Study Guide

Kim Chapter 8

By Rudyard Kipling

Chapter 8

Back On The Road Again

  • Mahbub Ali wants to know all about Kim's escape from St. Xavier's, and lets slip that Creighton has been spending money on Kim because he has a plan in mind.
  • Kim knows all of this already—he knows that Creighton has some kind of job for him.
  • Kim finally tells Mahbub Ali all about that night in Umballa with the message—about seeing the thieves searching Mahbub Ali's drunken, passed out body for the message and about going to Creighton's house to deliver Mahbub Ali's news.
  • Mahbub Ali agrees that both he and Kim owe each other their lives.
  • And Kim finally admits that Mahbub Ali made the right decision in leaving Kim at the school.
  • Kim is willing to stay at St. Xavier's until he is ready for whatever job Creighton is planning for him.
  • Kim spends the night among the servants pretending to a horseman employed by Mahbub Ali, and as he drifts off to sleep, he overhears two people planning to try and kill Mahbub Ali.
  • Kim pretends to wake up with a loud nightmare.
  • Everyone in the camp tells him to shut up, and he slips away.
  • He finds Mahbub Ali preparing to leave, and warns him that there are two men waiting to shoot him.
  • Mahbub Ali sends Kim off to lie down; he is prepared.

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

  • Mahbub Ali decides to use English justice to get what he wants, so he goes to a local official and plays dumb, dropping hints about two men hiding under a truck who maybe want to steal something.
  • Mahbub Ali spots the local official (Barton) and his friend Young in a fire engine heading off to surprise the hiding men.
  • Later, Kim tells Mahbub Ali about two Englishmen who got into a fight with these two disguised assassins.
  • One of the assassins drew a gun, but they were both knocked unconscious by the Englishmen.
  • Mahbub Ali figures that they'll each get about ten years in prison.
  • As Kim travels with Mahbub Ali's people to Simla, Mahbub Ali praises him for realizing that it is important to know the right thing to say to each person.
  • Kim's great talent is that he can be a Sahib (in other words, a white person) among Sahibs, but he can also join in equally well with Indians of all faiths.
  • (For more on this problematic idea, check out our thoughts on race and spirituality in the "Themes" section.)
  • For a small bribe, Kim tells Mahbub Ali that the second assassin was the same man who searched Mahbub Ali back in Umballa in Chapter 3.
  • Mahbub Ali asks why Kim didn't tell him this before.
  • Kim didn't need to tell him, because the man's going to jail anyway. Also, he didn't need money for sweets then.
  • Mahbub Ali isn't super pleased, but he now realizes that Kim always has a price.

The Road Goes Ever On And On

  • Once again Kim is happy as a clam traveling along the roads of India.
  • He and Mahbub Ali wind up in Simla (which, as we mentioned in the last chapter, the British Indian government made its summer capital).
  • Mahbub Ali comes to Kim with a message from Creighton.
  • Creighton's mad that Kim spent sixty days out on the road, when he could have been going to a local school.
  • However, Kim is in luck.
  • A local legend named Lurgan Sahib is in town.
  • This man is rumored to be able to do magic, and he has invited Kim to stay with him in Simla until the term starts again in Lucknow.