The Captive

Notes on the text

These notes, by John McGivering, are partly new, and partly based on the ORG. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of Traffics and Discoveries, as published and frequently reprinted between 1904 and 1950.


[Heading] This is a quotation from Isaiah, 28, verse 16, in the Old Testament.

[Page 3 line 1] guard-boat: a cutter pulling twelve oars, with a rifleman to discourage would-be escapers. A similar vessel appears in “The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes” (Wee Willie Winkie).

[Page 3 line 9] tin camp: huts built of corrugated iron. The Royal Navy was responsible for the care of the Boer prisoners-of-war in Bellevue Camp – now a golf course.

[Page 3 line 11] Simonstown: sometimes written Simon’s Town, named after Simon van der Stel, the Dutch Governor of the Cape from 1679 to 1699 and an important base for the Royal Navy until it was handed over to the Government of South Africa in 1957. It is also the scene of the opening of “Mrs. Bathurst” later in this volume.

Barracouta: a Third Class Protected Cruiser, 233 feet overall, built in 1889; this was her second commission on the South African Station.

[Page 3 line 12] Gibraltar: a First-Class Protected Cruiser launched in 1892 and then Flagship of the Cape of Good Hope and West Africa Station.

Penelope: launched in 1867 and, after a varied career, ending her days at Simonstown as a depot-ship or floating transit-camp, later accommodating Boer prisoners-of-war. See ORG, Volume 4, p.1873 for further interesting background.

[Page 3 line 16] Atlantic transport: perhaps the City of Rome, a steamship launched in 1881 for the transatlantic run but found too slow, and taken up as a transport for the Boer War.

turtle bow and stern: the decks are of arched construction from the centre-line to the ship’s side to assist the flow of seawater off the vessel. See “Their Lawful Occasions” Part 2, later in this volume, Page 131, line 3, and the illustration in Captains Courageous, p.7.

[Page 3 line 22 and overleaf] ministers of the Dutch Reformed Church, who doubtless preached reconciliation: The author is ironic, as this Church was staunchly nationalist and determined that the Boer Republics should remain independent.

[Page 4 line 25] Harper’s: an American magazine launched in 1850 and still (2007) going strong!

McClure’s: founded in 1893, its last issue was in 1928. Both magazines published stories by Kipling.

[Page 4 line 31] Scientific American: founded in 1845, it is the oldest periodical in the United States and has always reported the activities of the U.S. Patent Office.

[Page 5 line 3] American Tyler: an invented magazine, named so as to indicate that both men are Freemasons; a Tyler, in this context, being the door-keeper of a Masonic lodge. Kipling was a Freemason.

[Page 5 line 8] …met the visitor’s grasp expertly:  This would have been a Masonic handshake. The two men thus recognise each other as Masons.

[Page 5 line 10] a Brother: another Masonic reference.

[Page 5 line 12] card: in this context, a visiting-card printed or, better still, engraved with the name and address of the owner – then an essential part of the equipment of a gentleman, even in the Colonies!

[Page 5 line 13] Zigler: Kipling read The Navy and Army Illustrated regularly, and ORG suggests he might have seen the name in the issue of 16 February 1901. Laughton Zigler also takes a prominent part in “The Edge of the Evening” (A Diversity of Creatures), together with Mankeltow who has inherited the title of Lord Marshalton.

[Page 5 line 18] the captive of your bow and spear: Roger Ayers writes: I found this in an on-line version of Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe (1819) at p. 196, though no details of edition or date were given:

The eyes of the Templar flashed fire at this reproof—
“Hearken,” he said, “Rebecca; I have
hitherto spoken mildly to thee, but now my language
shall be that of a conqueror. Thou art the
captive of my bow and spear, subject to my will
by the laws of all nations; nor will I abate an inch
of my right, or abstain from taking by violence
what thou refusest to entreaty or necessity.”


See Something of Myself p.12 for Kipling’s experience of Scott at an early age. [R.A.] There are also echoes of this expression in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 6, 23: ‘They shall lay hold on bow and spear…’).

[Page 5 line 20] Texas mule-tender :Adventurers of many nationalities were fighting on both sides in the Boer War, including a party of Texans that came over with mules, and were formed into the South African Light Horse under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Byng; see J. Williams, Byng of Vimy (Leo Cooper / Secker & Warburg 1983, p. 326)

Arms dealers like Zigler might have been prosecuted under the Logan Act of 1799, designed to prevent United States citizens from ‘negotiating with foreign governments without authority’ and so, incidentally. might the Texans, but there do not seem to have been any successful proceedings owing to the difficulty of enforcement. The British Foreign Enlistment Act of 1870 would also affect any British subjects fighting on the side of the Boers. See the Note to page 17 line 9 onwards.

[Page 5 line 25] Indian Territory:  perhaps what is now the State of Oklahoma, then newly settled and administered by the Federal Government, until admitted to statehood in 1907.

[Page 5 line 26] a Colt automatic:  Samuel Colt (1814-1862) patented his revolver in 1835, the classic ‘six-shooter’ of innumerable Western films and stories. A semi- automatic pistol was produced at the turn of the century.

[Page 5 line 28] strung up: in this context, hanged.

[Page 6 lines 1-12] the Laughton-Zigler automatic two-inch field-gun: a splendid technical description of the gun, its ammunition-supply, and the different types of propellant; most of which sounds authentic.

‘Automatic’ means that the gun is self-loading, in that the next shell is pushed into the breech by the recoil of the barrel or the gas generated by the explosion. However, Zigler was obliged to turn the handle during his demonstrations of the gun (page 8, line 12) so perhaps it was really semi-automatic. Woodville’s illustration in the magazine shows the breech with four hand-wheels and a couple of crank-handles. The hopper has disappeared and other damage caused by the direct hit can be seen.

There is a very small saddle for the gunner immediately in rear of the breech so one wonders where the ejected shell-case went. We showed this to a former Gunner who studied it carefully and then remarked ‘It would never have worked, you know!’

It is interesting to note that guns and charges designed to operate at sea-level have problems when taken to the high veldt, as the naval gunners from H.M. Ships Terrible and Powerful found to their cost.

[Ammunition should, like wine, be kept at a constant temperature, but it would be small-minded to pick holes in such an excellent story; Ed.]

[Page 6 line 10] gun-sharp: ‘sharp’ is a word of many meanings – in this context an expert or perhaps a rogue or cheat, as in ‘card-sharp’.

[Page 6 line 14] Bull Durham: a light cigarette-tobacco manufactured in Durham, a city in North Carolina.

[Page 6 line 18] vest-pocket: a pocket in the garment known as a waistcoat in the United Kingdom, a figure of speech implying that Zigler is grateful to the author.

[Page 6 line 19] Akron: the county seat of Summit County in Ohio, USA.

[Page 6 line 23] Filipeens: the Philippine Islands in the Pacific Ocean, formerly Spanish and then American colonies, who were fighting the United States from 1899 until 1913. They became independent in 1946.

[Page 6 line 25] Aguinaldo: Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy (1869-1964) was a Filipino general and politician who played an important part in the struggle for Philippine independence during the revolution against Spain and the war that resisted American occupation.

[Page 7 line 20] Delagoa Bay: Africa’s second largest port in Mozambique, then Portuguese territory and connected to the railway system; possession of this port by the Boers would have rendered them and the recently-discovered gold mines independent of the British line to the Cape – see Ferguson, p. 274).

[Page 7 line 23] deadheads: those who expect free travel and accommodation when asked to pay.

[Page 7 line 26] Van Dunk: a comic name for a Dutchman.

[Page 7 line 30] Pentecostal sweepings: an echo of Kipling’s verse “Et Dona Ferentes” – verse 2.

[Page 7 line 30] hoodooed: brought bad luck to.

[Page 8 line 1] Pretoria: then the capital of the Republic of the Transvaal – now the administrative capital of the Republic of South Africa.

[Page 8 line 5] Kruger: Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger (1825-1904) President of the Transvaal 1883-1900. He spent over one million pounds on modern French and German weapons while the British War Office issued a number of publications that fairly accurately forecasted his Order Of Battle and a bloody and expensive war. But a lot of British commanders in the field did not take notice of this information, resulting in various disasters that might have been avoided. See Constantine Fitzgibbon, Secret Intelligence in the 20th Century (Hart Davis, 1976) p. 55.

stealing some: the alleged corruption of the government was a grievance of the foreign immigrants to the Republic who were heavily taxed, liable to military service, and were obliged to reside in the country for a long period before getting a vote. See Evans, p. 9, and Ferguson, p. 273.

[Page 8 line 14] Kaffirs: a derisive term for native African people.

[Page 8 line 15] Commissioner Street: an important thoroughfare in the business district of Johannesburg.

[Page 8 line 19] kloof: Afrikaans for ravine.

Teddy Roosevelt: Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) 26th President of the United States from 1901 to 1909; this tour was probably before the election of 1900 when he was running for Vice President. He was duly elected, and succeeded President McKinley, who was assassinated a few months after taking office. He is “Greatheart” in the poem of the same name.

[Page 8 line 25] Schenectady: a city in New York State, the unusual name of which may have taken Kipling’s fancy; it also had a very mixed population drawn from various nationalities that would perhaps present problems for barmen.

[Page 8 line 26] veldt: (pronounced FELT) the high open plains of South Africa.

[Page 8 line 31] God and the Mauser: a slogan used by the Boers – the Mauser is an excellent rifle invented by Paul von Mauser (1838-1914) – with which the Boers were equipped. See Evans p. 12 for the superiority of these weapons over those used by the British.

[Page 8 line 33] niggers: an offensive term for black people – not now used.

[Page 9 line 1] Georgia Crackers: poor whites in the hills of this Southern state who were popularly supposed to live on cracked corn.

[Page 9 line 2] Pennsylvania Dutch: descendants of South Germans who emigrated to this state in the 17th and 18th Centuries.

[Page 9 line 3] Philadelphia: a city in Pennsylvania in the United States founded in 1681, where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. Lawyers from here were supposed to be particularly able.

[Page 9 line 9] the world was flat: a belief held by many. See “The Village that Voted the Earth was Flat” (A Diversity of Creatures).

[Page 9 line 26] Democrat: a member of one of the two main American political parties – considered to be the party of the working-man as opposed to the Republicans, the party of big business.

[Page 9 line 24] It was a condition and not a theory…: ‘It is a condition which confronts us, not a theory.’ Annual Message to Congress, 1887, attributed to Grover Cleveland (below).

[Page 9 line 27] Grover Cleveland: Stephen Grover Cleveland (1837-1908), twice President of the United States; 1885-1889 9 and 1893-1897.

[Page 9 line 30] commando: a division of the Boer army, a term adopted by the British for elite troops in the 1939 war and thereafter.

refitted off the British: when in need of stores, the Boers captured British units and supply-columns; see “The Comprehension of Private Copper” mentioned above.

[Page 9 line 31 onwards] a British general…: ORG Volume 4, page 1877 suggests that the (fictitious) British forces operating against (the equally fictitious) Van Zyl probably owe something to a detachment commanded by Sir Henry Settle (1847-1913) and known as “Settle’s Circus”, later by Sir Charles Parsons (1855-1923) “Parson’s Pantomime”, and Colonel Sir Archibald Paris (1861-1937), “The Paris Pantomime”.

Stompiesneuk: and the other places following are fictitious; page 31, line 15 shows that they are supposed to be in the Transvaal, the Boer Republic north of the Vaal River.

[Page 10 line 4] He sent in a fine doctor: this seems a little unlikely even for the Boer War when opposing generals wrote to each other – at the siege of Mafeking, for instance. The Boers refrained from shelling the town on Sundays. However, when the British commander, Baden-Powell, used the respite to organise games of cricket, the Boers were so scandalised at the idea of playing games on Sunday that they threatened to open fire if such sacrilegious behaviour by the British did not immediately cease. Philip Warner, Kitchener, the Man behind the Legend, (Hamish Hamilton, 1985) p. 122.

[Page 10 line 8] innocuous desuetude: attributed to several people but the only one we have found before the publication of this story is Grover Cleveland in another Message to Congress: ‘After an existence of nearly twenty years of almost innocuous desuetude, these laws are brought forth.’ See Page 9 line 27 above

[Page 10 line 21] outposts: detachments of troops at some distance from the main body looking out for the arrival of the enemy.

[Page 10 line 22] vedettes: mounted sentries posted ahead of outposts.

cossack-picquets: a term meaning much the same as outposts

[Page 10 line 25] worked lodge: a Masonic expression See “In the Interests of the Brethren“ (Debits and Credits) and other Masonic stories by Kipling.

[Page 10 line 27] a Long Island commuter: one in the USA who has ‘commuted’ or made a reduced payment in advance for a journey from a suburban home to a place of work; – known in the United Kingdom as a ‘season ticket-holder’.

[Page 10 line 29] Thirty-fourth Street Ferry: the usual transport from Long Island to the American mainland before the present tunnel was built.

[Page 11 line 2] Waterloo: the famous battle at which British and German forces defeated Napoleon on 18 June 1815.

[Page 11 line 10] high noon: apart from the famous Western film, “High Noon” (1952) starring Grace Kelly and Gary Cooper, the only references we have traced are to Milton’s “Il Penseroso” and Gilbert and Sullivan’s light opera “Ruddigore”, both of which refer to the ‘night’s high noon’.

[Page 11 line 16] hung up in a drift – stalled crossin’ a crik: South African and American respectively for being held up crossing a river.

[Page 11 line 23] Royal British Artillery: The Royal Horse Artillery and the Royal Field Artillery were reorganised as one group in 1899, while retaining their own identities; another reorganisation in 1924 amalgamated all branches as the Royal Regiment of Artillery with the RHA retaining a separate identity and badge.

[Page 12 line 11] Fifth Avenoo stages: horse-buses then running in New York. Fifth Avenue is one of the main thoroughfares in Manhattan.

[Page 12 line 18] flint-and-steel: the early method of firing a gun – he is facetious.

[Page 12 line 28] a whole raft of rope-ends: Unusual, perhaps fitted with ropes for hand-hauling, or protected like the engine of the armoured train. See Evans, p. 25.

[Page 12 line 29] Tom Reed: Thomas Brackett Reed (1839-1902) three times Speaker of the United States Congress.

[Page 12 line 33] pussy-wants-a-corner: also known as “Puss in the Corner”, a children’s game in which each player has a corner except the one who is ‘Puss’. The players in corners try to change places, while Puss tries to get into a vacated corner. If Puss succeeds, the player who is left out becomes Puss.

[Page 13 line 2] mezas: usually mesas – high rocky tableland; from the Spanish.

[Page 13 line 8] hung back in their breeching: (pronounced ‘britching’) in this context a strap round the hindquarters of a draught-horse to prevent the load overrunning and to enable it to be backed, here meaning reluctant to start. Gun and limber was usually hauled by six horses or mules with the drivers mounted on the three near-side animals.

[Page 13 line 11] played kitten: gambolled openly about, like a kitten in full view.

[Page 13 line 16] Mankeltow: he later appears in “The Edge of the Evening” (A Diversity of Creatures), having inherited the title of Lord Marshalton.

[Page 13 line 21] enteric: see Dr. Sheehan’s Notes.

[Page 13 line 22] Jackhalputs: see Note to Page 9, line 31.

[Page 13 line 24] Colesberg: a town in the North of Cape Province, the scene of heavy fighting in the early part of the war.

[Page 13 line 25] Nooitgedachet: a farm near Stellenbosch in the Cape Wine Lands. used as a horse supply camp and hospital during the war.

[Page 14 line 1] Dutch Indies: he means India.

Umballa: (Ambala) a city and capital of a District in the Punjab – See the Note to page 27 line 32 below.

[Page 14 line 12] man with the hoe: probably a reference to the poem of social protest “The Man with the Hoe” by Charles Edwin Anson Markham (1852-1940) after the painting “L’homme à la houe” by the French artist, Jean-François Millet (1814-1875).

[Page 14 line 22] sow-belly: the American equivalent of streaky bacon or belly of pork.

[Page 14 line 28] all Chamberlains: Joseph Chamberlain (1836-1914) was an influential British businessman, politician, statesman, and Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1895 to 1903. Chamberlain disclaimed all knowledge of the Jameson Raid into Boer territory in 1895. Van Zyl seems to be convinced that all politicians are liars. See “The Comprehension of Private Copper” later in this volume.

[Page 14 line 30] laager: a protected camp formed by the classic circle of wagons used by he Boers, and in the American West.

[Page 14 line 32] two thousand: two thousand yards or just over 1800 metres.

[Page 15 line 6] Santos-Dumont: Alberto Santos-Dumont (1873-1932) was an early aviation pioneer who was born, grew up, and died in Brazil. His contributions to aviation took place while he was living in France, where he designed, built, and flew the first practical dirigible balloons.

[Page 15 line 10] Professor Langley and the Smithsonian: Samuel Pierpoint Langley (1834-1906) Astronomer and pioneer of aviation who became Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, an organisation for the diffusion of knowledge similar to the Royal Society in London. See Something of Myself, p.123

[Page 15 line 15] a very stale stretcher: in this context a litter for carrying wounded that has obviosly been considerably soiled by carrying the dead.

[Page 15 line 24] donga: a stream or gully (Afrikaans).

[Page 16 line 4] dine with us: It was the custom in those days for the occasional prisoner to dine with the officers of the unit that had captured him.

[Page 16 line 9] Episcopalian: The Anglican Episcopal Church is a Continuing Anglican church based in the western United States and consists of three parishes in the American West, with one each in Florida and Alabama.

[Page 16 line 20] Congregationalist: a form of Protestant church government that permits each congregation to manage its own affairs.

[Page 16 line 28] a Henry Clay: Henry Clay cigars are named after the famous American politician of that name and have a cult following. The cigar is a favourite of those who possess a refined palate for tobacco, and relish its unique fine-flavoured ‘Connecticut Broadleaf’ wrapper, which gives it a medium body and robust aroma. Kipling was an enthusiastic cigar-smoker. See the verse “The Betrothed”.

whisky-and-sparklet: whisky-and-soda, the latter made by screwing a small cylinder of carbon dioxide into a siphon of water – very convenient in camp.

[Page 16 line 29] a white man: in this context Zigler means ‘a good fellow’.

[Page 16 line 31] a twist of molasses: a thread of syrup or treacle

[Page 16 line 33] British deserter: many British soldiers deserted, see the verse “Wilful – Missing.”

[Page 17 line 1] a sovereign: in this context a gold coin of the period, worth £1.

yeoman: The ‘Yeomanry’ consisted of units of mounted volunteers, first raised in Britain during the Napoleonic Wars, to defend against invasion from abroad or revolution at home.In the 1790s, the threat of invasion was high after the French Revolution and volunteer regiments were raised from farmers who owned the land they cultivated, the officers being drawn from the nobility and gentry, many of the men were their tenants. These regiments became known collectively as the Yeomanry.

[Page 17 line 7] barrister: a lawyer qualified to plead cases in court. For other lawyers in the army see “The Janeites” (Debits and Credits).

[Page 17 line 14] hung: in this context execution by hanging.

[Page 17 line 21] a naturalised burgher: he realises he should have renounced his American nationality and become a citizen of a Boer Republic, but was too engrossed in his gun to do so. See page 18 line 8

[Page 17 line 28] unreconstructed: Unreconciled. After the American Civil War of 1861-1865 the defeated Southern states which had seceded from the Union resented the consequent movement of political power to the North, the destruction inflicted on the South , and the Reconstruction programme instituted by the Union after the war. Bitterness continued for decades after it ended, and to this day some Southerners still do not accept the outcome.

[Page 17 line 31] Cincinnatah: The city of Cincinnati, Ohio, named after Cincinnatus—the Roman general who saved his city, and then retired from power to his farm.

[Page 18 line 32] Brooklyn: one of the boroughs of New York City.

[Page 18 line 5] bit of a pro-Boer: he has a healthy respect for his enemies; see “Piet”, “Boots”, “M.I.” and other South African verse.

[Page 18 line 10] a common tick: in this context a blood-sucking mite of the order Acarina.

[Page 18 line 23] the captive of your bow and spear: see the Note to Page 5, line 18 above.

[Page 18 line 28] Filipeens: the Philippine Islands in the Pacific, see page 6 line 23.

[Page 19 line 12] The British think weight’s strength: a moot point and a criticism often levelled in the past at British naval architecture.

[Page 19 line 15] unprejudiced tribunal: this is the honest Report that Zigler had wanted; see page 8 line 22 onwards

[Page 19 line 32 onwards] my pants: he would have probably said ‘trousers’ or, as he is a Gunner, ‘breeches’. (The British usually regard ‘pants’ as underwear, which Americans call ‘shorts’)

[Page 20 line 16] taffy: toffee.

[Page 20 line 20] Männlicher: Ferdinand Ritter von Männlicher (1848-1904) perhaps the most successful firearm constructor of all time.

[Page 20 line 24] waggon-tilt: the canvas cover of the classic ‘covered wagon’ of veldt and prairie.

[Page 20 line 29] The training-gear was broke: the gun could be trained left or right – within certain limits – by a hand-wheel and gearing, but as the mechanism was defective, the train or rear end had to be lifter up or hand-spiked round.

[Page 20 line 33] a gasoline motor under the axles: he (or Kipling) has just invented the self-propelled gun, which did not appear until the 1914-18 War, Gun Carrier Mark I.

[Page 21 line 8] Woolwich: In south-east London, the headquarters of the Royal Regiment of Artillery.

[Page 21 line 16] holt in this context, ‘hold’.

[Page 21 line 19] the Beef-eaters in the Tower The Yeomen of the Guard and Yeoman Warders at the Tower of London.

[Page 21 line 26] the Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States.

[Page 22 line 3] sherry and bitters Sherry and angostura bitters, a drink invented by the English, dating back to the 1850s, but seldom drunk today.

[Page 22 line 5] prodigal father an echo of the parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke15,11.

[Page 22 line 10] I sat on his left hand Zigler was the next senior guest, so Van Zyl sat on the General’s right – see line 25 below. The British dined formally even in camp.

[Page 22 line 11] the Ladies’ Home Journal a magazine which is still (2007) going strong.

[Page 22 line 15] Lydia Pinkham Lydia Estes Pinkham (1819-1883) was a successful patent medicine manufacturer and businesswoman, in Massachusetts. Her ‘Vegetable Compound’ was one of the best known patent medicines of the 19th century.

[Page 22 line 26] Pisgah the mountain from which Moses saw the Promised Land – Deutromony 3,27: ‘Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward , and behold it with thine eyes.’

[Page 22 line 28] star-route the U.S. mail was carried by contractors in thinly-populated districts and indicated by a star (*) in their publications.

[Page 22 line 30] Waterbury a city in Connecicut, noted for the manufacture of Robert H. Ingersoll’s one-dollar pocket watch, five million of which were sold.

[Page 22 line 32] Zalinski Edmund Louis Grey Zalinski (1849-1909), who became a successful designer of heavy guns.

[Page 23 line 2] a truck-farmer in Noo Jersey A farmer who grew produce for the local market. New Jersey is a neighbouring State to New York.

[Page .23 line 7] a hard-cider jag on him drunk on cider, a delicious and powerful drink made from fermented apple-juice.

[Page 23 line 8] ox-bows in this context, the timber frames or yokes used to harness pairs of draught-oxen,

[Page 23 line 16] Bracebridge Hall a novel (1822) about a ‘typical’ but fictitious English knight by Washingtin Irving (1783-1859).

[Page 23 line 17] Boar’s Head an essential part of an Old English banquet.

[Page 23 line 18] Rosemary an evergreen shrub Rosemarinsus officinalis cultivated as a culinary herb.
Magna Charta Magna Carta, the charter granted by King John (1215) to the English Barons, which secured certain crucially important liberties for the English people against arbitrary action by the Crown. See “The Reeds at Runnymede” and “The Treasure and the Law” in Puck of Pook’s Hill.

[Page 23 line 19] Cricket on the Hearth a novel, The Cricket on the Hearth (1845) by Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

[Page 23 line 20] no ways jagged, but thawed not exactly drunk, but in a particularly benevolent mood and very much at ease !

[Page 23 line 31] a bit of a pro-Boer another officer who respects his enemy – see page 18, line 5 above

[Page 24 line 3] Staff College a collegefor the higher training of military officers, founded in 1799 and occupying various premises until established at Camberley in Surrey, in 1883.
De Wet Christian Rudolph De Wet (1854-1922), a very successful Boer general. It looks as if the general is suggesting that Van Zyl and De Wet should be instructors at the Staff College, and that there is something in what he says; but see Something of Myself p.163 for Kipling’s opinion.

[Page 24 line 22] Atheist one who denies the existence of a God or Gods.

[Page 24 line 23] Agnostics those who believe the existence of God cannot be proved.

[Page 24 line 25] Bloemfontein capital of the Orange Free State, one of the Boer Republics, captured by Lord Roberts in 1900, and scene of Kipling’s brief stint on the newspaper The Friend.

[Page 24 line 26] a Free Stater a citizen of the Orange Free State.

[Page 24 line 27] He that believeth Isaiah 28, 16; see the Heading.

[Page 25 line 1] brought up between houses See the verse “The Islanders”: ‘… ye fawned on the Younger Nations for men that could shoot and ride’, a savage indictment of a government and people who denied their army proper training. This was a frequent theme of Kipling’s writings in the years runnng up to the Great War. See also “The Lesson”, and Page 34 line 10 below.

[Page 25 line 3] preserve in this context, breeding game birds and animals for the sport of shooting.

[Page 25 line 7] the King and Fox-hunting it was the custom to drink the health of the Sovereign at formal dinners, and perhaps Fox-hunting as well, but it is not clear if this is one toast or two. Edward VII (1841-1910) ascended the throne on the death of his mother, Queen Victoria in 1901.

[Page 25 line 22] take tea with the Boers take on the Boers with confidence..

[Page 26 line 5] upset Van Besters’ apple-cart another firgure of speech indicating they had put a stop to his activities. See “The Lost Legion” Verse 2.

[Page 26 line 11] Delarey about 150 miles from Johannesburg.

[Page 26 line 17] floor-walkers men in shops of the time who received customers at the entrance, directed them to the desired departments, supervised the assistant serving them, and escorted them to the door; a distinctly un-warlike job.

[Page 26 line 23] Pootfontein an imaginary place.

[Page 26 line 33] Vierkleur ‘Four colour’ in Afrikaans; the green, red, white and blue flag of the Transvaal.

[Page 27 line 3] Armageddon ‘the battle of the great day of God Almighty.’ Revelation 16,14.

[Page 27 line 6] Native army the Indian Army – a magnificent fighting force that proved its worth in two world wars, but was not used against the Boers, even though they would have been more suited to the climate than the British Army. See “A Sahibs’ War”.

[Page 27 line 8] the Colony Cape Colony – now Cape Province.

[Page 27 line 9] Worcester about 75 miles from Capetown.

[Page 27 line 14] Paarl about 50 miles from Capetown The name means ‘Pearl’ in Dutch and is ‘Die Pêrel’ in Afrikaans).
Stellenbosch about 25 Miles from Capetown.

[Page 27 line 16] Cronje Piet Arnoldus Cronje (1836-1911) – pronounced ‘KRON-year’ – was a leader of the Zuid Afrika Republic’s military forces during the Anglo-Boer wars. Cronje made his reputation in the First Boer War and was in command of the force that rounded up Jameson after the unsuccessful Raid in 1896. During the Second Boer War he was general commanding in the western theatre of war and began the sieges of Kimberley and Mafeking where, with a force varying between 2,000 and 6,000 he besieged 1,200 regular troops and militia under the command of Colonel Robert Baden-Powell. After Cronje surrenderd with 4,000 of his commando at Paardeberg on 27 February 1900, he was imprisoned on St. Helena Island where he remained until peace was declared in 1902.

[Page 27 line 19] St. Helena a remote British colony in the Atlantic Ocean where Napoleon was imprisoned and died..

[Page 27 line 30] Paardeberg see line 16 above.

[Page 27 line 32] Umballa or Ambala, a city and district, in the Punjab in northern India, which owed its importance to a large military cantonment established in 1843.

[Page 28 line 13] veldt see page 8, line 26.

[Page 28 line 20] shrapnel a shell that bursts in the air, scattering bullets over the target; invented by General Henry Shrapnel (1761-1842).

[Page 28 line 26] the Ordnance The Ordnance Corps, a branch of the British Army dealing with military stores and supply.

[Page 29 line 1] parole in this context a promise by a liberated prisoner that he will take no further part in the war.

[Page 29 line 6] Schedule D a form used by the Inland Revenue for Income Tax, which paid for defence and the general running of the country

[Page 29 line 12] William the Conqueror the Duke of Normandy who conquered England in 1066 and ruled until his death in 1087.

[Page 29 lines 32 and overleaf] interviewed by the boys and giving lectures etc. giving statements to the press – see Page 17, line 28 above – again it is not clear if Zigler is ironic or not.

[Page 30 line 15] the St. Lawrence the great river in northeastern America, which is frozen in the winter.

[Page 31 line 7] enlisted men the American equivalent of private soldiers.

[Page 31 line 10] car-window carriage-window; Kipling’s railway vocabulary is mainly American, probably gathered during conversations with the station-master at Brattleboro’, and perhaps earlier with Mrs. Hill.

[Page 31 line 13] the Orange Free State Colony he means The Republic of the Orange Free State, which was an independent Boer state in southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century, and later a province in South Africa. It is the historical precursor to the present-day Free State province. Extending between the Orange nd Vaal rivers, its borders were determined by the United Kingdom in 1848 when the region was proclaimed as the Orange River Sovereignty, with a seat of a British Resident in Bloemfontein.

In the northern part of the territory a ‘Voortrekker’ Republic was established at Winburg in 1837. This state merged with the Republic of Potchefstroom which later formed part of the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic).

Following the granting of independence to the Transvaal Republic, the British recognized the independence of the Orange Free State on 17 February 1854 and the country officially became independent with the signing of the Orange River Convention. The Republic immediately came into being effectively incorporating both the Orange River Sovereignty and the traditions of the Winburg-Potchefstroom Republic. Although the Orange Free State developed into a politically and economically successful republic, it experienced chronic conflict with the British until it was finally annexed as the Orange River Colony in 1900.

[Page 31 line 14] Steyn Martinus Theunis Steyn, (1857-1916,) last President (1896-1900) of the Orange Free State, educated in the Netherlands and in England. He was admitted to the bar in 1882 and served as a judge. As President he made an alliance with the Transvaal and led troops against British forces in the South African War. He later took part in the peace conference.

[Page 31 line 16] rebs an abbreviation for rebels used of the Confederate States in the American Civil War.

[Page 31 line 20] Beaufort West some 300 miles north-east of Capetown

[Page 31 line 26] picayune of very small value – (Spanish).

[Page 31 line 28] aas voglels vultures – (Afrikaans).

[Page 32 line 1] Bloemfontein see Page 24, line 25.

[Page 32 line 3] Federals an association of loyal states that Van Zyl seems to have abandoned when he took up arms against the British. He is now changing his allegiance again.

[Page 32 line 14] the Kimberley siege the diamond-mining town besieged by the Boers and relieved by Sir John French in 1900.

[Page 32 line 17] Kentucky a border state during the American Civil War. Kentucky officially remained “neutral” throughout the war due to Union sympathies of many of the citizens.

[Page 32 line 22] a Tammany Dutchman The Tammany Society was founded in New York in the 1780s.and by 1798 had grown increasingly political. In 1830, the Society’s headquarters were established in a building called Tammany Hall, which became the New York headquarters of the Democratic Party, emerging as the controlling interest in New York City elections . The Society expanded its political control by earning the loyalty of the city’s ever-expanding immigrant community, a task that was accomplished by helping newly-arrived foreigners obtain jobs, a place to live, and even citizenship so that they could vote for Tammany candidates in city and state elections.

[Page 32 line 24] Yank short for Yankee, as the soldiers of the Union were known – a word of several meanings dating back to 1683, and occasionally applied to New Englanders or indeed any American. A humorous aphorism attributed to E.B. White summarizes these distinctions:

To foreigners, a Yankee is an American.
To Americans, a Yankee is a Northerner.
To Northerners, a Yankee is an Easterner.
To Easterners, a Yankee is a New Englander.
To New Englanders, a Yankee is a Vermonter.
And in Vermont, a Yankee is somebody who eats pie for breakfast.

Page 32 line 31] A little thing like a King’s neither here nor there the speaker is obviously a supporter of the South who regards Zigler as a worse traitor than the Revolutionaries of 1776 when the America colonies became independent. See page 33, line 11 onwards.

This has an echo of Shakespeare’s The Tempest Act I Scene 1:

‘What cares these roarers for the name of king ?’

See “How Shakespeare came to write”The Tempest”,

[Page 33 line 6] jiggling in the bight of a lariat hanged in a lassoo.

[Page 33 line 10] half-a crown two shillings and sixpence – twelve and a half pence in decimal currency.

[Page 34 line 10] the British soldier had failed in every point except courage a sweeping statement but containing a grain of truth even though the blame lay with those who devised his training and were so savagely denounced by Kipling in “The Islanders” and other verses.

[Page 34 line 12] Monroe Doctrine the declaration in 1823 by President James Monroe (1758-1831) that any intervention by European powers in the Western hemisphere would be regarded as a threat to the peace and security of of the United States, which would, in return, not intervene in European matters. It has no basis in U.S. or international law. (Hutchinson’s Encyclopaedia)

[Page 34 line 25] Teddie an abbreviation for Edward, Gussie for Augustus, Willie for William.

[Page 35 line 13] Umballa see Page 14 line 1 above.

[Page 35 line 15] the National Scouts Some Boers who saw that their cause was hopeless offered to fight on the British side, and units were formed of what would be called the ‘National Scouts’ in the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony, and ‘Volunteers’ in the former Free State.

[Page 35 line 20] Steyn see Page 31 line 14 above.

[Page 36 line 4] Algie Algernon.

[Page 36 line 7] I haven’t had such a good time since Willie died a popular catch-phrase of the time.

[J H McG]

©John McGivering 2006 All rights reserved