"The Prophet
and the Country"

Notes on the text




[June 18 2003]




[Page 181, line 1] THE PROPHET AND THE COUNTRY See Matt., 14, 57: “A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.” See also the poem “Prophets at Home”, with “Hal o’ the Draft” in Puck of Pook’s Hill.

[Page 181, line 9] proper place After this in Nash’s: “They have also other primitive instincts. I can testify to this because…”

[Page 182, line 6] Great North Road the A1, main road from London to Scotland.

[Page 182, line 13] us in the manuscript, the narrator has a chauffeur, who is sent to find a replacement for the broken part and returns to fix it. In changing this part of the plot, Kipling seems to have forgotten to alter this pronoun.

[Page 182, line 19] a valley After this in Nash’s: “at our right, and considered us balefully.”

[Page 182, line 21] bone-white After this in Nash’s: “Bats hawked in their glare, and an owl, too, who hooted and slid off sideways.”

[Page 183, line 3] Eastern trade The American’s hat shows that he comes from the west: presumably a Stetson.

[Page 183, line 4] yellow raincoat Oilskin coats, made of cloth waterproofed by oil, were often yellow.

[Page 183, lines 17-18 funeral-furnisher See From Sea to Sea, vol. 1, pp. 147-50. The funeral-furnisher is called Gring. He tells the reporter how he embalms the dead and dresses them in backless garments. Kipling comments (p. 149): “Can you imagine anything more awful than to take your last rest as much of a dead fraud as ever you were a living lie – to go into the darkness one half of you shaved, trimmed and dressed for an evening party, while the other half – the half that your friends cannot see – is enwrapped in a flapping black sheet?”

[Page 184, line 22] The Man without a Country Short story by Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909), published in Atlantic Monthly in 1863; collected in If, Yes and Perhaps (1868). The protagonist is an American citizen who, convicted of disloyalty, is condemned to spend the rest of his life aboard U.S. naval ships, being forbidden ever to land again on U.S. soil.

[Page 185, line 4] Prohibition Wartime federal regulations forbidding the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the United States were made permanent in the Volstead Act (National Prohibition Enforcement Act) of 1919 and the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. Despite a powerful lobby in its favour, enforcement proved difficult and the ban was thought to have fostered organised crime. In 1933, the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th and the Volstead Act became void.

[Page 185, line 23] Papuan native of Papua, New Guinea.

[Page 185, line 23] pneumonic plague a lung infection.

[Page 186, line 27] Veel Franshe Villefranche-sur-mer, between Nice in southern France, and Monte Carlo.

[Page 187, line 17] the week before After this in Nash’s, “She died suddenly, but uplifted right through.”

[Page 187, line 20] bust wreath After this in Nash’s, “(Mrs Tarworth had no use for natural blooms.)”

[Page 187, line 23] Ne-mee-sis Nemesis, Greek goddess of retribution.

[Page 187, line 30] Movies After this in Nash’s: “Ours is a democratic age an’ we’re back to to picture writin’ in all life’s Aspects and Outlooks.”

[Page 187, line 33] a regular attendant After this in Nash’s: “(Mrs Tarworth said they relaxed her. She was always nervy.)”

[Page 188, lines 17-18] labour and trava-il See Thes., 2,9. After this in Nash’s: “like a woman labourin’ with child.”

[Page 188, line 22] shell-tongin’ Dredging up shellfish with outsize tongs.

[Page 189, line 8] diapason Chambers’ Dictionary (1998) lists this as “the whole range”, but Tarworth seems to mean “harmony”, listed as “obsolete.”

[Page 189, line 9] leet-motif Leitmotiv: a recurring theme.

[Page 190, lines 10-1] Abanna and Parphar In II Kings 5, 10-12, the prophet Elisha advises Naaman, a Syrian captain, that he will be cured of leprosy if he washes himself in the river Jordan. Naaman demurs: “Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?”

[Page 191, line 19] Congregational Church Movement founded in the 17th century, of autonomous local churches with elders. It was strong in the Roundhead army during the English civil war.

[Page 191, lines 30-1] Black Hawk War War against the native Americans in Wisconsin in 1932.

[Page 192, line 6] Estey organ The Estey Organ Company of Brattleboro, Vermont, was founded by Jacob Estey in 1846. They built around 500,000 reed organs, the last one in the mid-1950s.

[Page 192, line 20] wood-alcohol tragedies Alcohol can be distilled from wood but the result is unfit for human consumption.

[Page 193, lines 1-2] Ezekiel … Chebar See Ezekiel, 1,1: “it came to pass .. as I was among the captives by the river Chebar, that the heavens opened, and I saw visions of God.”

[Page 194, lines 9-10] She’s never been blamed in her life After this in Nash’s: “She’s never been checked of anything She wanted yet.”

[Page 194, line 22] day-bakkle Debacle: catastrophe.

[Page 196, line 1] Logic After this in Nash’s: “I cut back there, showin’ the Sachems and Medicine Men of the old Red Indian days, pleadin’ with their people against usin’ Firewater, and fallin’, for it [sic] – fallin’ for it – the same way – gesture for gesture: ‘Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he reap!’ "[Gal. 6,7].

[Page 196, line 14] The Wages of Sin Romans, 6,23: “For the wages of sin is death.”

[Page 196, line 29] Re-nay-sanse Epoch After this in Nash’s: “Then I guess there’ll have to be an interval and ‘My Country ‘tis of Thee’ to soothe ‘em. Democracies don’t sense the ironical. (I can remember when I didn’t.)”

[Page 197, lines 24-5] Fundamentalist Extreme form of Evangelical protestantism, founded in 1920. Believes the Bible to be literally true, including the account of the Creation.

[Page 198, line 20] I know that After this in Nash’s: “An’ then the Noo York funny men who write in the comic columns, they got at it.”

[Page 199, line 1] ships that pass in the night See Longfellow, “Tales of a Wayside Inn” (1863).

[Page 199, lines 31-2] that wind, which runs… sun See Something of Myself, p. 19: “my fortunate hour would be on the turn of sunrise, with a sou’west breeze afoot.” See also the poem “The Dawn Wind”, and “The Vortex”, in A Diversity of Creatures p. 384.


[L. L.]