There is a reason why Rudyard Kipling is considered a master of story-telling genius! I have been enjoying all his books this year, starting with Kim and progressing through The Jungle books, none of which I had ever read before. I loved them all. Now I've added one more. This excerpt from The Naulica (1891) is a sample from the latest one I just finished.
( My book is a small, red, leather-bound copy from 1909 -smooth and worn.)
And just to set the mood, this random photo from my France file. (since I've never been to India)
Context....the protagonist has traveled to India (of course) attempting to rescue his lady-love and to search for a notorious, but fabulous necklace which he is told might be somewhere is in an abandoned, mysterious, walled city.
:: The shadows grew more distinct: he could see that he was standing with his face to some decayed tomb. Then his jaw fell, ( wow, is this the birth of that expression?) for without warning or presage, the red dawn shot up behind him, and there leaped out of the night the city of the dead. Tall-build, sharp-domed palaces, flashing to the color of blood, revealed the horror of the emptiness, and glared at the day that pierced them through and through.
:: The wind passed singing down the empty streets, and , finding none to answer, returned, chasing before it a muttering cloud of dust, which presently whirled itself into a little cyclone-funnel, and laid down with a sigh.
:: A screen of fretted marble lay on the dry grass, where it had fallen from some window above, and a geeko crawled over it to sun himself. Already the dawn flush had passed. The hot light was everywhere, and a kite had poised himself in the parched blue sky. The day, new-born, might have been as old as the city. It seemed to Tarvin that he and it were standing still to hear the centuries race by on the wings of the purposeless dust. [ ]
:: The silence of the place and the insolent nakedness of the empty way lay on him like a dead weight. For a long time he did not care to whistle, but rambled aimlessly from one wall to another, looking at the gigantic reservoirs, dry and neglected, the hollow guard-houses that studded the battlements, the time-riven arches that spanned the streets, and, above all, the carven tower with a shattered roof that sprang a hundred and fifty feet in the air.