A Smoke of Manila

Notes on the text

Notes by David Page. The page and line numbers below refer to the Authorised Edition of Abaft the Funnel published by Doubleday and Page, New York, in 1909.

[Page 25, title & line 1] Manila Capital city of the Philippine Islands, famous for its tobacco.

[Page 25, lines 1 to 3] “Much care had made him very lean and pale and hollow-eyed” Misquotation from Thomas Hood (1799-1845). “The Dream of Eugene Aram” (1829) – last two lines of fifth stanza describing the usher: “Much study had made him very lean, and pale and leaden-ey’d”. [ORG]

[Page 25, lines 5 to 17] Stinkadores Magnificosas, Cuspidors Imperiallissimos, Oysters of the East Three imaginary names for brands of cigars. [ORG]

[Page 26, line 8] in quod slang for being in prison. 17th Century, origin unknown. (Oxford Encyclopaedic English Dictionary).

[Page 26, line 11] godown a warehouse for goods and stores. The word is in constant use in the Chinese ports as well as in India. Derived from Malayan gadong. The earliest equivalent example quoted in Hobson-Jobson is of Gudam in 1513.

[Page 26, line 15] piece goods Fabrics made and sold in standard lengths. Also called ‘yard goods’.

[Page 26, line 15] cotton prints cotton piece goods printed with decorative patterns.

[Page 27, line 1] bales a bundle of merchandise, tightly wrapped and usually bound with cord.

[Page 27, line 2 et seq] low saddles Kipling almost certainly meant a staddle, a platform or framework supporting a rick. (Oxford Encyclopaedic English Dictionary).

[Page 27, line 2] ricks stacks of hay or wheat, etc.

[Page 27, line 12] weed slang for tobacco, dating from 1606. Early objectors to tobacco included King James I of England (1566-1625) who in 1604 wrote “A Counterblaste to Tobacco”, and in 1617 Dr William Vaughn who wrote the following verse:

Tobacco, that outlandish weed
It spends the brain, and spoiles the seede
It dulls the spirite, it dims the sight
It robs a woman of her right.

[Page 27, line 18] Guarda Civile Civil Guard (Police) in Spanish.

[Page 27, line 20] bobbies English slang for policemen, named for Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850) who in 1829 reorganised the way that London was policed.

[Page 27, line 22] machete a heavy Spanish knife, usually 18 to 24 inches long, used both as a tool and a weapon. One side is ground down to an edge.

[Page 27, line 22] dirk a short sword or long dagger, 12 to 18 inches in length. Some varieties of dirk were sharpened on one edge only, like a sword, others on both edges.

[Page 28, line 20] lambasted thrashed, or beat severely.

[Page 30, line 14] ticket-of-leave a licence to leave prison before expiry of sentence, but with certain restrictions on one. (The Chambers Dictionary).


©David Page 2006 All rights reserved