Yearly summaries by Douglas Rees
Each year of the extracts from Carrie Kipling’s diaries made by Douglas Rees on behalf of Lord Birkenhead ends with a ‘Summary of xxxx ‘ We have not included them with the combined ‘Extracts’ which can be found on the ‘For Members’ part of the Kipling Society web-site, but we are including them here as a useful overall account of the Kiplings’ lives in concise form. For clarity we have commented – in italics – on one or two factual points.[A.J.W.W./J.R.]
[October 23rd 2018]
RK, travelling in Asia, hears that Wolcott Balestier has died, hurries home to London from Bombay in 14 days. Arriving on Jan. 10 he immediately makes arrangements for his marriage to Carrie by special licence and their wedding takes place on 18th Jan. – 43 days after the death of Balestier. A fortnight later they go over to the States where they remain for six weeks before resuming RK’s interrupted Japanese tour by way of a honeymoon. RK lays his hands on all immediately available cash. In June the Bank which holds RK’s money fails so they return to Brattleboro to settle in Bliss Cottage where they remain for the last five months of the year.
Several small points of interest are (a) RK on occasions reads out his stories to “the company” as entertainment (e g, “The Man Who Was”): (b) The short time taken in the writing of his short stories and the method he employed of doing so – the rough draft taking usually two broken days followed by two more broken days for the re-writing: (c) RK’s exchange of “notions”: (d) Kim’s birth in 1892 as a child’s story. Only two days’ work was done on it however: (e) RK’s habit of making very frequent entries in CK’s diaries: (f) the extraordinary wealth of detail which CK put inn her diaries showing all her financial transactions. It would appear that the Ks employed Beatty to make a very great number of purchases connected with their stables and land.
Except for a fortnight in New York in the second half of March and a few days in September, the year was spent in Brattleboro. The first half of the year was devoted to inspection of the growth of (a) the infant Josephine and (b) the new house ‘Naulakha’. The interest in the child was maintained even after the house had been occupied.
The year seems to have been punctuated by comparatively frequent domestic servant crises. Carrie does not seem to have enjoyed good health for there are many references to indisposition.
Many Inventions was published on June 6. Kipling wrote a number of the Jungle Book stories and the extracted figures for the twelve months ending November show that his income was approximately £3000 [some £350,000 at 2018 values]. Although he worked sometimes in the afternoon his general procedure seems to have been mornings for work, afternoons for play.
February and March were spent in Bermuda, followed almost immediately by a trip to England which lasted to the middle of August. The remainder of the year was spent at the ‘Naulakha’ in Brattleboro.
Jungle Book stories and verses seem to have occupied most of RK’s working hours.
The fact that, although there is comparatively frequent reference to JLK during their stay in England, only one reference is made to RK’s mother, is rather marked.
Probably the most important event of the year – apart from the normal writings – was the re-purchase of the copyright of RK’s first six books from Wheeler.
Carrie’s indifferent health has appeared very prominently in the diary for this year. Her general indisposition was aggravated by the incident with the furnace door early in January. About six weeks of February and March were spent in Washington and about a month I England. There are more frequent references to RK visiting his club and lunching out than have been apparent hitherto. It may be accident but CK appears more prone to complain about hotel and steamer accommodation than formerly. He is still, however, just as ready to seize upon any tribute that is paid to RK.
RK’s attention was concentrated on the Second Jungle Book up to the time of his trip to England and, after his return, by his article on the Victoria Cross which he had been commissioned to write by the Century – 7000 words – which he commenced as soon as he had got the Brushwood Boy off his hands. Full details of The Brushwood Boy’s creation have been given.
It would appear that the beginnings of the Beatty row appeared on Oct. 10, although no detail of any kind is given. Up to then CK had been doling out almost daily sums of money for his work and for his commissions on behalf of the Ks. There is no further financial entry for Beatty after this date.
The year which covered the addition of Elsie to the Kipling family in February also brought the Beatty affair, which appears to have been quietly smouldering since the previous October, to a blaze in January – ending in the explosions of May. As a direct consequence the Kiplings left their Brattleboro home, ‘Naulakha’, for ever in late August.
It is quite reasonable to suppose that RK’s attitude towards Beatty was merely in support of his wife and not an act of aggression in which his wife was backing him.
[It is perhaps surprising that the Kiplings did not anticipate the embarrassing publicity that arose from the case. But we now know from later research that they had determined to go to England in the late summer in any case. They may also have been influenced by current anti-British feeling in America]
CK’s outlook on life, probably emphasised by ill-health, seems to have soured somewhat, as there are a number of such entries as “Rud goes out on his wheel while I grind at cutting out for the children”; “They all get an outing but baby and myself”; I grind at accounts”. Her household duties are obviously no longer a pleasure – they are now just an onerous duty.
RK’s work included a frustrated attempt at Kim which eventually had to be shelved. The Seven Seas received a lot of attention, being published in November. Captains Courageous, for which he received two £2000 offers, was started and completed taking RK to Boston twice with Dr. Conland to get local colour.
His leanings towards machinery led to the purchase of bicycles which, incidentally, they both disliked without either admitting it to the other.
The first four months were passed in Torquay with CK taking a decidedly more cheerful view of life. Frequent use was made of their bicycles as a means to recreational exercise in spite of the “dire mud”. A trip to London, in the hope of finding a house easily, ended in their acceptance of the loan of Aunt Georgie’s house [in Rottingdean in Sussex] in order to get them out of hotel for the coming happy-event. More house-hunting followed without success and eventually they took over the house across the road from Aunt Georgie’s. Apart from RK’s not infrequent trips to London to attend special dinners and lunches and a trip on a cruiser for the Naval Manoeuvres, the rest of the year was passed at Rottingdean.
Of RK’s work during the year the most outstanding was “Recessional”, the full history of which is given in detail. ‘Stalky’ tales, some letters on the Naval manoeuvres and a few verses formed the remainder of the year which seemed to slacken off very considerably in the latter half of the year.
The Kiplings seem to have kept a very open house. No sooner did one set of guests depart than their places were immediately filled with others. Only RK’s parents and others of possible importance have been shown in the extracts from the diary.
It is noticeable that for the year in which occurred their expulsion from the USA no post-script was forthcoming, but the year that gave him his son found him the inspiration to add the last word for 1897.
The first four months were spent on the South African tour accompanied by JLK CK remained all the time at the Cape but RK went north on a tour of Kimberley, Bulawayo and Johannesburg. Whilst they were together at the Cape they spent their time walking and riding their cycles. Except for occasional trips to London and ten days at sea on Naval manoeuvres, unaccompanied of course by CK, the whole of the year was spent at The Elms, Rottingdean.
RK seems to have had a comparatively idle first half of the year free from literary work, but on his return from S.A. he added to the ‘Stalky’ stories, wrote an article on his African tour, produced The Fleet in Being, and spent a good deal of time on ‘Kim’. The Days Work was published in October.
It becomes very evident that CK does not like Mrs. Kipling Sr, from the remarks made on Oct. 1 during a visit from her mother-in-law. It is possible that her feelings may have a certain justification as the RK household without doubt saw a very great deal of CK’s in-laws.
The relation of RK’s parents to one another also gives rise to speculation: they do not seem to work together as a team very much – they arrive for the RK’s Christmas party on different days and Mrs. K leaves a day earlier than JLK. While they were in Rottingdean there is little doubt that CK was called upon to act as hostess to a very considerable degree.
RK’s own entries of self-satisfaction on Jan. 9 and Oct. 15 are a little curious. In view of his reputation for modesty etc, CK seems to know an astonishing amount about the details of the ovations which RK received when she was not present (eg. The one at sea entered on Sep 12 but not quoted) – but perhaps it is only natural for RK to pass on his triumphs to his wife.
What exactly is the meaning of his post-script to the diary? Is it an attempt at propitiation?
A most tragic year which showed Carrie in her true colours. A trip to the USA at the end of January, originally intended to have been of six weeks’ duration, lasted six months and caused them to return without Josephine and with RK forbidden by the Doctor to work for six months. In mid-August they went to Scotland till mid-September. Except for two days in London while RK gave evidence in a lawsuit (subject not named) [It was a dispute with Putnams, the American publishing house, who proposed to bring out their own version of Scribner’s Outward Bound edition.], the remainder of the years was spent at Rottingdean.
The years started with RK back on to Kim again with a ‘Stalky’ and a ‘Just So’ story or two. One or two evenings he spent at the local boys’ club which he had started the previous October, at which he had then spent more evenings than CK appreciated. After his return he did little serious work – one ‘Just So’ story (? Unpublished and a little verse. The South African war worried him and he became volunteer-minded and this occupied a lot of his time. The new car gave both of them pleasure and enjoyment.
RK does not seem to have appreciated that CK was being denied the joy that a loving and admiring wife (and she certainly was that!) gets out of the sole company of her husband. There are one or two distinctly pathetic mentions of the few occasions when they spend an evening alone together. When they went to the north of Scotland for a month’s rest, Philip B-J was with them for most of the time and JLK found himself unable to leave them without him even at that distance from his normal base.
To pass comment on this sort her is probably like a critic reviewing an author after perhaps two instalments of his first serial story have been published but the year 1899 certainly leaves the reader all in sympathy for a very gallant Carrie and somewhat irritated with RK for, in his blindness, not giving his wife a fair chance in spite of his affection for her.
After starting the year in Rottingdean, the Kiplings left at the end of January for South Africa – not returning to their English home till the early days of May. A few visits, each of perhaps a couple of days, and a number of house-hunting expeditions were all that took them out of Rottingdean till December 3rd when they left once more for the Cape.
RK got back to Kim in very irregular sittings but this work was completed and serial publication both in this country and in the USA commenced at the end of the year. Ambulance and Hospital “letters” seem to have been his main work whilst in South Africa. He undoubtedly did a good job of work visiting the hospitals and talking to the troops there but it is interesting to consider the general impression created about his editing or working for the soldier’s newspaper The Bloemfontein Friend in the light of the knowledge that his total absence from the Cape, including the time taken in the journey to and from Bloemfontein, as only fifteen days.
On his return he wrote some South African stories which were published in the Daily Express but were ‘uncollected’, (and) a ‘Just So’ story or two. Towards the end of the year he devoted a lot of time to a ‘Jungle Play’, Jungle Lance
The Kiplings possessed a motor for most of their time in England but all too frequent ae the references to its indisposition – sometimes a refusal to start from home, but often out on the open road necessitating an alternative means of transport home.
After a heart cry on January 2nd CK seems to have been more cheerful in herself during the year. Perhaps the interests of house hunting may have been partly responsible but there does not seem to have been any diminution of the number of their visitors.
Up to April 17 the RKs were in South Africa where life appears to have been very social. After their return a number of fruitless quests for a real home of their own, the very occasional trip to London, five days in Paris and one naval excursion for RK alone, were the only reasons for leaving Rottingdean ubtil Christmas when they set sail for South Africa again.
RK’s work in Africa covered several ‘Just So’ stories, one or wo South African stories, a number of verses and several contributions in the form of letters to the home newspapers. On his return there were still more ‘Just So’ stories – all of which needed illustrations by RK himself.
RK, probably to CK’s intense annoyance, continued to show an intense interest in his Rifle Club at which he devoted a considerable amount of time to shooting.
CK’s health was not good, but one suspects that a doctor’s diagnosis of her general state might differ very much from that of Carrie herself. She suffered from depression to an extraordinary degree as may be seen from her entries which commence on July 13 and from this one-sided view that the reader gets it would appear that RK displayed a rather marked lack of consideration for her but, as has been pointed out, it is but the one-sided view that is produced.
The year opened in South Africa and finished on the high seas [on the way to South Africa again] with the period May-December in England. A series of disappointments in house-hunting ended with the triumphant capture of Bateman’s to which they moved in early September.
The South Africaan holiday was spent in gardening, walking and gentle tours. The death of Rhodes, in one of whose houses they were living, cast a gloom on them for a time. After their return, short excursions to London, Guildford and West Grinstead were their only departures from Rottingdean and Burwash [though Kipling made a number of short visits to his parents’ home at Tisbury].
RK’s work in Africa consisted of readings in hospitals, ‘Just So’ story writing and illustrating, and several South African stories. He continued to write both of these types of stories in England, and in addition, he produced “Pan in Vermont”, “The Monkey Puzzler” and a number of verses. RK put in a good deal of time gardening and, as a pioneer motorist, undoubtedly suffered, wih his family, all the usual penalties of pioneering.
CK had a curious patch of temperament in early September when RK wrote all the entries for her for nearly a fortnight. One surprising fact emerges in that for the second time RK abandons his wife, leaving her to undertake the move alone.
He managed to be engaged elsewhere for the move to Naulakha on 12 August `93 and again for the move to Bateman’s. Even if CK expressed a desire to be allowed the sole command for the operation , RK’s absence from the scene altogether rather suggests a certain lack of gallantry.
[Carrie may well have felt that the last thing she wanted was to have Rudyard under he feet during the move.]
The year starts and ends in South Africa. In the early part of the year Elsie certainly and John probably developed scarlatina (an older name for Scarlet Fever). RK and CK gave the Woolsack garden a great deal of their attention. The customary periodical trips to London and to Astley and another to Rottingdean were their only breaks in the stay at Bateman’s from May to December. Their various motors all proved equally unreliable and the Kiplings deserve great credit for their perseverance.
RK does not seem to have done so much new work this year other than finishing off his verses for The Five Nations which was published in October. In the late autumn he started on his Army Reform story which eventually appeared in the Morning Pos as “The Army of a Dream.” His lack of interest in his plays is surprising. It would be imagined that curiosity alone would have guaranteed his presence at at least one performance even if incognito. On Nov. 7 he received his second offer of a title which he again declined. CK passed a scathing remark about Governmental slackness in not knowing of the 1899 offer.
CK seems to have been very much more rational in 1903 though the spate of visitors was in no way reduced. Possibly this is because RK spent less time away from her than he had been doing for the previous few years. She makes two remarks durung the year which help to place her outlook on life in general. On the steamer going out on Jan 5 she remarks that “the theatrical folk (on board) are inoffensive to a degree” and going home, on Apr. 26 her comment as to her fellow women passengers would stamp her as a snob of no mean order.
As usual, the year opened and closed in South Africa where they gardened and walked and lived a generally social life. After the return to Burwash in May there were fewer solo journeys to London than in former years, but there were several tours as a complete family instead. The first week in December saw them packing up for the voyage to the Cape.
Considerably more time was spent than was usual for a short story on “The Army of a Dream” – like Kim it seems to have been put away more than once and then brought out for titivation but RK was obviously very interested in it. Pyecroft stories also occupied his time at the Cape. After his return he concentrated on chapter headings and verses for Traffics and Discoveries which appeared in October.
The new motor gives them very nearly as much trouble as its predecessors but it was used, nevertheless, very extensively for pleasure motoring.
CK seems to have been in a much more serene frame of mind and appears to have been reasonably happy. Her health has given her no cause for complaint and she does not once describe herself as miserable, nor is there any evidence of any form of self-pity.
Opening in Africa, 1905 ended on the High Seas. The period from the third week of April till just before Christmas was passed at Bateman’s with the usual jaunts to London and a fortnight’s tour spent courageously in their car which behaved vey reasonably, until an autumn indisposition set in.
Puck of Pook’s Hill occupied the lion’s share of RK’s working hours, throughout the year, with “An Habitation Enforced”, resurrected and re-titled, brought to a conclusion soon after the return from South Africa. Another resurrection was that of the “Puzzler” which had been on the stocks for well over a year = this passed through the titles of “For Men Only”, “Basis of Federation” and several others before it was finally sent off for publication. “The Army of a Dream” re-appeared in its sixth edition.
Gardening, tree planting and two further increases in their property claimed much of their outdoor attention.
CK’s health maintained, on the whole, the improvement shown last year though March and December gave her some reason for complaint. Her somewhat patronising allusions to the Duke of Connaught in the last week of the year are quite entertaining.
At the end of the diary is one entry which states “Income Tax £538.12.6” and another “Rud’s Farm 1115 £1015 due Feb 1st.”
There is a frequent mention of tennis for the first time during the African days. This year, after a false start owing to CK’s temporary indisposition, they make a visit to Johannesburg lasting twelve days. Carrie complains of pain in March. After their return to Burwash during the first week in May they spent a week on the Norfolk Broads in August in a wherry belonging to HA Gwynne. On the 30th June they succumbed to the temptation of an efficient salesman and bought a new Daimler – selling Amelia the Lanchester a week later. The new car although not completely infallible provided them with considerable pleasure and satisfaction. December 15 saw them off again once more to the Cape.
Puck again claimed most of RK’s time both in composition and proof correcting until he appeared finally in book form on Oct. 2nd. A political verse or two, a ‘Strickland’ story and a naval story were all he produced before his thoughts turned again in a Puck-ward direction. Before the end of the year he had completed the story which ultimately proved to be the last in Rewards and Fairies when it was published four years later. [“The Tree of Justice”] On May 5th RK “spoke for literature” (actually he replied to the toast of literature) at the Academy Dinner.
Except for the very occasional complaining entry CK seems to have had a fairly healthy year leaving her a reasonably happy woman. There have been no protests about her housework for a couple of years. There was however one incident in South Africa where she had to spend the morning in bed but was, miraculously, able to rise in time to attend a Garden Party attended by the Duke and Duchess of Connaught in spite of the paralysis from which she was suffering (Jan,. 12).
1907 saw rather more travel for the Kipling family than in the previous few years. Up till the end of March they passed their time in South Africa in walking, calling and playing tennis. Degrees in the Universities of Durham and Oxford were conferred upon RK in the month of June and they appear to have had a royal month of October in Canada after John had been ceremonially installed in his first school. It is noted that within a month of their return they recalled him home owing to a case of chicken-pox in the school. After a journey to Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize – most of the ceremony for which had to be curtailed owing to the death of the King – they embarked (with John) for Africa.
Puck, a seal story and “A Deal in Cotton” formed the backbone of RK’s work in Africa but soon after his return he devoted a lot of time to writing an introduction to, and a revision of, all his verses for a new USA edition. The only other new work mentioned being ‘The Hive’, some Volunteer verses and, of course, Puck. ‘Canadian Letters’ occupied all his time from November onwards and he was still on those when on board going out to the Cape at the end of the year. Among the big dinners he attended was that of the Indian Mutiny Veterans.
A busy and apparently a reasonably happy year for CK.
One of the least mobile of the Kipling years to date. Golf augmented RK’s tennis recreation in Africa. The holiday there was spent as usual with social visits and walks, with the children going, as in earlier years, to Muizenberg for a short stay with the Bailey offspring. Back in England, RK received an honorary degree from Cambridge – this and a three weeks’ motor tour in the north in August were the main breaks from Sussex.
There is a curious break in the diary from the 16th of October to the 8th of December without any entry whatsoever but the pages on which the entries on which the entries for October 11 (for certain) and possibly October 12th, were written, were, for some reason, torn out.
The end of the year saw their usual South African trip exchanged for one in Engelberg in Switzerland – described as an experiment to give the children a cold winter.
RK’s work in South Africa consisted of his Canadian letters, Puck and a Quebec Memorial Appeal, but this really made but little call on his time. Puck again occupied him after his return but at least one completed story was scrapped. An airship story, “As Easy as ABC” and a new Pyecroft story – as a play “The Harbour Watch” (produced in 1914 according to the obituary notice in The Times (actually it was in April 1913) are all that are mentioned but one feels that thr doctor’s ban on smoking must have proved a very serious handicap, if not a complete bar, to RK’s creative thinking for a number of months.
In September CK became “miserable” for a short period but seems, nevertheless, to have stood up well to the steady stream of visitors that invaded Bateman’s.
Switzerland is substituted for South Africa, possibly in order to allow John to accompany them, for after he returns to school, RK, CK and Elsie go for six weeks (to Rome) where Elsie collects measles. After their return on April 16th a fortnight’s motoring in August was their only real absence from Bateman’s for the remainder of the year, other than the normal fleeting trips to town and Tisbury – but an unusually small number of the latter.
RK did very little work during the first five months – possibly still craving for his pipe – in fact, all that is mentioned during the years was “The House Surgeon”, verses for and vetting of Actions and Reactions which was published in October, a couple of Puck stories and the verses for the new book to be called Rewards and Fairies. Gardening and bee-keeping are mentioned as RK’s outdoor hobbies. During the year Jameson confirmed Rhodes’ gift to RK of the Woolsack during RK’s lifetime after which the property was to go to the S.A. Government.
CK has a couple of spells when she describes herself as miserable but seems to have been normal for the majority of the year. There are noticeably more pages of complete blank scattered throughout the years than formerly.
The diary opens with blank pages for nearly two months which were spent in Engelberg before the Kiplings went to Vernet-les-Bains for the sulphur bath cure. A fortnight’s holiday in Cawsand, Cornwall, was the only holiday away from Bateman’s other than the odd occasional 24 hours in London and visits to Tisbury. Carrie herself went once to Tisbury to attend the funeral of old Mrs. Kipling in November. The year ended, as in 1909, in Engelberg.
It is probable that RK did little work abroad, but he was well occupied after his return with the final polishing of Rewards and Fairies, which was published in September. He wrote also “The Dead King” as a tribute to Edward VII. His verses for the history book claimed much of his attention. Stalky and Pyecroft appeared more than once on his work table. The airship story, “As Easy as A.B.C.” came again to light, and he “corrected” the dramatized version of “The Man who would be King” RK returned to his hobby of shooting – visiting on several occasions the rifle range with Colonel Feilden.
Just after the ‘Beatty incident’, when the Kiplings underwent self-banishment, it appeared that Kipling withdrew some of his investments from the USA and placed his money in this country. The budget of both 1909 and 1910 seems to have resulted in the reverse process. There is a note at the end of the diary $22,889 to F N Doubleday for investment, May 19th.
The winters do not seem to agree with Carrie as from late autumn onwards there are increasing references to her ill health, but no outright complaints as there were some years ago. Perhaps RK’s own entries in April 1903 put an end to them for there has been little, if any of that nature since then.
A year very similar to the previous one but with the Engelberg period broken for a few days by the necessity of a return to Tisbury owing to the death of Lockwood Kipling. A short cure in sulphur baths at Vernet-les-Bains followed the Engelberg holiday. In August the family went to France for a motoring ramble with no fixed daily destination but threats of strikes hurried their return,
The fact that John started at Wellington may have been the reason for a closer relationship with the Aitkens who had recently bought a house within easy reach of the school. Both the Kiplings were present in the Abbey at the Coronation in June. A visit was paid to the Baldwins in Astley in November. Another great event of the year was the change of the Daimler for a Rolls Royce.
1911 saw a number of new short stories flow from the end of RK’s pen, among them being ‘In a plain way’, “In the presence”, s Stalky story and “As simple as A.B.C.” made yet another appearance for a short time. Several verses were written including “The Female of the Species” and verses dealing with the Coronation and the Naval Review. It was decided to issue in the new year ‘Verses from Books’ (or ‘Songs from Books’) a new collection of old verses for publication on both sides of the Atlantic. There ae several mentions of a school book “A Kipling Reader” for use in the USA on which RK put in a certain amount of time. Although little work was done abroad, it appears that RK produced more new material this year than he had done for several years.
The year, starting in Switzerland had a slight change of programme in that six weeks in Florence and Venice were substituted for the sulphur cure at Vernet-les-Bains. A further addition was made to the Kipling estate soon after their return at the end of March.
Speeches at the Royal Geographical Society and Wellington School Literary Society (the latter receiving rather more preparation than the former) and one to the constituents of Sir Max Aitken were among the minor attractions that drew RK from Bateman’s. [The Wellington address was was actually to the boys of Pearson’s House, rather than to the whole College (NOT School) Literary Society] Motoring in the West Country formed the family holiday in the first half of September and the end of the year found them back in Engelberg.
RK worked for some time on a play based on Soldiers Three and several short stories, “The Benefactors”, “The Vortex” “The Eliminators” [not identfied], “Friendly Brook”, a Ziggler story [Ziegler]“The Edge of the Evening”, other stories, some political verses on Ulster, and arranged for a Bombay edition of his works; there is mention too of a Florence edition (this was the Bombay edition under another name.)
CK underwent an operation in September but on the whole she seems to have spent a reasonably active and contented year.
Soon after John returned from Engelberg for school, the Kiplings went to Paris where they left Elsie while RK and CK went for their Egyptian tour. CK does not appear to have been very fit at the time. They returned, via Paris, to collect Elsie, to arrive in Burwash at the end of the first week in April. One trip to Scarborough o see Tri and her nurse and another to Astley Hall were the main diversions away from Burwash apart from a month in Norfolk [Suffolk] in the house they had taken over from Sir Rider Haggard. [It wasn’t actually a month.They went up for a week-end, 30-31 July, possibly as guests of Rider Haggard, then back again with the family on August 25, having rented the house, until 10 September.]
The Switzerland holiday at the end of the year was first banned by the doctor after John’s thyroid gland trouble after mumps and a relapse but a reprieve was given in time and by the end of the year they were again on the continent.
The Egyptian letters formed the bulk of RK’s work after his return, though there were such variations as “My Son’s Wife”, “The Dog Hervey”, an Army story [possibly “The Honours of War”, though Kipling dated this to 1911 when it was collected in Debits and Credits in 1917] and several verses including one about the French which was very popularly received in its translated form in France. He attended several rehearsals of his play “The Harbour Watch” but did not accompany his family who enjoyed the finished article when produced in one of the London theatres.
Edward Poynter painted RK’s portrait and there occurred chauffeur and secretary changes during the year.
The Continental Holiday which started the year was interrupted in order to allow RK to read a paper to the Royal Geographic Society in London, but as soon as that was over RK. and CK went to Vernet-les-Bains for a month of sulphur baths. Ten days touring and three weeks in Paris concluded their travels abroad for this year. John exchanged Wellington for a Crammers and Elsie was presented at Court.
Then came the War. Everything revolved for a short time around the efforts to obtain a commission for John – this, after a preliminary failure on account of eyes, was finally achieved through the intervention of Lord Roberts (and the commission ante-dated). As London was reasonably accessible to John’s Barracks, Brown’s Hotel saw considerably more of the Kipling Family than ever before for they made many trips up to town. Elsie and John, with their younger ideas, evidently persuaded their parents that joy was obtainable from theatres for the family went as a whole to a number of shows on John’s frequent “evenings off”.
RK started the year in the completion of his Egyptian letters followed by “Spring in France”. Then for quite an appreciable time there was a lull in his work during which all he seems to have created was an Irish political verse on “Ulster”. After the war started, all the fiction he seems to have produced was “Dream Children” (of which there is no record of publication – even at a later date) [There is a pencilled note “probably ‘They’” – Carrington identifies it as “Swept and Garnished”. Carrington is undoubtedly correct – “They” had been published in 1904] and what CK describes as short short stories (possibly these were not fiction). [They were probably the Daily Telegraph pieces on the New Armies, which were, indeed, short, and were published in December.] He wrote a number of patriotic and propaganda verses for consumption on both sides of the Atlantic, “For What We Have and Are”, verses for King Albert, and about the Canadian and Indian troops and he delivered several recruiting speeches. He was a sick man in the autumn and Carrie had two bad spells – one especially so just after Christmas.
A year of outstanding tragedy for the Kiplings. Starting with the frequent jaunts to London, that included the theatre more often than not, CK learned that she must take the mineral water cure at Bath and arrangements were made to spend April in the Spa Hotel there causing RK to decline the request that he should write the official account of the 1915 Ypres battle, being attached to GHQ while he did so. RK did however make a fortnight’s tour of the Front Line in France in August and a shorter one of the Navy in September. These and less frequent trips to London were the only reasons for leaving Bateman’s. CK even resigned from the Committee of the Maple Leaf Canadian Club. Dutifully they laid their Rolls Royce up “for duration”.
RK’s work during the year consisted very largely of war propaganda articles on the services, the French a Christmas Message to the Australians (by request) but he did find time to write a little fiction in the “Sea Constables” and “Mary Postgate” – both war stories and “The Reversion” (not published). He gave a number of speeches mainly recruiting but one, at the Mansion House, London, was an appeal for Bands for the London regiments. Even before he began his search for news of John he visited a number of hospitals to talk to and cheer the wounded.
CK suffered from her (?) neuritis very early in the year and also from bad throat which gave her cause for complaint in March. The tragedy of John naturally made a very strong impression on her and many extracts in reference to him have been quoted.
The Bath cure for CK occupied February and except for a two days’ visit to Cambridge in October, the Kiplings spent the rest of the year in Bateman’s – apart of course, from the London business or duty calls. Although their offer of to the War Office of Bateman’s as a Hospital was declined in June 1915 they made an offer of Rye Green as a hostel for “women labour”. They appear to have given the Dudwell Farm House as a convalescent home for wounded officers and their families – one officer at a time – presumably on their invitation only for these are referred to as “our guests” and the duration of the residence seems to have rested with the desires and opportunities of the guests.
They had an ever-ready welcome for any Officer of the Irish Guards and RK acted as Godfather to the son of an Irish Guard friend of John’s who had visited Bateman’s several times with John. RK and CK took a great deal of trouble over the Crom Price children after their mother was sent to an asylum without appearing to have been actually appointed guardians (although such may have been the case). By RK’s recommendation and efforts Teddy Price was commissioned in the 4th Sussex.
RK’s work for the year consisted almost entirely of war articles but he spent a lot of time revising and collecting his verses for a new edition. He paid many visits to hospitals to talk to the troops and in the summer did a little haymaking.
CK had more health trouble in the year – a bad throat in the summer and misery in the winter but she resumed a certain amount of her work with the Maple Leaf Club in London, from which she resigned or threatened to do so, in 1915.
February in Bath was followed by March in London. Just over a fortnight in July for RK, while he went to the Front to see the Italian troops fighting, a fortnight in Scotland and half November in London left the rest of the year for residence at Bateman’s.
For RK it was a pretty full year. He was first offered his choice of title or honour and he declined all in all degrees. A month later he was nearly pitchforked into a KBE and after having stopped that in time, he had, within another month to take immediate action to prevent the bestowal of the order of the Companion of Honour. He accepted office on the Rhodes Trust and the Graves Commission and agreed to write the history of the Irish Guards on which he did a great deal of work. His new book, The (sic) Diversity of Creatures, the proofs of which he had to correct in the early part of the year, was published in April. His trip to Italy provided a number of newspaper articles and, in addition to a number of propaganda verses and a speech to the Guards Officer Cadets on “Drill”, he managed to find time to write a couple of fictional short stories, “In the Interests of the Brethren” and “A Flight of Fact”. It was probably RK’s most creative year for a very long time – even appreciating that the stories in The Diversity of Creatures were all written and had been published in magazines or elsewhere previously,
For CK it was a year of domestic strife. She obviously disliked strongly the Secretary, Miss Chamberlain but, nevertheless, retained her services while the dairy-maids and cooks preferred the idea of service elsewhere. Sir John Sutton-Bland’s (sic) diagnosis on July 11th while a probable relief to RK was an almost equally probable disappointment to CK. Throughout the year she attended with very fair regularity her Tuesday meetings in London of the Maple Leaf Club, making the journey from Bateman’s to town specially to do so.
Continued investigations seem to have satisfied the Kiplings that they had heard the true story of what happened to John on 27th September 1915 in the Battle of Loos.
The Bath cure in February, a fortnight of Cornwall in September and frequent stays in London were the only reason for the Kiplings’ departure from Burwash. RK had a bad spell of health in May but the experts decided that the matter was nothing serious.
RK’s work was about on a par with 1917 in quantity covering a fairly wide field. He spent much time on his Irish Guards History, produced a shilling volume of selected verse, wrote a great number of assorted verses – “The Lathes” (munition workers), “Lyde” (?), “Ed. Baker”, “Justice” and “Peace Proposals” among others, more than one short story and many newspaper articles. He attended the necessary meeting of the (Imperial War) Graves Commission and the Rhodes Trust but refused office in connection with service propaganda though he agreed to help. His Irish Guards song was set to music by Edward German. A verse over his forged signature appeared in “The Times” and “The Times” failed to discover the originator. Twice he dined at Buckingham Palace.
Rye Green does not seem to have been successful for Women Land Workers as originally proposed, but it was used as a convalescent home for nursing sisters. Dudwell, after Trix Fleming completed her 5½ months stay till February in the cottage, reverted to its former status of Officers’ Convalescent Home – though at the end of the year an officer’s wife and children alone were the occupants.
Armistice Day brought again unhappy memories of John and CK brought what appears to have been another, though minor, war to a close in giving notice to the secretary on the last day of the year.
Bath in February followed by three weeks in London, a few days in Oxford on Rhodes Trust affairs and September motoring to Perth left the rest of the year for the Kiplings in Burwash until Xmas which was spent with the Stanley Baldwins at Astley before returning to Bath at the end of the year.
RK does not seem to have done quite so much work in this first year pf peae as in the two previous years. “The Scholars”, “Greatheart”, “The Supports”, “Gods of the Copy-Book” being new verses, but The Years Between was published in April and also an American Edition of Collected Verse. A fair amount of work was put in on the Irish Guards’ History. He brought “The Harbour Watch” up to date “for music hall production” and wrote an appeal for subscriptions for the Guards Memorial. The Graves Commission also occupied a certain amount of his time.
In this year the Kiplings moved around quite a fair amount. The Bath cure ended in January – February saw them spend a few days in the Isle of Wight, returning from which RK showed CK the House of Desolation. Half of March and most of April were spent in France but as there were no entries whatsoever during this period it is impossible to say whether the trip was for business or pleasure. The Rhodes Trust took them to Oxford for a few days in May and an LL D degree was the cause of the Edinburgh journey in the first week in July. This was followed by a fortnight of touring the battlefields for the Graves Commission (which one way or another gave Kipling a considerable amount to do) and for the Irish Guards History. They harrowed themselves at the scene of John’s death while over there. A few days were spent in Cirencester in September and of course frequent visits to London left them much less time in Burwash than had been the case for several years. Bateman’s seems to have had plumbing difficulties in the very early part of the year – three of the domestic staff gave notice within four days in March and another in August. Two friends were lost in the deaths of Aunt Georgie and Mrs (Colonel Sahib) Feilden.
There are recurring references to pain, ill health, teeth, chills and depression for RK throughout the year which was spent mainly on the Irish Guards History – though on the whole it was a scanty year for creative work. Letters of Travel was published in June. The speech for his degree in Edinburgh required all of his working hours, such as they were, for 11 days. There is mention of only one story “The Department of Death” being written, but it was not published under that name, if at all. He co-operated with the USA Pathé man in writing “Without Benefit of Clergy” and “The Gate of 100 Sorrows” for the films.
The year included two and a half months in Algiers and touring France up to the beginning of May, nearly a month of motoring in Scotland in September, most of November in France and Belgium where RK was awarded degrees by the Universities of Paris and Strasbourg and Christmas spent with the Baldwins at Astley Hall.
Owing to pain and illness in the early part of the year very little work was attempted before June. The majority of his work after his return in May, and even that was very little, was put in on the Irish Guards War History – though a number of days were occupied in correcting and amending Ian Colvin’s Life of Jameson (which CK held in great contempt as careless and slipshod) before RK eventually decided that the whole thing would have to be rewritten. He interested himself with a Pathé man in the making of films from his books but was very disappointed with the finished article. His speeches delivered at the time of receiving his degrees took considerable time in preparation. He again refused a decoration offered by the King. (In the strictest of terms, it was not a Decoration, but an Honour which he was offered.)
CK again became involved in domestic servant crises during the year and suffered a run of ill-health herself in the autumn.
Considerable pain and illness for RK were the outstanding keynotes of a year during which the Kiplings were in the south of Spain and France for half of March and the whole of April, returning about a fortnight before RK, accompanied by CK, had to cross to France and Belgium for the King’s tour of the War Graves, for which RK had apparently provided not only the very speech the King delivered, but also the original inspiration for the tour. Garden Parties at the Palace and dinners, when RK met the King again, followed but a recurrence of pain early in November led to an operation, the convalescence from which carried on well into the new year. The Kiplings were assured, however, in August that RK possessed no trace of the “always-to-be-dreaded cancer” which nevertheless seemed to colour some of the stories written in subsequent years.
RK’S work naturally suffered greatly as a result of his illnesses though he completed his book of verses for the Queen’s Doll’s House, finished off his Irish Guards History book, started “The Janeites”, wrote the King’s speech for him and composed “The King’s Pilgrimage” and produced a Message for France.
CK, in addition to her anxiety over RK, had further domestic crises but a few of the entries in the diary suggest she probably made unnecessarily heavy weather for herself in her relations with the domestic staff.
This year started with the convalescence following RK’s operation and serious illness of November 1922. But fortunately from April onwards the trouble almost entirely disappeared. Three weeks ending mid-February were spent in Bath and both April and May were spent in the South if France, ending in a motoring tour. There was one visit to Chequers in June and short visits to London for Rhodes and Graves Commission work.
There was more literary work accomplished this year in consequence of RK’s improved health in the last three quarters of 1923 The most important event was the publishing of the Irish Guards History. He prepared and delivered a speech to the Royal College of Surgeons, prepared the King’s speech on Italy, finished the Stalky story “The Janeites” (which was NOT a Stalky story) – begun in 1922 – sorted out stories and wrote verses for Land and Sea Tales, which, it is believed, was also published during the year (it was) though no mention is made in the diary of actual publication, he wrote “The Prophet and the Country”, “A Friend of the Family”, “London Stone” – a verse for Armistice Day and commenced “A Madonna of the Trenches”, a story which he had had “long in his mind”. He also took a constructive part in arranging for the British Empire Exhibition due to open at Wembley the following year.
In September, he opened the Students’ Union and awarded degrees to Baldwin, Roger Keyes, Bland Sutton and others on his installation as Rector of St. Andrew’s. This entailed the preparation and delivery of many speeches.
It is interesting to note that he signed a contract allowing Kim to be filmed.
A week in Paris in the first half of January, a week in Bath during February, March and April in Algeciras and France, two other trips of about a week each to France in preparation for October 22nd when Elsie was married to Bambridge in London, a few days in Cirencester with the Bathursts and Xmas at Astley left rather less time than usual at Bateman’s. The outstanding social events of the year were, of course, Elsie’s wedding and the dinner at Lord Burnham’s when RK was seated on the King’s left.
RK suffered from a little pain and depression in the early part of the year and there seems to have been a gentle ‘niggle’ throughout the year. He resigned from active assistance to the Wembley exhibition, apparently on the grounds of ill-health but as the resignation took place during the blank period of the diary this is not certain.
He again resisted what would appear to be persistent attempts by those above to decorate him with the Order of Merit. After the episode of January it is very surprising that Lord Stamfordham, who was involved with the previous affair, should again have been the medium of approach.
“The Wish House” was written during a period of depression and pain at the same time as “The Bridge”, a poem. Later on in the year he wrote “The Bull that Thought”, “The Monastery”, “The Eye of God”, “The Life of Allah” and “Fairy Kist” and an un-named detective story. In November is CK’s first mention of RK attending Lodge (Note. This is a matter that might repay further investigation).
CK suffered a spasm of “domestic crisis” in July.
The departure of Elsie certainly seems to have instilled the spirit of unrest into Bateman’s for the Kiplings made no less than three trips to France and Belgium during the year, but their summer holiday on their own consisted of only 9 days visiting RK’s old haunts in the West Country. There were many trips to London, one to Oxford and the occasional one or two to friends for the week-end.
RK’s health seems generally to have been very much better until Nov. 30th when he contracted pneumonia which put him out of action for the remainder of the year.
His work covered several stories among which was “The Gardener”, voted by some critics as one of the finest and most sympathetic of his short stories – the inspiration came to him while was visiting the War Cemeteries on the Continent and in reference to which CK implies a great enthusiasm on the part of RK. He composed a number of speeches for his own delivery during the year and each speech received meticulous care in preparation which occupied the working hours of several days. He produced some new verses and re-arranged the stories for the coming book, re-wrote “The Benefactors”, published in October “Fairy Kist” which reverted to this title after an intermediate one of “Side Slip” and a new ‘Stalky’ story received a couple of days start,
He resigned from the Rhodes Trust in which he was very interested, to his great regret, on a matter of principle – details of which have been given, as far as the diaries allow, in June, and acquired the Aberdeen terrier in October that was to prove the subsequent inspiration for “Thy Servant a Dog.”
CK seems to have had a trying year of it through her own health and domestic reasons. It is noted that her secretary, possibly overcome by the fact that CK wrote the first secretarial praise her diary was ever to see in April, decided to get married and gave warning of the fact – unfortunately on the same day as the second gardener did – but the latter, for other reasons. In spite of the comments on her own ill-health, uttered to the diary she certainly did not spare herself in RK’s interests during his illness.
The convalescence from pneumonia, contracted by RK the previous November, lasted till mid-May which concluded a three-and-a-half month residence in France. The only other visit was for Christmas when the Kiplings stayed with the Stanleys. Three days at Leamington in August and a week-end at Chequers were the only other real changes of air apart from the increasingly frequent runs up to London. RK received the Royal Literary Society’s Gold Medal in July and on several occasions they were entertained by Royalty.
After the convalescent period was completed June and July contain the only mentions of RK’s internal troubles.
The only new story mentioned is “The Woman in his Life”, written in October, but what comparatively little work he did otherwise was spent preparing Debits and Credits for publication in September, and work on his Book of Words (speeches) which (it is believed) was also published this year. [The book was not published until 1928 – why Rees wrote that we do not know. A.W.] In December he re-commenced his “Dayspring Mishandled” which CK notes “he drafted on his typewriter for the first time”. Throughout the year he continued to interest himself in his Graves Commission work.
The year starts in Paris and after three weeks in Burwash the Kiplings left at the end of January for Brazil. The diary breaks from just after arrival in Rio until they reach Biarritz six weeks later on April 2nd. Graves Commission work took them to France again in September and, as in 1926, they spent Xmas in Paris with the Stanleys. There was one week end at Chequers and the customary flights to London.
Beyond slight pains in April, May and June, RK’S health seems to have been better.
From his work table came the now completed “Dayspring Mishandled”, “Aunt Ellen”, in January, but till July the only work mentioned is in connection with the Brazil articles. During the summer, inspiration seems to have been flowing more freely because the following are mentioned: “The Woman in his Life” (revised), “The River of Life” (? Brazil article), “St. Paul and Rome”, “A Dog’s Prayer”, “The Flight of the Duchess” and there were the proofs of the Book of Words to be corrected in December.
It is interesting to compare the speed of RK’s work these days with that of thirty five years ago (vide Summary for 1892) when four working days saw a short story completed. “Toomai of the Elephants” started on 15 Nov. was finished on the 18th and the fair copy sent off on 18 Nov. 1892. “Love o’ Women”’, reckoned to be one of his finest stories was started on 21 Jan. 1893 and he had got rid of it by the 28th with one or two intervening days of idleness. In 1927 he worked for 15 days on “St. Paul and Rome” (Sept. 4, 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 24 (and almost certainly the references on the 7th, 8th, and 25th apply to this story). It is a matter of opinion whether the additional labour and additional complexity of the later style of writing bring an improvement or the reverse.
CK suffered more domestic trouble during the year and was by no means well during the autumn.
A return from Paris opened the year which took the Kiplings for a Sicilian holiday from February to early May, twice to Chequers, once to Cirencester and for a fortnight to Scotland during September. RK went to Liverpool to make a speech in October and they spent Christmas in Bath
They bought a new Rolls-Royce in May, and added acreage to their estate in August.
There is little in the diaries to indicate serious internal trouble for RK though he suffered from a bad cough in March and had a certain amount of ill health in November, but CK went under the doctor in July and was pronounced a diabetic case with severe eye strain.
RK’s work covered “The Stars in their Courses”, a poem about King David, “The Satisfaction of a Gentleman”, “Beauty Spots”, a dog story, a Times article “The Unknown Dead”, a poem for the Prince of Wales’ book, a speech for the Queen, a number (of speeches) for himself and he gave help over the Empire Marketing film. As usual he worked on the Graves Commission.
In the financial section of the diary, there is an entry “1928/29 Assessment £38,560 (about £1.4M in 2017 money – we assume that this was his gross income in this year,)
In view of the post script, the blank of seven months from the diary is curious.
From the letters it appears that the Kiplings returned from their tour of Egypt and the Holy Land at the end of April where RK had been amusing himself following the flight of the Children of Israel.
An almost complete blank throughout the year makes a summary unnecessary except to mention that in January and February, having completed “Thy Servant a Dog”, RK started a second dog story.
The Kipling Correspondence, pages 796-797, shows that the Kiplings went to Jamaica and Bermuda and returned by way of Canada. Of this time spent abroad, CK was ill for three months in Bermuda. Further details may be found in RK’s letters to his daughter.
As the diary does not open, owing to CK’s gout, until the end of February, reference to the correspondence has shown that the Kipling’s left Burwash on Feb 20 for Egypt where they remained until April, dallying for a fortnight on the way home. Another visit to Paris in June and one to Oxford in September seem to have been the only excursions from home other than the normal ones to London. In October RK narrowly missed an operation but was under the doctor there for nearly two weeks. Christmas was spent very quietly at home alone.
Very little work was done by RK during the year – less than in any previous year. A few verses, the Bermuda parrot story, a skit and the preparation for his French speech appear to have been the total of his work though he collected some old material for his book of Humorous Stories published in March. His health throughout the year was, on the whole, very poor with considerable pain accounting almost certainly for the lack of work.
CK, herself, had her share of ill health in the way of gout and eye trouble to give further irritation to the domestic upheavals.
The Budget in September worried them considerably and perhaps accounted for their decision to get rid of their cars and the chauffeur Taylor who had been with them twelve and a half years. There is a super-tax entry of £9426 at the end which is probably relevant. It is noted in subsequent diaries that although they bought another Rolls-Royce they did not get Taylor back again.
[The “super-tax entry” does not seem to have been in the remaining extracts, though Rees could well have seen it in the original. The sum approximates to £400,000 in 2017’s money.]
A year of very frequently recurring pain and debility for RK. A visit to Bath in January, two and a half months in the south of France ending in mid-May, a fortnight’s touring in August were the main changes from the Burwash surroundings. James, the original Aberdeen died in May but Mike remained to console RK in his loss. There were the customary changes of domestic and outside staff during the year which offered to that Imperialist the tremendous satisfaction of hearing the King use RK’s own words in his address to the Empire on Christmas Day.
In spite of his ill health RK produced a certain amount of new work – a verse and a speech for the Prince of Wales, a Shakespeare story, “Leading Dog Malachi” ? or “Sea Dog”, a verse “The Flag Ship” [published as The Storm Cone], “Proofs of Holy Writ” [which was the above-mentioned “Shakespeare story”], an appreciation of “Mary Kingsley”, “Meditations in Flight”, some French notes and the verse “A Fox Meditates”. [the verse title was “Fox Hunting”, with “A Fox Meditates” as its subsidiary title, and it was, in fact, the finished version of “Meditations in Flight”]
Figures at the end of the year show a gross income of £32,831, from which normal Income Tax of £7,989, plus approx. £9,000 was deducted. [This left them with approx. £16,000 net (or £600,000 at 2017 prices) – not a lot with which to run an establishment like Bateman’s with (at a guess) eight to ten indoor and outdoor staff.
The ‘Medical Extracts’ from the diary for 1933 run to five pages which show that this was another year of considerable pain and sickness for RK with little work output in consequence. The Kipling’s return from Paris in April had to be postponed owing to the doctor’s ban which cause the French holiday – which started in Monte Carlo – to extend over three months. They made two brief visits to Wimpole Hall during the Bambridge’s short occupation. The trip to Paris in October had to be cancelled on account of RK’s health and Christmas was spent in Bath.
RK’s work covered French articles, some “Horace Verses”, the revision of verses for a new edition, a verse – “The Legend of the Virgin” – no apparent work at all between February and mid-July when “Proofs of Holy Writ” was revised, a new dog poem, a skit – “The Curse of both Sussexes” – “Bonfires on the Ice” and the King’s speech.
RK signed contracts for the filming of “Thy Servant a Dog” and Captains Courageous.
Four pages of “Medical Extracts” back up CK’s final entry for 1934 – a year that was not easy for either of them Over three months were passed at Cannes, a fortnight in Jersey, a week-end at Deal and another at Cirencester. The London trips were far less frequent – the ten days spent there in December were the first since July. CK was compelled to undergo s course of treatment by Sir Herbert Barker to add to the other medical worries.
RK declined a Legion of Honour from the French Government.
His work was greatly reduced again on account of his health. He assisted a little with ideas for the “Pageant of Parliament” at the Albert Hall early in the year – wrote an ode for the Australian Government at their request (starting in January and completing it in September), started one dog story and assisted with the scenario for Soldiers Three. There is a mention of a Pageant of Kipling – a volume for publication in the USA in the autumn and his Collected Dog Stories appeared in this country in September.
The domestic staff upheavals were, as usual, in evidence.
There is no summary for 1935 in the typescript from which this transcription has been made.
©Alastair Wilson 2015 All rights reserved