فصل 08

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کتاب های ساده

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فصل 08

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CHAPTER EIGHT

Hurree Chunder Mookerjee

Kim stayed with Lurgan Sahib for ten days. He and the boy often played the Game of the Jewels, but not always with jewels. Sometimes they used other objects and other times they used photographs of people. Sometimes Kim and the boy sat in the back of the shop. They had to look carefully at every person who came in. Then at the end of the day they had to describe each person’s face, talk and actions.

Sometimes they dressed up like different kinds of Indians. The shop was full of all different kinds of clothing, and Lurgan Sahib was an expert at make-up. This, perhaps, was Kim’s favourite part: he loved dressing up like different people. One evening Kim dressed up like a beggar from Lahore. He imitated perfectly what the beggar said when he begged from an Englishman and from an Indian. Lurgan Sahib laughed loudly and told Kim to stay dressed as a Lahore beggar and to wait.

After a few minutes a big Babu came into the shop. His name was Hurree Chunder Mookerjee. Kim began his imitation of the Lahore beggar. Lurgan Sahib watched the Babu very carefully.

‘I think,’ said the Babu, ‘I am of the opinion that it is a most extraordinary and efficient performance. How soon will he be capable of making maps? Because then I will want to use him.’

‘That is what he must learn at Luck now,’ answered Lurgan.

‘Then tell him to be quick! Goodnight, Lurgan,’ said the Babu and walked out like a big, heavy cow.

Later when they were talking about the visitors to the shop, Lurgan asked Kim about the fat man.

‘Well, I see that he wants me to work for him when I finish school,’ said Kim, ‘so I suppose he is a member of the secret service too. But to look at him I do not understand how he can wear disguises and speak different languages.’

‘You will learn many things,’ answered Lurgan Sahib. ‘But there are very few men who really want to work for the secret service, to travel around India and collect information. And maybe of these few men, there are ten that I think are the best. Hurree Chunder Mookerjee is among these ten. A brave Bengali! Isn’t that incredible?’

Four days later, Kim got into a carriage to go back to school. The Babu travelled with him. Kim looked at him with amazement, ‘How can this big round man be a member of the secret service?’

Later in the journey, after a large meal, Hurree Chunder Mookerjee began to talk to Kim.

‘You know,’ he said,’ I studied at Calcutta University. Remember to study Shakespeare at school. That too can be useful. Also Frenc and Latin. Learn mathematics well and the art of measuring the land and making maps. This is most important.

‘Someday, I hope we will work together officially. Now goodbye, I have very urgent business nearby’. He got down quickly from the carriage, like a slim, silent, graceful cat.

Kim enjoyed school and he studied hard. He knew that he had to learn everything about mapmaking and describing cities. This was essential if he wanted to play the Great Game. Kim did well too, but when the holidays came, he wanted to be free again. So, colonel Creighton gave him permission to travel with Mahbub Ali.

When Kim was sixteen, Mahbub Ali thought that Kim had had enough school.

‘He has learned everything about math’s and mapmaking he needs,’ said Mahbub. ‘If he continues at school, it will only ruin him as a player in the Great Game.’

‘I agree very much too,’ added Hurree Chunder Mookerjee.

‘Well,’ said Colonel Creighton, who was not so certain, ‘perhaps he can travel with his red lama for six months. Maybe, though, Hurree can keep an eye on him, from time to time.’

So, it was decided, and a letter was sent to Kim’s headmaster. The headmaster then called for Kim.

‘Young man, you are very fortunate,’ said the headmaster. ‘Your first job is going to be mapmaking. Remember you are still young. Be careful.’

Kim was very happy. That evening he met Mahbub at the Lucknow train station. Mahbub explained everything to Kim. Kim then took the train to Benares to meet the lama at the Jain Temple.

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