of a Lie"
(notes edited by
The “I” of those stories is, then, Kipling himself. Kipling the journalist and not a mere idealised projection of his own personality...Dt Tompkins does not record this story but would probably, in this instance, permit us to disregard her dictum (page 256) that the “I” of a story is not necessarily Kipling.
He confesses to the reporter’s or author’s notebook in “The Three Musketeers” and in “The Courting of Dinah Shadd“ he is on duty as special correspondent with the Army of the South. It is clearly Kipling the journalist who writes “The Track of a Lie”. He follows it though all the exchanges...
He has little adventures, amusing or otherwise, or otherwise, of which he makes copy. He entertains “A Friend’s Friend” with disastrous and comic results…, briefly but impressively….”This is true” he implies, “for I was there and saw it all…
There were newspaper exchanges from Egypt to Hong-Kong to be skimmed nearly every morning and, once a week, the English papers on which one drew in time of need; local correspondence from outstations to vet for possible libels in their innocent allusions; ‘spoofing’ letters from subalterns to be guarded against (twice I was trapped here); always, of course, the filing of cables, and woe betide an error then! I took them down from the telephone—a primitive and mysterious power whose native operator broke every word into mono syllables.Mail from the United Kingdom would be at sea for a month and then some days on the train to Lahore; The American papers would probably take longer, while important short messages would go by cable. But it would be small-minded to find needless fault with such an amusing little anecdote !