Just ahead of Part Thirty-Eight of our current Tale for Our Time, a word from your humble host:
We have been here nineteen of the twenty years since 9/11. Whether we shall be here for a twentieth, who knows? There was an hilarious moment at the Taliban press conference when a western journalist asked about their commitment to free speech and the firebreathing mullah drolly replied: why don't you take that up with Facebook?
Indeed. Given the choice between the Taliban and the Tonight Show audience, the condition of the former seems rather less psychologically unhealthy. At any rate, as things continue to deteriorate on the free-speech front, I thank all of you who keep this l'il ol' website and its various activities part of your daily rounds.
We offer this latest Tale for Our Time by way of consolation for the grim headlines. It's Jack London's account of a red-blooded American swaggering through primal challenges on the Yukon, and subtler ones in San Francisco Bay: Burning Daylight. Alas, some listeners are beginning to weary of the slow-burning of Daylight's romance. Glen Flint, a First Fortnight Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club from Nebraska, says of Dede:
The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
On the other hand, Jan Schiebout regrets her impatience of a few days back:
I feel sheepish after yesterday's comment. I considered, again, just how little remains of the successful courting practices of 100+ years ago. My own maternal grandmother was asked three times to marry. She would not, as she felt friendship, but no kismet, for the suitors.
Moral women like her valued chastity, and they didn't surrender it easily. Likewise did moral men. She met my grandfather just as she was beginning to doubt her ability to love anyone. The courtship played out in a respectful way. But when she was comfortably in the driver's seat of his affections, she began to be coy. He forced her to show her hand when he spoke of attending a party where new town women would be present. The games were then afoot, and she ceased playing with him. He rebounded.
Daylight needs to do the same. Maybe he needs to introduce a little scarcity of his presence into her world, make some new friends and stop being a needy bloke. He can play hard to get, too. He stated his case. He needs to flush her out.
And then there's the possibility that she might be, like my grandmother, unable to marry until she felt the heat of love. Allowing him to dig deeper his hole of unreturned affection was cruel. Inviting him into her private quarters to gaze upon her was a tease. In a soft and silky gown? The minx! Daylight needs to retreat and rethink his strategy. Is she really worth it? It would be a crushing defeat when she meets the nerd of her dreams, and he drinks himself to liver failure over the one that got away. Hard to say with Mr. London, who often threads heart-wrenching sorrow through his work.
Thanks for this, Mark, as my friends overseas send me videos of desperate citizens plunging to their deaths in the hopes of gaining the attention of any American who cares.
Thank you, Jan. In tonight's episode, Daylight busies himself with his project of building paradise in Oakland:
When the ferry system began to run, and the time between Oakland and San Francisco was demonstrated to be cut in half, the tide of Daylight's terrific expenditure started to turn. Not that it really did turn, for he promptly went into further investments. Thousands of lots in his residence tracts were sold, and thousands of homes were being built. Factory sites also were selling, and business properties in the heart of Oakland. All this tended to a steady appreciation in value of Daylight's huge holdings. But, as of old, he had his hunch and was riding it. Already he had begun borrowing from the banks. The magnificent profits he made on the land he sold were turned into more land, into more development; and instead of paying off old loans, he contracted new ones. As he had pyramided in Dawson City, he now pyramided in Oakland; but he did it with the knowledge that it was a stable enterprise rather than a risky placer-mining boom.
Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear me read Episode Thirty-Eight by clicking here and logging-in.
Earlier instalments of Burning Daylight 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 Part Thirty-Nine of Burning Daylight - and throughout the week for more updates on the fiasco in Kabul.
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