by Rudyard Kipling
Kim Chapter 6 Summary
The Not-So-Little Drummer Boy
- The next morning, the Colonel of the regiment receives a letter.
- It does indeed say that they have to march north to fight.
- Father Victor is deeply impressed.
- Everyone in the regiment is totally fascinated with Kim (mainly because he is such a weirdo).
- When the soldiers of the regiment head north, Kim gets left behind with the women and children.
- A teacher finds Kim and drags him into school; Kim does not find this experience pleasant, since he's bored and barely knows how to read.
- Kim slips away, but a fourteen-year old kid catches him.
- This drummer-boy has been specifically assigned to keep an eye on Kim.
- The drummer-boy tells Kim he's not allowed to go past a tree down the road.
- So Kim hangs around that tree and waits for someone to pass by.
- A sweeper walks past, and Kim demands that he bring a letter-writer to meet Kim.
- The sweeper is so amazed at being spoken to in his own language by a white kid that he does what Kim asks.
- The letter-writer arrives and takes down Kim's letter to Mahbub Ali.
- In it, Kim explains everything that has happened to him.
- He begs for Mahbub Ali to help him escape the horrors of School.
For The First Time Possibly Ever, Kim Doesn't Fit In
- The drummer-boy mocks Kim for being able to talk in an Indian language (because the drummer-boy is obviously a complete idiot).
- Kim listens to the drummer-boy speak about England, but Kim's opinion of the drummer-boy is obviously about as low as ours is.
- Father Victor lets Kim know that he has received a letter from the lama offering to pay three hundred rupees a year so that Kim can be educated at St. Xavier's, the best school in India.
- The lama also mentions that he is going south to Benares on his own because he can't stand the Kulu woman's talk any longer.
- As Father Victor explains all of this to him, Kim sits quietly thinking about: (1) who will beg for the lama if he is on his own, and (2) how he can stay in touch with his old friend Mahbub Ali.
- Kim continues to hate school and to hate the drummer-boy, who keeps beating him up for no reason.
- Luckily, after three days, Mahbub Ali comes riding up, hits the drummer-boy, and grabs Kim; that same day, Father Victor receives a check from the lama for three hundred rupees to pay for Kim's education.
Sorry, Kim, You've Got To Make The Best Of This Whole School Thing
- Mahbub Ali has to tell Kim that he can't just help him escape.
- Mahbub Ali has lots of English contacts, and he'd get arrested if he helped a British kid to disappear.
- An Englishman comes running up to talk to Mahbub Ali about buying a horse.
- It's the man from Umballa, to whom Kim slipped Mahbub Ali's message.
- The Englishman spots Kim, whose face he has never seen before, since Kim was hiding in a hedge when he passed on the message.
- Mahbub Ali explains the boy's whole history, including his great abilities with disguise—Kim is furious: he wanted to keep all of that to himself.
- But Kim does not say a word against Mahbub Ali to the Englishman.
- Mahbub Ali returns Kim to Father Victor, and the Englishman goes with him.
- The Englishman introduces himself as Colonel Creighton, and he starts asking after Kim.
- Meanwhile, Mahbub Ali tells Kim not to worry—things are bad now, but in the long run, they will get better.
- Father Victor talks Creighton's ear off about Kim's strange origins and about whether or not he should trust the lama to keep paying Kim's tuition.
- Creighton reassures him: if the lama says he'll pay, then he'll pay.
- Creighton also asks Father Victor to keep quiet about Kim's upbringing, and claims that he wants to write a paper about Kim's weird beliefs surrounding the Red Bull.
- Mahbub Ali gives Kim some money for letter writers and wishes him luck.
- Creighton talks to Kim in Urdu: stay put, and you'll get to go to school in Lucknow.
- Lucknow is closer to Benares—and the lama—than Umballa is.
- Kim agrees to stay, even though it will be horrible.
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