The Wheel of ‘We’re Here’ Presented to Captain Vapoor by Rudyard Kipling
Posted On November 8, 2016
Rudyard Kipling and Captain Preston L. Vapoor had made an acquaintance that blossomed into a lifelong friendship in Lahore, India in about 1885. Legend has it that Captain Vapoor brought American bourbon with him and the two bonded over drinks with Kipling’s editor at the Civil and Military Gazette. In 1889, Kipling arrived in San Francisco and attempted to mend his broken heart (he had fallen in love with a Japanese geisha named O-Toyo en route in Japan) with bouts of heavy drinking and debauchery – accompanied by Captain Vapoor and a motley crew of roustabouts. Kipling was so appreciative of the Captain’s introductions and friendship that before leaving San Francisco for Portland, Oregon, he bought one of the old schooner ship’s wheels from a salvage shop – unfortunately the name of the ship is lost to history – Kipling however, never one to let facts get in the way of his fictions, assured Captain Vapoor that it was the wheel from the ship We’re Here – a fictional vessel which he 8 years later celebrated in his novel Captain’s Courageous. When one looks, it is easy to find allusions to Kipling’s old friend Vapoor in the novel.