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THE VERMONT PERIOD: RUDYARD KIPUNG AT NAULAKHA By Mary R. Cabot (Brattleboro, Vermont) Mary Cabot's Journal, Balestier Memoirs, Letters, and Papers in the F. Cabot Holbrook Library Collection. © 1985 by Anna F. Holbrook of Brattleboro, Vermont. Excerpts from these documents are included by permission of Anna F. Holbrook. To Grace Cabot Holbrook Brattleboro My dear Grace: I have written this brief sketch that you may know something of the life that preceded yours at Naulakha. If too much of the personal relation between myself and the Genius of the place has been included, it has been done in the belief that it might serve to make more clear the line of Destiny, which brought Naulakha in to its present sympathetic ownership. Your affectionate sister, Mary R. Cabot January 10,1911 *** I Rudyard Kipling came, for the first time, to Brattleboro, February 16, 1892, a month after his marriage to Caroline Balestier. Her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph N. Balestier impressed by the peculiar charm of the Vermont landscape, while guests at the old Watercure, bought a tract of land with wooded hillsides and beautiful prospects overlooking the Connecticut River VaUey, three miles north of the village, in 1868, and builded a house to which they gave the name Beechwood. Here their chUdren and grandchildren passed many summers which endeared the place to the entire family. To their grandson, Beatty S. Balestier, on his marriage in 1890 to Mai Mendon, was given Maplewood, an old farmhouse on the estate, with seventy or more adjoining acres, and it was at Maplewood in the winter of 1892 that Mr. and Mrs. Kipling made the memorable visit. Mr. Kipling had never seen such snow nearer than on distant peaks of the Himalayas, when he arrived in Vermont one crisp, cold and white winter's night, to be bundled by Beatty in fur coat, cap and rugs, and driven behind a pair of fleet horses to the house among the hills. He was delighted with the novelty of this three days visit, which occasioned the sketch "In Sight of Monadnock' 161 for the Springfield Republican, and from that time was in love with our northern Winter. My brother WiU had been in London the previous year [May-July 1891], in business connection with the publishing house of Heinemann & Balestier, and at the house of Wolcott Balestier met Rudyard Kipling, recently arrived from India [via the United States, in October 1889]. This was at the time of the collaboration that developed the story entitled The Naulakha, and also, of the meeting between the literary genius and the woman who was to become his wife. Mr. Kipling was interested in Will's original method of finding his way about the streets of London, at night, by the position of the stars, his days being so engrossed in business as to keep him confined exclusively in Wolcott's office in Dean's Yard, Westminster. WiU was "the man from the West" [mentioned in "In Sight of Monadnock"], who came, the morning after the Kiplings' arrival, on snowshoes, across the fresh-faUen snow, to greet Beatty s guests. As Will did not return for our midday meal, I drove up to bring him home. While pulling up my sleigh before the door, out rushed Rudyard Kipling with the others. He was boyish m appearance and manner, which was hearty and almost roUicking, and he spoke very rapidly and vividly of the topics of the time and locality. I stopped but a few minutes and did not see him again until the foUowing summer, when he and Mrs. KipUng returned and began keeping house in a cottage belonging to the Bliss Farm, on the edge of the Balestier property. It seems that during the brief winter's visit they had purchased of Beatty a stretch of Easture, eleven and a half acres, opposite and on the other side of the road om Maplewood. They continued in the Bliss Cottage while they planned and built on this hUlside pasture their first home, Naulakha. Mrs. Kipling had been known to us superficiaUy from childhood, as Carrie Balestier, but it was a more intimate relation with her sister Josephine that led me...


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pp. 161-218
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