With a Locket

(notes by Philip Holberton, drawing on the work of Andrew Rutherford and Thomas Pinney)


There is a version handwritten by Kipling in Notebook 1, among the Kipling Papers at the University of Sussex Special Collections. Pinney notes (p. 2247) that in a letter to Kipling’s daughter Elsie Bambridge on June 15th 1940, Mrs Fleming (Trix Kipling) wrote that this verse-letter was written for her 15th birthday. She was born on June 11th 1868, which indicates a date of May/June 1883. See Rutherford pp. 24-28 for details of the Notebooks.

The poem was never collected by Kipling, but is to be found in Rutherford p. 186, and Pinney p. 1697.

‘Trix’ came out to India in December of the following year, and there followed a happy partnership with Rudyard, in which they played word games and other literary inventions, and wrote parodies. Several of these were published in Echoes by Two Writers in August 1884.

Notes on the Text

[Verse 2]

cheroots cigars.

[Verse 3]

Bore 450 A large bore rifle or shotgun. 450 bore equals 0.45 of an inch.

[Verse 4]

loquat fruit of a tree of the rose family, Eriobotrya japonica.

Tray no gow schoolboy slang – tres (very) no go.

[Verse 5]

Io triumphe! “Hurrah! Victory!” a cry uttered by Roman soldiers in triumphal processions.

Eureka I have found it (Greek).

Bahut accha! ‘Very good!’ (Hindi). Each phrase in this line has a similar sense.

Trinchinopoly gold the goldsmiths of Trichinopoly in South India were well-known for their filigree work.

‘Brer’ Pronunciation of ‘Brother’ in the Southern states of the USA. A well known usage from Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris (Brer Rabbit, Brer Tarrypin, Brer Fox …) which caused a sensation at United Services College when Kipling was a pupil there. See “The United Idolaters” in The Complete Stalky & Co.


©Philip Holberton 2019 All rights reserved