In the Interests of the Brethren

Notes on the text

(edited by Lisa Lewis and George Kieffer)


[Page 57, heading] “Banquet Night” This poem, on a Masonic theme, introduces the story.

[Page 57, line 3] a less highly coloured bird canaries fed regularly with small quantities of cayenne pepper included in their diet take on a reddish tint, but this feeding must be continued of the colour is to remain.

[Page 57, line 8] Sealyham terrier a breed of wire-haired terrier (usually white) named for its place of origin in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

[Page 57, lines 21-22] shook hands a special handshake or “grip” is one of the Masonic recognition signals, which serves “to distinguish a brother by night as well as by day.”

[Page 58, lines 1 and 10] Lewis both father and son had this given name. This family, including the grandfather, evidently proud of being freemasons, used it as a forename; but the freemason son of a freemason is known in the Craft as a Lewis.

[Page 59, line 11] Cromwell Road At the time the story was written, this was quite a good residential area in Kensington. In the poem “The ‘Mary Gloster'” (The Seven Seas, 1896), the shipping magnate’s socially aspiring son has a house there. Now one of the main routes into London from the west.

[Page 59, line 13] Stock Exchange The usual English snobbery of the time; before the First World War, and to a lesser degree between the two wars, it was quite all right to admit or claim a relationship to a Stockbroker or Jobber but not “quite the thing” to admit to having near relations in retail business and perhaps not the thing to be in wholesale trade except on a very large scale.

[Page 59, line 23] Oronoque The name comes from a brand of Virginia tobacco.

[Page 59, line 31] Bristol jar Bristol was famous for its porcelain in the eighteenth century.

[Page 60, line 6] Louis Treize Louis XIII of France (1601-1643); Louis Quinze, Louis XV.

[Page 60, line15] jacaranda-wood fragrant and ornamental wood from trees grown in tropical America.

[Page 60, line 23] Messines one of the battles in France in 1917 as part of the to-and-fro of continuous warfare in the Ypres salient. According to Liddell Hart, Messines was a limited siege operation, brilliantly mounted and executed, as a preliminary to the Third Battle of Ypres. The blowing up of Messines Ridge on 7th June 1917 was described by Kipling in The Irish Guards in the Great War as “a singularly complete and satisfactory affair.” For its human cost see “The Woman in his Life” (Limits and Renewals).

[Page 60, line 32] leaf leave.

[Page 61, line 33 – page 62, line 1] it’s the Spirit, not the Letter, that giveth life Cf . II Cor. 3,6 “not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

[Page 62, lines 17-18] Peter Gilkes and Barton Wilson Peter Gilkes (1765-1833), a modest and humble greengrocer of Carnaby Market, London, and a Roman Catholic named after Lord Petre, the leading Roman Catholic peer whose heirs continue to support Freemasonry in Essex. He dedicated 47 years of his life to Freemasonry. A member of over ten lodges, Gilkes is best known for his work as a ritualist in Emulation Lodge of Improvement, the lodge that is still today considered the repository of “Emulation” working of a lodge. Following the union of the two Grand Lodges he espoused the cause of uniformity of practice and ritual and was concerned at its slow progress. The fact that many lodges acquired his portrait to hang in their temples is testimony to the esteem in which he was held. His memorial was placed in St James’s Church, Piccadilly in 1834.

Stephen Barton Wilson was elected Treasurer of the Emulation Lodge of Improvement in 1836 and he became the acknowledged leader of that Lodge during his 30 years of membership. Rising successively to Chairman and President he because the foremost and ultimate authority on Emulation working and can be seen as Gilkes’s successor.

[Page 62, line 18] ‘Emulation’ working This is one of the standard approved rituals in Freemasonry and is the most widely practised. Early in the 19th century there was a tendency of the ritual and working of the English Lodges to vary, although this was against Grand Lodge decree. A group of leading practitioners of the standard form of the ‘Emulation’ ritual came together in 1823 to form an instructional body known as the Emulation Lodge of Improvement.

[Page 62, line 19] Kneller’s Christopher Wren Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723), portrait painter; Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723), architect of St Paul’s Cathedral is said to have been a member of Lodge of Antiquity No. 2.

[Page 62, line 20] Dunkerley a natural son of George II.

[Page 62, line 22] Hogarth’s caricature of Wilkes William Hogarth (1697-1764), satirical painter and engraver; John Wilkes(1727-1797), radical politician, Lord Mayor of London in 1774. Both Hogarth and Wilkes were Freemasons, the former serving as a Steward (junior office) in Grand Lodge and designing the jewel of office still worn by today’s Grand Stewards.

[Page 62, line 24] Anthony Sayer (1671-1742), first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of London, elected by a majority at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in 1717.

[Page 63, line 2] Desaguliers Jean-Theophile Desaguliers ((1683-1744), son of a Protestant minister, a Huguenot who sought refuge in England in 1685 after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes; scientist, polymath, friend of Sir Isaac Newton, a founding member of Grand Lodge; Grand Master in 1719. The Grand Lodge of Iowa, founded in 1840, began to collect masonic rareties in 1850. Its library is one of the most important masonic collections in the world.

[Page 63, line 5] mosaicked floor all masonic lodges have floors of black and white squares tessellated in stone or tiles, or more commonly these days a carpet. Sometimes referred to as “the chequered pavement,” it represents Light and Darkness and the joys and sorrows of man’s chequered existence on earth.

[Page 63, line 16] gavel a ceremonial mallet, used by the Worshipful Master. Senior and Junior wardens also have gavels.

[Page 63, line 19] Gold Coast former name for Ghana.

[Page 63, line 29] Carrara a place in Italy which exports a very white marble; it is near Spezia, on the Gulf of Genoa.

[Page 63, line 32] examination-room where visiting masons are “proved” and required to give the signs and words confirming that they are masons, before being admitted into the Lodge.

[Page 64, line 5] Oswestry a town in Shropshire, close to the Welsh border.

[Page 64, line 13] penitent this word is not used in Freemasonry, but is obviously given here to fit in with “confessional boxes” in line 3 of the same page.

[Page 64, line 14] Pentonville a district in the north London borough of Islington. The name was best known as the location of a prison hence the play on words in “escaped”.

[Page 65, line 4] levels the level is derived directly from a mason’s tool; it is worn by the Senior Warden of the Lodge on a collar. Emblematically it represents Equality.

[Page 65, line 29] R.A.M.C. Royal Army Medical Corps.

[Page 66, line 6] a doctor he will prove to be important in the later masonic stories.

[Page 66, lines 8-9] as fascinating as trigonometry i.e. extremely boring. Kipling considered that music had been “excluded from my make-up”. See “Kipling and Music”. At school, his maths master “disclosed that I did not know what a co-sine was and compared me to ‘brute beasts’.” (Something of Myself, p. 27.)

[Page 66, lines 14-15] King Solomon’s Chair Brother Burges is presiding as Master of the Lodge. King Solomon is regarded by Freemasons as one of the first Grand Masters, and any Master of a Lodge is installed into what is referred to as “King Solomon’s Chair”. See also the illustrated initial to “The Butterfly that Stamped” Just So Stories.

[Page 67, lines 25-6] veiled in allegory and illustrated in symbols This is a direct quotation from the Second Degree ceremony where Freemasonry is described as “a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.”

[Page 68, line 17] copybook-headings in the schools of the period, copy-books were used to improve children’s handwriting. At the head of each page a short proverb or quotation was printed in large script. The rest of the page consisted of horizontal lines on which the child was required to copy the heading over and over again. As a result, copybook-headings became proverbial for trite and moralistic sayings. See also poem “The Gods of the Copybook-Headings” (1919).

[Page 69, line 30] a Hun in his notes on The Years Between (q.v.), Kipling claimed that his poem “The Rowers” (1902) was “noteworthy for the first use of the word ‘Hun.'” This was based on the Kaiser’s message to his troops when co-operating with the Allied Forces in China at the time of the Boxer Rising (1900). He urged them to remember Attila and to make their name terrible among the Chinese.” The term became current among British soldiers of World War I.

[Page 70, line 18] Banquets see note on “Banquet Night” line 4.

[Page 71, line 17] ronuking from Ronuk, a proprietary brand of furniture and floor polish.

[Page 72, lines 2-4] Hauraki … Punta Arenas way Hauraki, North Island, New Zealand; Inyanga-Umbezi, Zimbabwe; “Aloha”, presumably Hawaii; Punta Arenas, Chile.

[Page 72, line 8] Klondyke to Kalgoorlie from Alaska to Western Australia.

[Page 72, line 26] Hespera panta fereis a line from Sappho, quoted by Demetrius On Style, 141 (see Lyra Graeca (Loeb), vol. 1 p. 284. “The Star brings them all home” is a free translation. It is thought to be the star Sirius, for from the height of this star the Egyptian priests knew when the Nile would flood. In Freemasonry there are references to the “Bright Morning Star” which brings peace and salvation to the faithful and obedient on earth. It is a symbol of Light and Enlightenment.

[Page 72, line 31] paraphrase from Micah see Micah, 6,8. The verse is thought to be Kipling’s invention.

[Page 73, lines 17 and 21] Entered Apprentices’ Song A Masonic hymn by Matthew Birkhead, given in Edmondstone Duncan’s The Minstrelsy of England Vol. II, page 179, where it is named “The Freemasons’ Health”. The tune comes from a volume of half-sheet songs of about 1700 A.D.

[Page 3, line 28] a fond thing vainly invented See The Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England, Articles of Religion XXII of Purgatory.

[Page 74, lines 1 and 2] Emblems of Mortality .. rough ashlars the Emblems of Mortality are human bones (see also “The Rout of the White Hussars” Plain Tales from the Hills). In Freemasonry the emblems of mortality allude to the death of Hiram Abiff, the architect of the Temple in Jerusalem, who was slain “Three thousand years after the creation of the earth.” Rough ashlars are unshaped stones, of which there were also plenty available from ruined buildings on the great battle fronts. They also feature in Freemasonry, where they are described as “immovable jewels” (i.e. they rest on the Wardens’ pedestals); the Rough Ashlar, resting on the Junior Warden’s pedestal, is described as a rough and unhewn stone, as taken from a quarry, for the entered apprentice to work on with the wooden mall and chisel. The Perfect Ashlar on the Senior Warden’s pedestal is a stone of true die or square, fit only to be tried by the square and compass. Ashlar is the Middle English (asheler) from Old French aisselier (Latin axilla).

[Page 74, line 12] your Warrant each lodge must have a warrant of authority from Grand Lodge, which is displayed at the opening of every Lodge Meeting.

[Page 74, line 13] Grand Lodge ought to take steps the meetings at Lodge Faith and Works No. 5837 are also, strictly speaking, irregular. At the time of writing this was a fictitious lodge; the present Lodge No. 5837 was founded in 1941 as the Middlesex Century Lodge.

[Page 75, line 31] Revelation of St John the Divine the last book of the New Testament. The Scotsman was evidently a sailor who served in the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey-in-Asia, visiting Patmos in the Dodecanese, where St John saw his vision.

[Page 77, line 4] Kamerad a German soldiers’ word meaning literally “friend”, but in practice “I surrender.”

[Page 78, lines 7-8] pickled nasturtiums pickled nasturtium seeds were used as a substitute for capers.

[Page 78, line 13] oiled paper bag a bag made of greaseproof paper.

[Page 79, line 27] King’s Cross London main line terminus for trains to the north-east.

[L.L. / G.K.]