The Bull that Thought

(notes on the text, by Lisa Lewis)


[Page 207, lines 3-4] a road … level It was “barometrically level” because there was no change in height sufficient to register in atmospheric pressure. The N113 between Salon-de-Provence and Arles answers this description.

[Page 207, line 21] Blue de Luxe A fast train and ferry service from London to Paris.

[Page 207, line 25] level crossing Railway crossing.

[Page 208, line 3] Legion of Honour French order of chivalry, established by Napoleon in 1802.

[Page 208, line 6] Annam and Tonquin Annam and Tonkin are regions of north Vietnam, part of the French empire until 1954.

[Page 208, lines 8-9] Chinese woodcutters 15,000 coolies were recruited by the British as the Chinese Auxiliary Force.

[Page 208, line 30] Esmeralda Kipling’s nickname for his 1920 Rolls Royce.

[Page 209, line 22] tisanes Normally herbal teas, but the word has also been used ironically of light, sweet champagnes.

[Page 210, line 2] Chambres The word means “rooms” in French, suggesting a derivation from Salon.

[Page 210, line 11] The Crau Alluvial plain between the lake of Berre and the Rhone delta.

[Page 210, line 24] Mistral A violent cold dry north-east wind in southern France.

[Page 213, line 5] Carpentier A middleweight French boxer who won many championships, including the world light heavyweight boxing championship in 1920. Only the reigning heavyweight champion was able to defeat him.

[Page 214, line 8] Apis Name of an Egyptian bull-god.

[Page 214, line 11] Apache A native American tribe, but also used of Parisian gangsters.

[Page 216, line 7] farceur Comedian, practical joker.

[Page 217, line 1] Provincia … circuses The south-eastern part of France was known in the Roman Empire as Provincia. “Panem et circenses” (bread and circuses) is a quotation from Juvenal, Satires, x. 81, where the popular demands of the Romans are castigated.

[Page 217, line 26] the Republic The Third Republic, 1871-1940.

[Page 217, line 29] Soult … Beresford Soult was one of Napoleon’s Marshals; Beresford was a British General attached to the Portuguese army. They fought each other at the battle of Albuera, during the Peninsular War.

[Page 218, line 2] Bidassoa River of the western Pyrenees, forming the frontier between France and Spain. Soult retreated across it in October 1813.

[Page 218, line 7] douros Old Spanish coins worth five pesetas.

[Page 218, line 20] Minotaur Mythical offspring of Pasiphae, wife of King Minos of Crete, and a bull. According to legend, young men and girls were sacrificed to it; with the help of Minos’s daughter Ariadne, King Theseus of Athens tracked it to its den at the centre of the Labyrinth and there fought and killed it.

[Page 218, lines 24-5] between Berre and the Saintes Maries From east to west of the Camargue.

[Page 219, line 31] Comedie Francaise French state theatre, founded 1680.

[Page 222, line 10] Seventy-fives 75 mm. French guns.

[Page 223, line 5] Foch Marshal Foch, French leader of the victorious Allied armies in 1918.

[Page 224, line 11] banderillero In the first edition, this was “bandillero”. It was pointed out to Kipling that this was incorrect.

[Page 224, line 19] Rabelaisian Refers to Francois Rabelais, (c.1494-c.1553), prominent humanist and author of Gargantua and Pantagruel, proverbial for its outspokenness on sexual and scatological matters. In “The Last of the Stories” (1889: Uncollected Prose, Sussex and Burwash editions), Kipling described Rabelais as “the Master” among deceased authors.

[Page 225, line 17] Cyrano Cyrano de Bergerac (1619-55), French soldier and writer; eponymous subject of the play by Edmond Rostand (1897).

[Page 225, line 26] Moliere Pseudonym of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin ((1622-73), satirical playwright; author of Le Misanthrope, Tartuffe, etc.

[Page 227, lines 6-7] the elder Dumas Alexandre Dumas (1802-70), author of The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo and other historical novels.

[Page 229, line 1] toril Bull-pen.

[Page 229, line 16] Guardia Civil The police.

[Page 229, line 23] Mother In the manuscript this sentence continues “the Camargue”.


[L. L. and M.R.]