ORG Volume 5, page 2483 records the first publication of this item (No. 206) in the Illustrated London News Christmas Number, 1890 illustrated by A Forestier. It is collected in the Edition de Luxe (1900) , and Volume 5 of the Sussex Edition (1938).
See “Three – and an Extra Plain Tales from the Hills page 9, line 20, and for an Essay on Mrs. Hauksbee, ORG Voume 1, page 5. It is reprinted in KJ131/05 with editorial matter. Also Mrs. Hauksbee & Co, ed. John Whitehead
(Hearthstone Publications, 1998.) See also KJ 134/20, 135/06, and 136/06.
This is one of Kipling’s stories in dialogue form, which was probably not intended for the stage as it stands, as there are too many changes of scene, although, like The Light that Failed, it could be adapted.
See Charles Allen, Kipling Sahib, p. 75 passim for the origins and background of “Mrs. Hauksbee” and Carrington, p. 92.
The Kiplings were on good terms with Dufferin whose son and heir Lord Clandeboye paid attention to their daughter Trix. See Carrington, page 64 and Allen p. 175.
Notes on the Text
Title to sit out in this context signifies a couple sitting in the ballroom instead of dancing – occasionally in a discreet corner arranged for the purpose. See the verse “Pink Dominoes”
His Excellency probably based on Frederick Temple Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava (1826 – 1902) Viceroy of India 1884-1888 who was on friendly terms with Kipling and his parents (Angus Wilson p. 36)
- “Three – and an Extra” (Wee Willie Winkie)
- “The Rescue of Pluffles” (Plain Tales from the Hills)
- “Consequences” (Plain Tales from the Hills)
- “Kidnapped “ (Plain Tales from the Hills)
- “The Education of Otis Yeere” (Wee Willie Winkie)
- “A Supplementary Chapter” (Abaft the Funnel)
- “A Second-Rate Woman” (Plain Tales from the Hills)
- “Mrs Hauksbee sits out”.
She was almost certainly based on Mrs Isabella Burton (the wife of Major F C Burton) who was a friend of the young Kipling, and acted with him in various theatricals. Andrew Lycett describes her (p. 182) as :
… a petite woman with a darting original intelligence. A warm Irtish smile lit up her rounded face, with its full lips, largish nose, and flashing violet eyes.
…her civilising compassionate mission, to repair broken marriages, and decure posts for gifted men instead of favourite nephews of big pots who might have git them, to prise young innocents out of the hands of deathly, predatory women, and to ward off snobbish or mercenary relatives from interferihng with the true love of their young …
In “Mrs Hauksbee Sits Out” we see her on the top of her form.
the imperial city of Simla the author exaggerates but there is a certain amount of truth in what he says. The town sprawled over several peaks in the foothills of the Himalayas, and was the headquarters of the Government of India during the hot weather, with a very active social life.
See also Gilmour,The Ruling Caste, Chapter 10, Marghanita Laski (p. 26), and British Life in India, ed. R.V Vernede, (OUP, 1995.) p. 68.
Where the four great rivers meet
‘And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison ….. . And the name of the second river is Gihon … the name of the third river is Hiddekel: the fourth river is Euphrates’. (Genesis 2,10-14).
Volunteer ball a non-regular regiment of part-time soldiers, similar to today’s Territorial Army; a ball, in this context, is a dance on a large scale – perhaps to raise funds or just for entertainment. There was a 2nd Punjab Volunteer Corps which was also known as the Simla Volunteer Rifle Corps. Kipling belonged to the 1st Punjab Volunteers in Lahore but never attended a parade and was asked to resign (Angus Wilson, p. 106)
A set o’ dull, conceited hashes.
Confuse their brains in college classes! …
O Thou wha gies us each guid gift!
Gie me o’ wit an’ sense a lift, …
[“A True Story”, Death and Doctor Hornbook]
Deccan Irregular Horse The 9th Royal Deccan Horse was formed un 1790 as ‘Asif Sah’s Irregular Cavalry’. Two Regiments were raised for service under the Nizam of Hyderabad in Berar, who was allied with the East India Company. Known by various titles over the years the Regiment was awarded the prefix Royal for distinguished service in the 1914-18 War and, in the Second World War became part of the 255th Indian Tank Brigade.
for ever hold your peace an echo of The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony in The Book of Common Prayer: ‘If any man can shew any just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together , let him now speak, or else hereafter hold his peace.’
hanged for a sheep as a lamb ‘it mattered not which one stole in the days when the punishment was death.’ (John Ray’, 1628-1705) The implication is that if one is going to commit a crime, one might as well commit a large one !
programme At a ball, each lady would have a programme with the dances listed, and possible partners would ask to dance with her for a particular dance; if she accepted, the lady would note them on her programme. See “Three –and an Extra” (Plain Tales from the Hills page 12, line 22.)
Before me the Deluge Madame de Pompadour (1721-1764), mistress of Louis XV of France, is reported to have said: ‘Après nous le déluge’, ‘After us, the deluge’, a warning of impending disaster — but later.
Windsor chair a stiff-looking but comfortable wooden chair (right), with a curved back, originally made in the late seventeenth century in the country near High Wycombe in Buckighamshire, but named after the nearby town of Windsor. .
Now the serpent was more subtil ‘Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field/’ Genesis 3,1. See also “The Enemies to Each Other” (Debits and Credits, page 6, line 6).
God save our gracious Queen… Verse 1 of the National Anthem, played in honour of the Viceroy who represents Queen Victoria. See “The Edge of the Evening”, A Diversity of Creatures page 275 line 8.
[J H McG]
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