A Book of Words
Selections from speeches and addresses
delivered between 1906 and 1927
"The Virtue of France"
The University of Paris, the Sorbonne
19 November 1921
by Leonee Ormond
who had come to behold with their own eyes the creator of Kim and Mowgli. The benches in front of the dais were a riot of gay colour, with the yellow and scarlet, green, cerise, and purple robes of the Doctors of the various Faculties.The ceremony took place in the presence of the President of the Republic, Etienne-Alexandre Millerand (1859-1943), and of Léon Bérard (1876-1960), Minister of Education. Kipling was introduced by Paul-Emile Appell (1855-1930), the Rector of the Académie Francaise, who conferred the degree and spoke of Kipling’s foresight in anticipating the German danger, and of French respect for his work in the restoration of some of the most severely damaged areas. With a reference to "Rikki Tikki Tavi", Appell concluded:
(21 November, p.14)
The garden of humanity will never be quiet until the nest of the Hohenzollern serpents and their Prussian and German supporters shall have been destroyed.Kipling began by apologising for speaking in English and by expressing his sense of honour at the award. He spoke of the devastation of the First World War and his admiration for the bravery of the French and for the great French writers with whom he was proud to be associated.
(Times, 21 November, p.14)