The Interregnum

Notes on the text

(These notes are based on those written by Thomas Pinney for the Cambridge Edition of Something of Myself (1995), with the kind permission of the author, and of Cambridge Univerity Press. The page references refer to the Macmillan Library Edition published in 1937)

[Heading] The youth … Must travel “Ode, Intimations of Immortality,” lines 71-72.

[Page77, line 1] autumn of ’89 Kipling arrived in Liverpool from New York on October 5, 1889, and was in London by October 7.

[Page 77, line 10] Mary Kingsley (1862-1900) ethnologist and traveller in Africa. Kipling published a brief memorial of her in the Journal of the African Society, October 25, 1932 (Sussex Edition, xxx). The meeting he refers to here could not have been in 1889; it must have been either in 1898-99 or 1899-1900: see John Shearman, “Mary Kingsley and Rudyard Kipling,” Kipling Journal, December 1987, p. 20.

[Page 78, line 14] Mowbray Morris Morris (1847-1911) edited Macmillan’s Magazine from 1885.

[Page 78, line 18] an Indian tale and some verses “The Incarnation of Krishna Mulvaney” and “The Ballad of the King’s Mercy.”

[Page 78, line 25] `this is none of I’ “The Little Woman and the Pedlar”: see the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, no. 535. Kipling also quotes it in “The Last of the Stories” in Abaft the Funnel (p. 311, lines 7-9), and also in the “Happy Ending” version of The Light that Failed, Chapter XIII.

[Page 78, line 26] editor of the St. James’s Gazette (Sir) Sidney Low (1857-1932); Kipling’s first contribution to the St. James’s Gazette was “The Comet of a Season,” November 21, 1889 (uncollected). He continued to contribute to it until 1892.

[Page 79, line 4] interview in a weekly paper Probably the interview published in the World, April 2, 1890, as part of the series called “Celebrities at Home.”

[Page 79, line 20] Villiers Street, Strand Embankment Chambers, Villiers Street, Strand, two rooms on the fifth floor. The building is now called Kipling House.

[Page 81, line 3] Lion and Mammoth Comiques As the leading male singers were called.

[Page 81, line 25] `Mary, pity Women’ Published in February 1894 (The Seven Seas).

[Page 81, line 28] Barrack-Room Ballads The series, in the Scots Observer, began with “Danny Deever,” February 22, 1890.

[Page 82, line 1] Henley William Ernest Henley (1849-1903), poet, critic, and editor, noted particularly for his encouragement of young authors. He edited several different periodicals in Scotland and England, notably the Scots Observer, renamed, after its migration from Edinburgh to London, the National Observer (1889-94). Kipling contributed to the National Observer and to the New Review, Henley’s last editorial project, largely out of loyalty to Henley.

[Page 82, line 4] restaurant off Leicester Square Solferino’s restaurant; others in the “happy company” included Charles Whibley, Herbert Stephen, and George Wyndham.

[Page 82, line 12] tiny book of Essays and Reviews Henley’s Views and Reviews … Literature, 1890.

[Page 82, line 27] Mr. Gladstone William Ewart Gladstone (1809-98), the embodiment of the Liberal Party in the nineteenth century, four times prime minister between 1868 and 1894.

[Page 83, line 3] whitewashed the whole crowd A special commission of the House of Commons appointed to inquire into charges that Charles Stewart Parnell, the Irish leader, had been implicated in the assassination of Lord Frederick Cavendish fully acquitted Parnell in a report of February 13, 1890.

[Page 83, line 8] Mr. Frank Harris Frank Harris (1856-1931), then editor of the Fortnightly Review, was an editor of ability, but notorious as a liar and lecher. Since Kipling had just published “One View of the Question” in the Fortnightly, it is likely that he had at least a slight acquaintance with Harris before the episode of “Cleared.” According to Herbert Stephen, Harris had Kipling’s “Cleared” set in type for publication but then backed out (“William Ernest Henley,” London Mercury, February 1926, p. 391), Harris’s own account of the episode is in his Contemporary Portraits: Second Series (New York, the author, 1919), pp. 48-50.

[Page 83, line 13] The Times quoted them in full I cannot find the verses in The Times.

[Page 83, line 17] elected a Member of the Savile Not until 1891, though Kipling was evidently free of the Club almost at once after his return to England. The Savile especially attracted literary men and artists. Its premises are now in Brook Street.

[Page 83, line 20] Hardy Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), novelist and poet.

[Page 83, line 24] Authors’ Society The Society of Authors was organized by Besant in 1884; Kipling accepted office as a member of council in 1892 but finally resigned in disagreement with the Society in 1917.

[Page 83, line 26] A.P. Watt Alexander Pollock Watt (1835?-1914), the effective founder of literary agency in England. His son was Alexander S. Watt (d. 1948).

[Page 85, line 8] Gosse Edmund Gosse (1847-1928), critic and essayist, one of the central figures of the literary establishment of his day.

[Page 85, line 12] Andrew Lang (1844-1912) man of letters, whose interests ranged from folklore to the classics; he was one of the first to notice Kipling’s work publicly.

[Page 85, line 15] Eustace Balfour (1854-1911) younger brother of Arthur Balfour, practiced as an architect.

[Page 85, line 17] Herbert Stephen (1857-1932) a barrister, son of Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, whom he succeeded as second baronet.

[Page 85, line 18] Rider Haggard Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925), popular novelist and countryman; one of Kipling’s close friends.

[Page 85, line 22] Saintsbury George Saintsbury (1845-1933), at this time assistant editor of the Saturday Review, afterwards Regius Professor of English at the University of Edinburgh.

[Page 85, line 25] Walter Pollock (1850-1926) editor of the Saturday Review, whose editorial offices were in the Albany.

[Page 86, line 6] `Proofs of Holy Writ’ Published in April 1934, in the year after Saintsbury’s death.

[Page 86, line 10] Queen’s Doll’s House A gift from her family to Queen Mary, designed by Sir Edward Lutyens and exhibited at the Wembley Exhibition, 1924. It is now at Windsor Castle. Its furnishings, complete in every detail, were contributed by artists and experts. See The Book of the Queen’s Dolls’ House, ed. A.C. Benson and Lawrence Weaver (London, Methuen, 1924).

[Page 86, line 15] I do not care to think! The point of this lies partly in the fact that Saintsbury, in dedicating his famous Notes on a Cellar-Book (1920) to Kipling, added the remark that “by some cantrip of fortune” he had never had the chance to offer a bottle to Kipling; thus the moment, when it came, would be one of high expectation.

[Page 87, line 7] ambulance It figures in “Brugglesmith,” published in October 1891 (Many Inventions).

[Page 87, line 21] Lion Comique from Gatti’s Roger Lancelyn Green conjectures that this was James Fawn (ORG, VII, 3384).

[Page 87, line 28] kick-up A dance.

[Page 88, line 9] Royal Academy John Collier’s portrait of Kipling, 1891, now at Bateman’s. It was not exhibited at the Royal Academy but at the New Gallery.

[Page 88, line 16] `certain people of importance’ Cf. Browning’s volume entitled Parleyings with Certain People of Importance, 1887.

[Page 89, line 3] sense enough to countermand This was perhaps “The Book of the Forty-Five Mornings,” announced for publication in 1890 and repeatedly advertised but never in fact published. There is evidence that part of it, at least, was to have consisted of selections from Kipling’s Indian journalism.

[Page 89, line 6] flying visit They came in May 1890 and returned to Lahore in 1891 – a “flying visit” of eighteen months. They took a house at 101 Earl’s Court Road, and Kipling moved in with his parents there, though still retaining his Villiers Street rooms.

[Page 89, line 22] Wesleyan Ministers The Reverend Joseph Kipling (1805-62) and the Reverend George Browne Macdonald (1805-68).

[Page 89, line 25] `The English Flag’ First published in the National Observer, April 4, 1891 (Barrack-Room Ballads).

[Page 90, line 6] fourteen-footer The poem is written in lines of fourteen metrical feet.

[Page 90, line 13] “Unto them . . . the reeds” Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “The Romance of the Swan’s Nest,” stanza 14.

[Page 90, line 18] approval of the verses See Hallam Tennyson, Alfred Lord Tennyson (London, Macmillan, 1897), II, 392.

[Page 92, line 6] live very well indeed It is neither possible nor necessary to identify precisely what individuals Kipling may have had in mind. J.W. Mackail, the husband of his cousin Margaret Burne Jones, might do as an instance of the “Liberals”; for the more seriously “seditious” the rolls of the Fabian Society would supply many names.

[Page 92, line 15] arriding The italic arriding is corrected to roman letters in later printings. “Arride” means “to smile at” or “to gratify,”but Kipling seems to intend the sense of “offend” here.

[Page 92, line 19] J.K.S. James K. Stephen (1859-92); the “stanzas” are “To R.K.” Lapsus Calami, 1891; originally published in the Cambridge Review, February 1891.

[Page 93, line 23] my health cracked again Kipling appears to have made one breakdown out of two here: he suffered a nervous collapse in January-February of 1890, associated partly with his engagement to Caroline Taylor; in October, after a bout of illness, he travelled to Italy by sea.

[Page 94, line 2] Lord Dufferin Frederick Temple Hamilton-Temple Blackwood, first Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, spent his life in diplomacy and administration. He was Governor-General of India, 1884-88; Ambassador to Italy, 1889-91, and to France, 1891-96.

[Page 94, line 4] `The Song of the Women’ Published in the Pioneer, April 17, 1888, in aid o£ Lady Dufferin’s Fund for the Medical Education of Native Women.

[Page 94, line 4] Cook The travel agency of Thomas Cook and Son, the son being John Mason Cook (1834-99), the great manager and developer of the business. Cook’s visit to India on the question of travel to Mecca was made in 1885.

[Page 95, line 6] The Moor This is circumstantial, but the records show that Kipling sailed from Southampton on August 22, 1891, not on the S.S. Moor but on the S.S. Mexican, for Cape Town.

[Page 95, line 8] a Navy Captain This was Captain E.H. Bayly: see p. 148.

[Page 96, line 28] Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) financier, politician, and imperialist, the most powerful figure in South Africa at the end of the century.

[Page 97, line 4] The Doric Kipling left Cape Town on the S.S. Doric of the Shaw-Savill Line on September 25.

[Page 97, line 9] Melbourne Kipling’s account of his travels from this point on is particularly confused and inaccurate. He says that his route was Cape Town-Melbourne-Sydney-Hobart-New Zealand. It was in fact just the reverse: Cape Town-Hobart-New Zealand-Melbourne-Sydney. He arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, on October 18, and sailed from Adelaide for India on November 25: the travels described in this section took place between those two dates.

[Page 98, line 14] Sydney Kipling arrived in Sydney on November 14, and left on the 16th.

[Page 98, line 19] Then to Hobart … sort of strength Kipling makes three mistakes in this account: it was Sir George not Sir Edward, Grey; the meeting took place in Auckland, not in Hobart; and the troops that Grey diverted to India were destined for China, not Cape Colony. In later printings the passage reads: “Then to Hobart, in Tasmania, to pay my respects to Sir George Grey, who had been Governor at Cape Town in the days of the Mutiny. He was very old, very wise and foreseeing, with the gentleness that accompanies a certain sort of strength.” Sir George Grey (1812-98) was twice Governor of New Zealand, 1845-53 and 1861-67; he was then prime minister, 1877-79.

[Page 99, line 4] white-marked shark Corrected to “dolphin” in later printings; his territory was not Wellington but French Pass, across the Cook Strait from Wellington (Kipling Journal, September 1937, p. 71).

[Page 99, line 15] Wellington Harbour Kipling was in Wellington October 18-22. His activity then is described in detail by J.B. Primrose, “Kipling’s Visit to Australia and New Zealand,” (Kipling Journal, March 1963, pp. 12-14.) For most of the particulars of this trip I am indebted to Primrose’s article.

[Page 100, line 1] Auckland Leaving Wellington on October 22, Kipling travelled through Napier, Taupo, Wairakei, and Rotorua to Auckland, where he arrived on October 28 (Primrose, pp. 14-15).

[Page 100, line 4] a rising river The River Esk.

[Page 100, line 10] apteryx J.B. Primrose says that “opinion in New Zealand is divided on the question of whether Kipling could have eaten an apteryx. Some think that the locals were `pulling his leg’ about the kiwi. Others maintain that the kiwi, though its flesh is coarse in texture and tough, can be eaten”. (Primrose, p. 14).

[Page 100, line 24] Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) The poet and story-teller had resided in Samoa since 1890; his letter of praise to Kipling on the Mulvaney stories appears in Stevenson’s Letters, ed. Sidney Colvin (New York, Scribners, 1905), II, 257.

[Page 101, line 1] The Wrong Box 1889, in collaboration with Lloyd Osbourne.

[Page 101, line 5] spluttering over my meal “I have got R.L. Stevenson’s `In the Wrong Box’ and laughed over it dementedly when I read it. That man has only one lung but he makes you laugh with all your whole inside” (Kipling to Edmonia Hill, Boston, September 17, 1889: Kipling Papers).

[Page 101, line 11] back to India In fact, Kipling found that the regular steamer connections were such as to make a trip to Samoa impossible on his schedule (Primrose, p. 13).

[Page 101, line 23] `Mrs. Bathurst’ Published in March 1904 (Traffics and Discoveries).

[Page 101, line 28] increasing seas Kipling returned to Wellington from Auckland and sailed on the S.S. Talune for the South Island and Australia on November 2.

[Page 102, line 1] Invercargill In fact, Kipling’s ship sailed from Bluff, at the southernmost extremity of the South Island.

[Page 102, line 2] General Booth William Booth (1829-1912), founder of the Salvation Army: he boarded the ship at Dunedin, not Invercargill.

[Page 102, line 10] Atlantic Corrected to “Pacific” in later printings: more strictly, the Tasman Sea is meant.

[Page 102, line 20] Adelaide Kipling sailed from Adelaide for Colombo on the S.S. Valetta, November 25, 1891.

[Page 103, line 11] `if by… save some’ Cf. 1 Corinthians 9:22: “that I might by all means save some.”

[Page 103, line 22] native-fashion among natives The Salvationist movement in India, which began in the year that Kipling returned to India from England, stressed the importance of living in native style for the missionaries.

[Page 104, line 5] Degrees were being conferred In 1907, when Kipling, Booth, and Mark Twain were awarded honorary degrees on the nomination of Lord Curzon, the new chancellor of the university.

[Page 104, line 28] only real home I had yet known This is somewhat misleading: there were no plans at this time for Kipling’s parents to come home, and Kipling himself had every intention of revisiting India.