A Very Young Person

Notes on the text

(These notes are based on those written by Thomas Pinney for the Cambridge Edition of Something of Myself (1995), with the kind permission of the author, and of Cambridge Univerity Press. The page references refer to the Macmillan Library Edition published in 1937)

[Heading] Give me the first six years of a child’s life and you can have the rest Variously attributed, to Loyola specifically or to the Jesuits generally, or to Pascal, or Cardinal Newman, or Lenin. I have not found the version that Kipling quotes, but he no doubt had the Jesuits in mind. See his remark in a letter to Andre Chevrillon: “I was born in Bombay (1865) and there I lived till I was between five and six – those terrible first years of which the Jesuits know the value” (October 22, 1919: Etudes Anglaises, 19 [1966], p. 407).

[Page 1, line 11] Ayah A nurse, or maid.

[Page 1, line 11] my sister Alice Macdonald Kipling (1868-1948), always called “Trix,” Kipling’s only sibling. She married Col. John Fleming.

[Page 2, line 1] Meeta The word meeta means “bearer.”

[Page 3, line 6] vernacular idiom … dreamed in Hindustani is meant. Punch, in “Baa Baa, Black Sheep” soon forgets “the Hindustani once his second speech” and in “The Potted Princess” Punch and Judy “always talked Hindustani because they understood it better than English” (Sussex Edition, xxx, p. 11).

[Page 3, line 12] Lord Mayo Richard Southwell Bourke (1822-72), sixth Earl of Mayo, Governor-General of India, 1869-72; assassinated on February 8, 1872.
Since Kipling was then living with Mrs. Holloway in Southsea and his mother was in Bombay this memory is confused.

[Page 3, line 27] my Father’s School of Art The Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy School of Art and Industry, Bombay, where Lockwood Kipling was professor of architectural sculpture, 1865-75. The house where Kipling lived in Bombay was on the grounds of the school.

[Page 3, line 28] `Terry Sahib’ Wilkins Terry; beyond the fact of his name and that he was Lockwood Kipling’s assistant, I have found nothing about him. He had been at the school since its founding in 1857. It has been said that Terry hired LockwoodKipling while on a visit to England, but the evidence is all against this.

[Page 4, line 7] `hens of Bombay’ The limerick and the picture were drawn by LockwoodKipling in a copy of Edward Lear’s Book of Nonsense, now in the Kipling Papers at the University of Sussex.

[Page 4, line 15] a time in a ship Alice Kipling left India in February 1868 with her son, then just over two years old; she was expecting the birth of her second child and wished to have it in England. The child, Trix, was born in June, and mother and children left England to return to Bombay in November.

[Page 4, line 18] P. & O. Ripon The paddlewheel steamer Ripon, 1,500 tons, was in the P. & O.’s service, 1846-70.

[Page 4, line 20] small girl . . . whose face stands out still Kipling describes this moment in 1868 in “A Return to the East” (“Egypt of the Magicians”, 1913): “Such a town, for instance, as Zagazig, last seen by a very small boy who was lifted out of a railway-carriage and set down beneath a whitewashed wall under naked stars in an illimitable emptiness because, they told him, the train was on fire … So all his life, the word `Zagazig’ carried memories of a brick shed, the flicker of an oil-lamp’s floating wick, a sky full of eyes, and an engine coughing in a desert at the world’s end” (p. 225).

[Page 4, line 36] Then came a new small house Kipling has here collapsed his first two visits to England. The first, in 1868 (see the note on page 4 line 15, above), was followed by a visit of the entire family in 1871: they left India in April and stayed with various relatives over the next eight months. In November 1871 the parents returned to Bombay, leaving the children in England.

[Page 5, line 3] I lived in that house … six years The house (which still stands) is Lorne Lodge, 4 Campbell Road, Southsea; the woman was a Mrs.
Sarah Holloway, and her husband, Pryse Agar Holloway, once an officer in the merchant marine. It was the standard practice of the English in India to send their children back to England as early as possible, and Alice Kipling preferred that her children should not stay
with relatives: “it led to complications,” she said (Edith Plowden, “Fond Memory”: ms recollections, Baldwin Papers, University of Sussex). Kipling and Trix went to Lorne Lodge in October 1871; they left it in April 1877.

[Page 5, line 7] Navarino Where an allied fleet defeated the Turks in 1827.

[Page 5, line 15] By Celia’s Arbour The novel (1878) by Besant and James Rice, describes the Portsmouth of Besant’s childhood, before the middle of the

[Page 5, line 30] Portsmouth Hard The street outside the entrance to the Royal Dockyard.

[Page 5, line 25] Alert (or Discovery) The ships of the 1875-76 Arctic expedition commanded by Sir George Nares; they returned to Portsmouth in 1876. Kipling’s memory of this sight is confused, since Holloway died in 1874.

[Page 6, line 1] the old Captain died Holloway died September 29, 1874.

[Page 6, line 13] an only son Henry Thomas Holloway. Trix remembered him as having “dark eyes, set near together, and black hair, plastered with pomatum” (“Some Childhood Memories of Kipling,” Chambers’s Journal March 1939, p. 169).

[Page 7, line 14] Six to Sixteen Aunt Judy’s Magazine for 1872; Mrs. Ewing’s story is about Anglo-Indian children sent back to England for their education. The identification of this and of the other items of his early reading mentioned by Kipling is largely the work of Roger Lancelyn Green.

[Page 7, line 19] Tales at Tea-time E.H. Knatchbull-Hugesson, Tales at Tea-Time, 1872.

[Page 7, line 20] The Old Shikarri Major H.A. Leveson published a number of stories of hunting and adventure under the pseudonym of “The Old Shekarry,” 1860-74. “Shekarry” or “Shikarri” means “sportsman” or “hunter” or “hunter’s guide.”

[Page 7, line 22] an old magazine Kipling identifies this in “Baa Baa, Black Sheep” as Sharpe’s Magazine, i.e., vol. 1 (1845-46).

[Page 7, line 23] `mighty Helvellyn’ Not Wordsworth but Scott, “Helvellyn”: corrected in later printings of Something of Myself.

[Page 7, line 28] The Hope of the Katzikopfs F.E. Paget, The Hope of the Katzekopfs, 1844; Kipling’s spelling is corrected in later printings.

[Page 8, line 5] This bore fruit afterwards The poem is Bishop Richard Corbet’s “The Fairies’ Farewell” (1648), which Kipling quotes in “Weland’s Sword” (Puck of Pook’s Hill) and which gave Kipling the title of his Rewards and Fairies.

[Page 8, line 9] some wicked baboons James Greenwood, King Lion, a story serialized in the Boy’s Own Paper, 1864

[Page 8, line 14] One – blue and fat – Menella Bute Smedley and Elizabeth Anna Hart, Poems Written for a Child, 1868.

[Page 8, line 17] `the name of England … could not burn’ Kipling’s recollection is confused: the savages in the poem “Heroes”, when commanded to free
their slaves, think that “the name of England / Is something that will burn.”

[Page 8, line 19] The other book-brown and fat Elizabeth Anna Hart, Child Nature, 1869.

[Page 9, line 11] `Cumnor Hall’ William Julius Mickle, “Cumnor Hall,” 1784. Roger Lancelyn Green has pointed out that these lines are quoted in the last chapter of Scott’s Kenilworth (ORG vii p. 3363)

[Page 9, line 17] Robinson Crusoe The copy of the book in question (Routledge, 1869, illustrated by J. D. Watson) is now at Wimpole Hall, inscribed: “J.Rudyard Kipling from Papa February 1873.”

[Page 10, line 8] the Provost of Oriel Edward Hawkins (1789-1882), Provost of Oriel. Why and how Kipling was taken to see him remain unexplained, though, as Roger Lancelyn Green notes (Harbord, v11 p. 3363), the Holloway family came from Charlbury, near Oxford, and had a number of connections with the university. Hawkins left Oxford in 1874, so that Kipling’s visit was not later than that year.

[Page 10, line 11] an old gentleman … near Havant Captain Holloway’s brother, General Sir Thomas Holloway (1810-75), of West Lodge, Havant.

[Page 11, line 18] Aunt Georgy … North End Road Aunt Georgy (“Georgie” in later printings) was Georgiana Macdonald BurneJones (1840-1920), the second of the Macdonald sisters. In 1860 she married Edward (afterwards Sir Edward) Burne-Jones (1833-98), the painter. Their house, now destroyed, stood at the Kensington end of North End Road and had once belonged to the novelist Samuel Richardson, who wrote Clarissa and Sir Charles Grandison there. Burne Jones moved there in 1867 and remained until his death in 1898.

[Page 11, line 23] bell-pull … rang it The bell-pull still hangs at the door of Bateman’s.

[Page 12, line 6] my two cousins Margaret (1866-1953), afterwards Mrs. J.W. Mackail; and Philip (1861-1926), like his father a gifted painter but without his father’s success.

[Page 12, line 14] William Morris (1834-96) The poet, painter, craftsman, socialist; an intimate friend of Burne-Jones from their university days. The decorating firm of Morris and Co. had been founded in 1861, so Kipling is mistaken in thinking that Morris was “just beginning” to fabricate such things as tables and chairs.

[Page 12, line 18] `Browning’ Robert Browning (1812-89), the poet; perhaps the most powerful single literary influence on Kipling, who liked to think of himself as of the brotherhood of Fra Lippo Lippi: see pp. 11, 22, 25, 43, 83-84.

[Page 12, line 22] The Pirate By Sir Walter Scott, 1821.

[Page 13, line 3] `Norna of the Fitful Head’ See The Pirate, ch. 21.

[Page 14, line 27] Saga of Burnt Njal Not the “Saga of Burnt Njal” but “The Story of the Ere-Dwellers (the Eyrbyggja Saga),” not published until 1892, in the Saga Library.

[Page 16, line 4] Why … For admonition Browning, “Fra Lippo Lippi,” lines 124-26.

[Page 16, line 11] terrible little day-school Identified by Roger Lancelyn Green as “Hope House” in Green Street, Southsea, conducted by Thomas Henry Vickery (Kipling and the Children [London, Elek Books, 1965], PP. 44-45)

[Page 16, line 22] placard `Liar’ between my shoulders Since this episode has a literary precedent in Dickens’s David Copperfield, and is used by Kipling in “Baa Baa, Black Sheep,” it has sometimes been doubted. Kipling’s sister affirmed it to be true (Lord Birkenhead, Rudyard Kipling [New York, Random House, 1978], p. 26).

[Page 16, line 28] `Who … concern himself with glass?’ This has been attributed to the Koran but is not to be found there.

[Page 17, line 10] the Mother returned from India In April 1877. The news that had brought Alice Kipling to her son’s rescue came from Aunt Georgie, who wrote at the beginning of 1877 to report that Kipling was evidently deeply unhappy.

[Page 17, line 17] on the edge of Epping Forest The farm, belonging to a Mr. Dally, was called Golding’s Hill, near Loughton, Essex.

[Page 18, line 5] A cousin Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947), afterwards first Earl Baldwin. Prime minister, 1923-24, 1924-29, 1935-37. He was the only son of Kipling’s aunt Louisa Macdonald Baldwin and Alfred Baldwin.

[Page 17, line 18] Brompton Road 227 Brompton Road, now part of the Harrod’s site.

[Page 19, line 9] South Kensington Museum Now the Victoria and Albert Museum. Before his marriage, Kipling’s father had worked on the decoration of the building, not completed for many years.

[Page 19, line 21] divided the treasures child-fashion According to his sister, they had an elaborate plan to rob the jewel gallery o£ the museum, a plan described in her “More Childhood Memories of Rudyard Kipling”, Chambers’s Journal, July 1939, pp. 510-11.

[Page 20, line 10] my Father `wrote things’ also Both Alice and Lockwood Kipling were regular contributors to the English-language newspapers in India, especially to those in Bombay, Lahore, and Allahabad.

[Page 20, line 17] Sidonia the Sorceress Johann Wilhelm Meinhold, Sidonia the Sorceress (1847). The book was a great favourite among the Pre-Raphaelites.