“Yes, as Mr McBryde was saying, but it’s much more the Anglo-Indians themselves who are likely to get on Adela’s nerves. She doesn’t think they behave pleasantly to Indians, you see.”
“What did I tell you?” he exclaimed, losing his gentle manner. “I knew it last week. Oh, how like a woman to worry over a side-issue!”
She forgot about Adela in her surprise. “A side-issue, a side-issue?” she repeated. “How can it be that?”
“We’re not out here for the purpose of behaving pleasantly!”
“What do you mean?”
“What I say. We’re out here to do justice and keep the peace. Them’s my sentiments. India isn’t a drawing-room.”
“Your sentiments are those of a god,” she said quietly, but it was his manner rather than his sentiments that annoyed her.
Trying to recover his temper, he said, “India likes gods.”
“And Englishmen like posing as gods.”
“There’s no point in all this. Here we are, and we’re going to stop, and the country’s got to put up with us, gods or no gods. Oh, look here,” he broke out, rather pathetically, “what do you and Adela want me to do? Go against my class, against all the people I respect and admire out here? Lose such power as I have for doing good in this country, because my behaviour isn’t pleasant?
You neither of you understand what work is, or you’d never talk such eyewash. I hate talking like this, but one must occasionally. It’s morbidly sensitive to go on as Adela and you do. I noticed you both at the Club today—after the Collector had been at all that trouble to amuse you.
I am out here to work, mind, to hold this wretched country by force. I’m not a missionary or a Labour Member or a vague sentimental sympathetic literary man. I’m just a servant of the Government; it’s the profession you wanted me to choose myself, and that’s that. We’re not pleasant in India, and we don’t intend to be pleasant. We’ve something more important to do.”
Written in 1924.
It's been a while since I finished The Longest Journey (still need to write a review) and now that tennis plans are on ice for a bit (because of a pulled muscle) and that work has, not slowed down, but has at least moved past the frantic phase, I feel might get the right time and head-space again to enjoy the next read in my Forster project.
I only have two novels left, the short stories, and Aspects of the Novel.
But, I have also found two biographies at the library that looked really good:
So, without further delay, I am off on A Passage to India.
(Taken on a trip to Simla a few years ago. The book is not set there, but this is what I picture when reading the book.)
I really wanted to like this book. The cover had great promise, and the Istanbul setting seemed like it would be terrific.Sadly, it just really didn't live up to the promise of either.
I spent a lot of time bored. Probably that is what espionage really is - months and years of boredom punctuated by minutes and hours of adrenaline fueled terror. Nonetheless, verisimilitude aside, I was meh on the main character, and the setting of post-war Istanbul didn't come through for me.
There were a few others by Kanon that looked appealing, but with so many other books, and so little reading time, I may just write him off completely.