Soldiers Three/Opinions of the Press

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Soldiers Three by Rudyard Kipling
Opinions of the Press


The Home and Colonial Mail says:—The foibles of Anglo-Indian society have been frequently sketched, and some full-blossomed incident of Indian life has budded into the three-volume novel before to-day; but we doubt if anything has ever been written about society in India which can compare in brilliancy and originality to the sketches of Mr. Rudyard Kipling, a new writer, who is assuredly destined to make a distinct mark in literature. Mr. Kipling, who would doubtless come under Mr. Robert Buchanan's ban as a pessimistic young man, has a power of observation truly marvellous, and as this faculty is combined with another equally rare—that of recording what he observes with caustic and brilliant touches—the result is easy to imagine. It is true that Mr. Kipling lays himself open to the remark that he is a cynic as well as a humorist, but Thackeray came in for little compliments of this kind, and Mr. Kipling will, no doubt, endeavour to bear himself with becoming modesty under such circumstances.

His knowledge of Anglo-Indian human nature, which is ordinary human nature under great provocation, is profound—we were going to say awful—and he can go from grave to gay with the facility of a true artist. His dialogue is extremely clever, and we venture to think that he is not likely to confine his attention to the miniature world he has depicted so well, but will take a wider field. Should he turn his attention to writing for the stage he ought to score a great success. In The Story of the Gadsbys and Under the Deodars, Mr. Kipling deals with society at Simla. Soldiers Three is dedicated to Tommy Atkins, and is an instance of its author's versatility. In Black and White he deals with native life, and here, too, Mr. Kipling is quite at home. All these books are written in a style all the author's own, and they only require to be known on this side to be appreciated. They are published by Messrs. Wheeler & Co. of Allahabad, who have shown considerable enterprise in issuing these volumes in cheap form. Well got up, with covers artistically designed, each conveying a characteristic idea, these little volumes would do credit to any library.

The Civil and Military Gazette says:—The stories show the versatility of the writer. In Soldiers Three he is completely the master of three separate dialects (shall we call them?), and of the soldier's vocabulary and mode of thought and expression. In the Story of the Gadsbys we have charmingly and characteristically sketched the character of a bright young girl developed, later on, into the loving and tender wife. His pictures of Anglo-Indian life are finished works of art, full of go and brightness, true to nature in its many aspects, and enlivened with a quaint fancy, a ready wit, and a faculty of phrase and expression seldom met with.