Three Quotations

(July 8th to 14th)


1. …Despair upon despair, misery upon misery, fear after fear, each causing their distinct and separate woe, packed in upon me for an unrecorded length of time, until at last they blurred together, and I heard a click in my brain like the click in the ear when one descends in a diving bell, and I knew that …for the moment, the worst was at an end… This is from "The House Surgeon" in Actions and Reactions.

The story-teller is recounting his experience of the terrifying gloom that haunted a house where a woman had met her death in mysterious circumstances. Later he helps resolve the mystery, and the house is healed.



2. . …Shahbaz Khan began to call again: 'They are below us. I can see them. For the pity of God come over to me, Hafiz Ullah ! My father slew ten of them. Come over !'
Hafiz Ullah answered in a very loud voice, 'Mine was guiltless. Hear ye, men of the Night, neither my father nor my blood had any part in that sin. Bear thou thine own punishment, Shahbaz Khan.'…
This is from "The Lost Legion" in Many Inventions.

A troop of cavalry, in a night-time mission on the frontier, has stumbled among the graves where - during the Mutiny - a rebel regiment was wiped out by Afghan tribesmen. Two Afghan sentries above are terrified by the ghosts of the dead regiment.


3. …I conceived the whole pressure of our dead of the Boer War, flickering and reforming as the horizon flickered in the heat; the galloping feet of a single horse, and a voice well-known that passed chanting ribaldry along the flank of a crack battalion … the finale was to be manoeuvres abandoned and a hurrried calling off of all arms by badly frightened Commandants - the men themselves sweating with terror though they knew not why… This is from Something of Myself , RK's autobiography, in a passage in which he is writing about 'psychic' experiences. On this occasion, witnessing manoeuvres on a hot hazy day, at Aldershot, his powerful imagination had conjured up ghosts from the South African War. He had written a tale of the experience, and then abandoned it. In Something of Myself he went on to assert roundly that 'I am in no way psychic'.