From Sea to Sea XXXIII

(notes edited by David Page, drawing on the work of the ORG Editors)

Publication History

The edited text largely corresponds with that first published in the Pioneer of 3rd March 1890. .

The Journey

Kipling travels from Salt Lake City (Utah) initially southeast and then east into Colorado, before heading into Nebraska to reach the city of Omaha. This Report mainly covers the first section through Utah until he reaches the border with Colorado at the Grand River. The railway company was the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railway, a narrow gauge track at the time.


Notes on the Text

[Epigraph, Page 130] Much have I seen … adapted from Ulysses, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892).

[Pages 130 & 131, lines 19 & 1] hairpins and match-sticks this Editor takes this to be an allusion to the frequency of hairpin bends and wooden trestle bridges on the railroad. An alternative reading is that the rails are as insubstantial as hairpins and the ties or sleepers as match-sticks.

[Page 131, line 21] too much balcony and too little Romeo an allusion to Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, with its famous balcony scene.

[Page 132, lines 23 & 24] to bathe in Salt Lake This would almost certainly have taken place at Garfield Beach on the lake shore.

[Page 133, line 2] quicksilver elemental mercury.

[Page 134, line 11] ‘leg’ confidence trickster or swindler. [D.H.S.]

[Page 135, line 5] Omaha on the Missouri River, the eastern boundary of the State of Nebraska.

[Page 135, line 17] Mian Mir the British military cantonment at Lahore, well known to Kipling.

[Page 136, line 1] San Jo A town north of Fort Worth, Texas. [D.H.S.]

[Page 136, line 22] the rolling green plains of Colorado the plains on the western side of the State are quite restricted before one reaches the Rocky Mountains. After crossing this chain, there is a more extensive area of flatland leading to Nebraska.

[Page 137, line 13] Mr. Howells William Dean Howells (1837-1920). American author and critic.

[Page 138, line 19] the metals were spiked down to the ties a metal spike was driven through the rail into the wooden tie (railway ‘sleeper’ in the UK), and the passing of a train had a tendency to force the rails apart. The British system using metal ‘chairs’ to attach the rails to the sleepers gives much more stability to the track.

[Page 140, line 13] I ate all the Baptist’s sample-biscuits This seems more likely to be the earlier event on the way to Salt Lake City from Yellowstone Park, when he was also delayed by trouble on the line. See the note to No. XXXII. (page 117 line 20). A ‘drummer’ is an old term for a ‘commercial traveller’, who takes samples of goods around so as to solicit orders from customers, ‘drumming up’ business.

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