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By Arley Munson
Published by Doubleday, Page & Co., New York - 1915
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I am reading an interesting book called Kipling Sahib by Charles Allen - it was Allen's ancestor who gave Kipling his first opportunity as a journalist.
"Kipling is a jingo imperialist," declared Orwell. "He is morally insensitive and aesthetically disgusting" (yet at the same time he was also "a shameful pleasure"). A sensitive study of Kipling's Bombay childhood and lifelong interest in India, Kipling Sahib presents the author in a much more forgiving light. This isn't Kipling the Little Englander, this is young "Ruddy", the "little friend of all the world", and Charles Allen is especially fond of an anecdote in which the four-year-old Kipling grabbed the hand of an Indian peasant, saying to his family: "Goodbye, this is my brother." It's the story of how Ruddy transformed himself into Rudyard Kipling, the most celebrated writer of the 1890s.
But fame proved scant consolation for the loss of his six-year-old daughter Josephine from whooping cough, and after the triumph of Kim (1900) - the result of his desire to write the great Indian novel - Kipling's powers waned, and he died in 1936, his reputation all but eclipsed. "India," says Allen, "had been the paradise garden of his childhood, his land of lost delight."