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] Working-Tools Mrs. Kipling wrote that this chapter was to be called “Tools of My Trade” (Caroline Kipling to H.A. Gwynne, October 15, 1936: MS, Dalhousie University). Evidently she found reason to change it.

[Page 206, line 20] House of the Dear Ladies The Ladies of Warwick Gardens: see above, ch. 2, n. 3. the privately printed verses were Schoolboy Lyrics, Lahore, 1881, a work carried out without Kipling’s knowledge. They have been substantially reprinted in Early Verse, 1900, but are not part of the “Definitive” edition of Kipling’s verse.

[Page 206, line 21] ‘in they broke, those people of importance’ Browning, “One Word More,” line 56.

[Page 206, line 23] Philadelphia lawyers Kipling has especially in mind the eminent collector, Ellis Ames Ballard (i861-I938), who was, in fact, a Philadelphia lawyer.

[Page 207, line 2] a spectacled school-boy bringing up the rear This sketch is in the Kipling papers at Sussex and has been published by Andrew Rutherford in his edition of Early Verse by Rudyard Kipling (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1986).

[Page 207, line 4] a woman Perhaps Kipling’s friend, Edith Plowden, whom he thanks in a letter of [July 22, 1925] for returning “verses” (Ms, Kipling Papers). But several of Kipling’s notebooks containing early verse survived, unburned, among his papers: See Andrew Rutherford (ed.), Early Verse by Rudyard Kipling, p. 23 and notes.

[Page 207, line 8] ‘lesser breeds without the (Copyright) law’ cf. “Recessional” line 22.

[Page 207, line 10] a series of Anglo-Indian tales That is, the Plain Tales from the Hills.

[Page 207, line 11] the naming of the series After this sentence Kipling wrote: “Here I began to feel my feet.” Caroline Kipling deleted it in order to avoid a comic connection with the next sentence: “They were originally much longer . . .” (Caroline Kipling to H.A. Gwynne, November 13, 1936: MS, Dalhousie University).

[Page 207, line 23] the chimaera … secondary causes in vacuo One of the books that Pantagruel discovers in the library of Saint Victor in Paris is titled Quaestio subtilissima, utrium Chimera in vacuo bombinans possit comedere secundas intentiones, et fuit debatuta per decem hebdomadal in concilio Constantiensis (“Most subtle question, whether the Chimera, buzzing in a vacuum, can eat its secondary causes, which was debated for ten weeks by the Council of Constance”): Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel,II, vii.

[Page 208, line 23] This is the doom … earnest or jest Evidently by Kipling.

[Page 209, line 8] ‘The Phantom Rickshaw’ This story was published Christmas 1885 in Quartette, but written not later than October 1885 ( The Phantom ‘Rickshaw).

[Page 209, line 19] ‘The Eye of Allah’ The story “The Eye of Allah” was published in September 1926 in Debits and Credits.

[Page 210, line 1] ‘The Captive’ The story “The Captive” was published in December 1902 in Traffics and Discoveries.

[Page 211, line 21] smarmed down “To smooth down, as with pomade” (Eric Partridge, Dictionary of Slang, 8th edn. [New York, Macmillan, 1984]).

[Page 212, line 3] C- This refers to Kipling’s schoolmaster, Crofts, at United Services College. See the notes on Stalky and Co. in this Guide.

[Page 212, line 7] ‘The Wish House’ The story “The Wish House” was published in October 1924, and collected in Debits and Credits in 1926.

[Page 212, line 22] his knowledge of Chaucer The review, September 15, 1926, was by H.B. Charlton, Professor of English at the University of Manchester. Charlton blundered: it is not the Wife of Bath but the Cook who has a “mormal” on his shin: see Canterbury Tales, General Prologue, lines 383-86.

[Page 212, line 26] my worst slip is still underided Many possibilities have been suggested, but none carries conviction. Like Milton’s two-handed engine or Dr. Johnson’s dried orange peel, Kipling’s “worst slip” seems likely to remain an unsolved literary mystery.

[Page 213, line 11] dentist … near ‘Naulakha’ This suggests that the episode belongs to 1893: Kipling had visited Canada with his father in August, and Kipling was frequently seeing a dentist in November 1893 (Caroline Kipling’s diary).

[Page 213, line 27] summer … of ’13 From June 28 to July 1, 1913, he “had a wonderful time and next day begins a story of his experiences at the camp” (Caroline Kipling’s diary, July 1, 1913).

[Page 214, line 8] Karroo The semi-arid region of the western Cape Province in South Africa.

[Page 214, line 13] helio Heliograph, an instrument for signalling by means of reflected light.

[Page 214, line 19] `But Winnie … poor dear!’ Not identified. “Winnie” presumably refers to Winston Churchill, captured by the Boers in 1899. He escaped shortly after his capture.

[Page 215, line 2] Duke of Northumberland Alan Ian Percy (1880-1930), 8th Duke of Northumberland, an officer in the Grenadier Guards. He did not succeed to the title until 1918.

[Page 215, line 13] `psychic’ Kipling’s sister Trix was “psychic,” and he no doubt has her in mind in this passage about the “wreck of good minds.” Kipling’s protest that he is in no way “psychic” is bound to provoke skepticism in view of the element of the visionary or supernatural in his own work – in “They”, or “The Wish House”, or “A Madonna of the Trenches”, to name no more. His struggle against the temptation of “psychic” vision is written out in the poem “En-Dor.”

[Page 215, line 21] `passed beyond the bounds of ordinance’ The phrase is attributed to William James, The Principles of Psychology (New York, Henry Holt, 1890 ch. 4,) but probably comes from an earlier date.

[Page 216, line 12] a ceremony at Westminster Abbey July 19, 1922: Kipling had been a member of the War Graves Commission since its founding in 1917.

[Page 217, line 10] Sir John Bland-Sutton Bland-Sutton (1855-1936) was President of the Royal College of Surgeons, 1923-26. He performed surgery on Kipling in 1922. In his autobiography, Bland-Sutton dates this episode on Boxing Day 1917; he says that it was Kipling who was “keen for a demonstration” that the gizzard could be heard at work (

The Story of A Surgeon

[London, Methuen, 1930], p. 146).

[Page 217, line 25] glairy “Viscid” or “slimy.”

[Page 218, line 26] what David did with the water … battle II Samuel 23: 15-17. He poured it out before the Lord, saying that it was “the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives.”

[Page 219, line 3] Tarzan of the Apes By Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1912, the first of some twenty-five volumes in the story of Tarzan.

[Page 219, line 17] military go-as-you-pleases i.e. off-duty occasions?

[Page 219, line 19] `The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God’ By the celebrated Victorian writer of monologues for recitation, J. Milton Hayes, set to music by Cuthbert Clarke, 1901.

[Page 219, line 27] Mr. Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) critic, playwright, poet, imprisoned for homosexual offenses in 1895.

[Page 220, line 2] ‘. . . Richard Baxter’ The reference books uniformly attribute this to John Bradford (1510-55) rather than to Richard Baxter (1615-91).

[Page 206, line 4] Mr. Dent Pitman See the note to p. 129, line 4.

[Page 220, line 18] I repented … but not too much As a guess, one might venture that the plagiarist was E.K. Robinson (see p. 29), who founded and edited the magazine called Country-Side (1905-15) and who was in the business of writing “nature-studies.”

[Page 220, line 23] `Tupperism’ After the enormously popular Proverbial Philosophy, 1838, of the English minor poet, Martin Farquhar Tupper (1810-89).

[Page 220, line 23] `East was East … should meet’ “The Ballad of East and West”, published in December 1889 (Barrack-Room Ballads).

[Page 221, line 5] a political Calvinist If this needs a commentary, Kipling must be referring to the Calvinistic doctrine of the depravity of human nature rather than to the doctrine of pre-destination; in politics, as in other forms of human behavior, there is no hope of regeneration.

[Page 221, line 9] `Mandalay’ The poem was published in June 1890 in Barrack-Room Ballads; it has had many musical settings.

[Page 221, line 26] Irrawaddy Flotilla steamers Referred to in “Mandalay” as “the old Flotilla.”.

[Page 222, line 15] `The Islanders’ Published January 4, 1902 (The Five Nations).

[Page 223, line 20] set of verses … junior officers “The Lesson,” July 29, 1901 (The Five Nations).

[Page 223, line 23] `And which it may subsequently transpire’ Line 24: “And which, it may subsequently transpire, will be worth as much as the Rand.” cf. “The Propagation of Knowledge”, in which Beetle witholds “one or two promising `subsequently transpireds’ for fear of distracting King” (Debits and Credits, p. 294).

[Page 224, line 3] non-Aryan `and German at that’ “The Islanders,” Punch, January 15, 1902, p. 52. The article says in passing of “The Lesson” that it is Kipling’s “worst.” Roger Lancelyn Green (Harbord, vii, p. 3413) identifies the author as Rudolph Chambers Lehmann (1856-1919), on the staff of Punch, 1890-1919. Lehmann’s father was Frederick, a native of Germany living in London and the good friend of G.H. Lewes and George Eliot. Rudolph Lehmann had been an active opponent of the Boer War.

[Page 224, line 11] ‘. . . the abettors of disorder’ The Koran, Surah 2, verse 47, and Surah 5, verse 64.

[Page 224, line 18] no dealings for a dozen years or so Kipling had in fact published “The Irish Guards” in The Times on March 11, 1918, little more than two months before the episode he is about to describe.

[Page 224, line 20] `The Old Volunteer’ Published over Kipling’s name on May 27, 1918.

[Page 226, line 7] in ’17 The year was 1918 not 1917.

[Page 226, line 21] would retire from business The prime suspect at first was Ian Colvin (1877-1938), a journalist and a friend of Kipling’s. Colvin was interviewed by the private detective retained by The Times, but Kipling himself does not seem to have thought Colvin very likely. The documents in this episode are still among the archives of The Times.

[Page 226, line 6] I shall never know “My theory from the first was and is that the `old Volunteer’ was a Hun trick meant to discredit and annoy” (Kipling to Ian Colvin, July 2, 1918: MS, Syracuse University).

[Page 226, line 10] a detective to my home May 29, 1918: the detective was named H. Smale.

[Page 227, line 4] Moberly Bell (1847-1911), manager of The Times. Kipling had come into conflict with him over The Times‘s treatment of Cecil Rhodes in 1901, which is perhaps the crossing of bows alluded to. Kipling had been on familiar terms with Bell since 1894.

[Page 227, line 6] Buckle George Earle Buckle (1854-1935), Editor of The Times, 1884-1912.

[Page 227, line 26] a picture of the death of Manon Lescaut By Pascal Dagnan Bouveret, exhibited at the Salon of 1878 (see Carrington, 3rd edn, 1978, p. 614).

[Page 227, line 28] `one book’ of the Abbé Prevost Manon Lescaut, 1731.

[Page 228, line 1] Roman Comique Paul Scarron, Le Roman comique, 1651-57.

[Page 228, line 5] The Light that Failed Published in 1891. For the relation of Manon Lescaut and Le Roman comique to The Light that Failed see the articles by Margaret Newsom in Kipling Journal, September 1975 and March 1976.

[Page 228, line 6] metagrobolised A word from Rabelais, where it means “to puzzle, to mystify.” Kipling uses it with that sense in Stalky & Co. Here it seems to mean “transmogrified.”

[Page 228, line 13] a thing imposed from without cf. the comparison with Cervantes (Page 139, line 28). It is perhaps not necessary to note that Kipling is being elaborately ironic here.

[Page 228, line 28] The Cloister and the Hearth By Charles Reade, 1861. The extended metaphor of the novel as three-decker sailing ship goes back to Kipling’s poem “The Three-Decker”, 1894, on the rapidly-vanishing convention of the three-volume novel that dominated Victorian fiction. The gentle mockery in that poem may perhaps be heard in this later variation of the same metaphor.

[Page 229, line 15] mould-loft The space in which a ship’s hull is laid down.

[Page 229, line 18] Waverley nib A patented nib made by the firm of Macniven and Cameron since 1863.

[Page 230, line 8] faded as a palimpsest The ink-stand is still on Kipling’s desk at Bateman’s.

[Page 231, line 10] `intolerable entrails’ Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor, V, v, 162.

[Page 231, line 10] Warren Hastings (1732-1818) the great British pro-consul in India.

[Page 231, line 10] fur seal … little fetishes Some of these objects are still preserved at Bateman’s. So are the globes mentioned below.

[Page 231, line 23] a great airman Sir (William) Geoffrey Hanson Salmond (1878-1933), a pioneer Army aviator, laid out the air route from Cairo to South Africa while commanding the Royal Air Force in the Middle East.