The ashes of Rudyard Kipling are'to lie in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey. So long ago as 1907 he was awarded the Nobel prize for literature, and in this century his work was probably more widely read on the Continent than that of any other living English writer. The letters from all parts of the world published this week are sufficient tribute to his fame, and in many there is a tendency to regard him as the poet of Empire, of territories on which the sun never sets, rather than of the Chambers of the East.
Such was perhaps the Kipling of late years, though the "Recessional" will have a longer date, but it is neither for his war poems nor for his political sympathies, ardent though they were, that Kipling will be remembered.
To one of his stories he prefixed a passage from the Chronicles of Gautama Buddha: "And he told a tale." Had his wanderings taken him to the South Seas he too might have been called by the natives "Tusitala." In the longer novel, The Light That Failed, he came just short of greatness, but of his mastery of the short story there can be no question. His tales are a gallery of gallant inventions. They live, not with the life of India only, but with the humours of army life and even of life that is not rational. No animals have ever been more alive than those of the Jungle Book or the Maltese Cat, and even the machinery of ships and trains took on personality.
A Poet Of England Kipling was too good a Jancite to suffer cant gladly, but, because he would not profane it in words, he found the "blue flower" of Romance. It was very shy—the bugles and the regimental drums often drowned the echoes of its horns, but because of it, it is meet that he should lie among the poets. He found it in India— the lama in Kitn. seeking his river, is a creation of the spirit. But it is in the tales written for children, in Puck of Pook's Hill and in Rewards and Fairies that Kipling expressed the enduring life of the world, the continuity that makes a nation's life. England he loved with passion: for him she was "Merlin's Isle of Gramarye" and its woods yet held something of that magic.
"There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays, And-every-single-one-of-them-is-right,"
he said, and a man was free to choose. Hence we may be aleawed to remember him less for the poems of war and its panoply than for the quiet of "Eddi's Service," a poem on midnight Mass among the Saxons, to which there came only an ox and an ass.. More than East and West meet in that poem, with its
"How do I know what is greatest, How do I know what is least?"
The wind of the Spirit that informed the lama's guest took Kipling at the season of the wandering star, when "all men are at home."
Recently, on the representation of the Home Secretary, the King's Majesty granted a " free pardon " (and suitable compensation) to a woman who in 1917 had been convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to six months' imprisonment. Certain evidence not admitted at the trial had been examined by the Home Office, whereby the woman's innocence had been established.
The idea of the royal clemency extending pardon to one justly convicted is familiar enough; but what about the " pardon " (" remission of legal consequences of crime") of an innocent person? You can't be pardoned for what you have not done. It is unavoidable that miscarriages of justice should occur, but when one such is remedied it ought not to be expressed in terms which convey to the general ear that the victim was nevertheless guilty.
There have been several cases of this sort in recent years; surely it is high time that some process of rehabilitation rather than of "pardon " were instituted.
Wise and Otherwise
" Collective security implies collective policy."—Setior de Madariaga.
"The Hollywood film theme is a vulgarisation of the deep human emotions; it drags them to the surface and dissipates them at high tension."—Breviete in the " News-Chronicle."
"If leadership were left to those with evil principles or with none, we should have a condition worse than no leadership at all."—Father L. CYHea, Si.
" At Chester a very reverent air is created by the smell of incense-burning in some advantageous but hidden part of the cathedral. Although not used ceremonially, a very high official informed me that it gave a very subdtring and respectful bearing to the crowds who visited this beautiful house of God."—Mr. H. J. Green. American Responsibility
In view of President Roosevelt's loudly proclaimed neutrality with regard to the belligerents in East Africa, it is curious to reflect that not the least of the factors contributing to Italian imperialism is the immigration policy pursued by the United States. That policy as defined by the laws of 1921 and 1924 gave differential treatment to European immigrants, the " nordie " element being favoured at the expense of Mediterranean races. According to the law of 1924 the annual contingent can consist of only 13.3 per cent. Latins and Slays, as against 86.6 per cent. " nordics." Out of 165,000 allowed in each year, the Anglo-Trish can send 62,000, the Germans 51,000, but the Italians only 3,845.
The closing of this avenue of escape for its surplus population created a grave probkm for Italy, for, as a Times special correspondent writing from Rome says, " The ties of modern Italy with the Americas are stronger than they are ever likely to be with Afeica, ana nothing that Mussolini can say or do seems likely to change this fact." Even with the prospect of being able to establish an African empire, Italians are dismayed at the hardening of American public opinion against them, for, as the same correspondent remarks, " the hope has never died that the time would come when the United States would again open its doors widely to Italian emigration." The present attitude of the United States puts a damper on that hope and increases the need for Italians to find an outlet elsewhere. If America could so settle her domestic affairs as to be able to revert to her former more generous immigration policy she would be making a real contribution to European peace.
Colonies And Refugees
Germany, too, we arc constantly reminded, is in need of colonies for her expanding population. At the same time the League of Nations is being burdened with the problem of dealing with refugees from that country at the rate of 80,000 a year, a rate which, it is prophesied, will soon reach 200,000 a year. Is there any possibility of uniting these two problems in a way which would help to solve both?
The foundations of Australian colonization were laid by those whom the England of that time regarded (often unjustly) as undesirable citizens. This fact suggests that if the League could find some portion of the earth's surface where a German colony composed of these expatriated people could be built up, the nazi authorities might agree to recognise such a colony and grant it a measure of self-government such as would remove the disabilities experienced in the fatherland. In this way Germany would acquire fresh territory and at the same time, while keeping the native German stock " pure," conciliate worldopinion, which regards the flight of these refugees as a serious slur on a great nation.
Communism never made much progress until it became identified with Russia. It would seem that even an international movement in order to function must have a definite starting-point and make itself at home with some one people. Communism which began life as a disembodied spirit, is now so closely associated with Russia that we think of the two together as representing the same system.
And this tendency is increasing. Reports from Russia speak of the patriotic fervour that is being roused there. " Until last year," we read, " patriotism had been one of the few social emotions which, though not entirely neglected, was certainly little emphasised." But that is now changed, and " the Fatherland of the World Proletariat " is experiencing a wave of patriotic propaganda that is more reminiscent of Italy and Germany than of the country over which Stalin rules. While Fascism, declared at first to be " not for export," extends to other lands and assumes more and more the character of an international movement, Communism appears to be identifying itself with the country that has been for so many years its headquarters. For " patriotism " in Russia means something different from what it does to us. The Red Army is both a national force and the weapon of aggressive Communism.
According To Etiquette
We do not know much about the etiquette of public functions except that it is a mysterious and complex matter in which the uninstructed can easily get slipped up.
Nevertheless, we venture to say that it struck us as very surprising and disedifying that when, at 10.20 on Wednesday morning, the Chief Magistrate of the City of London drove to Temple Bar to be present at the proclamation of King Edward VIII the troops lining Fleet Street were not even called to attention.