The Impressionists

Notes on the text

These notes are based on those written by Isabel Quigly for the OXFORD WORLD’S CLASSICS edition of The Complete Stalky & Co. (1987) with the kind permission of Oxford University Press. The page numbers below refer to the Macmillan Uniform Edition of Stalky & Co. (1899), the collection in which this story first appeared.


[Page 100, line 25] Summa to sum up, or the main facts.

[Page 101, line 33] pot-wallopers see note to “Stalky” in Land and Sea Tales for Scouts and Guides, page 130 line 28.

[Page 103, line 9] barbarous hexameters quotation from Tennyson’s On Translations of Homer.

[Page 103, line 18] Roman d’un Jeune Homme Pauvre by Octave Feuillet, 1821-90. This, his best-known novel, was published in 1858.

[Page 103, line 29] to elegise the “Elegy in a Churchyard” probably to put into Latin elegiacs Thomas Gray’s “Elegy in a Country Churchyard”. See Jan Montefiore’s note on

[Page 103, line 30] to punt-about to kick a football about for practice.

[Page 105, line 1] `But by the yellow Tiber. . .’ from Macaulay’s “Horatius” in Lays of Ancient Rome.

[Page 106, line 1] Belial somebody see F. W. Farrar’s St Winifred’s: `Master Wilton – Belial junior, as Henderson always called him’. This suggests Mammon and Lucifer, his companion fiends in Paradise Lost.

[Page 106, line 6] the B.O.P. the Boys Own Paper, 1879-1967, an influential magazine for boys, published by the Religious Tract Society, launched to appear weekly but from 1913 appearing monthly. Many famous writers for boys contributed to it. Beetle mocks its school-story views on school behaviour.

[Page 107, line 29] metagrobolised from the obsolete French verb metagrobuliser, used and probably invented by Rabelais, meaning `to puzzle, mystify’.

[Page 111, line 12] Shylock usurer. The reference is of course to Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.

[Page 112, line 10] Head in a drain pipe … reference to one of Mr Jingle’s stories in Pickwick Papers, chapter 2.

[Page 114, line 27] Keyte’s the school tuck-shop.

[Page 115, line 16] Cave see note to “An Unsavoury Interlude” p. 73.

[Page 120, line 2] the baser-side-of-imagination business In Something of Myself, p. 23, Kipling wrote: `It was clean with a cleanliness that I have never heard of in any other school.’ He believed that `if masters did not suspect them [cases of homosexuality, etc] and show that they suspected, there would not be quite so many elsewhere.’

[Page 123, line 25] Mrs Oliphant’s Beleaguered City an `occult’ novel published in 1880. ‘A Story of the Seen and the Unseen’, it tells how the dead rise from their graves and take possession for a while of Sémur (in Haute Bourgogne), driving out the inhabitants and filling it with darkness and terror (ORG p. 445).

[Page 124, line 32] giddy palladiums of public schools reference to Dean Farrar’s St Winifred’s: p. 72 ‘The Sixth,’ he says, ‘is the palladium of all public schools.’

[Page 125, line 7] They said it very loud and clear … from “I sent a message to the fish” in Through the Looking Glass, ch. 6, by Lewis Carroll.

[Page 125, line 22] shibbuwichee or tokonoma supposedly ju-jitsu, seem to be M‘Turk’s invention.

[Page 128, line 4] Et ego … in Arcadia vixi I too have lived in Arcadia; supposedly written on a tombstone; but here perhaps an indication that the Head, too, was young once, and remembers what he learnt then.

[Page 128, line 11] Prooshian Cormell Price had acted as tutor to a nobleman’s son in Russia: hence the soubriquet `Rooshian’, transmuted in Stalky & Co. to `Prooshian’.

[I. Q.]