To Be Filed for Reference by Rudyard
By the hoof of the Wild Goat up-tossed
From the Cliff where She lay in the Sun,
Fell the Stone
To the Tarn where the daylight is lost;
So She fell from the light of the Sun,
Now the fall was ordained from the first,
With the Goat and the Cliff and the Tarn,
But the Stone
Knows only Her life is accursed,
As She sinks in the depths of the Tarn,
Oh, Thou who hast builded the world!
Oh, Thou who hast lighted the Sun!
Oh, Thou who hast darkened the Tarn!
The sin of the Stone that was hurled
By the Goat from the light of the Sun,
As She sinks in the mire of the Tarn,
Even now—even now—even now!
—From the Unpublished Papers of McIntosh Jellaluidin.
"Say is it dawn, is it dusk in thy Bower, Thou whom I long for, who
longest for me? Oh, be it night—be it"—Here he fell over a
little camel-colt that was sleeping in the Serai where the horse-traders
and the best of the blackguards from Central Asia live; and, because he
was very drunk indeed and the night was dark, he could not rise again till
I helped him. That was the beginning of my acquaintance with McIntosh
Jellaludin, When a loafer, and drunk, sings "The Song of the Bower," he
must be worth cultivating. He got off the camel's back and said, rather
thickly, "I—I—I'm a bit screwed, but a dip in Loggerhead will
put me right again; and, I say, have you spoken to Symonds about the
Now Loggerhead was six thousand weary miles away from us, close to
Mesopotamia, where you mustn't fish and poaching is impossible, and
Charley Symonds' stable a half mile farther across the paddocks. It was
strange to hear all the old names, on a May night, among the horses and
camels of the Sultan Caravanserai. Then the man seemed to remember himself
and sober down at the same time. We leaned against the camel and pointed
to a corner of the Serai where a lamp was burning.
"I live there," said he, "and I should be extremely obliged if you
would be good enough to help my mutinous feet thither; for I am more than
usually drunk—most—most phenomenally tight But not in respect
to my head. 'My brain cries out against'—how does it go? But my head
rides on the—rolls on the dunghill I should have said, and controls
I helped him through the gangs of tethered horses and he collapsed on
the edge of the veranda in front of the line of native quarters.
"Thanks—a thousand thanks! O Moon and little, little Stars! To
think that a man should so shamelessly ... Infamous liquor too. Ovid in
exile drank no worse. Better. It was frozen. Alas! I had no ice.
Good-night. I would introduce you to my wife were I sober—or she
A native woman came out of the darkness of the room, and began calling
the man names; so I went away. He was the most interesting loafer that I
had had the pleasure of knowing for a long time; and later on, he became a
friend of mine. He was a tall, well-built, fair man, fearfully shaken with
drink, and he looked nearer fifty than the thirty-five which, he said, was
his real age. When a man begins to sink in India, and is not sent Home by
his friends as soon as may be, he falls very low from a respectable point
of view. By the time that he changes his creed, as did McIntosh, he is
In most big cities, natives will tell you of two or three
Sahibs, generally low-caste, who have turned Hindu or Mussulman,
and who live more or less as such, But it is not often that you can get to
know them. As McIntosh himself used to say, "If I change my religion for
my stomach's sake, I do not seek to become a martyr to missionaries, nor
am I anxious for notoriety."
At the outset of acquaintance McIntosh warned me, "Remember this. I am
not an object for charity, I require neither your money, your food, nor
your cast-off raiment. I am that rare animal, a self-supporting drunkard.
If you choose, I will smoke with you, for the tobacco of the bazars does
not, I admit, suit my palate; and I will borrow any books which you may
not specially value. It is more than likely that I shall sell them for
bottles of excessively filthy country liquors, In return, you shall share
such hospitality as my house affords. Here is a charpoy on which two can
sit, and it is possible that there may, from time to time, be food in that
platter. Drink, unfortunately, you will find on the premises at any hour:
and thus I make you welcome to all my poor establishment."
I was admitted to the McIntosh household—I and my good tobacco.
But nothing else. Unluckily, one cannot visit a loafer in the Serai by
day. Friends buying horses would not understand it. Consequently, I was
obliged to see McIntosh after dark. He laughed at this, and said simply,
"You are perfectly right. When I enjoyed a position in society, rather
higher than yours, I should have done exactly the same thing. Good
heavens! I was once"—he spoke as though he had fallen from the
Command of a Regiment—"an Oxford Man!" This accounted for the
reference to Charley Symonds' stable.
"You," said McIntosh, slowly, "have not had that advantage; but, to
outward appearance, you do not seem possessed of a craving for strong
drinks. On the whole, I fancy that you are the luckier of the two. Yet I
am not certain. You are—forgive my saying so even while I am smoking
your excellent tobacco—painfully ignorant of many things."
We were sitting together on the edge of his bedstead, for he owned no
chairs, watching the horses being watered for the night, while the native
woman was preparing dinner. I did not like being patronized by a loafer,
but I was his guest for the time being, though he owned only one very torn
alpaca-coat and a pair of trousers made out of gunny-bags. He took the
pipe out of his mouth, and went on judicially, "All things considered, I
doubt whether you are the luckier. I do not refer to your extremely
limited classical attainments, or your excruciating quantities, but to
your gross ignorance of matters more immediately under your notice. That,
for instance," he pointed to a woman cleaning a samovar near the well in
the centre of the Serai. She was flicking the water out of the spout in
regular cadenced jerks.
"There are ways and ways of cleaning samovars. If you knew why she was
doing her work in that particular fashion, you would know what the Spanish
Monk meant when he said—
I the Trinity illustrate,
Drinking watered orange-pulp—
In three sips the Arian frustrate,
While he drains his at one gulp—
and many other things which now are hidden from your eyes. However,
Mrs. McIntosh has prepared dinner. Let us come and eat after the fashion
of the people of the country—of whom, by the way, you know
The native woman dipped her hand in the dish with us. This was wrong.
The wife should always wait until the husband has eaten. McIntosh
Jellaludin apologized, saying—
"It is an English prejudice which I have not been able to overcome; and
she loves me. Why, I have never been able to understand. I foregathered
with her at Jullundur, three years ago, and she has remained with me ever
since. I believe her to be moral, and know her to be skilled in
He patted the woman's head as he spoke, and she cooed softly. She was
not pretty to look at.
McIntosh never told me what position he had held before his fall. He
was, when sober, a scholar and a gentleman. When drunk, he was rather more
of the first than the second. He used to get drunk about once a week for
two days. On those occasions the native woman tended him while he raved in
all tongues except his own. One day, indeed, he began reciting Atalanta
in Calydon, and went through it to the end, beating time to the swing
of the verse with a bedstead-leg. But he did most of his ravings in Greek
or German. The man's mind was a perfect rag-bag of useless things. Once,
when he was beginning to get sober, he told me that I was the only
rational being in the Inferno into which he had descended—a Virgil
in the Shades, he said—and that, in return for my tobacco, he would,
before he died, give me the materials of a new Inferno that should make me
greater than Dante. Then he fell asleep on a horse-blanket and woke up
"Man," said he, "when you have reached the uttermost depths of
degradation, little incidents which would vex a higher life, are to you of
no consequence. Last night, my soul was among the Gods; but I make no
doubt that my bestial body was writhing down here in the garbage."
"You were abominably drunk if that's what you mean," I said,
"I was drunk—filthily drunk. I who am the son of a man
with whom you have no concern—I who was once Fellow of a College
whose buttery-hatch you have not seen. I was loathsomely drunk. But
consider how lightly I am touched. It is nothing to me. Less than nothing;
for I do not even feel the headache which should be my portion. Now, in a
higher life, how ghastly would have been my punishment, how bitter my
repentance! Believe me my friend with the neglected education, the highest
is as the lowest—always supposing each degree extreme."
He turned round on the blanket, put his head between his fists and
"On the Soul which I have lost and on the Conscience which I have
killed, I tell you that I cannot feel! I am as the Gods, knowing good and
evil, but untouched by either. Is this enviable or is it not?"
When a man has lost the warning of "next morning's head," he must be in
a bad state. I answered, looking at McIntosh on the blanket, with his hair
over his eyes and his lips blue-white, that I did not think the
insensibility good enough.
"For pity's sake, don't say that! I tell you, it is good and
most enviable. Think of my consolations!"
"Have you so many, then, McIntosh?"
"Certainly; your attempts at sarcasm which is essentially the weapon of
a cultured man, are crude. First, my attainments, my classical and
literary knowledge, blurred, perhaps, by immoderate drinking—which
reminds me that before my soul went to the Gods last night, I sold the
Pickering Horace you so kindly loaned me. Ditta Mull the clothesman has
it. It fetched ten annas, and may be redeemed for a rupee—but still
infinitely superior to yours. Secondly, the abiding affection of Mrs.
McIntosh, best of wives. Thirdly, a monument, more enduring than brass,
which I have built up in the seven years of my degradation."
He stopped here, and crawled across the room for a drink of water. He
was very shaky and sick.
He referred several times to his "treasure"—some great possession
that he owned—but I held this to be the raving of drink. He was as
poor and as proud as he could be. His manner was not pleasant, but he knew
enough about the natives, among whom seven years of his life had been
spent, to make his acquaintance worth having. He used actually to laugh at
Strickland as an ignorant man—"ignorant West and East"—he
said. His boast was, first, that he was an Oxford Man of rare and shining
parts, which may or may not have been true—I did not know enough to
check his statements—and, secondly, that he "had his hand on the
pulse of native life"—which was a fact. As an Oxford Man, he struck
me as a prig: he was always throwing his education about. As a Mohammedan
faquir—as McIntosh Jellaludin—he was all that I wanted
for my own ends. He smoked several pounds of my tobacco, and taught me
several ounces of things worth knowing; but he would never accept any
gifts, not even when the cold weather came, and gripped the poor thin
chest under the poor thin alpaca-coat. He grew very angry, and said that I
had insulted him, and that he was not going into hospital. He had lived
like a beast and he would die rationally, like a man.
As a matter of fact, he died of pneumonia; and on the night of his
death sent over a grubby note asking me to come and help him to die.
The native woman was weeping by the side of the bed. McIntosh, wrapped
in a cotton cloth, was too weak to resent a fur coat being thrown over
him. He was very active as far as his mind was concerned, and his eyes
were blazing. When he had abused the Doctor who came with me, so foully
that the indignant old fellow left, he cursed me for a few minutes and
Then he told his wife to fetch out "The Book" from a hole in the wall.
She brought out a big bundle, wrapped in the tail of a petticoat, of old
sheets of miscellaneous note-paper, all numbered and covered with fine
cramped writing. McIntosh ploughed his hand through the rubbish and
stirred it up lovingly.
"This," he said, "is my work—the Book of McIntosh Jellaludin,
showing what he saw and how he lived, and what befell him and others;
being also an account of the life and sins and death of Mother Maturin.
What Mirza Murad Ali Beg's book is to all other books on native life, will
my work be to Mirza Murad Ali Beg's!"
This, as will be conceded by any one who knows Mirza Murad Ali Beg's
book, was a sweeping statement. The papers did not look specially
valuable; but McIntosh handled them as if they were currency-notes. Then
said he slowly—
"In despite the many weaknesses of your education, you have been good
to me. I will speak of your tobacco when I reach the Gods. I owe you much
thanks for many kindnesses. But I abominate indebtedness. For this reason,
I bequeath to you now the monument more enduring than brass—my one
book—rude and imperfect in parts, but oh how rare in others! I
wonder if you will understand it. It is a gift more honorable than....
Bah! where is my brain rambling to? You will mutilate it horribly. You
will knock out the gems you call Latin quotations, you Philistine, and you
will butcher the style to carve into your own jerky jargon; but you cannot
destroy the whole of it. I bequeath it to you. Ethel.... My brain again!
... Mrs. McIntosh, bear witness that I give the Sahib all these
papers. They would be of no use to you, Heart of my Heart; and I lay it
upon you," he turned to me here, "that you do not let my book die in its
present form. It is yours unconditionally—the story of McIntosh
Jellaludin, which is not the story of McIntosh Jellaludin, but of a
greater man than he, and of a far greater woman. Listen now! I am neither
mad nor drunk! That book will make you famous."
I said, "Thank you," as the native woman put the bundle into my
"My only baby!" said McIntosh, with a smile. He was sinking fast, but
he continued to talk as long as breath remained. I waited for the end;
knowing that, in six cases out of ten a dying man calls for his mother. He
turned on his side and said—
"Say how it came into your possession. No one will believe you, but my
name, at least, will live. You will treat it brutally, I know you will.
Some of it must go; the public are fools and prudish fools. I was their
servant once. But do your mangling gently—very gently. It is a great
work, and I have paid for it in seven years' damnation."
His voice stopped for ten or twelve breaths, and then he began mumbling
a prayer of some kind in Greek. The native woman cried very bitterly.
Lastly, he rose in bed and said, as loudly as slowly—"Not guilty, my
Then he fell back, and the stupor held him till he died. The native
woman ran into the Serai among the horses, and screamed and beat her
breasts; for she had loved him.
Perhaps his last sentence in life told what McIntosh had once gone
through; but, saving the big bundle of old sheets in the cloth, there was
nothing in his room to say who or what he had been.
The papers were in a hopeless muddle.
Strickland helped me to sort them, and he said that the writer was
either an extreme liar or a most wonderful person. He thought the former.
One of these days, you may be able to judge for yourselves. The bundle
needed much expurgation and was full of Greek nonsense, at the head of the
chapters, which has all been cut out.
If the thing is ever published, some one may perhaps remember this
story, now printed as a safeguard to prove that McIntosh Jellaludin and
not I myself wrote the Book of Mother Maturin.
I don't want the Giant's Robe to come true in my case.