Kim (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin) by Rudyard Kipling

By Rudyard Kipling

Kim, an Irish orphan, accompanies a holy guy on his trip all through India and his quest for a paranormal river.

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But they chose to kill the Sahibs’ wives and children. ’ ‘Some such rumour, I believe, reached me once long ago. ’ ‘What manner of life hast thou led, not to know The Year? A rumour indeed! ’ ‘Umph! ’ ‘So they turned against women and children? ’ ‘Many strove to do so, but with very small profit. I was then in a regiment of cavalry. It broke. Of six hundred and eighty sabres stood fast to their salt — how many, think you? Three. ’ ‘Merit! We did not consider it merit in those days. My people, my friends, my brothers fell from me.

It was too dark to see his face, so Kim, beggar-wise, tried an old experiment. ’ The man backed towards the voice. ‘Mahbub Ali says —’ ‘Hah! ’ He made no attempt to look for the speaker, and that showed Kim that he knew. ’ The Englishman switched at the rose-hedge in the side of the drive. ’ Kim flipped the wad of folded paper into the air, and it fell in the path beside the man, who put his foot on it as a gardener came round the corner. When the servant passed he picked it up, dropped a rupee — Kim could hear the clink — and strode into the house, never turning round.

He was a market-gardener, Arain by caste, growing vegetables and flowers for Umballa city, and well Kim knew the breed. ‘Such an one,’ said the lama, disregarding the dogs, ‘is impolite to strangers, intemperate of speech and uncharitable. ’ shouted the farmer. ‘Begone! ’ ‘We go,’ the lama returned, with quiet dignity. ’ ‘Ah,’ said Kim, sucking in his breath. ’ The man shuffled uneasily in his slippers. ‘The land is full of beggars,’ he began, half apologetically. ’ said Kim tartly, using the name that a market-gardener least likes.

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