Notes on the text
These notes, edited by Alastair Wilson, are partly new, and partly based on the notes on this tale in the ORG. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of The Day's Work, as published and frequently reprinted between 1898 and 1950.
It was most amusing at the very beginning, before the races round the pile, when he could shout out to the others, ‘It’s only make-believe, and I’ll smack you!’[Page 362, lines 13-15] The princess the edition of Grimm was probably the old one with illustrations by Cruickshank (1792-1878 – a noted illustrator of, among others Dickens’ work) – which would have been the one sent to Kipling by his father at the same age, as recorded in "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" in Wee Willie Winkie (page 287, line 5).
... a song that a nursemaid sang at low-tide in the face of the sunset on Littlehampton Sands when I was less than six'[Page 362, line 28] ‘“Ha! Ha!” said the duck, laughing,’ this may be an actual quotation, so far unidentified. If not, it seems probable that it was suggested by the old song, I Saw a Ship a-Sailing, first published in 1846, which ends:
[in the summer of 1871, Something of Myself, p.9.]
The captain was a duck[Page 363, line 6] Oxford-on-a-visit this may be based on Kipling’s real visit, while living with the Holloways at Southsea:
With a packet on his back,
And when the ship began to move
The captain said: ‘Quack! Quack!
Once I remember being taken to a town called Oxford and a street called Holywell... [Something of Myself, p.10.][Page 363, line 9] buttery the room where the butts of ale are kept – it has nothing to do with butter.
Just behind the footlights, a portion of the stage was raised; an enormous sheet of plate-glass, such as would be used for a great shop-window, was laced on the stage, slightly inclined forwards. It was thus that a person below the stage, in the pit under the footlights, was reflected, unseen himself, to the audience from the glass.The device was actually invented by Henry Dircks (1806-1873) in 1858, but was exhibited and made famous by John Henry Pepper (1821-1900) from 1862 onwards. He describes the more outré effects, somewhat guardedly, in his revision of Jeremiah Joyce’s Scientific Dialogues published in 1861 (pp. 338-340):
I remember going with you to see an exhibition in Bond Street, which you said depended on concave mirror: I was desired to look into a glass; I did so, and started back, for I thought the point of a dagger would have been in my face. I looked again, and a death’s head snapped at me … Persons have undertaken to exhibit the ghosts of the dead by contrivances of this kind … With a little ingenuity, a thousand illusions may be practised on the ignorant and credulous …”[Page 364, lines 4-5] her hair combed off her forehead … the original illustrations to Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland were by (Sir) John Tenniel, who showed Alice as Kipling describes her.
... a street called Holywell, where I was shown an Ancient of Days who, I was told, was the Provost of Oriel; wherefore I never understood, but conceived him to be some kind of idol.This must have been Edward Hawkins (1789-1882), Provost of Oriel from 1828 to 1874 – in which year he left Oxford and retired to Rochester. Oriel College is unusual in that it has no undergraduates.
Wee Willie Winkie had once been read to, out of a big blue book, the history of the Princess and the Goblins – a most wonderful tale of a land where the Goblins were always warring with the children of men until they were defeated by one Curdie.[Page 380, line 25] which was safety for this, the Century version reads: 'which, Georgie shouted, was ‘in bounds’.'
We’re going to do without ‘em[Page 383, line 10] a Gazette the London Gazette the official publication (now on-line) which announces, inter alia the details of promotions and of honours and awards won by officers and men of the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force.
Don’t want ‘em any more;
We’re going to do without ‘em
As lots have done before.
To deal with commerce ‘on the square’
On a very moral plan,
And every noodle will declare,
‘I am an honest man!
Whatever happens, we have gotThis is the only indication that Cottar’s father had been in the army: though as stated above, it was not unusual for the eldest son to serve the Queen before taking over the Estate. (See next note.)
The Maxim Gun: and they have not.