55 pages 1 hour read

George Orwell

Burmese Days

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1934

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Chapters 16-20Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 16

Flory heads to the club early the next morning, planning to finally formally propose to Elizabeth. As he walks, he sees a young English cavalry officer riding a pony. The man is handsome and has a fearless and brutal look about him, which intimidates Flory. The officer introduces himself as Verrall of the Military Police and explains that he arrived last night with a company of his men to stand by in case the rumored native uprising begins. Flory realizes that Verrall is bored speaking to him and feels old and shabby standing next to the handsome, young, well-bred military officer. These feelings only increase when Verrall demonstrates polo moves on his horse with “matchless grace and with extraordinary solemnity” (162).

Flory looks up, realizes that Elizabeth has been watching Verrall from her gate, and asks if he can borrow one of the other horses. Verrall is annoyed that Flory has not gone away, but acquiesces. In an attempt to impress Elizabeth, Flory plans to execute the same polo move. However, he is instantly thrown from the horse because the saddle had not been affixed properly. Bleeding on the ground, Flory greets Elizabeth, but she completely ignores him.