quotes_may23_2004.htm

(May 23rd to 29th)



Format: Triple

…Morning brought the penetrating chill of the Northern December, the layers of woodsmoke, the dusty gray blue of the tamarisks, the domes of ruined tombs, and all the smell of the white Northern plains … The South of pagodas and palm trees, the over-populated Hindu South, was done with…

  

This is from “William the Conqueror” in The Day’s Work. There has been a famine in the Madras area of southern India, and a team of administrators from the Punjab has been drafted in to help. Now they are on their way back, with much relief, to the Northern India they know and love.


…The green growths in the sides of the ravines burned up to broken wires and curled films of dead stuff; the hidden pools sank down and caked over, keeping the last least footmark on their edges as if it had been cast in iron; the juicy-stemmed creepers fell away from the trees they clung to and died at their feet… and the moss peeled off the rocks … till they were as bare and hot as the quivering blue boulders in the bed of the stream…

   

This is from “How Fear Came” in the Second Jungle Book. It describes the onset of drought, when the winter rains failed in the Jungle of the Seeonee hills.


…It was a pitchy black night, as stifling as a June night can be, and the loo, the red-hot wind from the westward, was booming among the tinder-dry trees and pretending that the rain was on its heels. Now and again a spot of almost boiling water would fall on the dust with the flop of a frog, but all our weary world knew that was only pretence…

   

This is from “The Man who would be King”, in Wee Willie Winkie. The story-teller is working late to get his newspaper to press, and feeling all the tension of a hot June night in the Punjab. He is about to be interrupted by two vagabond loafers, with a strange tale; they are off to be kings in the mountains of Kafiristan.

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