The lama stared through his spectacles as he had not stared at the business of disguisement. ‘Friend of the Stars,’ he said at last, ’thou hast acquired great wisdom. Beware that it do not give birth to pride. No man having the Law before his eyes speaks hastily of any matter which he has seen or encountered.’
‘No — no — no, indeed,’ cried the farmer, fearful lest the master should be minded to improve on the pupil. E23, with relaxed mouth, gave himself up to the opium that is meat, tobacco, and medicine to the spent Asiatic.
So, in a silence of awe and great miscomprehension, they slid into Delhi about lamp-lighting time.
Who hath desired the Sea — the sight of salt-water unbounded? The heave and the halt and the hurl and the crash of the comber wind-hounded? The sleek-barrelled swell before storm — grey, foamless, enormous, and growing? Stark calm on the lap of the Line — or the crazy-eyed hurricane blowing? His Sea in no showing the same — his Sea and the same ’neath all showing — His Sea that his being fulfils? So and no otherwise — so and no otherwise hill-men desire their Hills!
The Sea and the Hills.
‘I have found my heart again,’ said E23, under cover of the platform’s tumult. ’Hunger and fear make men dazed, or I might have thought of this escape before. I was right. They come to hunt for me. Thou hast saved my head.’
A group of yellow-trousered Punjab policemen, headed by a hot and perspiring young Englishman, parted the crowd about the carriages. Behind them, inconspicuous as a cat, ambled a small fat person who looked like a lawyer’s tout.
’See the young Sahib reading from a paper. My description is in his hand,’ said E23. ’Thev go carriage by carriage, like fisher-folk netting a pool.’
When the procession reached their compartment, E23 was counting his beads with a steady jerk of the wrist; while Kim jeered at him for being so drugged as to have lost the ringed fire-tongs which are the Saddhu’s distinguishing mark. The lama, deep in meditation, stared straight before him; and the farmer, glancing furtively, gathered up his belongings.
‘Nothing here but a parcel of holy-bolies,’ said the Englishman aloud, and passed on amid a ripple of uneasiness; for native police mean extortion to the native all India over.
‘The trouble now,’ whispered E23, ’lies in sending a wire as to the place where I hid that letter I was sent to find. I cannot go to the tar-office in this guise.’
‘Is it not enough I have saved thy neck?’
’Not if the work be left unfinished. Did never the healer of sick pearls tell thee so? Comes another Sahib! Ah!’
This was a tallish, sallowish District Superintendent of Police — belt, helmet, polished spurs and all — strutting and twirling his dark moustache.