quotes_mar17_2013.htm

(March 17th to 23rd)



Format: Triple

He obtained great insight into the ways and thefts of saises—enough, he says, to have summarily convicted half the population of the Punjab if he had been on business. He became one of the leading players at knuckle-bones, which all jhampánis and many saises play while they are waiting outside the Government House or the Gaiety Theatre of nights ; he learned to smoke tobacco that was three-fourths cowdung ; and he heard the wisdom of the grizzled Jemadar of the Government House grooms. Whose words are valuable. He saw many things which amused him ; and he states, on honour, that no man can appreciate Simla properly till he has seen it from the sais’s point of view. He also says that, if he chose to write all he saw his head would be broken in several places.

  

This is from “Miss Youghal’s Sais” in Plain Tales from the Hills.

Strickland, the policemen who is master of many disguises, with an unrivalled knowledge of native ways, loves Miss Youghal but is disapproved of by her parents. Knowing that she is vulnerable when out riding, he disguises himself as a sais (groom) to protect her. Later, when an elderly general flirts with the girl, Strickland listens for a while, and then jumps out and threatens in fluent English to throw the general over the cliff. The general is amused and impressed, and puts in a good word for Strickland with her parents. He is accepted, and the story ends happily.


There starts a caravan from Peshawar to Kabul in twenty days, Huzrut,’ said the Eusufzai trader. ‘My camels go therewith. Do thou also go and bring us good luck.’

‘I will go even now!’ shouted the priest. ‘I will depart upon my winged camels, and be at Peshawar in a day! Ho! Hazar Mir Khan,’ he yelled to his servant, ‘drive out the camels, but let me first mount my own.’

He leaped on the back of his beast as it knelt, and, turning round to me, cried: ‘Come thou also, Sahib, a little along the road, and I will sell thee a charm—an amulet that shall make thee King of Kafiristan.’

   

This is from “The Man who Would be King” in Wee Willie Winkie and other stories.

Two adventurers, Daniel Dravot and Peachey Carnehan, are off to the high mountains of Afghanistan to make themselves kings. Here they are just setting off from Lahore, in native dress, disguised in as a priest and his servant. Later they do indeed make themselves kings for a time, but the adventure ends in tragedy when they are found to be men, not gods.


“A little dye-stuff and three yards of cloth to help out a jest. Is it much to ask?”

“Who is she? Thou art full young, as Sahibs go, for this devilry.”

“Oh, she? She is the daughter of a certain schoolmaster of a regiment in the cantonments. He has beaten me twice because I went over their wall in these clothes. Now I would go as a gardener’s boy. Old men are very jealous.”

“That is true. Hold thy face still while I dab on the juice.”

“Not too black, Naikan. I would not appear to her as a hubshi” (nigger).

“Oh, love makes nought of these things. And how old is she?”

“Twelve years, I think,”

   

This is from Kim/ In his school holidays from St Xavier;s he is playing truant, leaving his European clothes behind, and planning to take to the road in the guise of a native boy. Here, pretending he needs to evade the father of a girl-friend, he has persuaded a dancing girl in a disreputable quarter of the city to dye him dark, and make him a turban.

Leave a comment