Page:MKGandhi patriot.djvu/58

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43
IN SOUTH AFRICA

accepted European customs with avidity. He ate meat, drank wine, smoked, and enjoyed company, as he imagined a gentleman should. He was himself a brilliant student, and particularly kind. Had it not been for the sacred influence of the mother he would probably have succeeded in his design. As it was, he was partly successful. Under the witchery of a false ideal, the young student wasted a lot of time, and spent a great deal of money needlessly during the first three months.

"I thought it was necessary for me to take dancing lessons," said Mr. Gandhi, "and lessons in elocution, and lessons in French, and even violin-lessons. You know I have no ear for Western music, and the result was a ludicrous failure. The violin was to cultivate the ear, it only cultivated disappointment. Still, as I thought the only way to become an English gentleman was to learn such accomplishments, persevered even with the violin."

But there were lines of resistance in the Rajkot student which nothing could break down. He was true to his oath. Efforts to surprise him into laxity failed, plausible arguments had no weight. It was the mother's vow which gave strength to the Nazarite. When his friend knew the reason, he was