"Yoked with an Unbeliever"

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 16 2012]

[Page 35, Title] Yoked with an Unbeliever Corinthians II, 6,14 has, in the Authorised Version, “Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness and what communion hath light with darkness ?" As so often in Kipling, there is irony here, since the reader is free to decide whether it is Dunmaya or Phil Garron that is the 'unbeliever'.

[Heading] Quoted in Fallon’s A Dictionary of Hindustani Proverbs (Banares, 1886)

[Page 35, line 1] the Gravesend tender
a steamboat that took passengers and those seeing them off to the Peninsular and Oriental Line (P.& O.) vessel that would be anchored or secured to buoys in the Thames; in later years the ships were alongside at Tilbury. See the poem “The Exiles’ Line” .

[Page 35. line 2] steamer a passenger-ship – at this time coal-fired and with reciprocating engines.

[Page 35, line 3] Town in this instance means “London”; a convention still (2003) in use.

[Page 35. line 10] sepoys a sepoy is an Indian soldier – probably from the Persian, via Portuguese (Hobson-Jobson).

[Page 35, line 11} Phil Garron also mentioned in passing in “On the Strength of a Likeness” .

[Page 35, line 13] ‘tea’ The East India Company, which governed India until the British Goverment imposed direct Imperial rule, had a monopoly of the tea trade from China, but there were those in India who thought tea could be grown there for the British market. Tea-estates were planted and by the time of these stories were beginning to pay. One of the pioneers was Edwin Lester Arnold who wrote On Indian Hills (1881), a book which Kipling probably knew.

[Page 36 line 8] Darjiling (Darjeeling) a Hill-station in the Himalayas, about 300 miles due North of Calcutta. The land was annexed in 1850 as a penalty for the seizure of a Political Officer in Sikkim in that year, and became one of the best-known areas for tea in India.

[Page 36, line 24] putty a soft substance made from whiting and linseed oil which can be moulded into a window-frame to secure the glass. It hardens on exposure to the air and is then painted.

[Page 36, line 27] port on the Bengal Ocean his Mother was misinformed

[Page 36, line 29] six months see “Lispeth”, the first item in this collection.

[Page 37 line 1] Kangra A district in the foothills of Himachal Pradesh, 800 miles from Darjeeling.

[Page 37,line 5] settled more into the collar as a horse gets used to his harness and settles down to work.

[Page 38 line 1] ‘world without end, amen’ the ending of many prayers in the Church of England.

[Page 38, line 10] Philistine an expression meaning an uncultured person of narrow mind adopted by Matthew Arnold (1822–1888). From the inhabitants of South–West Palestine in the ancient world, traditional enemies of the Jews led by King David and others. Not much used today.

[Page 38, line 22] the first duty perhaps a touch of sarcasm but reflecting the power of a father in those days. See the note on what old Youghal said in “Miss Youghal’s Sais".

[Page 38, line 28] Rajput “Son of a King” – a great race in India that usually followed the profession of arms and provided a great number of princely families. (Hobson–Jobson)

[Page 38, line 29] Subadar–Major the highest rank then attainable by an Indian infantryman.

[Page 38, line 31] purdah–nashin the seclusion of women was a Muslim custom which spread to Hindus by force of example in places where the two races were living in close contact; in the hills, however, there were insufficient inhabitants to make this necessary.

[Page 39, line 31] that is another story a phrase that appears many times in the early work and has irritated some readers, as it implies that the young Kipling knows more than he is prepared to disclose.

[Page 40 line 23 ] Watson’s Hotel in Bombay, patronised by the British for many years; closed in 1919.


[J. McG.]