"Thrown Away"

Notes on the text

These notes, by John McGivering, are partly new, and partly based on the notes on this tale in the ORG. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of Plain Tales from the Hills, as published and frequently reprinted between 1899 and 1950.



[July 13 2012]

[Page 15, heading] collected in:
  • Songs from Books
  • Inclusive Verse
  • Definitive Verse
  • The Sussex amd Burwash editions of Kipling's works
[Page 15, line 11] Old Brown Windsor a brand of soap.

[Page 16, line 13] Sandhurst The Royal Military College at Sandhurst in Surrey where officers are trained for the Army.

[Page 16, line 21] came out passed out at the end of the course .

[Page 16, line 25] third-rate depôt battalion a very poor battalion with incompetent officers that remains in barracks. The remainder of this page and most of the next display a remarkably cynical view of life by the young Kipling, aged twenty-two, so recently returned to India.

[Page 17, line 17] eight hours between death and burial corpses do not keep long in the climate of the Indian Plains. See Chapter 3,“Seven Years’ Hard” in Something of Myself, Kipling’s autobiography.

[Page 17, line 18] Home-furlough leave in the United Kingdom. (From the Dutch vurlof)

[Page 17, line 18] acting-allowances extra pay for doing the job of a senior without being promoted.

[Page 17, line 25]old as the Hills a nice play upon words; 'as old as the hills' (with a small “H”) is a proverbial saying meaning 'of a great age', but with a capital letter in Kipling’s work usually refers to the foothills of the Himalayas which figure in much of his Indian prose and verse.

[Page 17, line 29]to call upon in this context a social visit, usually for afternoon tea.

[Page 18, line 8] whist a card game, popular before the invention of bridge.

[Page 18, line 11] head in this context the dreadful headache or 'hangover' that follows over-indulgence in alcohol.

[Page 18, line 8] gymkhanas
sports meetings with or without mounted events, from the Hindi gend-khana (ball-house, the name usually given to a racquets-court. [Hobson-Jobson]

[Page 18, line 11] head the hangover or headache that follows over indulgence in alcohol.

[Page 18, line 15] two-goldmohur the chief gold coin of British India was the Mohur, worth 16 Rupees [Hobson-Jobson]

[Page 18, line 16] maiden ekka-ponies ponies under 14 hands (4 feet, 8 inches at the shoulder who have never won a race. An ekka is a light two-wheeled carriage.

[Page 18, line 16] manes hogged clipped.

[Page 18, line 17) the Derby the leading English race, run over one and a half miles at Epsom, Surrey established in 1780 and named after the 12th Earl of Derby.

[Page 18, line 28) colt an entire (uncastrated) young male horse under four years old.

[Page 19, line 20] wigging a reprimand.

[Page 19, line 23] kicked the beam tilted the balance.

[[Page 19, line 31] Rest House See the article by Lt-Col. Stanford on dak bungalows in India.

[Page 20, line 2] partridge a small game-bird, family Phasianidae and very good flavour when properly cooked and served. (Or, as old Naval friends of mine used to say of particularly good food or drink, “Salubrious !” or “Succulent!)

[Page 20, line 12] leaving cards in this context a social call as the Narrator (who may or may not be Kipling.) has probably recently arrived on the Station, he is leaving visiting-cards with his name and address.

[Page 21, line 29] took off his helmet a mark of respect for the dead.

[Page 23, line 12] cholera an unpleasant, infectious and then usually fatal disease prevalent in India at the time. See the verse “Cholera Camp.)

[Page 24, line 6] locket and rings the locket, worn round the neck on a gold chain would probably contain a picture of his sweetheart – men often wore a signet-ring on a little finger.

[Page 25, line 6] Burial of the Dead The Order for the Burial of the Dead in the of the Church of England.


[J H McG]

©John McGivering 2012 All rights reserved