Notes on the text
These notes, edited by Alastair Wilson, rely much on our predecessors’ notes in the ORG. We have not distinguished between ORG text and NRG text, save where specific explanatory comment have been added in square brakets. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of Traffics and Discoveries, as published and frequently reprinted between 1904 and 1950.
Kipling the early motorist the route in the story
My Chief Mechanical Engineer, Mr. A.F. Kent, M.B.E., who worked under me for many years at the Admiralty, told me that as a youngster he was sent by his firm, the manufacturers of Kipling’s first steam car (a Locomobile, I believe) to Kipling with the car to act as engineer and chauffeur. During the 1914-18 war, he was attached to Admiral Jellicoe in the same capacity. (This would have been when Jellicoe was First Sea Lord in 1916-17: Ed.) I had intended to get a story from him as a pendant to "Steam Tactics", but he died recently” (about 1960). He was acquainted with all the mechanical vicissitudes that figure so prominently in the story. Clearly he was the original of Mr Leggat(t) and he had the same precise manner.[Page 177, line 22/23] till the sights come on Hinchcliffe’s meaning is “wait till I’ve got all my ammunition ready, and have judged the target’s course and speed”. A destroyer making a torpedo attack at this date, when a torpedo could only be fired on a straight course, approached the enemy roughly head on, to close the range as quickly as possible, and to give the enemy the minimum target at which to fire. The torpedo tube was turned to face at 90º to the line of advance, and at the appropriate moment, the attacking destroyer put its helm over to swing the ship so that the torpedo tube was pointing a suitable distance ahead of the enemy: the torpedo sight was set so that the tube was pointing ahead of the sight, and as the destroyer swung, the sight traversed across the enemy’s line of advance. At the appropriate moment, the “sights came on”, and the torpedo was fired.
The Dogberry, and the Waterbury, made[Page 192, line 1] roose ruse Pyecroft is exercising his French - ruse de guerre (a trick to confuse the enemy) is implied – Agg is getting his own back.
It fifty mile – five pounds. And Juan paid!
(Dogberry is Shakespeare’s constable from "Much Ado about Nothing")
Traverse denotes the several courses a ship makes under the changes of wind and manoeuvres. From this zigzag set of lines we have Tom Cox’s Traverse: up one hatch and down another; others say three turns round the longboat and a pull at the scuttle. It is the work of an artful dodger. Nearer our own times, a Member of Parliament has described another form of “traverse” he encountered in a Naval barracks during his naval service in 1939-45, namely carrying an empty box officiously about and using it as a seat when out of sight of a senior rating or officer. Today (2008), the more usual expression is “pulling – or working – a flanker”, and your present Editor could cite plenty of examples from his own experience.Technically, “working a traverse” meant plotting or calculating the ship’s position after a series of courses as described. And “Traverse Tables” are a set of pre-calculated tables solving the problem in spherical trigonometry of the distance between any two positions, defined by latitudes and longitude, on the earth’s surface.
His form had yet not lostOne of the alternative names for Satan is Lucifer, meaning “Morning Star” – and the Morning Star is visible at dawn twilight, before the sun rises. (We tend to think of twilight as being at evening, but of course twilight occurs just before sunrise, as well as just after sunset.) It would thus seem that Satan may be the archangel referred to, and the phrase may be interpreted as “drove like the devil”. [Our thanks to George Simmers and Geoffrey Maloney who provided the reference and suggested interpretation: Ed.]
All her original brightness, nor appeared
Less than Archangel ruined, and th' excess
Of glory obscured: as when the sun new-risen
Looks through the horizontal misty air
Shorn of his beams, or, from behind the moon,
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations, and with fear of change
The whole secret of getting the bottom to be waterproof lies in the finely-divided condition to which the chalk or clay is reduced. This is frequently done by driving a team of horses and a broad-wheeled cart round and round the pond for an hour or more each day, so as to reduce to powder any lumps that remain. An old labourer told me that when he was a boy he was employed for this purpose. After the broad-wheeled cart had done its work, the puddle was flattened out with a spade, until it was quite smooth. The margin was treated in the same way, and thus nearly all the rain that fell ran down into the pond. When the bottom is made of clay it is the practice to mix the puddle with a certain amount of lime, and this prevents the working of worms. These creatures can be very destructive to the waterproof bottom of a pond.It is also suggested that the term 'dew pond' is a misnomer, since dew condensing out of the atmosphere could never do so in sufficient quantity to keep a pond filled. Rather, they should be called ‘mist-ponds’. The mist and rain keep the pond supplied in a place where there are no springs and streams.
... beyond any question of doubt this scene (at the end of the tale) is framed by the Furnace Ponds of Leonardslee, near Lower Beeding, Here Sir Edmund Loder (2nd. Baronet, 1849-1920) converted the banks of the Hammer ponds ... into sheltered gardens. [In 2008, they are celebrated for their displays of rhododendrons and azaleas in late Spring.] On the slopes many foreign animals have been acclimatised, and the visitor will find in the paddocks antelopes, zebras, springboks, prairie dogs and kangaroos, while below, beavers build on the streams and lakelets.The Kiplings visited Leonardslee from 15th to 17th July 1902, so the author would have had recent memories of the setting.