These notes, by John McGivering, are partly new, and partly based on the ORG. The medical notes have been contributed by Dr. Gillian Sheehan, M.B., B.Ch.,B.A.O. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of Plain Tales from the Hills, as published and frequently reprinted between 1899 and 1950.

[Page 99, Heading] Collected in the Sussex Edition vol. xxxiv and Definitive Verse with “Fludd” for “Flood” in line 6. It is a burlesque with a distinct flavour – noted by Ann Weygandt – of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), the American essayist and poet of great importance to Kipling.

It is a cryptic little verse that may foreshadow “Unprofessional” and “The Tender Achilles” in Limits and Renewals.

Rosicrucian subtleties ‘Rosicrucians’ were seventeenth-century philosophers using the language of alchemy and claiming occult powers, supposed to be founded by Christian Rosenkreuz, whose existence seems a little doubtful. See also “The Propagation of Knowledge” in Debits and Credits p. 280, line 22. See also Andrew Lycett p. 111 for an account of ‘seekers after enlightenment’ in Simla, when Rudyard was there in 1885, the previous year.

Jacatâlà’s Hill this must be Jakko Hill, as the ‘teachers’ lived in Simla.

Bombast Paracelsus Paracelsus, the Swiss alchemist and physician (1493–1541) discovered hydrogen and made other important discoveries, which were marred by his arrogance and intemperate habits, hence ‘Bombast’.

Flood/Fludd Robert Fludd or Flud (1574–1637) physician and Rosicrucian who studied the works of Paracelsus and practiced in London, advocating a system affirming the identity of physical and spiritual truth.

Dominant in music, the fifth note of a scale of any key. The meaning in this context is not clear but may be astrological.

Cycles of the Suns periods of twenty-eight years corresponding to the Sunday letters in the ‘Tables to find Easter Day’ in the Book of Common Prayer.[Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable].

Luna at her apogee the moon at her greatest distance from the earth.

[Page 99, line 10] Pachmari a hill-station in the Mahadeo Hills of the Central Provinces, at a height of 3,600 feet about 320 miles south of Agra. Traditionally wives retreated to the comparatively cool hill-stations in the hot months, and officers and officials took leave there. See “Army Headquarters”, “Study of an Elevation, in Indian Ink”, “Delilah”, and “The Post that Fitted” for light verse about hill-stations in Departmental Ditties.

[Page 100, line 9] Mrs. Hauksbee this is the third of the stories about her.

[Page 100, line 14] A.-D.-C. Aide-de-Camp – a young or youngish officer seconded to a Viceroy or Governor as a social secretary and part of his household.

[Page 100, line 26] interest in this context, the ear of an influential person who could advance his career.

[Page 101, line 10] Civil List the official publication listing government appointments and the names of the officials in them.

[Page 101, line 24] Viceroy Lord Ripon came to India as Viceroy in 1880 and Lord Dufferin in 1884. Lord Lytton, who arrived in the spring of 1876 is probably the one referred to. See the poem “One Viceroy Resigns”, and various other stories in Plain Tales from the Hills. See also “The Head of the District” in Life’s Handicap and “Her Majesty’s Servants” in The Jungle Book.

[Page 101, lines 26-7] Lord Dufferin had been Governor–General of Canada and Lord Ripon left ”the bosom of the English Church” to become a Roman Catholic in 1874. See the ‘uncollected’ tale “Mrs. Hauksbee Sits Out”.

[Page 102, line 4] Vakils (or Vakeels) lawyers or authorised representatives. [Hobson-Jobson]

[Page 102, line 5] Motamids lawyers’ clerks.

[Page 102, line 8] red pepper see “The Man Who Would be King” in Wee Willie Winkie for the rajah who filled his father’s widow with red pepper and slippered her to death.

[Page 102, line 30] MS manuscript.

[Page 102, line 31] crinkley paper they may have been written in copying-ink and then screwed up in a press with a damp sheet of cloth to produce a copy in the days before typewriters were in general use. The process is believed to have been invented by George Stephenson, (1781–1848) and includes a cast-iron press that screws down on the work.

[Page 103, line 2] a very bad hand poor handwriting.

[Page 103, line 12] no book to sign packages delivered by hand were usually entered in a book which the messenger took with him and obtained a signature when the item was handed over.

[Page 103, line 15] cut-out pattern things flimsy paper templates to be laid over cloth for making dresses, etc. for ladies.

[Page 103, lines 27–28] casings, and lacquer, and paint, and guard-rails Victorian machinery with all the working-parts exposed is an impressive sight. This is a glimpse of the machinery of government at work. As Louis Cornell (p.54) so aptly puts it; Kipling took the old metaphor of the Ship of State and converted it, so to speak, from sail to steam. Louis L. Cornell Kipling in India (Macmillan, 1966). See Kipling’s verse “The Return”.

[Page 104, line 6] trove usually treasure-trove – gold or silver of unknown ownership found hidden, and under present British legislation (2003) the property of the Crown. (From the French trouver, to find) Here indicating a valuable windfall.

[Page 105, line 1] chlorodyne dark-coloured thick fluid containing morphia, chloroform, Indian hemp, hydrocyanic acid, peppermint and spirit.(The composition varies according to the maker.) It is agreeable to the taste, and very useful in slight disorders, such as stomach spasms, flatulency, griping, also for simple bronchial and asthmatic affections…. The bottle must be shaken well previous to use, otherwise the thick portion falls and an unequal dose results. (William Moore, A Manual of Family Medicine and Hygiene for India 1893 and 1902) [G.S.]

[Page 105, line 6] berth a word of several meanings, including accommodation for mooring a ship in harbour, sleeping-quarters in a ship and, in this context, a job or appointment.

[Page 105, line 17] telegraphing in this context sending messages by telegram in Morse code along wires.

[Page 106, line 7] gazetted the appointment is published in the official government journal. For light verse on much the same theme see “Pink Dominoes” and “The Post that Fitted”.

[Page 105, line 19] Rs.500 and Rs. 700 a month The salary of a junior official. Kipling earned 600 rupees a month on appointment to the Pioneer aged 22.

[Page 105, line 10] black favour nepotism – the excessive patronage on behalf of one’s relations Latin nepos, nepotis, a grandson.

[Page 105, line 23] translating in this context, a removal to another place, usually used of churchmen but here employed somewhat sarcastically.

[Page 105, line 31] Up Above Simla, so called by the men in the Plains – the place not only being at an altitude of 7,000–odd feet, but also the seat of Government during the hot weather.

[Page 106, line 8] twenty years younger attempts have been made to calculate Mrs. Hauksbee’s age but such an activity is ungentlemanly and will not be attempted by this commentator.

The last three paragraphs beginning “What the Viceroy said…”, “What Tarrion said…” and “What Mrs. Hauksbee said…” are reminiscent of the old parlour game of Consequences which gives its name to the story.


[J H McG]

©John McGivering 2012 All rights reserved