Before we get on to tonight's episode in our current Tale for Our Time, I should mention that on Monday we'll be attempting another audio edition of our Clubland Q&A, in which I take questions from Mark Steyn Club members live around the planet. Hope you can join me.
Meantime, here's the penultimate episode of The Prisoner of Zenda. In tonight's installment, Princess Flavia learns the truth - that the man she loves is not the rightful King. And for a moment she and Rudolf talk of what might be, and a life together ...before she accepts what duty and honor require of her:
'Is love the only thing?' she asked, in low, sweet tones that seemed to bring a calm even to my wrung heart. 'If love were the only thing, I would follow you—in rags, if need be—to the world's end; for you hold my heart in the hollow of your hand! But is love the only thing?'
I made no answer. It gives me shame now to think that I would not help her.
She came near me and laid her hand on my shoulder. I put my hand up and held hers.
'I know people write and talk as if it were. Perhaps, for some, Fate lets it be. Ah, if I were one of them! But if love had been the only thing, you would have let the King die in his cell.'
I kissed her hand.
'Honour binds a woman too, Rudolf. My honour lies in being true to my country and my House. I don't know why God has let me love you; but I know that I must stay.'
Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear me read Part Fifteen of The Prisoner of Zenda simply by clicking here and logging-in. Earlier episodes can be found here.
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 new Gift Membership. Please join me tomorrow evening for the final episode of The Prisoner of Zenda - and don't forget our Clubland Q&A live across the planet on Monday.
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