‘Dayspring Mishandled’ in the Strand Magazine

slimy barks

I’ve just got hold of the Strand magazine for July, 1928 (Thank you, Cotswold Internet Books). As well as Kipling’s ‘Dayspring Mishandled’, it contains P.G.Wodehouse’s ‘The Passing of Ambrose’ (later turned into a Mulliner story, and a serial episode of Sapper’s The Female of the Species. The Strand‘s readers got value for their shilling that month.

‘Dayspring Mishandled’ in this early printing has quite a few differences from the version collected in Limits and Renewals (1932).

Many of these are slight. (The fake Chaucer manuscript contains one hundred and fifteen lines in the Strand, one hundred and seven in L&R. Why? Just to make the sentence sound better?)

Some of the changes are interesting, though.  In the Strand the story begins:

In the days beyond compare and before the Judgment, a genius called Graydon foresaw…

In Limits and Renewals this becomes:

In the days beyond compare and before the Judgments, a genius called Graydon foresaw…

I take it that in this sentence Kipling was reminding Britain that the nation had been judged and found wanting in failing to prevent the Great War (‘If any question why we died…’) But why the plural in 1932? Is it possible that by then Kipling was suggesting another failure that came as a judgement on the nation – the Great Crash of 1929?

The most noticeable change between versions is in the name of one of the most important characters. Sir Alured was ‘Costerley’ in 1928, ‘Castorley’ in 1932. There are a few other small alterations to his portrayal that suggest a reason for this name-change. In the Strand, the account of his upward mobility tells us:

he became first a critic—in which calling he loyally scalped all his old associates as they came up—and then, marrying a little money,  looked for some speciality.

In Limits and Renewals the ‘marrying a little money’ phrase is cut. So is a description of Costerley’s wife having ‘one side of her face out of drawing’. Kipling reduces the implication that the man’s motives are mercenary, and so reinforces the sense that his ambitions are for fame, influence and social standing. So it is appropriate that ‘Costerley’, whose first syllable sounds financial, should be replaced by the more aristocratic ‘Casterley’ , with its rather castellated sound.

The chronology becomes a little less exact in Limits and Renewals. In the Strand, Manallace tells the narrator:

I’ve been dead since – April, Fourteen, it was – going on for twelve years now.

This firmly locates the onset of Costerley/Castorley’s illness  in 1926, and means that the end of the story would have seemed very recent in 1928.

In 1932 the ‘going on for twelve years now’ is omitted, making the time-scale vaguer (and reducing the risk that the story might by then seem slightly dated).

It’s Sir Alured’s illness itself that I’m most interested in at the moment. There is one possibly significant change.

In the Strand, we are told that

after a couple of months, he complained of a stitch in his right side, which Gleeag said was a slight adhesion, an almost inevitable result of the operation

Four years later, this becomes:

after a couple of months, he complained of a stitch in his right side, which Gleeag said was a slight sequel, a little incident of the operation.

Well, is this a significant change? I’m not sure.

The story is illustrated in The Strand by C.E. Brock, who had worked with Kipling before.  The picture at the top of this post shows the narrator coming across Manallace while he experiments with ink mixtures.

This one shows Manallace and Lady Castorley/Costerley. Is she quite the ‘unappetising, ash-coloured woman’ of the story? Well, the figures are well-contrasted, and this Manallace is credible as ‘a darkish, slow northerner of the type that does not ignite, but must be detonated.’


The most striking of the illustrations is this, which shows Manallace furtively tucking the manuscript into the binding of a Vulgate in Dredd’s bookshop. I like the way Brock makes the picture cross the gutter between the pages, to isolate him from the bookseller and customer.


I don’t know how much say Kipling had in the choice of incidents that his artist would illustrate. I don’t recall any correspondence with artists in the Collected Letters (but then I wasn’t looking for that when I used the volumes). Maybe there’s something  in an archive somewhere that would cast light on this. Where is the archive of Newnes, who published the Strand?

There are more things to ponder in this magazine version. I shall continue to ponder them. And I shall write more about ‘Dayspring Mishandled’.


  1. Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Fascinating. One of my top three Kipling stories.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Mine, too, Kate.
      By the way, there is one small change that might have to do with the Strand. In 1928 Manallace wonders: ‘Now, who the deuce rolled me under the sofa—and what for?’
      In Limits and Renewals, ‘deuce’ is ‘ replaced by ‘devil’.
      Do you think the Strand bowdlerised the slightly stronger expletive? This was, after all, the magazine that, when it printed Lawrence’s ‘Tickets, Please’ turned John Thomas into John Joseph.

      • Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        I think that’s a fair explanation. ‘Deuce’ is also a bit more upper-class, restrained, in control (which Manallace certainly is), whereas ‘devil’ is rather louche, and careless. Which he was also.

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