from the height of her litter


Senior Member
Dear all
What's your interpretation for "from the height of her litter" in the following context, chosen from "The Three Soldiers" by Dos Passos:
Time: 1918
Location: a military hospital somewhere in France.
Andrews, an American soldier, has been wounded. He is reviewing his life before and after the war. Some time ago he had seen the nurse as the Queen of Sheba.
Funny that the Queen of Sheba had come to his head, it was ages since he'd thought of all that. From the girl at the cross-roads singing under her street-lamp to the patrician pulling roses to pieces from the height of her litter, all the aspects halfguessed, all the imaginings of your desire . . . that was the Queen of Sheba.
Any idea what's the origin of that piece?
  • cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    A "litter" is
    "1 a : a covered and curtained couch provided with shafts and used for carrying a single passenger....

    The motive force was usually four slaves. The "patrician" passenger rode through town at the shoulder height of said slaves.


    Senior Member
    Yes, of course. I can see it now quite clearly. Thank you dear C and thank you dear L.
    Any idea about the origin of that piece in italic?


    Senior Member
    English UK
    I can't think of anything, K. From a quick google, it looks as though 'the Queen of Sheba' is a repeated reference in the text. Perhaps Dos Passos is just saying here that she - the ultimate fantasy woman - has many faces?
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