(Jan 13th to 19th)

Format: Triple

…“Here are the cross-roads. You can’t miss your way from now on. Thank you sir, but that isn’t our custom, not with -”
“I beg your pardon,” I said, and thrust away the British silver…


This is from ‘They’ in ‘Traffics and Discoveries’. The narrator, motoring across Sussex, happens on a stately old house, set in a lovely garden where children are playing. He makes friends with the owner, a beautiful blind woman, and on his way home is guided by the butler to the main road. The butler, noticing the narrator’s interest in the children, refuses a tip, and he goes on his way. Later he returns, and finds that the little figures in the garden were the ghosts of dead children, including his own.

There was a clinking of silver and the two policemen of St. Clement Danes hurried back to their beats, laughing as they ran.
“Take ‘im to Charing Cross,” said Dempsey between shouts. “They’ll send the ambulance back in the morning.”


This is from ‘Brugglesmith’ in ‘Many Inventions’. The narrator, on his way home late at night from dinner on a ship on the Thames, has become embroiled with a fellow guest, who is extremely drunk and disorderly. He is taken for another drunk, and almost arrested, before he finds a policeman who knows him. They strap the malefactor onto a two-wheeled ambulance, and the narrator wheels him home through the London streets, to ‘Brugglesmith’ – Brook Green, Hammersmith.

“…Since when has thou been a slave, my queen?”
“Since the beginning – till this mercy came to me. How could I be sure of thy love when I knew that I had been bought with silver?”
“Nay, that was the dowry. I paid it to thy mother.”…


This is from ‘Without Benefit of Clergy’ in ‘Life’s Handicap’. An English official, John Holden, has fallen in love with a Muslim girl, Ameera, bought her from her mother, and set her up in a house where he visits her regularly. They are idyllically happy together, and Ameera is expecting his child. All this is, of course, unknown to his colleagues. But their secret love is doomed, the child dies of fever, and Ameera falles ill with cholera and dies in his arms. The house is pulled down, and it is as if their life together had never existed