‘I tell you, I am fearful man, but, somehow or other, the more fearful I am the more dam’-tight places I get into. So I was glad you came with me to Chini, and I am glad Mahbub was close by. The old lady she is sometimes very rude to me and my beautiful pills.’

‘Allah be merciful!’ said Kim on his elbow, rejoicing. ‘What a beast of wonder is a Babu! And that man walked alone—if he did walk—with robbed and angry foreigners!’

‘Oah, thatt was nothing, after they had done beating me; but if I lost the papers it was pretty-jolly serious. Mahbub he nearly beat me too, and he went and consorted with the lama no end. I shall stick to ethnological investigations henceforwards. Now good-bye, Mister O’Hara. I can catch 4.25 p.m. to Umballa if I am quick. It will be good times when we all tell thee tale up at Mr Lurgan’s. I shall report you offeecially better. Good-bye, my dear fallow, and when next you are under thee emotions please do not use the Mohammedan terms with the Tibetan dress.’

He shook hands twice—a Babu to his boot-heels—and opened the door. With the fall of the sunlight upon his still triumphant face he returned to the humble Dacca quack.

‘He robbed them,’ thought Kim, forgetting his own share in the game. ‘He tricked them. He lied to them like a Bengali. They give him a chit [a testimonial]. He makes them a mock at the risk of his life—I never would have gone down to them after the pistol-shots—and then he says he is a fearful man… And he is a fearful man. I must get into the world again.’