Notes on the text
These notes, by John McGivering, are partly new, and partly based on the ORG. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of Soldiers Three and Other Stories, as published and frequently reprinted between 1899 and 1950.
When the drunken comrade mutters and the great guard-lantern gutters[Page 56, line 13] tivvy-tivvy an abbreviation for the market-town of Tiverton in Devon is the only reference we have traced. [information will be welcomed; Ed.]
And the horror of our fall is written plain...
The sequence of physical movements referred to here forms part of the raising of a Mason to the 3rd Degree, that of the Master Mason. Kipling misses out two ('hand to hand' and 'foot to foot') and together they represent the five points of fellowship and it is in this position that the word of the 3rd Degree is communicated. The movements are emblematic of the support of one Mason for another and are used ironically here in the fight between Crook and the enemy Pathan.[Page 62, line 4] breast to breast (see above)
It is also interesting to note that Mulvanney, a surgeon, and Lt Learoyd RA were note members of the St John the Evangelist Masonic Lodge No 1483, a military Lodge in the Lahore cantonment, which we know that Kipling visited. He clearly borrowed their names for his fiction.
When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,[Page 65, line 5] the Haymaker’s Lift an upward pass with a two-pronged fork with a long handle, still used for throwing hay up into a loft or into a wagon.
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest (sic) roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.