It's time for Part Seven of my serialization of The Power-House by John Buchan - the latest in our series Tales for Our Time, and a tale of globalist machinations in the run-up to the Great War. In tonight's episode, Edward Leithen finds himself at a rum restaurant in Fitzrovia:
I poured myself out a glass of champagne from the opened bottle, and was just about to drink it when my eye caught something in a corner of the room.
It was one of those little mid-Victorian corner tablesâ€”I believe they call them "what-nots"â€”which you will find in any boarding-house, littered up with photographs and coral and "Presents from Brighton." On this one stood a photograph in a shabby frame, and I thought I recognised it.
I crossed the room and picked it up. It showed a man of thirty, with short side-whiskers and ill-fitting jaw and a drooping moustache. The duplicate of it was in Macgillivray's cabinet. It was Mr. Routh, the ex-Union leader.
There was nothing very remarkable about that, after all, but it gave me a nasty shock. The room now seemed a sinister place, as well as intolerably close. There was still no sign of the waiter to open the window, so I thought I would wait for Macgillivray downstairs.
But the door would not open.
Which is never a good sign. Members of The Mark Steyn Club can open the door to Part Seven of our tale simply by clicking here and logging-in.Thank you, SS. And, if you've missed the beginning of The Power-House, you can start fresh with Part One and have a good old binge-listen here.
Our annotation of obscure references is not always comprehensive, and this line from a few nights back puzzled a few listeners:
I hunted up the latter in the Red Book. Sure enough, he lived in the Albany, belonged to half a dozen clubs, and had a country house in Hampshire.
Nicola Timmerman, an Ontario member of The Mark Steyn Club, writes:
I was wondering what the 'Red Book' was that our hero used to look up people. A bit like Debrett's Peerage I thought, but for Club members.
It seems around WWII it became a much more sinister and secret book with fascist, anti-Semitic English upper class members listed who sympathized with Hitler. Far more of them than we think now.
I don't know about that, Nicola. It's true that Debrett's and Burke's Peerage and Baronetage tend to be red - or at least they were when I had them to hand on the credenza behind my desk in London. I've since mothballed them because none of my New Hampshire neighbors appear to be either book.
However, I took that as a reference to Webster's Royal Red Book; or Court and Fashionable Register, which I think was published annually back then. Oddly enough, the only copy I can recall seeing was not, in fact, red. But let's not get into red books, and green books and blue books, as that is more properly the province of Canada's leading ovine fornication specialist, Dr John Gordon Miller.
If you'd like to join Nicola in The Mark Steyn Club, well, we'd love to have you along in this our third season. So please click here for more info - and don't forget, for fellow fans of classic fiction and/or poetry, our Steyn Club Gift Membership.
Do join me back here tomorrow for Part Eight of The Power-House - and earlier in the day for a brand new Mark's Mailbox.