"Tods' Amendment"

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.




[Dec 2 2003]


[Heading] Collected as a 'Chapter Heading' in Definitive Verse and Inclusive Verse, as "Tods' Amendment".
See Pinney, p. 111.

Bhagat a Hindu holy man. See “The Miracle of Purun Baghat” in The Second Jungle Book.

[Page 196, line 4] ayah his nurse; also used for a lady’s maid (from the Portuguese aia, a nurse or governess.)

[Page 196, line 6] Mountain Battery Screw-Guns (See the poem of the same name) that were dismantled and carried on mules which were proverbially bad-tempered. And see also “Her Majesty’s Servants” in The Jungle Book, which is followed by the poem “Parade-Song of the Camp Animals”.

[Page 196, line 9] Supreme Legislative Council
The supreme authority in India, to which all provincial governments were subordinate, was the Governor-General of India in Council. The Government consisted of the Viceroy and six Members of Council, exclusive of the Commander-in-Chief, who divided between them the work of the several departments (except the Foreign Department under the Governor-General himself) entrusted to seven Secretaries. All matters of importance were decided by the whole Executive, styled the Governor-General in Council. For making laws, the Executive Council was enlarged by additional members.

Above the Supreme Legislative Council was the British Secretary of State for India, in London, who was responsible to Parliament. He was assisted by the Council of India which consisted of twelve members whose concurrence was requisite for certain purposes, such as borrowing money and other matters.

See also “Her Majesty’s Servants” in The Jungle Book for a slightly simpler chain of command.

[Page 196, line 11] Boileaugunge Road parallel to and below The Mall in Simla, and named after an Engineer called Boileau. There was a Captain Alexander Boileau engaged in the Survey of India in the 1830s. [John Keay, The Great Arc, The Dramatic Tale of How India was Mapped and Everest Named, Harper Collins 2000]

See also “The Unlimited Draw of ‘Tick’ Boileau” in Quartette, “Only a Subaltern” in Wee Willie Winkie and “A Conference of the Powers” in Many Inventions.

[Page 196, line 13] ‘Peterhoff’ summer residence of the Viceroy before Viceregal Lodge was occupied in 1888. See the notes to “The Other Man”.

[Page 196, line15; Red Lancer a member of the Viceroy’s Bodyguard – more appear in “A Germ Destroyer” earlier in this volume.

[Page 197, line 3] salaam a Mohammedan salutation from the Arabic salãm meaning peace.

[Page 197, line 4] Sahib the title by which Europeans were addressed in India, the equivalent of 'Sir' or perhaps 'Master', from the Arabic meaning 'a companion' and sometimes a companion of Mohammed. It was also attached to Muslim or Hindu men of rank as e.g. Tipu Sahib. [Hobson-Jobson]

[Page 197, line 5] Moti Pearl. See also “Moti Guj – Mutineer” in Life’s Handicap and Moti, a monky who eats the poisoned fruit intended for the Maharaj Kunwar in The Naulahka. It can also mean 'fatty'.

[Page 197, line 23] jhampanis rickshaw coolies.

[Page 197, line 24] saises grooms; others appear in “Miss Youghal’s Sais” earlier in this volume.

[Page 197, line 30] dhoby a washerman, from the Sanskrit dhav, to wash. [Hobson-Jobson]

[Page 197, line 30] dogboy he looked after the dogs. The dog-boy in “Garm, a Hostage” in Actions and Reactions, has a good grasp of canine psychology.

[Page 197, line 31] khit short for khitmungar from the Hindi khidmat – service – and usually applied to one who waits at table, a butler.

[Page 197, line 31] Mussoorie a civilian hill-station 75 miles south-east of Simla.

[Page 198, line2] Chota Simla “Little Simla” a bazaar about three miles East of Boileaugunge.

[Page 198, line 3] Urdu The language of the Punjab. It is the Hindustani word for camp, adopted by the Emperor Akbar for the name of the camp language or lingua franca of Northern India under the Moghuls.

[Page 198, line 5] chotee bolee ‘small speech’ used by women to children – baby-talk.

[Page 198, line 13] Home the United Kingdom.
For their education, to prevent them becoming too precocious, and for the benefit of their health as the climate was not really suitable for growing children, small Anglo-Indian children were usually sent 'home' at the age of five or six, as was Kipling.

See Something of Myself, Chapters One and Two, also “Baa Baa , Black Sheep” in Wee Willie Winkie. and “Nursery-Rhymes for little Anglo-Indians” When the hot weather comes / Baby will die -/ With a fine pukka tomb / In the ce-me-te-ry. [Early Verse by Rudyard Kipling ed. Rutherford, p 230]

The dreadful death-rate among children in India is also emphasised in the next story in this volume, “The Daughter of the Regiment.” … Whin the childher wasn’t bornin’, they was dying..

[Page 198, line 17] Sub-Montane Tracts land at the foot of the mountains.

[Page 198, line 18] Land Bill the Land Settlement was extremely complicated, as it was the basis of most of the taxation in India under the British. It caused much trouble in Bengal in 1790 due to amendments by men who did not understand it properly.

[Page 199, line 10] Naga the name applied to a group of wild clans of warlike character in the Eastern part of the hill country which divide the valley of the Brahmaputra from Kachar and the basin of the Surma. [Hobson-Jobson]

[Page 199, line 11] Commissariat See the notes to “The Other Man”.

[Page 199, line 14 ] Native Member probably a distinguished and anglicised Indian gentleman appointed to the Council. If he had spent his education in England, he might not, like this one, have had much understanding of the lives of Indian villagers.

[Page 199, line 16] Charing Cross There is a Charing Cross in Lahore, at the intersection of the Mall and the road that leads to the Provincial Assembly Hall, where the statue of Queen Victoria used to be. (It is now in the Central Museum, opposite Zam-Zammah: the gun is surrounded by a moat to stop children like Kim sitting on it.) But Kipling may well have been referring to Charing Cross in London, one of the cross-roads of the Empire, where the Strand meets Trafalgar Square, and only a couple of hundred metres from the rooms where he was to live a few years later. So the reference is not altogether clear.

[Page 199, line 19] The Legal Member He would take charge of the drafting of Government Bills which were the basis of new laws.

[Page 199, line 21] Dubaris Executive members of governments who come to the Viceroy’s Courts and Audiences. Possibly from the Persian darbar.

[Page 199, line 22] chaprassis Government messengers who wore a badge (chapras) engraved with the name of their office or department.

[Page 199, line 23] Deputy Commissioners officers in charge of Districts – known as 'Collectors' in some areas. A group of Districts is usually known as a Division, with a Commissioner in charge.

[Page 199, line 30] varnish off an echo of Mrs. Hauksbee’s surprise at seeing the Government of India stripped of its lacquer and paint in “Consequences” earlier in this volume.

[Page 200, line 1] Burra Simla Bazar the main shopping centre

[Page 200, line 2] Ditta Mull, the bunnia a Hindu shopkeeper.

[Page 200, line 4] Lord Sahib the Viceroy, usually pronounced Lat Sahib.


[Page 200, line 20] ‘shop’ in this context, a professional or business conversation outside working hours – not really suitable at the dinner-table.

[Page 200, line 22] Ryotwary Hindi, from the Persian ra’iyatwar; a system by which the settlement for land revenue is made directly by the government agency with each individual cultivator holding land, and not through landowners or other middlemen.

[Page 200, line 26] murramutted repaired, put in order; from the Arabic maramma(t)

[Page 200, line 28] theek exact, precise, punctual, also expressing 'all excellence'. From the Hindi thîk

[Page 201 ,line 3] lakhs a lakh is one hundred thousand, from the Sanscrit lakh usually with “rupees“ understood. [According to Hobson-Jobson it was used in the Malay Archipelago and Java to mean ten thousand] The name of the Kiplings’ house in Vermont, Naulakha means “nine lakhs of rupees", the value of Sitaghai’s necklace in the novel Kipling wrote with Wolcott Balestier. The title of that novel was mis-spelt “Naulahka” and has caused some confusion ever since.

[Page 201, line 8] fink a childish way of pronouncing “think”.

[Page 201, line 28] sirkar Hindi, from the Persian sarkar, head (of) affairs – the State, Government. In Bengal, a house-steward who keeps accounts etc. and an employee in an office. [Hobson-Jobson]

[Page 202, line 2] bundobust Persian bandobast – literally “tying and binding” – any system or mode of regulation, a revenue settlement or arrangement.

[Page 202, line 3] takkus-stamps land revenue tax

[Page 202, line 5] harvest the culmination of the year's work when the crops must be gathered by hand, and the farmer could not possibly leave his farm to go to court which might be some distance away.

[Page 202, line 6] Jehannum Hell

[Page 202, line 9] vakils attorneys

[Page 202, line 16] burnt as a Hindu, he will be cremated when he dies.

[Page 202, line 21] dikh trouble, but Hobson-Jobson maintains that it is, properly, an adjective.

[Page 203, line 12] the real native – not the hybrid Uneducated Indians would probably have been very shy of Europeans, as implied in the text.

[Page 203, line 28] pistachio nuts the almond-flavoured fruit-kernels of the pistacia vera of the same genus of the cashew family as the mastic tree: from the Persian pistah.

[Page 203, line 28] Cabuli from Kabul, capital of Afghanistan.


[J. McG.]