The Rescue of Pluffles

(notes edited by John McGivering)


The story was published in the Civil and Military Gazette on November 20th 1886, in the first Indian edition of Plain Tales from the Hills in 1888, and in subsequent editions of that collection. See David Alan
p. 17, passim.

The story

Pluffles, a callow young subaltern, has fallen for the charms of a fascinating and predatory Older Woman, Mrs Reiver, of whom there is ‘nothing good except it was her dress’. Mrs Hauksbee, who loathes Mrs Reiver, and knows that Pluffles is engaged to a girl in England, decides to rescue him. She wins his heart, talks to him like a mother, and sees him safely off Home to be married. This is the second story about Mrs Hauksbee, and shows her in a rather better light than “Three – and an Extra”.

See ORG Preface No.1. “Mrs Hauksbee”, Volume 1, page 5.
Andrew Lycett (p. 138) points out that a horse in “The Broken-link Handicap” later in this volume named in Mrs. Reiver’s honour is called “The Lady Regula Baddun”.
Harry Ricketts (p. 97) writes:

What linked the stories and made them anything but ‘plain’ was their highly distinctive voice – the same insouciant (careless, indifferent) voice that Rud had first tried out in “In the House of Suddhoo” (later in this volume) Sometimes located in the figure of an unnamed narrator, this voice (whether asserting or teasing) always demanded attention. The openings were always arresting and characteristic.


[J H McG]

©John McGivering 2012 All rights reserved