Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Phantom Rickshaw

The Phantom Rickshaw
By Rudyard Kipling
Another entry in the Readers Imbibing Peril (R.I.P.) Autumn Challenge

This Sunday for a while, I was browsing through the LitGothic site and found Rudyard Kipling as one of their listed authors. I had never read the short story The Phantom Rickshaw before and figured it would do as something light for 3:30 in the afternoon. For whatever reason, I suspect it is now lodged in my brain; it's not a terribly frightening story but it does have some staying power. There is the unhappy situation between Theobald Pansay and Agnes Wessington which never fully resolves itself. Pansay is, in the words of Dr. Heatherlegh, something of a blackguard, but that hardly seems to justify the haunting which overtakes him and wrecks his existence.

I may now have to go find and read his short story, They

Extract from The Phantom Rickshaw:

The scene and its surroundings were photographed on my memory. The rain-swept sky (we were at the end of the wet weather), the sodden, dingy pines, the muddy road, and the black powder-riven cliffs formed a gloomy background against which the black and white liveries of the jhampanies, the yellow-paneled ’rickshaw and Mrs. Wessington’s down-bowed golden head stood out clearly. She was holding her handkerchief in her left hand and was leaning hack exhausted against the ’rickshaw cushions. I turned my horse up a bypath near the Sanjowlie Reservoir and literally ran away. Once I fancied I heard a faint call of “Jack!.... A week later Mrs. Wessington died, and the inexpressible burden of her existence was removed from my life"