From Sea to Sea XXIV

(notes 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 6 December 1889. The continuing section published on 7 December is omitted from the collected work.

Notes on the Text

[Epigraph, page 487] Poor men—God made, and all for that! This is from the fourth stanza of “Apparent Failure”, by Robert Browning, one of Kipling’s favourite poets.

[Page 487, line 3] Chinese quarter of San Francisco an area to the south of Fisherman’s Wharf, around Broadway.

[Page 487, lines 12 & 13] Pigtail slang for a Chinaman from their habit at that time of wearing their hair in a single braid or queue.

[Page 488, line 1] cumshaw a gift or a tip / gratuity.

[Page 488, line 24] billy-cock hats Bowler hats, named after William Coke.

[Page 491, lines 12 & 13] the sun being over the yardarm or below the horizon this is to do with the time of day and the principle that no alcohol should be drunk before or after certain times. A ‘yard’ on a square-rigger is a horizontal spar on which sails are set. When sailing from east to west, or west to east, the sun would be ‘over the yard-arm’, i.e. over the tip of the yard, at noon.

[Page 492, line 26] Button Punch legend says that this is similar to a ‘Pisco Sour’ which is Pisco brandy (from Peru) with syrup, lemon juice, an egg-white and a dash of agnostura. (Courtesy of Thomas Pinney). [D.H.S.]

[Page 493, lines 4 & 5] Government of the people, . . . From the address by Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) at Gettysburg in 1863.



[Page 496, line 31] Boss Buckley was born in Ireland and raised in New York City. Christopher Augustine “Blind Boss” Buckley (1845-1922) arrived in San Francisco in 1862 aged seventeen. He became a saloonkeeper and ruined his eyesight, apparently from drinking.

His phenomenal memory and genial personality enabled him to befriend leaders of both political parties. He became the Democratic power-broker controlling virtually all elections and appropriations in California. When a grand jury investigated corruption in 1891, Buckley decamped for Canada and Europe. [D.H.S.]


©David Page 2010 All rights reserved