The New Dispensation—I

Notes on the text

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


[Page 281, line 3] Mussulman khitmatgar a Muhamedan (or Muslim) table servant who will also do the duties of a valet.

[Page 281, line 4] bearer’s work tasks done by a personal servant, such as shaving his employer.

[Page 281, line 9] Jenab meaning Sir.

[Page 281, line 9] O Tum meaning ‘O thou’, or ‘you’, (used to an inferior). This use of Jenab and Tum reverses the usual relationship between employer and employee, thus reinforcing the earlier statement that the khitmatgar would be ushered into a first-class carriage.

[Page 281, line 9] Koh-i-Nur an Urdu bi-weekly journal edited by Jawwád Ali, circulation 440 in 1883. [Peter Havholm]

[Page 282, line 10] slavey Victorian slang for a maid-of-all-work. The following definition is taken from Chapter VI of an 1889 report,
Toilers in London; or Inquiries concerning Female Labour in the Metropolis, [Anon]:

By a “slavey” we mean a child-servant, a Maria, Jane, or Susan, who drudges from morning till night in some house where ‘only one servant is kept’.

[Page 282, lines 19 & 20] Kadir Baksh, Ram Singh, or Jagesa are all names of Indian males.
Kadir Baksh is a Muhamedan name used quite frequently by Kipling in his work. For example, the original “Introduction” to In Black and White is ascribed to ‘Kadir Baksh, Khitmatgar’.
Ram Singh, a Sikh name, is also used on several occasions by Kipling.
Jagesa or Jagesha is a Hindu name, which has so far not been located in any other work.

[Page 282, line 25] dawai medicine.

[Page 283, line 9] Belait Europe.

[Page 283, line 11] nauker log servants.

[Page 283, line 24] sais horse groom.

[Page 284, line 1] chaprassi uniformed office messenger.

[Page 284, lines 19 & 20] mem sahibs (usually memsahibs). A sahib’s (or master’s) lady.

[Page 285, line 10] Eighteen pound i.e. £18 a year, or about six shillings a week (£0.35 per week in decimal currency).

[Page 285, line 15] black ivory the slave trade in African Negroes. The Abolition of the Slave Trade Act was passed in 1807, and all slaves in the British Empire were freed in 1833 as a result of the Slavery Abolition Act.

[Page 285, line 22] chits notes or letters, in this instance meaning references to hand to future employers.

[Page 286, line 1] izzat honour.

[Page 286, line 1] kummerbund a sash for the waist.

[Page 286, line 21] chamar … mehter a chamar is a low caste leather worker. A mehter is a sweeper who is of an even lower caste.

[Page 287, line 2] Turveydrop a character in Charles Dickens’s 1852 novel, Bleak House. He is a very gentlemanly man, celebrated for his deportment. [ORG]

[Page 287, line 14] durzie or darzie. A tailor.

[D. P. ]
©David Page 2007 All rights reserved