ELSMIE, George Robert. Thirty-five Years in the Punjab 1858-1893. Edinburgh, David Douglas, 1908.
8vo. Orginal blue cloth, lettered in gilt; pp. xvii, , 386, portrait frontispiece, apart from light offsetting from endpapers, a near-fine copy of rare work on the Punjab, with Scottish ownership inscription to front fly-leaf.
First edition. Elsmie (1838–1909) was one of the last civil servants to have been educated at the East India College in Haileybury. 'Arriving in India in February 1858, Elsmie was appointed assistant commissioner in the Punjab, initially in Ludhiana … In 1863 he became acting judge of the small causes court at Lahore, and afterwards at Delhi and then at Simla … In March 1865 he became deputy commissioner of Jullundur and embarked upon his first stint as an independent district officer - a job he found exhilarating but exhausting. In his autobiography, Thirty-Five Years in the Punjab, 1858–1893 (1908), Elsmie chronicles the difficulties and embarrassments as a civilian in these early years with wit and engaging candour. Composed largely of extracts from letters to his mother, the book relates Elsmie's fears that he was not up to the work, could not master one strange language after another, and would never earn enough to support his burgeoning family. Elsmie's wife, 'E.', who bore ten surviving children, rarely features explicitly in Thirty-Five Years, but her pragmatic and uncomplaining presence is implicit throughout as, year after year, she packed up their large household and settled down anew wherever her husband had been posted' (ODNB).