(notes edited by
Kipling’s spring visit to Venice had brought him closer to the action in the Balkans. Out of the blue, in May 1912, he wrote a story “A Reinforcement”, based on the Italian experience in North Africa, for the first anniversary of the officially sponsored Near East Magazine.Dhows do not figure very much in Kipling's works. There are references to these vessels in “Instructions to the Nakoda” in the Preface to the Outward Bound Edition, a brief mention in “A Return to the East” (Letters of Travel), and a reference in Kim (p. 239, l. 22) to a possible journey across the Indian Ocean in a dhow. There is also the verse “The Junk and the Dhow”. But we have not traced any specific inspiration for this story, with its wealth of sea-going detail.
They could have been taking opium, cocaine, or khat (see below). Opium binds to specific receptors in the brain: the substantia gelatinosa and the thalamusL that deal with the perception of pain, and the limbic region which is involved in the control of emotional behaviour.In “The Bridge-Builders” (The Day’s Work, page 22). Peroo, the foreman on the Kashi Bridge, has bright eyes after taking opium, which he keeps in a tin box at his waist belt.
The feeling of well-being associated with such drugs may well cause bright eyes. but this is not mentioned in any of the authorities I consulted. See Murder, Magic and Medicine by John Mann, and “Opium in India – a Medical Interview with Rudyard Kipling", in Harold Orel, Kipling, Interviews and Recollections, Volume I, page 108. [G.S.]
The helm is the tiller; putting it hard up is pushing it as far to windward as it will go. This turns the ship’s head away from the wind which draws aft until it is right astern, and then forward on the other side of the ship, This process of coming about with stern to windward is called 'wearing'—or 'gibing' if it is done hurriedly or inadvertently.Villiers, page 24, observes:
The other method of coming about is by putting the helm down, thus bringing the ship’s head up into the wind, and, one hopes, past it and so on to the other tack; this is called tacking or staying. The ship loses headway, but, if successful, makes no ground to leeward. Wearing is more certain but means some loss of ground when a ship is trying to work to windward. Large dhows always wear because the wind assists them to get the lateen sail and its long spar forward of the mast and around it on the right side for the new tack.
We always wore round when going on the tack, instead of tacking ... for the lateen sail is dangerous if taken aback ... It was a complicated and difficult process.sheet in this context a 'purchase' or single line used to trim (adjust) a sail
'but Jean Adam would not be there to see. She had ere this "taken her foot in her hand/' according to the old half-piteous, half-scornful proverb, and gone trudging in sun and wind, in rain and snow, from clachan to village, from farm-town to laird's place, wherever she could hope to "fend " by such work as she was still able to do.'Thus, in this context, to shorten in the sheet so as to go faster and get away.