The Brushwood Boy

Notes on the text

These notes, edited by Alastair Wilson, 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 The Day’s Work, as published and frequently reprinted between 1898 and 1950.

[Page 360] [Verse Heading] Kipling is quoting, probably from memory, the old Nursery song first published in The Little Pretty Pocket Book, 1744, but known at least as early as the end of the previous century.

[Page 361, line 8] donkey-cart well-to-do Victorian families, living in the country, who kept a carriage, usually had a more sedate conveyance for the nursery party: the vehicle might be a ‘governess cart’, and the motive power a reliable, probably elderly, pony or donkey, who could be relied upon not to overset the children when meeting some untoward road-user, such as a traction engine or flock of sheep.

[Page 361, line 29] night-light a small shallow, but wide, candle, usually set in a small bowl, so that it could neither be upset, nor did the wax drip down the side, with the danger of fire: used in the nursery where a child might be scared of the dark.

[Page 361, line 31-2] a pile of brushwood brushwood was the cuttings from hedges and trees which had been pruned (see “Friendly Brook” in A Diversity of Creatures), or the smallest twigs left over from coppicing a wood. There were two primary uses for brushwood: one, as the name suggests, was for making the kind of brush known as a besom broom, used for brushing up leaves, or indoors, for brushing the hearth or an earthen floor: brushwood was also used for firing a bake-oven.

[Page 362, line 12] after “four times six”, the Century version goes on:

It was most amusing at the very beginning, before the races round the pile, when he could shout out to the others, ‘It’s only make-believe, and I’ll smack you!’

[Page 362, lines 13-15] The princess the edition of Grimm was probably the old one with illustrations by Cruickshank (right) (1792-1878 – a noted illustrator of, among others Dickens’ work) – which would have been the one sent to Kipling by his father at the same age, as recorded in “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” in Wee Willie Winkie (page 287, line 5).

[Page 362, line 16] for always applauded, the Century reads ‘invariably looked on at’.

[Page 362, line 17] buffaloes the great western plains of America, with their seemingly endless herds of buffalo were just being opened up (the Union Pacific Railroad was completed in 1869), and the intrepid frontiersman, hunting buffaloes for their hides, featured in many a child’s adventure book (but ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody’s Wild West Show which brought real live buffaloes to England, did not arrive until 1882, so Georgie would not have known of them through that medium).

[Page 362, lines 24-25] it was the day after he had been taken to bathe in a real sea by his nurse this may be Kipling’s recollection of the occasion of:

… a song that a nursemaid sang at low-tide in the face of the sunset on Littlehampton Sands when I was less than six’
[in the summer of 1871, Something of Myself, p.9.]

[Page 362, line 28] ‘“Ha! Ha!” said the duck, laughing,’ this may be an actual quotation, so far unidentified. If not, it seems probable that it was suggested by the old song, I Saw a Ship a-Sailing, first published in 1846, which ends:

The captain was a duck
With a packet on his back,
And when the ship began to move
The captain said: ‘Quack! Quack!

[Page 363, line 6] Oxford-on-a-visit this may be based on Kipling’s real visit, while living with the Holloways at Southsea:

Once I remember being taken to a town called Oxford and a street called Holywell… [Something of Myself, p.10.]

[Page 363, line 9] buttery the room where the butts of ale are kept – it has nothing to do with butter.

[Page 363, line 18] auditale audit ale: ale of a special quality, originally for use on the day of audit. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, this brew was peculiar to certain colleges at English universities.

[Page 363, line 20] Pepper’s Ghost Percy Fitzgerald in The World Behind the Scenes (1881) (pp. 65-66), gives an account of this device:

Just behind the footlights, a portion of the stage was raised; an enormous sheet of plate-glass, such as would be used for a great shop-window, was laced on the stage, slightly inclined forwards. It was thus that a person below the stage, in the pit under the footlights, was reflected, unseen himself, to the audience from the glass.

The device was actually invented by Henry Dircks (1806-1873) in 1858, but was exhibited and made famous by John Henry Pepper (1821-1900) from 1862 onwards. He describes the more outré effects, somewhat guardedly, in his revision of Jeremiah Joyce’s Scientific Dialogues published in 1861 (pp. 338-340):

I remember going with you to see an exhibition in Bond Street, which you said depended on concave mirror: I was desired to look into a glass; I did so, and started back, for I thought the point of a dagger would have been in my face. I looked again, and a death’s head snapped at me … Persons have undertaken to exhibit the ghosts of the dead by contrivances of this kind … With a little ingenuity, a thousand illusions may be practised on the ignorant and credulous …”

[Page 364, lines 4-5] her hair combed off her forehead … the original illustrations to Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland were by (Sir) John Tenniel, who showed Alice as Kipling describes her.

[Page 364, line 16] di-ack-lum diachylum, or diachylon – a common sticking plaster (from the Greek, dia, meaning ‘through’, ‘across’, ‘apart’, and chylos, meaning ‘juice’. Made of oxide of lead, oil and glycerine, it was used for cuts and wounds, and became adhesive when heated.

[Page 364, line 20] lockjaw a condition in which the muscles of the jaw go into spasm, so that the mouth cannot open. It may result from tetanus. [This Editor recalls being told (and deeply impressed) by his nurse at the age of 5, that he might get lockjaw as a result of a deep cut on his thumb from a dog-bite.]

[Page 365, lines 2-6] Provostoforiel . . . a grown up of that name who slept in his presence without apology Georgie understood that he was the most important grown-up in Oxford. Compare Something of Myself (page 10):

… a street called Holywell, where I was shown an Ancient of Days who, I was told, was the Provost of Oriel; wherefore I never understood, but conceived him to be some kind of idol.

This must have been Edward Hawkins (1789-1882), Provost of Oriel from 1828 to 1874 – in which year he left Oxford and retired to Rochester. Oriel College is unusual in that it has no undergraduates.

With his amazingly retentive memory, it must have been from this visit that Kipling remembered “Charley Symonds Stable” – also in Holywell – and “Mesopotamia” (a quarter of a mile’s walk “across the paddocks” near “Loggerhead”), references stored up for use in “To be filed for Reference” in Plain Tales from the Hills. There is no record of any other visit to Oxford until after his return to England in October, 1889.

[Page 365, line 22] Rapunzel the princess from Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Tale XII, who let down her hair from a high window, the only way of reaching the top of the tower where she was held captive by a witch.

[Page 365, line 29] Ten years at an English public school Kipling only spent four-and-a-half years at U.S.C. (January 1878-July/August 1882), but he did (at the age of 12) spend an initial period in ‘the small boy’s house’
(Charles Carrington – quoting Beresford (‘M’Turk’)) – see next note.

[Page 366, line 4] Between ‘entertainments’ and ‘He became’ the Century version has eleven lines, in which it is mentioned that Georgie went at the age of eight, and at ten ‘was transplanted to the world of three hundred boys in the big dormitories below the hill.

[Page 366, line 5] fag in most Public Schools (fee-paying private largely boarding-schools) at this time, and up to the 1960s, junior boys in their first year (sometimes their second as well) were required to carry out menial duties for specified senior boys. These duties might involve such things as tidying the senior’s study, cleaning his shoes, cooking (toast and cocoa, and such minor snacks), or running messages. In this editor’s school, only prefects were allowed the privilege of having a fag; in other schools, any boy in the sixth form could have one.

Sometimes the fag was allocated to a named senior, sometimes he was one of a general pool, responding to the cry of “Fa-a-ag”, the last one to arrive at the senior’s study door being picked for the task. This was not necessarily the most efficient answer for the senior boy – the last one to arrive might be a notorious toast-burner, or otherwise ineffective! To this day, there are elderly men who will say “Ah, I see young so-and-so has got himself a K” (a knighthood). “He was my fag at …. fifty-five years ago” – or alternatively, “Ah, I see old so-and-so has got himself a K – I was his fag fifty-five years ago: I never thought that much of him!”

This Editor speaks personally – the prefect for whom he fagged went into the Foreign Service, and did, indeed, finish up with a knighthood – no doubt well-deserved. But the custom never bothered me – one accepted it as part of life: and it did have its not-so-bad side. It helped to deflate a bumptious thirteen-year-old, who had been cock of the walk at his prep (junior) school; and it helped to teach the senior how to handle juniors who might be working for him later on in life. That there were disadvantages is also true – a bully could make a fag’s life a misery (cf. Stalky & Co., and Sefton and Campbell and young Clewer), but a good housemaster and prefects could prevent any outrageous instances.

[Page 366, line 12] Between ‘sub-prefect’ and‘At last he blossomed’ the Century gives six lines, including references to being a prefect ‘with the right to carry a cane, and, under restriction, to use it’ which was also echoed in Stalky and Co. (‘The Last Term’), p. 218. ‘Prefect’ was an office held by senior boys charged with keeping order and organising games etc., that went by merit.

[Page 366, lines 18-19] After ‘sixth’ the Century gives ‘- quarrels which on no account the vulgar must hear discussed; and intimate friend and ally of the head himself’. Then follow ten lines, omitted from the book as too obviously Westward Ho! as described in “An English School” (Youth’s Companion, October 1893 – later collected in Land and Sea Tales for Scouts and Guides, 1923).

The next lines (20-21): ‘the black jersey, white knickers [close-fitting knee-length breeches] and black stockings of the First Fifteen’, retained in the book version, give the show away, making it clear that Kipling was writing of U.S.C. Compare: “An English School” (Land and Sea Tales, page 265 ‘the First Fifteen, with its black jersey and white knickerbockers’., and ‘A Little Prep’ (Stalky & Co., page 172): ‘Stalky, playing substitute for the Old Boys, magnificent in black jersey, white knickers, and black stockings’. This illustration is from the Doubleday & McClure one-volume edition of 1899, illustrated by Orson Lowell.

[Page 366, line 32] Cottar major a trivial point, but this indicates that George had a younger brother (Cottar minor) (see Debits and Credits, ‘The United Idolators’), or that there is another younger boy of the same name in the school.

[Page 366, line 33] After ‘… Cottar!’ three and a half lines of no particular importance are omitted in The Day’s Work.

[Page 367, lines 9-10 Let the Consuls look to it that the Republic takes no harm Caveant Consules ne quid re publica detrimenti capiat – the Ultimate Decree of the Roman Senate as cited by Cicero, Pro Milone XXVI, lxx.
Andrew Rossabi writes: This was an edict issued by the Roman senate in times of national emergency or crisis and was tantamount to a declaration of martial law. Known as the last or final decree of the Senate (senates consultum ultimum or SCU for short), it conferred extraordinary powers on the two consuls (the chief magistrates) and allowed them to take whatever steps they thought fit to preserve the safety of the republic. The senate issued the decree at the time of the so-called Catilinian conspiracy in 63BC, the year when Cicero was consul, and he used it to justify having the leaders of the conspiracy executed without trial. [A.R.]

Kipling was. of course simply referring to the unbending authority a boy would have experienced in a Victorian public school, rather than the drastic rigours of martial law.

[Page 367, line 13] the wise and temperate Head Kipling is, of course, envisaging Cormell Price, the Head of U.S.C.

[Page 367, line 18] in the Century this line is followed by the longest and most significant of the omissions, of fourteen lines, with the reference to ‘little Schofield … the wiry drill-sergeant’ (Foxy of Stalky & Co. – the U.S.C. Drill-Sergeant under his own actual name). See Roger Lanvcelyn Green’s article.

[Page 367, line 23] London crammer A ‘crammer’ was an educational establishment where candidates were prepared for a specific examination, with the aim of passing the exam by hook or by crook, without having too much regard for how much might subsequently ‘stick’. The candidates were ‘crammed’ with knowledge and likely questions, much as a goose is crammed to produce pâté de foie gras.

[Page 367, line 29] In Century, ‘Sandhurst’ is followed by ‘fairly high up the list’.

Sandhurst was the Royal Military College for the training of officers intended for cavalry and infantry units (that was true in Kipling’s time and until the mid-1960s): it now trains army officers for all arms.
Roger Ayers writes: ‘The Royal Military College was founded in May 1799, although at High Wycombe. The Sandhurst ground had been purchased beforehand but building did not start until some five years later. The date is confirmed in Sandhurst, The Royal Military Academy (Alan Shepherd, Country life Books, 1980). Alan Shepherd was the Sandhurst librarian for many years.

It became the Sandhurst OCTU on 4 September 1939 with Royal Armoured Corps and Infantry Wings and from 1942 was for RAC only.

The current Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst was formed from the old Royal Military College and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich (founded 30 April 1741) on 3 January 1947, training officers of all arms from then on. I attended 1951-1953, initially intending to go into the Royal Engineers but changing to the Royal Artillery as it seemed to promise more travel and more fun.’ [R.A.]

[Page 368, line 2] in Century ‘combined’ is followed by:‘For the first of many occasions school experience served him well’. [This is a point which Kipling exemplified in Stalky & Co., ‘The Slaves of the Lamp, Part II’.]

[Page 368, lines 4-5] Her Majesty’s Commission as a subaltern in a first-class line regiment. Officers in the British armed forces still receive a Commission on parchment from the Army, Navy, or Air Force Board, signed by the Adjutant-General, Second Sea Lord, or Air Member for Personnel as appropriate, each countersigned by Her Majesty (these days in facsimile, it is sad – but not surprising – to say): a subaltern (short for subaltern officer) was an army officer of Second Lieutenant’s or Lieutenant’s rank: a line regiment was an infantry regiment.

The Foot Guards (Grenadier, Coldstream and Scots at the date of this story) were considered socially, if not militarily, superior to the ordinary ‘line’ regiments, but there was also an unofficial, and varying, hierarchy among the line regiments. This Editor is not going to stick his neck out to suggest which regiment Kipling might have had in mind for George Cottar, except to observe that the Royal Scots, the First of Foot (also known as ‘Pontius Pilate’s Bodyguard’) is the senior line regiment in the British Army.

[Page 368, line 13] in Century the paragraph ends ‘…his mouth shut; and he looked very well with his company on parade’.

[Page 368, line 21] after ‘pack of hounds’, the Century adds ‘and there were cricket, and musketry instruction, and the fitting up of a new gymnasium.’

[Page 368, line 27] after ‘enthusiasm’, the Century adds: ‘(he was a black little man, full of notions)’. [I.e., he was black-haired – the usage goes back to Stuart times, when King Charles II was described by the Parliamentary authorities seeking him after the Battle of Worcester as a black man, above two yards high.]

[Page 369, line 12] after ‘boxing gloves’, the Century adds: ‘(Nothing in the regulations forbids an officer taking part in healthy sports)’.

[Page 370, line 7] for ‘peasantry’ the Century reads: ‘big-limbed peasantry’.

[Page 370, lines 32-33] twenty other devils worse than the first adapted or misquoted from Matthew 12,45: ‘Then goeth he, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

[Page 371, line 4] wing commander obsolete in today’s army. It meant that the two half-battalions were being trained separately, one half usually under the Second-in-Command.

[Page 371, lines 21-22] Wesselstroom the week before Majuba in the first South-African War. The battle of Majuba, at which General Sir George Colley was killed and his 600 men routed and almost annihilated, was fought on February 27th, 1881. By “Wesselstroom” Kipling probably meant Wakkerstroom, one of the Transvaal forts held by soldiery and loyal Boers, and not taken by the rebels. (See H. Rider Haggard: Cetewayo and his White Neighbours (1882), p. 182)

[Page 372, line 7] for ‘head off a malingerer’ the Century reads ‘head off for a trickster or malingerer’.

[Page 372, lines 14-20] Three cuts were made in these lines: the Century gives additions of 3½, 2 and ½ lines, of no importance. Similarly, on the next page, two cuts were made, each of two words, which much improve and tighten the flow of the narrative.

[Page 373, line 24] Galahad in the Arthurian legends, the purest and noblest Knight of the Round Table. (See Tennyson’s Idylls of the King and Malory’s Morte d’Arthur.)

[Page 373, lines 28-29] this was a ‘game’ called ‘Kriegspiel’ – the War Game.

[Page 375, line 31] The Century reads: ‘Thousands of miles further on (passengers were arriving and departing all the while), it halted …

[Page 375-77] George Cottar’s first expedition, as described her, is dated on the map in the Century as 15.8.87 – beginning from the Steamer by the Pile of Brushwood, crossing the sea to Hong Kong and Java, reaching the Lily Lock, being lost in the Unknown Continent beyond, and returning by the Thirty Mile Ride below the High Cliffs. This is the earliest date on the map.

[Page 376, line 22] the world’s fourth dimension the phrase ‘fourth dimension’ is used at least three times in Kipling’s works: in “An Error in the Fourth Dimension” (also in The Day’s Work, in Something of Myself (Chapter III), and in the story now under discussion, but each time it is mentioned, the author gives it a different meaning, following, it may be assumed, the example of Humpty Dumpty (in Through the Looking Glass who said, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less”. For a brief comment on the meaning of the fourth dimension, the reader is referred to the note in this Guide on “An Error in the Fourth Dimension.”

[Page 378, line 4] road-marching for two-months changing stations was often carried out by road (which in those days meant on foot for the soldiery, while the baggage went in carts): it was good training. See Kim Chapters V and VI. One of the sights which has been gone from English roads is that of formed bodies of troops out marching (except in London, where the ceremonial guards still march from their barracks to Buckingham Palace or St. James – but no longer to the Bank).

Kipling commented on it in ‘The Vortex’ (A Diversity of Creatures), when he described “the life of the English road which to me is one renewed and unreasoned orgy of delight”; included amongst them were the ‘detachments of dusty-putteed Territorials’. These last could still be seen between World Wars I and II in the summer, when all good Territorials went for a fortnight’s camp, and if the distance were not above two day’s march, went from and to their depôt on foot. This Editor has photographs of his father’s battalion on the march from London to Littlehampton in the mid-1920s.

[Page 378, line 7] Tent Club the object of this, in India, was the hunting of the wild boar, on ponies, with a spear – commonly known as ‘pig-sticking’. However one may feel about such sports, the odds were not always on the man on the pony: and the boar could be most destructive of a village’s crops, so their control was desirable.

The well-known illustrator ‘Snaffles’ (Charlie Johnson Payne (1884-1967) (a great admirer and illustrator of Kipling’s verse) conveyed the excitement and difficulty of a boar-hunt.

[Page 378, line 9] mahseer the barbus mosal, a fish of the carp species from three to five feet long, and weighing up to 70 pounds (32 Kg). It is abundant in the mountain rivers of India, and for the fisherman is the equivalent of the salmon; its flesh is likewise much esteemed.

[Page 378, line 9] Poonch the same as Punch, a small place which gives its name to a tributary of the Thelum in Kashmir.

[Page 379, line 8] after “labour”, the Century has seven lines, largely redundant, underlining (as in other cut passages) the parallel between Cottar’s school training and his work as a man: – e.g.: ‘he believed that their tone, which is, after all, what makes a regiment or a school, was good.’

[Page 379, lines 22 et seq.] mines of vast depth this may be based, perhaps unconsciously, on George Macdonald’s The Princess and the Goblin (1872), which Kipling certainly knew as a child. See “Wee Willie Winkie” (page 261):

Wee Willie Winkie had once been read to, out of a big blue book, the history of the Princess and the Goblins – a most wonderful tale of a land where the Goblins were always warring with the children of men until they were defeated by one Curdie.

[Page 380, line 25] which was safety for this, the Century version reads: ‘which, Georgie shouted, was ‘in bounds’.’

[Page 381, line 17] made a rough sketch of it is followed in Century by ‘A still rougher copy of the sketch is given in this place for the better understanding of geography’. The “sketch” is a map taking up two-thirds of a page.

[Page 381, line 27] the latest date on the map is 8 September 1891.

[Page 382, line 2 the border the North-West frontier of British India, now (roughly) the North-West frontier of Pakistan: it stretched from Chitral south-westward for 600 miles to beyond Quetta in Baluchistan.

[Page 382, line 7] Galahad the Century reads: ‘young Huron. The Hurons were a famous tribe of native Americans (North American Indians) familiar to all readers of Fenimore Cooper and R.M. Ballantyne.

[Page 383, lines 1-9] This song is not by Kipling, but it has not yet been possible to discover it’s authorship or date. It was well-known by 31 March 1883, when it was parodied in Punch, Vol. LXXXIV, p. 150):

We’re going to do without ‘em
Don’t want ‘em any more;
We’re going to do without ‘em
As lots have done before.
To deal with commerce ‘on the square’
On a very moral plan,
And every noodle will declare,
I am an honest man!

[Page 383, line 10] a Gazette the London Gazette the official publication (now on-line) which announces, inter alia the details of promotions and of honours and awards won by officers and men of the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force.

[Page 383, line 15 a brevet majority Roger Ayers writes: ‘Brevet-rank, that is the granting of a rank higher than the actual substantive rank of an officer, was often used in the late 19th century either as a reward for distinguished service or to give authority and/or compensation to a staff-officer working outside his regiment who might lose out as fellow officers within his regiment were promoted following casualties. The brevet rank carried no additional pay but time served in the brevet rank counted towards the total time served in that rank for subsequent pay and pension.

The combined awards of promotion to captain, a brevet majority and the D.S.O. may seem somewhat excessive, but taking one Victorian campaign as an example – the action at Giniss on the Nile just inside the Sudan on 30 December 1885, involving two Brigades – we can see from the London Gazette of 26 November 1886 that thirty-two officers received the D.S.O., of whom six also received promotion through a brevet, one of whom was a captain promoted to Brevet-Lieutenant Colonel.

What is noticeable is that wars of the late 1880s and early 1890s in the Sudan, Burma and South Africa were characterised by fierce, sometimes almost medieval, hand to hand fighting. Kipling, in establishing that George Cottar had done something which justified his father saying ” … should have had the V.C., Sir,” harks back to the Indian Mutiny and the widely publicised blowing in of the Kashmir Gate at Delhi on 14 September 1857, for which two lieutenants, a sergeant and a bugler all received the Victoria Cross. ‘ [R.A.]

[Page 383 lines15/16] the Distinguished Service Order the Century adds: ‘which is vulgarly called the “Don’t Stay On”, inasmuch as it is supposed to block the way permanently to the Victoria Cross’. (The D.S.O., an order of military merit, was founded in 1886 by Queen Victoria to recognise the special services of officers in the Navy and Army. It is the senior award for bravery below the Victoria Cross, but above the Distinguished Service Cross (Navy); Military Cross (Army) and Distinguished Flying Cross (R.A.F.).

To some extent, it may be considered as “not quite the V.C.”, but it is also awarded for consistently meritorious work on active service, though not necessarily in contact with the enemy. As regards the “Don’t Stay On”, that may have been the view in the 1890s, but this Editor can cite at least four examples among naval V.Cs. who won D.S.Os. as well: in two cases the D.S.Os. were awarded after the V.C. – in the other two they were awarded before the V.C.)

[Page 383, line 27] snaffled appropriated, seized, caught, snatched. The ORG calls it ‘Slang from the 1890s or earlier’. The Oxford English Dictionary gives two definitions of the verb ‘to snaffle’ in this sense: the first is “to steal, purloin” – the second is as given at the start of this note. The second meaning undoubtedly stems from the first. The first dates from 1725, though the next citation is not until the 1850s. For the second meaning, the first citation in the OED is the use of this phrase by Kipling in “The Brushwood Boy”.

[Page 383, line 30] a good blade carving the casques of men the first line of “Sir Galahad” in English Idylls and Other Poems by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

[Page 384, line 2] Pool one of the three principal games played on a billiard table – billiards, pyramids and pool. Snooker, originally known as ‘snooker pool’, had not then been officially recognised (the first rules were published in 1901).

[Page 385, line 9] P.O. boats commonplace usage for the ships of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, which held a near monopoly of the passenger trade between England and India.

[Page 385, line 19] at the foot of the letter it is unusual to translate the French phrase “au pied de la lettre”, meaning “quite literally”.

[Page 385, line 32] deep asks of deep a favourite Kipling quotation (see Stalky and Co., page 11, line 4) it comes from Psalm 13,7: “Deep calleth unto deep’.

[Page 385, line 15] tamashas tamasha, a Hindustani word, commonly used by Anglo-Indians, and more or less adopted into the English language, meaning, roughly, a “show” or an “entertainment”; but it does not translate exactly – hence its usefulness.

[Page 385, line 28] last six years as, according to the map in Century, the dreams began in August 1887, this makes the year now 1892: thus the ORG – however, six years takes us to August 1893. As stated in the Headnote, the date is immaterial: but, since we learn later, that the next event (see next note) was 26th May, it would seem that it must have been 26th May 1893, just three months short of six years since his present series of dreams started.

[Page 386, lines11-14] the date of the kiss is 26 May (see page 404, line 23)

[Page 387, line 29] After “cross-questioned” the Century reads: ‘The pater had retired when the Martini-Henry was a new thing and the Maxim unborn’. The Martini-Henry rifle (‘a combination of Martini’s falling breech-block action, with Henry’s barrel of 0.45-inch calibre’) was ‘definitely adopted by the British Government in April, 1871’.

The Maxim, an automatic machine gun capable of firing as many as 620 rounds a minute and named after its inventor, (Sir) Hiram Maxim (1840-16), was invented in 1884, and adopted into the British army in 1889. [The ‘Maxim’ became synonymous for machine-gun in the period 1885-1905 – and see Hilaire Belloc’s line from ‘The Modern Traveller’:

Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim Gun: and they have not.

This is the only indication that Cottar’s father had been in the army: though as stated above, it was not unusual for the eldest son to serve the Queen before taking over the Estate. (See next note.)

[Page 388, line 7] hodie mihi, cras tibi “Today is mine, tomorrow thine.” A familiar Latin tag, used on tomb-stones. Here the reference is to earthly possessions.

[Page 388, line 19] I’m like the Tenth It was an old army story the hostess at a dance once asked the Colonel of the Tenth Hussars why his officers were nor dancing; to which he replied: “Madam, the Tenth do not dance.” It is further added that her answer was: “Oh, very well. Then the Tenth don’t take supper either.”

[Page 390, line 9] below the lasher below the weir (on a river).

[Page 390, line 12] landau a carriage, seating four, usually drawn by a pair of horses, which had a double hood, one over the front two seats, the other over the two back seats: usually kept for the use of the ladies of the house when paying calls.

[Page 390, line 14] six miles round Before the days of the motor-car, this was the radius to within which one’s acquaintance was largely limited, and was governed by the distance one could drive in a reasonable time, and without unduly tiring the horses. The stately trot at which a lady might drive out would cover perhaps eight miles in an hour on the level.

[Page 390, line 30] governess cart a light two-wheeled vehicle with two face-to-face seats at the side only. The Century version adds: ‘(Georgie could not see where the fun came in here)’.

[Page 392, line 17] Institute Meeting (see also page 393, line 2) The United Services Institute (now the Royal United Services Institute) situated in part of the Banqueting Hall in Whitehall. This was, and remains, the forum where serving and retired officers of all the armed forces discuss present strategic, and occasionally tactical, problems.

[Page 393, lines 20-21] the water was strictly preserved the fishing rights along the banks of a river belonged to the owner of the adjacent land. To ‘preserve’ implied that the landowner retained the rights for himself, and saw to it that the water (river or lake) was stocked with fish – usually trout, but coarse fish might also be kept. A similar use of the word applied to shooting (see ‘My Son’s Wife’ (A Diversity of Creatures, page 346, line 4)).

[Page 393, line 28] after ‘blue-upright’ the Century adds ‘(black gnat tail-fly)’.

[Page 393, line 30] after ‘trees’. the Century adds: ‘or throat-deep in the rank Hemlocks’.

[Page 394, line 8] white moth this was also a ‘fly’, though seldom used by the modern angler. Kipling was himself a keen fisherman – see, for example, many passages in From Sea to Sea, the story “On Dry Cow Fishing as a Fine Art” , etc.

A member of the Kipling Society (in 1960) who is a keen fisherman writes about the description of Cottar’s fishing as given in the story:

The paragraph is plausible to a non-fisherman, but a captious critic might raise the following points.

    • If the black gnat is on the water, why fish a blue upright?
      He would be very unlikely to fish downstream. As he could “see the trout” it is obviously a chalk stream (gin-clear water).


    • If he could see the fish, he would be near enough for them to see him unless he never moved at all: but he ends up five miles from home.


  • Again, reference to the black gnat implies that, for part of the time anyway, he is using a floating fly, and it is nearly impossible to make such a fly float naturally for more than a few inches when casting it downstream. It always starts to drag round.

[Page 395, line 7] This poem is collected as “The City of Sleep”..

[Page 396, lines 29-30] for ‘My boy, Miriam’ the Century has ‘This is my son, Miss Lacy’.

[Page 397, line 2] a widow’s peak a point formed by the hair in the middle of the forehead.

[Page 400, line 1] though eight o’clock had passed It was another England that Kipling is writing about; you would never find a poulterer (a shop that sells chickens, ducks etc.) open in a small town at that hour in these days (2009) – indeed, you’d be lucky to find a poulterer.

[Page 403, line 31] a very long silence As illustrated by R H Townsend.

[Page 406, line 15] The words ‘Mind the arch’ are not in the Century version.



©Alastair Wilson 2009 All rights reserved