The Naulahka

Correspondence between Charles Carriongton and the ORG Editors

On page 92 lines 3-5, referring to Tarvin’s view of the Maharajah, the authors write:

… he was to Tarvin more than a brother; that is to say, the brother of one’s beloved…

R.E.Harbord, the Editor of the ORG, conscious of the evident affection between Rudyard and Wolcott, commented:

It was suggested to me (by Roger Lancelyn Green, the then Editor of the Kipling Journal) that this refers to Kipling’s own attachment to Wolcott’s sister Carrie, who became Kipling’s wife in January 1892. As it seemed unlikely to me that Rudyard was referring to Caroline, we agreed to ask Professor Charles Carrington if he thought there was an understanding between them at the time the first draft of the book was finished (early in 1891) or not, until Wolcott Balestier was dead (December 6th 1891). Rudyard does not seem to have written to her regularly whilst he was away from August 1891 in South Africa, New Zealand, Ceylon and India. However, Carrie sent for him as soon as Wolcott died.
(Rudyard arrived in London on January 10th and married Carrie on January 18th)

Carrington replied (February, 1963):

Someone’s keen eye has certainly spotted something ‘Brother of one’s beloved’ must have some further meaning, if only because it’s quite irrelevant in that context. The King, it says, was ‘more than a brother’ to Tarvin, ‘that is to say brother of one’s beloved’. But the King was not the brother of Tarvin’s beloved. So it must be an echo, perhaps unconscious, of the Rudyard-Wolcott-Carrie triangle.

Ten years ago I made a slight effort to disentangle the contributions of R.K. and W.B. to Naulahka but not with much success. I’m sure they worked on each other’s drafts, as described on page 181 of my book, but beyond that I can’t go. I think that Chapters I-IV are almost pure Balestier and Chapters XIX to the end almost pure Kipling (very inferior Kipling), and that Chapters VI to XVIII are mostly Balestier working over drafts by Kipling. But who can say?

Chapter VIII seems to me very slackly written—rather poor stuff—and not brisk and lively enough for Kipling. On the other hand, it seems most unlikely that Balestier should have put in this allusion, because no one was the brother of his beloved. So we are obliged to think that this is a piece of careless dull writing by Kipling, or that Balestier worked over some earlier drafts of it by Kipling. [C.C.]


Both from the above note, and from what he says in the Biography, Professor Carrington suggests that Kipling and Caroline Balestier were in love, if not engaged, before it began to appear in The Century Magazine in November 1891: ‘Before The Naulahka began to appear in print, there was an understanding between Rudyard and Wolcott’s sister Caroline.’ (page 182.)

Roger Lancelyn Green suggests that Kipling is certain to have gone over the MS. for final revision, and could easily have inserted the reference in Chapter VIII—even if he did not actually write it there originally. But even if, Green asks, Wolcott wrote the chapter in question, might not he have put in the reference as a sly dig at his would-be brother-in-law?

Instalments in The Century

The instalments were as follows in The Century Magazine, the chapters being the same as in the Macmillan Uniform and Pocket Editions (Chapters VIII and IX for certain) of 1892 and later. It was not re-written in 1892.

  • November 1891 Chapters 1, II and III
  • December 1891 Chapters IV, V and VI
  • January 1892 Chapters VII, VIII and IX (Part)
  • February 1892 Chapters IX (Part), X and XI
  • March 1892 Chapters XII and XIII
  • April 1892 Chapters XIV, XV, XVI and XVII
  • May 1892 Chapters XVIII and XIX
  • June 1892 Chapter XX
  • July 1892 Chapter XXI

A few days later Carrington wrote again:

The only part of R.K.’s life and character in which I find any unsolved mystery is his conduct between the breach with Caroline Taylor in February 1890 and the marriage with Caroline Balestier in January 1892. If we could establish a careful and detailed chronology it would be a great help. We have now got the first half of 1890 clear by elucidating the background of The Light That Failed, which was completed in August 1890, issued in the shorter form in November 1890, and in the longer version in March 1891. We know from a letter of Wolcott that The Naulahka was planned by 12th July, 1890, before The Light That Failed was finished.

The point at which the fourth instalment stops is important as it gives us the last words of W.B. After that everything is revised for press by R.K. I would hazard a guess that the break might come between Chs. VIII and IX which puts the piece about ‘brother of one’s beloved’ in W.B’s section. All the more significant if he wrote it or passed it for press. It stresses the triangular relation.

The poem “The Long Trail”, the envoi to Barrack Room Ballads and Other Verses (1892) is written as a call to Carrie to come away with him and travel the world; part of the refrain runs: ‘Ha’ done with the Tents of Shem dear lass…’ However, there is an earlier draft in the New York Public Library, which runs: ‘Have done with the tents of Shem, Dear Lad…’ , clearly written while Wolcott was still alive:

Could it mean , ‘Don’t go philandering around with those Jewish publishers’? ‘You come off with me.’ ‘No,’ says Wolcott, ‘Caroline for you and the tents of Shem for me’ ?

Have you considered the chapter headings? Very mixed, some epigrams about India, and some obscure psychological comments on the story and—so—very revealing. You can never trust the fancy titles he gave to his chapter headings (a trick he borrowed from Walter Scott) but is there anything in the jocular ascription—‘Libretto for Naulakha’? Does he mean the rough draft about India which he left with Wolcott B? If so, the chapter heading to your Ch. VIII has point: ‘When a lover hies abroad…’

Carrington also points to a number of indicative phrases in the text of The Naulahka outside the Indian passages. which seem to have a bearing on the relationships between Rudyard Caroline and Wolcott:

  • Chapter 1. ‘There was strife twixt man and maid…
  • Chapter 2. ‘Beware the man who’s crossed in love…
  • Chapter 4. ‘Reference to a voyage to Italy.’
  • Chapter 8. ‘When a lover hies abroad…
  • Chapter 9. ‘We met in an evil land…
    …‘I wait for thy command…(reference to death)…
    …Thou sayst ’tis ill that I came?’
  • Chapter 12. ‘I fled from a fear that I could not see…
  • Chapter 14. ‘Because I sought it far from men…
    In deserts and alone I found it…’
  • Chapter 17. We stormed Valhalla (Good God! What does it mean?)
    ‘She with the star I had marked for my own, I with my set desire…
  • Chapter 18. ‘Now we are come to our kingdom…
    My crown is withered leaves
    For she sits in the dust and grieves’. (Wolcott is dead!)
  • Chapter 21. ‘The law whereby my lady moves…

But all this needs more careful analysis. [C.C.]