The Naulahka – XVIII

Notes on the text

by Sharad Keskar

[Heading] Seventeen lines from Kipling’s “The Kingdom”, which was revised, altered and collected in Songs from Books in 1912.
“Now we are come to our kingdom…” The last verse mirrors Tarvin’s position: he has won the Naulahka and is ready to go home in triumph, but Kate still refuses to marry him and leave with him. [P.H.]

[Page 254, line 1] Barnum’s Circus better known in Britain as ‘Barnum and Bailey’s’ because Phineas Taylor Barnum (1810-91), the great American showman, combined in 1881 with his keenest rival, Bailey. He was responsible for all sorts of unusual displays, monstrosities, etc., including Tom Thumb, Jenny Lind, and Jumbo the great elephant. Kipling may have seen Barnum’s Circus in London, November 1889. See “My Great and Only” (Abaft the Funnel).

[Page 254, line 14] characteristic native inaptitude inapt as opposed to inept: one cannot imagine that Juggut, the eunuch, was in any way trained to use a rifle, particularly from the back of a camel.

[Page 254, line 33] A Jumbo ‘Jumbo’ was a very large elephant, so the implication here is that the gipsy queen is very good at telling people to do things not so easy to carry out.

[Page 256, lines 18-19] Fourth of July Celebration Independence Day in the United States, an annual holiday to celebrate that date in 1776, when the original thirteen states of the Union signed the Declaration of Independence from the British Crown.

[Page 258, line 31] $500 a week was about £5,000 a year at that time. Not much for a mine to produce.

[Page 264, line 9] walk-around of this circus this alludes to visits by travelling circuses to the smaller towns. To advertise the performances some of the “exhibits” were taken round the town with the band playing.

[Page 264, line 12] vamoose properly vamos, the Spanish for ‘let’s go’.

[Page 266, line 4] Lalji a pet name or term of endearment.

[Page 266, line 19] Hanuman the monkey-god of the Hindus and loyal lieutenant of Lord Rama.

[Page 267, line 27] Order of the Star of India This was the premier decoration for the Indian Empire under British rule. The riband was sky blue with white border stripes.

[Page 269, line 16] Rawut of Bunnaul Bunnaul seems to be a fictional State and so the rank of Rawut may be fictional too, though it is inventively near to Rajdoot, which means ‘ambassador’.

[Page 269, line 21] Abu the full name of this place is Mount Abu, in Rajasthan, world famous for its magnificent Jain Temples (right) of intricately carved marble.

[Page 270, line I3] Princes School the Mayo College at Ajmer was a College for the Sons of the Ruling Indian Aristocracy.

This conversation is Kipling at his best, and especially the last words, for the courteous way to end an interview is for the senior to say “Ijazat hai”, meaning, “you have my permission to go”.

[Page 271, line 2] shaddock a citrus fruit of the orange-lemon variety named after Captain Shaddock, who brought it from China.

[Page 271, line 3] pomegranate a fruit with a polished brick-brown rind and full of sweet, ruby-red, edible seeds (punica granatum).