It's time for Part Seven of my latest Tale for Our Time: Burning Daylight, a Jack London yarn hugely popular in its day, yet all but forgotten now. Richard Woodruff, a First Week Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club, writes:
I'm enjoying this book a lot, Mark, have to admit I wasn't familiar with it.
That's what makes it fun, Richard: a known name but an unknown work.
In tonight's episode, Burning Daylight knows how to make an entrance:
There was a general stampede for the door; but where the double storm-doors were thrown wide open, the crowd fell back. They heard the eager whining of dogs, the snap of a dog-whip, and the voice of Daylight crying encouragement as the weary animals capped all they had done by dragging the sled in over the wooden floor. They came in with a rush, and with them rushed in the frost, a visible vapor of smoking white, through which their heads and backs showed, as they strained in the harness, till they had all the seeming of swimming in a river. Behind them, at the gee-pole, came Daylight, hidden to the knees by the swirling frost through which he appeared to wade.
He was the same old Daylight, withal lean and tired-looking, and his black eyes were sparkling and flashing brighter than ever. His parka of cotton drill hooded him like a monk, and fell in straight lines to his knees. Grimed and scorched by camp-smoke and fire, the garment in itself told the story of his trip. A two-months' beard covered his face; and the beard, in turn, was matted with the ice of his breathing through the long seventy-mile run.
His entry was spectacular, melodramatic; and he knew it. It was his life, and he was living it at the top of his bent. Among his fellows he was a great man, an Arctic hero. He was proud of the fact, and it was a high moment for him, fresh from two thousand miles of trail, to come surging into that bar-room, dogs, sled, mail, Indian, paraphernalia, and all. He had performed one more exploit that would make the Yukon ring with his name—he, Burning Daylight, the king of travelers and dog-mushers.
Incidentally, there's a bigger crowd at the Tivoli a century-and-a-quarter back than there would be today: The current population of Circle City is about 118 - or slightly less than half of what it was in 1900.
Members of The Mark Steyn Club can listen to me read Part Seven of our tale simply by clicking here and logging-in. And, if you've missed the beginning of Burning Daylight, you can start fresh with Part One and have a good old binge-listen here.
Please join me tomorrow, Sunday, for the latest audio edition of my Song of the Week on Serenade Radio live around the world at 5.30pm UK time - that's 12.30pm North American Eastern. And, if you like audio fiction, how about poetry? After Song of the Week, I'll be back right here for first of this season's summer Sunday poetry anthologies..
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