Kim eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 319 pages of information about Kim.

‘You’re a good man.’

’Not in the least.  Don’t make that mistake.  The lama has sent us money for a definite end.  We can’t very well return it.  We shall have to do as he says.  Well, that’s settled, isn’t it?  Shall we say that, Tuesday next, you’ll hand him over to me at the night train south?  That’s only three days.  He can’t do much harm in three days.’

‘It’s a weight off my mind, but — this thing here?’ — he waved the note of hand — ’I don’t know Gobind Sahai:  or his bank, which may be a hole in a wall.’

’You’ve never been a subaltern in debt.  I’ll cash it if you like, and send you the vouchers in proper order.’

‘But with all your own work too!  It’s askin’ -’

’It’s not the least trouble indeed.  You see, as an ethnologist, the thing’s very interesting to me.  I’d like to make a note of it for some Government work that I’m doing.  The transformation of a regimental badge like your Red Bull into a sort of fetish that the boy follows is very interesting.’

‘But I can’t thank you enough.’

’There’s one thing you can do.  All we Ethnological men are as jealous as jackdaws of one another’s discoveries.  They’re of no interest to anyone but ourselves, of course, but you know what book-collectors are like.  Well, don’t say a word, directly or indirectly, about the Asiatic side of the boy’s character — his adventures and his prophecy, and so on.  I’ll worm them out of the boy later on and — you see?’

’I do.  Ye’ll make a wonderful account of it.  Never a word will I say to anyone till I see it in print.’

’Thank you.  That goes straight to an ethnologist’s heart.  Well, I must be getting back to my breakfast.  Good Heavens!  Old Mahbub here still?’ He raised his voice, and the horse-dealer came out from under the shadow of the tree, ‘Well, what is it?’

‘As regards that young horse,’ said Mahbub, ’I say that when a colt is born to be a polo-pony, closely following the ball without teaching — when such a colt knows the game by divination — then I say it is a great wrong to break that colt to a heavy cart, Sahib!’

’So say I also, Mahbub.  The colt will be entered for polo only.  (These fellows think of nothing in the world but horses, Padre.) I’ll see you tomorrow, Mahbub, if you’ve anything likely for sale.’

The dealer saluted, horseman-fashion, with a sweep of the off hand.  ‘Be patient a little, Friend of all the World,’ he whispered to the agonized Kim.  ’Thy fortune is made.  In a little while thou goest to Nucklao, and — here is something to pay the letter-writer.  I shall see thee again, I think, many times,’ and he cantered off down the road.

‘Listen to me,’ said the Colonel from the veranda, speaking in the vernacular.  ’In three days thou wilt go with me to Lucknow, seeing and hearing new things all the while.  Therefore sit still for three days and do not run away.  Thou wilt go to school at Lucknow.’

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Project Gutenberg
Kim from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.