(August 20th to 26th)
‘..there were shields of lacquer, of tortoise-shell and rhinoceros hide, strapped and bossed with red gold and set with emeralds at the edge; there were sheaves of diamond-hilted swords, daggers and hunting knives; there were golden sacrificial bowls and ladles, and portable altars of a shape that never sees the light of day…there were belts, seven fingers broad, of square-cut diamonds and rubies…’
This is from “The King’s Ankus” in The Second Jungle Book.
Kaa, the great python, has taken Mowgli to Cold Lairs, the old deserted city in the Jungle, where he climbs into an underground vault, and finds a treasure-house, guarded by a giant and aged cobra.
‘It blazed with the dull red of the ruby, the angry green of the emerald, the cold blue of the sapphire and the white, hot glory of the diamond. But dulling all these glories was the superb radiance of one gem that lay above the great carved emerald on the central clasp. It was the black diamond – black as the pitch of the infernal lake, and lighted from below with the fires of hell.’
This is from RK’s Story of West and East, ‘The Naulahka’ , which he wrote jointly with Wolcott Balestier.
It describes the moment when Tarvin first sets his eyes on Maharaj Kunwar’s great jewel.
‘First are two flawed sapphires – one of two ruttees and one of four, as I should judge. The four ruttee sapphire is chipped at the edge. There is one Turkestan turquoise, plain with black veins, and there are two inscribed – one with a Name of God in gilt… Four flawed emeralds there are, but one is drilled in two places, and one is a little carven…there is one ruby of Burma, of two ruttees, without a flaw, and there is a balas-ruby, flawed, of two ruttees…’
This from Kim.
As part of his training for ‘The Great Game’ Kim has been sent up to Simla to spend the holidays with Lurgan Sahib, master jeweller, master of disguises, and spy-master. Here, in what later became known as ‘Kim’s Game’, Lurgan’s young Indian assistant is matching his skills of observation against Kim, by memorising the contents of a tray of jewels after a few moments scrutiny.