Plain Tales from the Hillsby Rudyard Kipling
Set and published during the time the British Raj, a time of subalterns and tea planters, tiffin and bands playing The Roast Beef of England , the forty stories in 'Plain Tales From The Hills' are played out under an unforgiving sun, revealing the deceit, faithlessness, shallowness, despair, mistrust, hate and petty jealousies rife amongst the ... See more details below
Set and published during the time the British Raj, a time of subalterns and tea planters, tiffin and bands playing The Roast Beef of England , the forty stories in 'Plain Tales From The Hills' are played out under an unforgiving sun, revealing the deceit, faithlessness, shallowness, despair, mistrust, hate and petty jealousies rife amongst the ...
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"When a man begins to sink in India, and is not sent Home by his friends as soon as may be, he falls very low from a respectable point of view." To demonstrate the truth of that sentiment is the task of a short story called "To Be FIled For Reference." It appears as 40th and last of PLAIN TALES FROM THE HILLS, published in book form in 1888 by 22-year old Rudyard Kipling. The narrator, meant very likely to be Kipling himself, runs across 35-year old loafer and drunkard Briton MacIntosh Jellaludin. *** A learned product of Oxford University, and drunken babbler in classical Greek and German, McIntosh spends his nights in a native flat just off the ancient Sultan Caravanserai. He looks more 50 than 35. McIntosh has lived affectionately with a native woman for the past three years. He tells his narrator friend: "I require neither your money, your food, nor your cast-off raiment. I am that rare animal, a self-supporting drunkard." *** Dying of pneumonia McIntosh Jellaludin passes reverently to his only English friend a massive manuscript containing all his wisdom. "The papers were in a hopeless muddle." *** In another PLAIN TALE, Gabral Misquitta, a half-caste friend of Kipling, tells how five years ago he became addicted to opium smoking, after first experimenting with Black Smoke at his home in Calcutta. An old Chinaman, Fung-Tching, collects Misquitta's inheritance from an aunt, 30 rupees per month, and for that gives Misquitta good opium to smoke, sufficient food to eat and a place to sleep in colorful quarters. *** Misquitta told Kipling: "I should like to die ... on a clean, cool mat and with a cool pipe of good stuff between my lips." *** In "The Taking of Lungtungpen," Kipling's great chum, Private Terence Mulvaney, an Irishman, recalls how he inspired young Lieutenant Brazenose and 24 raw recruits to swim the Irrawaddy river and capture the bandit-ridden town of Lungtungpen. This the British do storming in stark naked (their clothes having been kept dry on tree trunks pushed across the stream) against their almost completely surprised enemies. The town's Headman asked later (as phrased in Mulvaney's Irish English: "'Av the English fight like that wid their clo'es off, what in the wurruld do they do with their clo'es on?'" To Mulvaney the answer is clear enough: "'They tuk Lungtunpen nakid; an' they'd take St. Petherburg in their dhrawers! Begad, they would that!'" *** And so they go: 40 PLAIN TALES FROM THE HILLS. These are stories of a relative handful of English, Scots and other Britons ruling, as the Paramount Power in India, millions of Hindu, Muslim and other subjects, speaking dozens of major languages. These men are bored, their health is often shattered, they drink too much, they fall in love with the wrong women. And very young Rudyard Kipling watched them do it. PLAIN TALES FROM THE HILLS: a brilliant early work by a future Nobel Prize winner. -OOO-