Notes on the text
These notes, by John McGivering, are partly new, and partly based on the ORG. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of Wee Willie Winkie and Other Stories, as published and frequently reprinted between 1895 and 1950. Topographical information on Southsea has been kindly provided by Mr Alan King, Historical Collections Librarian, Portsmouth Central Library.
"Ay, now I am in Arden; the more fool I; when I was at home, I was in a better place..."and John 14, 2:
"In my Father’s house are many mansions"[Page 271, line 1] Punch is the young Kipling, and Judy [line 3] is his sister Alice, usually known as 'Trix'. They appear again as 'Punch and Judy' in “The Potted Princess” (St. Nicholas Magazine for January 1893 which is reprinted in the Sussex Edition Volume XXX and in Modern Fairy Stories edited by Roger Lancelyn Green (1955), in Dent’s Illustrated English Classics.
If it is true that "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" and the opening chapter of The Light that Failed are largely autobiographical, we can only wonder that Rudyard escaped growing up sullen and embittered. A Kipling Primer, Chatto & Windus, 1900.[Page 271, line 2] the hamal Possibly from hammam, a Turkish bath and so a bath attendant, also a house-boy or domestic servant. ORG believes he may be 'Chokra' who is mentioned by Mrs Fleming. ('Trix')
"Dear Ayah, who was never cross; clever Meeta, our bearer, who made toys out of oranges and nuts; Dunnoo who took care of the fat white pony which Ruddy would call Dapple Gray (sic), and Chokra, the boy who called the other servants and only grinned and didn’t mind when I pelted him with my bricks."These servants are mentioned by Kipling in Something of Myself. Kipling also uses the name 'Dunnoo' for the dog-boy who rescues his master from the pit in “The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes” earlier in this volume, and for a character in Kim.
Sun of my soul, Thou Saviour dear[Page 276, line 19] vagabonds on the face of the earth an echo of Genesis 4,12: "a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth."
It is not night if Thou be near.
“wake me at midnight (I always had to share her room) with warnings that if I left her care my life would be one of neglect and misery, and that I had much better make up my mind to beg my mother as soon as I saw her to “leave me with dear Auntie for always…” And again (KJ84) “Aunty – as we called the woman we were left with, because she was no relation – used to tell us we had been left because we were so tiresome and she had taken us in out of pity; but in a desperate moment, Ruddy questioned her husband and he said it was only Aunty’s fun….”Mrs Holloway shared the front bedroom on the first floor with Trix, Holloway had the back bedroom, Harry and the young Kipling shared an attic bedroom on the floor above. There was also a bedroom for the maid and one spare. (Ricketts, page 19)
"Lorne Lodge was entered through a hall as narrow as a passage which crooked an elbow at the front door and took a sharp turn before it disclosed the dining-room door at the right, the drawing-room opposite and the steep narrow staircase. (page 16).It is a narrow house with the front door on the right as one stands in the street and looks at it.
Eat, drink and die, for we are souls bereaved:In the early editions these lines were mis-attributed to James Thomson’s (1834 – 1882) The City of Dreadful Night. The error was corrected in later editions (but not the Sussex) after it was pointed out by Andrew Lang (1844–1912) in "At the Sign of the Ship" in Longman’s Magazine for January 1892.
Of all the creatures under heaven’s wide cope
We are most hopeless, who had once most hope,
And most beliefless, that had most believed.
It was an establishment run with the full vigour of the Evangelical as revealed to the Woman. I had never heard of Hell, so I was introduced to it in all its terrors…[Page 283, line 24] Indian fairy-tales probably Hindu myths and legends – see Joseph Jacobs’s Indian Fairy Tales (1892) etc. [Wee Willie Winkie and Other Stories ed. Haughton, Penguin 1988]
"on a day that I remember it came to me that ‘reading’ was not ‘the Cat lay on the Mat,’ but a means to everything that would make me happy. (Something of Myself, page 7.)[Page 285, line 31 et seq.] Sharpe’s Magazine the child had found Sharpe’s London Magazine, Volume 1 (lacking many early pages) for 7 March 1846, with a picture of a Griffin flying over the mountains with shepherds pointing to it in terror.
"...So I read all that came within my reach. As soon as my pleasure in this was known, deprivation from reading was added to my punishments. I then read by stealth and the more earnestly.[Page 287, line 33] She drank wine ….for her stomach’s sake Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities. The First Epistle of Paul to Timothy 5,23.
"I was a real joy to him, for when his mother had finished with me for the day he (for we slept in the same room) he took me on and roasted the other side.[Page 291, line 3] cross-examining him Compare Something of Myself (page 6):
"If you cross-examine a child of seven or eight on his day’s doings (specially when he wants to go to sleep) he will contradict himself very satisfactorily. If each contradiction be set down as a lie and retailed at breakfast, life is not easy. I have known a certain amount of bullying, but this was calculated torture – religious as well as scientific. Yet it made me give attention to the lies I soon found it necessary to tell: and this, I presume, is the foundation of literary effort."See also “The Moral Reformers” (Stalky & Co.) for more on the same theme.
the Asia led in followed by the Genoa and Albion …. the Dartmouth, Mosquito, Rose, Brisk and Philomel were to look after the six fire-vessels at the entrance of the harbour. Brisk, a sloop of ten guns in which Holloway served as a Midshipman was indeed sore exposed coming to close quarters with one of the biggest of the Turkish ships but her casualties were only one killed and three wounded. [See Naval Battles of Great Britain by Charles Elkins (1828)][Page 294, line 20] a boatswain’s pipe a whistle of peculiar shape and great antiquity, with a piercing note that could be heard over the noise of sea and wind when the human voice could not. It was used for passing orders and had a characteristic “tune” for each, somewhat in the nature of a bugle-call. Now used in the Royal Navy only for ceremonial purposes and really known as a “call”. Its owner is pronounced 'bo’sun'.
O mistress mine, where are you roaming?[Page 295, line 2] semi-pagan rites Black clothing for everybody as a sign of mourning, with the exhibition of the corpse in his coffin in the front room, and refreshments for everybody after the funeral. These observances still exist to this day in a number of Christian countries, and were not in fact peculiar to the English middle-classes.
O, stay and hear, your true-love’s coming,
That can sing both high and low:
Trip no further, pretty sweeting;
Journeys end in lovers’ meeting
Every wise man’s son doth know.
"...My Mother] told me afterwards that when she first came up to my room to kiss me good-night, I flung up an arm to guard off the cuff that I had been trained to expect.[Page 308, line 25] I am your Mother "...Whether you live or die, or are made different, I am your Mother. “The Knife and the Naked Chalk” (Rewards and Fairies>.