With tonight's edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight under the belt (I'll be back in the anchor chair on Monday), here's the perfect digestif: The thirteenth episode of our current Tale for Our Time: Burning Daylight, Jack London's sweeping novel of the Alaska Gold Rush and the San Francisco Gilded Age.
Thank you for all your kind comments about this caper. Michael Anstis is an antipodean Mark Steyn Club member from one of the most locked down places on the planet these last eighteen months, so presumably he exhausted the delights of Netflix round about the middle of April last year. Fortunately, Tales for Our Time is there to plug the gap:
Thanks Mark I would never have even thought of reading this and even if I had tried I would have found it boring. Your reading of it is truly brilliant as is the Club.
To you too, Michael. I think you'd find Jack London's prose pretty muscular and vivid on the page, but I'm happy to relieve you of the burden.
In tonight's episode some of the old-timers don't quite buy Daylight's transformation from a useful strongman on up-country ice-breaks to a big-time player in a supposedly upcoming gold bonanza:
Daylight mortgaged one of his Bonanza dumps with the Alaska Commercial Company, and tucked a letter of credit into his pouch. Then he harnessed his dogs and went down on the ice at a pace that only he could travel. One Indian down, another Indian back, and four teams of dogs was his record. And at Forty Mile and Circle City he bought claims by the score. Many of these were to prove utterly worthless, but some few of them were to show up more astoundingly than any on Bonanza. He bought right and left, paying as low as fifty dollars and as high as five thousand. This highest one he bought in the Tivoli Saloon. It was an upper claim on Eldorado, and when he agreed to the price, Jacob Wilkins, an old-timer just returned from a look at the moose-pasture, got up and left the room, saying:—
"Daylight, I've known you seven year, and you've always seemed sensible till now. And now you're just letting them rob you right and left. That's what it is—robbery. Five thousand for a claim on that damned moose-pasture is bunco. I just can't stay in the room and see you buncoed that way."
"I tell you-all," Daylight answered... "supposing you-all knew it was going to rain soup. What'd you-all do? Buy spoons, of course. Well, I'm sure buying spoons. She's going to rain soup up there on the Klondike, and them that has forks won't be catching none of it."
I was going to ask, "When was the last time you heard anyone use the word 'bunco'?" But apparently bunco is booming in the new millennium and over 27 million American women play it regularly. Which sounds to me more like bunkum than bunco.
If you've yet to hear any of our Tales for Our Time, you can do so by joining The Mark Steyn Club. For more details, see here - and don't forget our special Gift Membership. I'll be hosting Part Fourteen of Burning Daylight right here tomorrow evening. Just ahead of that we'll have Rick McGinnis's Saturday movie pick - and the latest installment of Mark Steyn's Passing Parade.