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Politicians, Flags and fighting men.

As a little treat today I reread The Flag of their Country - from Stalky & Co. - Rudyard Kipling

It must be a hundred years old but the story is of how a politician comes down to a school and lectures on patrotism....

And so he worked towards his peroration - which, by the way, he used later with overwhelming success at a meeting of electors - while they sat, flushed and uneasy, in sour disgust. After many many words, he reached for the cloth-wrapped stick and thrust one hand in his bosom. This - this was the concrete symbol of their land - worthy of all honour and reverence! Let no boy look on this flag who did not purpose to worthily add to its imperishable lustre. He shook it before them - a large calico Union Jack, staring in all three colours, and waited for the thunder of applause that should crown his effort.

They looked in silence. They had certainly seen the thing before - down at the coastguard station, or through a telescope, half-mast high when a brig went ashore on Braunton sands; above the roof of the Golf Club, and in Keyte's window, where a certain kind of striped sweetmeat bore it in paper on each box. But the College never displayed it; it was no part of the scheme of their lives; the Head had never alluded to it; their fathers had not declared it unto them. It was a matter shut up, sacred and apart. What, in the name of everything caddish, was he driving at, who waved that horror before their eves? Happy thought! Perhaps he was drunk.

Go and read the whole story...

Comments

Hi,
I linked to you via Neil's site, German for Beginners.
I have just started reading 'Kim' by Kipling as part of my quest to only read books published before 1899 for a year. Even though 'Kim' was first published in 1901 I thought I'd squeeze it in as I've never read any Kipling and thought it a good place to start.
Can you recommend any other books by Kipling you think a thirtysomething Australian living in NW England would enjoy?
Like your site.
Claudy

Try his short stories 'Twenty-One Tales' about life on the NW Frontier in Victorian times.

'Stalky's' pretty good though.

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