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Hal Bush <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 17 Oct 2019 14:34:17 +0000
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folks, here's one from another LIST: the term “alkali-spider”

I was wondering if I could rely on the collective wisdom of the list-serv here.

I’m working on an article about a book by Mark Twain called A Horse’s Tale, which he wrote in 1906. Part of the book is narrated by Buffalo Bill’s fictional horse, Soldier Boy. In it, Soldier Boy brags about his aristocratic horse pedigree, claiming that his mother was from the “bluest bluegrass aristocracy” of Kentucky. He also says, “My mother was all American—no alkali-spider about her.”

I was wondering if anyone was familiar with the term “alkali-spider” or had read it in any other texts. I have not been able to turn up any references to it other than the one mention in Twain’s book. The story is set at an army fort on the American frontier in the high plains, just after the Civil War.

Any ideas would be much appreciated.

Thank you,

Charles Bradshaw

Associate Professor


Dr. Hal Bush

Professor of English &

Director of the Undergraduate Program

Saint Louis University

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