From "The House Sergeon" by Rudyard Kipling:

Despair upon despair, misery upon misery, fear after fear, each causing their distinct and separate woe, packed in upon me for an unrecorded length of time, until at last they blurred together, and I heard a click in my brain like the click in the ear when one descends in a diving bell, and I knew that the pressures were equalised within and without, and that, for the moment, the worst was at an end. But I knew also that at any moment the darkness might come down anew; and while, I dwelt on this speculation precisely as a man torments a raging tooth with his tongue, it ebbed away into the little grey shadow on the brain of its first coming, and once more I heard my brain, which knew what would recur, telegraph to every quarter fox help, release or diversion.

I don't understand the meaning of “telegraph to every quarter fox help, release or diversion.” What does it mean?

  • 2
    typo: "... to every quarter for help..."
    – gotube
    Jun 12, 2021 at 4:16

1 Answer 1


I would suggest that "Fox" is a typesetting error in the original publication that has persisted with time.

telegraph to every quarter for help, release or diversion. makes a much more expectable sentence. "telegraph" meaning a call.

In the evolution of communications things have progressed roughly along this line.

Grunt, cry, shout, telegraph, telephone (call), page, tweet.

A possible modern-day equivalent of your sentence, albeit less poetic, might be

Request, from every source, help, relief or something to take my mind off the pain.

  • Brad, thank you so much for your amazing answer. I could not imagine about typesetting error a bit! Now I clearly understand the meaning of the sentence. Jun 12, 2021 at 3:56
  • I checked what I presume to be a later edition and it sill had the same error. There is such a thing as Quarter horse. But to my knowledge no quarter fox. Quarter used in relation to the area of the search (everywhere) is also appropriate. If the use of quarter fox was a pun comparing the fox to a quarter horse, then the sentence would be left with no definition of where to seek help. Therefore I am sure it is a typesetting error.
    – Brad
    Jun 12, 2021 at 4:08
  • Thank you. I agree with you. Jun 12, 2021 at 8:12
  • I found the book that includes this title. I have assured "telegraph to every quarter for help," is on the page. ("Action and Reactions" Charles Scribner's Sons (1925) Jun 15, 2021 at 0:35
  • Wow well done! so it was a type setting error as I suspected.
    – Brad
    Jun 15, 2021 at 0:45

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