(Jan 2nd to 8th)
The sky above them was an intense velvety black, changing to bands of Indian red on the horizon, where the great stars burned like street-lamps. From time to time a greenish wave of the Northern Lights would roll across the hollow of the high heavens, flick like a flag, and disappear; or a meteor would crackle from darkness to darkness, trailing a shower of sparks behind. Then they could see the ridged and furrowed surface of the floe tipped and laced with strange colours—red, copper, and bluish; but in the ordinary starlight everything turned to one frost-bitten gray.
This is from “Quiquern” in The Second Jungle Book.
An Inuit tribe, living on the far northern ice, are in danger of starvation during a fearsomely hard winter. The dogs are going mad. and the people believe they are doomed.
Kotuko, the son of the Headman, with a girl companion, is setting off into the icy darkness to find the seals.
Thirty below freezing ! It was inconceivable till one stepped out into it at midnight. and the first shock of that clear still air took away the breath as does a plunge into sea water … But for the jingle of the sleight-bells the ride might have taken place in a dream, for there was no sound of hoofs upon the snow, the runners sighed a little now and then as they glided over an inequality, and all the sheeted hills round about were as dumb as death.
This is from “In Sight of Monadnock” in From Tideway to Tideway, collected in Letters of Travel, 1892-1913.
Kipling married Caroline Balestier in London on 18th January 1892. Soon after, they took ship to New York, and after a brief stay in that city headed north by train to Caroline’s home place at Brattleboro in Vermont. Here they have arrived by train at midnight, and are taking their first breath of the New England Winter.
The place is locked up dead as a frozen corpse. The mountain torrent
This is from “Across a Continent” in From Tideway to Tideway, collected in Letters of Travel, 1892-1913.
Kipling is travelling West on the Canadian Pacific Railway, on his honeymoon journey across America to Vancouver, in April 1892. He is awestruck at the terrain the CPR has conquered in crossing the continent.