[May 6 2006]
[Title] Larut is a District in the State of Perak in the Malay peninsula, some 60 miles from Perang. There are tin and other mines there.
Lang is Scots dialect for 'long'.
[Page 294, line 2] the speech of Aberdeen city, county, university and seat of a Bishop in Scotland.
[Page 294, line 4] capstan a drum on a vertical axis then usually driven by steam but capable of manual operation by men pushing on bars slotted into pigeon-holes in the head, used for hoisting anchor and other such heavy work.
[Page 294, line 12] Orizava There is a town and a mountain named Orizaba in Mexico.
[Page 295, line 18] brandipanee brandy and water or soda-water.
[Page 295, line 19] cocktails potent and very palatable mixtures of assorted spirits, fruit juices etc., shaken up with ice.
[Page 295, line 20] sangaree red wine with water or lemonade, spices, etc.
[Page 295, lines 22-24] sweat like the packing of a piston-head etc Alastair Wilson comments, confirming that the ORG entry is very fair:
'The simile isn't important to the tale, nor to us. Indeed, it is possibly one of those Kipling technicalities which do not bear too close an examination. A piston-head did not have packing when the tale was written. In the very early days of steam, it is said that hemp was used to make a piston steam-tight - but that was in the 1830s and `40s. By the time of the tale, cast iron would have been used to make piston rings. Nor would the piston, being enclosed in a cylinder closed at both ends, have been visible for the Chief Engineer to determine whether or no it was 'sweating'.[Page 295, line 26] Scotch in this context now usually applied only to whisky – the nationality is expressed as 'Scots' or 'Scottish'.
[Page 296, line 1] three o’ the sons o’ Anak Numbers 8, 22; Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the children of Anak.
[Page 296, line 18] ruddy and of a fair countenance 1 Samuel, 16, 12: '…he was ruddy and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. Kipling was known as 'Ruddy' (short for Rudyard) to his family.
[Page 296, line 22] scunner to 'take a scunner' at something, is a scots phrase for conceiving a strong dislike or aversion to it. It comes from the Middle English skunner – to shrink back in disgust from. The local people shrank back in disgust from the monstrous Scots.
[Page 296, line 24] giant trees in the Yosemite Valley State and National Parks in California containing Redwoods of genus Sequoia which attain a height of over 300 feet (90 metres).
[Page 296, line 26] a lusus naturæ a freak of nature (Latin).
[Page 297, line 7] Sacramento the capital city of the State of California, U.S.A.
[Page 297, line 23] bed-plates A substantial part of the ship’s framework to which the engines are secured – hence a firm foundation. [A.J.W.W.]
[Page 298, line 3] euchre a game of cards for two, three or four players.
[Page 298, line 4] Bowers When playing euchre, the 'Right Bower' is the Jack of trumps, the 'Left Bower' is the other Jack of the same colour.
[Page 298, line 5] the Joker also known as the 'Best Bower' or the 'Benny' - some versions of euchre do not use one, and there are so many variations in different countries it is impossible to be more precise.
[Page 298, line 10] anaconda Eunectes murinus; an enormous constricting snake of the boa family.
furlong 220 yards (200 metres), one eighth of am English mile.
[Page 298, line 11] Batavia now known as Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia on the north-west coast of Java.
[Page 298, line 12] North Borneo now Sabah, part of Malaysia.
[Page 298, line 19] ‘Frisco San Francisco, important city and port in California, U.S.A.
[Page 298, line 23] paste-board in this context, thin white cardboard of which visiting-cards are made, engraved with one's name and address – an essential social accessory of the period.
[Page 298, line 27] travellers-joy palm Clematis (Ranunculaceae) of which there are over two hundred varieties.
[Page 298, line 28] orang-outang Simia satyrus, an anthropoid ape found in Borneo and Sumatra; orang outang means 'man of the woods' in Malay.
[Page 298, line 29] dyak a native of Borneo.
[Page 298, line 33] tearin’ down the pillars thereof an echo of Judges 16, 29 & 30:
'And Sampson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood , and on which it was borne up … And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people that were therein…'
[J H McG]
©John McGivering 2006 All rights reserved