The Dog Hervey

Notes on the text

These notes, by John McGivering, are partly new, and partly based on the ORG. We have also been grateful to be able to draw on the notes by Lisa Lewis in Mrs Bathurst and Other Stories (OUP 1991). The page and, line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of A Diversity of Creatures, as published and frequently reprinted between 1917 and 1950.

]Title]  Jan Montefiore writes: this is explained at the end of the story,which turnd on a quote from Boswell’s Life of  Johnson,.

 SJ said of one Hervey, ‘‘He was a vicious man, but very kind to me.’’

We must suppose that Moira has at some point read Boswell  – not improbable, given her jibe about verifying quotation – and having come across this phrase, has  identified it with Shend, her father’s former patient/ victim, who was an alcoholic (like Hervey) and who stood up for her and was kind.This is confirmed by how kind he  is to the narrator and his friends Mrs Godfrey and Milly when they’re very sick with typhoid and  need help, which Shend gives generously.  Because the name is pronounced ‘Harvey’ (anyway by the English), so Moira’s private  meaning is secret up till the end.   See the note below on p. 157, l. 21. [J.M.]

[Page 131 line 17] pince-nez ‘pinch-nose’ in French, glasses that clipped onto the nose with spring-loaded pads. The young Kipling is wearing a pair in this photograph.

[Page 131, line 14 onwards] a dark slack-mouthed girl… Kipling goes to some trouble to make her both unsympathetic and unattractive.

[Page 131 line 20] sandy-pied perhaps various shades of reddish-brown.

[Page 132 line 2] overlaid in this context partially smothered in the kennel by the bitch or other puppies.

[Page 132 line 4] he squints he is cross-eyed.

[Page 132 line 8] chorea – St. Vitus’s dance ‘a muscular disease; the patient suffers involuntary jerking of the muscles’. (Black’s Medical Dictionary)

[Page 132 line 10] But I like his cast of countenance not in the Nash’s and Pall Mall Magazine version.

[Page 132 line 12] He doesn’t look a good life no company would insure his life.

[Page 132 line 23] As queer as Dick’s hatband Richard (Dick) Cromwell (1626-1712) succeeded his father Oliver (1599-1658) as Lord Protector of England, but lacking his father’s capacity to govern, was scornfully known as “King Dick”. The hatband which ‘went round nine times but would not meet’ refers to the Crown which was too tight for him anyway (Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable).

[Page 133 line 2] he insured them heavily Nash’s has ‘ heavily in his own favour’.

Lisa Lewis, who annotated this story for Oxford University Press in 1991 writes:

When I checked on this I found that it’s been illegal since the 18th century to insure someone’s life for more than the payee stands to lose if the insured person dies. So a housewife or child can be insured against the loss of a husband or father, but a brother cannot, unless he is supported financially by the insured person. Before the Children’s Act of 1906, a paid childminder could insure against the loss of fees for minding a child, but it was realised that this could be a motive for murdering the child, so it was made illegal.

But what exactly does Kipling mean by ‘let them out into the world again’ ? If he means the teenager was still resident at Dr Sichliffe’s, but was allowed to go drinking in pubs and perhaps got run over while drunk, then there was an insurable interest before the 1906 Act. But ‘let out into the world’ sounds as though the teenager had left Dr Sichliffe’s, in which case where is the insurable interest?

See also the note on page 151 line 1 below.

[Page 133 line 4] no-one knew him while he was alive this means that he was ostracised by the neighbouring gentry.

[Page 133 line 17] Harvey’s Sauce made from vinegar, anchovies, garlic etc. and still available commercially.

[Page 133 line 25] Little Bingo from “A Lay of St. Gengulphus”, one of the Ingoldsby Legends by the Rev. Richard Harris Barham (1788-1845)

‘A franklyn’s dogge leped over a style,
And his name was littel Byngo!
B wyth a Y — Y wyth an N,
N wyth a G — G wyth an O —
They call’d him little Byngo!

Saint Gengulphus was a Burgundian knight of
Varennes-sur-Amance in the Département of Haute Marne, France. A man of outstanding piety and charity, his martyrdom took the unusual form of being murdered (circa 760) by his wife’s lover.

A franklin is a landowner in mediaeval England of free but not noble birth.

[Page 133 line 28] verify your quotations an echo of the advice from Kipling’s father: ‘you’ll have to look up your references rather more carefully, won’t you ?’ (Something of Myself, p. 187)

[Page 134 line 10] the spelling see also line 12. Those who subscribe to the theory that witchcraft figures in this story may consider this another clue, together with the spelling of the dog’s name.

[Page 135 line 2] distemper a dangerous disease of dogs, resulting in catarrh, cough and loss of strength.

[Page 135 line 17] cuttlefish sepia officinalis a small squid with an internal calcarious shell.

[Page 136 line 5] goldfish Bodelsen notes five mentions of goldfish in the story:

… the most likely reading is that the goldfish (and the bowl in which she preseumably sends them) symbolize the spiritual imprisonment of the rich and lonely woman in her sinister house, whose ‘reek of varnish’ in its turn symbolizes the respectability with which her father covered up the source of his wealth: he pretended to ‘patch up’ neurotic young men , while in fact he turned them into dipsomaniacs, insured them heavily, and then left them to drink themselves to death. (pp. 109-110) See page 149 lines 9 and 10 below.

[Page 138 line 18] stranger within our gates an echo of the Fourth Commandment (Exodus, 20): ‘Six days shalt thou labour… but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy GOD: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son… nor the stranger that is within thy gates.’

[Page 139 line 10] eye was perplexed as a tortured man’s it has been suggested that Harvey is possessed by the ghost of Dr. Sichliffe (KJ 202/4 onwards). Others have suggested that it is Shend (see page 147) who is looking through the eyes of the dog.

[Page 139 line 14] Leggatt my chauffeur he also appears in the motoring stories and was known as Filsey on the first appearance of “Steam Tactics” (Traffics and Discoveries) in The Windsor Magazine.

[Page 139 line 22] meek as Moses ‘ Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth,’ Numbers 12,3.

[Page 140 line 5] short hairs… the hair on the back of the neck sometimes stands up in moments of tension, danger or fright.

[Page 140 line 22] a mid-Victorian mansion of particular villainy some houses of the era were not renowned for their pleasant design.

[Page 140 line 29] Jean Ingelow
(1820-1897), English poet and novelist; her best-known poem “High Tide on the Coast of Lincolnshire” is much quoted in “My Son’s Wife” earlier in this volume.

[Page 140 line 30 onwards] Methought that the stars… etc. Her three-stanza verse “Sailing Beyond the Seas” is slightly misquoted. [We have not found the musical setting and would appreciate information; Ed.]

[Page 141 line 1] tritomas kniphofias, the ‘red-hot poker’.

[Page 141 line 5] I waited till the end Nash’s has: ‘waited until it had conscientiously reached the end.’

[Page 143 line 5] what-nots in this context ornate Victorian display units with several shelves for the exhibition of ornaments, curios etc.

Austrian images wooden figures from the Tyrol.

[Page 143 line 8] 1851 The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in the Crystal Palace, Hyde Park, London, opened by Queen Victoria. Much hideous furniture was specially made for it.

1878 the young Kipling went to the Paris Exhibition with his father, (Something of Myself, p. 24).

[Page 143 line 10] a baize door an almost sound-proof door, lined with a green felt-like cloth, usually dividing the nurseries and domestic quarters from the main house, but here also to shut off the noise from possibly delirious patients

[Page 143 line 16] I have a very large income Nash’s has ‘I have five thousand seven hundred pounds a year’ (the equivalent of some £400,000 today).

[Page 143 line 23] Moira see the quotation from Martin Seymour-Smith in the Headnote.

[Page 145 line 17] Zvengali an evil character who hypnotises the heroine in Trilby (1894) a novel by George du Maurier (1834-1896) French-born British author and cartoonist. Zvengali put the’fluence on people to make them do his will, a sort of folk-lore figure in those days.

[Page 145 line 23] Madeira the largest of a group of Spanish islands in the Atlantic off the north-west coast of Africa.

[Page 145 line 25] enteric (Typhoid) see Dr. Gillian Sheehan’s Notes.

[Page 146 line 1] the Cape boat a Union Castle Line steamer sailed from Southampton every Thursday for Capetown, calling at several ports on the way. Kipling took his family to South Africa for the winter every year from 1900 to 1908.

[Page 146 line 18] roads in this context roadstead, an anchorage for vessels.

[Page 146 line 22] a neat-footed breakdown a wild shuffling, stamping dance, probably from the Caribbean.

[Page 146 line 23] the Middlesex Hospital one of the great London hospitals, recently closed (2007). Kipling died in the Middlesex on 18 January 1936. His Doctor, Sir John Bland-Sutton (1855-1936) was associated with this hospital on which “Unprofessional” and “The Tender Achilles (both in Limits and Renewals) are probably based.

[Page 146 line 32] this ungirt hour an echo of Kipling’s own “Song to Mithras”:

‘Now in the ungirt hour – now lest we blink and drowse…’ (Verse 2)

The soldiers are relaxing without their armour.

[Page 147 line 13] Funchal capital of the Madeira islands (page 145 line 23 above) a pleasant and safe anchorage with a salubrious climate,

[Page 147 line 18] malaria see Dr. Gillian Sheehan’s Notes, but these ‘attacks’ are really drinking-bouts, see page 149 line 10 below

[Page 147 line 27] Thames-mouth shoals sandbanks and other dangers to navigation in the estuary of the Thames.

[Page 148 line 7] It’s good for me to be here an echo of Mark 9,5: ‘Master, it is good for us to be here’, also Luke 9,33.

[Page 148 line 14] too lively for spring work across the Bay his yacht is not comfortable in the equinoctial gales expected at that time of year in the Bay of Biscay and elsewhere. See line 22 below.

[Page 148 line 17] plenipotentaries ambassadors – usually treated with great respect as representing their sovereigns.

[Page 148 line 20] port in this context the left-hand side of the vessel, looking forward.

[Page 148 line 31] he held an extra master’s certificate A certificate as an “Extra Master of Yacht”. An Extra Certificate will be issued to the owner of a yacht who either holds, or is qualified to be examined for, a Yacht Master’s Certificate, subject to examination in navigation. (Dixon Kemp, Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing and Architecture, 1913). He may, of course, as Alastair Wilson points out, have held a deep-sea “Extra-Master’s” Certificate rather than merely a Yachtsman’s Extra Master’s.

[Page 148 line 33] smoking-room a comfortably-furnished apartment with a bar then provided in liners, hotels and large houses, when gentlemen could relax with a drink and a smoke as ladies were not usually admitted.

[Page 149 lines 9 and 10] better about liquor … The whisky in the suitcase See page 147 line 18 above.

[Page 149 line 16] black port-glasses small circular windows (known by some as port-holes but more correctly called scuttles) which appear black at night from inboard.

[Page 149 line 24] a touch of ’em probably delirium tremens – commonly known as the ‘blue devils’ – caused by acute alcoholism – with hallucinations, trembling and homicidal or suicidal tendencies (Black’s Medical Dictionary) See lines 12 and 13 above. It turns out he was a patient of Dr. Sichliffe (page 150, line 25 onwards).

[Page 149 line 32] Thou art the man ‘And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. This saith the LORD God of Israel….’ 2 Samuel 12, 7

[Page 150 line 1] the ewe lamb business Shepherds are traditionally particularly careful of ewe lambs. Edwin Houlton in KJ 202 has suggested that in discharging damaged young men, who were going to their deaths, Dr. Sichliffe was as evil as King David in the Old Testament, denounced by Nathan the Prophet for sending a young man out to die for his own gain.

[Page 150 line 10] slowing for soundings off Ushant ‘Soundings’ are coastal waters, 100 fathoms (600 feet) deep or less, shallow enough for a sounding line (for measuring depth) to reach the bottom. ‘Although the English channel is neither so dangerous nor so difficult of navigation as is sometimes imagined, it is absolutely necessary, when approaching its entrance, and until a landfall is made, to use every opportunity and means of ascertaining the ship’s position.’ (Channel Pilot, published by the Hydrographic Department under the authority of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, 1957.)

[Page 150 line 11] deadlights circular plates that let down over the glasses of port-holes, or scuttles, and are secured with butterfly nuts.

[Page 151 line 1] They’ve changed it since not in Nash’s perhaps a reference to the Children’s Act of 1906 which made it a crime for paid minders of children to insure their charges’ lives. But even before this Act the doctor would not have had an insurable interest in an under-age patient whom he had let out into the world again. See also the note on page 133 line 2 above.

[Page 151 line 8] bromide potassium bromide, a sedative.

[Page 151 line 9] lead still going … ? The lead, a weight on the end of a line which was cast out to drop to the sea bottom, is the way the depth of water was ascertained before physicist and engineer William Thomson (1824-1907) developed his sounding machine. (This had been in use since the 1870s, though evidently not on this particular vessel).

See also the note to “Their Lawful Occasions” (Traffics and Discoveries) at page 135, line 31, and Captains Courageous page 82, line 3.

[Page 151 line 16] tramplings and gull-like cries The deep-sea lead took several men to handle it and could produce the ‘tramplings and gull-like cries’ if the ship is rolling.

[Page 151 line 20] extra master’s certificate see page 148 line 31 above.

[Page 151 line 25] sixty-five fathom water some 120 metres, the depth on a line joining Ile d’Ouessant and Bishop Rock lighthouse being almost uniformly about 60 fathoms.

[Page 151 line 31] Channel Pilot in this context the Sailing Directions quoted at page 150 line 10. See also the Heading to “The Devil and the Deep Sea” (The Day’s Work) and “An Unqualified Pilot” page 59 line 12 (Land and Sea Tales).

[Page 151 line 33] light by light in this context, every lighthouse on their course.

[Page 152 line 7] just on the edge of ’em Delirium tremens, see page 149 line 24 above.

[Page 152 line 9] that dog’s looking at me Shend is hallucinating, a symptom of Delirium tremens. Houlton’s article in KJ 202 suggests that this is a ‘sending’ by Moira who uses her name as a ‘password’.

[Page 152 line 22] Drummond Castle a single screw Castle Line Mail Steamer. She left Cape Town on 28th May 1896 with 143 passengers and 103 crew. On 16th June, in poor visibility, she struck a reef known as Pierres Vertes at the South entrance to the Fronveur Sound off Ushant and sank in four minutes. There were only three survivors.
[Merchant Fleets by Duncan Haws, vol.18, Union-Castle Line]

[Page 152 line 27] I’ll letter or halve it with you an echo of the inauguration ritual of an apprentice freemason, Masonic ritual in communicating a secret word; ‘letter’ means ‘spell in turn’. They have found out that they are both Freemasons.

[Page 154 line 23] collar of gold Malachi was the narrator’s much-loved dog; he probably had a leather collar with polished brass studs and nameplate. This is a reference to the poem “Let Erin Remember” by Thomas Moore (1779-1852):

Let Erin remember the days of old
Ere her faithless sons betrayed her
When Malachy wore the collar of gold
That he won from the proud invader…

The implication is that Malachi is ready to see off any invader, and indeed soon after (page 155 line 27) he falls on Harvey‘as an enemy and an equal’.

[Page 154 line 24] Demosthenes (384–322 BCE), prominent statesman and orator of ancient Athens.

[Page 154 line 28] railway lines the docks of the period had railway lines, usually recessed into the roadway as in tramways, so that trains could come alongside the vessels

[Page 155 line 1] Romsey Hampshire market town eight miles north-west of Southampton.

[Page 155 line 5] Daimler manufacturers of large and dignified motor-cars. King George V had several.

[Page 155 line 20] green waterproof etc. the author has again gone to some pains to make the woman as unattractive as possible.

[Page 155 line 26] corkily presumably in a buoyant manner like a cork bobbing about in water but perhaps a misprint for cockily – in a jaunty, conceited manner.

[Page 157 line 1] the family Bettina is the mother of Harvey and the sister of Malachi (page 131 lines 3 and 9 above).

[Page 157 line 3] de trop ‘not wanted’, ‘unwelcome’ (French).

[Page 157 line 13] Boswell James Boswell, (1740–1795), lawyer, diarist, and biographer of Samuel Johnson.

Johnson Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), often referred to simply as Dr Johnson, one of England’s best known literary figures: essayist, biographer, lexicographer and critic. A great wit and prose stylist, well known for his aphorisms, probably one of the most quoted English writer after Shakespeare and Kipling.

[Page 157 line 16] verified my quotations see page 133 line 28 above.

[Page 157 line 21] “He was a vicious man…But very kind to me… If you call a dog Hervey I shall love him” Boswell’s Life of Johnson (1737), Volume I, page 106. Hervey entertained Johnson when he first went to London and introduced him to ‘genteel company.’ Johnson did not care for dogs very much, but would do if one were called Hervey. ORG, Volume 7, page 3073.

The implication is that in calling the dog Harvey (or Hervey, the pronunciation is the same), Moira was identifying him with Shend, her lost love. Moira had always thought of him as ‘Hervey’, while the Narrator and Mrs Godfrey, who up to now had not ‘verified their quotations’, had thought of him as ‘Harvey’. The word ‘vicious’ simply implies that Shend was an alcoholic.

See also “”The Comforters”