Notes on the text
(by Roger Ayers)
| the story
The Sub-Cantor looked over his shoulder at the pinned-down sheet where the first words of the Magnificat were built up in gold washed with red-lac for a background to the Virgin’s hardly yet fired halo.lakhs and lakhs The Lac insect was given the same name as the Hindi word for the number one hundred-thousand, lakh, because it congregates in huge numbers. However, in the colloquial speech of the British in India, it almost universally meant the sum of 100,000 rupees (Hobson-Jobson) so Kipling may be putting a pun into the mouth of the Patient East, implying that she was very, very expensive.
We drank the Libyan Sun to sleep, and litHis transformation of 'Libyan' into 'midday' is understandable but writing 'that outburned' instead of 'which out-burn’d' may indicate that he was working from memory, unless it was a typesetter's error.
Lamps which out-burn’d Canopus. O my life
In Egypt! O the dalliance and the wit,
The flattery and the strife,‘
... the public now-a-days are not satisfied even in church affairs without a material quid pro quo for their contribution. They are not particular what form the same may take - a concert, ball, picnic, social, lottery, or muffin struggle - only let it be something tangible and they are pleased.antimacassar A small cloth placed over the backs of chairs. The name comes from macassar oil, a dressing for the hair so commonly used in the 19th century that Victorian housewives covered the backs of their chairs with these washable cloths. It is used here as a symbol of house-proud fussiness.