(March 11th to 20th)

Format: Triple

At last the Major dried his eyes openly, and said, “Nice sort of thing to spring on an English family! What shall we do?”

I said, knowing what the Major had brought me out for, “The Boy died of cholera. We were with him at the time. We can't commit ourselves to half&#8211measures. Come along.”


This is from “Thrown Away” in Plain Tales from the Hills.

A young officer, who had been criticised, and felt humilated and ashamed, had shot himself, leaving desperate letters to his family. His friends decide to hush the matter up; they bury the young man, burn the letters, and report that he has died of cholera, a common danger to anyone living in India in those times

‘That summer the Ould Rig’ment did not use their own Clink, bekase the cholera was hangin’ about there like Mildew on wet boots, an’ ‘twas murdher to confine in ut. We borrowed the Clink that belonged to the Holy Christians (the rig’ment that has never seen service yet) and that lay a matther av a mile away, acrost two p’rade-grounds an’ the main road…’


This is from “My Lord the Elephant” in Many Inventions.

Sitting by the elephant lines, Mulvaney is recalling the days of his adventurous youth. One day he had been on his way to jail after breaking his sergeant’s nose after a difference of opinion. On the way he had encountered an enraged elephant, which ran away with him. But Mulvaney had subdued the elephant, and made a friend of him for life.

The little lord of the house, as Pir Khan called him, grew sorrowful and complained of pains who had never known the meaning of pain. Ameera, wild with terror, watched him through the night, and in the dawning of the second day the life was shaken out of him by fever—the seasonal autumn fever. It seemed altogether impossible that he could die, and neither Ameera nor Holden at first believed the evidence of the little body on the bedstead.


This is from “Without Benefit of Clergy” collected in in Life's Handicap.

Holden, a British official, has maded a secret marriage with a young Muslim woman. She is the love of his life. When she has a child their happiness is complete. But then the fever strikes …