A Menagerie Aboard

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 20, line 1] Madura a ship named after the District and town in Madras, now Chennai, India, or after the Island to the east of Java near Surabaya.

[Page 20, lines 1 & 2] Bay of Bengal The sea between the east coast of India and Burma.

[Page 20, line 6] chota hazri Hindustani – ‘little breakfast’. In India in those days, usually taken in bed. [ORG].

[Page 21, lines 16 & 17] running up the Red Sea heading in a NW direction towards Egypt and the Suez Canal.

[Page 22, line 15] Mary Magdalene Mary of Magdala, said to be a repentant prostitute, although this is nowhere stated in the New Testament. Her history is uncertain, but she became the Patron Saint of Penitents. See also KJ 308, pp.9-19, for an article by R.C. Ayers on “The Gardener” (Debits and Credits) which explores a later use of Mary Magdalene by Kipling.

[Page 22, line 16 & 17] quartermaster a ship’s officer whose duties included overseeing the stowing of freight.

[Page 22, line 21] awning a canvas canopy spread over the deck for protection from the sun. (The Oxford Companion to Ships & the Sea, ed. Peter Kemp.)

[Page 22, line 23] flail an agricultural implement used for threshing, i.e. separating the edible grain from the husk. Usually made from two pieces of wood with a flexible joint, the flail is swung vigorously to achieve its purpose.

[Page 22, line 25] typhoon basically the same as a tropical cyclone or hurricane. In meteorology, these are defined as having surface winds greater than 64 knots or 73.6 miles per hour.

[Page 24, line 16] Venice the city in Italy best known for its canals.

[Page 24, line 17] Malayan tapir Tapirs are related to horses and rhinoceroses. The Malayan is the largest of four species, weighing up to 800 lbs., and has distinctive colouration of a broad white band around the back half of its body whilst the remainder is black.

[Page 24, line 19] Guzl thyar hai Hindustani for ‘the bath is ready’. One edition of this collection does not give the Hindustani, but these four English words instead). [ORG]


©David Page 2006 All rights reserved