First published in Debits and Credits following the story “The Janeites”.
Notes on the text
[Page 175, lines 4-5] Good Sir Walter … stair Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). In the first edition these lines read: “Good Sir Walter met her first / And led her up the stair.” When it was pointed out to Kipling that Scott outlived Austen by 15 years, he joked that she must have been in Purgatory in the meantime: but altered all subsequent editions to “followed her, / And armed her up the stair.”
[Page 175, line 6] Henry and Tobias Henry Fielding (1707-54) and Tobias Smollett (1721-71).
[Page 175, line 7] Miguel of Spain Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616).
[Page 176, lines 3-8] a Hampshire gentleman … Him and Jane Kipling is perhaps thinking of Tom Lefroy, a young law student from Ireland who met the 20-year-old Jane Austen while he was staying with relatives in Hampshire. He was not yet earning and neither of them had private means, so the relationship was discouraged by his family. He later married an heiress. Kipling may not have known, or have forgotten, that he outlived Austen by many years. The other, less well documented, romance in her life was a man she is said to met five years later at a seaside resort in Devonshire. He is supposed to have died suddenly, bringing this relationship too to an abrupt end.