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Her cinnabar-tinted topsail, nicking the hot blue horizon, showed she was a Spanish wheat-boat hours before she reached Marseilles mole. There, her mainsail brailed itself, a spritsail broke out forward, and a handy driver aft; and she threaded her way through the shipping to her berth at the quay as quietly as a veiled woman slips through a bazaar.


This is the opening passage of “The Manner of Men”, from Limits and Renewals, Kipling’s last collection of short stories. It tells of the Apostle Paul being wrecked in the ship taking him to Rome and execution, and the powerful impression he makes on the Roman sailors guarding him.