A Passage to India Chapter 14
The ladies sit on the train and Mrs. Moore listens to Adela make plans for her future with Ronny. Making plans is Adela's passion. Mrs. Moore falls asleep during Adela's ramblings because she is feeling tired and in poor health. In her weakened condition, it was advised that Mrs. Moore shouldn't have taken the trip, but she does so in order to please everyone. When they arrive at the caves, they see that everything is set up for them: a guide, elephants, servants, food, etc. The picnic is only supposed to last for four hours, but Aziz ensures that every detail is arranged in order to achieve true hospitality, a goal of Orientals. The happiness of his company is tied to his honor. Aziz tells Mrs. Moore and Adela that their friendship is special because it involves great obstacles. Mrs. Moore feels renewed by her friendship with Aziz. Aziz is comfortable in their company. He begins to tell them about his favorite emperors of Indian history. Mrs. Moore and Adela are curious about Akbar, the founder of Hinduism. They are interested in him because his religion "embraces" the whole of India. Aziz is skeptical of this claim and replies to Adela, "You keep your religion, I mine. That is best. Nothing embraces the whole of India, nothing, nothing and that was Akbar's mistake." Chapter 14, pg. 160
Adela says she was thinking about Akbar and the theme of universality because of her future marriage to Ronny. She fears turning into a rude Anglo-Indian like those before her (Mrs. Callendar, Mrs. Turton) have done. Aziz assures Adela that she will never change because she is different from the others. They begin their exploration of the caves. In one of the caves, Mrs. Moore gets separated from Adela and Aziz in the darkness and is touched by something on her face. She doesn't know what hit her and all she can hear is the haunting echoes inside the caves. After they all come out of the cave, Aziz tells Mrs. Moore and Adela that he can take them to better caves by the Kawa Dol. Mrs. Moore, haunted by her experience in the first cave, tells them that she will remain because she can not endure the walking. Mrs. Moore tries to compose a letter to her children, but is too distracted by the "boum" echoes of the cave. The echoes begin to take a hold on her life:
"But suddenly, at the edge of her mind, Religion appeared, poor little talkative Christianity, and she knew that all its divine words from 'Let there be light' to 'It is finished' only amounted to 'boum.'" Chapter 14, pg. 166
She has lost all interest in anything, even Aziz.