Notes on the text
(by David Page)
‘Honest Bombay Jack’ who supplies nothing but Burma Cheroots and whisky in liqueur-glasses, but in Lal Bazar, not far from ‘The Sailors’ Coffee-rooms’ a board gives bold advertisement that ‘officers and seamen can find good quarters.’The latter is a boarding-house, not always as respectable as it describes itself, but necessary for those seamen who have discharged or deserted from an incoming ship and are awaiting employment on another vessel. Fisher need not have been a 'crimp', but probably was – likewise ‘Honest Jack’. A 'crimp' is defined by The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea as:
One who makes it his business to persuade seamen to desert from a ship that has just completed a voyage, usually by the offer of free liquor, in order to sell them as a ready-made crew to an outward-bound vessel. Most of the crimps operated as keepers of seamen's lodging or taverns in the ports around the world, and kept their victims drunk and incapable until they were shipped out again about an hour before sailing.The Epigraph
Formerly known as Jaun Bazaar Street, a place of ill repute and the resort of some of the worst characters and budmashes in Calcutta. It was a dirty, filthy, narrow sort of lane having no side-paths and the houses being built most irregularly and without any attempt at symmetry or alignment. In fact it had altogether a most disreputable and evil appearance. The street as all can see has undergone quite a transformation, more particularly in that section near the Chowringhee end, and has now become an ornament and acquisition to the city.[Verse 7, line 6] wage of shame not to put too fine a point on it, she was a 'lady of very easy virtue'.
[Recollections of Calcutta for over half a century by Montague Massey, 1918].