Three and – an Extra

Notes on the text

These notes, by John McGivering, are partly new, and partly based on the notes on this tale in the ORG. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of Plain Tales from the Hills, as published and frequently reprinted between 1899 and 1950.


[Page 9, heading] gram chick-peas, used for food.

[Page 9, line 3] tided over overcome.

[Page 9, line 20 ] Mrs. Hauksbee
She appears in ten of the stories, and is thought to have been based on Isabella Burton, described by Andrew Lycett in his Rudyard Kipling, as “the fiery Irish-born wife of an intelligence officer attached to the Ist Bengal Lancers, better known as Skinners Horse…a petite woman with a darting, original intelligence.”

[Page 10, line 1] Stormy Petrel Mother Cary’s chicken, a sea-bird of the genus Procellaria that spends most of its life at sea and is popularly supposed to appear in bad weather.

[Page 10, line 12] ‘But that is another story…’ a phrase that has irritated some – used about eight times in these stories, and still occasionally quoted.

[Page 10, line 13] went off at score made a spirited start.

[Page 10, line 19] tiffined at Peliti’s took lunch or a light meal at a well-known tea-shop in Simla. ‘Tiff’ in this instance means to sip and to eat

[Page 11, line 9] Peterhoff a house in the Mall named after a complex of palaces in St. Petersberg, Russia; residence of Viceroys and Governors-General until Viceregal Lodge was completed for occupation by Lord Dufferin, who was Viceroy in 1884–1888 and well-known to the Kiplings.

See Vikram Bhatt Resorts of the Raj – The Hill Stations of India, ( Maplin Publicating Pvt. Ltd., Allahabad and USA, 1998.) p. 90.passim and our Notes to “Mrs. Hauksbee Sits Out”, (Uncollected No. 206).

[Page 11, line 16] the thing which was not an echo of Dean Swift’s Gulliver – the Voyage to the Houyhnhnms.

[Page 11, line 29] the Club The United Services Club, Simla. [See notes with “ The Bisara of Pooree” below.]

[Page 12, line 3] Phelps the best tailor and dress-shop in Simla, on the Mall near the Town Hall.

[Page 12, line 6] gored…herring–boned… dress-making terms describing an elaborate dress.

[Page 12, line 7] tucked ruched.

[Page 12, line 8] slight mourning Probably darkish – not the black of full mourning. Slight mourning could be as colourful as gray or purple; it was less funereal than Half-mourning, which would be black, perhaps lightened by a touch of purple – a purple tucker, for example.

[Page 12, line 9] The Queen a fashionable London magazine for ladies.

[Page 12, line 22] all her dances except three At functions like this, the ladies and gentlemen were provided with small programmes on which they wrote the names or initials of their dancing-partners. [See page 13 line 16: “Show me your programme, dear!”]

[Page 13, line 30] little tents secluded corners for ‘sitting out’ dances.

[Page 13, line 33] The Roast Beef of Old England a song from “The Grub Street Opera” (1731) by Henry Fielding, played at formal dinners and dances as a signal that it is time to go into the dining-room. See the note to “A Friend’s Friend” (p. 273 line 4), later in this volume.

[Page 14, line 2] dandy a portable chair carried by two or four men.

[Page 14, line 3] ‘rickshaw properly a jinrickshaw from the Japanese jin-riki-shaw, signifying man-strength-cart; a light two-wheeled cart pulled by a man.

[Page 14, line 12] cloud a light scarf of some gauzy material.

Mrs. Edmonia Hill’s article in the Atlantic Monthly for April 1936 maintains that this story is based on fact. She is, incidentally, one of the candidates for ‘The Wittiest Woman in India’ to whom Plain Tales from the Hills is dedicated.

[J. McG.]