planned to settle.

Rudyard now had to earn some money to retrieve their fortunes. Here he describes how they took a tiny cottage for £2 a month, to write. As Winter came on, with snow up to the window-sills. he began on  the Jungle Books.

“Let me present ye to this gentleman,” said M’Phee. “He’s a great admirer ‘o your wor-rks. He has just heard of them.”
M’Phee could never pay a compliment prettily. The friend sat down suddenly on a bollard, saying that M’Phee had understated the truth. Personally he on the bollard considered that Shakespeare was trembling in the balance solely on my account, and if the First Officer wished to dispute this he was prepared to fight the First Officer then or later “as per invoice


This is from “Brugglesmith“. collected in Many Inventions.

One night after dinner on board a merchant ship moored in the Pool of London on the Thames, the narrator is to be rowed up river to a landing stage close to his chambers. As he gets into the dinghy another guest, very drunk, pushes his way into the boat, seizes the oars, and in seconds they are adrift on the river, and on a current of farce and indignity that continues through the tale.

There follows a series of hilarious misadventures across the heart of London before he is able to abandon his inebriated but talkative companion at Brook Green, Hammersmith – Brugglesmith .

It was a shade cooler in the press-room than the office, so I sat there, while the type ticked and clicked, and the night jars hooted at the windows, and the all but naked compositors wiped the sweat from their foreheads and called for water. The thing that was keeping us back would not come off, though the loo dropped and the last type was set. The whole round earth stood still in the choking heat, with it’s fingers on it’s lips, to wait the event.


This is from “The Man who Would be King“, collected in Wee Willie Winkie and Other Stories.

The narrator had previously met two ruffianly adventurers, who announced that they were off to Kafiristan in the mountains of Afghanistan to make themselves Kings

Here, two tears later on a hot night in Lahore,  one of them – ;what was left of a man’ – staggers into the press-room and tells an amazing fantastical story of their triumphs and bloody tragedies in the mountains of the the north.