(June 16th to 22nd)
… At the end of the garden stood a hedge of flaming poinsettias higher than anything in the world, because, childlike … (his) … eye could not carry to the tops of the mango trees. Their green went out against the blue sky, but the red poinsettias he could just see … as his legs grew under him, he found that by scaling an enormous rampart – three foot of broken-down mud wall at the end of the garden – he could come into a ready-made kingdom, where everyone was his slave…
This is from “The Son of his Father” in Land and Sea Tales for Scouts and Guides.
Little Adam Strickland is growing up in India, among the exotic sights and smells of an Indian garden, surrounded by the friendship and love of his father’s servants. Later in the tale he is whipped by his father for sitting among the horses. As his Muslim friends would feel, he is outraged that his honour – his izzat – is damaged by being beaten before a woman, his nurse. He gets his revenge by making a fool of his father before the servants.
‘… Ditta Mull says, “Always fresh takkus and paying money to vakils and chaprassis and law-courts every five years, or else the landlord makes me go. Why do I want to go? Am I a fool? If I am a fool and do not know, after forty years, good land when I see it, let me die! But if the new bundobust says for fifteen years, that is good and wise…’
This is from “Tods’ Amendment” in Plain Tales from the Hills.
Sitting up with his father at the dinner table, Tods – a very small boy – is telling the Legal Member of the Supreme Legislative Council of India, what his Indian friends are saying about a proposed piece of legislation on land tenure. The Legal Member realises that it makes sense, and decides to change the new law accordingly.
‘I have taken your keys away from that fat foreigner, and sent him away; and the studs are in the shirt for mess. Who should know if I do not know ? And so the baby has become a man, and forgets his nurse; but my nephew shall make a good servant, or I will beat him twice a day’…
This is from “The Tomb of his Ancestors” in The Day’s Work.
John Chinn, the third generation of a soldier family who had served in India with a native regiment of Bhils, in central India, has just arrived as a newly joined subaltern in his father and grandfather’s regiment. The Bhil people believe he is the re-incarnation of his grandfather, whom he closely resembles. Here he is greeted by Bukta, the senior native officer of the regiment, who had known him since infancy.