Our latest Tale for Our Time charges on - the first published novel by Agatha Christie, written at the height of the Great War and introducing the world to Hercule Poirot. Just ahead of tonight's episode, thank you for all your kind comments about my latest Sunday poem - The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. Bernadette Cahill, a Mark Steyn Club member from Mississippi, says:
Mark: this is an inspired choice of poem for the world we live in these days... Your delivery was terrific. You gave the strange sounds a power that they never had when I was reading the poem to myself years ago. To a kid, it just sounded funny. Today it conveyed evil.
Thank you, Bernadette. David Moon, a Connecticut Steyn Clubber, writes:
I recited this for my high school English class in 1968. Was a big fan of both books and re-read many times. I never realized that chortled was a made-up word - it just sounds so right. I looked at the Merriam-Webster dictionary site and they use the line from Jabberwocky as an example of usage. They also note the first use of the word in 1871, but don't connect the dots. No etymology is given for the word.
'Beamish' and 'manxome' never really caught on. Although, M-W does list beamish in the dictionary with the only example of usage 'a beamish boy'.
To which Steven Sicotte, a Louisiana member, adds a poignant footnote:
The Jabberwocky was my first born's favorite poem. I liked to call him my beamish boy. I miss him like crazy.
A beamish boy forever, Steven.
We will have another Sunday Poem for Club members soon. You can find all of them here.
In tonight's episode of The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Captain Hastings passes the old Raikes place, where the farmer's pretty young wife is said to have been enjoying the attentions of a certain local squire:
As I walked away, I met an aged rustic, who leered at me cunningly.
"You'm from the Hall, bain't you?" he asked.
"Yes. I'm looking for a friend of mine whom I thought might have walked this way."
"A little chap? As waves his hands when he talks? One of them Belgies from the village?"
"Yes," I said eagerly. "He has been here, then?"
"Oh, ay, he's been here, right enough. More'n once too. Friend of yours, is he? Ah, you gentlemen from the Hall—you'm a pretty lot!" And he leered more jocosely than ever.
"Why, do the gentlemen from the Hall come here often?" I asked, as carelessly as I could.
He winked at me knowingly.
"One does, mister. Naming no names, mind. And a very liberal gentleman too! Oh, thank you, sir, I'm sure."
If you've yet to hear any of our Tales for Our Time, you can do so by joining The Mark Steyn Club. Membership is available now - and, if you sign up, you'll be all set for Part Ten of The Mysterious Affair at Styles this time tomorrow (and all the earlier episodes, of course). And, if you've a friend who likes classic fiction, don't forget our special Gift Membership.