This is from Rudyard Kipling's The Drums of the Fore and Aft. (A regiment is very dispirited, because they have been under fire from enemy snipers without chance of retaliating.)

Pot-shots up and down the valleys were unsatisfactory, and the bayonet never seemed to get a chance. Perhaps it was as well, for a long-limbed Afghan with a knife had a reach of eight feet, and could carry away lead that would disable three Englishmen.

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    It means he could absorb bullets (i.e., lead) that would disable three Englishmen yet still walk away.
    – Robusto
    Commented Aug 7, 2015 at 12:19

1 Answer 1


It means that the Afghan could survive (and walk away from) an amount of bullets (lead) that would kill three Englishmen. By the time you'd manage to drop him with your gun, he would have already come close enough to kill you with his knife.

  • Walk away from the bullets, not take them and survive as suggested by Robusto in the comments above?
    – Jacinto
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 22:04
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    @Rose, carry away definitely connotes he walks away; it doesn't mean the lead would kill the Englishmen, but merely drop them. Dropping /= killing. Maybe picky but very, very true in battle. Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 0:36

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