The Valley of the Shadow

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 Soldiers Three and Other Stories, as published and frequently reprinted between 1899 and 1950.

[Title] This is from Psalm 23: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will
fear no evil.

[Heading] “Knowing Good and Evil” This is from the serpent’s words to Eve in Genesis 3, 5: ‘And ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil’. [The heading of “The Garden of Eden” earlier in this volume is “And ye shall be as – Gods!”]

[Page 201, line 2] Punkah-coolies the men who pull the ropes that activate the primitive fans that sweep to and fro across the room.

[Page 201, line 4] trap in this context, a light cart with two wheels, drawn by a horse or pony.

[Page 201, line 10] The colour of good cigar-ash white.

[Page 202, line 4] stiff brandy-peg a large glass of brandy.

[Page 202, line 13] C.I.E. Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire. The fever has made her confuse this with the Civil Engineer or some such other abbreviation.

[Page 202, line 30] Salam do a courteous salutation from the Arabic salam – “peace”, in this context meaning “Ask him in.”

[Page 202, line 32] ‘marneen’ Good Morning.

[Page 203, line 15] darwaza bund daewaza bubd hai means “the door is closed” – that is to say “Not at home.”

[Page 203, line 17] Judas Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus – see the Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 25, St. Mark, Chapter 14 etc.

[Page 203, lines 21 – 28] ‘ And it came to pass… etc. She begins with a vaguely Biblical quotation and continues with meaningless raving.

[Page 205, line 16] real leaves from Kaintu probably for a wedding-bouquet, from a great tea-growing centre in Orissa.

[Page 205, line 19] winding sheet a cloth for wrapping a corpse.

[Page 206, line 16] almirah a wardrobe or chest of drawers.

[Page 207, line 15] ‘Till Death do us part’ from ‘The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony’ in The Book of Common Prayer. See the notes on “With Any Amazement” earlier in this volume.

[Page 209, lines 18 – 22] ‘Minnie bakes oaten cake etc. lines by Christina Georgina Rossetti, (1830–1894]

[Page 209, line 25] playing piano on the sheet an echo of the death of Falstaff in King Henry V, Act 2, Scene 3: ‘… I saw him fumble with the sheets…

[Page 210, line 9] Doctor Sahib ko salaam do Ask the Doctor to come in here.

[Page 210, line 11] Tuta – phuta literally, broken meaning dead.

[Page 210, line 31] curb A chain or strap attached to each end of the bit, passing behind the horse’s lower jaw – uncomfortable if too tight.

[Page 211, line 10] stopped the punkah just at the right time see Dr. Sheehan’s Notes on ‘Fever’.

[Page 212, line 13] “Come hup, you brute!” David Rogers writes: I believe he’s quoting Mr John Jorrocks, the foxhunting Cockney grocer, in Robert Smith Surtees Handley Cross (1843). Jorrocks loses his temper with his mount on more than one occasion and shouts “Come Hup” when trying (usually unsuccesfully) to get it over an obstacle in the hunting field. Handley Cross was a favourite book of Stalky’s and well known to Kipling. [D.R.]

[Page 212, line 17] wrapper in this context a dressing-gown or housecoat.

[Page 212, line 8] Junda the ayah who stopped the punkah and saved Minnie’s life.

[Page 213, line 9] saree Hindi sari – a length of cloth wrapped gracefully round the body with the end over the head. Often beautifully printed or embroidered.

[Page 213, line 10] dibs slang for rupees.

[J H McG]

©John McGivering 2005 All rights reserved