From Sea to Sea XXVI

(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 25 and 28 December 1889.

Maps and Journey

Kipling left San Francisco on Sunday 16 June by Pullman car on the 7 p.m. train to Portland, Oregon. This line was operated by the Southern Pacific Company. He arrived in Portland on 18 June. See also The Letters of Rudyard Kipling for 15-16 June, pp.317-319, 18 June, pp.320-321, and 23 June, pp.321-324. The 220 mile round trip described from Portland to the Dalles and back took two days.

Notes on the Text

[Epigraph, Page 17] I walked in the lonesome even from the first stanza of “Across the Sea” by William Allingham (1824-1889), the Irish poet from County Donegal.

[Page 17, lines 2 & 3] Hans Breitmann Charles G. Leland’s (1824-1903) poems, The Breitmann Ballads.

[Page 17, line 3] ‘cut that city by the sea’ the last two lines of “Breitmann in Ostende”, which in the original are ‘cut dat city py de sea.’

[Page 17, line 14] Victoria and Vancouver In Canada, just north of the border. Vancouver is a major seaport city on the mainland, whereas Victoria is on Vancouver Island. See also the article by Dr. J.F. Bosher in KJ 332 for June 2009.

Vancouver should not be confused with the U.S. town of the same name, just across the Columbia River from Portland in Washington Territory.

[Page 18, line 1] the old flag The Union Flag of Great Britain. Canada did not have its own flag at this time.

[Page 18, line 5] Oakland a city on San Francisco Bay, about 8 miles to the east of San Francisco.

[Page 18, line 32] kerosene or paraffin is a combustible liquid hydrocarbon, used as a household fuel for lamps and stoves etc.

[Page 19, lines 6 & 7] the Sacramento River rises at Mt. Shasta in the Siskiyou Mountain range, just south of the border with Oregon. It flows southwards, exiting on the eastern side of San Francisco Bay. See also Kipling’s story “The Bow Flume Cable-Car”, collected in Abaft the Funnel and our notes on it.

[Page 19, line 13] Bret Harte Frances Bret Harte, (1836-1902), American journalist, author and poet. One of Kipling’s favourite writers.

[Page 19, line 14] madrone a broadleaf evergreen tree with orange-red bark, Arbutus Menzeseii.

[Page 19, line 17] Hamblin this should be Jack Hamlin, from Bret Harte’s “Brown of Calaveras”, “The Idyll of Red Gulch” or “The Convalescence of Jack Hamlin”.

[Page 19, line 27] Amberville or Jacksonburgh fictional names, reminiscent of Harte’s ‘Marysville’, ‘Mugginsville’, ‘Boomville’, etc. There is a Jacksonville (Oregon) on the Southern Pacific Co railway just north of the Siskiyou Mountains (see below).

[Page 19, line 33] cinnamon-bear (Ursus americanus cinnamomum) with red-brown fur, is a sub-species of the American black bear.

[Page 19, line 33] Baby Sylvester the title and main character of one of Harte’s stories, is a grizzly bear cub.

[Page 20, line 10] M’liss the title and main character of a long story by Harte, “M’liss: An Idyll of Red Mountain”.

[Page 20, line 14] Tennessee a character from “Tennessee’s Partner” by Harte.

[Page 20, lines 20 to 28] a lawyer the lawyer recognises and caps a quotation from the poem, “A Toccata of Galluppi’s” (1855) by Robert Browning (1812-1889), another of Kipling’s favourite writers.[D.H.S.]

[Page 21, line 2] the Man of no Account the title of another Harte story. The Man is David Fagg.

[Page 21, lines 3 & 4] ‘that most sarcastic man, the quiet Mr Brown’ A quotation from the fifth stanza of Harte’s poem, “The Society upon the Stanislaus”.

[Page 21, line 7] Yuba Bill A stage-coach driver in Harte’s story “Miggles” and in the poem “An Idyll of the Road”.

[Page 21, lines 7 to 31] … wiry old man . . life-insurance … fishing These acquaintances are described in the letter of 18 June 1889 to Mrs Edmonia Hill, with notes to the original people by Thomas Pinney to this and the subsequent letter of 23 June, which is also relevant to the next report (XXVII).

The old man (‘California’) and the insurance man are identified as A.J. Salsbury (or Salisbury) and J.L.M. Shatterley respectively. The man who acted as their guide, C.E.Rumelin (‘Portland’), described their trip in a letter to the Portland Oregonian of 13 March 1928, but denied that he was a real estate man. [See also page 26].

[Page 22, lines 14 & 15] ‘whose fame beyond their own abode extends…’ Kipling is quoting Bayard Taylor (1825-1878), of The Echo Club, who is misquoting “Astraea”, a poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Yale College in 1850. [D.H.S.]

[Page 22, line 29] ‘nobby’ stylish or fashionable.

[Page 22, line 31 to Page 23, line 3] God made the pine… no source has been found for these two verses. Perhaps Kipling wrote them himself, echoing the sense of some lines he read in a local newspaper ?

[Page 22, line 29] Siskiyou Mountains this range lies on the border of N Califonia and south west Oregon. The Southern Pacific Co. Railway followed a track with the main range to the west and the Cascade Mountains to the east.

[Page 24, line 9] a hog wrecked an excursion train this anecdote was possibly re-used by Kipling in his story “.007” about a railway locomotive, collected in The Day’s Work.

[Page 24, line 32] clicker or telegraph. A device for generating morse code signals for transmission down a wire to a receiving station.

[Page 26, line 22] Columbia River defines the border between Oregon State and Washington State.

[Page 26, line 31] Williamette River joins the Columbia just west of the town of Vancouver, U.S.A.

[Page 27, line 3] ‘texas’ pilot-house on a riverboat. [D.H.S.]

[Page 27, line 4] ‘towhead’ a small islet or sandbar in a river.

[Page 27, line 4] ‘sawyer’ a floating tree or log.

[Page 27, line 5] ‘slue’ a backwater or back-channel on a river. See also page 28, line 12.

[Page 27, line 22] kine an old word for cattle.

[Page 28, line 17] Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). The fish were named after the Chinook Native American tribe who lived in villages on the banks of the Columbia River.

[Page 28, line 19] Washoogle or Washougal. A tributary of the Columbia River which joins the main stream near the town of Washougal in Washington State. The town is about 20 miles upstream of the junction of the Williamette and Columbia Rivers.

[Page 29, line 9] Mechlin-lace is a bobbin lace originally from towns in the Flemish area of Belgium – Mechlin, Antwerp, Lier, and Turnhout.

[Page 29, line 29] cottonwood trees are members of the poplar family which can grow to 130 feet (40 metres).

[Page 30, line 2] Black, the novelist William Black (1841-1898). Was a British novelist and journalist. [D.H.S.] One of the three writers later denounced by Kipling in his 1890 poem “The Rhyme of the Three Captains” for failing to support him against copyright piracy in the United States.

[Page 30, line 7] ’wickyup’ or wickiup. A Native American hut consisting of a frame covered with brushwood or something similar. Kipling used the word later in “Steam Tactics” (1902) in Traffics and Discoveries p. 197 line 13:

‘See those spars up-ended over there. I mean that wickyup-thing…’

[Page 30, line 12] The Dalles This town on the Columbia River was the terminus of the ‘Oregon Trail’, the land route from the East.

©David Page and D H Stewart 2010 All rights reserved