Just ahead of tonight's episode in our current Tale for Our Time, a word from your humble host: as the control-freak billionaire deplatformers of the Big Social cartel tighten their grip and the glory days of the wild and free decentralized Internet of yore recede ever further into the past, I want to thank all of you who keep this l'il ol' mom'n'pop website and its various activities as part of your daily routine. We try to make modest improvements to what we do here, and one such is the new Netflix-style tile-format Mark Steyn Show home page. We hope you enjoy it. It's similar to our Tales for Our Time archive, which is designed to make it easy for patrons to pick out their preferred entertainment of an evening.
I also appreciate your feedback - for example, this comment from a First Week Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club, Margaret Haviland:
It's helpful if you let us know how many chapters there will be.
I can see why, Margaret - in that it aids the pacing of one's emotional investment. So here follows Part Eight - or, from Margaret's point of view, the ante-penultimate episode. The Power-House is a classic tale from 1913 by John Buchan - a story of the fragility of civilization and the forces that menace it. In tonight's episode, an ordinary Englishman is strolling on a summer's day through central London. What could be more blandly routine? Except that, amid the jostle of the Cockney throng, all is not as it seems...
I won't forget that walk home in a hurry. It was a fine July twilight. The streets were full of the usual crowd, shop-girls in thin frocks, promenading clerks, and all the flotsam of a London summer. You would have said it was the safest place on earth. But I was glad we had the policeman with us, who at the end of one beat passed us on to his colleague, and I was glad of Chapman. For I am morally certain I would never have got home alone.
The queer thing is that there was no sign of trouble till we got into Oxford Street. Then I became aware that there were people on those pavements who knew all about me. I first observed it at the mouth of one of those little dark side-alleys which run up into mews and small dingy courts. I found myself being skilfully edged away from Chapman into the shadow, but I noticed it in time and butted my way back to the pavement. I couldn't make out who the people were who hustled me. They seemed nondescripts of all sorts, but I fancied there were women among them.
This happened twice, and I got wary, but I was nearly caught before we reached Oxford Circus. There was a front of a big shop rebuilding, and the usual wooden barricade with a gate. Just as we passed it there was a special throng on the pavement and I, being next the wall, got pushed against the gate. Suddenly it gave and I was pressed inward. I was right inside before I realised my danger, and the gate was closing.
Earlier installments of The Power-House can be found here - and thank you again for all your comments, thumbs up or down, on this latest serialization. Very much appreciated. If you'd like to know more about The Mark Steyn Club, please click here - and don't forget, for fellow fans of classic fiction and/or poetry, our Steyn Club Gift Membership.
I'll see you back here tomorrow for the penultimate episode of The Power-House. And, if you're one of that brave band who enjoy me in video, don't forget that new Mark Steyn Show home page.