It's Victoria Day weekend in Canada. Our Saturday night movie feature looks at Queen Victoria's highland fling, and we continue with our authentic Victorian adventure serial, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1897, the year of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The Tragedy of the Korosko is the first in our new series Tales for Our Time and recounts what happens when a party of western pleasure cruisers falls into the hands of the jihadists of their day, the followers of the Mahdi. From tonight's episode:
"The Emir Abderrahman says that if you do not become Moslem, it is not worth while delaying the whole caravan in order to carry you upon the baggage-camels. If it were not for you, he says that we could travel twice as fast. He wishes to know therefore, once for ever, if you will accept the Koran." Then in the same tone, as if he were still translating, he continued: "You had far better consent, for if you do not he will most certainly put you all to death."
The unhappy prisoners looked at each other in despair. The two Emirs stood gravely watching them...
"It is absurd that I should die for that in which I have never had belief," said Fardet. "And yet it is not possible for the honour of a Frenchman that he should be converted in this fashion." He drew himself up, with his wounded wrist stuck into the front of his jacket, "Je suis Chrétien. J'y reste," he cried, a gallant falsehood in each sentence.
In the 21st century the same demand has been made of many infidels. Not all have shown the fortitude of M Fardet.
If you're a Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club you can hear Part Nine of our serialization of The Tragedy of the Korosko simply by clicking here and logging-in. All previous episodes can be found here down the page and in reverse order. I'm very touched by your reaction to our nightly audio adventure, and hope you'll stick with us through the coming week.
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