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Kahlil Gibran and the Mary in his heart

On April 10, 1931, the artistic genius Kipling stopped breathing at the age of 48.

A week later, his lawyer read out his will: “Everything in the studio, including paintings, books and works of art, bequeathed to Mary Haskellar.”

After receiving the telegram, Mary hurried to the house, sobbing the whole way.

Among the relics were all the letters she had written to him over 20 years, the secrets that belonged to both of them.

In 1904, Kipling was 21 years old and had nothing but talent.

With his father in prison and his mother, brother and little sister dying of illness, he left his homeland and came from Lebanon to Boston, USA, to work, writing articles and selling paintings to pay off the large debts he owed.

After days of preparation, his first exhibition was finally held as scheduled.

On that day, a woman stood in front of a painting, pondering. After the exhibition, she bought two paintings, one of which, titled “The Fountain of Pain”.

Her name was Mary Haskell, 31 years old, and she was the principal of a school. From Kipling’s paintings, she felt his suffering.

Sharing the same love of literature and art, the tree of friendship grew quickly, and Mary admired Kipling’s artistic talent and pitied his helplessness as he struggled at the bottom of society.

She decided to help him: “If you are willing to study in Paris, don’t worry about the money, I will finance you.”

The sudden surprise made Kipling excited and despondent. He was eager to further his studies in the art hall, but how would he repay her for this considerable expense?

People with low self-esteem often have a deadly self-respect. To reassure Gibran, Mary encouraged him, “Believe in yourself, you will succeed!”

The sincerity in her eyes assured Gibran that what she was doing was not out of pity, but out of appreciation and recognition of his talent.

In 1908, Kipling went to Paris to study painting and sculpture under the famous master Rodin. Rodin predicted, “This young Arab will become a great artist!”

Separated from each other, Kahlil and Marie began to correspond frequently. The schooling was lonely and Kahlil had few friends, so Marie’s letters were always a timely inspiration.

Unknowingly, emotions fermented and sublimated, and in one of his replies, Kipling cried out enthusiastically, “Marie, my world!”

He said to her with passion: “You are so extraordinary that you must be able to manifest the divine power deposited in me by God, through great words and deeds, as if the sun were to blossom a hundred flowers, so that they would compete and fill the garden with fragrance.”

Mary, his soul, was his “beautiful love”.

With fire in his heart and passion in his brush, Kipling became more and more skilled. When he entered the Paris Spring Exhibition, he won a silver medal for his painting “Autumn” with the letters of Mary’s name.

In his letter, he told Marie: “All the paintings and portraits I have in this studio in Paris belong to you, and I am looking forward to living long enough to prepare some ripe fruit for you, for you have given me so much.”

During the long exchanges, Mary was also deeply moved by Kahlil’s profound thoughts, and she often sang his poems and “worshipped” in front of his paintings.

Through letters, they passed on their feelings, like a breeze, writing their love on the water.

In 1910, Kipling returned to Boston. When they met, they could not help kissing each other, “caressing each other freely, bravely, and enchantingly”.

That night, Mary wrote in her diary, “After an absence of two years and four months, he returned and I was overjoyed to see him.”

With the exception of a few friends and relatives, their interactions were virtually unknown to outsiders, and Mary gave Kipling the fullest protection.

Having lived a long and difficult life, Kipling knew that true love was hard to come by, and as Mary took over his heart, he began to long for marriage.

However, in the face of the proposal, Mary shrank back: “I love you, but my pure love will not allow me to ruin your prospects.”

Although, she too had longed for marriage countless times, reason prevailed. In a diary entry dated March 24, 1911, Mary recorded the inner struggle and confusion: “I love him, our hearts are connected, there is no interval, and I am determined to follow the established path. I thought of marriage and couldn’t help the tears rushing down, which would have been tears of joy and hope; the distressing obstacle was my age.”

The 10-year age gap became a chasm she could not overcome.

“What Khalil lacked was the love of his dreams, a love whose heroine was not me, but another woman. No matter how great my loss, I will not betray the unknown one, because I deeply pity Kipling’s natural talent and future glory.”

In this love affair, she willingly spilled her blood for him.

Soon after, Kipling moved to New York, and Mary continued to be generous, sending books and things from time to time to bring solace to the lonely Kipling’s heart.

When Kipling said he wanted to repay her support, Mary was furious: “Khalil, this is all nonsense. A man with a mission must not be brought to the brink of destitution, lest his talents be buried and his natural gifts buried!”

Accompanied by Mary, his patron saint, Kipling made rapid progress in the fields of painting and literature.

At the end of 1911, his novel The Broken Wings, written in Arabic, was published, and on the title page, three letters, which were the initials of Mary’s name.

Together with the painting “Autumn”, “Broken Wings” became Marie’s most treasured possession. In her diary, she said fondly.

“I love those two gifts more than I cherish love, those two gifts are in my blood and in my heart ……”

She still loved Kipling so much that when she learned of his illness, she rushed to New York many times to take care of him; she was the first reader of all his works, improving his writing limitations with her good literary appreciation and English attainment; he was the only male protagonist in her diary.

Kipling was so deeply moved that he lamented in his letters, “Only God, Mary, knows my heart.”

In 1913, Kipling selected ten paintings to give to Mary, saying to those who wanted to buy his paintings, “I will never sell these paintings; it is my heart that created them!”

As the response to his published works grew, Gibran became a founding father of Arabic literature and was called “the pride of the Lebanese literary world”.

One day, he received a letter. The letter contained both respect for his ideas and a different view of his marriage. It was signed at the end of the letter by Maia Ziyadei.

Maia was a famous Lebanese writer, three years younger than Kipling, who lived in Egypt and specialized in Arabic writing.

They were also living in another country, and their love of country and homesickness became a bond, and they began to correspond. They began to correspond. They admired each other’s talent.

Gradually, Kipling’s address to Maia changed from “Your Excellency, the distinguished woman of letters” and “Dear Miss Maia” to “Maia, my girlfriend”, a carefully constructed language full of passionate hints.

Despite their mutual affection, Kipling never confessed his love for each other.

Maia asks tentatively, “Is there someone who has always lived in your heart? She helped you both materially and spiritually during your worst times, so you can’t allow another person to break in?”

In response, Kipling acknowledged Mary’s existence, but said that he and Mary were only “purely affectionate”.

Mary, who had always been his “soul mate”, gave up her worldly feelings and made his spirit and art with her great love.

When Mary accepted a suitor after learning of Maia’s appearance, Kahlil advised her to “act according to your heart’s intent, and if your heart is willing to take that step, then do so.”

In 1926, Marie became Mrs. Fruhrens.

Yet, after more than a decade of correspondence, Maia still saw no hope. Kipling’s health was deteriorating and he had a feeling that his days were numbered.

In a letter to Maia, he said, “The state of my health tells me that I seem to be ill and may soon be dead; you are my little princess, my little baby, how can I give you happiness?”

On March 26, 1931, despite his serious illness, he sent Maia his last letter, a painting of a spreading palm holding a burning flame.

This “blue flame”, like his love, was hot and never extinguished.

Half a month later, Kipling died at the age of 48.

After learning the news, Mary immediately went to his funeral, the pure soul has been far away, she was heartbroken.

Almost all of his estate he left to her. Sorting through his belongings, she unexpectedly discovered that just as she had kept all his letters, Kipling had kept all the letters she had written to him over a period of more than 20 years.

The past came slowly, and Mary wept, the secret that belonged to both of them and that she wanted to treasure forever.

“My heart does not obey my will, I believe in Gibran and am convinced of his greatness. The letter I wrote to him, and my relationship with him, is already a property of history; it is a part of it.”

A few years later, Mary convinced herself to give more than 600 letters together to the University of North Carolina. Later, the Kipling Letters became an unparalleled text of beloved love between the sexes.

In The Prophet, about love, Kahlil Gibran had this to say: “Love does not possess, nor is it possessed, for in love all is fulfilled.” He and Mary, made the best interpretation of this saying.

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