‘Oah yes, hawa-dilli [a heart-lifter],’ said Kim, feeling at his neck.
’Huneefa she makes them for two rupees twelve annas with — oh, all sorts of exorcisms. They are quite common, except they are partially black enamel, and there is a paper inside each one full of names of local saints and such things. Thatt is Huneefa’s look-out, you see? Huneefa makes them onlee for us, but in case she does not, when we get them we put in, before issue, one small piece of turquoise. Mr Lurgan he gives them. There is no other source of supply; but it was me invented all this. It is strictly unoffeecial of course, but convenient for subordinates. Colonel Creighton he does not know. He is European. The turquoise is wrapped in the paper ... Yes, that is road to railway station ... Now suppose you go with the lama, or with me, I hope, some day, or with Mahbub. Suppose we get into a dam’-tight place. I am a fearful man — most fearful — but I tell you I have been in dam’-tight places more than hairs on my head. You say: “I am Son of the Charm.” Verree good.’
’I do not understand quite. We must not be heard talking English here.’
’That is all raight. I am only Babu showing off my English to you. All we Babus talk English to show off;’ said Hurree, flinging his shoulder-cloth jauntily. ’As I was about to say, “Son of the Charm” means that you may be member of the Sat Bhai — the Seven Brothers, which is Hindi and Tantric. It is popularly supposed to be extinct Society, but I have written notes to show it is still extant. You see, it is all my invention. Verree good. Sat Bhai has many members, and perhaps before they jolly-well-cut-your-throat they may give you just a chance of life. That is useful, anyhow. And moreover, these foolish natives — if they are not too excited — they always stop to think before they kill a man who says he belongs to any speecific organization. You see? You say then when you are in tight place, “I am Son of the Charm”, and you get — perhaps — ah -your second wind. That is only in extreme instances, or to open negotiations with a stranger. Can you quite see? Verree good. But suppose now, I, or any one of the Department, come to you dressed quite different. You would not know me at all unless I choose, I bet you. Some day I will prove it. I come as Ladakhi trader — oh, anything — and I say to you: “You want to buy precious stones?” You say: “Do I look like a man who buys precious stones?” Then I say: “Even verree poor man can buy a turquoise or tarkeean.” ’
‘That is kichree — vegetable curry,’ said Kim.
’Of course it is. You say: “Let me see the tarkeean.” Then I say: “It was cooked by a woman, and perhaps it is bad for your caste.” Then you say: “There is no caste when men go to — look for tarkeean.” You stop a little between those words, “to — look”. That is thee whole secret. The little stop before the words.’