An Unsavoury Interlude

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 64, line 4] hypothecation pawning; from a term used in Roman law.

[Page 64, line 7] Bastable the local pawnbroker.

[Page 65, line 21] saloon pistols pistols adapted for short-range practice.

[Page 65, line 23] gig-lamps spectacles.

[Page 66, line 30] bag schoolboy slang for grab, or take.

[Page 67, line 20] straw straw hat, boater.

[Page 70, line 5] Jugurtha tamen Jugurtha, however. From the historian Sallust.

[Page 70, line 29] Pas si je le connai[s] not if I know it.

[Page 71, line 1] Panurge a companion of Pantagruel, in Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel, who made grotesque faces.

[Page 71, line 19] a terrace of twelve large houses a row of seaside boarding houses converted into a school. See the introductory poem with its reference to `Twelve bleak houses by the shore’, p. 5 above.

[Page 73, line 4] keep cave keep a look-out, keep watch. Cave in Latin means beware (as in cave canem, beware of the dog), and until recently children used it as Stalky does.

[Page 74, line 14] Violet somebody Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, 1814-79. French scholar and architect, more important as medievalist and restorer than as architect, whose ideas were (mainly) known through his Dictionnaire Raisonné de 1’Architecture Française, published between 1854 and 1868. First translated into English by Benjamin Bucknall, 1874.

[Page 75, line 21] O Beadle quotation from Edward Lear’s ‘There was an old man of Quebec’ (`But he cried, “With a needle/ I’ll slay you, O beadle!” ‘)

[Page 76, line 3] doggaroo writer of doggerel; a word probably invented by Kipling.

[Page 77, line 12] Come to my arms, my beamish boy … Calloo, callay! from the “Jabberwocky” poem in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, 1872.

[Page 78, line 21] Big medicine – heap big medicine! from Uncle Remus.

[Page 80, line 11] There’s something about your pure, high, young forehead . . . innocent boyhood more mockery of Dean Farrar’s books.

[Page 81, line 10] spidgers a variant of spadgers, sparrows.

[Page 82, line 25] a gaudy lot a fine lot. Here this word of many meanings is used just for emphasis.

[Page 84, line 3] `With one shout and with one cry’ misquoted from Macaulay’s “The Armada”, 1832 `And with one start and with one cry, the royal city woke’.

[Page 84, line 9] minute-gun gun fired at intervals of a minute.

[Page 84, line 20] ”Tis but a little faded flower’ song by Ellen Clementine Howarth, American writer, 1827-99.

[Page 85, line 23] thrush a painful and contagious minor ailment, not to be compared with leprosy. According to Roger Lancelyn Green in the ORG ‘Leprosy – or Thrush’ was a fairly well-known joke of the time.

[Page 86, line 24] Lazarites lepers, from the name of Lazarus.

[Page 87, line 1] Hoplites heavily armed infantry in ancient Greece (as opposed to `skirmishers’).

[Page 87, line 22] John Brown’s body a popular song of the American Civil War, by Charles Sprague Hall.

[Page 87, line 24] a large cross, with `Lord, have mercy upon us,’ on the door in times of plague, especially during the Great Plague of 1665 in London, houses were identified as plague-stricken by a cross and `Lord have mercy upon us’ written on the door.

[Page 88, line 18] the learned Lipsius Justus Lipsius, an eminent humanist, 1547-1606. His quality as an infant prodigy was also recalled by Laurence Sterne in Tristram Shandy: `You forget the great Lipsius, quoth Yorick, who composed a work the day he was born.’

[Page 91, line 17] Falling into the pit he has digged reference to Ecclesiastes 10: 8, and Psalms 57: 4.

[Page 91, line 32] He `nursed the pinion that impelled the steel’ Byron, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, line 841.

[Page 92, line 24] privatim et seriatim medieval Latin, meaning privately and one after another.

[Page 92, line 25] the fishpools of Heshbon Song of Solomon 7: 4.

[Page 93, line 27] certain lewd fellows of the baser sort Acts 17: 5.

[Page 94, line 15] Bring out your dead cry of the carters who went about at night collecting corpses during the Great Plague of London in 1665.

[Page 94, line 16] glandered suffering from contagious horse-disease.

[Page 95, line 13] Cave see note to p. 78.

[Page 96, line 16] ipso facto by that very fact.

[I. Q.]