(notes edited by Roberta Baldi and John Radcliffe. We have been grateful for critical comments and suggestions from Alastair Wilson)
“Exeter Battleby Tring, an expert railway-surveyor, was the obvious candidate to manage ‘The Railways of State’. But since he did not come from the right social bracket, ‘the Little Tin Gods on the Mountain Side’ pensioned him off at great expense and appointed ‘a Colonel from Chatham’ in his place. Such a scam was likely to strike a chord with readers who were themselves regularly frustrated by a system of snobbish preferment.Alastair Wilson writes: Both Kipling and Harry Ricketts are less than just to the ‘Colonel from Chatham’. As is noted below, Chatham was (and remains) the home of the Royal Engineers, and the Royal Engineers have been trained in the construction and maintenance of railways since the 1840s. (The Board of Trade had since the earliest days of railways been responsible for the maintenance of standards, and its railway inspectorate was until very recently headed by a succession of Royal Engineer officers.)
Rud gave extra force to his satire by dislocating the rhythm of the lines so that the act of reading them was itself frustrating. [stanza 1 quoted] By rhyming the anapaestic lines alternatively. Rud displaced the natural movement of the verse, just as the Little Tin Gods had displaced what should have been the natural administrative order.”
Flowery oratory he despised. He ascribed to the interested views of themselves or their relatives the declarations of pretended patriots, of whom he said, ‘All those men have their price’.[Line 6] the Little Tin Gods on the Mountain Side. “A disrespectful reference to the Viceroy of India and his Executive Council, who during the summer months have their headquarters in the hills at Simla” (Durand pp. 4-5). For further reference to Simla see “Army Headquarters”.