quotes_jan9_2004.htm

(Jan 9th to 15th)



Format: Triple

“Don’t speak English,” said Lalun, bending over her sitar afresh. The chorus went out from the City wall to the blackened wall of Fort Amara which dominates the City.

  

This is from “On the City Wall” in Soldiers Three. Lalun, the beautiful courtesan, is singing to her admirers in her house on Lahore’s city wall. She knows everyone and everything that matters, and later enables a political prisoner to escape at a time of riot and unrest in the city.


“What d’you think of that?” said he in English. “Carnehan can’t talk their patter, so I’ve made him my servant. He makes a handsome servant. ‘Tisn’t for nothing that I’ve been knocking about the country for fourteen years”

   

This is from “The Man who would be King” in Wee Willie Winkie. Daniel Dravot and Peachey Carnehan are off to the Hindu Kush to seek their fortune, disguised as a priest and his servant. Dravot makes himself ruler of a mountain kingdom, but the adventure ends in tragedy.


I began to tell the story of Charlie in English, but Grish Chunder put a question in the vernacular, and the history went forward naturally in the tongue best suited for its telling. After all, it could never have been told in English.

   

This is from “The Finest Story in the World” in Many Inventions. The narrator has befriended Charlie, a young London clerk with literary ambitions, who has been writing tales of epic sea voyages hundreds of years ago. They are the memories of his earlier lives.

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