The Giridih Coalfields


The Perils of the Pit

(notes edited by David Page)



20th September 1888 in the Pioneer, 26th September, 1888 in the Pioneer Mail and 1st September 1888 in the Week’s News.

Notes on the Text

[Page 319, line 5] Sandheads a location at the mouths of the Hughli river, about 70 miles downstream from Calcutta. See “On the Banks of the Hughli”, Chapter IV of The City of Dreadful Night.

[Page 319, line 5] James and Mary Shoal The James and Mary was a vessel which sank in September, 1694 and gave her name to this bank. See Hobson-Jobson (p. 449), and “An Unqualified Pilot” in Land and Sea Tales for Scouts and Guides.

[Page 320, line 20] P.W.D. Public Works Department.

[Page 322, line 11] Valentine and Orson twin brothers, abandoned in the woods in infancy, in an early French Romance which appeared in English about 1550 as

History of Two Valyannte Brethren

, by Henry Watson. Valentine is brought up as a knight at the court of Pippin, while Orson (‘Ursine’) grows up in a bear’s den to be a wild man of the woods. [ORG] There is a ballad in Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765), by Thomas Percy, a book in Kipling’s library, about the brothers. [See the Everyman’s Library edition of 1906, volume II page 361.]

[Page 323, line 2] luting a clay, cement or other material used as a protective covering or seal.

[Page 323, line 7] Sirdar commander, or foreman.

[Page 323, line 17] Babu Hindu clerk in this instance.

[Page 324, line 18] rukni Kipling gives the meaning – his kept-woman.

[Page 325, lines 3-4] nine pice a day this equals 2.25 old pennies in sterling, or just under one of today’s new pennies, i.e. about an eighth of a rupee a week. There were:

  • 4 pice in one anna
  • 16 annas in one rupee
  • 15 rupees to the £ sterling

Thus there were 960 pice to the £, so a pice was equal to a farthing (a quarter of an old penny).

[Page 325, line 14] Bus! ‘the end’, ‘it is finished’.

[Page 325, line 15] the tale of the clay agree the tally or quantity of clay supplied.

[Page 327, line 2] carbonic acid gas carbon dioxide.

[Page 327, line 5] leeped plastered over, or plugged, cracks and holes.

[Page 327, line 18] Baragunda A short distance WSW of Giridih.

[Page 327, line 19] Barakar or Barakhar. A very short distance SW of Giridih.

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