Little Tobrah

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 Life’s Handicap, as published and frequently reprinted between 1891 and 1950.

[Title] Little Tobrah Hindi tobra, the leather nose-bag in which a horse’s feed is administered [Hobson-Jobson, p. 926 and see also p. 942 for further meanings.]

[Page 350, line 23] Black Water usually ‘the sea’, but here, perhaps, meaning ‘death’.

[Page 351, line 1] nose-bag see the note to the Title above.

[Page 351, line 11] net horse-drawn vehicles often had a net beneath to carry forage and other items.

[Page 352, line 8] oil-press a machine for extracting oil from seeds, driven by a bullock harnessed to a beam and walking in a circle.

[Page 352, lines 20-21] the great grinding-beam etc. This illustration from Lockwood Kipling’s Beast and Man in India shows a rather smaller version of the press.

[Page 352, line 10] small-pox a contagious viral disease with fever and skin eruptions which leave pitted scars if the sufferer survives. Almost eradicated by vaccination in modern times but the natives of India were then suspicious of such treatment even when it was available. See “The Tomb of His Ancestors” (The Day’s Work) and Dr Sheehan’s medical notes.

[Page 352, line 23] Bapri-bap ORG has ‘an exclamation of surprise’ for this expression; Rutherford (Ed.) Selected Stories (p. 513) has ‘grief’ .

[Page 352, line 24] bunnia-folk shopkeepers, corn and seed merchants, moneylenders.

[Page 353, line 11] seven annas and six pie the rupee was then divided into sixteen annas and the anna into twelve pie. One anna was worth the equivalent of five pence in modern currency. This sum would not have supported the children for very long.

[J H McG]

©John McGivering 2006 All rights reserved