“Here are the crossroads. 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.

“Oh it’s quite right with the rest of ’em as a rule. Goodbye, Sir”

He retired into the armour plated conning tower of his caste and walked away.


This is from “They”, collected in Traffics and Discoveries.

The narrator.driving through deepest Sussex, has happened on a beautiful  old house, where lives a blind woman with whom he talks. She asks the butler to see him on his way, and as they drive to the cross-roads he is careful to avoid the children  playing happily in the garden. Only later doe he reallise they they are ghosts.

“Remember this. I am not an object for charity. I require neither your money, you food, nor your cast off raiment. I am that rare animal, a self supporting drunkard. If you choose, I will smoke with you, for the tobacco of the bazars does not, I admit suit my palate; and I will borrow any books which you may not specially value.


This is from “To be Filed for Reference” in Plain Rales from the Hills.

The narrator has encountered Mcintosh Jelaludin, an educated Englishman living in the Lahore bazar. He had been a classical scholar, but has gone to the bad in India, turning to drink and looking more like fifty than his thirty years.

The narrator helps him to his filthy lodgings, and listens to his ramblings about the masterpiece he has written but will never publish. He insists that he is not a cause for charity.


“Van Zyl talked to ’em in Dutch, and one man, a big red bearded minister, at Beaufort West, I remember, he jest wilted on the platform.”

“Keep your prayers for yourself,” says Van Zyl, throwing back a bunch of grapes. “You’ll need ’em, and you’ll need the fruit too, when the war comes down here.”


This is from “The Captive“.. collected in Traffics and Discoveries.

During the South African War, the narrator encounters Laughton Zigler, an American inventor who has been trying to sell his gun to the Boers, and is now a prisoner of war of the British.

He has come to respect the British soldiers and the Royal Artillery, and does not believe the Boers can win. Here he is describing encounters with Boer sympathisers in Cape Town, for whom he has little respect.