The Solid Muldoon

(notes edited by John McGivering)


First published in The Week’s News of Allahabad on June 9th 1888, issued in Soldiers Three (Indian Railway Library No. 1) the same year, and collected in Soldiers Three and other Stories in 1899.

The story

Mulvaney tells a tale of his youth, when he was a corporal and “the divil av a man”. He had tried to get a kiss from the attractive Annie Bragin. who turned him down, encountered the ghost of a soldier whose wife had died of cholera, and fought with Annie’s husband. “…the times that was…”.

Some critical comments

Marghanita Laski (page 34) observes:

As they grew in Kipling’s achievement, each of his ‘soldiers three’ emerged as a basically tragic character. with Mulvaney … the most fully created.

Cornell takes a cooly realistic view (page 158):

Mulvaney is not always a loveable rogue but at times a thief, and even, as “The Solid Muldoon” shows, a fairly cold-blooded adulterer.

See Gilmour (page 47) for an interesting examination of Kipling’s understanding of soldiers and how he wrote of them in a way that none had done since Shakespeare as Carrington and Laski have also observed. elsewhere

[J H McG]

©John McGivering 2005 All rights reserved