The news of his trouble was already in his bungalow. He read the knowledge in his butler’s eyes when Ahmed Khan brought in food, and for the first and last time in his life laid a hand upon his master’s shoulder, saying ‘Eat, sahib, eat. Meat is good against sorrow. I also have known. Moreover the shadows come and go, sahib; the shadows come and go. These be curried eggs.’
This is from “Without Benefit of Clergy“(1890) collected in Life’s Handicap.
John Holden leads a double life. To his colleagues he is a bachelor, living in spartan bachelor quarters, and sometimes neglecting his work. But he has set up a young Muslim girl, Ameera, in a little house on the edge of the old city.
She is the love of his life, and he of hers. They are idyllically happy together, and when she gives birth to a baby boy, Tota, their happiness is complete. When Tota dies of fever, they are distraught. Then Ameera is stricken with cholera and dies in Holden’s arms. He is left desolate.
Here he is back in his bungalow, and his sevant offers him a rare moment of sympathy.