The Kiplings and India: A Collection of Writings from British India, 1870-1900

The Story of Uriah (Rudyard Kipling)

  "Now there were two men in one city;
  the one rich and the other poor."

Jack Barrett went to Quetta
   Because they told him to.
He left his wife at Simla
   On three-fourths his monthly "screw."
Jack Barrett died at Quetta
   Ere the next month's pay he drew.

Jack Barrett went to Quetta.
   He didn't understand
The reason of his transfer
   From the pleasant mountain-land:
The season was September,
   And it killed him out of hand.

Jack Barrett went to Quetta,
   And there gave up the ghost,
Adoing two men's duty
   In that very healthy post;
And Mrs. Barrett mourned for him
   Five lively months at most.

Jack Barrett's bones at Quetta
   Enjoy profound repose;
But I shouldn't be astonished
   If <i>now</i> his spirit knows
The reason of his transfer
   From the Himalayan snows.

And, when the Last Great Bugle Call
   Adown the Hurnai throbs,
When the last grim joke is entered
   In the big black Book of Jobs,
And Quetta graveyards give again
   Their victims to the air,
I shouldn't like to be the man
   Who sent Jack Barrett there.

[Glossary -- Harnai pass, Balochistan Province, Pakistan]
[Glossary -- Quetta, capital city in what is today the Balochistan Province, Pakistan ]

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