Study Guide

Kim Chapter 6

By Rudyard Kipling

Chapter 6

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.