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Kim

Chapter 8
Something I owe to the soil that grew -
More to the life that fed -
But most to Allah Who gave me two
Separate sides to my head.
I would go without shirts or shoes,
Friends, tobacco or bread
Sooner than for an instant lose
Either side of my head.
The Two-Sided Man.
'Then in God's name take blue for red,' said Mahbub, alluding to the Hindu colour of
Kim's disreputable turban.
Kim countered with the old proverb, 'I will change my faith and my bedding, but thou
must pay for it.'
The dealer laughed till he nearly fell from his horse. At a shop on the outskirts of the city
the change was made, and Kim stood up, externally at least, a Mohammedan.
Mahbub hired a room over against the railway station, sent for a cooked meal of the
finest with the almond-curd sweet-meats [balushai we call it] and fine-chopped Lucknow
tobacco.
'This is better than some other meat that I ate with the Sikh,' said Kim, grinning as he
squatted, 'and assuredly they give no such victuals at my madrissah.'
'I have a desire to hear of that same madrissah.' Mahbub stuffed himself with great
boluses of spiced mutton fried in fat with cabbage and golden-brown onions. 'But tell me
first, altogether and truthfully, the manner of thy escape. For, O Friend of all the World,' -
he loosed his cracking belt - 'I do not think it is often that a Sahib and the son of a Sahib
runs away from there.'
'How should they? They do not know the land. It was nothing,' said Kim, and began his
tale. When he came to the disguisement and the interview with the girl in the bazar,
Mahbub Ali's gravity went from him. He laughed aloud and beat his hand on his thigh.
'Shabash! Shabash! Oh, well done, little one! What will the healer of turquoises say to
this? Now, slowly, let us hear what befell afterwards - step by step, omitting nothing.'
Step by step then, Kim told his adventures between coughs as the full-flavoured tobacco
caught his lungs.
'I said,' growled Mahbub Ali to himself, 'I said it was the pony breaking out to play polo.
The fruit is ripe already -except that he must learn his distances and his pacings, and his
 
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