Three Quotations

(August 4th to 12th)



1. …They have no law. They are outcaste. They have no speech of their own but use the stolen words which they overhear when they listen, and peep, and wait up above in the branches. Their way is not our way. They are without leaders. They have no remembrance. They boast and chatter and pretend that they are a great people about to do great affairs in the jungle, but the falling of a nut turns their mind to laughter and all is forgotten… This is from "Kaa's Hunting" in The Jungle Book.

Mowgli has tired of his lessons from Baloo and Bagheera, and has been running off and playing with the Bandar-log - the monkey people, who have been speaking flattering words to him. In this passage Baloo expresses his contempt for the monkeys. Later the Bandar-log capture Mowgli and carry him off to Cold Lairs, the ruined city in the jungle, from where he is rescued by Kaa, the great python.



2. . … In a raucous voice he cried aloud little matters, like the hope of Honour and the dream of Glory, that boys do not discuss even with their most intimate equals; cheerfully assuming that, till he spoke, they had never considered these possibilities. He pointed them to shining goals, with finger which smudged out all radiance on all horizons. He profaned the most secret places of their souls with outcries and gesticulations. He bade them consider the deeds of their ancestors in such fashion that they were flushed to their tingling ears… This is from "The Flag of their Country" in Stalky & Co'.

Mr Raymond Martin, MP, 'a tall, generously designed, pink and white man', is addressing the boys of the United Services College on the subject of patriotism. He offends them deeply with his empty rhetoric on subjects too sacred to talk of. Stalky and a group of his friends, who plan to become army officers, have enrolled in a volunteer cadet corps to learn their drill before going on to Sandhurst. But when, next day, the school sergeant talks approvingly of Mr Martin's address, they are so revolted that they leave the corps in a body.



3. …he stamped his foot.
'Tell them' he cried, 'that if a hair of any one of their heads is touched by any official on any account whatever, all England shall ring with it. Good God ! What callous oppression ! The dark places of the earth are full of cruelty.' He wiped his face, and throwing out his arms cried: 'Tell them, oh ! tell the poor serfs not to be afraid of me. Tell them I come to redress their wrongs - not, heaven knows, to add to their burden. '
The long-drawn gurgle of the practised public speaker pleased them much…
This is from "Little Foxes" in Actions and Reactions. A Liberal MP has met a British District Officer from the Sudan over the dinner table in Ireland. The MP is hot to hear of the oppressions of the British colonial regime, and the District Officer, with a twinkle in his eye un-noticed by the MP, fills him up with tall tales of beatings and brutality. The MP arrives in the Sudan on a visit, keen to see more and assure the local people that he will see justice done. Unfortunately the local people are perfectly happy with their masters, and the young interpreter gives a racy running commentary on his speech, until all collapse in gales of laughter, convinced that the MP is crazy.