[Page 42, Title] False Dawn There comes a moment an hour or so before dawn when the sky seems to lighten for a moment and then all goes dark again; that is the false dawn. See the poem “The Dawn Wind”.
[Page 42, Heading] Collected in Definitive Verse (p. 506) with ‘fain’ for ‘faint’ in the second line. (Glad , joyful or content for want of better). An obscure little verse made even more obscure.
Philip Holberton writes: It seems to mean that the Earth feels as if something is threatening: ‘the night was fearfully hot’ and a dust-storm is brewing – ‘I saw that the horizon to the north carried a faint, dun-coloured feather’. And human emotions echo the weather: ‘The social atmosphere was heavily charged and wanted clearing’. [P.H.]
[Page 42, Line 3] putting up their hair I was under the impression that in those days ladies with long hair wore it “Up” in the daytime and let down into braids / pigtails / loose at night. [another opinion would be helpful, if you please: JHMcG, Ed.]
[Page 43, line 1] Civilian in this context, a member of the Indian Civil Service as distinct from the more usual meaning of a man not in the Navy or Army.
[Page 43, line 16] Station not, in this instance, a railway station (see Page 44, line 27 – off the line of rail) but the usual name given to the part of the area where the British officials and army officers – if not in a fortress – lived; also the general society of the place.
[Page 43, line 16] Behar the buffer Province between commercial Calcutta and the North-West was, at the time, better known for the production of indigo.
[Page 43, Line 18] She was two-and-twenty, and he was thirty-three a Frenchman has suggested that the optimum bride / groom ratio is when the woman is seven years more than half the age of the groom.
[Page 43, line 20] fourteen hundred rupees a month over £1,100 per annum – an excellent salary at that time.
[Page 43, Line 24] Resolution … Select Committee a play of words on civil service procedure.
[Page 44, line 18] hot April days when the women should be heading for the Hills.
[Page 44, Line 30] a day’s journey an echo of an expression used many times in the Bible.
[Page 45, line 5] ‘Noah’s Ark’ picnic ” There went in two and two unto Noah into the Ark, the male and the female…” (Genesis 7, verse 9.)
[Page 45, line 9.] chaperones older ladies who accompany unmarried girls to prevent uncalled for male attention.
[Page 45,line 11] understandings the stage before an engagement to marry.
[Page 45,line 15] Pop from the slang “to pop the question” – to propose marriage.
[Page 45,, line 20] heavily charged an oppressive atmosphere .
[Page 45,line 32] tank in this context a brick or stone-built reservoir to collect water for irrigation or cattle; variously ascribed to the Portuguese anquet or Old French estang. [Hobson-Jobson]
[Page 46, line 15] supper presumably brought to the site by the servants of the party in a bullock-cart or some such vehicle.
[Page 46,line 27] picketed tied to pegs or posts, but in this instance probably trees.
[Page 47, line 14] puggree Hind. pagre – a turban; used also for a light scarf tied round the sun-helmet. [Hobson–Jobson]
[Page 47, line 17] corn a sore spot on a toe caused by pressure from the boot.
[Page 47, line 20] leeward the sheltered side – the direction in which the wind is blowing. (Pronounced loo’ard)
[Page 47, line 21] Day of Judgement after the end of the world, the Lord will judge each soul as good or evil and send it to heaven or hell. Revelations 20, 11-15
[Page 49 line 21] the air is full of trumpets perhaps an echo of Tennyson’s “The Princess” – “A moment, while the trumpets blow…”
[Page 49,line 27] brown holland habit a riding-dress made of a hard-wearing linen, usually dyed brown or left unbleached. One cannot help wondering , however, how the narrator was able to distinguish the colour in the darkness.
[Page 50 line 5] curb-chain connects the ends of the bit under the horse’s chin.
[Page 50, line 29] the Pit Hell.