This is the most research-heavy BICP page yet.

Celestials” was a contemporary slang term for Chinese immigrants. Esther’s song is “I’ve Been Working On The Railroad” (caution: racist lyrics in the early versions). The rail in progress at this place in time would be the First Transcontinental Railroad.

Readers who are familiar with the time period, and spot any obvious anachronisms on this page or the next, are encouraged to let me know.

Christmas Eve, 1868: Ogden, Utah

Man: It isn’t right! Can’t find work that those Celestials won’t do cheaper — Can’t work so hard that Esther won’t out-do me without even trying —

Woman: Dear, please . . .

Man: But I won’t be spoken to like that by my own wife in my own home!

Esther (past!Reseda): I been workin’ on de railroad / All de livelong day / I been workin’ on de railroad / Ter pass de time a-way . . .

Man: Esther! Don’t you sing him that song!

Esther: Yes, Master.