Notes on the text

These notes are based on those written by Isabel Quigly for the OXFORD WORLD’S CLASSICS edition of The Complete Stalky & Co. (1987) with the kind permission of Oxford University Press. The page numbers below refer to the Macmillan Uniform Edition of Stalky & Co. (1899), the collection in which this story first appeared.

[Page 239, line 16] Cras ingens iterabimus aequor. Horace, Odes, 1, 7: `Tomorrow we set out over the vast sea.’

The only way to make clear at this point what King and his class are up to is to give the text of Horace’s ode, and a translation

[Page 240, line 26] Thank God, I have done my duty almost the last words of Lord Nelson, the great English Admiral who was killed in winning the battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

[Page 242, line 8] Oblittus … Oh-blight-us Beetle uses a false quantity and then corrects it.

[Page 243, line 3] signs affixed to Punic deluges the translation should be `standards hung up in Punic temples’.

[Page 244, line 1] Flagitio additis damnum you add injury to disgrace.

[Page 247, line 3] Boeotian Boeotia in ancient Greece had a reputation for boorish ignorance.

[Page 247, line 15] probrosis an adjective which Vernon had rendered as a verb.

[Page 247, line 30] Conington verse translation of the Odes of Horace by John Conington (1825-1869), first published in 1863.

[Page 248, line 11] Wardour Street In the late 19th century Wardour Street in the west end of London was used mainly by dealers in antiques and imitation antiques, and Wardour Street English was therefore a sort of pseudo-archaic English used by historical novelists, later known as `Tushery’ (from `Tush!’ as an exclamation).

[Page 248, line 29] As though . . . Tarentum’s bay from Conington’s version.

[Page 253, line 18] law … of the Medes and Persians unalterable law. Daniel 6, 8.

[Page 256, line 16] `the sin I impute to each frustrate ghost’ Browning, `The Statue and the Bust’. King stresses I, meaning himself. Browning continues: ‘Is – the unlit lamp and the ungirt loin.’

[Page 256, line 16] the Mantuan Virgil, who came from Mantua.

[Page 256, line 20] Tu regere . . . superbos in the translation by J. W. Mackail (1850-1945) this reads: `Be thy charge, O Roman, to rule the nations in thine empire; this shall be thine art, to ordain the law of peace, to be merciful to the conquered and beat the haughty down.’ Mackail was, incidentally, Kipling’s cousin by marriage; his wife was Margaret Burne Jones, daughter of the painter Edward Burne-Jones and Kipling’s Aunt Georgiana.

[Page 264, line 9] Hypatia novel by Charles Kingsley, 1853.

[Page 268, line 22] a quasi-lictor a half-lictor; a lictor was an officer attending the ancient Roman consul (who had twelve lictors), bearing fasces and carrying out sentences on offenders. A ‘quasi-lictor’ would mean someone with partial authority.

[Page 269, line 5] Analects of Confucius religious treatise by Confucius (551-179 BC).

[Page 270, line 1] Epsom Salts a medicine against indigestion.

[Page 270, line 3] K.C.B. Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.

[Page 270, line 8] White sand and grey sand words of a well-known `round’.

[Page 270, line 8] Dis te minorem quod geris imperas ‘Thou rulest because thou bearest thyself as lower than the Gods’ from Horace, Odes III, vi. (see pp. 250 and 256).

[Page 271] “A TRANSLATION” this is not in fact a translation – there is no Fifth Book of Horace’s Odes – but an imitation or pastiche by Kipling himself.

[I. Q.]