What Pegman Saw – A letter from India

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is the Kangra Valley, India.

WPS kangra-valley-india 180602

A letter from India


18th May 1847

My beloved Margaret,

I write to say you needn’t worry – the serious fighting is over and we have peace. We must now bring prosperity to the people. Major Barclay believes tea could be cultivated here, and he is something of an expert.

How I long for you! I imagine you walking in the green pasture by the clear river, your hair ruffled by herb-scented breezes from the great snow-capped mountains.

I pray you are safe after the birth of our first child. In my mind’s eye I see you holding the dear creature close your heart. How strange it feels not to know whether my child is a son or daughter!

Dearest, it seems so long before you can join me here and make me whole. Until then, I shall serve with honour so you and our child may be proud.

May God bless you,


15 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw – A letter from India

    • Dear Francine
      Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful comments. Yes, it was that time delay that really inspired my story. It would have been very odd indeed, because Margaret might well have written every day, and many of her letters would arrive simultaneously. Likewise the other way round, of course, although I doubt whether military duties left much time for letter-writing, And fancy knowing that your wife was giving birth, and might die – all too common in Victorian times – and not being able to find out.
      With very best wishes


  1. Perfect voice for Leonard, Penny – tone, style and vocabulary spot on for me. I couldn’t help but wonder at the distance between the two, hoping that they have been safely delivered of a child and that a sad letter isn’t already on its way to Leonard. Wouldn’t have been that unusual to lose mother or child (or both) in childbirth. You’re very good at these epistolary stories

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn
      Thank you for reading, and for your kind comments. I’m glad you liked Leonard’s voice. He had to be perfectly sincere while sounding rather more sentimental and pious than a contemporary individual – I found that a fun challenge!
      You’re quite right, of course, about the risks of childbirth to mother and child. Leonard talks of imagining Margaret “holding the dear creature close her heart”, but I suspect he also imagines, with dread, a fresh grave.
      With very best wishes

      Liked by 1 person

      • The sad reality of those days. Having read some Victorian epistolary books (Dracula I seem to remember has a fair number of letters in it) I think your tone was perfect -as you say, a little more sentimental than a modern writer

        Liked by 1 person

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