These notes, edited by David Page, have mainly been drawn from Kipling’s America: Travel Letters, 1889-1895,
edited by Prof D.H. Stewart (2003, ELT Press, English Department, University of North Carolina) to whom we offer our grateful thanks. This work is Number Seventeen: 1880-1920 British Author Series by ELT produced under the General Editorship of Prof R. Langenfeld.

[Page 164, title] Chautauquaed Two protestant ministers founded the Chautauqua movement in 1874. Beginning as a summer training program for Sunday school teachers in western New York, it spread within fifty years to 10,000 communities annually. Theodore Roosevelt called it “the most American thing in America.” Radio and film gradually displaced it. [DHS]

[Page 164, line 1] Precious Rediculouses Jean Baptiste Poquelin Molière (1622-1673), “Les Précieuses ridicules” (1659; “The Affected Young Ladies”). [DHS]

[Page 164, lines 6-9] four-line verse from “Amphion” (1842), Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892). [DHS]

[Page 164, line 15] banks of the Hughli polluted west channel of the Ganges River at Calcutta, India. [DHS]

See also Kipling’s “An Unqualified Pilot” (Land and Sea Tales), and “On the Banks of the Hughli” (The City of Dreadful Night, collected in From Sea to Sea, Vol.II).

[Page 164, line 16] Musquash Kipling’s pseudonym for Beaver, Pennsylvania. See Background notes.

[Page 164, line 22] Niagara The famous waterfall between Lakes Erie and Ontario, on the border between Canada and the U.S.A. The falls are split by Goat Island into the American Fall on the east and the Horseshoe Fall on the western (Canadian) side.

[Page 165, line 4] Clifton House an hotel in the Canadian town of Niagara. There is a very full description of the area in The Falls of Niagara by George W. Holley (A.C. Armstrong & Son, New York, 1883) which can be found at An extract from Chapter XII reads:

The Clifton was greatly enlarged and improved by Mr S. Zimmerman in 1865. The Amusement Hall and several cottages were built and gas-works erected. The grounds were handsomely graded and adorned.

Clifton House was eventually pulled down around 1928 and the Oakes Garden Theatre built in its place.

[Page 165, line 5] Maid of the Mist The traditional name for the tourist boats that make trips towards the bottom of the falls.

[Page 165, lines 5 & 6] go over the falls in a tub On 11 July 1886, Carlisle Graham, an English immigrant to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was the first to do this and survive. He was a cooper (barrel-maker) and made a special barrel in which he could make the journey from what is now the Whirlpool Bridge through the great gorge rapids and the whirlpool. More information at:
Many others attempted this feat, also going over the complete falls, some of whom survived.

[Page 165, line 12] They’re good in this place, ye big fat man William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863). In the final section of “Mrs. Perkins’ Ball” (1846), Christmas Books etc., The Mulligan says to Mr. Perkins:

“I tell ye, ye are the butler, ye big fat man. Go get me some more champagne. It’s good at this house.” Perkins replies, “It is good at this house.” [DHS] .

[Page 165, line 17] Chautauqua See the Background notes and those to the title.

[Page 166, line 4] Hoboken a city in NE New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from New York City.

[Page 166, line 13] between North and South this refers to the continuing attitudes in 1889 of the areas on opposing sides in the American Civil War of 1861-1865.

[Page 167, lines 6 & 7] from Pittsburgh to Shenango all will be smoky black as Bradford and Beverly Pittsburgh is the city in Pennsylvania noted for its steel industry. There does not appear to have been a town named Shenango in 1889, but there is a river running south for about 100 miles through Pennsylania which joins with the Mahoning River to form the Beaver River. The junction is about 35 miles NNW of Pittsburgh.

There are towns named Bradford and Beverly in both the north-east U.S.A. and in Yorkshire, England, although the latter is spelled “Beverley” in England. The Bradfords in both countries are industrial cities whereas the Beverl(e)y’s are not to any significant degree. In view of the target readership of this article (Anglo-Indians), Kipling probably meant to refer to the English locations since there would be little point in drawing parallels between American locations that would be equally unfamiliar to his audience.

[Page 167, lines 14 & 15] Burmese…Burman native of Burma (now called Myanmar) on the Eastern side of the Bay of Bengal.

[Page 167, line 18] Madrassi native of Madras State in southern India, now Tamil Nadu.

[Page 167, line 23] muttee mud, soil, earth. [DHS]

[Page 167, line 25] iswaste iswasti, issiwasteh – on account of, therefore. [DHS]

[Page 169, lines 12 & 13] Black Maria omnibus Kipling is drawing a parallel with the police van of that name. ‘Black Maria’ was the nickname for secure police vans with separate locked cubicles, used for the transportation of prisoners in both the U.K. and the U.S.A. The name is said to have come from a large and powerful black lodging-house keeper named Maria Lee, who helped constables of Boston, Massachusetts in the 1830s when they needed to escort drunks to the cells.

[Page 169, line 23] Simla The hill station in northern India to which the British government migrated during the hot weather. [DHS]

[Page 170, line 1] pickerel a small fish of the pike family.

[Page 170, line 8] Lakewood Kipling wrote a letter to Mrs ‘Ted’ Hill from here on 9 August 1889 when he started to work on this article. (Letters, vol.1, ed T. Pinney, p.332).

[Page 171, line 2] Mussoorie Hill station in northern India with the Charlesville Hotel where Kipling stayed with the Hills in 1888. (Letters, vol.1, ed. T. Pinney, p.203). [DHS]

[Page 171, line 7] Dalhousie Another hill station where Kipling stayed with his sister in 1884. (Letters, vol.1, ed. T. Pinney, pp.72-73.) [DHS]

[Page 171, lines 8-9] Polytechnic beginning as general educational programs for shopmen and artisans in London, “Polytechnics” thrived in the 1880s. They resembled Community Colleges in the U.S. but with a religious component. [DHS]
Cassell John Cassell (1817-1865) was a publisher of “self-help” books and magazines.His company flourished in the 80s. [DHS
Monday pop a popular chamber concert held at St. James’s Hall from 1859 to 1898. Perhaps Kipling recalled a joke about them in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience (Act 2). [DHS]

[Page 171, line 10] Naini Tal Lake another hill station. [DHS]

[Page 171, line 11] the Dun valley traversed en route to Mussoorie. [DHS]

[Page 172, line 18] Rosherville amusement gardens in Gravesend, near London. Founded in 1842. [DHS]
Also see F. Anstey’s (pseudonym of Thomas Anstey Guthrie, 1856-1934), ‘The Tinted Venus’ (1885). [ORG]

[Page 173, lines 9 & 10] Professor Mahaffy John Pentland Mahaffey (1839-1919). A scholar and provost at Trinity College Dublin, he specialized in the history of ancient Greece. Although a clergyman, he was reputed to be a man about town – a crack shot, accomplished musician and witty conversationalist. This may explain Kipling’s question about his presence at Chautauqua. [DHS]
(what the devil was he doing in that gallery?) The phrase comes from the celebrated French playwright Molière (1622-1673), who wrote in his play “Les Fourberies de Scapin” II, VII (1671, “Scapin’s Schemings”): “Que diable allait-il faire dans cette galère?” “What the devil would he be doing in that gang ?” Kipling is asking much the same question about Professor Mahaffey. [‘galère’ strictly translates into English as ‘galley’ rather than ‘gallery’ but Kipling has used ‘gallery’ to preserve the echo of the original.]

[Page 173, line 11] Dr. Gunsaulus Frank Wakely Gunsaulus (1856-1921), protestant minister, educator and author, was a prominent preacher in Chicago and popular Chautauqua lecturer. [DHS]

[Page 173, line 23] tiffin Hobson Jobson defines this as: “Luncheon, Anglo-Indian and Hindustani, at least in English households.”

[Page 174, line 16] Atlas One of the Titans who as punishment for revolt, had to support the heavens with his head and hands. [ORG]

[Page 175, line 15] Sirdar leader, captain. [DHS]

[Page 175, line 17] Jat caste of cultivators. [DHS]

[Page 177, line 3] Rosetta stone A piece of black basalt found by Napoleon’s soldiers near the Rosetta mouth of the Nile. It bears an inscription in Egyptian hieroglyphics and Greek. Now in the British Museum in London. [ORG]

[Page 177, lines 8 & 9] pike a weapon with a very long pole handle and a steel spike as the head.
John Brown the anti-slavery leader of 1800-1859. He led a revolt but was quickly captured, tried by the authorities of Virginia and hanged. The well-known marching song (“John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave…”) is anonymous. [ORG]

Harper’s Ferry town in West Virginia, best known for the raid led by John Brown on the Armoury there in 1859.

[Page 177, line 18] Aurora Leigh Elizabeth Browning (1806-1861), a novel in blank verse (1857). Self-educated and idealistic, Aurora was ill prepared for adult life. [DHS]

[Page 178, lines 23 & 24] A dâk bungalow A rest house for the accommodation of travellers [Rudyard Kipling, Departmental Ditties, Glossary, 1899 Geo Newnes Edition].
khansamah a servant. [DHS]

[Page 179, line 12] Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy This is the fourth of the ten Commandments. Exodus 20,8, [ORG]

[Page 179, line 21] terrible drinks of Moxie Moxie, a carbonated beverage, is considered to be the first mass produced soft drink. Created in 1876 in Lowell, Massachusetts as a Patent Medicine by Dr Augustin Thompson, Moxie was marketed under the product name “Moxie Nerve Food” and was said to cure ailments ranging from softening of the brain to “loss of manhood.”

In 1884, it was sold in carbonated form and merchandised as an invigorating drink, which claimed to endow the drinker with “spunk”. In the early phase of its life as a recreational soft drink, Moxie is said to have been kept handy by bartenders to give to customers who were too drunk to be given any more alcohol. This story may be apocryphal, however, inspired by Moxie’s (in)famous aftertaste that many people find unpleasantly strong. (

[Page 180, line 20] bitter as hate, narrow as the grave This sounds like a quotation, but is so far unidentified. [Any suggestions will be welcomed; Ed.]

[Page 181, lines 3 to 6] Centreville, Petumna, Chunkhaven, Smithson, Squeehawken Although there are towns with the name “Centreville” or “Centerville” in the U.S.A., none of the others have been found either on the internet or in Webster’s New Geographical Dictionary. It is thought that these are all inventions of Kipling’s to illustrate the variety of the potential sources of the American missionary sects that he had encountered in India and elsewhere, each of which was convinced that they were the sole carriers of the one true faith.

[Page 181, line 20] Torquemada Tomas de Torquemada (1420-1498) was the first Grand Inquisitor of Spain, appointed in 1483. [DHS]

[Page 182, line 7] Eusufzai Fanatical Moslem tribesman on the northwest Indian frontier. Kipling describes a Eusufzai’s spitting in “The City of Evil Countenances,” [Kipling’s India, ed. T. Pinney (1986]. Yar Mahommed Yusufzai, “who spat and grinned with glee,” is a character in the poem “What Happened” (1888) collected in Departmental Ditties. [DHS]

[D.H.S. and D.P.]

©David Stewart and David Page 2006 All rights reserved