First published in Land and Sea Tales (1923) where it follows "The Burning of the Sarah Sands"; collected in the Sussex Edition at page 125 of Volume 16 and page 350 of Volume 34; also the Burwash Edition Volumes 14 and 27, with slight variations. In Collected Verse, Definitive Verse; also The Works of Rudyard Kipling (The Wordsworth Poetry Library, 199, and the Cambridge Edition of 2013.
See also the "The Nurses" following "The Bold ‘Prentice" later in this volume.
[Line 6] freshet flood of a river from rain or melted snow.
[Line 9] drift in this context, a river-crossing or ford (South Africa).
[Line 10] wheel-chained wagons the rear wheels are secured so the vehicle will not go down the bank too quickly
[Line 14] moored strictly speaking, in this context, lying to two anchors with a swivel so the cables do not become foul, but here meaning lying to one anchor.
[Line 19] capstans clink together A capstan is a machine then used for hoisting anchors, etc. and consisted of a vertical revolving drum. driven by men walking round it, pushing on bars inserted into apertures in the head. The ‘clink’ is a surprisingly musical note made by pawls moving over a ratchet-ring – a non-return device which prevents the load running away. Present-day equivalents are driven by power.
[Line 21] pennon usually spelt pendant but always pronounced pennant; a triangular flag of varying size, here probably at a masthead to indicate the direction of the wind.
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