The Giridih Coalfields


In the Depths

(notes edited by David Page)


6th September 1888 in the Pioneer, 9th September 1888 in the Pioneer Mail and 1st September 1888 in the Week’s News.

Notes on the Text

[Page 312, line 2] Joseph a punning reference to the fact that in the Old Testament Joseph was cast into a pit by his brothers (see Genesis 37), and that Kipling’s full name was Joseph Rudyard Kipling. He was named after his paternal grandfather, although he never used this first name. [ORG]

[Page 313, line 25] Tommy’s … bluejacket’s soldier’s … sailor’s.

[Page 314, lines 20-21] ‘gross darkness of the inner sepulchre’ a quotation from stanza XVII of “A Dream of Fair Women” by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892):

There was no motion in the dumb dead air,
Not any song of bird or sound of rill;
Gross darkness of the inner sepulchre
Is not so deadly still.

[Page 315, line 26] Eblis the Devil in the Moslem religion, the chief of the apostate angels who refused to worship Adam. [ORG] Kipling frequently refers to this Djinn in his stories.

[Page 316, line 5] Shabash! ‘Well done!’ or ‘Bravo’.

[Page 316, line 31] stooks Kipling gives the meaning of this word. It is possibly derived from the same English word for a group of wheat sheaves set up in a field to dry off after being cut.

[Page 317, lines 10-11] en échelon in a line but with each pillar behind and to one side of the preceding one.

[Page 317, line 18] goaf Kipling gives the meaning of this word, which is still current. Chambers Dictionary defines at as: ‘the space left by the extraction of a coal seam, into which waste is packed.’

[Page 318, lines 8-9] Doms and Bauris, Kols and Beldars are tribes and castes in West Bengal and the Central Provinces.

Doms are a menial caste, scavenger or cleaner. Some do basketwork.

Bauris are cultivators.

[See Nomads of South Asia: Anthology of 400 Nomadic Groups and Gypsies of India by Renato Rosso and Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty.

Kols are people of a forest tribe, labourers.

Beldars are diggers, navvies.

[See The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India by R.V. Russell, 1916. ]

[Page 318, line 11] fire-damp flammable gas found in coal mines. Methane is usually one of its constituents.

[Page 318, line 12] Davy lamp the miner’s safety lamp invented in 1815 by Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829).

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