Notes on the text
These notes, by Peter Havholm, are partly new, and partly based on the ORG. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of Many Inventions, as published and frequently reprinted between 1899 and 1950.
‘Now it is written, in the history of the Mutiny that, on the 24th of July, “J.L.,” who had been arguing with Edwardes and Cotton against the retention of Peshawur, wrote to the Governor General of India saying:— “The Punjab will prove short work to the Mutineers when the Delhi army is destroyed.” It was the retention of Delhi not Peshawur, we are told, that “J.L.” set his heart on, in spite of Edwardes’ pleading.’[Page 182, line 9] swept off down south on 23 May 1857, John Nicholson was in pursuit with a force of cavalry and overtook the rebels and cut many of them down. They were not really going south, as Kipling says, but north, aiming to reach Swat, which was not within the frontier, or east, hoping to cross the Indus and find refuge in Kashmir. As the passage quoted in the headnote to this story shows, Kipling’s 1887 version of the story has the 55th being driven by Nicholson: ‘from Nowshera to Murdan and from Murdan to the hills of Swat.’
When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,[Page 185, line 31] palaver A meeting, or parley. There were several occasions here when discussions were held with the enemy, both while fighting was going on and during intervals.
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.