The Phantom Rickshaw

Notes on the text

These notes, by John McGivering, are partly new, and partly based on the ORG. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of Wee Willie Winkie and Other Stories, as published and frequently reprinted between 1899 and 1950.

[Heading] This is from Bishop Thomas Ken’s Evening Hymn “Glory to Thee My God This Night”. Ken (or Kenn) (1637–1711) had an interesting career: and also wrote other well-known hymns (No. 23 in Hymns Ancient and Modern has “Let no ill dreams…” See also the note to page 155, line 20, below.

[Page 123, line 4] Civilians in this context, members of the Indian Civil Service

[Page 123, line 13] Globe-trotters hurried travellers who go in for rapid sightseeing and are liable to write books on insufficient information

[Page 123, line 16] Inner Circle important (or perhaps self-important) people, who nevertheless carry some weight socially and professionally.

[Page 123, line 16] Bear ill-mannered.

[Page 123, line 17] Black Sheep usually the badly-behaved member of the family but see “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” later in this volume, also “Yoked with an Unbeliever” (Plain Tales from the Hills), “Love o’ Women” (Many Inventions) and the poem “Gentleman-Rankers”.

[Page 123, line 19] Kamartha not traced.

[Page 123, line 20] Kumaon (Kumaun) A Division in the United Provinces.

[Page 124, line 19] fitting-up shed more usually ‘fitting-out’, which is preparing craft for the new season rather than, as implied here, for repairs.

[Page 124, line 21] tale of bricks Exodus, 5, 8: And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish ought thereof. ‘Tale’ in this context means ‘number’.

[Page 124, line 26] Heatherlegh … dearest doctor This probably means ‘nicest’ – as witness his invaluable prescription below – Lie low, go slow and keep cool.

[Page 125, line 5] Home the United Kingdom.

[Page 125, line 10] flirtation A sea –passage of a month or so aboard a P. & O. (Peninsular and Oriental Steamship Line) vessel would give opportunities for dalliance. Though unmarried women would be strictly chaperoned, married women travelling alone however, might be tempted. George Cottar in “The Brushwood Boy” (The Day’s Work) was pursued by a married woman on such a voyage, though in his innoocence he remained unaware of this. See the poems “The Lovers’ Litany”, “The Exiles’ Line”, and “The Ladies”.

[Page 126, line 3] hag-ridden ridden by witches – disturbed by bad dreams.

[Page 126, line 16] man born of woman… echoes of Job 14, 1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. There is a similar sentiment in “The Order for the Visitation of the Sick” in the Book of Common Prayer. There is also an echo of this thought in Kipling’s story “The Head of the District” which was not published until January 1890 (when it appeared in Macmillan’s Magazine to be collected in Life’s Handicap the following year): Man that is born of a woman is small potatoes and few in the hill. (Page 120, line 5).

[Page 126, line 20] the drop-bolts are drawn A man about to be hanged stood on a trap-door with the noose about his neck: the bolts were drawn and that was that. See the poem “Danny Deever”, and “The Debt” in Limits and Renewals.

[Page 126, line 27] Peshawar to the sea The whole of India – rather as ‘From Land’s End to John O’Groats’ signifies the whole of the United Kingdom.

[Page 127, line 7] Gravesend to Bombay see Note to “Yoked with an Unbeliever” (Plain Tales from the Hills, p. 35, line 1).

[Page 127, lines 28 – 29] spent the season together … fire of straw A very fierce blaze that is soon over – his passionate love did not last long.

[Page 129, line 33] ’magpie’ jhampanies the magpie is a black and white bird, the ‘rickshaw-men are wearing black and white garments as noted above.

[Page 129, line 33] Jakko a pleasant ride round a hill to the East of Simla

[Page 130, line 30] Sanjowlie Reservoir to the East of Simla, on the road to Mashobra.

[Page 131, line 6] Plainsward A word coined by Kipling – meaning ‘towards the Plains’.

[Page 131, line 27] Hamilton’s The jewellers in The Simla Mall near Combermere Bridge (C on the plan in Whitehead’s Mrs. Hauksbee & Co.).

[Page 132, line 7] Peliti’s shop G on the plan in Whitehead’s Mrs. Hauksbee & Co.

[Page 132 line 12] Reading-room apparently adjoining Peliti’s.

[Page 133, line 27] hand-gallop an easy gallop, restrained by the bridle-hand – not full speed, but a little faster than a canter.

[Page 133, line 28] Band-stand adjoining A on the plan in Whitehead’s Mrs. Hauksbee & Co.

[Page 133, line 33] cob in this context, a short-legged strong and well-mannered horse. He was, however, riding a Waler at p. 132, line 8 above and in the rest of the story.

[Page 134, line 27] pegs Measures of spirits. The onlookers suspected he was drunk.

[Page 135, line 17] cantered A ‘canter’ is the gait of a horse between a trot and a gallop – what the motorist might call “third gear”.

[Page 136, line 3] Arab A beautiful, intelligent and spirited horse – The whole effect is one of symmetry and grace, carried with pride and full of life, and the action straight, free and airy. (Caroline Silver, pp. 132 ff.) See “The Maltese Cat” in The Day’s Work and the poem “The Moral.”

[Page 138, line 20) Elysium Hill See the plan in Whitehead’s Mrs. Hauksbee & Co.

[Page 138, line 28] Memsahib a respectful address to an European married lady, ‘mem’ being the equivalent of madam. [Hobson-Jobson].

[Page 138, line 31] cholera see Dr. Sheehan’s “Kipling and Medicine”.
Hardwar A town in the United Provinces on the Ganges, some 100 miles south-east of Simla.

[Page 141, line 10] D.T. or Eyes Delirium Tremens – mental imbalance brought about by excessive indulgence in alcohol – see the notes to
“The Arrest of Lieutenant Golightly” p. 142/28 and “In Error” p.183/20 in Plain Tales from the Hills.
Eyes: Dr Gillian Sheehan comments:

Pansay’s ‘thoroughly unhealthy Eyes’ would not cause hallucinations. There is no pathological condition of the eyes that could do so. Congestion or inflammation of the brain could cause intolerance to light (photophobia). Possibly Dr Heatherlegh thought the climate, together with Pansay’s lifestyle, with overindulgence in food or drink, had caused congestion of the brain and upset his stomach; stomach, bowel or liver derangement were thought to cause dyspeptic headaches.

His treatment: ‘Cold-water baths’ were presumably to treat the congestion of liver and brain. The ‘liver-pill’ would have been a purgative; purging was used for congestion of liver and brain. ‘Strong exercise’ would have been prescribed to get him fit again; moderate exercise was recommended for congestion of the liver. [Information from William Moore A Manual of Family Medicine and Hygiene for India 1907.]

[Page 141, line 17] Blessington lower road. See the plan in Whitehead’s Mrs. Hauksbee & Co.)

[Page 141, line 21] long night ride It is not clear where the Mannerings lived, but it was only half an hour’s ride from there to the Doctor’s house. (Page 142, line 11).

[Page 142, line 2] And the greatest of these three is Stomach An echo of I Corinthians 13, 13 – And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

[Page 143, line 1] Church Ridge See the plan in Whitehead’s Mrs. Hauksbee & Co.)

[Page 143, line 33] make love In this context, and in those days, merely verbal declarations of adoration !

[Page 144, line 10] a lakh One hundred thousand rupees. The Doctor jests. The Naulahka is the novel Kipling wrote in collaboration with his brother-in-law Wolcott Balestier but his house in Vermont was called – correctly – ‘Naulakha’. See Carrington, p. 181 and Something of Myself Chapter 5 for the difference in spelling.

[Page 144, line 25] Chota Simla Little Simla, – Hindi chhoti – “little” – on the Southern section of The Mall, near “Benmore” (See the plan in Whitehead’s Mrs. Hauksbee & Co.)

[Page 144, line 26] Sanjowlie Reservoir Not on their route. Kipling may have deliberately confused the geography to avoid identifying any individuals or houses.

[Page 144, line 33] the Convent (See the plan in Whitehead’s Mrs. Hauksbee & Co.)

[Page 145, lines 7 – 10] ‘Singing and murmuring etc’ lines from “The Palace of Art” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)

[Page 146, line 10] Syce ghora láo ‘Bring the horse’, literally ‘Groom horse bring !’

[Page 147, line 29] mash In this context this means ‘girl-friend’. This was an American expression of the 1880s.

[Page 148, line 4] epileptic fits Epilepsy is a nervous disorder characterised by sudden loss of consciousness with convulsions.

[Page 148, line 11] lowest circles of the Inferno Dante Alighieri
(1265–1321) The great Italian poet whose masterpiece is the Divina Commedia (“The Divine Comedy”) an imaginary journey through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise guided by Faith and Reason. It is generally considered the greatest poem of the Middle Ages. (See KJ 028/109, 234/06, 234/18, 234/21 & 234/23).

[Page 148, line 8] Ladies’ Mile a ride round Jakko (See the plan in Whitehead’s Mrs. Hauksbee & Co.)

[Page 149, line 3] rack in this context, an instrument of torture

[Page 151, line 30] card-case an ornamental container, usually of leather or perhaps precious metal, containing visiting-cards with the name and address of the owner – essential in the society of the time.

[Page 152, lines 13-14] Sanjowlie Road … the Commander-in-Chief’s house The C-in-C in India occupied various houses in Simla from 1825 onwards: in 1883 General Sir Donald Martin Stewart (1824–1900) moved into Snowdon. At the date of this story, however, it was occupied by General Sir Fredrick Sleigh Roberts (later Field-Marshal Earl Roberts of Kandahar, Pretoria and Waterford, 1832 –1914, popularly known as ‘Bobs’). See also Julian Moore’s notes on Kipling and Lord Roberts.

[Page 152, line 10] ’I seemed to move amid a world of ghosts’ from Tennyson’s poem “The Princess” Canto 1, line 17.

[Page 152, line 29] chimera Also spelt chimaera. Both words signify a fabulous monster, or any wild or idle fancy.

[Page 153, line 13] Birthday Ball Queen Victoria’s birthday was 24 May and celebrated as Empire Day. The reference to 15 May below is not clear.

[Page 155, line 9] to the end of Time

Speak after sentence ?
Yea: To the end of time.

From “By the Statue of King Charles at Charing Cross” by Lionel Pigot Johnson (1867–1902)

[Page 155, line 13] quick among the dead An echo of 2 Timothy 4, 1: …the Lord Jesus Christ who shall judge the quick and the dead… In this context ‘quick’ means ‘alive’.

[Page 155, line 20] Powers of Darkness An echo of Luke 22, 53: …This your hour and the power of darkness… The phrase is also used in Kim at – for example – page 257, line 10, and in the fifth verse of Hymn 23 Hymns Ancient and Modern
(“Glory to Thee, my God this night”)

Let no ill dreams disturb my rest
No powers of darkness me molest.

[J. McG.]