Seven Years Hard

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] Browning, “Fra Lippo Lippi”, opening lines.

[Page 39, line 1] sixteen years and nine months That is, on October 18, 1882, when Kipling arrived in Bombay on the S.S. Brindisi, which had sailed from London on September 20.

[Page 40, line 15] Lahore School of Art and Museum Lockwood Kipling had gone to Lahore, the capital of the Punjab, in 1875 to be the head of the new Mayo School of Art and curator of the Central Museum.

[Page 40, line 18] my sister came out Trix came out with her mother to Lahore in December 1883.

[Page 40, line 23] one daily paper of the Punjab Kipling was sub-editor of the Civil and Military Gazette. The appointment had been arranged through his father, who knew the proprietors and who was himself a regular contributor to the CMG.

[Page 40, line 24] the great Pioneer … proprietorship The Pioneer was the leading paper outside those of the ‘Presidency’ cities of India – Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras – and regarded as the peer of those. The principal proprietors were Sir George Allen and Sir James Walker.

[Page 40, line 28] My Chief Stephen Wheeler (1854-1937) edited the CMG until his return to England in 1887.

[Page 42, line 23] Our chief picnic rendezvous … mausoleum of ghosts The chief picnic grounds were the Shalimar Gardens, east of the city, built by Shah Jahan; the tomb of Anarkali, one of the “desired dead women” mentioned by Kipling, was built by the Emperor Jahangir and used by the British for the storage of records. Runjit (or Ranjit) Singh (1780-1839) was the founder of the Sikh power in the Punjab; Fort Lahore was formerly his palace.

[Page 44, line 4] described openings of big bridges … European community of Lahore Most of these references can be documented: Kipling wrote about the openings of bridges in the CMG, March 2 and May 18, 1887; about floods on railways, August 6, 1887; about village festivals, March 30, 1886; about communal riots in Lahore, October 19 and 22, 1885; about visits of Viceroys to neighboring Princes, March 22, 1884; about Army reviews, February 18, 1887; about receptions of an Afghan potentate, March 24-April 14, 1885. No items about divorce or murder have been positively identified, though doubtless he wrote such things; nor has a story about lepers among the butchers of Lahore been found. He did do a sufficiently disgusting story about the milk supply of Lahore, February 14, 1885. Incidentally, at the time of his visit to the Khyber Pass (April 1885) he makes no mention of being shot at, either in his articles for the CMG or in his letters, though a letter of January 30, 1886, says that he had been threatened by a native with a knife in the preceding April as he walked towards the Khyber Pass.

[Page 44, line 12] hit the crowds on the feet with the gun-butt In “The City of the Two Creeds”, CMG, October 1 1887, Kipling describes this method of quelling riot, though the soldiers in that account use “lance butts.”

[Page 45, line 5] Squeers’ method of instruction Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby, ch. 8: Wackford Squeers, the brutal schoolmaster, goes upon “the practical mode of teaching” by putting the boys to menial labor.

[Page 45, line 10] a Native State This was perhaps Patiala, where Kipling was sent to report the Viceroy’s visit in March 1884.

[Page 46, line 14] Kay Robinson Edward Kay Robinson (1854-1928), edited the CMG 1887-95; returned to England where he continued to work as a journalist.

[Page 46, line 15] Phil Robinson (1847-1902) published In My Indian Garden, 1878.

[Page 46, line 22] Timeo … dona ferentes Aeneid, II 48: “I fear the Greeks, even when bringing gifts.”

[Page 49, line 5] Central Russian Khanates This was in 1884; Alikhanoff (or Ali Khan) was a Moslem soldier in the service of the Russians.

[Page 49, line 8] sax-aul A shrub (Anabasis ammodendron) growing on the steppes of central Asia.

[Page 49, line 12] I fell sick in New York This is the only reference in Something of Myself to the tragic experience of 1899, when Kipling’s daughter Josephine, aged seven, died of pneumonia and when Kipling himself nearly died of the same disease. The account of his delirious visions, dictated by Kipling, was published by Lord Birkenhead, Rudyard Kipling (New York, Random House, 1978), pp. 370-76.

[Page 49, line 27] In 1885 Altered to “In the early ‘Eighties” in later printings. The reference is to Gladstone’s second ministry.

[Page 50, line 3] Native judges should try white women The reference is to the so-called Ilbert Bill, named after its official sponsor, the Legal Member of Council, Sir Courteney Ilbert, and introduced in February 1883. In trying to remove certain anomalies from judicial practice, the bill incidentally allowed native judges the authority to try British subjects.

[Page 50, line 13] Viceroy George Frederick Samuel Robinson (1827-1909), first Marquess of Ripon, Viceroy of India, 1880-84. He was a Liberal, a Catholic convert, and a fat man, facts that partly account for Kipling’s contemptuous language.

[Page 50, line 25] Indian White Paper Setting forth the government’s plan for the administration of India and under discussion from the end of 1932. Despite strong opposition the plan passed into law in August 1935, three days after Kipling began Something of Myself. From Kipling’s point of view the plan yielded far too much of British authority to the Indians.

[Page 51, line 11] `Your dam’ rag has ratted over the Bill’ The CMG announced editorially in its November 19 1883, number that it thought the Ilbert Bill should pass, since further opposition was “unreasonable”; that was perhaps the occasion that Kipling describes here.

[Page 51, line 13] when one is twenty Kipling was not yet eighteen at the time.

[Page 51, line 26] made him a Knight Neither Allen nor Walker was knighted at this time. (See the Introduction).

[Page 52, line 20] In ’85 Not 1885, but April 1886, though he was, as he says, under age, since he would not be twenty-one until December 30, 1886.

[Page 53, line 1] Araya and Brahmo Samaj Reform Hindu movements.

[Page 53, line 1] a Jew tyler A tyler is the doorkeeper of a Masonic lodge.

[Page 53, line 3] another world … which I needed Kipling slightly exaggerates the mixed character of the Lodge: it certainly had four, and perhaps as many as six, non-Europeans, in Kipling’s day, a respectable proportion in a membership of only about thirty (Harry Carr, “Kipling and the Craft,” Ars Quatuor Coronatorum,
77 [1964], p. 221).

[Page 54, line 4] accounts of these prowls The best-known is perhaps the sketch “The City of Dreadful Night” in the CMG, September 10, 1885, collected in Life’s Handicap.

[Page 55, line 6] Fort Lahore and … Mian Mir Cantonments Fort Lahore, part of the walled city of Lahore, was garrisoned from Mian Mir, the cantonments some three miles to the east of Lahore.

[Page 55, line 8] 2nd Fifth Fusiliers The 2nd Battalion of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, 5th Foot; they were at Lahore, 1882-87.

[Page 55, line 11] 30th East Lancashire The East Lancashire Regiment, 30th Foot.

[Page 55, line 12] 31st East Surrey The 1st Battalion, The East Surrey Regiment, 31st Foot, stationed at Allahabad.

[Page 55, line 22] turned out a Quarter-Guard of Her Majesty’s troops Kipling also refers to this episode in “Quo Fata Vocant” (1902): “the clatter of sleepy feet descending the brick steps of the Quarter-guard; and the disgraceful attempt of a civilian at 2 A.M. to personate Visiting Rounds” (Sussex Edition, xxx, 257).

[Page 56, line 16] Lock Hospitals Hospitals for hospital of that name.

[Page 56, line 28] Lord Roberts Field Marshal Lord Roberts (1832-1914), Commander-in-Chief in India, and afterwards commander in the Boer War. He is celebrated in Kipling’s poem “Bobs.”

[Page 57, line 9] a full Colonel This was probably in the summer of 1888, after the stories collected in Soldiers Three had begun to appear.

[Page 57, line 10] Simla A resort 7,000 feet high in the foothills of the Himalayas, Simla was the summer capital both for the supreme government of India, normally resident in Calcutta, and for the government of the Punjab, whose home was in Lahore. Simla sheltered a very special society of high officials and their families, brought together for a short time in dramatic isolation from the rest of India.

[Page 57, line 26] Correspondent . . . a power in the land Howard Hensman (?-1916), famous both as the correspondent of the Pioneer at government headquarters and as the best bridge-player in India. Remembered as “wiser than most on most matters” and “one of the kindest and best” (General Sir Ian Hamilton, Listening for the Drums [London, Faber and Faber, 1944], p. 51)

[Page 58, line 3] Madame Blavatsky Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-91), founder of the Theosophical Society in 1875. She resided in India after 1879.

[Page 58, line 18] Editor Alfred Percy Sinnett (1840-1921), editor of the Pioneer, 1872-88; he was an ardent Theosophist and published widely on the occult.

[Page 58, line 21] I was sent off for rest … and his wife. See Kipling’s diary for 1885.

[Page 59, line 3] `all might … henceforth and for ever’ From the “ascription” used at the end of the Anglican service.

[Page 59, line 26] developed Thus in text: for “devolved”?

[Page 60, line 11] hirpling A Scottish dialect word, meaning “to move with a limp”; Kipling uses it several times in his writings.

[Page 62, line 13] my twenty-fourth year That is, the year in which he left India, 1889.

[Page 64, line 23] Lawrie Dr. E.B. Lawrie, surgeon and professor at the Lahore Medical School.

[Page 65, line 14] All in a Garden Fair 1883.

[Page 66, line 9] seemed pleased Kipling met Besant (1836-i901) shortly after Kipling’s arrival in London in October 1889, and they got on well. Besant sponsored him for the Savile Club, introduced him to a literary agent, and brought him in as a member of the Authors’ Society, of which Besant was the chief animating spirit.

[Page 66, line 11] our paper changed its shape and type With the issue of August 1, 1887. See Kipling’s “Our Change. By Us,” CMG, August i, 1887 (Thomas Pinney, Kipling’s India [London, Macmillan, 1986] pp. 243-46).

[Page 66, line 15] One new feature. ..’write short’ This somewhat elliptical passage may be elaborated: the London Globe (printed on pink paper) had a regular story that ran on to the first column of the next page. In order to complete the reading, then, the reader had to turn over the page; hence the term “turnover.” Robinson had worked for the Globe before coming to India, which was no doubt a factor in the decision to imitate the practice. The “turnover” space was largely filled by Kipling in its first months, and what he wrote for it – including most of the stories collected in Plain Tales from the Hills – was rigidly confined to the space allotted. He had thus to “write short.”

[Page 66, line 28] a General … in the Great War Brigadier General Frederick Hugh Gordon Cunliffe (1861-1955), at USC 1876-79; commanded the Nigeria Regiment, 1914-18.

[Page 67, line 21] Quartette This was published as a Christmas supplement to the CMG, and was wholly the work of the Kipling family: three items were by Lockwood Kipling; four by Alice Kipling; one by Trix; and the remaining eight by Kipling, including “The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes” and “The Phantom ‘Rickshaw.”

[Page 67, line 28] Plain Tales from the Hills The series of this title began not in 1885 but on November 2, 1886.

[Page 68, line 8] Indigo Planters’ Gazette Nothing by Kipling is known in a periodical of this name, but “The Ballad of Ahmed Shah” appeared in The Indian Planters’ Gazette, c. 1886-88.

[Page 68, line 22] `too good to inquire’ Charles James Apperley (“Nimrod”), The Chace, the Turf, and the Road, 1837, p. 51, describing a fox hunt: “a report is flying about that one of the field is badly hurt, and something is heard of a collar-bone being broken, others say it is a leg; but the pace is too good to inquire.”

[Page 69, line 1] a man under me Kipling had several times to take over the chief editorial duty in the absence or illness of his superior; if he was lucky, temporary help might be sent to him; perhaps he means one of these occasions. Or perhaps he refers to the weeks he spent serving as relief editor of the CMG after he had been transferred to the Pioneer.

[Page 69, line 3] Elia-like `turnovers’ That is, in the manner of Charles Lamb’s Essays of Elia. Kipling refers to this again in “My First Book,” below.

[Page 69, line 8] a writer called Browning This review has not been identified.

[Page 69, line 22] In ’87 The precise date is not known, but it is probable that Kipling left Lahore for Allahabad in November 1887.

[Page 70, line 7] a most holy river Allahabad is on the Ganges, at its junction with the Jumna.

[Page 70, line 14] chief proprietor George Allen; Kipling lived in his house on first going to Allahabad.

[Page 71, line 2] Would I not? The weekly paper, called The Week’s News, began publication on January 7, 1888.

[Page 71, line 6] `sight of means to do ill deeds’ Shakespeare, King John, iv, ii, 219.

[Page 71, line 7] Bret Harte A story by Bret Harte appeared in the first number of The Week’s News.

[Page 71, line 19] “Twas ask … more’s ready’ Browning, “Fra Lippo Lippi,” lines 163-64.

[Page 71, line 24] Daemon The first occurrence of this term, which Kipling uses in its sense of an attendant genius, or of a spirit mediating between the human and the divine; the association is with ancient theories of inspiration, or, specifically, with the daemon of Socrates, an inward monitor.

[Page 71, line 26] `Gyp’ Pseudonym of the Comtesse de Martel de Janville (1849-1932); her Autour du Mariage appeared in 1883.

[Page 72, line 3] The Story of the Gadsbys Most of “The Story of the Gadsbys” appeared serially in The Week’s News, May 26-August 18, 1888.

[Page 72, line 5] `A Wayside Comedy’ The Week’s News, January 21, 1888; since this was only the third number of The Week’s News, the story rejected by his mother cannot have long preceded it.

[Page 72, line 21] key to its method Neither the Frenchman nor the phrase has been identified.

[Page 73, line 14] Chief Correspondent Hensman: see the note above.

[Page 73, line 16] Native State mines … and the like The assignments that produced the articles collected in From Sea to Sea (l900) as “Letters of Marque”, “The City of Dreadful Night”, “Among the Railway Folk”, “The Giridih Coal-Fields”, and “In an Opium Factory.” Almost all were written in 1888.

[Page 73, line 20] knighthood in due course Allen was knighted in 1897.

[Page 74, line 4] And if… you be! “A Job Lot,” Pioneer, September 1, 1888 (Andrew Rutherford, Early Verse by Rudyard Kipling [Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1986], pp. 421-23).

[Page 74, line 19] railway bookstall volumes These were the volumes of the “Indian Railway Library” series, made up largely but not exclusively of stories already published in The Week’s News:

Soldiers Three, The Story of the Gadsbys, In Black and White, Under the Deodars,

and The Phantom ‘Rickshaw appeared in 1888; Wee Willie Winkie in 1889.

[Page 74, line 22] man who…railway bookstalls Emile Moreau (1856-1937), senior partner in the Allahabad firm of A.H. Wheeler and Co.

[Page 74, line 24] I sold him … royalty Kipling bought back the copyright of the “Indian Railway Library” volumes in 1894 for £1,200.

[Page 74, line 25] Plain Tales … Departmental Ditties These two titles were owned not by the firm of Wheeler but the Calcutta publisher Thacker, Spink, and Co.

[Page 75, line 3] I left India for England Kipling’s decision to try his fortunes in England had been firmly taken as early as May 1888. The narrative at this point makes a large jump, omitting as it does the eight months of Kipling’s journey through the Orient and across the United States, and saying nothing of his travelling companions, Professor and Mrs. Hill (see the Introduction).

[Page 75, line 7] managing director His name was William J. Dare.

[Page 75, line 20] publication and sale The scramble to exploit Kipling’s Indian work began when the firm of A.H. Wheeler published three volumes of collected sketches from the CMG and the Pioneer: The City of Dreadful Night and Other Sketches, 1890; The Smith Administration, 1891; and Letters of Marque, 1891. These Kipling succeeded in having “suppressed,” but the damage, as he saw it, was done, and the material included in Wheeler’s suppressed volumes has been public ever since.

[Page 76, line 8] alone and unsponsored This happened in 1935, not long before Kipling set to work on Something of Myself.

[Page 76, line 10] weathered the storm Kipling invested in the CMG in 1935, partly out of sentiment. The paper ceased publication in 1963; the office file of the newspaper was recently (1983) acquired by the National Library of Pakistan; another file is in the India Office Library, London.

[Page 76, line 12] Try as he will … our hearts will be “The Virginity,” 1914 (The Years Between).

[Page 76, line 21] here I `worked’ The building in which Kipling worked has long since been demolished. The memorial tablet to Kipling (which may have survived more than one of the CMG’s changes of office) read: “Rudyard Kipling Worked Here 1882-1887” (Noel F. Cooke, “The `Pioneer’ of Kipling’s Day”, Kipling Journal, March 1964, p. 22).