"Miss Youghal's Sais"

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 14 2012]

[Page 27, heading] Quoted in S W Fallon’s A Dictionary of Hindustani Proverbs, p. 156.

[Page 27, line 7] passed by on the other side a quotation from the parable of "The Good Samaritan", Luke 10, 31.

[Page 27, line 15] Ghor Kathri a Hindu temple in Peshawar.

[Page 27, line 15] Jamma Musjid the largest mosque in Delhi City on the Maidan opposite the Fort.

[Page 28, line 3] riff-raff rabble.

[Page 28, line 5] Fantee a nation of the Gold Coast and their language; but in this instance to 'go Fantee' is to adopt the ways of native people. See “To be Filed for Reference” ( the last tale in this collection).

[Page 28, line 7] Sat Bhai Seven Brothers a secret society mentioned in Kim.

[Page 28, line 9] Sansis a tribe of gypsies ( They appear briefly in Kim, Chapter 4)

[Page 28, line 10] Háalli-hukk not identified

[Page 28, line 15] Jagadhri a town about 100 miles North of Delhi.

[Page 28, line 16] the Painting of the Death Bull not identified. [I wonder if this is a bit of Mithras-worship?: Ed.]

[Page 28, line 18] changars gangs of women employed by civil engineers to carry the spoil in baskets on their heads. They also appear briefly in Chapter 4 of Kim.

[Page 28 line 19] Eusufzai now spelt Yusufzai , a Pathan tribe which defeated one of Akbar’s armies in 1586 and is supposed to have occupied the Province of Rohilkand which was claimed by the Nizam of Oudh in the 18th Century. Another section inhabits the North-East part of the plain of Peshawar and part of the Black Mountain district East of the Indus.

[Page 28 line 19] Attock where the Rawalpindi–Peshawar railway crosses the River Indus

[Page 28, line 22] Sunni Mollah a Mullah is a Priest or learned man; the Sunni are the section of Muslims that accept the Sunna or traditional teaching of Mohamet to be of equal authority with the Quran.

[Page 28, line 24] Baba Atal Gardens at Amritzar, just South of the Golden Temple in the holy city of the Sihks some 30 miles East of Lahore. The tower there is named after a youth who was reproved for restoring a child to life after it had been bitten by a snake; he then died to take its place.

[Page 28, line 26] Nasiban Murder Case not identified.

[Page 29 line 22] old Youghal said...
Up to about 1914 when more clerical work became available, there were, apart from the medical and teaching professions, no jobs ladies could do without losing their social standing; thus an unmarried girl was totally dependent on her father for her board and lodging, and a married woman on her husband. In the narrow social circles of India then, Miss Youghal was obliged to obey her father. She could not elope with Strickland as he was obliged to work in his District, and they would not have been received at Government House or anywhere else.

[Page 29, line 27] After one long talk The young people obviously came to an understanding as will be seen later

[Page 29, line 29] Simla the summer headquarters of the Government of India.

[Page 29, line 33] Estreekin In their own languages Indians are not used to pronouncing several consonants together, so in English tend to insert a vowel - in this case, an “e”.

[Page 30, line 2] old dyer Strickland would need staining the right colour for his part in the same way Huneefa prepared Kim in Chapter 10 of Kim, although it is not mentioned again in "Miss Youghal's Sais".

[Page 30, line 2] Tarn Taran sacred to the Sikhs, near Amritzar.

[Page 30, line 25] Dulloo Strickland, disguised as a Hindu ,would obviously not wish to disclose himself, so was obliged to write the letter to obtain his cheroots.

[Page 31, line 10] Naik Corporal.

[Page 31, line 11] Isser Jang a small village on the road from Lahore to Montgomery described in Chapter XXXV, From Sea to Sea and mentioned in the poem "Gemini".

[Page 31, line 19] knuckle–bones a game which comprises picking up small bones, throwing them in the air and catching them on the back of the hand.

[Page 31, line 19] Jhampánis rickshaw–coolies (See note to “Three - and an Extra”, p. 14) This story took place in 1884. See also “A Deal in Cotton”.

[Page 31, line 24] Jemadar an Indian officer or foreman, in this instance the head groom.

[Page 31, line 33] Benmore a large house on the Mall at Simla, used as a Masonic Temple , with a ballroom and skating-rink. (See the poem "The Plea of the Simla Dancers".

[Page 32, line 1] horse–blanket It often rains in Simla , the trees drip when it is not raining, and it is cold at night.

[Page 32, line 6] as Jacob served for Rachel (Genesis 29, 18)

[Page 33, line 2] V.C. the Victoria Cross, a medal for bravery instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856. See “Winning the Victoria Cross” in Land and Sea Tales for Scouts and Guides (1923).

[Page 33, line 10] cob a short-legged but strong horse, very suitable for the hills.

[Page 33, line 15] forty-minute farce an amusing one-act play, at that time often presented after a serious drama.

[Page 33, line 23] hurrooch Irish slang for excitement.

[Page 33, line 33] purple and fine linen (Luke 16, 19)

[Page 34, line 10] to wire to send a telegram; this must have been a stratagem to allow the young people to be alone together, as his house was locked up.

[Page 34, line 23] he broke his promise to help a friend see “The Bronkhorst Divorce-Case".

[Page 34, line 27] cant in this context, slang.


[J H McG]

©John McGivering 2012 All rights reserved