by John McGivering)
|notes on the text|
For we must needs die and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means that his banished not expelled from him.The story
The idea of breakdown found its way into stories. The cheerful cover of a tale about a haunted house cannot disguise the knowledge and fear underlying the powerful re-creation of an extreme depressive anxiety in “The House Surgeon.”Charles Carrington (p. 243) looks at the Torquay period (1896) which produced this story some thirteen years later.
When Kipling fused his experience in the unhappy house at Torquay, of which he has told us, with still living experience of the spiritual climate of the House of Desolation, and cleansed the site, not as by fire but as by the water of grace, he performed an act of imaginative charity. Moreover, he put the “I” into the story, subjected him to the reflected agony of despair, and used him to remove the barriers that obstructed the renewal of love and hope.Dr Tompkins warns us, however (p. 256) against rashly regarding Kipling as the “I” of all the stories, though the present Editor believes that in this instance we may be permitted to do so. See also (p. 162) for comparisons with “The Dog Hervey” and “In the Same Boat” (A Diversity of Creatures), and passim.