Chapter 4 Iceland



Rider Haggard:  His Extraordinary Life and Colonial Work. A Literary Critical Biography.

The Online Publication

By Geoffrey Clarke.




© Google Images

There is now a new theme entering Haggard’s life. Because he believed that in one of his earlier incarnations he used to be an Ice Age warrior, he decided in 1888, at the age of 32 to visit Iceland.  The result was an imaginative burst that produced the saga, Eric Brighteyes and later, Allan and the Ice Gods , based on the further adventures of Allan Quatermain (Haggard himself).

Travelling on the emigrant ship, The Copeland, he and a friend moved around Iceland on ponies, viewing the salmon rivers, lakes, water falls, mountains, volcanoes and geysers of the country in the vicinity of Reykjavik.  After a subsequent perilous shipwreck of The Copeland, which they gallantly survived, they continued their journey home.

Lang took the opportunity to read and comment on the story, Eric Brighteyes, and was, as usual, highly complimentary and encouraging to the writer:

"Eric” begins A1. I don’t know what about the public, but I love a saga but even too well, especially if it be a bloody one delicately narrated, or a very affectionate thing indeed but brutally set down, as Shakespeare says. I have only read Chapter I, but it’s the jockey for me. [1]

Later, he continued to encourage Haggard over the writing during periods of depression and lack of confidence.[2]

As a saga it was to be the beginning of a number of ancient Icelandic stories based on his visit to Iceland.  ‘Eric’, Haggard recounts, “was dedicated to the late Empress Frederick” and the author went to great trouble to ensure that the dedication was accepted by Empress Frederick, even pasting her letter of acceptance as dedicatee into the original ms. [3]

The same psychological principles appear in this novel, as in Jess where Haggard, divided between two lovers, reveals his basic ‘anima’  mirrored by his torn love between Gudruda the Fair and Swanhild, Gudruda's half-sister and opponent.   It is now becoming very apparent that a deep ravine appears in Haggard’s imagination driven by the forces of his ‘id’ (an area of the unconscious mind, according to Freud) where the effects of his domestic life between Lilith Jackson and Louisa Haggard replicate themselves in his novels.  I cannot but interpret this as a fundamental conflict in Haggard’s psyche between which woman in his life to love and with whom to settle down and marry.[4]

The sagas had come into Haggard’s orbit aptly through Lang’s encouragement, and also through this journey to Iceland.  Haggard and Lang had researched these myths which had come into Anglo-Saxon literature by “the Sacred Way”, the amber routes of old.  A favourite was the story of King Arthur whose mother, Ygerne, was reputed to have been featured in a medieval comparison.  Homer and Shakespeare were other sources for the tale recounted in the Haggard romances.  Menelaus features in the role of Paris, who won the love of Helen, and The Tempest was used, according to M. Mannoni, as a springboard for the story of Prospero, Caliban and Ariel, whom Mannoni thinks were possibly the original precursors of imperial action and positively the original characters for the naissance of the isolation novel, Robinson Crusoe which recounts, says Mannoni “the long and difficult cure of a misanthropic neurosis”

The Icelandic sagas had survived in Iceland because of its remoteness and cultural integrity.  Icelandic men, according to Lang, were fearless and "the best of soldiers, laughing at death and torture”.  Certain of these myths had been by Haggard’s friend William Morris who translated the Icelandic sagas in his own verse at the same time.  He was part of the Burne-Jones circle of Pre-Raphaelite painters such as Millais, President of the Royal Academy, whose well-known paintings, Bubbles and The Boyhood of Raleigh, were a backdrop to the period.  William Morris made a number of visits to Iceland leaving his bored wife in their large country home to the seductive devices of Rossetti.  He did not waste his opportunities.[5]

The Icelandic sagas had also been translated by Henry Sweet whose Anglo-Saxon Primer[6]  was on the reading lists of former undergraduates such as the present writer in years past.  Another possible source of the sagas may have been The Ingoldsby Legends [7]  which Haggard refers to in Allan Quatermain.  These were a spoof on other legends such as ‘The Jackdaw of Reims’, monologues which are unknown today, by the Rev. R H Barham, published in London in 1840.  Haggard had been chided by R L Stevenson for an inaccurate reference to The Ingoldsby Legends in a letter in The Days of My Life.  Stevenson scolds the reverend who was the author and demands to know:


"But how, in the name of literature, could you mistake some lines from Scott's 'Marmion' - ay, and, some of the best - for the slack-sided, clerical-cob effusions of the Rev. Ingoldsby?" [8]

 Replying, Haggard pointed out that it was a ‘literary joke ‘to have Allan Quatermain claim only to have known two works of literature – The Old Testament and The Ingoldsby Legends.  However, it was in character for Quatermain was neither erudite nor literate, although he did claim that “I sometimes like to read a novel”[9]


The other star in the firmamant, Rudyard Kipling,  became acquainted with Haggard in London, a circle of friends having introduced Kipling to membership of the Savile Club where he and Haggard met. The cultural significance of this particular club lies in its membership of an artistic coterie of people including Haggard, Lang and James. "I took to him at once", Kipling remembered, "he being the stamp adored by children and trusted by men at sight." The Savile Club was in a state of heightened expectation when Kipling joined its ranks. John Addington Symonds recalled the rivalry and jealousy occasioned in Haggard by the arrival on the literary/social scene of Kipling, noticing that,


the Savile was all on the qui vive about him, when I lunched there with Gosse. Rider Haggard appeared really aggrieved at a man with a double-barrelled name, odder than his own, coming up. Literally.


 There may well have been a class significance in the surnames of writers, such as Lockwood Kipling, in the period. The rivalries and pettinesses of literary cliques over such matters are part of the “objections” occasioned by jealous writers.


Leslie Ward ('Spy') Vanity Fair cartoon 1887 Rider Haggard. Norwich Museum.

Haggard reminisces about his life in "On Going Back" in  Longman's Magazine, and he realises that his literary career led in later life to emotions of disappointment and dejection about the experiences which he had accumulated.  He refers to the fact that he felt that when young his experiences had been sharper and more alive than when he was old, concluding:


How keenly one felt in those days, much more keenly than now!  Between then and now stretches a long period of twenty years - years of struggling, active life, of strenuous endeavour, crowned now with failure and now with triumph, of rough adventure, of voyaging by sea and land.  Twenty years of experience also of that inner life of a kind that keeps pace with and even outruns the physical life.[1]

Haggard, according to a letter written by Henry James to Stevenson, was an "immortal" who had been "killed" by Kipling's arrival on the literary scene:


We'll tell you all about Rudyard Kipling - your nascent rival. He has killed one immortal Rider Haggard, the star of the hour, aged 24 and author of remarkable anglo-indian (sic) and extraordinarily observed barrack life -Tommy Atkins tales.

Kipling confessed that he took the idea for his Jungle Book from an inspiration which came to him on reading Haggard's Nada the Lily (1892):


It chanced that I had written a tale about Indian Forestry work which included a boy who had been brought up by wolves. In the stillness, and suspense, of the winter of '92 some memory of the Masonic Lions of my childhood's magazine, and a phrase in Haggard’s Nada the Lily combined with the echo of this tale. After blocking out the main idea in my head, the pen took charge, and I watched it begin to write stories about Mowgli and animals, which later grew into the Jungle Books.

24 Redcliffe Square SW10
Jumping on to a horse drawn tram at 24 Redcliffe Square SW10, Haggard proceeded to Villiers Street WC2 off the Strand at Charing Cross to visit Rudyard Kipling, home from newspaper editing in India, and his brother-in-law Walcott Balestier, who were living in a lodging house at No. 43 opposite the Variety theatre.  Later, when Kipling was a very successful author, Haggard co-authored with him on the writing of Allan and the Ice Gods (1927) and documentary evidence of this work exists in the note which Haggard signed:


Synopsis of story drawn up by Rudyard K & myself at Batemans (sic) [Feb. 1922] 

H. Rider Haggard. [10]

The plot contains the story line of Wi the Hunter and his adventures in an imaginary Ice Land.  In a handwritten note Haggard recounts that:


I have just returned from spending a most interesting day with the Kiplings at Bateman's.  As usual Kipling and I talked till we were tired about everything in heaven above and the earth beneath.  Incidentally too, we hammered out the skeleton plot for a romance I propose to write under some such title as Allan and the Ice Gods. [11]

Bateman's is a grand, Jacobean house built of sandstone taken from a local site and the tiles are all made from Wealden clay.  The grand mansion is set in a hollow in thirty-three acres of attractive and spacious grounds skirted by the River Dudwell with its watermill constructed in 1750, which has been restored and is open for public visits.

Ditchingham House in Bungay, Norfolk, is a magnificent eighteenth – century mansion in spacious grounds and bordered by its farms, cottages and outhouses.  Ditchingham Lodge is one of the three properties on the land that Haggard inherited from Louisa Margitson and is also an seventeenth – century mansion full of Haggard’s books, drawings and portraits.  It sits  in its own grounds, where grouse, rabbits, squirrels and kestrel eagles are to be seen.  The main house has orchards, fields, grape houses for the production of wine, and in Haggard’s day had an orchid glass house.  His gardener referred to the orchids always as ‘awkwards,’ perhaps because of the difficulty of rearing them.[12]

Yet they are such a beautiful flower, when carefully tended, they do not deserve such epithets.  Watered by the river Waveney, a more pleasant house in the whole of England cannot be imagined, and the present writer was given the privilege of a visit to the estate by the Cheyne family, who retain the property.

Kipling reciprocated with a visit to another of Haggard’s houses at Kessingland Grange, that he had taken for the Summer, near Lowestoft in Suffolk.[13]  The Grange was a converted coastguard station, looking out over the sea, on the cliffs.  A remote place where two writers could work alone, it possessed a clear atmosphere of the sea; and, evocative of the navy also, a bust of Admiral Lord Nelson, dated 1812, was on display in one of the anterooms.  This figurine had been carved out of a beam of the flagship ‘Victory’.  In a letter, Kipling described the house:  “for all practical purposes the side of a ship.  The garden runs about fifteen yards to the cliff – then the sea and all the drama of the skirts of war laid out before us.”[14]

The four manuscript sheets of the synopsis of Allan and the Ice Gods, listing the characters‘ names in regular block capitals and the note of their characteristics in longhand, also reveal  Kipling's neat, compact handwriting reflecting his careful nature.  Haggard’s hand is copperplate, methodical and regular indicating a composed and astute mind.  The fact that there is more input in Kipling's hand than in Haggard's points to his (Kipling's) detailed involvement in the saga.  Editing their work together, alone,[15]  and including names for their creations in the world of the Icelandic gods, the two writers outlined ideas for a novel covering the whole philosophy of the two worlds of earth and heaven.  It deals in characters whose names — "Whaka, the Bird-of -Ill-Omen: one who howls", and "Pitokite, a churl" — suggest an unusual undertaking for an author who wishes to write heavenly romances but turns to the lower world of witches and "churls”.[16]

Haggard and Kipling return to a form in Allan and the Ice Gods in which they can play out their fantasies.  The use of hallucinatory drugs by the characters Allan Quatermain and Captain Good, is a disturbing element in their final text.  Allan cannot resist the silver box filled with Taduki leaves.  It sends him on what the advanced publicity for the novel in 1927 described as "A Strange and Thrilling Adventure".

The effects of the Taduki leaves can cause the user to transcend time, so that when Allan indulges he falls into a deep sleep and becomes Wi, the Hunter.  Haggard ensures that, as Wi, he conquers the giant, Henga, and becomes the chief of the whole tribe in the land of the Ice gods; and Kipling, in the mantle of Moananga, captures the affections of Tana with whom he forms a relationship.  They engage in a dream sequence where their fantasies can be played out at leisure.  Allan wakes from the dream with a clear mind, having taking part in a vision of extraordinary range travelling to the ancient lands of the Iceland to meet Pag, Laleela, Aaka, Wini-Wini and many others from the mysterious ice world on a "vast central glacier, the house of the gods".  It becomes a world of witches and ‘she-gods’ and they appear in a text in which Haggard and Kipling imagine a drug-induced adventure, with all the implications of heightened awareness that may be ascribed to the effects of drug.  When Quatermain and Good recover after inhaling the opiate, they compare notes and find, to their amazement, that they have both taken part in the same adventure and can fill in gaps and explain its details to each other.  In the adventure Allan also meets Moananga who is Captain Good's alter ego and interacts with him as Wi, the Hunter, to the extent that Good believes that he (Wi) was his brother.  Coming round from the trance, Good exclaims:

"Dash it all! Wi, you haven't forgotten your own brother, have you, who stuck to you through thick and thin -well, like a brother in a book".[17]

Haggard and Kipling create a scenario about which a late-Victorian audience would be apprehensive, since it was so drug-induced and far-removed from its conventional realities.  The use of laudanum was a prevalent part of late-Victorian social culture creating great distress.  It was exemplified by the “Confessions of a Young Lady Laudanum-Drinker” of 1889[18]. Laudanum or opium-imbibing continued to be a source of inspiration to some artists, but its use was prohibited by law.  Indeed, the use of opium was widespread in Victorian times and the drug may have been more freely available than the basic necessities of life, as Mathew Sweet has suggested.[19]

As they recover from the effects of the drug, Allan cannot understand why Moananga (Good) did not want to know from him about the girl, Tana, rather than enquire about the whereabouts of Laleela.  Good explains that one tall woman, possibly Laleela, had sacrificed herself to the others in the ill-fated canoe, as it sped away in a fierce current, by jumping out.  But it may just as easily have been the other tall woman, Aaka, so the mystery remained as to both their fates in the dying moments of the drama to escape the break-up of the ice-floe.  It is strange that Haggard should acknowledge, in the finished text that the envelope in which the letter he receives from Lady Ragnall should have been sealed with the ancient Egyptian ring that her husband, Lord Ragnall, had given her:

 ...the envelope, by the way, was sealed with the ancient Egyptian ring that my late friend Lord Ragnall had found and given to his wife just before his terrible fate overtook him. 

This is too close to the actual giving of a lapis lazuli ring by Lang to Haggard to be mere coincidence.  I argue that it is a permanent and deeply rooted feature of Haggard's relationship with the other writer, Lang, and has not been mentioned by previous commentators.  Haggard's diary shows an ability on his and Kipling's part to enjoy each other's presence without irritability or embarrassment.  Haggard would sit and Kipling would write for days on end:


On Sunday and Monday I sat in his study while he worked and after a while he got up and remarked to me that my presence did not bother him a bit; he supposed because we were two of a trade.

 A lengthy conversation with Kipling was seemingly all that was required to prove the depth of their understanding, and their relationship could go ahead founded on discussions and musings in the study.  Revealingly, Haggard owned to his diary.

"...A long talk with Kipling is now one of the greatest pleasures I have left in life, but I don't think he talks like that with anyone else; indeed he said as much to me."

Visiting him at 24 Redcliffe Square SW10 after a minor accident, Haggard recalls how Kipling and he were in real accord and friendship.  Mrs Nada Cheyne, Haggard’s granddaughter, stated in my interview with her that she had visited Bateman’s also, and confirmed that it was part of the close friendship with Kipling.[20]

“Whilst he was driving towards my house his hansom collided with a van in Piccadilly, and there was a smash in which he had a narrow escape. From that time forward we have always liked each other, perhaps because on many, though not on all, matters we find no point of difference.”

Their synergy is indicated by Haggard’s remarks about his work with Kipling. Haggard appears to be so appreciative of him that he had dedicated The Way of the Spirit (1906)[21]  to Kipling with a note to the effect that they had both planned the outline of the novel together.


“My dear Kipling, - Both of us believe that there are higher aims in life than the weaving of stories well or ill, and according to our separate occasions strive to fulfil this faith.  Still, when we talked together of the plan of this tale, and when you read the written book your judgement thereof was such as all of us hope for from an honest and instructed friend - generally in vain.  So, as you found interest in it, I offer it to you, in token of much I cannot write.  But you will understand.”

 One wonders what the inability to write was occasioned by: how sure was the knowledge that Kipling would ‘understand’; and what the content of the book that he could not write would have been.

As a matter of fact, signalling possible discords in the relationship, Kipling's collaboration with Haggard over the production of Allan and the Ice Gods and Red Eve is not acknowledged on the spines of the books or on the dedication pages. Whilst it is the characters, particularly Murgh, who were produced by Kipling's fertile imagination, it is the story line of Wi the Hunter and his adventures in an imaginary Ice Land which is credited to Haggard, his name being given as the author.

In order to assess the imapct of these stories on the public, it might be well to look at sales figures of Kipling's poems.  A comparison of the print runs of Kipling's Barrack Room Ballads between the sales-figures quoted in the third edition of Twenty Poems in 1922, and the production figures given in the subsequent fifth edition of the collection of poems of 1930, shows that they had increased from almost 200,000 to over 250,000 copies between 1922 and 1930.  A quarter of a million sales by the popular author of empire - no mean achievement for poetry compared with Haggard's narrative of She, running  to eighty three million - the eighth most popular book titlle published in the modern world.

Turning to another aspect of the Iceland theme: psychic dreams; in his romance When the World Shook, a dog dies in mysterious circumstances.  He dreamt in the middle of the night that his black retriever dog, Bob, had been involved in an accident and had suffered great pain , lying on his side in some bushes and near some water.  He discovered the next morning that the dog had been found under a bridge near the river Waveney, having been hit on the branch railway line by the last train from Ditchingham to Bungay.  Haggard wonders whether creatures have telepathic powers, or whether all life is somehow linked together in the spiritual world.

There are documented cases of telepathy, of course, yet there is the possibility that simple coincidence plays a part in our lives, or perhaps there is a wave length or chord on which we communicate with others as Haggard suggests in The Treasure of the Lake ("You see, he is a magician, and magicians talk with their minds.  It is their way of sending telegrams").  In a more modern take,  “You fly down the street on a chance that you'll meet.  And you meet, not really by chance”, in the words of the song lyric.[22]  

Dreams played a part in Haggard’s mind, and he refers to the constant dreams that played around in his mind when he was apt to take a rest or sleep: not being able to control the imaginative wanderings that his mind took:

Many people have their favourite dreams, and within the last year or so I have developed a very fair specimen of this class of illusion which comes to me in an oft-repeated vision of the mind.[23]

There was also a most unusual example of coincidence in his writing in the case of Fair Margaret.  In the Spectator of October 19, 1907,[24]  in a letter, he describes how imagination could be substantiated by the actual facts, where he had written about a character named Peter Brome who was killed at the battle of Bosworth Field.  Subsequently Colonel Peter Brome Giles, the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, wrote to Haggard inquiring how he had obtained the details of Peter Brome.

Haggard had made up the character from his own imagination, and had invented the name as being one that he had never heard of.  In the Colonel’s letter he explains the true history of the name of Peter Brome:

 Your hero’s father was the son of Sir Thomas Brome, the Secretary of Henry VI. He was, as you relate, killed at Bosworth, but I never heard they had property in Essex, but had in Suffolk and Norfolk. . . One branch of the family took the bird” [that is, as a coat-of-arms] “as you describe. . . . The father of your hero was the first Peter, and was born 1437, and was 50 when killed. . . . Since the Peter of 1437 there have always been Peter Bromes: my father was, I am, and so is my boy. We assumed Giles in 1761.25

 As the text of Fair Margaret reveals: 

“…How are you named?

“Peter Brome, Sire.”

“Ah!.  There is a certain Peter Brome who fell at the battle of Bosworth Field – not fighting me,” and smiled.

“Did you know him, perchance?

“He was my father, Sire, and I saw him slain – aye, and slew the slayer.”[25]


Such amazing coincidence or telepathic knowledge continues in Haggard’s works and seem to have little explanation, apart from that they were purely coincidental. Additionally, Haggard believed that he had been an Ice Age warrior and had experienced other reincarnations, and his psychological insight and telepathic powers, that he often discussed with Lang, were only a hidden part of his abilities.

Presentiment and premonitions played a part in Haggard’s writing and speechmaking. On a visit to Canada for the Dominions Royal Commission in 1912, before the First World War, he made a speech anticipating the onset of the war that became quite prescient when hostilities broke out on 28 July 1914 that continued until 11 November1918.  However, with the rise of German militarism and its expansionist foreign policy, it was not perhaps difficult to anticipate international problems occurring.

Haggard’s stance on reincarnation is heterodox, in the sense that, apart from the Second Coming, the orthodox thinkers of his era did not hold to the rebirth of the soul. Haggard, however, had a strong belief that he had somehow lived a previous existence, just as some children tell with clarity of their previous lives, in the roles of Egyptian royal, Ice Age warrior, Viking chief and Restoration figure.



© The Society for Psychical Research. London, Great Britain.

His interest in the paranormal was stimulated by Andrew Lang, who belonged to the Society for Psychical Research and which still today retains its premises at 49 Marloes Road, South Kensington, near Lang’s previous residence at No. 1.  The society held beliefs in the paranormal existence.  Founded by Cambridge Professor, Henry Sedgwick, its prominent members were Arthur Balfour, Andrew Lang and William Barrett, the physicist, and his colleague Lord Rayleigh, another physicist.

Professor William James, Henry James’s brother, established in the United States a similar society that interested itself in psychic powers, and William James delivered a speech to the London society that Lang and others attended.[26]  It discussed the paranormal, hypnotism, clairvoyance, trances, séances , mind reading, coincidental happenings, transference of thought, and so forth.

To pick up the point, again, Fair Margaret is a Tudor piece featuring cutlasses, jewels and gowns, and remains a period story with a character list involving the Spanish Ambassador, de Ayala, Betty and her cousin the beautiful, fair Margaret Castell, and the son of Peter Brome who had fought, as mentioned, on the side of the Cavaliers in the Civil War.  There is fighting in Essex between the Englishmen and the Spaniards, at the time of Ferdinand and Isabella.  We hear of fights at sea, missing jewels at the hands of the chaplain or priest from the ship that he thought was sunken but was not, and the dashing, turbulent events of the reign of Henry VII. (1485 – 1509).

Margaret is in love with Peter, but the fortunes of war drive them apart:

Peter Brome, for he was so named, looked a little anxiously about him at the crowd, then turning, addressed Margaret in his strong, clear voice.  “There are rough folk around,” He said.  “ Your father might be angered, Cousin.”[27]

Peter is concerned that de Ayala will become a rival to him for the love of Margaret, but she remains faithful to Peter Brome: “But now she laughed at  him, saying that all her heart was his.”[28]

A Spanish nobleman cheats her cousin Betty into kidnapping Margaret, and they take her by sea to Spain.  Peter follows them to try and save her, but is frustrated, fights a duel with the Spanish nobleman, Morrello, and winning, escapes to England with his wife, the fair Margaret.

Haggard creates a rumbustious, swashbuckling adventure for an early twentieth-century audience, and whilst it is a conventional romance, it nevertheless achieved critical acclaim by reviewers used to the Haggard modus operandi. 

Rebirth of the soul and reincarnation is also a preoccupation in Stella Fregelius where the character Morris persuaded into an engagement of convenience with his cousin meets a dazzlingly refreshing and mysterious lady, Stella, who becomes his instant passion and joy.  Echoes of the Haggard life story abound in this romance, for Morris is of Danish provenance.   Like Haggard, he is of the colonel rank similar to many of his famlly, and he experiences a shipwreck as Haggard did in The Copeland in Iceland.  There is an inheritance of land and fortune from the wife's family, as is the case with Louie Margitson.  Louie was  invited on 6 November 1879 by his sister Mary Haggard to stay at Bradenham Hall with a chaperone, a married aunt, with a view to marriage with Rider.   

The setting of the tale is a seaside house, reminding us of the Kessingland Grange property overlooking the Norfolk coast, where happy memories abounded. There was a tennis court, a river for swimming, a farm to enjoy and the sea to frolick in.  Cycling was the vogue, and many the excusions taken to Norwich, Bungay and Ditchingham.

An eccentric inventor who dreams up the first mobile phone and electric bike has premonitions about the death of Stella and cannot remove her image and spiritiual presence from his mind.  His love is very real for:

Now I understand that love; the real love between a man and a woman, if it be real, embraces all the other sorts of love.   More--whether the key be physical or spiritual, it unlocks a window in our hearts through which we see a different world from the world that we have known.

Ultimately Morris communes with Stella who has perished in the storm and it confirms Hagagrd's heterodoxical ideas of reincarnation where the soul returns in another dimension, as she returns to physical form: "and there, over against her, the mortal woman, and he--wavering--he lost between the two." Believing that he is attached to the other woman for ever, it has repurcussions on his marriage, as his affair with Lilith must have had with Louie.  Haggard believed that Lilith, who had predeceased him, was waiting for him and that he would rejoin her only on his death.

 Again, on the subject of coincidences that was alluded to earlier, in the text of his novel, When the World Shook, Haggard has an extensive passage on the economies that Humphrey Arbuthnot was able to make on his property portfolio:


“Behold me once more a man without an occupation, but now the possessor of about £900,000. It was [v]a very considerable fortune, if not a large one in England; nothing like the millions of which I had dreamed, but still enough. To make the most of it and to be sure that it remained, I invested it very well, mostly in large mortgages at four per cent, which, if the security is good, do not seriously depreciate in capital value. Never again did I touch a single speculative stock, who desired to think no more about money. It was at this time that I bought the Fulcombe property. It cost me about £120,000 of my capital, or with alterations, repairs, etc., say £150,000, on which sum it may pay a net two and a half per cent., not more. This £3,700 odd I have always devoted to the upkeep of the place, which is therefore in first-rate order. The rest I live on, or save.”


Coincidently, this discourse may be compared with a passage in Haggard’s autobiography in which he explains the use to which the outright cash sale of Cleopatra was put.  It is not fanciful to argue that Humphrey Arbuthnot speaks for Rider Haggard and how Haggard dreams of a much better financial outcome than that of the proceeds from the Egyptian novel:


“Some of this money I lost, for really I had not time to look after it, and the investments suggested by kind friends connected with the City were apt to prove disappointing. Some of it I spent in paying off back debts and mortgages on our property, and in doing up this house which it sadly needed, as well as countless farm buildings, and a proportion was absorbed by our personal expenditure. For instance we moved into a larger house in Redcliffe Square and there entertained a little, though not to any great extent.”

Returning from horseback riding in Iceland, Haggard the great sportsman, hunter, shooter, rider (uh huh), coach and horses driver, fisherman and cyclist continued his sporting life with rounds of the ancient game of golf at Bungay and Waveney Valley golf club.  The membership fee was held at 5 shillings [25p] for an eighteen hole course.  Louie continued membership of the club from 1889.  With a handicap of as much as five, she won the Handicap Prize as well as the ladies’ medal presented by the club.  Her interest was so strong she became the Hon. Secretary and a member of the management committee in 1892.  Captain of the ladies’ team by 1902, she became the chair of the ladies’ section [ladies had sections in those days] in 1905.  Continuing to play regularly, Lady Haggard presented the silver rose bowl to a lady winner in 1914, and continued her membership as a widow right up to 1934 on her retirement from the game.

 Rider Haggard became a member of the management committee of the golf club in 1890, a member of the green committee from 1891, and was elected as a vice president of BWV golf club in 1903 at the age of forty-seven.  His handicap and score sheet are not extant in the club’s minutes, but it is recorded that Rider Haggard played golf there with Andrew Lang who described the playing on the Outney Common links in a newspaper article as “nothing but bush whacking from beginning to end.”[1]  Haggard complained to the committee that after one round of golf we “have just been obliged to give up playing owing to the loss of all the balls, one after another, and that with two boys ahead.”[2]  He “earnestly requested”[3]  that more of the roughage on the course, including gorse bushes, should be cut back so that play would be easier on the greens.  Haggard was elected president of the club in 1915 at the age of 59.

The Haggards often went to the Bungay races, when the golf links on Outney common were closed,  to watch the hurdles and flat racing from the eighteenth fairway.  With large crowds of racegoers, the Haggards would have enjoyed a warm Spring day out at the 1904 to 1909 Spring races in Bungay, where thousands of spectators gathered in the covered, Union flag blazoned stands and at the very few wooden rails that were there to watch the quite overweight jockeys perform their laid back antics on horseback while the punters groaned or cheered, according to the horses that they had backed.  The races were discontinued in 1914 at the outset of the first world war, when the military took over the use of the links. The racecourse and stands became part of Bungay Rangers and Ditchingham Rovers football clubs in 1925.

  After shipwrecks, tram rides in London to Villiers Street, Charing Cross, literary engagements with Lang and visits to Bateman's in Kent, 24 Redcliffe Square SW10, and Ditchingham House in Bungay,  we now move to Mexico.





[1] Haggard, The Days of My Life Chapter 10.

[2] Haggard, The Days of My Life Chapter 10.

[3] Haggard, The Days of My Life Chapter 10.

[4] D S Higgins ‘Haggard’s Secret Love’ London Magazine, February 1987, Volume 26, No. 11, 38-45

[5]  I am indebted to Morris Russell for this insight.

[6] Henry Sweet, Anglo-Saxon Primer (Oxford: OUP, 1980).

[7] Rev. Richard Harris Barham, The Ingoldsby Legends (London: R.E. King and Co. 1840).

[8] Haggard, The Days of My Life Chapter 10.

[9] Allan Quatermain in Haggard, King Solomon’s Mines, 240.

[10] Morton Cohen, Rider Haggard: His Life and Works (London: Hutchinson, 1968) 206.

[12] Interview. Mrs Nada Cheyne, Haggard’s maternal granddaughter – in - law. 30 June, 2012.  Ditchingham Lodge, Bungay, Norfolk.

[13]  Charles Carrington, Rudyard Kipling (London: Pelican Books, 1955) 492.

[14] Carrington, Rudyard Kipling 332.

[15]  On the concept of being together, alone, see Richmal Crompton, “The Revenge”.  More William (London: Macmillan Children's, 1983).  ““All right!” agreed Thomas. “You play by you’self an’ me play by myself, an’ we’ll be together — playin’ by ourselves.””

[16] Haggard, Allan and the Ice Gods, 6.

[17] Haggard, Allan and the Ice Gods, 6.

[19] Matthew Sweet. Inventing the Victorians (London: Faber and Faber, 2001).

[20] Interview. Mrs Nada Cheyne, Haggard’s maternal granddaughter. 30 June, 2012. Ditchingham Lodge, Bungay, Norfolk.

[21] Dedication in The Way of the Spirit (London: Hutchinson, 1906)  Letter of dedication dated 14 August 1905.

[22]  Perry Como, “Hello Young Lovers”. (New York: CBS Interactive Music Group, 2012).

[23] Haggard, The Days of My Life, Chapter 16.

[24]  Quoted in Haggard, The Days of My Life, Chapter 16.

[25] Rider Haggard, Fair Margaret (London: Hutchinson 1907).  (Rare Book Publishers, Kessinger Publishing Co. June 2004) 11.

[26] William James, Essay: ‘What Psychical Research Has Accomplished’.  Available. Online.  Accessed  06. 08. 2012.

[27] Haggard, Fair Margaret, 6.

[28]  Haggard, Fair Margaret , 56.

Rider Haggard Stella Fregelius: A Tale of Three Destinies (London: Walking Lion Press, 2008 )

Dorothy Cheyne, "So What Do We Know about Louie?  Talk to the Rider Haggard Society 20. 09. 08.

Andrew Lang, newspaper article, 1899, quoted in A Centenary of Golf on Outney Common 1889 to 1989, ed. Brian Edwards and Jack Bull. Richard Clay Printers Bungay, 9.

[2]  Quoted in A Centenary of Golf on Outney Common 1889 to 1989, 9.

[3] A Centenary of Golf on Outney Common 1889 to 1989, 9.