10:08 pm - Monday July 16, 2018

The Gate of Hundred Sorrows-by Rudyard Kippling-Novel and Ebooks

Novel Name:The Gate Of Hundred Sorrows

Written by:Rudyard Kippling

Category:Fiction, Classics,Short Novel

Page 1:

If I can attain Heaven for a pice, why should you be envious? –Opium Smoker’s Proverb.

 

This is no work of mine. My friend, Gabral Misquitta, the half-caste, spoke it all, between moonset and morning, six weeks before he died; and I took it down from his mouth as he answered my questions. So:

It lies between the Coppersmith’s Gully and the pipe-stem sellers’ quarter, within a hundred yards, too, as the crow flies, of the Mosque of Wazir Khan. I don’t mind telling any one this much, but I defy him to find the Gate, however well he may think he knows the City. You might even go through the very gully it stands in a hundred times, and be none the wiser. We used to call the gully, “The Gully of the Black Smoke,” but its native name is altogether different of course. A loaded donkey couldn’t pass between the walls; and, at one point, just before you reach the Gate, a bulged house-front makes people go along all sideways.

It isn’t really a gate though. It’s a house. Old Fung-Tching had it first five years ago. He was a boot-maker in Calcutta. They say that he murdered his wife there when he was drunk. That was why he dropped bazar-rum and took to the Black Smoke instead. Later on, he came up north and opened the Gate as a house where you could get your smoke in peace and quiet. Mind you, it was a pukka, respectable opium-house, and not one of those stifling, sweltering chandoo-khanas, that you can find all over the City. No; the old man knew his business thoroughly, and he was most clean for a Chinaman. He was a one-eyed little chap, not much more than five feet high, and both his middle fingers were gone. All the same, he was the handiest man at rolling black pills I have ever seen. Never seemed to be touched by the Smoke, either; and what he took day and night, night and day, was a caution. I’ve been at it five years, and I can do my fair share of the Smoke with any one; but I was a child to Fung-Tching that way. All the same, the old man was keen on his money: very keen; and that’s what I can’t understand. I heard he saved a good deal before he died, but his nephew has got all that now; and the old man’s gone back to China to be buried.

He kept the big upper room, where his best customers gathered, as neat as a new pin. In one corner used to stand Fung-Tching’s Joss–almost as ugly as Fung-Tching–and there were always sticks burning under his nose; but you never smelled ’em when the pipes were going thick. Opposite the joss was Fung-Tching’s coffin. He had spent a good deal of his savings on that, and whenever a new man came to the Gate he was always introduced to it. It was lacquered black, with red and gold writings on it, and I’ve heard that Fung-Tching brought it out all the way from China. I don’t know whether that’s true or not, but I know that, if I came first in the evening, I used to spread my mat just at the foot of it. It was a quiet corner, you see, and a sort of breeze from the gully came in at the window now and then. Besides the mats, there was no other furniture in the room–only the coffin, and the old joss all green and blue and purple with age and polish.

Fung-Tching never told us why he called the place “The Gate of the Hundred Sorrows.” (He was the only Chinaman I know who used bad-sounding fancy names. Most of them are flowery. As you’ll see in Calcutta.) We used to find that out for ourselves. Nothing grows on you so much, if you’re white, as the Black Smoke. A yellow man is made different. Opium doesn’t tell on him scarcely at all; but white and black suffer a good deal. Of course, there are some people that the Smoke doesn’t touch any more than tobacco would at first. They just doze a bit, as one would fall asleep naturally, and next morning they are almost fit for work. Now, I was one of that sort when I began, but I’ve been at it for five years pretty steadily, and it’s different now. There was an old aunt of mine, down Agra way, and she left me a little at her death. About sixty rupees a month secured. Sixty isn’t much. I can recollect a time, ‘seems hundreds and hundreds of years ago, that I was getting my three hundred a month, and pickings, when I was working on a big timber-contract in Calcutta.

I didn’t stick to that work for long. The Black Smoke does not allow of much other business; and even though I am very little affected by it, as men go I couldn’t do a day’s work now to save my life. After all, sixty rupees is what I want. When old Fung-Tching was alive he used to draw the money for me, give me about half of it to live on (I eat very little), and the rest he kept himself. I was free of the Gate at any time of the day and night, and could smoke and sleep there when I liked, so I didn’t care. I know the old man made a good thing out of it; but that’s no matter. Nothing matters much to me; and besides, the money always came fresh and fresh each month.

Filed in: Classics, Fiction, Short Novel

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