“It’s simply glorious – I love her mottled flanks, they do so set off the damask patterns of the paliquin.”
“Why thank you, Marjorie, my dear – I’m quite sure your Walter could arrange something similar for you.”
The great beast shivered beneath the pale British sunlight – it was a world away from the dense Indian rainforest from whence it came. The fruits of the Empire were too often plucked, and sent to bloom in the Home Counties.
It was inevitable that the fruits of the forest would wilt in less-clement climes. Its heavy bird-feet patrolled the immaculate gardens – it could not stomach the harsh British greens, and so the Lady Pauncefoot filled her garden with birds-of-paradise and pineapples, stunted gingko trees and stinking durians. It preferred the moss hanging from bearded trees and the lichens between the cobbled footpath.
It was losing weight, pinning for the monsoon rains and the swarming hordes of Swamis.
They burned the forests, to drive it out, they cast heavy nets over its sprawling shoulders and dragged it to the ground – it was simpler to catch the infants, but the British ladies preferred the frantic colours of the wild to the calmer, tamed beasts.
Lady Pauncefoot mourned the death of Aadarshini, her riding beast.
Her husband sent for another.