the Free State"
notes on the text
War is a rummy job—it's a cross between poker and Sunday School. Sometimes poker comes out on top and sometimes Sunday School—but more often poker. The Boers hit us just as hard and as often as they knew how; and we advanced against 'em as if they were street-rioters that we didn't want to hurt. They spied on us at their leisure, and when they wanted a rest they handed up any old gun and said they'd be loyal subjects. Then they went to their homes and rested for a week or two; and then they went on the war path again with a new coat and a full stomach. They are an elegant people: and we are the biggest fools, in the way that we wage war, that this country has produced.Some critical comments
[Letters of Rudyard Kipling vol. 3, Ed. Pinney]
In general, the Boer War stories are very disappointing, save for the light that they throw on the shaping of Kipling's social and Imperial thinking. Kipling's greatest hatred during the Boer War, as, indeed, later in the Great War, was for the undeclared enemies rather than for the declared ones. Neutrals, foreigners fighting for the Boers, the supposedly friendly Boer farmers of the Free State, above all, the cultivated Cape Afrikaners whose sympathies, of course, were often more with Kruger's Transvaal than with the British to whom they had sworn allegiance.Kipling's view that those he saw as traitors in Cape Colony needed to be dealt with much more harshly is expressed strongly in "The Science of Rebellion" published in February 1901.
His fiercest attacks, "A Burgher of the Free State" and his article, "The Sin of Witchcraft", contributed to The Times on his return to England in April 1900, are direct polemics against Free State traitors and Cape traitors, as he saw them. These are understandably loaded, for they are journalism composed, so to speak, in the heat of the battle. Yet the same distracting themes inform "A Sahib's War" (December 1901) and "The Comprehension of Private Copper" (October 1902)..
... a picture was built up of a busy talkative man, rushing vigorously about, organizing rifle clubs, preaching war, glorifying soldiers, wanting to paint the map red. And up to a point it was true. But running through all this is another note of pity forAnd, as Andrew Lycett notes (p. 331), in 1900 he had also completed Kim, the most subtle and many-sided work of his life.
... the poor dead who look so oldwhile beneath it was another man altogether, trying to escape from memories of his daughter, yet turning back to children's stories in which father and daughter are together; following his fancy into strange and magical worlds; secretly preparing an entirely new kind of story and new lines of interest.
And were so young an hour ago