preoccupied with unimportant matters in a spiteful way
I was sub-divisional police officer of the town, and in an aimless,
petty kind of way anti-European feeling was very bitter.
a street of small shops, especially in the Middle East
No one had the guts to raise a riot, but if a European woman went through the
bazaars alone somebody would probably spit betel juice over her dress.
moving quickly and lightly
nimble Burman tripped me up on the football field and the referee (another Burman) looked the other way, the crowd yelled with hideous laughter.
laugh at with contempt and derision
There were several thousands of them in the town and none of them seemed to have anything to do except stand on street corners and
jeer at Europeans.
a policy of extending your rule over foreign countries
For at that time I had already made up my mind that
imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better.
cause to suffer
The wretched prisoners huddling in the stinking cages of the lock-ups, the grey, cowed faces of the long-term convicts, the scarred buttocks of the men who had been flogged with bamboos — all these
oppressed me with an intolerable sense of guilt.
inflict something unpleasant
I was young and ill-educated and I had had to think out my problems in the utter silence that is
imposed on every Englishman in the East.
take the place or move into the position of
I did not even know that the British Empire is dying, still less did I know that it is a great deal better than the younger empires that are going to
stretched out and lying at full length along the ground
With one part of my mind I thought of the British Raj as an unbreakable tyranny, as something clamped down, in saecula saeculorum, upon the will of
prostrate peoples; with another part I thought that the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest’s guts.
a knife fixed to the end of a rifle and used as a weapon
With one part of my mind I thought of the British Raj as an unbreakable tyranny, as something clamped down, in saecula saeculorum, upon the will of prostrate peoples; with another part I thought that the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a
bayonet into a Buddhist priest’s guts.
characteristic of an absolute ruler or absolute rule
It was a tiny incident in itself, but it gave me a better glimpse than I had had before of the real nature of imperialism — the real motives for which
despotic governments act.
relating to a self-governing district
It had already destroyed somebody’s bamboo hut, killed a cow and raided some fruit-stalls and devoured the stock; also it had met the
municipal rubbish van and, when the driver jumped out and took to his heels, had turned the van over and inflicted violences upon it.
foul and run-down and repulsive
It was a very poor quarter, a labyrinth of
squalid bamboo huts, thatched with palmleaf, winding all over a steep hillside.
cover with roofing material made of plant stalks
It was a very poor quarter, a labyrinth of squalid bamboo huts,
thatched with palmleaf, winding all over a steep hillside.
without change, in every case
invariably the case in the East; a story always sounds clear enough at a distance, but the nearer you get to the scene of events the vaguer it becomes.
Some of the people said that the elephant had gone in one direction, some said that he had gone in another, some
professed not even to have heard of any elephant.
sit or lie with one's limbs spread out
I rounded the hut and saw a man’s dead body
sprawling in the mud.
incapable of being put up with
His face was coated with mud, the eyes wide open, the teeth bared and grinning with an expression of
an irrigated or flooded field where rice is grown
The orderly came back in a few minutes with a rifle and five cartridges, and meanwhile some Burmans had arrived and told us that the elephant was in the
paddy fields below, only a few hundred yards away.
a soft wet area of low-lying land that sinks underfoot
At the bottom, when you got away from the huts, there was a metalled road and beyond that a
miry waste of paddy fields a thousand yards across, not yet ploughed but soggy from the first rains and dotted with coarse grass.
I looked at the sea of yellow faces above the
garish clothes—faces all happy and excited over this bit of fun, all certain that the elephant was going to be shot.
someone who performs magic tricks to amuse an audience
They were watching me as they would watch a
conjurer about to perform a trick.
uselessness as a consequence of having no practical result
And it was at this moment, as I stood there with the rifle in my hands, that I first grasped the hollowness, the
futility of the white man’s dominion in the East.
dominance or power through legal authority
And it was at this moment, as I stood there with the rifle in my hands, that I first grasped the hollowness, the futility of the white man’s
dominion in the East.
firm in purpose or belief
A sahib has got to act like a sahib; he has got to appear
resolute, to know his own mind and do definite things.
excessively fastidious and easily disgusted
At that age I was not
squeamish about killing animals, but I had never shot an elephant and never wanted to.
the state of being infirm with age
senility seemed to have settled upon him.
a small part remaining after the main part no longer exists
You could see the agony of it jolt his whole body and knock the last
remnant of strength from his legs.
in a manner recurring with measured regularity
He was breathing very
rhythmically with long rattling gasps, his great mound of a side painfully rising and falling.
a fictitious reason that conceals the real reason
And afterwards I was very glad that the coolie had been killed; it put me legally in the right and it gave me a sufficient
pretext for shooting the elephant.