Notes on the text
These notes are based on those written by Leonee Ormond for the OXFORD WORLD'S CLASSICS edition of Captains Courageous (1995) with the kind permission of Oxford University Press. Except where stated otherwise, the page numbers below refer to the Macmillan Uniform Edition of Captains Courageous (1899, and frequently reprinted since).
Funk and Wagnell’s Standard Dictionary of the English Language published in the US in 1894, says it refers to a brush on a pole used for cleaning the sides and bottoms of vessels, that we know as a “long tom”. The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea describes it as twigs lashed between two planks so forming a stiff brush hauled up by men with ropes on deck, and again on a long pole by men on the floor of the dock or whatever. So the men in the story are just cleaning the car with long toms ![Page 29, line 20] Long Island off New York.
`I saw one, only one, remnant of that terrible wreck. He had been a minister. House, church, congregation, wife and children had been swept away from him in one night of terror. He had no employment: he could have employed himself at nothing: but God had been very good to him. He sat in the sun and smiled a little weakly. It was in his poor blurred mind that something had happened. One could only pray that the light would never return'[Page 38, line 17] saleratus an impure bicarbonate of potash, used in baking powder. It may refer to the bread which Pennsylvania is carrying in his dory, but it was also a patent cure for indigestion.
(From Sea to Sea, Macmillan Edition de Luxe, XVII (1900), 60-1).
Now bring the chart, the doleful chart;Songs, Ballads and Stories (1877), 210-12.
See, where these mountains meet -
The clouds are thick around their head,
The mists around their feet.
And now to thee, O captain,
Most earnestly I pray,
In church or cloister gray.