"Slaves of the Lamp"
Part II

notes on the text



[Feb 17 2003]

Publication history

The story was first published in Cosmopolis in May 1897, and subsequently collected in Stalky & Co. (1899) It was later included in The Complete Stalky & Co.

The story

Beetle, Turkey, Dick Four, Tertius, and Abanazar, have foregathered at the house of another old schoolfellow, some twelve years after leaving the Coll. They are remembering old times, and reminiscing about Stalky. Several of them have encountered him in India, where he is now rising in the Army, after various adventures. Tertius and Dick Four had been involved with him in a little frontier war against two wild Afghan tribes. Stalky, with a platoon of ferocious and devoted Sikh soldiers, was heavily out-numbered, but in his element, setting the enemy tribes against each other, just as he'd done with 'Rabbits Eggs' and King at the Coll. in "Slaves of the Lamp" Part I. When he wanted to hurry up Dick and Tertius at a key moment in the battle, he'd played "Arrah, Patsy, mind the baby" on his bugle, in another echo of that earlier tale. The message is clear - Stalkiness in war is built on Stalkiness at school.