By Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul
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Extra resources for A House for Mr. Biswas
But what sort of boy? ’ The old man groaned and Bissoondaye said, ‘I knew it. ’ At once, though it was night and the way was lonely, she left the hut and walked to the next village, where there was a hedge of cactus. She brought back leaves of cactus, cut them into strips and hung a strip over every door, every window, every aperture through which an evil spirit might enter the hut. ’ The next morning, when in the bright light it seemed that all evil spirits had surely left the earth, the pundit came, a small, thin man with a sharp satirical face and a dismissing manner.
I just wanted to tell you that these wicked men will come again. ’ There was no one Bipti could ask for help. She distrusted the police, and Raghu had no friends. Moreover, she didn’t know who might be in league with Dhari. That night they gathered all Raghu’s sticks and cutlasses and waited. Mr Biswas closed his eyes and listened, but as the hours passed he found it hard to remain alert. He was awakened by whispers and movement in the hut. Far away, it seemed, someone was singing a slow, sad wedding song.
He had managed to get a few and after many months and a little cheating – turning a shilling into twelve pennies, for example – he had filled them. Thereafter he had never been able to stop. No one, not even Bipti, knew where he hid these bags; but the word had got around that he buried his money and was possibly the richest man in the village. Such talk alarmed Raghu and, to counter it, he increased his austerities. Mr Biswas grew. The limbs that had been massaged and oiled twice a day now remained dusty and muddy and unwashed for days.
A House for Mr. Biswas by Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul