Set and published during the time of the British Raj, a time of subalterns and tea planters, the 40 stories in Plain Tales From The Hills are played out under an unforgiving sun, revealing the deceit, faithlessness, shallowness, despair, mistrust, hate, and petty jealousies rife amongst the British inhabitants of India. Fascinating, funny, tragic, immensely readable, and witty, these stories provide an invaluable insight into life in India during the British Raj, introducing us to the work of one of the most beloved writers of the 20th century.
She was the daughter of Sonoo, a Hill–man, and Jadeh his wife. One year their maize failed, and two bears spent the night in their only poppy–field just above the Sutlej Valley on the Kotgarth side; so, next season, they turned Christian, and brought their baby to the Mission to be baptized. The Kotgarth Chaplain christened her Elizabeth, and "Lispeth" is the Hill or pahari pronunciation. Later, cholera came into the Kotgarth Valley and carried off Sonoo and Jadeh, and Lispeth became half–servant, half–companion to the wife of the then Chaplain of Kotgarth. This was after the reign of the Moravian missionaries, but before Kotgarth had quite forgotten her title of "Mistress of the Northern Hills." Whether Christianity improved Lispeth, or whether the gods of her own people would have done as much for her under any circumstances, I do not know; but she grew very lovely. When a Hill girl grows lovely, she is worth traveling fifty miles over bad ground to look upon. Lispeth had a Greek face—one of those faces people paint so often, and see so seldom. She was of a pale, ivory color and, for her race, extremely tall. Also, she possessed eyes that were wonderful; and, had she not been dressed in the abominable print–cloths affected by Missions, you would, meeting her on the hill–side unexpectedly, have thought her the original Diana of the Romans going out to slay.