(November 27th to December 3rd)

Format: Triple

All the land was empty except for themselves, and at last (they were sitting by the lamp-post hand in hand) she turned and kissed him. He woke with a start, staring at the waving curtain of the cabin door; he could almost have sworn that the kiss was real.


This is from “The Brushwood Boy” collecyed in The Day’s Work (1898).

George Cottar, a brilliant young officer in the Indian Army, has had a secret dream life since childhood, in which he and a girl have travelled through a strange elaborate landscape.

In his waking life he has had little to do with women. Here he is waking up from the dream, on a voyage back to England, on which an older woman has fallen in love with him, and kissed him while he slept. Later at home, he meets the girl of the dream in real life, and they fall into each others’ arms.

… “Little woman …do you care for me ?”…
“Do you want an honest answer ?”
“Ye-es. I’ve asked for it.”
Mrs Boulte spoke in a low, even voice for five minutes, very distinctly, that there might be no misunderstanding her meaning. When Samson broke the pillars of Gaza, he did a little thing, and one not to be compared to the deliberate pulling down of a woman’s homestead about her own ears…She struck at Boulte’s heart, because her own was sick with suspicion…


This is from “A Wayside Comedy”“collected in in Wee Willie Winkie and Other Stories (1890), a tale of a small remote station where a small group of British people cannot avoid each other’s company.

Mrs Boulte has fallen in love with Kurrell, but both Kurrell and Mrs Boulte’s husband have now fallen for a newcomer to the station, Mrs Vansuythen. There is no escape from the hell that the lovers and would-be lovers have created for themselves.

“Jack! Jack, darling!” (There was no mistake about the words this time: they rang through my brain as if they had been shouted in my ear.) “It’s some hideous mistake, I’m sure. Please forgive me, Jack, and let’s be friends again.”

The ’rickshaw-hood had fallen back, and inside, as I hope and pray daily for the death I dread by night, sat Mrs. Keith-Wessington, handkerchief in hand, and golden head bowed on her breast.


This is from “The Phanrom Rickshaw” [oblished in 1885 when Kipling was nineteen.

Jack Pansay has had a passionate romance with Agnes Keith-Wessington, the golden-haired wife of an officer. He tires of her and tells her so, but she refuses to accept his rejection, insisting that it is all “a hideous mistake”. She grows wan and thin, but he continues to respond curtly and brutally.

He becomes engaged to Kitty Mannering, a lively young woman. and Agnes dies of a broken heart. Soon after, his rides out with Kitty around Simla are disrupted by the ghost of Agnes, in her familiar yellow-panelled rickshaw, which only he can see. She is still insisting that it is all “a hideous mistake”. His friends think he is mad or drunk, his doctor is mystified, and Kitty breaks off the engagement.

His life is ruined, and he goes to his death, still haunted by the golden-haired ghost.