The Beef Between Rudyard Kipling and Boniface: a Damaged Tree Forced a Confrontation

"Rudyard endured these insults until one day when Boniface's bus hit one of Rudyard's favorite trees."

January 21, 1901

On this day, The Danville News, out of Danville, Kentucky, shared a story about the English Journalist, poet, and short-story writer Rudyard Kipling.

It turns out that Rudyard Kipling rented a place called The Elms in the little English village of Rottingdean between 1897 and 1902 after he left Vermont.

For some reason, a local bus driver and tavern owner named Boniface had a beef with Rudyard.

When Boniface would drive his bus past his property or see Rudyard outside, he would point his whip at him and snarkily say,

"Here we have Mr. Kipling, the soldier-poet."


Rudyard endured these insults until one day when Boniface's bus hit one of Rudyard's favorite trees.

Upset by the damage and the man's character, Rudyard wrote him a complaint letter.

When Rudyard's letter arrived at The White Horse Inn, Boniface read it aloud to his customers and happily sold it to one of them for ten shillings. 

When Rudyard didn't hear back from Boniface, he wrote a second, more-strongly-worded letter.

Again, Boniface read the letter aloud at his tavern and then sold it to one of his customers for a pound.

After hearing nothing back from Boniface, Rudyard personally went to The White Horse Inn to confront him.

When he angrily asked why his letters went unanswered, Boniface smugly replied,

I was hoping you'd send me a fresh one every day.

They pay a great deal better than driving a bus!

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Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling

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