Brazilian Sketches VI

Railways and a Two-Thousand-Feet Climb

(notes edited by John Radcliffe, drawing on the edtion of Brazilian Sketches published by Paul Waters in 1989, and on the work of the ORG Editors)


Published in the Morning Post (London), December 16th 1927, and in Liberty (New York) on February 18th 1928. Collected in Brazilian Sketches, Doubleday Doran, New York, 1940, in the Sussex Edition Vol. xxi, and in an edition by P E Waters and Associates in 1989.


Paul Waters writes:

Kipling left Sao Paulo by the Sao Paulo Railway and visited the installations at Paranapiacaba (known then as Alto da Serra) before going down the five miles of cable-hauled railway to Santos 2,000 feet below. From Santos he would have taken a ship for home.

Notes on the Text

foreign-owned and largely foreign-managed The owners and senior managers were British: it was nationalised in September 1946, and later merged with the centralised administration of the Brazilian Railways.

from Waterloo to Salt River Waterloo is the major London terminus for lines to the South-West of England. Salt River is a suburb of Capetown in South Afica, near Table Bay. A wide and varied range of railways over many thousand miles.

Van Horne ir William Cornelius Van Horne: an American by birth, and a very famous railwayman, the builder of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

I met a Director
Paul Waters writes: This was probably Colonel H F Stephens and the Kent & East Sussex Railway. Stephens, who, like Kipling, had Pre-Raphaelite influences in his background (he was named Holman after Holman Hunt), counted Kipling as a friend, and used to send him annually a free pass for that certain line “in the milk trade”. [P.W.]

Alastair Wilson adds: The “certain line in the milk trade” was close to Kipling’s home at Bateman’s, running from Robertsbridge, some four miles south- east of Burwash, eastwards along the valley of the River Rother. Today, a part of it is a preserved railway, running as a tourist attraction. [A.W.]

eleven kilometres nearly seven miles.

A Corliss An engine using the peculiar valve gear invented by G. H. Corliss of Providence, U.S.A. in 1849, or a modification of it.

Ulysses The wiliest of the Greek leaders in the Trojan War.

Chiron The wisest and most famous of the Centaurs, mythical creatures in classical times, half man and half horse. See the poem “The Centaurs”.

Achilles The great Greek hero in the Trojan War.

©John Radcliffe 2009 All rights reserved