Notes on the text
These notes, by John McGivering, are partly new, and partly based on the ORG. Roger Ayers has contributed some notes on military history. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of Life's Handicap, as published and frequently reprinted between 1891 and 1950.
Because of the large percentage of Irishmen in the ranks, a number of Fenians deliberately enlisted in the 1860s with the intention of formenting mutiny. In 1863 John Boyle O’Reilly, aged nineteen, enlisted in the 10 Hussars He was, by all accounts, intelligent and popular with all ranks. His attempts at subversion were inept and certainly do not appear to have been heinous …… he was charged with ‘knowledge of an intended mutiny’ and in spite of the testimony of his colonel …. That he had always been a good soldier, a court-martial sentences him to be shot. His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment , then to twenty-three years transportation to Western Australia….. he contrived to escape…. and fled to the United States.[Page 213, line 15] Castle Garden Fort Clinton, on the tip of Manhattan in New York City, was so called from 1855 to 1890 when used as an emigrant receiving depot before Ellis Island was opened..
[Byron Farwell, Mr. Kipling’s Army, George J. McLeod Limited in Canada, W. W. Norton Inc. in U. S. A. and W. W. Norton & Co. Ltd, London, page 92]
When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,[Page 230, line 10] chloride of lime a disinfectant.
An’ the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle an’ blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.