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Literature / Stalky & Co.

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Stalky & Co. is a book of Boarding School stories by Rudyard Kipling, featuring the exploits of Guile Hero Stalky and his pals Beetle and M'Turk. It was first published in 1899, following serialisation in the Windsor Magazine.

The characters returned in five more stories over subsequent decades, which were included in The Complete Stalky & Co. in 1929.

Stalky & Co. includes examples of:

  • Boarding School: Set at the very United Services College at Westward Ho! in Devon where Kipling himself went.
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  • Brats with Slingshots: Stalky and his catapult.
  • Can't You Read the Sign?: "In Ambush" has Colonel Dabney, who walled his territory with a fence with lots of notice-boards such as "Prosecuted with the utmost rigour of the law. G. M. Dabney, Col., J.P., an' all the rest of it." — and jaws the land and sea out of everyone who fails to keep out.
    Colonel Dabney: You saw my notice-boards? Must have. Don't attempt to deny it. Ye did! Damnable, oh damnable!
    • While school rules are pretty clear about breaking bounds, M'Turk at least knows that trespass is a matter for the civil courts, not a prosecution.
  • Guile Hero: Stalky & co., usually setting up those who interfere with them to make fools of themselves, sometimes just for the love of mischief.
    Stalky: Now, we must pull up. We're injured innocence — as usual. We don't know what we've been sent up here for, do we?
    M'Turk: No explanation. Deprived of tea. Public disgrace before the house. It's dam' serious.
  • High-School Hustler: Stalky.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: One of the stories involves the trio taking on the school bullies... at the suggestion of their priest. (If he had attempted to employ anything remotely like the direct methods they used, he would have been off to jail in short order, man of the cloth or no.)
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  • Retired Badass: Colonel Dabney.
  • Right Behind Me: Occasionally invoked by the trio, to tell their victims, especially teachers, things which could get them in trouble otherwise.
    M'Turk: You see, he begins by bullying little chaps; then he bullies the big chaps; then he bullies some one who isn't connected with the College, and then he catches it. Serves him jolly well right... I beg your pardon, sir. I didn't see you were coming down the staircase.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky:
    • Stalky.
    • Mr King, the Classics teacher.
  • Writing Lines: At one point, copying out several hundred lines of The Aeneid is imposed as a punishment.
    • Mr King gets a little moment in the spotlight here, since he turns up to help. He has a copy of the book to hand but he barely glances at it while dictating hundreds of lines of fluent Latin as meaningfully as if it were a living language.


The additional short stories include examples of:


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