(June 14th to 20th)
…the advancing and receding tide gives place to all manner of strange dreams, wherein you are eternally progressing between infinite parallel straight lines, as eternally being driven back in terror by a something that advances and retreats at the further end of the passage, or overwhelmed by immense agitations of the solid earth, all directed against your poor Personality. Mountains are riven from top to bottom, that their fall may block up the ravine in which you are trapped. Rivers are diverted from their beds to pursue you across doabs of never-ending quicksands; and when you have shaken yourself free from these horrors, the round globe herself opens to let you down into the darkness of her central depths…
This is from “De Profundis”, a CMG article of 7 August 1885 one of the 56 “Uncollected articles” that we have recently re-published on this site, edited by Thomas Pinney.
Kipling is describing the effects of a routine bout of fever, familiar to all Anglo-Indians.
Nearly everybody’s Khitmatgar and bearer was there, but they had their foot on their native heather, and were gentlemen at large with clean clothes and money to spend. They were very courteous, but you felt the fact all the same, and it seemed to be rubbed into you that the people who make up our nauker-log (household servants) have the manners and instincts of gentlemen away from their service and on their own ground. Humiliating thing to confess of course; but I fancy it’s true. My friend the chaprassi will be ‘‘O-chaprassi-iher ao’’ (here, messenger !) in another twelve hours, and my bondslave for rupees six per mensem as it is right and proper and just. But I saw another side of his character on the day when he piloted me through the packed tumult of the Chiragan fair of 1886. And it’s very curious.
This is from “A Popular Picnic”, a CMG article of 30 March 1886 , one of the 56 “Uncollected articles” that we have recently re-published on this site, edited by Thomas Pinney.
Kipling enjoys the friendly happy crowd at the Festival of Lamps in the Salimar Gardens. and is struck by the free bearing of servants who are there away from their servitude.
Rivetters are paid by the job, not by time. Consequently they work like devils; and the very look of their toil, even in the bright sunshine, is devilish. Pale flames from the fires for the red hot rivets, spurt out from all parts of the black iron-work where men hang and cluster like bees; while in the darker corners the fires throw up luridly the half nude figures of the rivetters, each man a study for a painter as he bends above the fire-pot, or, crouching on the slung-supports, sends the rivet home with a jet of red sparks from under the hammer-head.
This is from a CMG article of 2 March 1887 on “The Sutlej Bridge”, one of the 56 “Uncollected articles” that we have recently re-published on this site, edited by Thomas Pinney.
Kipling clearly recalled this scene when writing “The Bridge-Builders” in Vermont, six years later.