First publication: Civil and Military Gazette, 3 February 1886
Sussex Scrapbooks 28/1, p. 55
But for the honour of the thing it might just as well be treacherous England. To bed on Saturday night in the certainty of a month of glorious sunshine; and to breakfast by lamplight on Sunday morning with the pleasing conviction that the rain has set in for the day. What can you expect from such a country and such weather? By all the laws of nature and Mr Blanford there ought to be a clear sky overhead and the koil (a small song-bird)should be thinking of rehearsing his summer operatic selections — instead of which: —
‘The sky is an inkstand upside downand the rain is forcing them into unpleasant publicity. Everybody knows that Lahore is a cemetery of half a dozen cities at the least and that To-day builds its mud walls from the dust of the men of Yesterday — or the Day Before — but one does not care to be reminded of the fact every time it rains.
Victor Hugo in his Toilers of the Sea introduces a diver to the abode of a monstrous ‘poulpe’ (octopus). The man is uneasily conscious that there is ‘somebody smiling’ at the further end of the dusky cavern. Investigation reveals a skeleton. Very horrible of course, but perfectly true. About a year ago much the same thing happened in Lahore. A house stood near a deep clay cutting, and as surely as ever the owner drove through the gateway in the dusk he was conscious, to use his own words, of ‘some one grinning somewhere but for the life of me I couldn’t tell where’. He was not an observant man and 1 don’t think he had read Victor Hugo. For more than a week he was perplexed by this sensation of a smile somewhere. Eventually his eye fell on the cutting and there was the Cause of the grin looking out across the road and simpering at the passer by. It disappeared before the evening, and the grisly welcome ceased. This is a cheerful story and exactly matches the weather at the time of writing [....]