The other seamen on the Pinafore are given nautical-related surnames, and we wonder if Gilbert intended the same for Ralph. The word is uniformly avoided by all ordinary dictionaries that come to hand. I did, however, find a 1921 seaman’s manual (31) that defined rack as slang for a berth. See also Gibson (125). So I propose that Ralph’s surname might refer to straw-filled ticking. Hyder (161) comments that, although the other sailors have seagoing names, “Ralph is a man set apart. Anyway, Gilbert never liked tenors.” In any event, Gilbert might have derived quiet pleasure in assigning a seaman such a bucolic-sounding name, for the expression “to rack straw” means to pitch straw into a storage rack. Knight (177) says “This was a demonstration of Ralph’s rustic background in opposition to Josephine’s supposed superior social status.” Kesilman (47) agrees that Rackstraw implies humble origins, but disagrees with the bucolic association. He points to Josephine’s lament about what life would be like with Ralph. In it she describes a squalid urban setting.