The Manuscript of Kim

(by Lisa Lewis)

For many years, the literary world was unaware of Kipling’s manuscripts; even after their existence became known, few studies took account of this material. [An exception is the Oxford Classics edition of Captains Courageous, edited by Leonee Ormond, 1995. This manuscript was presented to Kipling’s friend Dr Conland, and so, having passed out of the possession of the Kipling family, is not subject to their restrictions. It is now in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.]

When Kipling presented some of them to the British Library and other institutions, he did so on condition that no public announcement of the gift should be made until after his death and that the manuscripts should not be used for ‘collation’. His wife and daughter would make further gifts, which again were not announced. There was no mention of the manuscripts in Carrington’s official biography of 1955, though Mrs Kipling’s bonfire of unfinished drafts is described there. Many people assumed that there were no surviving manuscripts.

Then, in 1976, Kipling’s daughter died, leaving her father’s copyrights and the family papers to the National Trust. Two years later the papers were deposited at the University of Sussex Library, where at last they became available to scholars. Correspondence about the manuscripts with the British Library and other accepting bodies was revealed, as was a ‘List of Manuscript Books given away’, with titles and recipients. Meanwhile some other manuscripts that had been in private hands were presented or sold to institutions such as the Library of Congress. These developments have made it possible to seek out and study them, but many scholars must have been deterred by the wide range of their geographical locations (including half a dozen sites in the United Kingdom, a further dozen odd in the United States, others in Canada and in Australia), combined with the restrictions placed by the Kiplings on the use of those in the ‘List of Manuscript Books given away’. [For a list of manuscripts and their locations, see Barbara Rosenbaum, Index of English Literary Manuscripts, vol. IV, Part 2, (London: Mansell 1990) 407-654.]

Scholars who do seek out the manuscripts may well expect to find them amended in the manner described by Kipling as ‘the Higher Editing’:

Take of well-ground Indian Ink as much as suffices and a camel-hair brush proportionate to the interspaces of your lines. In an auspicious hour, read your final draft and consider faithfully every paragraph, sentence and word, blacking out where requisite. Let it lie by to drain as long as possible. At the end of that time, re-read and you should find that it will bear a second shortening. Finally, read it aloud alone and at leisure. Maybe a shade more brushwork will then indicate or impose itself. If not, praise Allah and let it go…. I have had tales by me for three or five years that shortened themselves yearly. [Rudyard Kipling, Something of Myself (London: Macmillan 1937) 207-8.]

As a guide to the manuscripts, this is misleading. Much of the editing was done on typescripts, which would then be destroyed. Dorothy Ponton, Kipling’s secretary from 1919 to 1923, describes the writing of The Irish Guards in the Great War:

His usual method of procedure was to study the subject closely and then set down, in his own inimitable style, the result of this study. This formed the original manuscript. When the typewritten copy was presented to him, he pruned or expanded it, and the next copy would be subjected to the same process till – perhaps not until four or five copies had been carefully revised – the finished article would be laid aside till a final revision of the whole was made just before publication. [Dorothy Ponton, Rudyard Kipling at Home and at Work, privately printed, Poole, n.d. (ca. 1954).]

That this process was Kipling’s usual practice is confirmed by the rare survival of three typed drafts of the science fiction story ‘With the Night Mail’ (collected in Actions and Reactions) in the Parker papers, University of Sussex Library. A comparison of these with each other, as well as with the manuscript at Edinburgh University Library and with the published text, shows that the story was first drastically revised, then successively shortened before publication. Study of the manuscripts in general will show that only a few of them have had the Indian ink and brush treatment: most deleted passages are either not present, or they have been crossed through lightly with a pen, often leaving them more or less readable. Some of the speeches and war journalism have survived almost untouched.

It has been suggested that Kipling overdid this laying aside and cutting process in his more difficult stories, notably ‘Mrs Bathurst’ (collected in Traffics and Discoveries). [Kingsley Amis, Rudyard Kipling and his World, (London: Thames and Hudson 1975) 106.] This does not appear to be so. ‘Mrs Bathurst’, as preserved in the manuscript volume at McGill University, Montreal, is tidy and little corrected, while the story’s history, as reported in Something of Myself and in Carrington’s notes from Mrs Kipling’s diaries, suggests that it was written in South Africa in early 1904. It was published in Windsor Magazine that same September. There is no known evidence that it had been kept and reworked over a period of three or five years. Such evidence does exist for some other stories. [For further information see Lewis, ‘Delays and Obscurities’, Kipling Journal, Dec, 1986, 53-5.] Examples are ‘Their Lawful Occasions’ (collected in Traffics and Discoveries) and ‘On the Gate’ (collected in Debits and Credits), neither of which – whatever may be thought of their literary merit – have been perceived as especially ‘difficult’. What these manuscripts show is a process of refinement, a tidying of plots and elimination of digressions and jarring elements.

One such frequently amended manuscript is that of Kipling’s most successful novel Kim, which exists as a bound volume in the British Library. Because of the terms of Kipling’s gift, access is restricted and special permission must be sought at least a week in advance. Those privileged to examine it will find the title ‘Kim o’ the Rishti’ on the volume’s spine. [British Library Additional Manuscript 44840.] This was the title of a proposed short story in a letter from Kipling to Mrs Mary Mapes Dodge, editor of the children’s magazine St Nicholas, dated 21 October 1892. [Thomas Pinney, ed., The Letters of Rudyard Kipling, vol. 2, (London: Macmillan 1990) ] The book would not reach its final form for another eight years. When the short story became a full length novel is not precisely known. It may at one stage have been a series of short stories with running characters in the manner of Stalky & Co.: several critics have noticed that it divides neatly into three equal parts.
Kim’s progress over the years of its composition can be traced in Carrington’s notes from Mrs Kipling’s diaries. She recorded that her husband was working on the tale on 22 October 1892 and starting to rewrite it on 4 June 1893. Then it was laid aside while Kipling worked on The Jungle Book, The Second Jungle Book, and most of the stories collected in The Day’s Work. Two and a half years later, in January 1896, he took it up again but on the following day decided that it did not work. After a day or two’s thought he concluded that he would have to consult his father, who was not then available. Kipling turned to Captains Courageous, which he was still working on that summer when the family left their home in the United States and returned to England for good. Over the next two years he was writing stories for Stalky & Co., but on 15 August 1898 one of these went wrong and he turned to Kim again. By this time he and his wife had taken up residence at Rottingdean in Sussex and he was seeing his father regularly. Carrington notes that Kipling worked hard on Kim throughout that month. The draft was then sent to Lockwood Kipling for his comments. On 26 September, Mrs Kipling senior came to stay, bringing her husband’s ‘notes on Kim’. On 7 November, father and son were working at the story together, and Kipling spent from 6 to 9 January 1899 staying with his parents to discuss it. He describes this period as follows:

In a gloomy, windy autumn, Kim came back to me, and I took it to be smoked over with my Father. Under our united tobaccos it grew like the Djinn released from the brass bottle, and the more we explored its possibilities the more opulence of detail did we discover. I do not know what proportion of an iceberg is below water-line, but Kim as it finally appeared was about one-tenth of what the first lavish specification called for. [Something of Myself, 139.]

Mrs Kipling’s diary confirms that the book was making progress that winter, but there intervened the fatal last trip to the United States, from January to May 1899, during which Kipling himself became seriously ill and his oldest child Josephine (the ‘Best Beloved’ of the Just So Stories) died. It was not until August of that year that he was able to write again, while convalescing in Scotland; Kim seems to have been neglected until November, when Kipling read it to his aunt Georgiana Burne-Jones. For the next three months he continued to work on the book and arranged for its magazine publication. [Pinney ed., Letters, vol. 3, (London: Macmillan 1996) 9 and 10n.] In the spring, literary work was abandoned for war reporting, when he visited the troops in South Africa, but in June 1900 he set himself to finish Kim [Ibid., 21] By the beginning of August Mrs Kipling was able to report that the book was coming together. A week later it was complete.

It was serialized in McClure’s Magazine from December 1900 to October 1901, and in Cassell’s Magazine from January to November 1901. There it was laid out in chapters, as in the book (which was published in England and the United States in October 1901), although these chapters do not exactly correspond with the magazine numbers. Each chapter has an epigraph, two of which were altered for the book version. The second verse of ‘The Sea and the Hills’ has been substituted for a ‘Native Proverb’ before chapter XIII. The two verses later expanded as ‘The Two-Sided Man’ replace a quotation from ‘The Ballad of the King’s Jest’ before chapter VIII. The latter, and perhaps also the former, must be the verses for Kim mentioned in Mrs Kipling’s diary on 6 July 1901. Both revised epigraphs were added in manuscript to the proof copy of the novel which is in the Kipling Papers at Sussex; the rest of the epigraph manuscripts are widely scattered. [For locations see Rosenbaum, op. cit.] None of them are included in the British Library volume ‘Kim o’ the Rishti’.

Missing as well is the material for the extra nine-tenths of ‘what the first lavish specification called for’. This may never have been written down. Also mentioned in Something of Myself is some material one might more plausibly have hoped to find:

… a half-chapter of the Lama sitting down in the blue-green shadows at the foot of a glacier, telling Kim stories out of the Jatakas, which was truly beautiful but, as my old Classics master would have said, ‘otiose,’ and it was removed almost with tears. [Something of Myself, 141.]

But that, too, has gone. A trace of it remains in chapter IX of the book, in a passage where the Lama tells a Jataka story not to Kim but to the priests in the Jain temple at Benares.

Of the corrections to the manuscript, some have been made in Indian ink, but none of the deletions are blacked out by ‘brushwork’, as suggested in Something of Myself. After examining the volume, the journalist and travel writer Peter Hopkirk commented: ‘Written in a tiny, spidery hand, with frequent crossings-out and other alterations, the original draft of Kim is a compositor’s nightmare.’ [Peter Hopkirk, The Quest for Kim: in Search of Kipling’s Great Game (London: John Murray, 1996), 26.] But it is neither printer’s copy nor ‘original draft’ of the whole. It collects together six separate drafts of different sections of the novel, each paginated within itself, and a number of shorter or longer interpolated fragments. All these have been collated for binding by numbering the folios consecutively in the top right hand corner from 3 to 103. On the end-paper of the volume is written ‘Caroline Kipling/ from / Rudyard Kipling’. Folio 1 is a title-page. Folio 2 bears the inscription: ‘Presented to the / British Museum / by / Rudyard Kipling.’ None of the drafts are dated by Kipling, but by comparing the dated watermarks in the paper with Mrs Kipling’s record of the novel’s composition, it is possible to deduce when most of the sections were written and what stage of the work they represent. The paper used by Kipling for his drafts has been described by his daughter as ‘large pale-blue pads that were specially made for him.’ [Charles Carrington, Rudyard Kipling: his Life and Work, (third (revised) edition, London: Macmillan 1978) 590.] With three exceptions, which I shall describe in due course, all the folios are on paper answering this description.

The first draft is 16 pages long and written on blue paper, watermarked with a logo but no date. Since the other five principal drafts are all on dated paper, and this one has been more heavily revised and extended than most in the published novel, it seems probable that this was a comparatively early draft. It is unlikely to pre-date 1896, however, since the manuscripts in the bound volume ‘Short stories 1892-1896’ are on paper of a noticeably brighter blue. [British Library Additional Manuscript 45544.] We know from Mrs Kipling’s diary that her husband was busy on other things from 1896-1898. This first draft could be part of the version written in August 1898 and sent to Lockwood Kipling for his comments. It represents the two opening chapters of the novel, in which Kim is introduced, meets the Lama and is given a secret errand by his friend Mahbub Ali. The boy and the Lama set out on their quests. Two supplementary folios have been inserted, paginated as ‘3a’ and ‘9a’. They could have been lifted from a still earlier version of this section, though the watermarks are the same. Page 3a is only seven lines long, and is a version of the Lama’s appeal to the museum curator, ‘“Where fell the arrow?”’ Page 9a has been half crossed through. It gives a longer version of Mahbub’s meeting with the Flower of Delight towards the end of chapter I. The remainder of this draft takes the plot to the end of chapter II, in which Kim and the Lama depart from Lahore by train, they arrive at Umballa, Kim delivers Mahbub’s message, and they set out again on foot. The passage in which Kim stays to spy on Colonel Creighton and the Commander-in-Chief is not in the manuscript.

Folio 20 begins a separate draft in which, although the paper is similar, the watermarks are different. Like almost all the rest of the manuscript, these sheets show alternately the figure of Britannia enclosed in an oval and surmounted by a crown, and the name ‘Palmer’ followed by a date (here 1897). Folio 20 also begins a new numbered sequence, being followed by pages 2-6. As further evidence, folio 20 carries the address: ‘Rudyard Kipling / The Elms / R’dean’ down the margin, and is headed ‘Please type in duplicate with large intervals between lines – as soon as possible, R. Kipling’. This corresponds to Kipling’s practice when sending his copy to a typing agency, [See ibid., where there are similar notes from different addresses with ‘For Valour’, ‘My Sunday at Home’, ‘The Burning of the Sarah Sands’, ‘William the Conqueror’, ‘In the Back Pasture’ (later ‘The Walking Delegate’) and ‘The Tomb of his Ancestors’] so that this second draft can be dated after September 1897, when the Kiplings moved into The Elms, and before the autumn of 1899, when he hired a secretary of his own. Mrs Kipling’s diary records that her husband, having resumed work on the novel in August 1898, was making progress with it by January 1899, with his father’s help. The second draft could plausibly be the product of that time. This section covers chapter III and the meeting with the old Rissaldar and ends with the party’s emergence on to the Grand Trunk Road.

There are two interpolations in this draft, both of which look completely different. Folio 26 is on smaller size, grey-speckled paper (which, if doubled in half and headed with a printed address, would resemble that in Kipling’s letters) and a thicker pen has been used. It is numbered ‘(1)’ and describes the meeting with the dishonest policeman. Folio 27, numbered ‘2’, is different again, being on larger, white paper, and describes the sights of the Road and the people who use it. These may have been extracted from earlier versions of the novel, or written when Kipling was away from home – e.g., at his parents’ house at Tisbury.

The third draft begins at folio 28, again on blue paper watermarked ‘Palmer 1897’, and carries on the page-numbering of the two interpolations before it from 3 to 13, taking the story up to the end of chapter V and Kim’s meeting with his father’s regiment. But instead of page 10 of this sequence we find two sheets marked ‘KIM, p. 40, pt. IV’, on similar paper, paginated A and A2 (folios 35 and 36). A2 is only half a page of writing and carries a note at the end ‘here middle of 33’. (The numbers ‘p. 40’ and ‘33’ may refer to a typescript which has been destroyed.) These inserts give a very different version of Kim’s first contact with the soldiers, in which the Church of England padre is the sympathetic one, the Roman Catholic only his echo, and there is much emphasis on freemasonry. Since Bennett (here called ‘Grey’) speaks Urdu, Kim is unable to hold a private conversation with the Lama while interpreting. Extracts from these passages can be found quoted in Margaret Peller Feeley’s article ‘The Kim that Nobody Reads’, published in 1981 in Studies in the Novel. [Margaret Peller Feeley, “The Kim that Nobody Reads”, Studies in the Novel, 13, No. 3, Fall 1981, 278-9. Reprinted in Harold Bloom, ed., Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, New York, Chelsea House Publishers, 1987, 57-74.] After page 11 (folio 37), comes a further insert marked ‘Kim (B), Pt. IV’ and continuing through ‘C’ and ‘D’ (folios 38-40). Here is another version of this passage, in which Bennett (here Bennett-Grey) still predominates, though Father Victor is gradually taking over the scene. Folios 41 and 42 are paginated 12 and 13. The Lama and the two padres discuss Kim’s schooling, the Lama departs and a group of Masons arrive to inspect the boy – an episode not included in the book. It is possible that these eight folios were preserved in error, for this seems just the sort of discrepancy Kipling tried to prevent us from identifying when he forbade ‘collation’, though anyone familiar with the book could hardly fail to notice it.

The fourth draft, folios 43-49 (paginated 1-7), is headed in pencil: ‘Here several sheets altered in type-writing and MS destroyed.’ The missing sheets appear to have covered chapters VI and VII of the novel, which are not present: Kim’s confinement in the barracks, his appeal to Mahbub, his introduction to Colonel Creighton and his journey to St Xavier’s school. In folios 43-49, again watermarked with Britannia and ‘Palmer 1897’, Kim meets Mahbub during the holidays and saves him from assassination.
Then on folio 50 begins another, similarly watermarked draft, paginated 1-11. This covers chapter IX and part of chapter X: the episode at Lurgan Sahib’s shop in Simla, Kim’s further adventures with Mahbub in the holidays and his drafting of an intelligence report. Some material that makes Lurgan sound mildly comic has been cut in the book. After page 11 comes a half-sheet of white paper at folio 61, without watermark, apparently torn off the bottom of a page, in which having assumed his ‘dress of honour’, Kim is given a gun. Folio 62 is unpaginated. Folio 63 is headed ‘Kim’ in the top right hand corner. This and folio 64 are the witchcraft episode, with Huneefa’s invocations of demons added in the margins (possibly copied from the ‘certain work on Indian magic which I always sincerely regret I could not steal,’ borrowed by Kipling from the India Office library). [Something of Myself, 140.] These two folios begin a draft paginated 1-5 (folio 67 being headed ‘Kim’ in pencil), in which Kim, having left school, travels to Benares to meet the Lama again, representing the rest of chapter X and part of XI. The watermarks are again the same.

So they are in the next section, which is further fragmented, and parts of which would be considerably altered in the book: folios 68 and 69, by the end of which Kim and the Lama are on board the train and have been joined by the fugitive Mahratta agent, have no pagination. Folios 70 and 71 are paginated 1 and 2. The version they give of the disguising of the Mahratta, whose enemy here is a ‘negro’, is quoted by Feeley as an example of racism in early drafts of the novel, but the paper it is written on is identical with the later drafts. 72 is again unpaginated. Folios 73 and 74 are ‘(1)’ and ‘(2)’, followed by 75 and 76 as ‘1’ and ‘2’. Folios 77-9 are unpaginated. These seven folios cover the appearance of Strickland at the station, the return to Saharunpore, the meeting with Hurree Babu, and the departure for the hills at the end of chapter XII. Folio 80 is ‘(1)’, taking Kim and the Lama high into the Himalayas. Folio 81 is a half page headed ‘p.3 Chapter XIII’. After that a final, substantial draft begins: folios 82-103 are paginated 1-22 and take us to the end of the book. This draft, several parts of which have been crossed through and rewritten, is on sheets marked ‘Palmer 1896’, not 1897, and so must date from earlier than all except the first two chapters and possibly the oddments on different-coloured paper.

Feeley’s account of the manuscript covers its major differences from the book, with frequent quotation, and is therefore a useful source. Some of her comments are insightful, but others can be disproved. She dates the major part of the manuscript to ‘Fall 1900’, but we know from Mrs Kipling’s diary that the book was already finished in August 1900. To describe it in general terms as ‘the 1900 manuscript’, or more correctly as ‘the 1899-1900 manuscript’, is to over-simplify, as we have just seen. Writing before the discovery of the Parker papers, Feeley takes no account of the existence of non-surviving typescripts on which corrections could also be made. Her theory that the racist material she discovers ‘goes back to’ ‘Mother Maturin’, the novel Kipling began in India but never succeeded in finishing, and that maturity had brought a less prejudiced stance, is plausible, but her detailed hypothesis is not. She suggests that, since ‘We know that Kipling worked partly from this unfinished novel and partly from his own and his father’s memories,’ the interpolations are present because ‘whenever Kipling felt uninspired, he inserted sections from ‘Mother Maturin’ into his draft, just to keep the story flowing’. It is true that, as she says, the more racist sections tend to be separate from the main drafts, but the worst of these are written on paper watermarked 1897. The three folios that are on different coloured paper have none of them been substantially altered in the published novel. All three are without watermarks, but all include the name ‘Kim’. There is no known evidence that Kim was a character in ‘Mother Maturin’. It is likely, then, that the earliest these interpolated sheets could have been written was 1892, as part of the original short story ‘Kim o’ the Rishti’. As we shall see presently, their content suggests that they were written in consultation with Kipling’s father in 1898 or 1899.

There is, however, reason to believe that Kipling did use material from ‘Mother Maturin’ in writing Kim. In a letter dated 8 April 1902 to Mrs Edmonia Hill he said: ‘I’m glad the book interested you. A good deal of Mother Maturin went into it but I am not sure if ever I continue his adventures that I shan’t introduce the woman herself.’ [Pinney, ed. Letters, vol. 3, 87.] The letters had not been published when Feeley wrote her article. She was evidently depending on Carrington, according to whom the manuscript of ‘Mother Maturin’ was withdrawn from Kipling’s agent’s safe and brought to Rottingdean ‘to ransack it for notions which he could work into Kim.’ [Carrington, op. cit., 424.] Mrs Kipling’s diary records that the manuscript of ‘Mother Maturin’ was only sent down from A.P. Watt’s on 3 July 1900, just over a month before the novel was completed, which seems very late in the proceedings for a major re-write. Any serious ‘ransacking’ for scenery, dialogue or plot episodes can only have occurred either in the original short story, or the 1896 version, written in Vermont, that came out wrong and was comprehensively rewritten.

Though the manuscript of ‘Mother Maturin’ is unavailable for comparison and is believed to have been destroyed, a little is known about the plot. It is mentioned in two of Kipling’s letters written in India. On 30 July-1 August 1885 he wrote to his aunt Edith Macdonald:

I have really embarked – to the tune of 237 foolscap pages on my novel – Mother Maturin – an Anglo-Indian episode … It’s not one bit nice or proper but it carries a grim sort of moral with it and tries to deal with the unutterable horrors of lower class and Eurasian life as they exist outside reports…Mother says it’s nasty but powerful and I know it to be in large measure true. [Pinney, ed. Letters, vol. 1, 83.]

Eight months later, on 30 April 1886, Kipling wrote to his editor and friend E.K. Robinson:

… the bulk of my notes and references goes to enrich a bruised tin tea box where lies – 350 f.cp. pages thick – my ‘Mother Maturin’. The novel that is always being written and yet gets no furrarder. [Ibid., 127.]

Mrs Edmonia Hill gave an account of this novel. According to her:

Mother Maturin I have read, which was never published because John Lockwood Kipling was not satisfied with it. It is the story of an old Irish woman who kept an opium den in Lahore but sent her daughter to be educated in England. She marries a Civilian and comes to live in Lahore – hence a story how Government secrets came to be known in the Bazaar and vice versa. [Quoted, Carrington, op. cit., 423. ]

The character would be used in a film script, drafted by Kipling around 1920 together with an American film director, Randolph Lewis, to be called ‘The Gate of a Hundred Sorrows’. The film was never made, but in an attempt to drum up interest Lewis leaked its plot to the New York Times, who published a summary on 29 April 1923. [New York Times, 29 April 1923, front page of Magazine Section.] From this we know that the script involved characters from ‘To be Filed for Reference’ and ‘The Gate of the Hundred Sorrows’ in Plain Tales from the Hills, and from ‘The Ballad of Fisher’s Boarding-House’ in Departmental Ditties and other Verses, but also included Mother Maturin, ‘a Mohammedan woman’ who fights for the soul of MacIntosh Jellaludin with the spirit of his lost love Ethel. In the story ‘To be Filed for Reference,’ written in 1888, MacIntosh Jellaludin is the author of an unpublished book called ‘Mother Maturin’. Its manuscript is described as ‘a big bundle … of old sheets of miscellaneous notepaper, all numbered and covered with fine cramped writing.’ McIntosh, unlike Kipling, is a former academic who has forsaken the life of the British to live with a Muslim woman in the slums of Lahore. He calls his writings:

… the Book of McIntosh Jellaludin, showing what he saw and how he lived, and what befell him and others; being also an account of the life and sins and death of Mother Maturin.


Before the opening of the novel Kim, the boy’s father has led a similar existence as ‘loafer and drunk’ with a native mistress. But Kimball O’Hara is a soldier, not a scholar or a writer. Otherwise the only trace of ‘Mother Maturin’s’ plot (so far as we know it) is a comment at the end of chapter VIII, as Kim arrives at Simla and plunges into the bazaar quarter: ‘here are discussed by courtesans the things which are supposed to be profoundest secrets of the India Council.’ The comment is included in folio 50 of the manuscript. Feeley could be right that in one of the former drafts Kipling slipped in odd sheets from the earlier work to keep himself going, but such sheets must either have been removed or destroyed. It seems certain that no part of the ‘Mother Maturin’ manuscript can be present in the British Library’s bound volume.

Feeley’s article is incorrect in other respects. The manuscript ‘Kim o’ the Rishti’ was not unknown, as she stated; British scholars knew it was there but were prevented by the restrictions from quoting it. Neither is it true, as she claimed, that this was the only Kipling manuscript to survive. Despite these errors, her article is still useful, but it needs to be updated.

If some of Feeley’s statements are questionable, her principal thesis, that there were racist elements in the novel which Kipling edited out, remains both important and valid. She correctly shows (with examples) how the Asian characters have been strengthened. Above all the lama has developed from a timid creature to a scholar and administrator, who despite his other-worldly piety, his sometimes misplaced trustfulness and his inexperience of railway travel, has considerable practical wisdom. The reduction of the two British chaplains, especially Bennett, who from a powerful and knowledgeable figure has become a mere ignorant meddler, alters the whole balance of the novel. As Feeley puts it:

Kipling transcended his racism in several ways: he cut casual racist remarks and added sensitive observations, he changed Indian stereotypes, he reduced the spurious grandeur of English characters, he emended episodes to yield egalitarian implications and cut racism out of still other episodes.

Such revisions are useful evidence of Kipling’s ambivalent attitudes to questions of race. Feeley considers that:

All of these changes tend to de-emphasize the novel’s symbol of the West and worldly values – the Great Game of espionage – in favor of its symbol of the East and spiritual values – the Quest for transcendence.

Since we have both Kipling’s and his wife’s word for it that the major rewrites took place after consultation with his father, we may wonder what part Lockwood Kipling played in them. We shall probably never know what it was that he objected to in ‘Mother Maturin’. His own book Beast and Man in India shows that his attitudes on race were at least as ambiguous as his son’s. [Lockwood Kipling, Beast and Man in India, London, Macmillan, 1892.] In his preface, Lockwood quotes a gruesome account by a fellow-Englishman of a horse with a broken leg left to die by the roadside, ‘perfectly conscious’ while crows devoured its eyes and ‘other tender parts’. Lockwood points out that the Englishman’s bullet which ended its suffering, though merciful by European standards, would have been wrong in Hindu eyes, because of their belief in reincarnation: ‘Believing this, you naturally hold your hand before dismissing a soul to another flight and another change of dwelling.’ The critic K. Bhaskara Rao found Lockwood’s statements in this book offensive. [K. Bhaskara Rao, Rudyard Kipling’s India, (Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1967).] But criticism of Indian treatment of animals is, at least to some extent, balanced by passages like the following:

Yet, while maintaining that no precept of mercy has protected animals in servitude in India, we may gladly admit that a more humane temper prevails with regard to free creatures than in the West. Village boys are not there seen stoning frogs or setting dogs at cats, nor tying kettles to dogs’ tails, and it has not been found necessary to forbid bird-nesting by Act of Parliament.


Lockwood is still remembered in the sub-continent as one who was keenly interested in Indian arts and crafts, who both encouraged and promoted them. He edited and designed the first number of The Journal of Indian Art. [S. Sengupta, Highlights and Halftones: the Rajview of Indian Art (1850-1905) (New Delhi, Asia Pacific Research Information, 1997) 83-5, 40.]

Lockwood Kipling had been 28 years living and working in India, whereas Rudyard had spent less than half that time there – 6 years as a child and 7 as a young journalist. The son often drew on the father’s knowledge for his Indian fiction. In the preface to Life’s Handicap, 1891, Rudyard would write of the stories in that collection: ‘a few, but these are the very best, my father gave me.’ ‘The Finances of the Gods’ expands the account of a Hindu legend in Beast and Man in India; [Lockwood. Kipling, op. cit. 211-3.] the plot of ‘Moti Guj, Mutineer’ can be found on one page, and the elephant’s name on another. [Ibid. 223 and 217.] It is known that ‘On Greenhow Hill’ was written in consultation with Lockwood. [Andrew Lycett, Rudyard Kipling, (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999) 217.] At about the same time father and son together concocted ‘The Enlightenments of Pagett, M.P.’, in which a visiting Liberal politician discovers that the recently-founded Indian Congress is not the popular movement he supposed, since outside a small group of anglicized lawyers and clerks, most Indians have never heard of it and take no interest in such things. The son did not find this topical tale worthy of collection, until he reprinted a number of such marginal pieces for copyright reasons in the Outward Bound edition of 1898. Lockwood illustrated both the early volumes of the Outward Bound and the first edition of Kim, in consultation with his son, no doubt using some of his many drawings from the life of different Indian characters made during his years at Lahore.

Rudyard would credit his father with considerable input to the text of Kim when he wrote Something of Myself. He mentions particularly as Lockwood’s ‘that single touch of the low-driving sunlight which makes luminous every detail in the picture of the Grand Trunk Road at eventide.’ The paragraph of the novel that opens, ‘By this time the sun was driving broad golden spokes through the lower branches of the mango trees,’ stands at the top of folio 28 in the manuscript, written in Rudyard’s handwriting on his standard blue paper, but sidelined and marked off with a square bracket at the beginning and a double backslash at the end. The whole of this paragraph is permeated with changing light: the sunset glow that ‘painted the bullocks’ horns as red as blood’; nightfall ‘drawing a low, even haze, like a gossamer veil of blue, across of the face of the country’; and finally ‘a live charcoal ball in the cup of a wayside carter’s hookah glowed red while Kim’s eye mechanically watched the last flicker of the sun on the brass tweezers.’ The previous folio is the one on white paper, describing the passers-by on the Grand Trunk Road. Something of Myself says: ‘Between us, we knew every step, sight and smell on [Kim’s] casual road, as well as all the persons he met.’ Rudyard claims to have ‘painted all by myself’ the scene between the Lama and the Curator of Lahore Museum in the first chapter of Kim. But there is a great deal more detail of the collection in the book than in the manuscript, which could have been evoked by what he calls his father’s ‘suggestions, memories or confirmations’. Lockwood, who had assembled that collection, would have had clearer memories of it than his son. There were also many learned books at Tisbury to be consulted, some of which are now in the study at Bateman’s, bearing Lockwood’s bookplate. Sarat Chandra Das’ Journey to Tibet, published in Calcutta in 1885, is not among these, but the similarity of Hurree Chunder Mookerjee’s daredevil exploits (under colour of being ‘a fearful man’) to those of Das has been remarked by several scholars, including Peter Hopkirk. [Hopkirk, op. cit., 224-5.] Either or both of the Kiplings could have known this book. The main incidents involving Hurree already exist in the manuscript, but Feeley rightly points out that some negative comments have been cut out of the book. She also correctly notes the marked difference of this character from Bengalis described in Kipling’s earlier work, one of whom, in the poem ‘What Happened’, bears the same name. Of his discussions with his father, Kipling wrote:

At ‘The Elms’, Rottingdean, the sou’wester raged day and night, till the silly windows jiggled their wedges loose…. But I was quite unconcerned. I had my Eastern sunlight, and if I wanted more I could get it at ‘The Gables’, Tisbury. [Something of Myself, 140.]

Philip Mason would write of Kim: ‘it is essentially a happy book,’ adding:

Among those English who had spent most of their life in India, anyone who ever read a book at all would say: ‘Of course, I love Kim.’ And so they did; it pictured a happy India, as they liked to remember it, as they wished it to be. [Philip Mason, Kipling: the Glass, the Shadow and the Fire (London: Jonathan Cape 1975) 183].

It is this happy atmosphere that distinguishes the final version, in which Indian characters are treated with respect and affection, from the earlier, racist fragments that have survived. Any ‘nasty but powerful’ elements left over from ‘Mother Maturin’ have been expunged. Gone, too, are an occasional tetchiness of tone and insistence on the grotesque, showing Kipling at his least likeable.

As we have seen, the manuscript of Kim is worth examining despite the restrictions, for evidence of Kipling’s attitude to race, for what it tells about his relationship with his father, and for evidence of his methods of composition. Let us hope that one day the National Trust and the British Library will agree to lift the restriction that prevents its reproduction, so that a proper scholarly edition of it may be published. Meanwhile, this paper is offered as a stopgap and guide.

Lisa Lewis
September 2001