To Be Filed for Reference

Notes on the text

These notes, 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 Plain Tales from the Hills, as published and frequently reprinted between 1899 and 1950.

[Heading] This purports to be by the fictitious “McIntosh Jellaludin” and is collected in Definitive Verse and Inclusive Verse as “By the Hoof of the Wild Goat” with slight variations as to capital letters and line 11.

[Page 325, line 1] Say is it dawn etc This is from “The Song of the Bower” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882). It is misquoted here. The correct wording is:

Say is it day, is it dusk in thy bower
Thou whom I long for, who longest for me
Oh ! Be it night, be it light, ‘tis love’s hour.

Whether Kipling was quoting from memory and got it wrong, or whether he intended to show a drunken man’s failing memory is a moot point. An interesting piece of background information is that the later lines:

Long lovely arms and a neck like a tower
Bosom then heaving that now lies folorn,

are generally taken to refer to Jane Burden who married William Morris as mentioned below, while the whole poem reflects The Song of Solomon in the Old Testament. See the Kipling Journal 114/06 (Lalun), 178/04, 275/48, 279/06 & 08.

[Page 326, line 1] Serai From the Persian sard meaning a palace. The word came to mean a building for the accommodation of travellers – a large yard with rooms around it, like that described in Chapter 1 of Kim. See also the first line of “Certain Maxims of Hafiz” and “The Man who would be King”.

[Page 326, line 9] screwed In this context, drunk.

[Page 326, line 10] LoggerheadLoggerhead a bathing-place in the River Cherwell at I Oxford for men where nude bathing was permitted, later known as Parson’s Pleasure, it was closed in 1997. A similar facility for women nearby was closed in 1970.. Mesopotamia was the name given to a pleasant walk between two branches of the River Cherwell on the outskirts of Oxford, and hence a memory of the Oxford days of McIntosh Jellaludin. (It was also an old name for what is now Iraq, the land between the two rivers Tigris and Euphrates.)

[Page 326, lines 11, 14 ,16] Symond’s stable was in Holywell Street in Oxford where the father of “the beautiful Jane Burden”, who married William Morris in 1859, worked as a groom. She is the large-throated woman who appears in many of Rossetti’s pictures, and whom Kipling met in his childhood (Wilson, pp. 29-30)

[Page 326, line 17] strange to hear all the old names Apart from his childhood visit (Something of Myself, p.10 ) when he went to Holywell Street, which was reflected in “The Brushwood Boy “ (The Day’s Work), Kipling did not, so far as we know, visit Oxford until 1907 when he received a degree. He must have obtained some local colour from an Oxford man for this story. He regretted not attending a university himself and envied his cousin Stanley Baldwin who was at Harrow and destined for a university education. (Ricketts, p. 71)

[Page 326, line 27] “My brain cries out against,,,” We have not traced this quotation. Information will be welcomed. (Ed.)

[Page 327, line 1] O Moon and little, little stars Perhaps an echo of Psalm 8 and the Benedicite. Further information will be appreciated [Ed.]..

[Page 327, line 3] Ovid The poet Publius Ovidius Naso (43 B.C.–17 ? A.D.)

[Page 327, line 16] sent Home back to the U.K.

[Page 328, line 6] charpoy the common Indian bedstead. From the Persian chihdr–pai, meaning four-feet.

[Page 328, line 114] friends…would not understand. An understatement – they would, and they would think the author was going downhill as well as the drop-out he was visiting and would spread the rumour widely.

[Page 329, line 5] alpaca wool from the Auchenia paco, a member of the camel family from South America, prized for its very fine wool.

[Page 329, line 6] gunny-bags From the Sanskrit goni – a sack made from Jute, the fibre of the bark of Corchorus capsularia and C. olitorius which was also used in the manufacture of rope and paper in the United Kingdom. Torpenhow in The Light that Failed (p. 23) repairs his breeches with part of such a sack from India.

[Page 329, line 10] quantities In this context, the length and stress of various syllables in spoken verse – for which there are strict rules; see the Latin lesson in “Regulus” in A Diversity of Creatures (p. 32), and Something of Myself (p.36). Wilson (p.46) observes that Kipling’s Latin was “only adequate” despite his love of Horace in later years.

[Page 329, line 13] samovar A Russian tea-urn heated by charcoal in an internal tube.

[Page 329, line 21] I the Trinity illustrate etc These lines are from “Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister” by Robert Browning (1812–1889) one of the great English poets of the Victorian era and a strong influence on Kipling since his teens.

[Page 330, line 4] Jullundur City, cantonment and capital of the District of the same name in the Punjab, about 100 miles east of Lahore.

[Page 330, line 18] Atalanta in Calydon by Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909) the English poet, who was at Oxford with Rossetti, William Morris and Burne-Jones. “This work revealed (his) unsurpassed mastery of melodious verse” (Oxford Companion to English Literature, 2nd. Ed, p.757). Kipling parodied him (Early Verse edited by Rutherford) and received some faint praise for Schoolboy Lyrics (Ricketts, p. 43) Part of the Chorus of this poem is quoted in “Uncovenanted Mercies” in Limits and Renewals. Kipling refused the Poet Laureatship when it was offered to him in later years over the head of older poets (ib. pp. 196 ff.) but accepted the Nobel Prize for Literature.

[Page 330, line 24] Inferno Part of the immortal work, La Divina Commedia, by Dante Alighieri (1265–1321), which describes an imaginary pilgrimage guided by Virgil, through hell’s three divisions and various other stages to the Empyrean.
See also “Uncovenanted Mercies” quoted above and “On the Gate” (Debits and Credits)

[Page 330, line 25] Virgil in the shades the poet as a guide to Hell mentioned above. Publius Vergilius Maro (70–19 B.C.), was in the view of many the greatest of Roman poets. He was author of, amongst other works, the Æneid. What some maintain to be the correct spelling of his name is used by Kipling for Winter Vergil, a character in “ A Naval Mutiny” (Limits and Renewals).

[Page 331, lines 6–9] I who am the son…buttery-hatch. This is insolence of the highest order from anybody, drunk or sober; it implies that the listener is a person of no importance who would not even have penetrated the speaker’s college as far as the buttery-hatch. This was the door where provisions were issued, usually to the servants, who would take them to the residents’ rooms.

[Page 331,line 15] my friend with the neglected education more insolence by McIntosh.

[Page 331, line 20 – 23] ‘On the Soul which I have lost…etc an echo of Genesis, 3, 5; … the serpent speaks – ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. Any further information would be welcomed. (Ed.)

[Page 331, line 25] ‘next- morning’s head’ a hangover, caused by excessive consumption of alcohol.

[Page 332, line 5] before my soul went to the gods This presumably means ‘went to sleep’ but we have not traced the literary allusion.

[Page 332, line 6] Pickering Horace The ‘Diamond Classics’ were published between 1821 and 1831 by William Pickering (1796–1854), who became famous for the choice delicacy of his work.

[Page 332, lines 8 and 9] ten annas … a rupee very small sums for such an important edition.

[Page 332, line 24] Strickland Kipling’s police-officer notorious among Anglo-Indians for his knowledge of native life. He appears in Kim, “Miss Youghal’s Sais” and “The Bronckhorst Divorce-case” earlier in this volume, “The Mark of the Beast” and “The Return of Imray” in Life’s Handicap, “A Deal in Cotton“ in Actions and Reactions, and “The Son of his Father” in Land and Sea Tales for Scouts and Guides.

[Page 332, line 33] Mahommedan faquir from the Arabic fakir – “poor” a Mohammedan religious mendicant. Alcohol is, however, forbidden and he should strictly not be so described. See Chapter 1 of Kim where Mahub Ali drinks perfumed brandy against the Law of the Prophet.

[Page 333 line 1] my own ends The narrator, as a newspaperman in search of copy, obviously pumped him for information on native life.

[Page 333, line 33] Mother Maturin Kipling wrote a draft of this novel in 1885. Carrington (p. 66) quotes his letter to Edith Macdonald of 30 July, 1885:

…. I have really embarked to the tune of 237 foolscap pages on my novel – Mother Maturin – an Anglo-Indian episode….. It’s not one bit nice or proper but it carries a grim sort of moral with it and tries to deal with the unutterable horrors of lower class Eurasian and native life……I haven’t got the Pater’s verdict on what I’ve done……. Trixie says it’s awfully horrid. Mother says it’s nasty but powerful and I know it to be in large measure true.

Mrs Hill’s opinion of it is also quoted by Carrington, (p.358).

Mother Maturin I have read , which was never published because John Lockwood Kipling was not satisfied with it. It is the story of an old Irishwoman who kept an opium den in Lahore but sent her daughter to be educated in England. She married a Civilian and came to live in Lahore.

Kipling’s diary of 7 March 1885 notes: ” the idea of “Mother Maturin” dawned on me today.” Wilson (p.157) comments: “When under Lockwood’s persuasion, he abandoned the book, we lost a conventional spy story. with oriental trimmings and gained a unique work, his finest work, Kim.”

The manuscript has not been discovered, and various commentators have assumed that it was destroyed by Kipling himself, his widow or his daughter. The last mention of it that we know of is Mrs. Kipling’s diary for 3 July 1900 where she notes that A.P.Watt sent it to Kipling. (Birkenhead p. 82). However, a man at Macmillan, Kipling’s publishers, opened the bottom drawer of his desk recently and came across the notebooks of Kipling’s motor-tours in France that had languished there for some forty years ! Who knows what other drawers or cupboards at Bateman’s or Wimpole Hall may contain ? The title of this story, “To be Filed for Reference”, may suggest that in 1888 Kipling still cherished the idea of publishing “Mother Maturin” one day.

[Page 334, line 4] Mirza Murad Ali Beg’s book He published Lalun the Bergun, or the Battle of Paniput at the State Press of Bhaunagar and at the Union Press, Bombay in 1884, containing the origins of several of Kipling’s works, including “The Gate of the Hundred Sorrows” referred to above, “On the City Wall” (Soldiers Three) and, amongst the verse, “The Ballad of Fisher’s Boarding-House”, “A Song of Kabir”, “With Scindia to Delhi” and “The Vampire”.

[Page 334, lines 14 – 17] monument more enduring than brass …. A gift more honourable quotations from Masonic ritual.

[Page 334, line 20] Philistine One of the peoples of Palestine in Biblical times, and enemies of the Israelites. There are many uncomplimentary references to the Philistines in the Old Testament. In the 19th century the term came to be mean a person of material outlook, indifferent to culture, an uncultured person. It is in this sense that McIntosh uses it here.

[Page 334, line 21] your own jerky jargon Kipling’s own staccato dialogue, to which some critics took exception.

[Page 334, line 23] Ethel the name of a principal character in Mother Maturin: possibly the former wife or lover of McIntosh. The name means “Noble” in Old English but is not popular these days.

[Page 335, line 21] Not guilty he had obviously been charged with some crime and dropped out of society thereafter.

[Page 336, line 4] Greek nonsense this is Kipling being anti-intellectual again. From the context, these would have been highly appropriate chapter-headings similar to his own, with content matching text, a technique he invented. (See the Kipling Journal 23/68, and 196/06).

[Page 336, line 10] the Giant’s Robe (1883) a novel by F. Anstey (Thomas Anstey Guthrie, 1856–1934) author of Vice Versa and other successful works. A man publishes a friend’s novel, believing him to be dead, it is successful and he becomes famous but cannot write another to equal it. The friend reappears and there is suspense, excitement and a tragic ending.

[J. McG.]