"Teem—
a Treasure Hunter"

Notes on the text

These notes, by John McGivering, are partly new, and partly based on the notes by Lisa Lewis in Mrs. Bathurst and Other Stories (OUP, 1991), and on the ORG. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of Thy Servant a Dog and Other Dog Stories, as published in 1938.



[February 22nd 2008]

[Title]
'Teem' reflects the English idea of how the French usually pronounce the name "Tim" (Bodelsen p. 74n.). The 'Treasure' is the truffle, a subterranean fungus of the order Tuberales, certain species of which, like Tuber melanosporum, found in the Perigord region of France are highly regarded in cookery and sell for up to £1,000 a kilo (2007) British truffles are a less sought-after delicacy, and sell for some £130 a kilo. They are 'hunted' by specially trained dogs with a keen sense of smell.

[Heading] First published with the story as above, in Thy Servant a Dog and Other Dog Stories, the Sussex Edition Volume 30, page 39, and the Burwash Edition Volume 23.

[Page 159 line 4] Bouvier one who drives cattle – a drover (French).

Brie a soft cheese produced in the district of the same name in France.

[Page 159 line 5] Oui Yes (French).

[Page 159 line 6] Gaul in Roman times, most of that part of Europe which is now France.

[Page 159 line 9] C’est lui It is he (French).

[Page 159 line 11] Vicomte The French for 'Viscount', pronounced 'Vye-count'. In the English Peerage ranking between an Earl and a Baron.

[Page 159 line 9] Pluton Pluto, the god of the Underworld in Greek and Roman mythology

Dis another name for Pluto, or another Underworld god.

[Page 160 line 2] flat round white Pieces silver or nickel coins.

[Page 160 line 3] Thin Papers banknotes.

[Page 160 line 9] Bouvier de Brie a drover from the Brie region.

[Page 160 line 15] of race a chien de race is a pedigree dog (French).

“born” in this context, of noble birth - see page 183 line 1 below

[Page 162 line 5] Salers a district of the Auvergne in France, noted for strong and enduring draught cattle in the days when oxen were used for hauling carts, ploughs and guns etc. (See “Her Majesty’s Servants” in The Jungle Book.)

[Page 163 line 16] stink-carts motor vehicles. A dog. with its keen sense of smell, would be highly aware of the stink of a motor car.

my world rose and fell he was at sea, crossing the English Channel (which the French call 'La Manche' - 'the sleeve') to England.

[Page 163 line 27] culvert in this context a pipe carrying a stream under a road.

[Page 164 line 3] Lingua canina A word invented by Kipling meaning dog-language in Latin, with echoes of lingua franca (a dialect spoken in Mediterranean ports, a mixture of various Mediterranean languages) and 'dog-Latin' (crude Latin).

[Page 164 line 7] clickerty from the French cliqueter - to click.

[Page 164 line 17] Château in this context a country mansion.

[Page 165 line 7] strawberry-scented Perigord truffles are said to smell of strawberries.

[Page 166 line 1] charcoal a fuel consisting of partially burned wood (other substances can also be used) which can then be burned later in a way that releases great heat. Familiar today for cooking on barbecues, it was used for smelting iron in ancient times. Before the introduction of metal kilns charcoal was made in the manner described, an operation requiring great skill to ensure that the fire does not consume the wood completely.

[Page 169 line 3] a cot in the open clean fresh air is part of the treatment for consumption – see Dr. Gillian Sheehan’s notes, and page 199 line 7 below.

[Page 170 line 21] distemper An infectious and dangerous disease of dogs. See “The Great Play Hunt” page 51 line 8 earlier in this volume.

[Page 171 line 25] Two-She-Person-Enemies probably a Nursing Sister and a Nurse who wish to place the Girl in a sanatorium.

[Page 172 line 4] certain papers in the 1880s 'consumption' (tuberculosis), a disease which was often fatal, was found to be contagious and made a 'notifiable disease' in Britain, so that cases had to be reported to the authoriities. There were campaigns to stop spitting in public places, and the infected poor were 'encouraged' to enter sanatoria (long-stay hospitals for the chronically ill) that resembled prisons. Sanatoria for the middle and upper classes, however, offered excellent care and constant medical attention. Whatever the purported benefits of the fresh air and treatment in a sanatorium, half of those who entered were dead within five years.

It is unlikely, however, that the Girl could be removed to hospital against her will. If she were under age her father’s consent in writing would be required, which may explain the harassment by the Ferret and the Goose. See also “Marklake Witches” (Rewards and Fairies), “Wireless” (Traffics and Discoveries), “With the Night Mail” (Actions and Reactions), and Dr. Gillian Sheehan’s notes.

[Page 172 line 18] gentilhommier 'gentlemanly', possibly a misprint for gentilhomme, a nobleman or gentleman – in this context, the latter; or perhaps gentilhommière (a gentleman’s country home) or gentilhommerie (the gentry) both words have – or had - a pejorative sense, implying a degree of pretentiousness.

de Loire the 'Loire' is an important river in France. But it looks as if here Kipling means 'Gentleman of the Law' (loi) – correctly rendered in French as avoué or légiste. See line 15 above.

[Page 174 line 10] ‘born’ see page 160 line 15 above.

[Page 175 line 26] dealt secretly with rabbits poaching

[Page 176 line 3] a wire in this context a snare for rabbits.

[Page 176 line 10] his proper fleas 'They say a reasonable amount of fleas is good fer (for) a dog – keeps him from broodin’ over bein’ a dog, mebbe.' (Edward Noyes Westcott, 1846-1898)

[Page 176 line 17] Truffles see the note above.

[Page 179 line 7] Pieces … Thin Papers coins … banknotes.

[Page 180 line 27] mouthed a toad the common toad (Bufo bufo) secretes an irritant substance from the skin that prevents most predators from eating them. Grass snakes and hedgehogs, however, do not seem to be deterred.

[Page 181 line 3 onwards] a tall stone wall… etc. Bodelsen, sees “The Bull that Thought” (Debits and Credits) and this story (to which he devotes his Chapter V) as reflecting Kipling’s thoughts on his Art, which has been misunderstood by some readers. He quotes Griffin’s paper in (KJ 043/75), which reflects on the theory that much of this story contains autobiographical references. See the Headnote on this story.

[Page 181 line 13] crying aloud to it in the hope it might fall down an echo of Joshua before the city of Jericho in one of the many battles fought by the ancient Israelites. See Joshua 6,20 'It came to pass when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down.'

[Page 181 line 17] ‘Aa-or’ the footnote in the text suggests this is Cahors in Quercy in southern France, from where Pierre Menonteau wrote to Kipling about the mysteries of truffle-hunting, see their correspondence. Big black birds in the line above are probably rooks and this is not unlike their cry.

[Page 182 line 9] birds peacocks, (Pavo cristatus) large birds of the pheasant family, the males having bright feathers and beautiful tails which they erect when courting. Such birds are often kept in the gardens of stately homes.

[Page 182 line 13] sparkling hands she was wearing diamond rings.

[Page 183 line 1] of race – descended from champion strains He is comparing her ancestry to that of a prize-winning pedigree dog. See page 160 line 15 above.

[Page 187 line 5] pas-de-trois a dance for three people. (literally 'step of three' in French).

[Page 187 line 15] comminations Curses or denunciations, echoing the words of a Church of England service threatening divine punishment for sinners.

[Page 187 line 25] sans-kennailerie this is probably an invented Anglo-French portmanteau-word formed from sans-culottes (literally 'without breeches', the French revolutionary mob) the English 'kennel', a little house for dogs which is also an obsolete word for gutter, with an echo of canaille, the French for 'rabble', 'blackguard' etc., and canaillerie – dirty tricks, treachery.

[Page 188 lines 23 onwards] a She-Person caged behind bars etc this is the village post-office. He is buying a dog-licence, which until 1987 one had to have if one wanted to keep a dog in the United Kingdom. (In that year licences were abolished since they were widely ignored and cost more to collect than they brought in in revenue).

[Page 189 line 1] dried skins he is in the saddler’s shop

[Page 189 line 4] ’Lor’ short for 'Oh Lord !' – sometimes 'Lor lumme !' (Lord, Love me!), an exclamation of surprise.

[Page 189 line 9] Monsieur le Law see page 172 line 18 above.

[Page 192 line 14] of race see page 183 line 1 above.

[Page 193 line 27 & overleaf] sparkling hands she wore diamond rings.

[Page 194 line 17] uncover and bend remove hat and bow.

[Page 195 line 27] rated in this context berated, scolded angrily.

[Page 196 line 22] jumped-up gentillhommier see page 172 line 18 above

[Page 197 line 18] the language of my lost world French.

[Page 198 line 2] famille family (French).

[Page 199 line 7] a wooden-roofed house See page 169 line 3, and 172 line 4 above

[Page 199 lines 12-14] a dry Person ... applies his ear to the end of a stick the Doctor listens to her lungs with an old-fashioned stethoscope like an ear-trumpet. See “Marklake Witches” (Rewards and Fairies page 101, line 29 and overleaf) in which René Laennec the French inventor of the stethoscope, uses one to listen to Jerry Gamm's chest while they discuss the symptoms of various patients including Philadelphia Bucksteed, who is fatally ill with consumption. Gamm and Laennec agree that the stethoscope, like the microscope in "The Eye Of Allah" (Debits and Credits) is ahead of its time, and while Gamm can use one on his patients, they would not have a Frenchman doing so.

[Page 200 line 4] Pluton and Dis Gods of the Underworld.


[J H McG]

©John McGivering 2008 All rights reserved