To Grace Cabot Holbrook, Brattleboro
My dear Grace:
I have written this brief sketch that you may know something of the life that preceded yours at Naulakha.
If too much of the personal relation between myself and the Genius of the place has been included, it has been done in the belief that it might serve to make more clear the line of Destiny, which brought Naulakha in to its present sympathetic ownership.
Your affectionate sister,
Mary R. Cabot
Rudyard Kipling came, for the first time, to Brattleboro, February 16, 1892, a month after his marriage to Caroline Balestier. Her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs.Joseph N. Balestier, impressed by the peculiar charm of the Vermont landscape, while guests at the old Watercure, bought a tract of land with wooded hillsides and beautiful prospects overlooking the Connecticut River valley, three miles
north of the village, in 1868, and builded a house to which they gave the name Beechwood.
Here their children and grandchildren passed many summers, which endeared the place to the entire family. To their grandson, Beatty S. Balestier, on his marriage in 1890 to Mai Mendon, was given Maplewood, an old farmhouse on the estate, with seventy or more adjoining acres, and it was at Maplewood in the winter of 1892 that Mr. and Mrs. Kipling made the memorable visit.
Mr. Kipling had never seen such snow nearer than on distant peaks of the Himalayas, when he arrived in Vermont one crisp, cold and white winter’s night, to be bundled by Beatty in fur coat, cap and rugs, and driven behind a pair of fleet horses to the house among the hills. He was delighted with the novelty of this three days visit, which occasioned the sketch “In Sight of Monadnock” for the Springfield Republican, and from that time was in love with our northern Winter.
My brother Will had been in London the previous year [May-July 1891], in
business connection with the publishing house of Heinemann & Balestier, and at
the house of Wolcott Balestier met Rudyard Kipling, recently arrived from India
[via the United States, in October 1889]. This was at the time of the collaboration that developed the story entitled The Naulahka, and also, of the meeting between the literary genius and the woman who was to become his wife. Mr Kipling was interested in Will’s original method of finding his way about the streets of London, at night, by the position of the stars, his days being so engrossed in business as to keep him confined exclusively in Wolcott’s office in Dean’s Yard, Westminster. Will was “the man from the West” [mentioned in “In Sight of Monadnock”], who came, the morning after the Kiplings’ arrival, on snowshoes, across the fresh-fallen snow, to greet Beatty’s guests. As Will did not return for our midday meal, I drove up to bring him home. While pulling up my sleigh before the door, out rushed Rudyard Kipling with the others. He was boyish in appearance and manner, which was hearty and almost rollicking, and he spoke very rapidly and vividly of the topics of the time and locality.
I stopped but a few minutes and did not see him again until the following summer, when he and Mrs. Kipling returned and began keeping house in a cottage belonging to the Bliss Farm, on the edge of the Balestier property. It seems that during the brief winter’s visit they had purchased of Beatty a stretch of pasture, eleven and a half acres, opposite and on the other side of the road from Maplewood. They continued in the Bliss Cottage while they planned and built on this hillside pasture their first home, Naulakha. Mrs. Kipling had been known to us superficially from childhood, as Carrie Balestier, but it was a more intimate relation with her sister Josephine that led me to call at the cottage.
October 19, 1892.
Yesterday afternoon I went to call on the Kiplngs. They
were out when I arrived but Josephine was there, so I had a conversation of half an hour with her, most intimate and all relating to Wolcott. She gave me five pictures (large) of him to bring home, and keep long enough to know just which one I want to own. They are good, all of them. The Kiplings finally came and Mr. K. would not let me off earlier so I stayed an hour and a half, and came down after dark, at half past six. Fred was walking the horse before that house for two hours. The great Rudyard talked in the freeest way about his writings on the United States and the American feeling against him, told mr all
his experiences with the Clubs in New York and the newspapers, and we simply hobnobbed. He gave me some English papers and said I should have all his
English periodicals. Carrie was cordiality itself. Kipling showed me Mary
Hallock Foote’s illustrations just received for a new edition of The Naulahka
and they “let me in” to their literary secrets. If I were to see you now you would be interested in hearing all the details I could give you of the visit. The house is almost empty of furniture and what is there, absolutely without taste or comfort. Kipling is coarse (I think), kept saying “Golly,’ and his atmosphere was not restrained but rather familiar. But the artist in him is tremendous and he was thrilling when he talked Art. Mary Wilkins has been here and he went to see her. He is enthusiastic about her work. He has a lovely, soft voice, and you feel at once that he has a warm heart.
Mrs. Kipling invited me to lunch with them soon afterwards. When I arrived, Mr. Kipling was sitting in a buggy on the greensward in front of the house, and
was trying so awkwardly to tum around that I involuntarily offered my
assistance. I suspected that he did not know how to cramp the wheels, and he
seemed relieved when he handed me the reins. I cannot recall seeing him make
any attempt to drive, from that time. At luncheon, he told me of a dinner of eight, in India, everyone of whom, except himself, had killed his tiger. The
fact then flashed on my consciousness that the fearless author was uncommonly
timid as a man. In the afternoon we strolled along the road, looking for
leaves of wood anemones. By another year he had learned to appreciate their significance as harbingers of Spring to the inhabitants of a northern latitude,
and he refused to go away while they were in bloom. He said his year would be
incomplete if he missed the anemones.
The townspeople began by distrusting him for being an Englishman, and commented on his slouching dress. When he first appeard on Main Street it was with trousers tucked into top boots, his old coarse coat thrown open, revealing a
flannel shirt, and on his head a sombrero hat. It was disappointing to many that he did not show more personal dignity, if he were the great man he
purported to be. Their sentiments and criticisms found way to his keen and
sensitive nature intuitively, and sometimes through marked discourtesy of a
clerk who hastened to indicate his equality with Rudyard Kipling. When winter set in, he invested in a basket sleigh, which looked strangely inappropriate to
the rigorous climate. One day, as it stopped before a grocer’s shop, some
passers-by sneared at the outfit, and a woman put her fingers into the ear of
the tiger’s head of a rug thrown over the back, saying in shrill Yankee voice,
“Wa-al, they’d better keep their wild beasts ter hum, ennyhaow!”
February 20, 1893.
We have had a glorious snowstorm and today it is almost a
blizzard. I went out in it Saturday. The snow is two or three feet deep and
the trees loaded with it. Yesterday I saw Mrs. Balestier and Carrie Kiplmg in
their basket sleigh—the mountings were yellow and they had a yellow cock’s
feather between the horse’s ears. I hear that Mai [Beatty’s wife] has no
servants. Carrie K. drove to the village three weeks after her baby was bom!
She (the baby) is a bouncer, very blond and not at all like the Balestiers. They have an English nurse.
The making of Naulakha was a great interest and delight. Kipling had never had
a real home since his days in Lahore. The laying of each stone and timber, interior development and finish, were followed by his close and tender observation. Of special importance to him was the arrangement of grounds and formal garden. He cared for every tree and shrub, investing them with poetic individuality, and tended the flowers with affection, as his daily portion of work, through their season.
Windham County Reformer
Kipling’s Unique Residence. The Novelist’s New Home is One of the Attractions
of Brattleboro. [Brattleboro Letter in Sunday Springfield Republican]
“Have you seen the Kipling’s new home?” is one of the first questions asked of
the summer visitors, for now the building is completed it has become one of the local objects of interest.
It is really a unique structure, quite unlike
anything to be found hereabouts, while it is thoroughly built and neatly
finished. It stands on the hill-side about three miles north of the village on
a tract purchased of Mrs. Kipling’s brother, B. S. Balestier, and commands a
charming view of the New Hampshire hills and the Connecticut valley looking
It is a two-story frame house seventy feet long by twenty-two feet wide, its foundations being of rough stones with long narrow windows for lighting a large basement. There is but one tier of 11 rooms, all facing
toward the highway at the east. A large hall is on the opposite side, and into
it opens the front and only entrance door. The long plain side of the house is
broken by a loggia with a projecting balustrade, the other side of the building having a projecting bay window.
There is a double porch on the southern end, affording a most delightful view. A towering sentinel stands at the north end of the house in the form of a grand old maple, while scores of smaller trees, mostly evergreens, closely surround the place. There are fireplaces in every
room in the house, except one, and a furnace (the largest ever installed in
Brattleboro) in the basement. A convenient kitchen is at the north end, with
the dining-room next, while there is a parlor in the middle of the house which
is lighted by a large window of plate-glass.
The young author’s study is one of the most desirable rooms. occupying the full width of the south end of the house and containing a fine bay window. Five well-filled bookcases make a large proportion of its furniture. The study opens on the piazza. A spacious billiard-room is in the attic, two dormer windows
furnishing the light. The hall is finished in ash and the rest of the
house in whitewood, with pine floors.
Above the stone basement, the outside of the house is covered with shingles
stained a dark olive, the idea being to have the whole house blend with the
background without contrast. As a result, the building is scarcely noticeable
from a distance, and while it seems isolated and almost obscured, just as the
author would have it, still it is one of the most restful and at the same time
most sightly locations to be found. In the effort to find good water an
artesian well has already been sunk 180 feet just south of the house, though as
yet without satisfactory results. The drilling costs $6 a foot, and only about
three feet a day can be drilled. The house was originally contracted to J. P.
Helyar, a local builder, who subsequently died, and whose administrator, E. A.
Gould, completed the work. John Galvin did the plumbing. The plans and
architectural design were furnished by Henry Rutgers Marshall of New York, who embodied in them Mr. Kipling’s own ideas. The New York firm of architects, together with Mrs. Kipling, have directed the erection of the building. Work has now begun on a stable.
September 1, 1893.
Rudyard Kipling’s new home will be known as “The Naulakha,” in honor of “A Tale
of the East and West,” written in collaboration by Kipling and Wolcott
Balestier, and published in the Century.
By the time the house was ready for occupancy, little Josephine had come and was ready to move with them, so that their home as well as their house was complete. Kipling had so much sentiment for the cottage where Josephine was
bom that he made every possible effort to bring it into his possession, but
the Blisses would not consent to sell it. With the experience of fatherhood
and home responsibilities there seemed to come a seriousness of purpose and
dignity of bearing to Mr. Kipling. His manners softened and took form. While
he shared, with enthusiasm, the free and easy life at Maplewood, there was much
of the conventional at Naulakha. It was necessary to live up to the customs of their imported English servants, a coachman who had been in the services of an
earl, in the old country, and a nurse, who applied for the position with avowed
desire to devote her life to the child of a Genius.
They moved in the late summer of 1893, and almost immediately, I was welcomed
to their innermost life. It was a quiet and simple life, made up of his
regular and constant work, writing from nine until one in the library, on whose
mantel Kipling’s father inscribed the words, “The Night cometh when no man can work.” After luncheon there were hours for enjoyment of the beauties of the
country. In winter his exercise was taken on snowshoes, or skis; when spring
broke, his pleasure was to tramp the woods in search of wild flowers, or shape
and weed his garden. His love of Nature was intense, as was everything else in
him. Wife or friends companioned him on walks and drives, and his observations
on all he saw bore evidence of a mind as receptive as the most sensitive photographic plate. Everything that came within the scope of his senses was
remembered and transmuted into terms of Art. His comradery on these outings
was always full of sweet affectionateness.
Mrs. Kipling prided herself on being practical. She was not, however, a
natural housekeeper, provided only bare necessities and slender allowances for
her life, made much of the difficulty of conducting a household like hers so
far from the source of supplies, and kept the machinery of life always in
evidence. An unexpected guest at luncheon would have been an impossibility. Nor did she know how to make a house attractive. But their architect, Henry
Rutgers Marshall, in attempting to do the best with a siteless pasture,
succeeded, by placing the living room on the side of the view, in giving it a
remarkably intimate relation with the beauty of the landscape. Not the interior or the house, but the glory outside, made the charm of Naulakha. At first there were but meager furnishings, which were soon, however, augmented by cotton hangings of Oriental coloring and good design, from the government factories of Mr. Kipling, senior, in India; gifts of embroideries from the same country; Benares brass, silver, and carved teak, to which were added casts from the antique, and books, money being laid aside every month to be expended in the formation of a library of reference and literature. An air of distinction began to pervade the house.
Although not given to hospitality of herself, and averse to the prodigality of
her husband’s social instincts, Mrs. Kipling was, in many respects, an
admirable wife for a genius. She guarded his health, assumed the supervision
of every detail of the routine of his daily life, published his works, was his
business agent, and stood between him and any obstacles to the free and full
development of his powers. I once went to the railroad station when they were
starting for Lakewood, New Jersey. While Mrs. Kipling was checking the baggage, I happened to ask Mr. Kipling the name of the hotel where they were to
be. He replied, “Why, bless you, I don’t know! I am no more than a cork on
the water, when Carrie is with me.”
I can count on my fingers the guests who came from a distance to Naulakha: Mr.
Kipling’s Father, a charming and mellow English gentleman, Henry Rutgers
Marshall, Charles Eliot Norton, Lockwood DeForest, who contributed to the house
a piece of carved teakwood for the space above the bow-window in the library,
Professor and Mrs. William James, Mrs. Pen Browning (daughter-in-law of Robert
Browning), and Conan Doyle. From Brattleboro: their beloved physician, Dr.
James Conland, Miss Caroline Keyes of Putney, whose life among her flowers was,
Mr Kipling said, “the best story Mary Wilkins never wrote”, and myself. Lina Holbrook spent two weeks with them one winter for the purpose of painting a portrait of little Josephine.
Of the friendship between Dr. Conland and Mr. Kipling I knew nothing from
personal observation. They made two trips together to the coast near Cape Cod,
where Dr. Conland’s boyhood had been spent, and I believe made a cruise, which
resulted in the sea-story Captains Courageous, which was dedicated to the
Doctor. Dr. Conland introduced R.K. to the actual life, speech and habits of
the fishermen. After the death of his wife, the Rev. Charles O. Day of the
Congregational Church was persuaded to take an afternoon from his pastoral work
to play golf with Mr. Kipling on the Balestier land, an impromptu links, a relaxation sadly needed. He wrote a charming and true sketch of the family at
Naulakha for one of the newspapers.
Kipling could never see too much of anyone whom he cared to see at all, and
took it amiss if I did not come to them often. A note written to me by Miss
Keyes, while she was staying at Naulakha, says: “They couldn’t say enough of
the pleasure of seeing you again. He asked Josephine [Balestier] why you didn’t come oftener to Naulakha, and added ‘I love Molly Cabot, and don’t care who knows it.’ ” Old letters to my sister contain assurances of his warmth
November 23, 1893.
Then (Nov. 21) Ethel [Dalton] and I went to lunch at Mai’s to meet Carrie Kipling, Alice Glidden and a Miss Robertson of Putney. We took a jaunt with Rudyard and Beatty over the hills, tea at Naulakha and home at nine in the evening: it was snowing fast. Beatty has given us the freedom of a building lot on his land and Kipling has drawn a house plan for us. We are really thinking of going in to a scheme of the kind on some hill top, Ethel to have the house six months and I the following six. Don’t tell anyone. Kipling
and the Balestiers are bound to have us near them and offer every inducement.
Last evening Mai and Beatty came to olives farcis in my Playroom and stayed
November 28, 1893.
The Kiplings have invited me twice a week lately and they
are coming to my “den” to olives farcis and beer as soon as I can get to it. Mai says they are “dying” to come.
December 3, 1893.
I am surprised to find myself alive to tell the tale of the Von Funckes’ visit to Brattleboro during Thanksgiving week…. I took them to
drive—around the village to all places where Minna had associations, and to
the Brooks House, Library and Savings Bank…. From that time Fred was here so
you know the rest of the story, the drive to the Balestiers and Kiplings, the
dinner and our visitors in the evening…. The dinner was really fine. I
thoroughly enjoyed seeing them but I was on my feet every instant and talking
continually and feeling all the time so sorry for them. Cousin Oscar confided
to me that he was a little homesick at times and they had only seen such
barbarians (from their standpoint) and everything has been so mismanaged! I
love them both. I wish you could have seen Cousin Oscar kissing Father
repeatedly at the station as he went away, with at least twenty-five onlookers! He bore it like a man ! Was it not nice, the Kiplings appearing for afternoon tea in the midst of the festivity. Braham Stoker, Irving’s and Terry’s manager, comes to visit them, and I shall be invited to dine.
December 29, 1893.
The choir of St. Michael’s Episcopal church sang at Rudyard Kipling’s Sunday
afternoon [i.e. December 24]. They were invited there by Mrs. Kipling as a
surprise to her husband.
At the Christmas celebration for Josephine and Marjorie, a Yule-tree was drawn by oxen from the back pasture to Naulakha. After the tree, we had an informal supper and R.K. told stories by the big open fire. The guests from Maplewood were Ethel, Elliott, Buck Ward and John Adams (Wolcott’s friend), Mrs. Balestier, Josephine and myself.
New Years Day, 1894.
We have a most beautiful beginning of the New Year as to
weather. It is simply glorious this morning…. I am invited to dine at the
As I was going to the hotel, Carrie Kipling arrived, to say that I must come to
her dinner in a stuff gown as there would be dancing in the barn later.
Blanche Carpenter, Elliott Balestier, Josephine Balestier and Mrs. Wolcott
Balestier were at dinner. Kipling took me out and I sat at his right, while
his genius flashed and glowed. At eight o’clock we went to the barn, which was
lighted with kerosene lamps. The refreshments, cider and sandwiches, were
served from a pile of lumber. Kipling had fastened pieces of paper to the wall, with inscriptions like these: “Here are the marble pillars!” “This is the
gilded divan!” They had a fiddler from Slab Hollow. The Gliddens, with two men friends from Boston, were there, and the Beattys (as the Kiplings call Mai and Beatty), Ethel Dalton and Buck Ward.
There were fourteen for the dance. Kipling and I led. My driver brought me home, flying, just before midnight. On these occasions, as at all times, Kipling talked, as he wrote, with
incomparable freshness and vigour, improvising for our amusement a story or play, in which his hearers figured as dramatis personae, or verses on some theme touching the emotions of the moment. Stimulated by a humorous suggestion from one of his playmates, he once composed with marvellous rapidity seventyfive verses in succession, until we were quite exhausted by the strain of catching the words and implored him to refrain from giving us more. He kept on until we covered our ears, as if he could not control the impetus or the creative impulse his boyish spirits had set in motion. He knew little or nothing of the laws of metre and when writing these verses, or even serious poems, would drum an accompaniment on the desk or table to make sure of the
rhythm, and would at the same time illustrate the subject with drawings in pencil, which were both clever and charming. His wonderful memory for everything he had ever seen or heard, no matter how trivial, made material for his Comic Muse from our commonplace chatter in very unexpected moments, and with ridiculous turns, but his essential sweetness of heart saved our feelings
from humiliation. It was in Beatty’s back pasture on an afternoon walk, that the short story entitled “A Walking Delegate” was mapped out, while we salted the horses, Rod and Rick, the heroes of the tale.
Most interesting were his reminiscences of India and the glimpses of its rich
coloring seen through the medium of his perceptions and descriptive powers. He
liked to dwell also on his boyhood days at the famous Westward Ho School in
England, and among other formative influences counted the stories told him by
William Morris while sitting on the knees of the great man. When Joel Chandler
Harris sent him a copy of Uncle Remus, he found friends from the folklore of India in all the characters except Miss Meadows, a fresh revelation to Literature. Mr. Kipling began writing “for fun,” when very young, and was overwhelmed with surprise when he found himself famous. His obligation to his genius became his religion as the realization of its possibilities dawned on
him. He did not attend church services in Brattleboro, but devoted Sunday
mornings to writing hymns which, read to the favored few, found oblivion in the waste paper basket by Monday.
Afternoon Tea as a dependable institution with the Kiplings, on the piazza in
fine weather, otherwise in the Library, the tea made by the hostess and served
on the Benares brass-topped table. At the Tea-hour friends’ friends were
received. There was a feeling that Mr. Kipling did not care to meet Americans, and it is true that his sensitive temperament could not come into contact with all sorts and conditions of men without some loss to his working capacity. He suffered from sightseers, lion-hunters and newspaper reporters, by whom he was so often misrepresented that he learned to crave protection from the unknown.
To the large numbers in these classes his wife was the formidable dragoness who
inhabited a small sewing-room between the entrance hall and library. No one
could gain access to him in working hours without running the gauntlet of her
authority. During their sojourn of four years in our vicinity no one came to
Brattleboro without a hope of seeing or meeting the Genius of the place. A
cordial welcome was given to whoever was introduced by the habitués of the
house. In particular, I remember Margaret Crosby’s happiness over meeting,
through my intercession, the man whose literary genius she almost adored.
My Mother’s first visit to Naulakha is also memorable. Mr. Kipling devoted himself graciously and exclusively to her entertainment. She had such a delightful time and was so much impressed that she made the obligation to return a mackintosh, loaned by Mrs. Kipling, an excuse to carry him the following morning the first marigolds of the season—the flower of India! He was amused, when attempting to call on her another day, after her eyesight had begun to fail, to be mistaken for the berry man as he drove up in front of our door in an old wagon. She shook her head with vehemence and said she had “enough.”
The Kiplings accepted invitations, coming very often on moonlit evenings when the sleighing was fine, to my Den or Playroom as R.K. called it, for a chafing-dish supper. He was never more fascinating than in that atmosphere of mere relaxation, which he, especially, required. As long as I knew him he lamented the lack of a leisure class in America and said that I was the only
one of that class he had yet found. A few incidents of those days were recorded in my journals as well as in letters, from which I quote.
January 19, 1894.
Did I write of my visit to the Kiplings? Rudyard read aloud from a manuscript entitled “Notes from a Vermont Winter,” a description of the season in the hill country, perfectly fascinating. He is writing a play and has a child’s toy theater from Schwartz for practicing.
February 2, 1984.
In the evening the Kiplings and Julie Draper came. I made Lobster à la Newberg—with beer—then olives farcis and crackers, Marrons Glacés, and finally Maraschino. Kipling pronounced it a perfect supper and said he had had a “bully time.” He scintillated.
February 10, 1894.
Beatty, Mai, a Mr. Brown, the Kiplings and Julie appeared
in the evening—and we went on a sleighride by moonlight in Beatty’s haycart on
runners, and supper afterwards in my Den. Mushrooms, etc. A great time! To
bed at midnight.
Febmary 20, 1894.
I have wanted to bring about a meeting between the Browns
and Kiplings and also to have the Crosbys meet both…. Della [the Cabots’
cook] was collapsed yesterday so I gave up the original idea of a supper at seven—so I had one at ten o’clock. I had the most superb quantity of mushroom
on toast with beer first—then the breasts of grouse with celery salad—three-cornered
sandwiches—then preserves and macaroons & coffee. It was a success.
The steel wind mill which pumps water from Rudyard Kipling’s artesian well was
blown down Friday, and Mr. Morse of Boston has been here to put it in place.
Mr. and Mrs. Kipling left for the Bermudas Friday.
March 23, 1894.
Mr. and Mrs. Rudyard Kipling were expected to leave the Bermudas yesterday.
They will be due in Brattleboro, Monday.
Rudyard Kipling and family, who have just returned from the Bermudas, will
leave next week for Europe.
Rudyard and Mrs. Kipling and child left Brattleboro Monday, and have since
sailed for Europe, where they will remain for two months.
Rudyard Kipling to Miss Catlin
Arundel House, Tisbury (Wiltshire)
The tenth of a fine old English June
Dear Miss Catlin:
I am an unholily remiss person, or I should have written long ago and
acknowledged your delightful settings [i.e. settings for R.K.’s poems]. It
seems to me they are exactly what the words need—and when you come to consider how much an author thinks his most casual words require (He never gets it!) you
can see how much I mean: Only—forgive the criticism—they were not easy to
read. In the language of some immortal bard or another “Go ahead!” and take my
very best thanks.
We’re wet and gloomy here beyond the power of any words fit for your eyes. An
English June is not a thing to enter upon lightly. Since April 11th we have
had I think two clear days of sunshine. Now it is N.E. wind with fifteen or
sixteen showers or rain a day—raw, cold gusty and above all dark. We come
back—thank Heaven—early in August and I know one of us who’ll be delighted.
C. has improved her opportunities poor dear by a fine rich cold which skated generally all over her. Now it is going and she is sitting over a blazing fire
reading Clark Russell. The wind is howling round the house. It is wet and
twilight and the temperature is about 52 degrees.
I’m just down from town where
I’ve been assisting at a regimental dinner of the London Scottish—huge men in
kilts with claymores and disks—old friends of mine. The cab strike makes
things pleasingly uncertain at the end of an entertainment and I had to career
about for half an hour or so making shameless love to passing hansoms before a
blasted cabby would condescend to drive me. A man I know had to pay 8 pounds
(eight honest golden soverigns!!) the other night for what ought to have been a
two shilling fare. To add insult to bankruptcy these pirates label ’emselves
“Fair Price Cabs.”
News in town is small. Coming back as one does after two
years absence, is like entering a theatre in the middle of the second act. You
see all sorts of situations and hear a deal of vastly fine dialogues but not
being privy to the events that led up to all the row, you are only a little amazed and more than a little bored.
Besant gave an “inky” dinner the other night on severe professional lines at
the Club. Conan Doyle, and several reviewers (lamb among wolves) came and
there was an interesting young American artist who is illustrating a new book
of Besant’s. We gathered in a corner and said really soul satisfying things
about the English climate. A year of it would slay C. and me dead. Flat Curls
[Josephine] is in enormous form: learning a new word every ten minutes; playing
with the coal scuttle, eating pencils, smearing herself, bumping her head;
singing, shouting and babbling from dawn till dark. I was very glad to hear
you all liked the photo of her but she changed very swiftly. We of course
consider each change for the better: and she is adored by her grandfather. He
was spreeing in town with me—oh but I forgot you didn’t know him. By the way at our hotel I saw an American (first trip-per New York—Wednesday night—
devoting a fortnight to London and all the rest of it) tied up in unspeakable
knots over the attempt to pay eighteen pence in the simple & uncomplicated coinage of the land. I picked him out of his difficulty and left him looking at a sixpence & saying: “I know a shilling’s a quarter but this thing is too small for a dime and it can’t be a nickel.”
C. to whom I have read this has now picked herself out of a red shawl and Clark
Russell and says: —”Go on, tell them some more.” So I await her dictation:
Oh, You’ll find Shiv & the Grasshopper (the lullaby) in the Jungle Book. I
can’t get an American edition and I won’t insult you by sending you an English copy for which you’d have to pay 50 duty. Macmillan do not shine in the manufacture of child books. The reviews are rather funny. They don’t know how or at which end to pick the thing up.
C. says I’m to tell (it’s
aggravating to hear a girl with her feet on the fender) about our last new
scheme. We’ve decided next year or later to put up a small bungalow on the
South Coast here—just a seaside cottage and as my young cousin Ambrose Poynter
who is a very clever architect came and stayed with us for a week, we set him to
make us plans. You would have thought we’d had enough of building by this time
but the old fascination came back, and we spent the evenings fighting excitedly
over details and doorways, till Ambo entering into the spirit of our dreams
gradually developed for us a young baronial castle. Then we squashed him and
cut down the plans. It ought to be rather pretty: for he has new ideas in his
head. C. cuts in again and says you can each come over and spend your
honeymoon in it. I say don’t ruin your career at the outset by starting
married life in this land. We two have been simply spoiling for a fight this
week past (all on account of the weather) and the bungalow gives us a fine
[continued by Caroline Kipling] If I had any mind or strength left
except to send my best love,I should write another page. I am
anxiously waiting for news from the Parks. So glad Flat Curls pleases you. Go on with the music. These people take an age to decide things, but some day we
shall hear its commercial value. Rud is kept two hours a day writing letters
declining to do this & that and so has never found a minute until now to
write—poor boy. CK.
Kipling to Robert Barr (Editor of The Idler)
Arundel House, Tisbury
A regular weather-breeder of a day today—real warmth at last, and it waked in
me a lively desire to be back in Main Street, Brattleboro’, Vt., U.S.A., and
hear the sody-water fizzing in the drug-store and discuss the outlook for the
Episcopalian church with the clerk; and get a bottle of lager in the basement of the Brooks House, and hear the doctor tell fish-yarns, and have the iron-headed old farmers loaf up and jerk out:”Bin in Yurope haint yer”, and then go home, an easy gait, through the deep white dust with locust trees just stinking to heaven, and the fireflies playing up and down the Swamp Road, and the Katy-dids giving oratorios, free gratis and for nothing, to the whippoorwill, and
everybody sitting out in the verandah after dinner, smoking Durham tobacco in a
cob pipe, with our feet on the verandah railings, and the moon coming up behind
Wantastiquet. There’s one Britisher at least homesick for a section of your
depraved old land, and he’s going, Please Allah! the first week of August, by
the Kaiser Wilhelm…
August 17, 1894.
Mr. and Mrs. Rudyard Kipling, who have been in Europe several months, arrived
in Brattleboro Tuesday night, and are now at their residence three miles north
of the village. Kipling evidently kept shy of New York news-paperdom, as his arrival was not recorded in that city.
“Mr. Rudyard Kipling is a man of many surprises,” says The Critic. “We had
just got suitably impressed with the fact that he would remain in England until
September, when he arrived in New York with his wife and child. It is said
that he intends to spend part of every summer in England and the rest of the
year on the edge of ‘the great pie belt.”
September 7, 1894.
Mr. and Mrs. Rudyard Kipling returned Monday night after a few days’ visit at
East Gloucester, Mass.
September 21, 1894.
With the reading of proofs of one book and editing new editions of six others,
and several Chnstmas stories, Rudyard Kipling is very busy just now. With
Mrs. Kipling he has this week gone to Morristown, N.J., for a short visit.
November 2, 1894.
Mrs. Rudyard Kipling, her two-year-old child, nurse and coachman were the
victims of a runaway accident Saturday. They had left the Kipling homestead to
drive to the village, when the horses became fractious. Near Madame
Balestier’s one of the horses stepped over the pole, and the animals then were
soon only partially under control. Mrs. Kipling had great presence of mind and
wound a heavy robe about the baby, at the same time ordering the coachman to
turn the horses up toward the Bliss farm, instead of allowing them to dash down
the hill. The driver attempted to follow instructions, but at the tum one
wheel gave way and all were thrown out, but not badly injured. The horses were
not caught until they ran into a lot near the cemetery. The carriage was badly
Conan Doyle and a younger brother, fresh from Australia, spent Thanksgiving of 1894 at Naulakha. The dinner was at Maplewood, for who, Beatty said, would dine in an Englishman’s house on Thanksgiving Day? As always, Caroline Keyes
and I were among the guests. The day was cold and it was snowing hard as we
started. The glass windows of the coupé were closed, and we talked freely much
of the way about the Play Mr. Kipling was writing for us to act at the
Christmas celebration, and other matters of mutual interest, without observing
that there was a woman on the seat beside the driver. Who could she be? The
cabby’s girl was our conclusion. It was too late to dismiss her into the
darkness and a lonely road. The best way, we thought, was to pretend that she had not been discovered. As we landed at Maplewood, the door of the house flew
open and Mr. Kipling appeared-and disappeared, as suddenly as Jack of the Box.
He detected her at a glance through the whirling snow, and without a lamp. She was a reporter! Beatty was sent forth to assist us. The Boston Journal in its
next issue contained a verbatim report of the conversation between Caroline
Keyes and myself. This episode led to a discussion on American ways and
manners by the Britishers present, which turned in the direction of American versus English literature of the time and to their favorites among the writers. I recall what was said about Henley and the verses quoted from him. It was a
Further extracts from my letters and journals are as follows:
Carrie Keyes came Monday morning and we went to Naulakha at
two, to the Children’s Tree. It was beautiful, against a background of Indian
rugs, in the loggia. I received a small gift, a bisque dog with a hen tied
around his neck, suggesting my poor Tony. The card attached read like this: “Mary had a little dog / And he was Mary s pride, / For everywhere that doggie
went, / A little chicken died.” The servants were present and there were gifts
for the neighboring farmers’ families. After the Tree we had tea in the
dining-room, then went to R.K.’s study, where there was a Yule-log on the
hearth, and we had some wonderful talk from him. We adjourned to Beatty’s
later, had supper and games, and when we drove home, the snow was falling.
Bessy, Will and the children come tomorrow for a few days. I
am going to receive New Year’s Day for Bessy’s benefit and am going to have the
Kiplings and a few others for games some evening…. Kipling is going to write
Sarah Orne Jewett, and I am going to meet her.
January 4, 1895.
The Kiplings sent for me yesterday to go to see Lina’s [Emerline Holbrook’s] portrait of their baby. She has caught the child’s expression wonderfully and has done it all very well and they are delighted, and are going to allow her to hang it in the Spring Exhibition. They have
asked her also to teach Josephine (the baby) how to draw—for a little time each summer—as they wish to have the baby learn to draw before she reads. And
they like Lina very much.
January 18, 1895.
Windham County Reformer
Mrs Kipling was severely burned about the face by a flame which puffed out of the furnace door.
I have been to see Carrie Kipling twice within the last week for
nearly the whole evening each time—as she has been confined to a dark room with her eyes.
February 10, 1895.
The snow is getting to be mountain-high. We had a heavy
snow with wind, drifting everywhere, stopping trains, etc. Will went to
Naulakha that day on snowshoes and had a beautiful time. I am going there this
week to take photographs of the interior, etc. Will spends much time, when here, snowshoeing with R.K. One day he left home at 10:30 A.M. and had not been seen at 6 P.M.
February 15, 1895.
There is a good chance of our having a trolley road on Main
St.! Fancy! Mr. Kipling says the day it is begun, his place will be offered
for sale. But then, he cannot sell it. The village is getting past decency
anyway. You should see the houses on the Devens comer! I was at Kiplings yesterday to afternoon tea and had a charming time as usual. If they really
should go away to live I should miss the greatest stimulus I have here. I
drive down from there feeling as if I was in rightful possession of the entire
earth…. Mr. K. said yesterday that he had had a “fascinating afternoon” with
Will, and Carrie echoed him.
To supper at Governor Holbrook’s with the Kiplings, Julie and Chauncey McKeever. Afterwards a straw-ride in Beatty’s wagon, with Mai and
Buck Ward; all came to my Playroom later, leaving at mid-night. Chauncey and
Buck Ward entertained us with stories and songs of the New York “toughs.” R.K.
told a story. It was a fine evening. I had a long walk in the afternoon with
R.K. who asked me to join them on their trip to Washington.
February 17, 1895.
I went to the Beattys last night and the Kiplings were
there and we had a chafing-dish supper which I carried up from my larder; first,
Cockscombs—next, Devilled Crabs in shells—Anchovy and Lettuce Salad.
Beer. I reached home at eleven o’clock. The Kiplings come to Mrs. Kirkland’s
Wednesday for a week. The sleighing is very tiresome, big holes everywhere.
Such a strange—it seems to me—episode I had yesterday. I met Mr. Hardie
[Robert Gordon Hardie, the painter] and he walked home with me—sat down and
after a few preliminaries, saying that his wife’s death has completely changed
his ideas of life and that he has been through an old-fashioned conversion, he
burst into tears, and asked me if I could forgive him for any of his rudeness
and apparent ingratitude to me. He said he had grown so sensitive to his past misdeeds that he could remember every incident of his life vividly and he
recalled what I had entirely forgotten, that he had taken me to see La Mascotte
in Paris and that (the play was very Frency) while there he had said something
to me—a double entendre.
The Kiplings spent a week at Mrs. Kirkland’s boarding-house and came to see me
for Afternoon Tea every day. Mrs. Kipling was not well and I was expected to
walk with Mr. Kipling. We passed the Retreat for the Insane one day and he
seized on the shadow, long and dark, cast by the building far along the
roadway, for a simile of the far-reaching consequences of evil and disaster.
February 21, 1895.
We are all in great heat over the electric tram. I have
been the means of getting a letter from Rudyard Kipling, to be sent to the Road
Commissioners tomorrow. The Kiplings are at Mrs. Kirkland’s for a week, and
they come here every day for afternoon tea. I am in a great wave of business and festivity …. Yesterday Helen Brown was here all the morning and Miss Hatcher all the afternoon until the Kiplings and the Balestiers arrived to afternoon tea. I had just seen them off when Mr. Hardie appeared—evidently to stay to supper and I asked him to do so, although I had my French class in the evening and told him he would entertain Mother during that hour. What do you
think he wants to do for me? He wants to make a portrait-sketch of Mother and
to knock down the partition of my Playroom (which he thinks charming) with his own hands. build the room out to the west end, put up a balcony and outside staircase !!!! He wants to do it partly for himself, as work at home depresses him and he would be thankful for the excuse to work somewhere else. He wants little light for the sketch of Mother—and she refuses to let it be done. Did you ever know of anything so outrageous? My mind whirls, and I shall not
decide what to do until I see him again. He says that the figure of Cabot in
the last photograph I sent you is “perfectly beautiful” and that it is one of
the most artistic pictures he has ever seen. He says I must frame my copy and hang it in my room. He would also learn about the light required for my
photographing people indoors and arrange my room according to it! Saturday
evening the Kiplings and Balestiers come to a late supper. We are going to
have sandwiches made of sardines (a small fish), truffled chicken livers and
February 21, 1895
[Postmark, Brattleboro].Letter form Kipling
Naulakha, Brattleboro, Vermont
Hon. E. W. Stoddard
Attorney at Law
I understand that you are the legal representative of the opposition to the
projected trolley-line in this town.
May I, though not an American citizen, be permitted to enter a protest against
the scheme? I have at some considerable expense during the past three years
purchased and, as I believe, improved real estate lying within a few miles of Brattleboro, in the belief that access to the town for business or for pleasure
would at all time be safe and possible.
Should the trolley-line be made through the steep narrow and tortuous streets
of the town I snould find myself entirely cut off from my present railway-station and base of supplies, for no man who has experience of trollies and their working would willingly risk the lives of his family or his horses by exposing them to the daily chances of accident from direct collision with cars, from fallen wires or from runaways.
As far as I am concerned getting supplies from a neighboring town and using a
station higher up the line would be a small price to pay for comparative safety
but it occurs to me that something more than inconvenience would fall upon the
large farming community among whom I live. They are compelled by the nature of
their business to visit Brattleboro very frequently. In busy seasons their
women folk must go in their place, meeting daily and certain risk.
It is beyond doubt that the greatest good of the greatest number is the law of
civic administration, but there is, possibly, some danger of overlooking the
fact that that number includes not only the town people but all the inhabitants
of the large district hitherto dependent upon Brattleboro as a centre of
It seems also that the good must be clearly shown to be indubitable, and overwhelming ere the town or any section of the town sanctions a course of action which permanently disfigures streets already proven to be inadequate to any extra strain of traffic; which wholly destroys the beauty for which
Brattleboro is so greatly famous; which enormously increases the risk of fires, at the same time adding to the perils of extinguishing them; and which in every city of the Union has invanably been followed by the violent death or mutilation of human beings.
Trusting that you will not find these remarks altogether impertinent to the matter and wishing you every success in your opposition to the road.
‘Kipling and Other Vermonters in Washington’
(Washington Dispatch, March 4.)
Rudyard Kipling has been here incognito, the entry on the register of the hotel where he stopped being “Rudyard, wife, maid, and child”. Mr Kipling’s presence became known and he was sought by some for his autograph. He gives it for $5, the sums received from this source being contributed to the New York Tribune fresh air fund. He was the central figure of a group of Vermonters in the parlors of the Arlington Hotel in the evening. The party included Congressman
Wm. W. Grout, Gov. Urban A. Woodbury, ex-Gov. Levi K. Fuller, Mrs. Fuller, Mrs.
Rudyard Kipling, Hon. Wheelock G. Veazey and Mrs. Veazey, Col. Chas. S. Forbes,
and Lawrence Brainerd. The visiting Vermonters were the guest of Gen. Grout,
and were delightfully entertained by Mr. Kipling’s witticisms and stories. Ex-
Gov. Fuller will go to Atlanta to hold a conference with a number of persons
who are interested in good roads. Gov. Woodbury is on his way south to spend some time.
April 12, 1895.
Windham County Reformer
Rudyard Kipling was a guest of President Cleveland at the White House Friday.
Secretary Lamont took him over.
April 18, 1895.
I have just returned from afternoon tea at Naulakha, and a
most charming time. The Kiplings are nicer than ever and it is really so
interesting and delightful (their society, I mean) that I can hardly believe it
true that I am the only person in possession. They went out five nights and
all day in Washington and are in such a social mood that they are particularly
attractive. I have had their Burne-Jones pictures, four of them, for a week
and they have made quite a little sensation here…. We have had a wonderfully
beautiful freshet, which just escaped carrying off the bridge. The island was submerged, the water higher than since 1862. The town quite gave itself up to
observation and I spent most of two rainy days at the end of Walnut Street,
looking on…. There are great preparations for the Bishop’s coming and
everyone is curious to know what he will accomplish here…. Mr. Day is going
to be away for three weeks. Mr Kipling asked me if I wanted him to revenge the loss of my dog by writing a story called “The Man who killed a Dog” … a sentence from a book of poems the K’s lent me is this: “To My Enemy / Unwilling friend, let not your spite abate: / Help me with scorn and strengthen me with hate.”
On Bishop Hall’s annual visitation, I was invited to lunch with him and Rev. William H. Collins at Naulakha; it was the Kipling’s opportunity to ask the Bishop to baptize Josephine. Driving home with me, he commented with disapproval on the presumption that it took a Bishop to christen the child of a Kipling, and he refused to grant their request, on the ground that it was the proper duty of the rector of the parish.
April 26 ’95
My dear Miss Cabot
“His Lordship” as Mr Kipling will insist upon calling him, writes me this afternoon he will come to us for a mid-day meal Wednesday, so I claim you at 1:30 please.
I have to ask the Collins but I hope for the best. I can’t send for you as I
want to, because I must send for them, but if the Collins don’t come will you
drive up in our carriage with the Bishop?
May 3, 1895.
The Bishop has addressed crowded houses every night and the
enthusiasm is very great. Such men as Col. Hooker have been to every service
in the Town Hall. It is really a great experience to hear his practical applications of the truth. I drove up in the Kiplings’ carriage to dine with
him at Naulakha. For some reason he did not appear at his best—as I thought—
and neither did Mr. Kipling. The Bishop told Mary Wood that it was plain to be
seen that the Kiplings were “inflated.”
May 23, 1895.
To Maplewood. Walked through the woods with Mr. Kipling and
Beatty, gathering flowers. Lunched with the Beattys; at tea at Naulakha, much talk of Bishop Hall, whom R.K. thinks Jesuitical; took photographs of little
Josephine and one of R.K. in the garden. Drove to village, for the first time,
in Mrs. Kipling’s new phaeton. Canopy cover and rumble for footman.
May 23, 1895.
Mr. Hardie has with him for a month a Mr. Dearth who is one of
the best landscape painters in the country and they are making interesting
sketches. Mr. Hardie has built a big studio in the rear of his lot and I went
this afternoon with the Browns to see Miss Elliott’s portrait. Mr. Hardie has
asked me to go to drive with him, to show me how to see the landscape from the
artist’s point of view. I have made a good photograph of the Kipling’s garden,
and Baby Josephine. My flower garden is coming on apace…. Josephine [Balestier] comes to Mrs. Kirkland’s Saturday….
May 28, 1895.
I have taken a photograph of Josephine Kipling which is absolutely perfect. It could not be improved. The family are enchanted—and wish me to spend a week at Naulakha for a week to take photographs. Marjorie [Balestier] has swallowed a silver safety pin open—and Beatty is nearly crazy with anxiety.
May 29, 1895.
A mild, balmy day. To Naulakha for the entire day. Walked with Rudyard in the morning through the maples and took photographs. Afternoon Tea on the veranda. He offered to pay me (when I told him I wanted to earn money and didn’t know how) for plots for stories. He said I had all the material for a novelist except perhaps the literary expression. Do you remember that
Wolcott or someone else in the Balestier family used to call me “the dumb
novelist?” Home in C.K.’s red chariot by way of Scott’s. A lovely day.
June 4, 1895.
The trolley was begun last Thursday and you have never seen such a sight as the gang of Italians picking away on Main Street. Trees are being cut down on the Common as the road there is being widened for it. Mr. Kipling has written some verses calling the town “Crosby’s Dump.” The Trolleyites are so triumphant that they fairly leer at the Opposition, as they pass. While the
Opposition are positively suffering. Mrs. Kirkland and Mr. Harris are so sick or it that I am sure it will shorten their days. The way the thing has been put through has been so inconsiderate and fairly insulting to the older inhabitants who have made the town what it is, that their feelings are terribly
hurt—apart from the nuisances of the road. Some of the people do not really
want the Trolley, but now that it is here they want to be on the winning side.and smile upon the situation. I have not allowed myself to be ruffled. but my opinion of the situation is worse than ever…. I see a great deal of
Josephine [Balestier] who is a great addition to me.
June 11, 1895.
I went to Naulakha Sunday to afternoon tea to meet Prof. William James of Harvard (Henry James’ brother) and Mr. Marshall, the Kiplings’ architect. The conversation was delightful, the afternoon and the country beautiful…. The Burnhams have rented their house for two years—because of
the Trolley. There was never anything in the history of the town so interesting—although so hideously unfortunate, as the Trolley feud. The way Mr. Kipling asks me every detail about it makes me think he will write it up
The bmlding of the trolley line was distasteful and a source of disturbance to
Mr. Kipling. Finding that he had no influence in the matter, he directed his
efforts toward the establishment of a post-office at the crossroads leading
from the Putney Road to his house, with the further intention of developing a
country-store and depot of supphes at the railroad siding, so that he might
eschew Brattleboro forever~”Crosby’s Dump,” he called it, the promoter’s name
The Kiplings have a plan for developing a community north of Waite’s—where the post-office will be—that would drive Fred crazy with desire to be “in it.” But I am the only one who knows it yet, and it must not be passed on.
Letter from Kipling to Lucius Tuttle Boston and Maine R.R., Boston, Mass.
I should be glad to know whether it would be possible for your Company to
establish a Flag and Freight station at a place called Waite’s Siding (where a
freight siding already exists) some two miles to the north of Brattleboro and
within 200 yards of a Post Office which the government has just granted us.
The figures of your present freight traffic on the siding are of course available to you at call. I believe you will find them not insignificant, as the the siding in its present condition appears to be largely used for grain, coal, phosphates, lumber and so forth. A permanent freight station would save the neighbouring farming community some 2-1/3 miles hauling, on a heavy road, into
Brattleboro, and as the proposed site is very near to the Connecticut River Suspension Bridge (one of the best bridges on the road) it should be no small convenience to the farmers of West Chesterfield N.H.—a district at present served only by going to Brattleboro. There are in addition several gentleman’s country places close to the line whose direct trade—chiefly freight and
express—with Boston is fairly large and would naturally increase with the
increased railroad facilities.
Further, as you may be aware, a trolley-system appears to be establishing itself in a cheap and tentative fashion in Brattleboro with the avowed intention of spreading itself parallel to your tracks up and down the valley. This under colour of serving precisely the community who would be better served by your well established railroad were Waite’s Siding made available to them as
a flag station.
I trust that this matter may commend itself to your early consideration as I
believe that in the present revulsion of feeling among the farmers, who are now
realizing the first inconveniences of a carelessly laid trolley-line, the
success of a station that enables them to get supplies from, and themselves to,
Brattleboro without risking their lives or their horses would be quickly
My general notion would be—were the station allowed—to assist as far as
possible some man of enterprize to establish a grain and coal agency which would trap and supply all the thickly settled region lying to the East and West of the main-travelled road to Putney.
I have the honour to be &c.
June 14, 1895
Spent day at Naulakha with Caroline Keyes. Mr Kipling read aloud the manuscript of “Mowgli’s Return to Man”, which will be published in about three months. They have invited me to go to England with them, July 1st.
June 28, 1895.
Windham County Reformer
“Lord Brattleboro” Is a Title Walter Besant Wants to Hear.
Writing for the
first time under the signature “Sir” Walter Besant, the new Literary knight
offers some reflections on the dignity which has just been conferred upon him
by the Queen. “I have never been able to understand,” he says, “how men of
letters, art and sciences could at any time persuade themselves, as once they
did, to despise and not to desire these honours…. Let us recognize the real
fact, viz.: that the national distinctions, wherever bestowed, do honour the
profession first and do recognize the individual next. I maintain, again and
again, that all the national distinctions, up to the very highest, should be
open to every kind of service to the state. If ever we get another Thackeray I
should like to see him made a duke. And, as Rudyard Kipling is at present
young, I should like to see him contented, for the present only, with a
peerage. Lord Brattleboro of Vermont would, methinks, sound well.
June 28, 1895.
Grace, Mai, Beatty and I drove in the rain to Putney and lunched with Caroline Keyes. Brought away beautiful flowers. Tea at Naulakha. The Kiplings do not like it, that I decline going to England with them.
July 12, 1895.
Mr. and Mrs. Kipling sailed from New York Saturday for Southampton, England.
It is understood that they go only for a visit in England and that Mr. Kipling
will not go to India.
September 1, 1895.
Letter addressed to Miss Cabot, at The Redwood, Dublin, N.H.
My dear Miss Cabot
Mr. Kipling was not in the least afraid of whooping cough; but said you seemed
so conscientious about it that he thought it would be unkind to leave the
situation on your hands. He joins me in regrets over your absence which we
feel most keenly. There is a nice man coming to us tomorrow and Mrs. [Pen] Browning, daughter-in-law of the great and only [Robert Browning]—comes Saturday. She is a most fascinating and interesting woman who has known everyone worth knowing and done most of the things worth doing in this life. Also it’s a heavenly start for September, and the hills were never so perfect.
We are glad to be at home spite of a most attractive time in England. It was
beautiful this summer and London was never more enchanting or treated us
better, and I am glad to have been in touch with the world again, even for so
short a time. We wished you had come just to feel the atmosphere.
Mr. Kipling Sr. sent you his Salaams and many thanks for Josephine’s photos
which filled him with satisfaction and joy. We hope you will reconsider and
come back earlier. The man who owns the house and 2 acres on the shortcut to
Slab Hollow will sell for $400—and $350—is his real notion, I fancy.
I am sending you the smallest of comforts which I found in England, may it be
as blest to you as it has to me and don’t bother to say so or I shall be
Mr. Kipling sends his kindest regards as I do.
Regards to Mrs. Cabot.
Sincerely yours, Caroline Kipling
They were in England six weeks, or, to be accurate, away from home that length
of time, and returned with renewed interest in everything connected with their life
at Naulakha. Not until I pressed them repeatedly for some account of the
trip, did I learn of the dinner given by the Royal Academy to Lord Roberts (it
was after the publication of Mr. Kipling’s “Bobs”) and himself, when as they
entered the banqueting hall, two rows deep of England’s greatest men stood in
homage at their passing. The only comment Mr. Kipling offered was “It was some
fun, as I am only twenty-nine!”.
I have no doubt that these absences from little Josephine were a trial to Mrs.
Kipling, but she accepted them heroically as a duty to her husband’s
requirements, and to her determination to play the role of an Englishman’s
wife. Josephine was brought up in the nursery and only appeared in the library or on the veranda at the Children’s hour. She was, in every characteristic, the child of genius, beautiful, sensitive, imaginative, precocious—Mr. Kipling’s idol, whose destiny he always distrusted. From the first, he was anxious about her. He had a passion for childhood and was beloved by all the
children of his friends.
The four little Cabots were invited to Naulakha one
afternoon to a wild strawberry supper in the garden. In the carriage on our
way there I asked Dorothy, whose Jungle Book was worn and thumbed with appreciation, which of the stories she liked best. Instantly the reply came, “Why, “The White Seal”, of course.” I told her that she might speak to the author of that story, so she questioned him about the length of time he had lived in the Arctie regions. When she learned that he had never been there, her
disappointment was pathetic. With quivering lips, she said, breathlessly,
“Then the story of ‘The White Seal’ is made up”. After the death of Dorothy, he wrote a letter of tender sympathy to her Father, and said to me that if it were Josephine he would never be able to think or speak of her again. At that time he had no insight into the mysteries of our existence and tried to close his eyes to them. Wolcott’s name could not be mentioned to him, and his
photograph was never in evidence. His extreme sensitiveness was always to be taken into consideration. When the news of the death of Robert Louis Stevenson
flashed over the wires, Mr. Kipling was prostrated by the shock and unable to
take up his work for nearly three weeks. He had not known Stevenson personally
and had only had a brief conespondence with him.
Shyness in the presence of persons of uncongenial temperament was another
manifestation of his sensitive organization. At a supper in my house, he spoke
not one word to the charming lady who had been invited for the express purpose
of hearing his genius give of itself—and was equally silent to the one man
guest. But Commander Brown followed Mr. Kipling into the hall to ask how “The
Incarnation of Krishna Mulvaney” happened to be written. Removed from the
lady’s atmosphere, there was no further embanassment, and after the
explanation that the story was not composed but “wrote itself,” there followed
a stream of brilliant and spontaneous talk which could not be checked by
considerations of time or place.
Kipling never quite outgrew his first impression that every American citizen carried concealed weapons of war. Equally mistaken, although of such a different character, was his conviction that he was the only man living who could write The Great American Novel, which had not even been essayed. He was also confident that America was the place in which to create. For a year or
more he was possessed with the notion that if I would spend two weeks at
Naulakha, he could undertake the novel. As I did not wish to take the
responsibility for his misapprehensions of the race, I was ever dodging his
importunities and procrastinating. I busied myself with taking photographs of
Beatty’s dogs for him to use as illustrations for a story about them. He
wished a series of photographs of the neighboring country for a volume of
Country Sketches. These were excuses on my part for avoiding the subject of
The Great American Novel.
We occasionally collaborated over a short plot, as a cat may do with a King,
and over the use of names. The author of Amos Judd sent him a copy and when he
discovered that the heroine’s name was Molly Cabot he was convinced that my
name had been used, as it seemed to him a particularly good one for a story.
When I protested and declared that the name had never belonged to my nature, he
assured me that it was a perfect fit and amused me by suddenly announcing that there was “only one Molly Cabot in the world” and that the only other name in
the least suitable to her was “Penelope Graefe” and that he had regretted ever
since meeting me that he could not appropriate my name for a tale of his own. As he has been said to have a peculiar gift for nomenclature, all that he said on the subject was of interest.
October 4/5, 1895.
This afternoon I went to see the Balestiers and Kiplings. Josephine had been telling the Kiplings, as I arrived, about the Punch & Judy Show. She said she hadn’t enjoyed anything as much in Brattleboro for years. (The Phoenix, by the way, I shall send.) She was extravagantly enthusiastic. Mr. Kipling said if he had known about it nothing would have prevented his
going to town to see it. He wants to know if you would give it at Naulakha
some day—and he began forthwith to plan a Christmas play, with you to manipulate the puppets. Josephine’s enthusiasm alone, and Mrs. Wolcott’s would
satisfy your happiest ambition. Josephine can talk of nothing else. Mai was
wild about it also. I showed the photographs to Mrs. Wolcott, who admired them
much. I told R.K. about the ‘Operetta of the Two Queens’. He was much
October 28, 1895.
Josephine has written a tale which R.K. says is “d— fine.”
She has shown a wonderful confidence in me lately. She expects to go to New
Had a lovely time at Naulakha yesterday. R.K. was out on his
skis. He recited some ballads he has just written and we gossiped galore.
December 29, 1895
Dear Miss Cabot,
You are very good to have remembered our little maid and she joins with us in sending you thanks for the fascinating book. I have had to put away 7/8 of her things for a wet day because her small mind was greatly exercised over many possessions. Today is her birthday and she is most charming in her parents’ eyes.
I felt it an affliction that I was not fit to join your tea yesterday and Mr.
Kipling would not have missed being with you if he had been at home; but he was in New York for a little taste of his club.
With many good wishes from us both for the New Year, which we hope will start
with a resolve to come often to see us and always to either lunch or tea.
Sincerely yours, Caroline Kipling
A baby girl [Elsie] was bom at Naulakha on February 3, 1896. The happy Father
wrote to me in response to a note of inquiry:
February 5, 1896
Dear Miss Cabot,
Many thanks for your note, all is going just as well as it can. C. is
ridiculously well, the kid is healthy, hungry & fat, and Dr. Conland says there
is nothing to bother about.
Wish you’d come up some aftemoon and play with me. You see I can’t go far
away and we could snowshoe or do something.
Very sincerely yours,
March 4, 1896.
Paderewski is going to give a recital in Boston March 23 and
another April 1, so I am ordenng tickets for the latter date…. Mai
Balestier came to see me two days in succession and finally found me at home. She appeared enthusiastic for her at seeing me again, begged me to come up soon
and said she should come to see you—so my suspicions may not be correct. She
is without servants and desperate. She says Kipling was much disappointed not
to have a boy…. The snow has drifted so that it is impossible to drive to Putney without upsetting.
Caroline Keyes was here yesterday by train…. I do
wish you were safely up here.
Windham County Reformer
Novelist Kipling and wife leave next week to spend a few weeks at Lakewood, New
April 3, 1896.
Windham County Reformer
Mr. Kipling has again demonstrated his skill as an advertiser. The New York
World offered him $1,000 for an article for last Sunday of 1,000 words, or
about 3/4 column of space in the Reformer, on the text “Why America Could Not
Conquer England.” Mr. Kiplng replied:
Your suggestion that I should write one thousand words for one thousand dollars
on the text “Why America could not conquer England” has been laid before me.
It is impossible that I should accept the commission as it would involve
discussing the armed strength of the Empire, a question on which no British
subject has any information for sale.
Sincerely yours, Rudyard Kipling
It was well put, in the Briton’s style, and the World published the reply somewhat
of an advertisement for itself—in facsimile with glorification of
Kipling’s conscientiousness…. [Brattleboro’s other newspaper, the Phoenix,
April 3, quoted the Boston Herald’s remark: “Mr. Kipling, it would seem, still
retains his loyalty to his native land, and remains an Englishman in spite of all temptation. ‘]
Buy the Globe, May 13, for account of the Kipling-Balestier trial.
When it began, the town could hardly hold Beatty. Everyone was in full
sympathy with Kipling and Beatty was warned that he was ruined for this town. Now, Beatty is a hero, everyone shaking hands with him—his debts and loafing
and drinking forgiven because he has proven R.K. a child and a coward in this
matter. In the testimony R.K. contradicted himself so that people in the
audience laughed and cheered. It was too bad. Brattleboro has never had such
fun in all its eventful life as for the last few days. I wish you could be
here to hear the details.
It was a Balestier feud, beginning in childhood with a natural antagonism
between the inconsequent characteristics of Beatty and the disciplinary
temperament of his sister Carrie.
At the time I began to see much of Wolcott Balestier, I felt that his tender
affection for the charming younger brother was mixed with keen anxiety for his
welfare. He was always “keeping track” of Beatty.
When Beatty’s attentions to the beautiful Mai Mendon became of interest to the
romancers of the community, Wolcott said to me that Beatty never cared for
anything less than the best and the most expensive, but that the cost fell on
some one else. Carrie remarked generally that no girl would marry Beatty,
referring to his love of drink and his loafing habits, already in evidence.
Wolcott regarded the engagement, when announced, “as irridescent as a bubble,
and as substantial.”
The marriage had no financial basis whatever, and, after the ceremony, Wolcott
was obliged to take Mr. and Mrs. Beatty to England, where his own business
resources were available for their support. Carrie, who was keeping house for
Wolcott in London, received the bride very coldly and within a few months the
Beattys were returned to America, to take up a permanent residence at
Maplewood. Wolcott’s death from malignant typhus occurred soon afterwards, and we were told that Beatty was the subject of his frantic delirium. At about the
same time, a story that Beatty was a forger emanated from the Beechwood
household of Madam Balestier. It was, however, contradicted, and resented to
such a degree that a definite break was made between his family and the
Grandmother, who refused to part with the old servant [Kate Monks] who had been
her safeguard through ten years of mental illness, although Kate was proved to
have been the author of the scandal. There was little communication between
Beechwood, Madam Balestier’s place, and Maplewood or Naulakha, from that time.
When the Kiplings projected the building of Naulakha they gave Beatty, as a
means of sustenance, the superintendence of workmen and the purchase of
materials for house and stables, also the development of the grounds; and
shared with him the benefits of their good fortune in other directions—with
some reserves between the two wives.
The divine beauty of Mai, her distinction of manner and remarkable poise made
an interesting combination with the mental brilliancy and personal fascination
of the Balestiers. No contrast between two houses could be greater than that
between Naulakha and Maplewood. At the latter there was a flexible domestic routine. a hospitality independent of circumstances, a playful enjoyment of the small things of daily life, and Mai’s sweet atmosphere. Mr Kipling was happy there. And he loved Beatty for his simple companionableness and his appreciation of the human drama in all its surface phases. Beatty was witty
and affectionate and magnetic. Perhaps the best of him was to be seen at home, in his sincere devotion to wife and child.
But Mrs Kipling’s love of power fed on the weakness inherent in the situation. at Maplewood, and Mai would not submit to patronage. It was understood in the village that “Kipling carried Beatty”, whose unpaid bills ere therefore permitted to run indefinitely. When this statement reached Mai’s ears, her
pride and lack of intelligence with regard to finance of any sort increased her
resentment. Maplewood was heavily mortgaged and there were notes owing the Bank by Beatty, which had been signed by his mother and Mrs Kipling. He did not perform his part of the Naulakha contract satisfactorily. Finally Mrs Kipling accused him of appropriating money given to him to pay the workmen and she tried to induce her Mother, to whom the charge was brought, to join with
her in withdrawing their names from the notes, which would precipitate a
foreclosure of the mortgage and his bankruptcy—drive him away, and, doubtless, to work. Mrs. Kipling had considerable influence with her Mother, to whom she
was devoted, but she could not accomplish the plan which would leave Beatty,
Mai and Marjorie homeless. Josephine, whose sympathies were usually with Beatty, warned him of the plot and he went immediately to Naulakha to deny the accusation and to explain the apparent
loss or misappropriation of the money. Carrie refused him entrance: he asked for an interview by letter, and sent one of explanation, but received no response.
One day [Wednesday, May 6, 1896] as Beatty was driving to the village, he came
unexpectedly on Rudyard Kipling who was on a bicycle. Beatty jumped to the ground close to his brother-in-law and thundered out the words, “If you don’t listen to me, Rud, I’ll blow your d—– brains out!” Mr. Kipling’s coachman was just behind, and came to the rescue by seizing his master and seating him in the carriage which was driven quickly home.
Beatty drove directly to my house from the scene of collision in the woods to
tell me what had happened, and expressed some anxiety at having “frightened Rud
almost to death.” It was known to his relatives that Mr. Kipling’s heart was not strong, but the indication of so much weakness surprised Beatty. It was evident that he had no thought of doing more than force Mr. Kipling to listen to what he had to say.
It was a most serious encounter to the feelings of Mr. Kipling, who believed
that Beatty had meant to take his life. Consulting with his wife, he decided
that his safety could be assured only by some method which would intimidate Beatty. With no thought of the possible consequences, he sent a sheriff to arrest the highwayman for assault. But it worked after an unexpected fashion.
A prelininary hearing took place in the office of Judge William C. Newton [Saturday afternoon, May 9, 1896] where Beatty was charged with “assault and opprobious and indecent epithets, and threatening to kill.” Distressed on finding that any publicity was to be given to the case, Mr Kipling offered to furnish bail to release Beatty; it was disdainfully refused. Idlers began to flock around the door of the Judge’s office and the knowledge of what was going on there spread like wildfire through the business part of the village. Mr. Kipling lost his self-control as the vista of notoriety, which he had contended against ever since his name became famous, lengthened and broadened before him, and he made statements that were far removed from the fact.
At sunset, the hearing was postponed until the following Tuesday [May 12], when
the hall near the Judge’s office was opened to afford room for those who were
eager to be present. That Rudyard Kipling had anrrested his brother-in-law was
telegraphed to the ends of the earth. Reporters from leading and sensational
Journals arrived by night and day, bearing kodaks and armed with retaliation
for the man who made it a principle and practice to repulse their importuniities. New York, Boston, Springfield, Philadelphia, and Washington newspapers were represented. Mr Kipling’s testimony was so contradictory that the audience cheered and laughed, and the sympathy so freely given to him at first by the townspeople turned to Beatty, the hero of an hour—his loafing
habits, debts and drinking forgotten because the author of Soldiers Three broke
down under the torture. It was pitiful. An entire day, there was, of it, and
the case was put off for trial to the September term of court—Beatty to give
bail of $400 additional for his appearance at the county court.
That evening Rev. C. O. Day, Dr. James Conland, and Major F. W. Childs called at Naulakha to assure him of the esteem in which he was held in Brattleboro and that the sentiment of the community would tolerate no threats of annoyances to him—but, there was nothing for him to do but leave the country or remain to be the object of further ridicule, as he could not evade the September court and the American sense of humor. Such verses as these were printed everywhere:
A Vermont “Danny Deever”
“What are the fish-horns blowing for? said the copper-ready-made.
“To tum you out, to turn you out,” the First Selectman said.
“What makes you grin so wide, so wide?” said the copper-ready-made.
“I grin at what I’ve got to watch,” the First Selectman said.
“For they’re arresting Balestier,” you can hear the town-crier say.
The lawyers form in hollow square, they’re soaking him to-day;
They’ve taken his necktie off, an’ cut his spats away,
An’ they’re fining Balestier in the morning’.
“What makes the Kipling breathe so hard said the copper-ready-made.
“He’s mighty scart, he’s mighty scart,” the First Selectman said.
“What makes his wife look down so glum?” said the copper-ready-made.
“It’s family pride, it’s family pride,” the First Selectmen said….
etc. (Boston Post)
On my next visit to Naulakha, after reading the grossly perverted newspaper accounts of the conflict and the hearing, I tried to make an explanation in Beatty’s behalf, but it availed nothing. The Kiplings were greatly agitated and aggrieved, and in this state of mind, while freely relating the details of all that led to their course in the specific instance under discussion, hinted
at untellable experiences of an unpardonable nature in a remoter past.
Josephine Balestier to Mary Cabot
42 Irving Place, New York
Dear Miss Cabot,
I am deeply grateful for your beautiful impulse to write me such a letter. I
feel as if I had been there in the woods: I can hear just what Beatty would say
to R.K. and just the way he would be answered. It is a great comfort to
remember that there is someone who knows all the ins and outs of the tragedy,
sees every detail with clear eyes, but I can not bear to think how the sympathy
that helps us so much is wearing on you. We are coming to Brattleboro next week, if nothing happens, to visit Beatty. I shall be glad to drive about with him. Has anything in the history of the village—in all your knowledge of it—startled you more than its taking R.K. to its arms in this crisis. I shall try not to talk to you much about it when I see you, for you have suffered with us enough. You have sometimes spoken to me as if you felt that you did not accomplish much. But I feel more and more strongly that what you do for people is greater than tangible out put.
Give my love to dear Mrs. Cabot when you write.
My love always,
May 15, 1896
Mrs. Anna S. Balestier to Rudyard Kipling (New York)
I have your letter of 14. Thank you for writing but I am in no wise competent
to formulate any ideas as to the future concerning Beatty…
Whatever Beatty has done or may do, I must ever continue to keep an affectionate interest in him, being his mother, with the comtinual hope that it may have some spark of influence, however faint but it will not be in the wrong direction, I promise you.
He is his own worst enemy and always has been, but he has some good impulses,
if he would allow them to come to the surface. He has always been an enigma to
me which was increased with time…. I do not wonder that your patience was
exhausted, but mine must hold out—always, however tired, and I shall always
[ Charles Carrington, p. 292, from the original in the Kipling papers.]
May 18, 1896
Kipling to Governor Frederick Holbrook
Naulakha, Waite, Vermont
Dear Governor Holbrook,
I am just in receipt of your very kind letter: and if anything could make
amends for such an atrocious affair as last Tuesday’s it would be such an
expression of sympathy and friendship as you have written. —Am going away
tomorrow for a little trip & hope when I come back to feel less sore about the
matter. In the meantime please accept my and Mrs. Kipling’s best thanks and
good wishes for you and yours and believe me
Very Sincerely yours
[Original letter in Holbrook Collection. The “little trip” mentioned in this
note was to Boston and Gloucester with Dr. Conland for material for Mr.
Kipling’s new story. A Boston reporter spotted them there; see Phoenix and
Reformer, May 22,1896.]
Mr. Kipling decided to go to England, which was a terrible disappointment to himself as well as to his wife. The climate of England depressed him physically, people would be too near in that snug isle to allow him the freedom he needed, and America gave the atmosphere in which he could create. Then, too, Naulakha was his home, where little Josephine was happily growing, where Elsie had been bom, and moreover, the children of his mind—the two Jungle
Books, The Seven Seas, the volume of short stories entitled The Day’s Work, and
Captains Courageous. He had looked forward to gathering a small colony of
congenial souls, not litterateurs or specialists whom he disliked, around him
on the hilltops, against the time when his genius should bum low.
They did not abandon Naulakha without an effort for peace with their neighbors,
where there was no peace. As the cruel situation forced itself more and more
keenly on their already wounded sensibilities, their atmosphere became harsh
and strained: during the remaining three months of their stay in America. Mr.
Kipling rarely moved, even within the limits of his own land, without the protection of some friend—Mr Marshall, Mr DeForest, or others. It was evident that he still believed that his life was in danger.
The confidnece of both sides I managed by frankness as well as sympathy with each, to retain the old friendly relation. On the main issue I felt that the Kiplings were right, but that they might have dealt with their brother in a more dignified way. Beatty proved himself a bully, yet he had some reason for resentment. My visits continued and everyone tried to keep them unclouded, but it was impossible. A more or less suppressed irritability towards everything American was in the air at Naulakha; across the road at Maplewood there was unmixed triumph.
More extracts from my letters and journal:
Friday, June 5, 1896.
I am having a great deal of satisfaction in Margaret
Crosby’s visit and the children’s [Will Cabot’s children]. You know how much
Margaret has given me socially in New York and Boston. Well, she loves
Brattleboro already and enjoys its inhabitants—so that I am in the way of
giving her an agreement visit as well as returning some of her attentions of
eight years standing to me.
We have been to afternoon tea at the Kiplings and she is in love with R.K. We
have been to Maplewood to supper twice. I gave an informal tea Wednesday,
inviting Mr. Day, Mr. & Mrs. Bradley, Mr. & Mrs. Allen Brown, Helen Brown &
Carrie Keyes to meet her—and the Kiplings. I had beautiful flowers, my Dresden china, and table covers, and it was a success.
The Cabot children went to an afternoon picnic at Maplewood
yesterday and had a great time. Beatty milked the cow and drove the donkey for
them. There are new puppies and pigeons there, and the pasture full of wild
strawberries. This afternoon they are going to the Kiplings and Mr. Kipling is
going to write in Dorothy’s Jungle Book. Margaret and I took tea there
Wednesday, when I had a conversation with Carrie about their troubles. They
are going to England as soon as possible. They feel dreadfully to go…. Dr.
Huntington’s (Grace Church) prospective son-in-law has offered to take Beatty’s
case without charge and sue R.K. for libel. The best sentiment in New York—if
I hear rightly—think R.K. had no excuse arresting B.B.
Did I write you that I took Miss Burbank [the nurse] and the
children to Naulakha. R.K. wrote in Dorothy’s Jungle Book. He kissed them all
and took their photographs. Carrie Kipling had a little supper for them—and it was a great success. Carrie Kipling called on Bessy but she was out. R.K. has gone to Labrador. He and all my “swell” friends are doing their best to persuade me to learn bicycling. I told him that when I was sure of going to Europe I should learn in dark quiet nights just before starting and use my accomplishment there only, as I don’t mind blushing in a foreign language. The Kiplings have determined to return to England in a few weeks—to live—isn’t it hard on me? Once I should have said “Well, this is the end of the world,” but the advantage of age is that you know that something or somebody else will
take—not their place—but as big a place in your life.
July 29, 1896.
Late in the aftemoon to Naulakha. Mr. Kipling talked glowingly of his fishing excursion to Gaspé Bay with Mr. Lockwood DeForest: how he caught
his first salmon, described canoeing through the Rapids, the scenery, the
people. Showed me proofs of Captains Courageous, said he wished to give me an edition de luxe of his works, to which Carrie, with her customary foresight,
interrupted, “No, Ruddie darling, you must not do it!”
He is enthusiastic over his bicycle and urged me to have one. Fierce over the political situation. He said there would be a panic, that in any other country when men began to make fools of themselves there was some authority to prevent their inflicting themselves on others, but that the American character was, like their flag, “striped red and white!” He said he would be glad to put the ocean between himself and the next two years in America. He showed me plans for the farm barn, gave me prints of the kodaks he had taken of the Cabot
children, and a bunch of sweet peas.
This outburst against America was one of many that had become more frequent as the storm brewing between Naulakha and Maplewood lashed their inmates to fury. I recall another time when I was lunching with the Kiplings that a discussion arose over the Venezuelan question, and Mr. Kipling hastened to inform me of England’s superior strength, and that, if the Great White Squadron should appear on our coast, within three days New York, Boston, and Philadelphia would be obliterated from the map of the world. When I faltered forth my faith in the stability of the United States for some time to come, his annoyance was uncontrollable, and he recovered his composure only after a long and solitary walk in the woods back of the house.
It was then that I learned of Carrie’s fear that Mr. Kipling, if he should return to England, would enter the political arena—which constituted her greatest anxiety. She said: “Once
there, he will become so much absorbed in the Imperial Federation and other
questions of National importance that he will sacrifice his literary career to them. He now longs for the amenities of life to be had there, and except for the cause of departure it is well to go, if at all. I hope that the struggle of building a home on a Vermont hillside has left enough of an impression
on his heart to bring him back some day.”
But there was a sunny lining to these portentous clouds, and many days of pure
sunshine never-to-be-forgotten. His unselfish interest in the welfare and
happiness of others was invariable. Nothing in his life among us was more
beautiful than his admiration for the refinement and true distinction of the
nature of Miss Caroline Keyes, his tender sympathy for her loneliness after the
death of her Mother and his delicate appreciation of her situation without
relatives near, or fortune, or congenial surroundings. He paid her an homage
that brought to the surface her youthful charm.
The end had come:
August 27, 1896.
I went to say good-bye to the Kiplings. She was tearful, but he seemed frozen with misery. He said it was the hardest thing he had ever had to do, that he loved Naulakha. I spoke of the touch of Autumn already on the distant hills—as he put me in the carriage—which brought the tears to his
eyes. His last word, in a tone of piercing sadness, were: “Yes! ’tis the Fall! Good-bye, Miss Cabot!”
September 4, 1896.
Mr. and Mrs. Kipling, two children and servants, left Brattleboro on Saturday
[August 29], and on Tuesday they sailed from New York for Southampton by the steamer Lahn. Mr. Kipling did not make plans known, but it is understood that
the family will spend a few months at Rock House, St. Marychurch, Torquay,
England, and that they wll go to southern France for the winter. The New York
Press says that next spring Kipling will go to India to get material for new
stories, and that it is likely that he will remain abroad for two or three
A Letter from Mrs. Kipling
Telegrams St. Marychurch Station Torre
Rock House, Maidencombe, St. Marychurch,
Dear Miss Cabot,
It was kindness itself in you to write of Josephine’s fiancé, and I am cheered that with your insight, you feel it a workable proposition. It has made me
thoughtful of many things.
As Mr. Kipling never talks of Brattleboro, or reads a letter from America, or
does anything which remotely reminds him of that last year of calamity and
sorrow, I have not told him this piece of family news. But I have put your
letter away against the time when he returns to these things, and know he will
enjoy it, as I could.
He seems now, better and stronger and I hope he may turn to his work again after a little. But all the events of the past year, with the leaving Naulakha as we did, have left us sore and bruised, amd it takes us longer than the rest to forget. Which shows we are wrong to feel so keenly.
England is intensely interesting, and though I have been forced by ill-health to be as quiet as possible, I feel the strength of the touch one has here on the entire earth.
The reception of the Seven Seas has been beyond any imagination of ours, and
has made us very happy.
We have a charming big house in this most beautiful part of England, and daily life is smooth with a polish unknown to us. The highways are orderly and as smooth as a pavement, and we wheel daily on the perfect roads, with the sea always in sight one side, and the long blue line of Dartmoor on the other. Its disadvantage is its distance from town, and because of that, I am afraid in the
Spring we must make a move.
The children are charming and a deep delight and comfort as they go on.
Josephine grows more attractive, and with a stolid Scott for a governess is not
in as much danger of over-excitement. Elsie talks and gurgles and laughs at
her deep jokes in which we have no part.
There is hope of our friend John Hay coming to England as minister, which pleases us. Mr Kipling is dining with Mr Balfour tonight and Lord Roberts tomorrow, and is to meet Nansen and Dr.
Robertson of Chitral fame. I hope to be up to going up to town by the time Parliament opens, and meantime we are to have a lot of visitors, Henry Norman and Sir Water Besant next week, and Henry James at Xmas. Have you read his The Other House, it’s most astonishing.
Greet Miss “Keys” for me, and tell her it’s high time she was leaving
Brattleboro for the winter.
I shall be interested in any plan of yours that looks to our seeing you this
side of the water.
I hope you keep an eye on Naulakha and its advancement. I have a mother’s pride in its not falling back, which with Howard there does not seem possible. I hope very much that Mr. Kipling will want to return, and see no reason, under certain changed conditions, why we should not—it’s the conditions I doubt.
With kindest regards and much appreciation of your letter,
Always sincerely yours,
From my Journal:
To Maplewood. Driving home Beatty told me that the Kiplings should never
return, unless to litigation and humiliation in the courtroom.
[Mary Cabot’s memoir of Kipling at Naulakha, as she wrote it out for her sister, ends with the above undated quotations from her journal. Her account has been continued by Howard C Rice, using rough notes and letters preserved among her papers, and further gleanings from the Brattleboro papers, to provide an account of the aftermath to Kipling’s days in Vermont. We will be publishing this shortly: Ed.]
Mary Rogers Cabot
January 10th 1911
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