The story was first published in Nash’s Magazine, Pall Mall and Metropolitan Magazine in April 1917, and subsequently collected in A Diversity of Creatures (1917). It was later included in The Complete Stalky & Co. (1929). In the Sussex Edition it is collected in volume XVII with the other ‘Stalky’ stories, and not in volume IX with A Diversity of Creatures. Similarly, in the Burwash Edition it is with the other ‘Stalky’ stories in volume XIV.
King, the brilliant, if unpleasant, Classics master, has been taking a class through the Fifth Ode in Horace, Book III. In the Common-room he insists on the superiority of Latin and Greek over Science as an education for life. Then one of his senior boys, Winton, in a momentary lapse, behaves very rudely to another master, and has to stay in to write an ‘impot.’ He stoically accepts a beating for missing football practice from a prefect, his friend, though he half kills another boy who teases him for it.
At the end of the tale Stalky calls Winton ‘Regulus’, after the Roman general who, in the ode, went bravely to his death at the hands of his enemies. As King observes, some of Horace’s message seemed to have gone home.
See also “Kipling, Horace, and literary parenthood” by Harry Ricketts. Also an article by Dr T J Leary in the journal Greece & Rome (Vol. 55, No. 2, published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Classical Association) entitled “Kipling, Stalky, Regulus & Co.: A Reading of Horace Odes 3.5.” See also Janice Lingley in KJ 345/07.