An English School


Notes on the text

These notes, edited 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 Land and Sea Tales for Scouts and Guides, as published and frequently reprinted between 1923 and 1950.


[Page 255 line 7] Amyas Leigh’s house Leigh was the hero of

Westward Ho ! (1855) a celebrated and successful adventure-story by Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) The seaside development on Bideford Bay in north Devon was named after the book, and the United Services College was established in a terrace of houses here in 1874.

[Page 255 line 10] Don Guzmán the villain of the story.

[Page 255 line 21] Clovelly an historic fishing village on the Devon coast Kingsley’s father was Rector in 1831.
the Hobby a drive bordering the sea now closed to the public.

[Page 255 line 22] Gallantry Bower a headland on the coast of Devon.
the homes of… is followed in The Youth’s Companion (the journal in which this piece first appeared, hereinafter referred to as ‘YC’) by: ‘the Carews and the Pinecoffins’ , two distinguished West country families. Kipling uses the latter as the name of a character in “Pig” in Plain Tales from the Hills.

[Page 256 line 6] where a few old people played golf The version in YC has ‘where people played golf.’ Kipling played golf in wintertime in Vermont, when he lived there from 1892 to 1896 (Charles Carrington, p. 230), but he does not appear to have played in England.

[Page 256 lines 13-15] We played as a matter of course etc … not in YC.

[Page 256 lines 16-22] Now there is a new Club-house etc YC has: ‘Now there is a new club-house and a carriage to take the red men to and from their game; but we were there first, long before golf became a fashion, and we turned out the champion amateur golfer of all England.’

This was Horace (Horatio) Gordon Hutchinson (1859-1932) who was champion in 1886 and 1887. He was Captain in 1908 of The Royal and Ancient Club at St. Andrews in Scotland (1754), the world headquarters of golf. Hutchinson was the third son of General William Nelson Hutchinson and joined the USC at Westward Ho! in 1874 where his school number was 3. He was previously at Charterhouse a famous public school founded in 1611. For known bunkers see KJ 309/10 and 311/64.

[Page 256 lines 26-27] our caps were Haileybury colours Not in YC. Cormell Price had taught at Haileybury (right) , and some of the first group of boys at USC had come from that school. Haileybury was founded in 1862.

[Page 257 line 1] Our Headmaster this was Cormell Price (1835-1910) see the “Dedication” to Stalky & Co. and ORG Vol. 1, p. 398 passim.

There is much about him in Charles Carrington (p. 23) and the other biographies, together with the Kipling Journal See also Colonel H.A. Tapp’s United Services College, 1874-1911, privately printed in 1933. Also Something of Myself, Chapter 2)

[Page 257 line 28] the English Army YC has ‘Her Majesty’s Army’.

[Page 258 line 17] a picture-screen in this context a three- or four-fold light timber frame, some five or six feet high, covered in leather or cloth, on which it was the custom to paste illustrations cut out of magazines, etc, as decoration, and to keep the draught off a bed, etc.

[Page 258 line 22] “by and large” sailing on a course that is generally in the right direction but occasionally “by” or close to the wind and at other times “large” with the wind on the quarter.

[Page 258 line 26] a boy in the Canadian Mounted Police probably E.A. Braithwaite who later became a magistrate in Alberta and ‘a brilliant character in the medical world.’ (Tapp) The North West Mounted Police (1873) became the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1920.

[Page 258 line 29] seven shillings a day 35 pence sterling in modern currency. Quite good pay for the time.

[Page 259 lines 4-8] till he could attend to it … casual way YC has ’till he came back.’

[Page 259 line 9] diptheria see “A Little Prep” (Stalky & Co) and Dr Gillian Sheehan’s notes.

[Page 259 line 14] Cheltenham Cheltenham College (1841) (right) In Gloucestershire.

[Page 259 line 15] Sherbourne Sherborne School (1550) In Dorset.

[Page 259 line 16] Marlborough Marlborough College (1843) (left) In Wiltshire.



[Page 259 line 19 onwards] the Army Class This was the class of older boys ‘cramming’ for the examinations for entry to the military colleges at Sandhurst or Woolwich. In one of the biggest variants YC reads here: ‘All our men’ said the School, ‘go into the army, and there hasn’t been a war for ten years where some of our fellows haven’t played up. There are ninety of us in the Service now.’

[Page 259 line 22] Prefects Senior pupils responsible to the Headmaster and Housemasters for a large part of the running of the school in non-academic matters, administering discipline, running games etc.

[Page 259 line 23] allowed to smoke pipes This passage, about the disciplinary advantages of allowing senior boys to smoke, does not appear in YC, and was probably based on conversations with Cormell Price in later years. The principle figures to good effect in the later ‘Stalky’ stories “The United Idolaters” and “Regulus.”

[Page 259 lines 24-26] cigarettes They came into fashion during the Crimean War of 1853-1856, a habit picked up from the Russians. Gentlemen usually smoked those made with Turkish tobacco.

[Page 260 line 13] Fear God, Honour the King a little odd for a school that was founded in 1874 during the reign of Queen Victoria, but the article was revised for Land and Sea Tales, published in 1923 during the reign of her grandson King George V.

Mulvaney, in “The Incarnation of Krishna Mulvaney” (Life’s Handicap, p. 37) teaches recruits to ‘Fear God, Honour the Queen, Shoot Straight, and Keep Clean.’

[Page 260 line 15] Boerland slang for the Transvaal in South Africa.

[Page 260 line 20] Riel’s rebellion Louie Riel (1844-1885) a French-Canadian rebel who led an unsuccessful revolt in the Red River district of Canada in 1869-1870 and another in 1884-1885; he was hanged for treason.

[Page 260 line 22] forlorn hope a old military term for a party of soldiers detailed for a desperate enterprise. The boy in question was probably Frank Owen, born in 1864 and at USC 1878-1871.

[Page 260 line 23] All these matter were noted… Before this line YC has the additional sentence: ‘The first officer killed in the last Burma War was one of our boys, and the school was well pleased to think that it should be so.’
This was R.A.T. Drury, killed near Minhla Fort in November 1885; see From Sea to Sea (Letter II), and Stalky & Co. page 197, (“The Flag of their Country.”)

[Page 260 lines 28-29] between these lines YC has ‘This meant that the boys were straining on their leashes, and that there was a steady clatter of single-sticks and clinking of foils in the gymnasium at the far end of the corridor, where the drill-sergeant was barking out the regulation cuts and guards.’

‘Single-sticks’ and foils are used in fencing – which in this context signifies the sport of fighting with sword-like weapons – the cuts and guards are movements of attack and defence. (See “With the Main Guard” (Soldiers Three) p. 61 for an account of fighting with bayonets and swords against Afghans armed with knives.)

[Page 261 lines 9-16] an old boy … see “A Little Prep” (Stalky & Co p. 171.)

[Page 261 line 19] Killed in action see “A Little Prep” (Stalky & Co p. 160.)

[Page 261 line 29] crammers professional tutors who took private pupils for crash courses to get them through examinations; see “The Moral Reformers” (Stalky & Co. pp.133 and 139)

[Page 262 line 1] Woolwich the Royal Military Academy – ‘The Shop’ – where cadets were trained for the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers.

[Page 262 line 2] Sandhurst the Royal Military College in Surrey where cadets were trained for the infantry and cavalry.

[Page 262 line 9] ferret rabbits Catching wild rabbits with more-or-less tame ferrets (Putorius foetidus).

[Page 262 line 10] saloon-pistols also known as parlour-pistols – usually small-calibre pistols used for target-shooting indoors. Firearms were readily available at the time – see “The Satisfaction of a Gentleman” (The Complete Stalky & Co., p. 367) and The Light that Failed, p. 5.

[Page 262 line 24] ride on the rollers they had discovered surfing without a board.

[Page 262 line 25] under-tow an under-sea current moving in the opposite direction to that on the surface.

[Page 263 line 6] Braunton Bar a dangerous sandbank at the entrance to the estuary of the rivers Taw and Torridge.

[Page 263 line 7] rocket in this context, a life-saving apparatus which fired a line at a vessel aground so that a jackstay with a ‘traveller’ sliding along the line could be set up between ship and shore, and a breeches-buoy hauled to an fro to rescue the crew.

[Page 263 lines 11-13] They were cooked … Exeter not in YC.

[Page 263 line 16] foot-ball in this context, Rugby football, often mentioned in the stories – see also Beresford, Chapter V.

[Page 263 line 24] ground-ash a walking-stick made from a variety of the ash-tree; genus Fraxinus.

[Page 263 line 29] imposition a certain number of lines of a Latin poet to be written out neatly – 500 or perhaps 1,000, depending on the nature of the offence; see “Regulus”, in The Complete Stalky & Co. p. 243) Commonly known as an ‘impot’.

[Page 264 lines 7-14] Curiously enough … these points see “The Flag of their Country” (Stalky & Co. for a view of the short-lived Cadet Corps; also see Tapp, p. 26.

[Page 264 line 17] Blundell’s a famous school in Devon (right) (1604).

[Page 264 line 18] Great John Ridd The hero of Lorna Doone, (1869) the famous novel by R. D. Blackmore (1825-1900) who was himself educated at Blundell’s.

[Page 264 line 19] Exeter a school founded in 1633.

[Page 264 line 25] Appledore a village some two miles away from USC – the author is facetious.

[Page 264 line 28] brake in this context a four-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle with seats at the sides and a transverse seat in front.

[Page 265 lines 1 – 4] It’s a way we have in the Army, etc. these lines are quoted in “A Little Prep”, parodied in “The Flag of their Country” and mentioned in “Slaves of the Lamp” part I, (Stalky & Co.) and are probably a school version of the song “It’s the way we have in the Army” (1863) by J. B. Geoghegan.

[Page 266 line 6] The Rivals a play by Richard Brinsley Sheridan
(1751-1816) was performed at USC on Tuesday, 20 December, 1881. Kipling played Sir Anthony Absolute, Dunsterville (‘Stalky’) Mrs. Malaprop, Beresford (‘Turkey’) Sir Lucius O’Trigger, Mr. Evans (‘Hartopp’, the science master) Bob Acres, and Rimington (‘Pussy’ Abanazar) Faulkland.

[Page 266 lines 9-15] Vive la Compagnie! etc the version sung in 1876 is printed in the Old United Services College News Sheet for April 1940, but Kipling’s version of 1881 has not survived. See KJ 02/13.

[Page 266 line 17] Onward Christian Soldiers a well-known martial hymn with words by Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924) and set to a splendidly rousing tune by Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900); Sullivan also set Kipling’s “The Absent-Minded Beggar” to music. See Something of Myself, p. 150.

[Page 266 line 21] “The Story of a Short Life” (1882) the best-known of the books for children by Juliana Horatia Ewing which first appeared as “Laetus Sorte Mea” in Aunt Judy’s Magazine which Mrs. Ewing edited from May to October, 1882.

Kipling’s ‘tug of war verse’ was ‘the tug of war hymn’ inThe Story of a Short Lifeby Bishop Reginald Heber (1783 – 1826):

The Son of God goes forth to war
A kingly crown to gain;
His blood-red banner streams afar
Who follows in his train ?

The unfortunate Carnehan sings it (slightly altered) in “The Man who would be King” (Wee Willie Winkie, p. 266.) Mary’s Meadow, another of Mrs Ewing’s books, forms part of the plot of “Fairy-Kist” (Limits and Renewals, p.176.) and Six to Sixteen is mentioned in Something of Myself, p. 7.

[Page 267 lines 6-12] Eric, or Little by Little an edifying story of school life by Frederic William Farrar (1831-1903, Dean of Canterbury) published in 1858. The book, which was written when Farrar was a master at Harrow School (founded in 1572), proved highly popular. (See The Oxford Companion to English Literature, Second Edition, 1937, p. 264.)

Stalky & Co. however, do not take the book seriously, making fun of it on several occasions, particularly in “An Unsavoury Interlude”.

[Page 267 line 17] never spoke to … a woman This is not true if Sergeant-Major Kyte and Polly Westaway (the original of Mary Yeo) are to be believed (see KJ 11/14) so there may be a grain of truth in some of the activities in “The Last Term ” in Stalky and Co. There were menservants in the dining-halls (Beresford p. 43) but ‘fair Leana of the laundry’ appears in “An Unsavoury Interlude”.

[Page 267 lines 23-26] going out to tea … boys at work YC has ‘going out to tea, and meeting girls, and nonsense of that kind which is not in the least good for boys. ‘

[Page 268 line 10] false quantity In this context, an error in pronouncing Latin verse. See “Regulus” (The Complete Stalky & Co.) and Something of Myself p. 36.)

[Page 268 lines 13-22] There was a boy… the young Kipling – his version of Donec gratue eram in Devonshire dialect was published in the U.S.C. Chronicle on 24 July 1882. See Early Verse (Ed. Rutherford) p. 160.

[Page 268 line 18] purge himself of his contempt this is a joking reference to ‘Contempt of Court’ – a variety of grave offences which may touch the person of the judge, bring the court into contempt or affect the administration of justice; it is punishable by fine or imprisonment or both until the offence is ‘purged’.

[Page 268 line 22] Horace Quintus Horatius Flaccus, (B.C. 65-8) The celebrated Roman poet. ‘ he charms us more by the unsurpassable perfection of his language and his absolute command of metrical expression.’ (Harmsworth, vol. IV, p. 3183.)

In Something of Myself (p. 36) Kipling wrote:

C—- [Crofts] taught me to loathe Horace for two years; to forget him for twenty, and then to love him for the rest of my days and through many sleepless days.

Kipling tried his hand at four odes, all attributed to the imaginary Book V (Horace only wrote four books of Odes). All four appear in Debits and Credits. Two go with “Stalky” stories, “Translation” (‘Ode 3, Bk. V, ‘) follows “Regulus”, and
“To The Companions” (‘Ode 17 Bk. V.’) introduces “The United Idolaters.” There is also “The Portent” (‘Ode 20 Bk. V’), which introduces “The Prophet and the Country” and “The Last Ode” (‘Ode 31 Bk. V.’) which follows “The Eye of Allah”.

See also Charles Carrington (p. 480), and the verse “Carmen Circulare”.

[Page 268 lines 23-24] his master gave him the run of a big library this was William Carr Crofts (1846-1912) the main ‘original’ of Mr. King of Stalky & Co. In Something of Myself (p. 36) Kipling wrote:

I must have been ‘nursed’ with care by Crom and under his orders. Hence, his order that I should edit the School Paper and have the run of his Library Study. Hence, I presume, C—-’s similar permission, granted and withdrawn as the fortunes of our private war varied.

[Page 268 line 28] Chaucer The celebrated English poet (c. 1343-1400) and author of The Canterbury Tales. See the “Prologue to the Master-Cook’s Tale” at p. 100 earlier in this volume, and “Dayspring Mishandled” in Limits and Renewals, for Chaucerian parodies by Kipling. See also “The Consolations of Memory” and “The Justice’s Tale”
Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) Poet, critic and educationist.

[Page 268 line 29] Imaginary Conversations the principal prose work of Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864) issued between 1824 and 1829; he followed this with Imaginary Conversations of Greeks and Romans in 1853.

[Page 269 line 3] better learn Russian ‘I got as far as some of the cardinal numbers…’ Something of Myself, p. 36. Kipling later found himself on the Civil and Military Gazette at Lahore translating news items from Russian newspapers – but they were printed in French, which Kipling knew much better. See Something of Myself p. 49, and Ricketts pp. 32 and 92. Price had been tutor to the son of a nobleman in St. Petersburg and was later head of Modern Languages at Haileybury School.

[Page 269 lines 7-17] the run of another library etc. YC has ‘Marco Polo and Mandeville are added to the books in the Head’s library: the Russians are described as ‘rather more your friends than ours’ ‘ (YC is an American publication). In line 14 ‘several people’ reads ‘Morris and Swinburne and Rossetti and other people’.
Marco Polo (1254-1323) was a great Venetian merchant and traveller, who visited far Cathay, in China, the capital city of Kublai Khan.
Robert de Mandeville (1670-1733), was a Dutchman who came to England, became a physician, and wrote medical and other works. D’Israeli wrote: ‘The cynical Mandeville compared Addison, after an evening spent in his company, to a silent parson in a tie-wig.’

However, since he is bracketed with Marco Polo, this may refer to Sir John Mandeville, compiler of a famous book of travels published in French in 1366 and translated into all European tongues.

Cormell Price was a close friend at Oxford of Morris and Burne-Jones, and a little later of Swinburne and Rossetti. ‘College Magazines’ refers to the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine of which twelve numbers appeared, monthly, in 1856.

William Morris was the original editor and contributed largely in prose and verse while Rossetti provided three poems and Price three articles. Swinburne was not a contributor although he went up to Balliol in 1856; it was not until late in the following year that he met any of the Morris circle. He certainly knew Cormell Price, as they both helped Morris to paint frescos in the Oxford Union debating chamber.

[Page 269 line 21] Natural History Society see “In Ambush” (Stalky & Co.), Dunsterville, p. 49 and Beresford Chapters 7 & 8.

[Page 270 line 2] turned out with disgrace but see “In Ambush” where they meet a local landowner and are given the freedom of his estate.

[Page 270 lines 8-10] Three of the boys etc. the original trio of Stalky & Co., Lionel Charles Dunsterville (1864-1946) who was “Stalky”, George Charles Beresford (1864-1938) who was “Turkey”, and Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) who was “Beetle”; he never used the name Joseph. See Something of Myself Ch. 2, Dunsterville Chapter III and Beresford passim.

[Page 270 line 15 onwards] a real printed paper see “The Last Term” in Stalky & Co. for the boys let loose in Randall’s printing-office, Beresford p. 203, and Charles Carrington p. 35.

[Page 270 line 28] make fun of people in print see the verse “The Man Who Could Write.”

[Page 271 lines 1-11] For instance, there was friction etc the article in the USCC has not been identified, but may be “Life in the Corridors” in issue no. 4 dated 30 June 1881, reprinted by Martindell as “Flies in Amber” (Captain E W. Martindell is the author of several bibliographies Ed.) The story is reflected in “Slaves of the Lamp, Part I.” in Stalky & Co.

[Page 271 line 20 onwards] threw coal at the Editorial legs etc this will be recognised as the basic incident round which “The Satisfaction of a Gentleman” is built and is the only example of a definite original of a Stalky story (ORG) apart from the incident in “A Little Prep” where Price sucks the mucus out of the throat of a boy suffering from diptheria (See Dr Gillian Sheehan’s notes.) Price had begun training in medical school but did not continue with his studies. See page 259 line 9

[Page 272 line 6] Fors Clavigera a collection of letters to the workmen and labourers of Great Britain published 1872-1874 by John Ruskin (1819-1900)

[Page 272 line 14] he was an extraordinary person YC has “Irishman” thus identifying him as Beresford (M’Turk.) See Something of Myself, p. 26.

[Page 273 lines 1-3] sold… in Bideford they pawned or sold any spare garments and Beetle’s watch when short of funds.

[Page 273 lines 7-10] a London paper … paid a … guinea A guinea was one pound and one shilling (£1·05 in modern currency). This was “Two Lives” published in the World of 8 November 1882, and collected in the Sussex and Burwash editions where it is misdated 1881. See Early Verse, ed. Rutherford, p.137, for a reprint. See also KJ 037/ 8 and Carrington p. 38, where he refers to ‘an article’ to which he does not give a title. See also Angus Wilson p. 53.

[Page 273 line 18] Aladdin “Aladdin, or the wonderful scamp”, a pantomime by Henry James Byron (1834-1884} dramatist and actor, author of nearly 150 pantomimes, burlesques and comedies, etc, between 1858 and 1882. if “Slaves of the Lamp”Part 1 is to be believed, this one was somewhat re-written by Kipling. See Beresford, (Chapter XI)

[Page 273 line 21] one of them got into the Army this was Dunsterville.

SeeThe Adventures of Dunsterforce (1920) and Stalky’s Reminiscences (Jonathan Cape, 1928), More Yarns (1931), Stalky Settles Down (1932), and articles in KJ 001/9, 016/118, 022/46, 060/05, and 073/03.



[Page 273 line 22] the Irish one became an engineer George Beresford studied engineering, but later became a well-known photographer, who took pictures of many leading figures of the day.

He also wrote Schooldays with Kipling (Gollancz, 1936).




[Page 273 line 23] the third one Kipling – see Something of Myself Chapter 2.

[Page 274 line 1] The boys are scattered all over the world see the verse “A School Song” the Prelude to Stalky & Co.

…Let us now praise famous men…
Each degree of Latitude
Strung about creation
Seeth one or more of us…

[Page 274 line 7 onwards] The general and commander-in-chief Dunsterville, who observed in his Reminiscences:

Stalky & Co. is a work of fiction … Stalky himself was never quite as clever as portrayed in the book…But he represents, not an individual — though his character may be based on that of an individual — but the medium of one of the prevailing spirits of this most untypical school. (p. 25.)

[Page 274 line 19] bitten by a mad dog this was in 1891 (Stalky’s Reminiscences, p. 106)

[Page 274 line 20] Pasteur Louis Pasteur (1822 -1895) French chemist and physicist: his discoveries included vaccines against rabies and other diseases
Dr. Gillian Sheehan writes:

Rabies infection is transmitted from a rabid dog to man in the saliva. It then travels by the nerves until it reaches the spinal cord and the brain. (If it travelled via the bloodstream it would be much faster – but it doesn’t). The incubation period (the time between getting bitten and the appearance of symptoms) varies depending on the position of the bite: fourteen days for bites on the face, several months if a limb is bitten; the average is thirty to sixty days.
If Dunsterville had been bitten on the leg he would have had plenty of time to get to Paris.

[Page 275 line 5] The boy who used to take flying jumps on the ball This is believed to be General Sir George Roos-Kepple (sometimes mis-spelt “Ross-Kepple”, (1866-1921). See KJ 004/28 and 152/3. See also “The Taking of Lungtungpen” (Plain Tales from the Hills) “A Conference of the Powers” (Many Inventions) and the verses “The Ballad of Boh Da Thone” and “Mandalay.”

[Page 275 line 9] stockade fortification made by driving large timbers into the ground to form a strong fence.

[Page 275 line 24 onwards] the best boy of them all…. believed to be R.A.T. Drury – see the note at page 260 line 22 above. His death is mentioned in From Sea to Sea Volume I, p. 228.

[Page 276 line 1] Queen Victoria was shot at YC has ‘Ten or eleven years ago when the Queen…’ This was an unsuccessful attempt by Roderick Maclean on March 2 1882 outside Windsor station. He was found ‘Not Guilty but Insane’ and sent to an asylum. See Christopher Hibbert Queen Victoria, A Personal History. (Harper Collins, 2000) p. 420 for this and other attempts on the Queen’s life.

[Page 276 line 5] One school of many, made to make … this is the second verse of the young Kipling’s “Ave Imperatrix” (‘Hail to the Empress’ in Latin), which begins ‘From every quarter of your land’. The poem was first published in the United Services College Chronicle of 20 March 1882. It is collected with variations in the “Schoolboy Lyrics” section of Early Verse edited by Andrew Ruthford (OUP 1986). Charles Carrington (p. 40) reminds us that it imitates verses with the same title by Oscar Wilde (1856-1900).
Beresford (p. 285) observes that the school was not particularly patriotic (at least not overtly – see “The Flag of their Country”) and that the young Kipling was trying his hand at a new genre which turned out to be a success. This may have inspired the provocative suggestion by Harry Ricketts (p. 49), bearing in mind that according to Dunsterville the poem was written in French class in the back of a notebook, that:

Rud probably intended this as a loyalist spoof. Even so, its note of measured patriotic rhetoric uncannily anticipated his later poems on major public events. Parts of “Recessional” would closely echo the lines from “Ave Imperatrix”.

And Agnes Deans Cameron (1863-1912) quoted in Kipling, the Critical Heritage (Ed. Roger Lancelyn Green) observes:

…deep down in the heart of the young Imperialist burned thus early the fires of an Empire-wide patriotism, vide his “Ave Imperatrix” (p. 277).

Rightly or wrongly, one has the impression that respect for Queen and Empire was seen as an essential part of the equipment of a Victorian gentleman.

[J H McG]

©John McGivering 2007 All rights reserved