[ilds] Kim and Durrell and Durrellian similes

Durrell School of Corfu durrells at otenet.gr
Sun Jun 3 22:07:31 PDT 2007


'Kim was our bedside book' - LD
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: william godshalk 
  To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca 
  Sent: Sunday, June 03, 2007 9:09 PM
  Subject: [ilds] Kim and Durrell and Durrellian similes


  Thank you, Sligh Sahib. We must train our memories and our powers of observation. Or rely on books.

  About the similes, Ian MacNiven and I discussed this Durrellian tendency years ago. As I recall, our conclusion was not monumental. We agreed that Larry sure did use strange similes. But why we did not know. Shakespeare sometimes uses similes to indicate doubt. See Hamlet 1.1 passim. Is it not like the king? But I don't think that was D's reason.

  Bill

  At 01:51 PM 6/3/2007, you wrote:

    On 6/3/2007 12:05 PM, william godshalk wrote:



Yes, gentle folks, "as it were" is the giveaway. Durrell
wrote that one.

  Nice job, Richard & Co.  An interesting alignment of passages, Godshalk Sahib.  But then I would expect no less from so many old hands trained in playing the "Jewel Game."  

    Any thoughts about Durrell's stylistic tic, his habitual use of the "as if" and "as it were"?  Bill can give us some examples of the former, I know, as he has asked me before if I have noted tendency to pitch his similes in that characteristic phrasing.

    I would love to play along but I am catching the plane to London.  CLS


        'Gently - gently,' the man replied, and from a drawer under the table dealt a half-handful of clattering trifles into the tray. 


        'Now,' said the child, waving an old newspaper. 'Look on them as long as thou wilt, stranger. Count and, if need be, handle. One look is enough for me.' He turned his back proudly. 


        'But what is the game?' 


        'When thou hast counted and handled and art sure that thou canst remember them all, I cover them with this paper, and thou must tell over the tally to Lurgan Sahib. I will write mine.' 


        'Oah!' The instinct of competition waked in his breast. He bent over the tray. There were but fifteen stones on it. 'That is easy,' he said after a minute. The child slipped the paper over the winking jewels and scribbled in a native account-book. 


        'There are under that paper five blue stones - one big, one smaller, and three small,' said Kim, all in haste. 'There are four green stones, and one with a hole in it; there is one yellow stone that I can see through, and one like a pipe-stem. There are two red stones, and - and - I made the count fifteen, but two I have forgotten. No! Give me time. One was of ivory, little and brownish; and - and - give me time...' 


        'One - two' - Lurgan Sahib counted him out up to ten. Kim shook his head. 


        'Hear my count!' the child burst in, trilling with laughter. 'First, are two flawed sapphires - one of two ruttees and one of four as I should judge. The four-ruttee sapphire is chipped at the edge. There is one Turkestan turquoise, plain with black veins, and there are two inscribed - one with a Name of God in gilt, and the other being cracked across, for it came out of an old ring, I cannot read. We have now all five blue stones. Four flawed emeralds there are, but one is drilled in two places, and one is a little carven-' 


        'Their weights?' said Lurgan Sahib impassively. 


        'Three - five - five - and four ruttees as I judge it. There is one piece of old greenish pipe amber, and a cut topaz from Europe. There is one ruby of Burma, of two ruttees, without a flaw, and there is a balas-ruby, flawed, of two ruttees. There is a carved ivory from China representing a rat sucking an egg; and there is last - ah ha! - a ball of crystal as big as a bean set on a gold leaf.' 


        He clapped his hands at the close. 


        'He is thy master,' said Lurgan Sahib, smiling. 


        'Huh! He knew the names of the stones,' said Kim, flushing. 'Try again! With common things such as he and I both know.' 


        They heaped the tray again with odds and ends gathered from the shop, and even the kitchen, and every time the child won, till Kim marvelled. 




-- 
**********************
Charles L. Sligh
Department of English
Wake Forest University
slighcl at wfu.edu
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  W. L. Godshalk           *
  Department of English         *
  University of Cincinnati            Stellar disorder  *
  Cincinnati OH 45221-0069      *
  513-281-5927
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