My umbrella pursued its career, undecidedly but continuously. Then one of the little juggernauts—if that be the word—began to weep. The other followed. . . . And then? Then, Monsieur, that Falloux—that practical and logical atheist, who believes reason is the source of all leapt into the breach, crying: “But they are attached! Stand still, and I will detach you.” But that they would not do. My perambulating mosque of an umbrella resumed command. Its handle, see, tripped and slid over the stone floor like the pointed foot of a danseuse. This, with the natural elasticity of the ribs, furnished all the motifs of the ballet. As Falloux stooped to the rim of its circumference—being short-sighted in all respects—one side elevated itself, and the point of a rib caught him in the beard beneath the chin. It appeared then that he could not disengage. He made several gestures. Then he cried: “But it is I who am also attached! Stand still, you misbegotten little brats, till I detach myself!” And he laboured with his hands in the thickets of his beard like a suicide who has no time to lose. But he remained—he rested there—conforming with yelps of agony to the agonies of the rival circus, into whose orbit had now projected itself, at their own level, the head of their abominated preceptor, distorted and menacing. . . .

This is from "Miracle of Saint Jubanus" by Rudyard Kipling.

I can't understand the meaning of the sentence below. I am glad if someone would kindly teach me or give me some suggestions.

, into whose orbit had now projected itself, at their own level, the head of their abominated preceptor, distorted and menacing. . . .

1 Answer 1


We could re-order the lines thus:

"...into whose orbit the distorted and menacing head of their abominated preceptor had now projected itself, at their own level."

Maybe that's all you need? If not. . .

Falloux's head (the head of their loathed teacher) had now stuck/protruded/entered into their orbit (their area of activity; their proximity). His head was at their own level because he was stooping down. And his head was distorted because his beard was being pulled and was hurting him and menacing because he was angry and the children abominated (loathed) him.

By the way, an orbit is curved - perhaps even circular: like an umbrella! The word can also mean an area of activity or of interest. Kipling was probably happy to suggest both meanings.

This is difficult English, Hiroshi!

  • Thank you so much, Old Brixtonian, your kind ansew is so helpful!! Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 23:40

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