Quotes Stalkiness

May 14th to 20th


‘About seven feet, isn’t there?’ said he. ‘That must be the tail-end of the shoal. There’s four fathom in the fairway. Knock that buoy down with axes. I don’t think it’s picturesque, some how.’


This is from “Judson and the Empire“”, collected in Many Inventions.

Lieutenant ‘Bai Jove’ Judson commands an elderly gunboat on the Cape station in South Africa. There is trouble   in a neighbouring colony and Judson is sent to try to keep the peace,  without bloodshed.

He steams  up river, securing a safe retreat by cutting down a buoy over a shoal.  His flat-bottomed craft  can sail over  it unscathed.

Up the muddy stream he meets  a local naval vessel, which opens fire  on him.  Judson flees down river over the shoal, where  his pursuer  runs fast  aground, leaving him  master of the  situation.

He proceeds up river again, where by friendly diplomacy, laced with humour and hospitality, he makes peace.  with honour satisfied for all parties.

From a drawer in the table he took a well-worn catapult, a handful of buckshot, and a duplicate key of the study; noiselessly he raised the window and kneeled by it, his face turned to the road ….

Stalky smiled a tight-lipped smile, and at extreme range opened fire: the old horse half wheeled in the shafts.


This is from the first part of “Slaves of the Lamp”.

Stalky & Co. have been oppressed and insulted by King, the overbearing and sarcastic Classics Master. They deliberately get themselves expelled from their study,  which is immediately above King’s room. . When Beetle locks the door and delivers the key to King, Stalky stays behind.

He opens fire on the drunken carter, ‘Rabbit’s Eggs’ and the enraged carter swears at the ‘cdolleger ‘ who is harrying him. King below raises his window to rebuke him, and the result is a shower of stones which wrecks King’s study. Beetle, handing in the study key,  is a delighted witness of the damage and King’s fury.

He took charge of the tiller by stationing three Chinese on each side of it, and standing a little forward, gathered their pigtails into his hands, three right and three left, as though they had been the yoke lines of a row-boat. Erh-Tze almost smiled at this; he felt he was getting good care for his money,


This is from “An Unqualified Pilot” in Land and Sea Tales.

Jim’s father is a pilot on the Hoogli bringing ships dowfrom Calcutta to the open sea,  highly skilled work, on One of the most treacherous stretched of water in the world.

Jim is etermined to become a pilot, though his father wabts him to take an office job. Here. For the first time, he is illicitly taking a junk down the river by closely following another pilot.

When his father finds out he gets a beating, but the other pilot gives  him a job. He is on his way