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the “spring and swing and snap * of well-drilled soldiers, and like them suggest some far from unjustifiable putting on of side. The man writes with the untrammelled assurance of one who knows his subject through and through, and does not intend to alter his conclusions for anybody. That quaintly audacious humour which blends so well with his terse grim tragedy would be impossible were he not thus coolly at his ease. He clothes his thoughts in a kind of active-service garb which, albeit showing infinite grace and spirit, appears in the light of irregularity demanding suppression to some who are accustomed to a cumbrous fulldress diction. This bumptious young fellow insists on seeing with his own eyes, and declines to give honour where he does not consider honour due. Right clearly he can see, as many have borne witness. His short, bold stories throb with life like arteries. Corollary: he never pretends. He limns in bright colour the most terrible sight under the sun–a broken British regiment. He not only admits, but justifies the dread of the supernatural existing somewhere in every human being, the which India serves so efficiently to bring out. He refuses to admit that an equally learned Bengali equals his conquerors. He helps Strickland with all tortures that are needful in the fight with the Silver Man. He does not gloss over Mulvaney and Ortheris, nor ask unalloyed condolence for Boulte. Twice, forgetting the traditional dignity of his sex, he talks of a man in hysterics. He writes of men as they are. And therefore it falls out that in his tales heroism shows nobler and friendship stauncher and pathos more touching than ever books showed them before. Here they ring real. Hummil—a hero of heroes, a man for whom the V.C. would be wretchedly inadequate—would not stand so high were it not obvious that to himself, and the world without, he appeared the most ordinary of plodding civilians. His black agony would not look so gruesome had he not endured it in the midst of very real discomfort and ugliness. Mottram's comment would not contain so much weariness and pain, had it been couched in finer language. As it is recorded nothing more significant ever stood in print.
The body lay on its back, the hands clinched by its side, as Spurstow had seen it seven days previously. In the staring eyes was written terror beyond the
expression of any pen. Mottram, who had entered behind Lowndes—bent over the dead and touched
the forehead lightly with his lips. “Oh, you lucky, lucky devil ' " he whispered.
All the four—Mottram, Hummil, Spurstow, and Lowndes—seem as real as any acquaintance one comes across in the street. Their hankering attempts at some sort of domesticity (had they got the genuine article they would probably not have liked it at all—but that
is a detail) is an excellent instance of Rudyard Kipling's unique grasp of the pitiful side of masculine nature. The majority of writers prefer to stand on their dignity and ignore it. If the power and pathos of a certain mournful little history called “Thrown Away" fail to show them their error, nothing will. It has been demonstrated ad nauseam that it is sad to be a woman ; nobody ever showed before how sad it is to be a man. This writer does not flinch from the fact that sensitive boys and strong men alike go sometimes in helpless pain and fear, and are not exempt from mental burdens which their wives are supposed to monopolise. The religious notions of Rudyard Kipling's men-men, be it remembered "practically alive”—are a mixture of blank stoicism and paganism primitive to ghastliness. Hummil moans in his misery, “ And yet I'm not conscious of having done anything wrong," exactly as if he had flourished in the Neolithic Age. Gadsby prays as an ancient Greek might have prayed with his wife senseless and dying: “I never asked a favour yet. If there is anybody to hear me, let her know me-even if I die, too ! ”
An infant crying in the night. The nervous trepidation displayed on his wedding-day by "the man who went through the guns at Amdheran like a devil possessed of devils,” is not altogether a thing to laugh at. No stereotyped rhapsody about a young mother was ever so striking as the description of Holden's feelings on the night when he came back. There is more pathos in Mafflin's disconsolate soliloquy and his minute attempt at a caress than in many maundering conventionalities about the sacrifices made by a bride on leaving her kindred. Mafflin, wild ass and trustiest of chums, has one's sympathy all through. By the way, how admirably Mafflin and Gadsby are differentiated. They are about the same age, in the same regiment, of the same tastes ; they talk in the same diction on the same subjects ; there is nothing at all out of the way in either. And they differ as two live human beings differ. Jack, the matterof-fact, albeit he plays an entirely subordinate part, possesses the grit of a dozen Gadsbys. Pip lacks his friend's staying-power. His moral muscle wants toughness. Hence proceed his shamefaced selfishness, bis self-consciousness, and the completeness of his final break-down. “Lord help him, he hadn't the nerve !” In its quiet, scathing intensity, “The Swelling of Jordan ” stands first, and the rest nowhere, as a deliberate exposition of Mafflin's quotation, “A young man married is a young man marred.” This scene's peculiar effectiveness lies in its moderation. Many other people have said, though not nearly so well, that marriage cripples a man's sword-arm
and plays hell with his notions of duty-and superadded considerable coarse abuse of woman in general. This hurt her, but did not help things forward. It is characteristic of Rudyard Kipling that even here he gives women-no favour, but a fair field. He makes a weighty speech against marriage, not against wives. For certain disadvantages frequently attached to them they are at present no more justly blameable than for the colour of their eyes. It is by the ample recognition accorded to this fact, the dreary sense of the inevitable, that “The Swelling of Jordan” does its work so keenly.
Any other writer would have spoilt the book by concluding with Minnie's recovery. First, because it would not have occurred to him to carry out with such grim force the study of a man marred ; and secondly, because in his eagerness for a happy ending, he would have declared Nemesis satisfied over soon. The “Shadow of Death” has blotted out the “Shadowy Third " ; Gadsby has undergone anguish enough ; let him alone! But he is not let alone. His nerve is shattered, his spirits broken utterly ; and the one to work this is the girl-wife who loves him. So a weary equation works out; "and that is the end of the story of the Gadsbys.” The tragedy is so haunting, so miserable, one would fain file a small protest. There is surely some discrepancy between the spirited, capable, quick-witted little girl who insulted Pip's moustache and his unreliable blunt-witted wife. Minnie, as she appears in the first scene, would never have dreamt of allowing her husband to cut the service. Even the Minnie of the last scene would not have done so, had Mafflin but pocketed pride and politeness-no great matter in such urgency—to give her the tiniest hint of his chum's misery. Let us, therefore, find comfort in the sudden leap to burlesque taken by the Envoi in its last stanza ; highly unexpected conduct on the part of so grave and polished a piece of verse.
Taking one consideration with another, an Anglo-Indian's life does not appear a happy one. He cannot enjoy himself anywhere but at Simla, and there he frequently takes his pleasure full sadly. Jack Pansay, for instance, cannot be said to have had hilariously good times in the Hills. All the gaiety is conducted like the feast of the White Hussars, with the shadow of a coffin on the suppertable. The men's work is too hard to be done half-heartedly; but they do it with a sense of total alienism weighing them down. They wear themselves out to anglicise Asia, knowing at heart that Asia is entirely ungrateful, and will revert to all her good old ways at the earliest possible moment. And her ways are ways of darkness. Englishmen in India must ceaselessly crush down a maddening
terror of her limitless capability for cruelty and sorcery. A few like Strickland can keep their heads and derive interesting occupation from the examination of this elderly, ugly, unchangeable sphinx of silence; but the rest find it weary work, even if they are Viceroys. Still they do not seem, as we at home are apt to imagine them, constantly to stand in expectation of another mutiny. Rudyard Kipling only alludes once, and then in rhetorical fashion, to that possibility, Of woe the years bring forth, Of our galley swamped and shattered in the rollers of the north,
When the niggers break the hatches and the decks are gay with gore,
The characters of the native tales are entertaining, but detestable. That is to say, the men. They do not know what pity or unselfishness mean ; they do not want to know. They do know a colossal amount of devilry which their rulers cannot get at. Their stolid fatalism gives them a natural advantage over people with live brains and nerves, and so does their gigantic untruthfulness over people to whom “liar" seems a disgraceful word. It is a relief to get on the frontier and see some good straight fights. One cannot like these Indians, and were their country the Garden of Eden one could not like that. Again, nobody seems to care anything for scenery which is not located in the Himalayas ; and the deodars whisper mostly of grief and death. Rudyard Kipling has a light hand with nature ; he always contrives to endue the story in hand with its own particular atmosphere. You can, for instance, thoroughly sympathise with the man who said “Thank God l " at the first sound of the rains. Aurelian McGoggin snubbed him for it; a piece of such gratuitous ungraciousness, that one is very glad that he in his turn received the most superb snub in history.
It is usual to say that Rudyard Kipling has given us no woman to love. Were this true, it would not materially affect the creation of Bobby Wick and little Mildred and Mottram and Deecy and Ouless and Jack Barrett. But such is not the case. Rarely in the book-world does one encounter such genuinely attractive and interesting maidens as Edith Copleigh and May Holt. Their thorough vitality renders our single glimpse of each more valuable than libraries full of the brainless, bloodless puppets, which so wearily often do duty for girls. These wholly possible shes can move hearts filled with contempt and loathing of the average novel heroine. A young lady with a sense of humour, and a mutinous disposition, forms a truly refreshing spectacle ; doubly so a young
VOL. CCLXXIII. NO. 1940. L
lady in love on her own account, and as many fathoms deep as Rosalind. The Hawley Boy's sweet sweetheart forms an object of parental anxiety to more than Mrs. Hauksbee. One shares in the universal excitement as the two riders draw nearer on the pineshadowed road, encompassed by all earth and sky aroused and at watch. The stirring of the dead as May's fate grows big, is a stroke of genius. The infinitely mournful and musical pleading of their response to the graveyard pines forms a weird contrast to the irresponsible might of "the little blind devil of Chance.”
The PINES :
THE DEAD :
To clutch our lives again.
Ye cannot thrust us wholly from the light,
Love rides abroad to-night?
By pain fordone, desire snatched away,
Which is our lot to-day.
With Love's foot overhead to mock our dearth,
Be pitisul, O Earth !
At first sight Edith cannot compare with May. She is a much slighter portrait, merely one of the ingredients in an incident. But the girl is human to her finger-tips and impressive in the depth of despair she bore so gamely. The graphic vividness of that picnic's chronicle is unsurpassable. The strain and darkness of the dust storm affect not only the people in it, but the people who read about them. One feels as limp as the narrator at Saumarez's distracted, " I've proposed to the wrong one! What on earth shall I do?” The “creepiness ” of Edith's "little low voice, saying quietly to itself, 'Oh, my God!' as if a lost soul were flying about in the storm "; the hurried chase of her, and the petulant misery of the words she flung back, “Go away! I'm going home. Oh, go away !” the way in which, breaking down at the revulsion she disclosed her whole trouble to a surface acquaintance, and so shaken were both that they thought it a perfectly rational conversation ; one