From Sea to Sea IV

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

Publication History

The edited text corresponds with that first published in the Pioneer of 14 May 1889.

Notes on the Text

[Title] Palmiste Island See notes below to page 240, lines 2 & 3.

[Title] Paul and Virginia or Paul et Virginie, a novel by Jaques-Henri Bernardin de Sainte Pierre, published in 1787, and set on the island of Mauritius.

[Page 239, Epigraph] Quatrain XIII from The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, Fifth Edition, 1889, translated by Edward FitzGerald (1809-1883).

[Page 239, line 2] Penang Straits the stretch of water between Penang Island and the Malay Peninsula on the eastern side. The mouth of the Malacca Strait lies to the west of the Island. Sumatra lies to the west of the Malacca Strait.

[Page 239, line 12] sampan a small, light boat common in Eastern waters. The harbour sampan usually has an awning over the centre and after part, and is propelled by a single scull over the stern.

[Page 240, line 1] Besant’s Sir Walter Besant (1836-1901). In his autobiography Something of Myself, Chap III, Kipling records reading Besant’s All in a Garden Fair and crediting this with pulling him through a bad patch of the horrors in 1886 or thereabouts.

[Page 240, lines 2 & 3] Palmiste Island was in fact Besant’s name for the island of Mauritius in the western Indian Ocean to the east of Madagascar, where he had worked for some years. Penang is in the eastern part of the Indian Ocean, and today is part of Malaysia.

[Page 240, line 18] a Sikh a loyal, and warlike people from the Punjab in Northern India, with a religion based on the tenets of ten Gurus.

Their most holy temple is the Golden Temple at Amritsar, about 32 miles east of Lahore.

[Page 240, line 21] Jandiala in the Umritsar district Umritsar is more usually spelled Amritsar. Kipling knew the town, and used it in his story “The Arrest of Lieutenant Golightly” in Plain Tales from the Hills. Jandiala is about 40 miles east-south-east of Amritsar.

[Page 241, line 4] mofussil country stations and districts, relatively rural areas in India. [Hobson-Jobson[

[Page 241, line 16] jinrickshaws the full name which is usually abbreviated to ’rickshaws. They were two-wheeled vehicles pulled by a man.

[Page 241, line 25] pigtail a plait or queue of hair hanging down at the back of the head, worn especially by the Chinese.

[Page 241, line 26] Cantonese from Canton on the mainland of South China.

[Page 241, line 27] Tamil one of the major languages of southern India.

[Page 241, line 28] steered In “An Unqualified Pilot”, (Land and Sea Tales for Scouts and Guides) the young unqualified pilot steers a Chinese junk down the hazardous Hughli River by following his father, who was piloting another vessel, and pulling on the pigtails of two groups of Chinese sailors to indicate which way he wanted the rudder to be moved.

[Page 242, line 2] Penang Town the Island is officially Prince of Wales Island, and the Town is Georgetown. [ORG]

[Page 243, lines 6 & 7] this couplet consists of lines 3 and 4 of the first stanza of “The Lotos-Eaters” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The quotation at the end of the paragraph of ‘breathing … dream’ is the sixth line. There is a reference to a waterfall in the last line.

[Page 243, lines 17-18] ‘I can’t play the flute, . . .’ this quotation has not been traced.

[Page 243, line 23] Zola’s novels Émile Zola (1840-1902) French novelist and critic, and founder of the “Naturalist” movement. His books, including Thérèse Raquin, Germinal, and La Bête humaine. covered such controversial topics as alcoholism, sexual exploitation, and strikes by workers, and were banned in their earliest translations into English. The prosecution of their publisher, Henry Vizetelly, was the cause célèbre of 1888.

Zola is mentioned by Kipling in three of the stories collected in Abaft the Funnel – “A Really Good Time”, “The Three Young Men” and “The Last of the Stories”. He is also mentioned in “The City of Dreadful Night” (Life’s Handicap).

[Page 244, line 17] half-guinea a guinea was a unit of British currency equal to £1.1s.0d. or 21 shillings. Thus a half-guinea was worth 10 shillings and sixpence in pre-decimal currency or £0.525 now.

[Page 244, line 31] dhoti is a skirt-like garment worn by men in India.

[Page 244, line 32] Malayan kris a dagger with a distinctive wavy blade.

[Page 245, line 6] block-tin A metallic tin cast into blocks or bars.

[Page 245, line 6] Singapur or Singapore on the tip of the Malay Peninsula, now an independent state.

[Page 245, line 13] De Quincey Thomas de Quincey (1785-1859) is best known for his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.

[Page 245, line 21] Ganesh the Hindu elephant-headed god of good fortune.

[Page 245, line 22] D.T. monsters the results of Delirium Tremens caused by excessive drinking of alcohol.

[Page 246, line 2] Celestial a name used for the subjects of the “Son of Heaven”.

[Page 246, lines 10 & 11] Straits Settlements at the time of Kipling’s visit these consisted of the individual settlements of Malacca, Penang and Singapore, on the Malayan Peninsula, under British rule.

[Page 247, line 15] Sir Charles Warren (1840-1927) was appointed Commander in Chief Straits Settlements, based in Singapore, from 1889-1894. [ORG]

[Page 247, lines 22 & 23] joss-house place of worship for various Chinese deities.

[Page 248, line 6] Serampore a railway town about 15 miles north-west of Howrah, and across the river Hoogli from Calcutta.

[Page 248, line 25] Jummu or Jammu, is to the north-north-east of Lahore and Amritsar, bordering on Kashmir. The town and district have the same name. There are two reports by Kipling in the Civil and Military Gazette of 13 and 14 May 1886 titled “The Installation at Jummu”, which describe the installation of a Rajah at Jummu, Kashmir.

The source for this information is an article by Prof Enamul Karim in the Kipling Journal No. 235, Sept 1985, on “Kipling’s India: a developing viewpoint, revealed in a selection of Kipling’s uncollected journalism in the Civil and Military Gazette, 1883-87 and 1891”.

[Page 248, line 27] Ladakh a high mountainous territory to the north of the Indian state of Ja,,u and Kashmir, bordering on China.

[Page 249, line 21] Square and Compass a sign of Freemasonry. [ORG]

©David Page 2009 All rights reserved