King of the Khyber Rifles by Talbot Mundy Page 1 of 402

Chapter I

Suckled were we in a school unkind
On suddenly snatched deduction
And ever ahead of you (never behind!)
Over the border our tracks you'll find,
Wherever some idiot feels inclined
To scatter the seeds of ruction.

For eyes we be, of Empire, we!
Skinned and Puckered and quick to see
And nobody guesses how wise we be.
Unwilling to advertise we be.
But, hot on the trail of ties, we be
The pullers of roots of ruction!

-Son of the Indian Secret Service

The men who govern India-more power to them and her!-are few. Those who stand in their way and pretend to help them with a flood of words are a host. And from the host goes up an endless cry that India is the home of thugs, and of three hundred million hungry ones.

The men who know-and Athelstan King might claim to know a little-answer that she is the original home of chivalry and the modern mistress of as many decent, gallant, native gentlemen as ever graced a page of history.

The charge has seen the light in print that India-well-spring of plague and sudden death and money-lenders-has sold her soul to twenty succeeding conquerors in turn.

Athelstan King and a hundred like him whom India has picked from British stock and taught, can answer truly that she has won it back again from each by very purity of purpose.

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