'Wireless'

Notes on the text

In compiling these notes the Editor has been grateful to draw on those written by Lisa Lewis for the OXFORD WORLD'S CLASSICS edition of "Mrs Bathurst and Other Stories" (1991), with the kind permission of Oxford University Press, and on the ORG. 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.



[January 1st 2008]

[Page 213 line 1] Marconi See the headnote.

[Page 213 line 13] pole in this context a mast supporting the aerial.

[Page 213 line 20] Poole watering-place and port on the coast of Dorset in southern England. Marconi carried out experiments at the Haven Hotel there in 1900.

[Page 213 line 21] batteries in this context vessels containing acid for storing electricity – see "Below the Mill Dam" the last story in this volume, page 87 line 10.

[Page 213 line 22] guvnor slang pronounciation of 'governor': used for an person of authority, an employer, father etc.

[Page 214 line 7] Bitter cold, isn’t it ? an echo of the first line of Keats's "The Eve of St. Agnes": 'St. Agnes’ Eve – Ah, bitter chill it was !

[Page 214 line 14] ammoniated quinine a cold, fever and influenza mixture popular at the time.

[Page 214 line 22] Apothecaries Hall headquarters, of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London, established by Royal Charter in 1617: the Society has been licensing doctors to practise Medicine since 1815.

[Page 214 line 31] djinns djinn (or jinn) is the plural of jinnee, a spirit with supernatural powers in Islamic mythology. Kipling refers to them in prose and verse – particularly in the Just-So Stories.

[Page 214 line 33] the rack a mediaeval instrument of torture, still used in England in the early seventeenth century.

[Page 215 line 11] Italian warehouse a high-class grocery selling exotic foods from Italy and elsewhere.

[Page 215 line 17] Pharmaceutical Formulary the British National Formulary (BNF) widely regarded by doctors, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals as an up to date and authoritative information resource on medicines prescribed in the UK.

[Page 215 line 18] Nicholas Culpepper (or Culpeper, 1616-1654) English botanist, herbalist, physician, and astrologer. His published books, The English Physitian (1652) and the Complete Herbal (1653), contain a rich store of pharmaceutical and herbal knowledge. He appears in "A Doctor of Medicine"(Rewards and Fairies). See also the verse "Our Fathers of Old".

[Page 215 line 24] jobmaster one who hired out horses and vehicles - Keats’s father kept a livery-stable.

Kirby Moors probably Kirkby Moors in Yorkshire

[Page 215 line 28] Co-operative stores The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, a group of weavers and other artisans in Rochdale, England, was formed in 1844. As the mechanisation of the Industrial Revolution was forcing more and more skilled workers into poverty, these tradesmen decided to band together to open a shop selling provisions they could not otherwise afford. With lessons from prior failed attempts at co-operation in mind, they designed the now famous Rochdale Principles. Over a period of four months they struggled to accumulate £1 per person and on 21 December 1844, they opened their "Co-operative Stores" for the sale of butter, sugar, flour, oatmeal and candles.

Within three months their stock included tea and tobacco, and they were soon able to provide more wholesome goods at prices that undercut other retailers. The Co-operative Movement is now world-wide. See also "The Army of a Dream", part 1 page 244 line 32 in this volume.

[Page 216 line 1] Christy’s New Commercial Plants New Commercial Plants for sale, with directions how to grow them to the best advantage, nos. 1-11, 1878-1879.

[Page 216 line 10] I was deeply interested in Marconi experiments Given Kipling’s concern for the defence of the country and the Empire, such a method of communication was of great interest to him; this is an occasion when we can safely assume that he can be taken to be the narrator of this story.

Experiments in wireless telegraphy were in progress in the Navy when Kipling had a cruise with the Channel Fleet in 1898 (Charles Carrington, p. 375) and a squadron was given some wireless sets during the Second Boer War of 1899-1902. They caught a few blockade-runners with their assistance.

[Page 216 line 21] Paris-diamond mine artificial jewellery from France has been famous since the eighteenth century.

[Page 216 line 22] the ritual of his craft the correct procedures of his profession, an echo of Freemasonry.

[Page 216 line 23] glass jars chemists traditionally had large flasks containing coloured liquid in their windows.

[Page 216 line 24] led Rosamund to parting with her shoes see "The Purple Jar" by Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849) in Early Lessons (1801) and The Purple Jar etc. The child Rosamund was so taken with the beauty of the jars in a chemist’s shop that she implored her mother to buy her one instead of a new pair of shoes. The jar turned out to contain coloured water.

[Page 216 line 20] electrics ORG wonders if an English provincial town would have had electric light in shops at this time ?

[Page 216 line 26] orris The root of some species of Iris from Southern Europe. Once important in western herbal medicine, it is now used mainly in perfumery, and some brands of gin.

Kodak films originally the Eastman Dry Plate Company, founded by George Eastman and businessman Henry Strong in Rochester, New York in 1881, which produced the first simple roll film cameras suitable for use by amateurs. They do not usually have any particular smell.

[Page 216 line 27] vulcanite natural rubber treated with sulphur discovered by Charles Goodyear in USA about 1839, patented by Hancock in England in May 1843 and Goodyear in USA in 1851. It was used to make combs, buttons, jewellery, fountain pens, pipe stems etc. and also had no particular smell. tooth-powder a preparation for cleaning the teeth. sachets in this context small decorative bags containing an aromatic herb like lavender, kept with linen, garments etc. almond-cream a hand and complexion cream made from a species of Prunus belonging to the subfamily Prunoideae of the family Rosaceae.

[Page 216 line 29] cayenne pepper jujubes Cayenne is a hot red chili pepper used in cookery and medicine. Named for the city of Cayenne in French Guiana, it is a cultivar of Capsicum annuum related to bell peppers, jalapeños, and others. The fruits are generally dried and ground, or pulped and baked into cakes, which are then ground and sifted to make the pepper.

[Page 216 line 33] birds and game hung upon hooks in the days before present-day hygiene-consciousness, the outsides of shops selling poultry etc. were fitted with racks and festooned with carcasses for sale..

[Page 217 line 6] that old hare another echo of the opening of "The Eve of St. Agnes".

[Page 217 line 10] Bitter cold stanza 1 again.

[Page 217 line 32] a drugged moth see page 223 line 5.

[Page 218 line 22] glass-knobbed drawers that lined the walls the shop is fitted with drawers – probably mahogany - with the Latin names of their contents in gold cartouches on their fronts. Most drugs in those days were prepared on the premises from the bark, twigs, leaves etc. of medicinal herbs, mostly replaced by chemicals today. This is wonderful writing; as Randall Jarrell comments: 'no one ever again will have to describe a drugstore'. [Kipling, Auden & Co., Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York, 1980, p. 362]. See page 223 line 4 below.

[Page 218 line 24] cardamoms the fruit of several plants of the family Zingiberaceae with a pungent odour.

ground ginger the underground stem of a plant of the same family used in cookery and medicine.

chloric-ether an old name for spirits of chloroform then used for many purposes, including anaesthetics. (Black's Medical Dictionary by John D Comrie, A & C Black 6th edition 1918.)

dilute alcohol more correctly ethyl alcohol used in pharmacy and (as in this instance) intoxicating drinks.

[We showed this recipe to our local pharmacist in Brighton, who conceded that such a mixture might work, but was shocked by the idea of an unqualified person turned loose in the dispensary. It does not seem as attractive as the ‘cordial’ in "A Doctor of Medicine" (Rewards and Fairies page 266, line 4); Ed.]

[Page 219 line 5] a graduated glass a medicine-glass, then usually marked in spoonfuls of various sizes.

[Page 219 line 9] connected up with the plumbing then a method of finding an earth for electricity.

[Page 219 line 19] Hertzian waves electromagnetic waves generated by oscillations in an electric circuit – the basis of what is now called radio. See also ORG Volume 4, p. 1902.

[Page 219 line 20] coherer explained in the text, but see also ORG above

[Page 220 line 5] bright red stains blood, indicating the fatal disease, "consumption", now referred to as tuberculosis. See Dr. Gillian Sheehan’s Notes.

[Page 220 line 8] cubeb Piper cubeba, or 'tailed pepper', is a plant in genus Piper, cultivated for its fruit and essential oil. It is mostly grown in Java and Sumatra, hence it is sometimes called Java pepper..

[Page 220 line 13] grateful and comforting The advertising slogan for Epp’s Cocoa, a popular drink of the time.

[Page 220 line 23] danger-signals see line 5 above.

[Page 220 line 31] toilet-water a fragrant liquid like eau-de-Cologne then used as an after-shave etc.

[Page 221 line 7] patent medicines In those times patients had to pay their doctors, and had the alternative of dosing themselves with 'patent medicines' which were widely advertised.

[Page 221 line 15] Benzoin resin a balsamic resin obtained from the bark of several species of trees in the genus Styrax used in perfumes, some kinds of incense, and medicine It containg benzoic acid, and called benzoin resin to distinguish it from the crystalline compound benzoin.

[Page 222 line 3] red, black and yellow jute blanket Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fibre that can be spun into coarse strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus, family Malvaceae and used for making coarse cloth as well as sacks etc. known as gunny in India and burlap in the United States. See Page 232 line 32 for the reference to the colours.

[Page 222 line 10] gaslight street-lamps still used gas long after electricity arrived.

[Page 222 line 17 onwards] our electric lights….etc see page 218 line 22 above.

[Page 222 line 20] kaleidoscopic lights The kaleidoscope is an optical instrument which produces coloured patterns of infinite variety.

[Page 222 line 23] sparklet bottles a method of making soda-water at home or in camp sold by the Sparklets Corporation of New York. The reinforced bottle was filled with water and a small bulb containing compressed carbon dioxide was connected to the inlet valve and released into the water.

[Page 222 line 27] porphyry a beautiful red volcanic rock – perhaps an echo of the hero of St. Agnes – 'Porphyro'. malachite a carbonate of copper, forming a hard rock, used in statuary etc.

[Page 222 line 33] chypre the French for Cyprus, in this context a perfume of insistent odour that is not highly regarded in Britain.

[Page 223 line 5] a drugged moth an echo of line 213 of "St. Agnes".

[Page 223 line 17] knuckle-stretching sound a characteristic "click" made by the finger-joints when pulled.

[Page 223 line 28] a string of pearls winking at you…. an echo of "Ode to a Nightingale", also by Keats, verse 2:

With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple stainèd mouth...
[Page 224 line 9] cooked Shaynor’s goose a slang expression for 'ruined his chances'.

[Page 224 line 15] doses a misprint for 'dozes' – short naps.

[Page 224 line 27] induction explained in the text, but also see ORG Volume 4 p.1902.

[Page 225 line 21] a telegraph-office ticker the machine that received the 'Morse Code' dots and dashes invented by Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1872). Some versions printed it on a paper tape.(line 30)

[Page 226 line 16] Fanny Brand Keats was secretly engaged to Frances (Fanny) Brawne (1800-1865).

[Page 227 line 18] T.R. is our call ... Poole . L.L.L. call-signs to identify the stations.

[Page 227 line 23] halliards the line which reeves through a sheave at the mast-head, usually for hoisting a flag but in this context, the wireless aerial, see page 213 line 13 above.

[Page 228 line 6] And threw warm gules…. line 218 of "The Eve of St. Agnes" with 'young' replacing 'fair'; the poem has "Madeline" throughout but Kipling spells it "Madeleine" every time.

gules the heraldic term for red.

[Page 228 line 13] stained-glass effect an echo of lines 208 - 215

[Page 228 line 16] vile chromo chromo-lithograph, an early colour-printing process which produced mixed results.

[Page 228 line 25] Very cold it was… an echo of the opening of "The Eve of St Agnes".

[Page 229 line 1] The hare, in spite of fur… another echo of the opening of "The Eve of St. Agnes".

[Page 229 line 6] Incense in a censer line 7 of "The Eve of St Agnes".

[Page 229 line 25] And my weak spirit fails an echo of line 17 of "The Eve of St. Agnes".

[Page 229 line 28] Beneath the churchyard mould see lines 14-18 of "The Eve of St. Agnes".

[Page 230 line 10] a rifle-shot at the butts see "The Parable of Boy Jones" (Land and Sea Tales)

[Page 231 line 23] The little smoke of a candle an echo of lines 199 and 200 of of "The Eve of St Agnes".

[Page 232 line 9] moonlight 'moonshine' in "The Eve of St Agnes".

[Page 232 line 15] in that place ORG believes this is Teignmouth in Devonshire, one of several places where Keats is believed to have written "The Eve of St Agnes".

[Page 232 line 32] red, black and yellow line 256 of "The Eve of St Agnes": 'A cloth of woven crimson, gold, and jet'.

[Page 233 line 4] drug-drawers see page 218 line 22 above.

[Page 233 line 19] Candied apple lines 265-270 of "The Eve of St Agnes", with a slight alteration.

[Page 234 line 6] The sharp rain an echo of lines 324 and 325 of "The Eve of St Agnes".

[Page 234 line 27] A fairyland for you and me See another poem by Keats, "Ode to a Nightingale" lines 9-71

[Page 235 line 14] A savage spot see lines 14-16 of the poem "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834.)

[Page 235 line 20] Our windows echoes of lines 323 onwards of "The Eve of St Agnes". See also page 236, lines 6 and 11.

[Page 235 line 29] mercury in the tube probably a thermometer.

[Page 238 line 14] Sandown Bay an anchorage for shipping off the Isle of Wight.

[Page 239 line 10] mediums are all imposters See "The Sending of Dana Da" (Soldiers Three), Something of Myself, p. 58, and the verse "En-Dor".

[Page 239 line 17] I’ll go home Kipling was living at Rottingdean, near Brighton, when this was written.


[L.L./J. H. McG]

©Lisa Lewis and John McGivering 2007 All rights reserved