- A story based in India which unfolds while the conflict between Russia and Britain unfolds in Central Asia
- All India is full of holy men stammering gospels in strange tongues; shaken and consumed in the fires of their own zeal; dreamers, babblers, and visionaries: as it has been from the beginning and will continue to the end.
- ‘Give a woman an old wife’s tale and a weaver-bird a leaf and a thread, they will weave wonderful things,’ said the Sikh.
- ‘There is no pride,’ said the lama, after a pause, ‘there is no pride among such as follow the Middle Way.’
- “Abide a little and the wind turns.
- ‘Let the Gods order it. I have never pestered Them with prayers. I do not think They will pester me. Look you, I have noticed in my long life that those who eternally break in upon Those Above with complaints and reports and bellowings and weepings are presently sent for in haste, as our Colonel used to send for slack-jawed down-country men who talked too much. No, I have never wearied the Gods. They will remember this, and give me a quiet place where I can drive my lance in the shade, and wait to welcome my sons:
- Many wear the Robe, but few keep the Way.’
- ‘But why not sit and rest?’ said one of the escort. ‘Only the devils and the English walk to and fro without reason.’
- ‘What is to do now?’ ‘Wait. Let us wait.’
- ‘Never speak to a white man till he is fed,’ said Kim, quoting a well-known proverb.
- ‘That is not well. These men follow desire and come to emptiness. Thou must not be of their sort.’
- Injia’s a wild land for a God-fearin’ man.
- We can only walk one step at a time in this world, praise God!
- Trousers and jacket crippled body and mind alike, so he abandoned the project and fell back, Oriental-fashion, on time and chance.
- ‘The more one knows about natives the less can one say what they will or won’t do.’
- ‘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!’
- No man could be a fool who knew the language so intimately, who moved so gently and silently, and whose eyes were so different from the dull fat eyes of other Sahibs.
- ‘Yes, and thou must learn how to make pictures of roads and mountains and rivers—to carry these pictures in thine eye till a suitable time comes to set them upon paper.
- I know the price that will be paid for the answer, but I do not know why the question is asked.’
- Their pay was cut for ignorance. There is no sin so great as ignorance. Remember this.’
- ‘Much is gained by forgetting, little brother,’
- ‘Men are like horses. At certain times they need salt, and if that salt is not in the mangers they will lick it up from the earth.
- ‘Learn first—teach later,’ said Lurgan Sahib. ‘Is he thy master?’ ‘Truly. But how is it done?’ ‘By doing it many times over till it is done perfectly—for it is worth doing.’
- Lurgan Sahib had a hawk’s eye to detect the least flaw in the make-up; and lying on a worn teak-wood couch, would explain by the half-hour together how such and such a caste talked, or walked, or coughed, or spat, or sneezed, and, since ‘hows’ matter little in this world, the ‘why’ of everything.
- ‘There is no holding the young pony from the game,’ said the horse-dealer when the Colonel pointed out that vagabonding over India in holiday time was absurd. ‘If permission be refused to go and come as he chooses, he will make light of the refusal. Then who is to catch him? Colonel Sahib, only once in a thousand years is a horse born so well fitted for the game as this our colt. And we need men.
What I got out of it
- Read it to prepare for India but stopped half way through. Didn’t feel it was worth the commitment