Welcome to Part Six of our latest audio adventure in our series Tales for Our Time: This tale is an undoubted classic, The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad, In tonight's episode Comrade Ossipon explains that a bomb has gone off in Greenwich Park - killing the bomber. As I discussed in my audio introduction to this story, this incident in Conrad's tale is based on real life - the self-detonation by anarchist Martial Bourdin in 1894, supposedly en route to blow up the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. As Comrade Ossipon informs the Professor:
'Ah! Here it is. Bomb in Greenwich Park. There isn't much so far. Half-past eleven. Foggy morning. Effects of explosion felt as far as Romney Road and Park Place. Enormous hole in the ground under a tree filled with smashed roots and broken branches. All round fragments of a man's body blown to pieces. That's all. The rest's mere newspaper gup. No doubt a wicked attempt to blow up the Observatory, they say. H'm. That's hardly credible.'
He looked at the paper for a while longer in silence, then passed it to the other, who after gazing abstractedly at the print laid it down without comment.
As always, we get a lot of queries about the music. The introductory theme for Tales for Our Time is Sir Edward Elgar's Imperial March, Op 32. The music I chose for The Secret Agent is from Rimsky-Korsakov's Sinfonietta on Russian Themes, Op 31. It seemed appropriate, given that Conrad spent much of his life as a subject of the Tsar and that Mr Verloc is a paid spy of the Russian Embassy. It was composed six or seven years before Conrad's tale is set.
If you prefer me in video to audio, later this evening, Wednesday, I'll be back on air with Tucker Carlson on Fox News, coast to coast at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific - and then back tomorrow morning, on the curvy couch at "Fox & Friends", live at 8.30am Eastern. And join me for a full hour of telly entertainment when I'm back with Kat and Eboni to guest-host "The Fox News Specialists" across America at 5pm Eastern/2pm Pacific on Thursday.
On the other hand, if you prefer me in audio to video, I'll be back tomorrow evening with Part Seven of The Secret Agent.
If you're minded to join us in The Mark Steyn Club, you're more than welcome. You can find more information here. - and don't forget you can always sign up a pal for our new gift membership. See you on the telly in a couple of hours.