Three Quotations

(January 13th to 19th)


1. Jabez ranged up and down till he found a thinner place, and with clean snicks of the handbill revealed the original face of the fence. Jesse took over the dripping stuff as it fell forward, and, with a grasp and a kick, made it to lie orderly on the bank till it should be faggoted. This is from "Friendly Brook" un A Diversity of Creatures.

Two hedgers are setting about a much neglected fence in a wet field, listening to the brook roaring below them in spate. They get talking of an old dark tale, in which the brook did friendly service in drowning a blackmailer.


2. For his knowledge of tackle and the handling of heavy weights, Peroo was worth almost any price he might have chosen to put upon his services ... Neither running water nor extreme heights made him afraid; and, as an ex-serang, he knew how to hold authority. No piece of iron was so big or so badly placed that Peroo could not devise a tackle to lift it—a loose-ended, sagging arrangement, rigged with a scandalous amount of talking, but perfectly equal to the work in hand. This is from "The Bridge Builders" in The Day's Work.

Peroo is the Lascar foreman on the great new Kashi Bridge over the Ganges, whose skills make him one of the three men on whom the project rests.


3. Young Ottley explained his plan of campaign while he was ravaging Rustomjee’s tool-chest, and then the men crawled and knelt and levered and pushed and hauled and turned spanners under the engine, as young Ottley told them. What he wanted was to disconnect the right cylinder altogether, and get off a badly twisted coupler-rod. Practically Number Forty’s right side was paralysed, and they pulled away enough ironmongery there to build a culvert with. This is from "The Bold 'Prentice" in Land and Sea Tales.

Young Ottley, a railway apprentice, finds himself on a wrecked train one dark night. Using the guide given him by an old engineer, he sets about the daunting bask of stripping down the damaged parts of the locomotive, and gets her on the move,