By Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul
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Additional resources for A House for Mr. Biswas
Fishing he sometimes tried, with a thin bamboo rod, a length of string, a bent pin and no bait. The fish didn’t bite; but if he wiggled the string violently they became frightened. When he had gazed at the fish long enough he dropped a stick into the water; it was good then to see the whole school instantly streaking away. Then one day Mr Biswas lost the calf. He had forgotten it, watching the fish. And when, after dropping the stick and scattering the fish, he remembered the calf, it had gone.
Next to mother, young boy and young girl. ’ There was more advice from the men. ’ Tara translated, and the photographer went under his cloth. Almost immediately he came out again. ’ This was done and the photographer went back under his cloth. ’ Tara cried, running out from the hut with a fresh garland of marigolds. She hung it around Raghu’s neck and said to the photographer in English, ‘All right. ’ Mr Biswas never owned a copy of the photograph and he did not see it until 1937, when it made its appearance, framed in passepartout, on the wall of the drawingroom of Tara’s fine new house at Pagotes, a little lost among many other photographs of funeral groups, many oval portraits with blurred edges of more dead friends and relations, and coloured prints of the English countryside.
And of course the sea. And another thing,’ He added with satisfaction. ’ He began to pack the long leaves of his almanac. ’ ‘That will be easy,’ Bissoondaye said, speaking with emotion for the first time. ‘On the twenty-first day the father must see the boy. ’ ‘I would consider that ill-advised. Use a brass plate. ’ He tied the almanac together and rolled it in the red cotton wrapper which was also spattered with sandalwood paste. ’ ‘We forgot one thing, punditji. ’ ‘I can’t help you completely there.