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They were picking them up at almost every station now—men and women coming in for the Christmas Week, with racquets, with bundles of polo-sticks, with dear and bruised cricket-bats, with fox-terriers and saddles. The greater part of them wore jackets like William’s, for the Northern cold is as little to be trifled with as the Northern heat.


This is rom “William the Conqurer” collected in The Day’s Woek (1898) , a tale of a famine, and also pne of Kipling’s love stories.

There has been famine in southern India, and administrators from all departments of the Government of India have been called in to help with relief supplies. From the Punjab come, among others, Scott, an Engineer, and Martyn, a Police officerm and Martyn’s sister, William (short for Wilhelmina) who keeps house for him. She would not be deterred from accompanying her brother, and short-circuits his protests by telegraphing for permission to the wife of the head of famine relief, who is herself with her husband.

After great efforts – since ot was very hard to persuade Southerners, who lived on rice, to eat grain – the famine is stauched, food suppines disttributed, and starving children cared for. Now they are on their way home to Lahore just before Christmas. Here Scott and William declare their love in an understated and under-emotional way. The story ends with Christmas festivities in Lahore, where the British community hold a Christmas ball, such as might have been held in England.