Among the Railway Folk


A Railway Settlement


(notes by David Page, drawing on the work of the ORG Editors)

First Publication

24th July, 1888 in the Pioneer and 29th July, 1888 in the Pioneer Mail and 4th August 1888 in the Week’s News.

Notes on the Text

[Page 273, line 1] Jamalpur is about 220 miles NNW of Calcutta as the crow flies and about 80 miles east of Patna.

[Page 273, line 7] Toondla (Tundla), near Agra.

Assensole (Asansol) 100 miles south of Bhagalpur towards Calcutta (see below). [ORG]

[Page 273, line 8] Bandikui (Bandikoi) 100 miles west of Agra. [ORG]

[Page 273, line 8] Ajmir (Ajmer) 200 miles west of Agra. Kipling had travelled through here on his tour of Rajputana at the end of 1887, described in Letters of Marque.

[Page 273, line 9] Pindi (Rawalpindi in the Punjab, now in Pakistan). [ORG]

[Page 274, line 1] Mokameh (Mukama) 42 miles east-south-east of Patna. [ORG]

[Page 274, line 8] Bhagalpur south of the Ganges, 35 miles east of Jamalpur.

Bara-Banki north-east of Lucknow. [ORG]

[Page 274, line 10] Tirhoot (Tirhut) or Darbhangah—80 miles north of Jamalpur, across the Ganges.

[Page 274, line 11] Rajmehal range This range of hills force the Ganges River into a sharp curve 50 miles east of Bhagalpur. [ORG]

[Page 274, line 13] ’Stunt Assistant Collector. A middle-rank administrator.

[Page 274, line 14] ticca-gharries hired four-wheel carriage.

[Page 274, line 18] local self-government a reference to this system occurs in The City of Dreadful Night, see the note on chapter III, page 223, line 16.

[Page 274, line 19] racket-marker the function of this man is no longer quite clear, but his main job is thought to have been the marking of the lines that delineate a tennis court.

[Page 274, line 31] A Babu or Baboo. Hindi for a Hindoo gentleman, also an Indian clerk who wrote English. Occasionally used of a Bengali with a certain amount of English education. [ORG]

[Page 275, line 5] Bignonia venusta a trumpet creeper, generally orange or red flowers. [ORG]

[Page 275, lines 23-25] Lord Dufferin (Marquess) (1826-1902) – Viceroy of India 1884-88.

Sir Frederick Roberts, later Field Marshal Earl Roberts, V.C.. In 1888 he was Commander-in-Chief India (1885-90).

Mr Westland later Sir
James Westland (1842-1903) was accountant and comptroller-general to the government of India (1878–85).

Kipling indicates that all India was administrated by these, and their many subordinates, but that Jamalpur seemed to administer itself at all levels. [ORG]

[Page 276, line 8] Mutiny year 1857. [ORG]

[Page 276, line 20] cholera see the article on “Kipling and Medicine” by Dr Gillian Sheehan.

[Page 277, line 5] Watteau a French artist (1684-1721) with a distinctive and elegant style. [ORG]

[Page 277, line 9] tiffin Hobson-Jobson defines this as: ‘Luncheon, Anglo-Indian and Hindustani, at least in English households. Thus it would be a repast taken around midday. One apposite citation from 1850 that is given is as follows:

‘A vulgar man, who enjoys a champagne tiffin and swindles his servants . . . may be a pleasant companion to those who do not hold him in contempt as a vulgar knave, but he is not a gentleman.’
[Sir C. Napier, Farewell Address].

[Page 277, line 19] lodges ‘St. George’s in the East’ is ithe correct name of this Freemasons’ Lodge. Reference to ‘Grand Lodge (E.C. London)’ in the 1930’s shows that this Lodge at Jamalpur was and may still be No. 1526 and is the same Lodge as that referred to in the story “The Bold ’Prentice” in Land and Sea Tales, although the name is changed to “St. Duncan’s in the East”. [ORG]

[Page 278, line 2] volunteers for military duty. Kipling had been a volunteer for a short time in Lahore, as was ‘Young Ottley’ in “The Bold ‘Prentice”.

[Page 278, line 11] no regulars between Howrah and Dinapore this means there were no garrisons of British troops between Howrah (Calcutta) and Dinapore. There are two Dinapurs – one is near Patna and is the one referred to here. It is about 300 miles between these military stations so the Railway Volunteers must have been very necessary, as well as filling a gap in the defences of India. [ORG]

[Page 278, line 29] light-blue East Indians the full meaning of this phrase is not known, but a guess is that it is a reference to the colour of a uniform worn by one or more groups of employees of the E.I.R.

[Page 279, line 2] Martini-Henry this was a single loading rifle of .45 calibre. It was in use in the British Army from 1871 until 1888. It succeeded the ‘Snider’ and was succeeded by the Lee-Metford or the Lee-Enfield. [ORG] See also “Black Jack” in Soldiers Three which turns on the new and unfamiliar design of this when it was introduced.

[Page 279, line 17] one hundred rupees was worth about £6.67 in 1888.

[Page 280, line 17] Monghyr-way north of Jamalpur on the Ganges.

[Page 281, line 9] five score one hundred.

©David Page 2008 All rights reserved