In Part 2, Chapter 14, Fielding and Aziz exchange proverbs and idioms that reveal the different ways in which they see the world:
“I am delighted with him really, he has made my guests comfortable; besides, it is my duty to employ him, he is my cousin. If money goes, money comes. If money stays, death comes. Did you ever hear that useful Urdu proverb? Probably not, for I have just invented it.”
“My proverbs are: A penny saved is a penny earned; A stitch in time saves nine; Look before you leap; and the British Empire rests on them. You will never kick us out, you know, until you cease employing M.L.’s and such.”
Idioms include: "A stitch in time saves nine" and "Look before you leap." These idioms are not to be taken literally; the first means that being proactive can save time and pain, and the second means that people should consider what they will do before they do it in order to avoid painful consequences. Fielding says that "the British Empire rests" on these sayings, and he credits the empire with establishing a sort of order (even though he disagrees with many aspects of British rule). By contrast, Aziz presents a much more relaxed view of value: if money goes, it comes back, but if it stays around, bad things happen. This seems to be the opposite of the greedy philosophy of the British Empire, whose members strive to collect more land and wealth, no matter the cost to other humans.
The language barrier between the English and Indian people might seem like an obstacle (or at least an opportunity for misunderstanding), but here Aziz and Fielding have a civil conversation about familiar idioms and maxims. This helps establish their friendship and demonstrates that they make an effort to communicate with each other. However, the narrator always makes sure to point out how their differing views—as well as the presence of the British Empire—ultimately prevent a lasting friendship. Forster rarely uses idioms in narration, but they appear here in dialogue to make a key point about language and the potential for connection between Aziz and Fielding.