Abaft the Funnel
Notes edited by David Page.
In preparing these notes, the present editor has drawn where appropriate on those of the ORG.
I was a bit sick about Abaft the Funnel because the enterprising Dodge must have sent or got a man to rake through old newspaper files and hike out everything that he thought was mine.In 1909, B.W. Dodge and Company of New York published an unauthorised volume of 30 pieces of prose and one of verse (“In Partibus”) under the title Abaft the Funnel. As Professor Pinney noted, there was no need for Dodge to rake through old files; he simply reprinted from the series of Turnovers put out by the C&MG. This unauthorised volume has the following Preface:
[The Letters of Rudyard Kipling, Vol.3, ed. T. Pinney, p.418].
THE measure of a man's popularity is not always—or indeed seldom—the measure of his intrinsic worth. So, when the earlier work of any writer is gathered together in more enduring form, catering to the enthusiasm of his readers in his maturer years, there is always a suspicion that the venture is purely a commercial one, without literary justification.As Yan Shapiro points out David Richards comments, in "Kipling and the Pirates":
Fortunately these stories of Mr. Kipling's form their own best excuse for this, their first appearance together in book form. Not merely because in them may be traced the origin of that style and subject matter that later made their author famous; but because the stories are in themselves worth while—worth writing, worth reading. “The Likes o’ Us” is as true to the type as any of the immortal Mulvaney stories; the beginning of “New Brooms” is as succinctly fine as any prose Mr. Kipling ever wrote; for searching out and presenting such splendid pieces of fiction as “Sleipner, late Thurinda,” and “A Little More Beef” to a public larger than their original one in India, no apology is necessary. (A.F.)
Dodge’s motive is patent from the disingenuous Preface, signed by ‘A.F. (Arthur Fremont Rider, according to a Yale University Library card catalogue note)Doubleday, Page & Co. immediately published a similar authorised volume under the same title with the same contents except the above preface. The book was sold for the low price of 19 cents (or less than a shilling) in order to kill the sales of the unauthorised edition. They later re-issued this authorised version under the same date in the format of their regular editions, and containing the following Author’s Note:
'Messrs. B. W. Dodge & Company have issued without my knowledge or sanction the following odds and ends unearthed from newspaper files of twenty years ago, and therefore unprotected by copyright. I should never have reprinted them, but Messrs. Dodge's enterprise compels me to do so.' RUDYARD KIPLING, OCTOBER 1909.The volume was not issued in England but the 30 stories are in Vol.XXIX of the Sussex Edition published in the UK and also in Vol.XXIII of the Burwash Edition in the U.S.A., with the third story “A Menagerie Aboard” retitled “One Lady at Large”.
“Men in pajamas sitting abaft the funnel and swapping lies of the purple seas.”Charles Carrington [Rudyard Kipling: His Life and Work, Macmillan, 1955, p.121-122] says that Kipling “more than once used [t]his graphic, vulgar little phrase”, but no duplicate has been found in any of the standard prose works. However, see below.
. . . A pair of loose drawers or trowsers, tied round the waist. . . It was adopted from the Mohammedans by Europeans as an article of dishabille, and of night attire, . . [1828.– “His chief joy smoking a cigar in loose paee-jams and native slippers.” Orient. Sport. Mag., reprint 1878. i, 64.] . . .“Abaft” is a nautical term meaning behind or in the direction of the stern of a ship as opposed to the bows (or front) – “abaft the sheep-pens” [From Sea to Sea, VI]; “abaft the main-mast” [“The Burning of the Sarah Sands”, Land and Sea Tales for Scouts and Guides]; “abaft the foremast”, abaft the quarterhatch” [“The Manner of Men”, Limits and Renewals].
| || || || |
|1 (No number in CMG)||A Menagerie Aboard||March 30th||Abaft the Funnel, 1908|
|2||Reingelder and the German Flag||April 16th||Life's Handicap, 1891|
|3||The Wreck of the Visigoth||April 25th||In one edition only of The Day's Work in U.S.A. in 1899, or of Soldiers Three (See No. 6)|
|4||The Lang Men o’ Larut||May 29th||Life's Handicap, 1891|
|5||Probably the story "It" which appeared on June 1st but without the general heading||June 1st||Abaft the Funnel, 1909|
|6||Of Those Called||July 13th||Soldiers Three, The Story of the Gadsbys, 1895|
|7||A Smoke of Manila||July 18th||Abaft the Funnel, 1909|
|8||Erastasius of the Whanghoa||August 21st||Abaft the Funnel, 1909|
. . . if Dodge had not printed these 30 stories it is highly unlikely that we should have been able to study 24 or 25 of them and it therefore seems that it was quite a good idea that Kipling “had his hand forced”, for although some of them are not quite the best quality, others are interesting and worth reading.