Quotes Bridge-builders


With its approaches, his work was one mile and three-quarters in length; a lattice-girder bridge, trussed with the Findlayson truss standing on seven-and-twenty brick piers. Each one of those piers was twenty-four feet in diameter, capped with red Agra stone and sunk eighty feet below the shifting sand of the Ganges’ bed.

Above them was a railway-line fifteen feet broad; above that, again, a cart-road of eighteen feet, flanked with footpaths.


This is from “The Bridge-builders” (1895) , collected in The Day’s Work.

It tells how a vast new bridge over the Ganges, nearing completion,  is threatened by a great and unexpected flood. The bridge, spanning the sacred river,  survives – just, despite the hostility of some of  the old Gods of India.

Others are indifferent: ‘It is but the shifting of a little dirt. Let the dirt dig in the dirt if it pleases the dirt.’, says Ganesha, the wise and much revered Elephant God.