Thursday, October 23, 2014

We Shall Go by the Boltless Doors...

Yes he's imperialist, and racist, and jingoistic, and... Yes, yes, yes! Butbutbut...

This is from Kipling Sahib: India and the Making of Rudyard Kipling. Reviews: (1), (2), (3).

Ruddy is describing his childhood in Bombay.

The garden within the School's compound where Ruddy and the sister who followed him played was afterwards remembered by both children as a lush Eden before the Fall, with flowers 'taller than chimneys' and a well 'where the green parrots lived, and where the white bullocks were always going blindfold round and round drawing up water in red waterpots to keep the roses alive, and the little grey striped squirrels nearly tame enough to eat biscuits out of his hand, used to play about in them.' Along with the cool interiors and harsh sunlight, this sense of closeness to the natural world stayed with Ruddy all his life, returning vividly to mind when he visited South Africa for the first time in 1899:

We shall go by the boltless doors,
    To the life unaltered our childhood knew -
To the naked feet on the cool, dark floors,
    And the high-ceilinged rooms that the Trade blows

To the trumpet-flowers and the moon beyond,
    And the tree-toads' chorus drowning all -
And the lip of the split banana-frond
    That talked us to sleep when we were small.

So something... Gerald Durrell, Ruskin Bond, Kipling... If you get my drift.