The Other Man

Notes on the text

These notes, by John McGivering, are partly new, and partly based on the notes on this tale in the ORG. We are grateful for advice on matters medical from Dr Gillian Sheehan [G.S.] The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of Plain Tales from the Hills, as published and frequently reprinted between 1899 and 1950.

[Page 93, Heading] When the earth was sick and the skies were grey Collected in Definitive Verse and Collected Verse with an extra stanza, and, as heading over “The Last Relief” which appeared in Harpers Weekly of 25 April, 1891, collected in Sussex and Burwash Editions.

[Page 93, line 1] the ‘seventies’ Simla was not used as a summer hill-station until 1864, but the Governor-General spent the summer there as early as 1829. Land there was first acquired in 1815.

[Page 93, line 3] Jakko a hill that figures in many of the stories.
Pigeon-hole a compartment in a desk or cabinet for storing papers, including such plans – the road was not built for several years.
P.W.D. Public Works Department.

[Page 93, line 7] two hundred rupees a month This equated to about £180 a year, and was probably a small proportion of Schreiderling’s income. It was only two thirds of what it cost to run an average household in Simla at the time, and suggests that he was very miserly about money matters.

[Page 93, line 10] lung-complaints Possibly he had asthma or bronchitis or got chest infections. [G.S.]

[Page 93, line 11] heat-apoplexy This used to be known as ‘sunstroke’ but it can occur without exposure to the sun. It is a disorder of the heat-regulating mechanisms of the body. Despite the heat there is a reduction in sweating or an absence of sweating. The body temperature rises. The higher the temperature gets the worse the prognosis. Death occurs when it is 43?C – 44?C.

Initially the affected person complains of a severe headache and staggers when walking. They become confused. Eventually they are unable to stand, become delirious and may have convulsions. The treatment is to cool them down immediately. They may also be suffering from an illness producing fever and should be treated for cerebral malaria if malaria occurs in that area. [G.S.]

[Page 94, line 6] Commissariat or Transport now part of the Royal Logistic Corps formed in 1993, by the amalgamation of the Royal Corps of Transport, the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, The Royal Pioneer Corps, The Army Catering Corps and the Royal Engineers Postal and Courier Service

[Page 94, line 19] station in this context the European quarter of an Indian town – not necessarily with a railway station.

[Page 94, line 21] intermittent fever. This is malaria. The fever occurs at regular intervals. The Quotidian, the most common, occurs every day, usually in the morning. The Tertian occurs about midday and there is one clear day when there is no fever. The Quartan usually occurs in the afternoon and has an interval of two clear days. We are not told what type of fever the Other Man suffers from but it would have made his heart problem worse. [G.S.]

[Page 95, line 5] Terai hat a wide-brimmed felt hat, sometimes double,and with a ventilator in the crown, named after a strip of marshy and jungly land which runs along the foot of the Himalaya, north of the Ganges, and also a type of malarial fever.

[Page 95, line 11] her box every European home had such a box secured to a post near the entrance to the compound or garden so newcomers to the Station could leave a visiting-card, engraved or printed with their name and address. There was an elaborate etiquette of turning corners up to convey certain messages and one wrote P.P.C (Pour Prendre Congé – ‘to take leave’) on the card when leaving the Station .

[Page 95, line 17] Simla (Now Shimla) the famous hill-station, scene of many Indian stories, including important action in Kim. (See ORG Preface VII in vol. 1 p. 22)

[Page 95, line 29] Dovedell Hotel This may or may not have been a real name; we have found no record of it. However, it must be placed at the west end of Simla, as the narrator was ‘coming up along the cart road’ and met Mrs. Schreiderling before he got to the Tonga Office.

[Page 96, line 8] the back seat a single passenger sat at the rear, facing backwards.(See the poem “As the Bell Clinks” ).

[Page 96, line 12] awning-stanchion this was bent over from one wheel to another.

[Page 96, line 16] Solon a station on the railway about 40 miles from Simla where the road for Sabathu begins.

[Page 96, line 19] bukshish probably from the Persian – a gratuity or tip, also military slang “bukshee” meaning free. [Hobson-Jobson]

[Page 96, line 19] bazaar ‘rickshaw a light two-wheeled cart to carry one or two people hauled by one or several men, from the Japanese jinricksha. This is a public one that can be hired like a taxi.

[Page 96, line 30] Tonga Babu the booking-clerk in the tonga office.

[Page 97, line 11] habit in this context a costume for ladies riding side-saddle.

[Page 97, line 19] Peterhoff the summer residence of the Viceroy (right) before Viceregal Lodge was occupied in 1888.

[Page 98, line 4] Bournemouth a seaside resort in the South of England much patronised by retired people from hot climates, and then a great centre for invalids
suffering from lung trouble.


[J H McG]

©John McGivering 2012 All rights reserved