There is a fine antidote to all manner of morbidness in the brilliant pages of Kim. Mr. Kipling's last work is, to my mind, his best, and not easily comparable with the work of any other man; for it is of its own kind and of a novel kind, and fairly amazes one by the proof it affords of the author's magnificent versatility. "Not much of a story" may perhaps be the verdict of the ruthless boy reader who revels in the Jungle Book and Captain Courageous, and derives an unholy gratification from Stalky & Co. Kim is, in fact and upon the surface, but an insignificant fragment of human history; a bit out of the biography of a little vagabond of Irish parentage, orphaned when a baby, and left to shift for himself in infinite India. But the subtlety of the East and the "faculty" of the West are blended in this terroe filius, this tricksy foundling of earth's oldest earth. His adventures are many and enthralling. He joins himself, as scout and general provider,—incidentally, also, as chela or disciple—to a saintly old lama from Thibet, "bound to the Wheel of Things," and roaming India in search of the Stream of Immortality. The pious people of the country are permitted to "acquire merit" by feeding and lodging these two, between whom there grows up an odd but very beautiful affection.
Kim is presently recognized upon his travels, reclaimed and adopted by the Irish regiment of which his father had been color sergeant, and given a genteel sufficiency of education in a Catholic college. He endures the thralldom of St. Xavier's, however, only upon condition of being allowed still to tramp the continent in the long vacation with his beloved old Buddhist priest. Before he is done with school the remarkable fitness for employment in the secret Indian service of the English government is discovered by our old friend Colonel Creighton, and he is placed under the tuition of sundry wonderful native proficients to learn the first principles of the Great Game. The result is that he distinguishes himself, while yet a stripling, by capturing in the high Himilayas the credentials and dispatches of a formidable Russian spy, and—this is all.