The Log Of H.M.A. R34 Journey To America And Back
The Log Of H.M.A. R34's Journey To America And Back - BY AIR-COMMODORE E. M. MAITLAND - A LETTER FROM MR. RUDYARD KIPLING - 1920 - DEAR GENERAL MAITLAND, Many thanks for your letter I shall Iook out for R 34s log most keenly, and the more. since, in my own mind, I always fancied the dirigible against the aeroplane for the overhead haulage of the years to come. Its curious to think that R 34s work has been, relatively, no mare than young Jarnes Watts brooding over the kettle on his mothers hob. Watt, I expect, didnt realize the steam-loco indeed, I believe he objected to it, but you, and every one aboard R 34, must have felt that you stood at the opening verse of an opening chapter of endless possibilities, and4 know what my own interest and pride were in seeing a dream shape itself and come true There was not any one who was more earnestly and unbrokenly interested while your voyage was under way and if I had only known any saint who could have bcen trusted with the direction of our higher atrrlosphcric interests at that time, I should have besieged him with offerings. So you see, in asking for my blcssing, as you put it, you have had it from the first. Ever sincerely, RUDYARD KIPLING. - INTRODUCTION - IT is often thought necessary to preface a first literary effort with apologies from the author for its shortcomings. In this instance no one could be more aware of such a necessity than myself, But am I entitled to make apologies R 34 is not a literary effort-neither, therefore, am I an author. In writing a story such as this, the obvious and comparatively simple course would have been the adoption of the conventional narrative form, helped by notes and memories, ample time and thoughtand a comfortable arm-chair. Apart, however, from its practical usefulness or official importance, R 34s journey was just one long, wonderful and delightful experience. To look upon this journey coldly as part of yesterday, or to treat it with recognized con- vention, would be to lose both the essence and the spirit. My only hope of convincing my reader of this is to try and induce him to share our adventure-taking him with us upon our flight. Every word of this diary was written on board the Airship during the journey, with the exception of the explanatory footnotes and, of course, the appendices the writer perched in odd corners, and amid continuous interruptions and ever-changing surroundings, to the silent accompaniment of the wireless, like ghostly whispers across lonely space. Every incident, important or trifling, was recorded at the actual time of happening. Even to stop to focus or to pigeon- hole these would have been to destroy actuality. If only I can share a little of that fascinating and buoyant adventure with any readers of these pages I shall be content. I only hope my ship- mates may not find their journey too dull if they do they must not blame R 34, for the fault will be mine..........