Book:Monstrous Regiment/Annotations

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Historical

In the British Army, the Tenth of Foot are, or were, the Lincolnshire Regiment. Originally raised in 1685 to fight the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion, the regiment later fought in the American War of Independence, where Washington's army derisively nicknamed them "the yellowbellies" because of the buff-yellow cuffs, turnbacks, and lapels of their red tunics. (a regiment only wore blue turnbacks if it had been granted "Royal" status, which the Lincolns did not achieve till the late 19th century). After service in Egypt in the early 1800's, their cap-badge became a stylised sphynx and pyramid. The Regiment died almost to the last man at Gandamack in Afghanistan in 1840, with its last survivor escaping with one of the regimental colours. It fought later on the Crimea, in WW1 and WW2, and finally "died" in 1960 when amalgamated into the Northampton Regiment. Later defence cuts saw further amalgamations, and the current "ghost" of this old unit lives on as part of the Royal Anglian super-regiment. Interestingly, the Lincolns were also known as "The Poachers", partly as a reference to their rural recruiting ground, and partly because of the song "The Lincoln Poacher", which was an unofficial regimental march:

'tis my delight on a shining night...

The story of Christian Davies seems to wind though the book and the author likely noticed it in his research. Born Christian Cavanaugh and using several names through her career, she served as an infantryman and later dragoon for thirteen years (1693 - 1706) until revealed as a result of her second serious wound. Even after the discovery she remained with the 4th Royal North British Dragoons (eventually the Scots Greys) as a sutler and became a celebrity throughout the army, meeting Queen Anne to receive a fairly handsome pension. Parallels include coming from a pub family (Polly), looking for her husband (Jack), and being a bit of a lad (well, lass) of versatile sexuality (the Working School dropouts).
The phenomenon is not uniquely British. See also Louise Antonini in the French army AND navy.

The "Cheesemongers" is a nickname for the Life Guards of the Household Cavalry, also known as (apparently) The Bangers, The Lumpers, The Fly-Slicers, The Picadilly Butchers, The Roast and Boiled, The Ticky Tins. (But the rest of the British army affectionately refers to the Household Division as "the Woodentops") The Cheesemongers is a derogatory nickname dating from 1788 when the regiment was being re-organised. Some commissions were refused because the officers concerned were the sons of merchants and tradesmen, even, shock horror, grocers and general provisioners, and therefore not, “gentlemen.” Issues of education, social standing, independent income, et c, still appear to matter in these upscale regiments in 2008: 230 years ago, it mattered a lot more!

There does not appear to ever have been a British Army unit nicknamed the "Ins-And-outs". However, the 96th Regiment of Foot (The Welsh Regiment) were nicknamed "the Ups-And-Downs". Again, the curse of amalgamation means that the Welsh Regiment today lives on as 2nd Battalion the Royal Welch.

References

The Duchess. A pub where a woman called Polly Perks has a big stake. Think of long-running BBC radio soap opera The Archers, where the village pub, the Bull, is run by licencee Sid Perks. And for many years, also by his wife. Polly Perks.

It would be utterly unsurprising if a bit of Hašek’s classic satire The Good Soldier Svejk creeps in there as well... in fact, there are odd echoes.

The idiot-savant Svejk, a peasant who hides cunning under a stupid-seeming exterior,narrowly evades arrest by the secret policeman Corporal Bretschneider (Strappi?) and on enlistment into the 91st, is assigned as batman to the officer Lieutenant Lukaš and at one point has to shave him (cf Polly and Blouse). The company cook is a mystic who claims to receive spiritualist messages from long-dead monarchs. The regiment belongs to an Army serving a dying empire (Austro-Hungary, which fits the central European vibe of "Borogravia") and in fact crumbles into defeat in its first serious engagement. Svejk spends a long time detached from his unit and trying to find his way back to it, evading capture and the enemy on both sides (he is nearly shot for spying and/or desertion)

Another general observation: on page 342 of the paperback of Carpe Jugulum, when the vampires are defeated in Escrow, one of the defeated vampyres is called Maladicta. Did she decide on a career change shortly after this and joined the Army to forget?


- [Doubleday HB, page 24] "The official story is that she's in mourning."

The Duchess of Borogravia appears to have certain affinities with Queen Victoria, except for her childlessness, which makes her more akin to Queen Anne.


- [Doubleday HB, page 39] "Why, is this the escutcheon of her grace the duchess I see before me?" ... "Well, it won't be in front of me for long."

Compare and contrast the famous Max Reger quote:

"I am in the smallest room of the house. I have your review in front of me. Soon it will be behind me."


- [Doubleday HB, page 47] "Private Bloodfnucker hnas a fnord, fnargeant," he said accusingly.

It is difficult to believe this is not a shout out to Shea and Wilson's Illuminatus!. The question that needs to be answered is: Have you seen the fnords?


- [HB, page 85] a banknote

- of course, Borogravia uses paper banknotes, ahead of Ankh-Morpork, but possibly fuelled out of desperation and fiat currency. See here: a possible sample banknote

Doubleday hardback page 85: this was very soon going to be a barefoot army.... Like the Confederates in the American Civil War, who were plagued with supply difficulties and shortages; it was estimated in 1864 that 60% of the confederacy's soldiers went into battle barefoot. In the last months of the war the Confederacy was like Borogravia, fighting on pride and a refusal to see the war was lost. What was especially poignant was that one state, South Carolina, had a footwear industry creating sufficient to shoe the whole Army and then some. But most of its output went into storage as it saw no reason to supply anyone other than its own state's troops and was unwilling to give away the surplus - its allied states had to buy the boots or go without. And the Confederate government respected individual states' rights and did not force this state to equip the whole Army gratis...

Doubleday hardback page 86: Blouse has somehow remained a second lieutenant for eight years. In practically every Army, this is the lowest entry-grade rank for a commissioned officer and most people move on to the next grade after between six months and a year (at the outside). He has either annoyed people, or else dismally failed to impress, to have been relegated to the rear for so long.

- [Corgi PB, page 127] "We have met the enemy and he is nice":

'Was she supposed to think We have met the enemy and he is nice? Anyway, he wasn't. He was smug....

a parody of the famous Pogo quotation :"We have met the enemy and he is us" which, in turn, refers to a message sent in 1813 from U.S. Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry to Army General William Henry Harrison after the Battle of Lake Erie, stating "We have met the enemy, and they are ours."

- [Corgi PB, page 45] Several of the cadets go by nicknames:

"...'Shufti' Manickle..."

Shufti is a military term meaning a quick look or reconnoitre. It is actually derived from an arabic word that was learned and brought back to England by British troops defending the Empire in the Middle East.


"...'Wazzer' Goom..."

Wazz (rhyming with "jazz") is a slang word meaning "to urinate", and hence "urine". Thus "Wazzer" can be a nickname for anyone who has a reputation for urinating, usually inappropriately.


Annotation|Doubleday HB, page 59:- Jackrum is warning the Detail of possible hard times ahead by reminiscing about the retreat from Khurusck, where he went three days without either food or water. The Roundworld parallel is the German retreat from Kursk in the late summer and autumn of 1943, where the remnant of the German army defeated by the Russians fought several hundred miles back to the next defensible position, the line of the river Dneiper. Many units went wholly unsupported by logistic support, marching at least without food in a blazing late summer. At least the water supply was eased when the autumn rains started... (ref. Guy Sajer, The Forgotten Soldier. Sajer relates the privations of the forced march out of Kursk to the west, one step ahead of the Russians, where pondwater was a luxury and the only food discovered were green potatoes and an old stale loaf. The Russians were also expected to live off the land - their logistics service gave priority to bringing up fuel and ammunition, food rations coming a poor third. Sajer himself contracted dysentery, possibly from drinking contaminated water, and nearly died of it. Thus do Famine and Pestilence follow in War's tracks).

The incident in the village where the Last Detail have to play cat-and-mouse with a numerically superior enemy patrol who are out looking for them: Manfred von Richtofen, later to become the Red Baron of aerial combat, started WW1 as a cavalryman and relates a suspiciously similar tale of being caught out by Cossacks on the Eastern Front in WW1. Although the violence here is directed against a Russian Orthodox priest suspected of using his church bells to signal to Russian troops that the Germans were here. Rote Kampfflieger


- [Doubleday HB, page 143] "How old are you Wazz?" she said, shovelling dirt. "N-n-nineteen, Polly," said Wazzer.

Impossible to believe TP did not have Paul Hardcastle's 19 in mind here.


- [Corgi PB, page 208] We first meet the dead Borogravian generals, in a revenant zombie state in the crypt at Kneck.:

German SS leader, Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler, kept a castle at Wewelsburg as a meeting-place for the inner orders of the SS movement. Underneath his fortress was a crypt with places for perhaps twelve corpses, which he intended to be the last resting place for the fighting generals who led the Waffen-SS in combat.

Today, some evolutions of the wargaming hobby involve sci-fi/fantasy gaming scenarios where in 1945, the Germans stave off final defeat by learning how to reanimate their dead soldiers as zombie divisions, causing the Allies a bit of a headache. This is also yet another theme of Shea and Wilson's Illuminatus! - in the concluding acts, a division of German soldiers ceremonially poisoned by Himmler on April 30th 1945 and consigned to Lake Totenkopf under a bio-mystical preservation field are revived as zombies (under the command of General Hanfgeist), to wreak destruction and consternation and take unfinished business back to the Russians in East Germany, thus starting WW3.

There is also, of course, a popular computer game on exactly this theme. ("You are the hero seeking to prevent revived Nazi Zombies taking over the world. You must seek and destroy them in their Bavarian castle lair.") it's caled the Wolfenstein Series, dating from the early 1980's. Terry may have played it. [1]

The Detail encounter the zombie soldiers on pp270-273.

- [Corgi PB, page 311] Whilst discussing disguising himself as a woman, Lieutenant Blouse mentions a few of his previous forays into "Theatricals":

"I got a huge round of applause as the Widow Trembler in 'Tis Pity She's A Tree."

This may refer to the 1630s play Tis Pity She's a Whore (also known as "Giovanni and Annabella", or simply "Tis Pity") by John Ford. This device is also used in Making Money, where Professor John Hicks artlessly reveals he is a member of the Dolly Sisters Players, and have you seen my Lord Fartwell in 'Tis Pity She's An Instructor in Unarmed Combat?

"The world turned upside down" - this is a reference to Cornwallis' surrender of British armies to Washington, at the end of the War of Independence, where the bands sardonically played this tune during the surrender ceremonies.

- [Doubleday HB, page 328] Vimes says "Ze chzy Brogocia proztfik":

"Didn't I say I was a citizen of Borogravia?"

"No. Brogocia is the cherry pancake, Borogvia is the country"

This is probably a reference to the famous (and possibly untrue) political moment when the president John F. Kennedy said Ich bin ein Berliner [I am a jam-filled doughnut] instead of Ich bin Berliner [I am a citizen of Berlin]. Apparently, satirists had a field day, and for several weeks the political cartoons were filled with talking doughnuts. See Ich bin ein Berliner.

The title Monstrous Regiment is a reference to John Knox's The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, a treatise against female rulers in the 16th century. Knox had Mary Tudor, Mary Stuart and Mary of Guise in mind. It was his misfortune that the next ruler of England, Elizabeth I, although theoretically on Knox's side, took offence at his title and argument. Fiction writer Laurie R King has also made use of the phrase in connection to the suffragette movement in the United Kingdom. I should make it clear that Pratchett is not adopting Knox's ideas, almost the reverse in fact.

See also

Annotations for Borogravia and Zlobenia.


External

From the APF:- + [p. 28] "you can call me Maladict"

"The name is both a play on the name 'Benedict' and on the word 'maledict', which Webster's defines as accursedness or the act of bringing a curse. "

The word maledict is also the term used to describe the moment in a cartoon speech bubble where a character, provoked beyond endurance, starts to seriously swear. And as we all know that cartoons are for children, normal fonts are replaced in the speech bubble with what Terry calls "the sort of characters only found on the top row of a computer keyboard", to leave no doubt that swearing is happening, without referencing any real or actual swear words. ("The sort of characters only found on the top row of a computer keyboard" may of course be supplemented with little pictures, say skulls and lightning flashes, from the Wingdings fonts) This representation of cussing in a cartoon strip is known in the trade as maledict.

The word "maladict" could also be a play on "mal addict", with "mal" being the French for "bad", referring to Maladict's serious coffee addiction. As for what provoked Mal to join the Ribboners - see note above regarding p342 of Carpe Jugulum.

If I can quote the APF official annotation:

+ [p. 86] "One shilling extra 'per Diem'"

Using this information and UK army pay scales, one can estimate that a second lieutenant in the Borogravian army receives approximately 1807 shillings per year as payment, compared to 2012 shillings per year for a first lieutenant; and that there are approximately 11.16 Borogravian shillings to one UK pound.

As my original afp source for this annotation puts it: "Working this out may be the single geekiest thing I have ever done."


Er... an easier way to get to the same result ref. pay scales for junior officers is to go to Terry Pratchett's favourite author George McDonald Fraser, who in one of his autobiographical short stories reveals that the pay rate for a full Lieutenant in the British Army (in 1946) was in fact seven shillings a day. (£3,5/- per week). Like Borogravia, the British currency had been thoroughly devalued and ravaged by six years of total war. This ties in well with the calculation above and took less brainstrain...

On page 217 of the Harper Collins hardback and 239 of the Harper Torch paperback, Lieutenant Blouse mentions a classmate named Wrigglesworth, who was particularly good at impersonating women. In the 1981 movie Zorro the Gay Blade, Zorro's long-lost twin brother (who is rather flamboyantly gay) goes by the name of Bunny Wigglesworth.

This might also be a knowing nod to that icon of the Great British Boys' Adventure Story, Squadron Leader James "Biggles" Bigglesworth. The Biggles books chart his life roughly from age nine, as a typical product of Empire and the British Raj in India, through his answering the patriotic call to the British colours in World War One (he tries the Infantry, realises it isn't to his taste, then transfers to the fledgling Royal Flying Corps where he becomes an Ace). In between the wars he and his jolly - all-male - band of chums become freelance adventurers, then when WW2 happens, he rejoins the RAF, much to the woe of the beastly Hun, the braggart Italians and the diabolical Japanese. After the war, he is signed up to Scotland Yard as Commander of the "Air Police" and occasional special agent - indeed, his last active service as an over-age James Bond is a dangerous (and deniable) incursion into the Gulag to spring his old arch-enemy Erich von Stalheim from Soviet captivity, sometime around 1965, when Biggles would have been as old as the century....

It is noticeable that in all that time Biggles is only diverted once from the manly bosom of his chums by a woman's infernal wiles, and otherwise he remains a confirmed bachelor all his life. Unkind commentators have deduced somewhat...errrm.... homoerotic overtones in the intensity of his relationship with Bertie, Algy and the boy who he takes in as protègé, Ginger Hepplethwaite, (who is described in quite loving physical detail by Captain Johns). What could be more natural than a band of bosom chums spurning the advances of women, and going off into the wilds of the world together in pursuit of healthy masculine activity,(often at the direction of a shadowy father-figure and Intelligence patriarch called Colonel Raymond, who takes close attention to the lads) and indeed doing so until they are in their late fifties and early sixties?