Welcome to the final installment of our Mark Steyn Club first-birthday Tale for Our Time - written in 1888 by Rudyard Kipling for the Indian Railway Library. Thank you so much for all your kind comments about this latest radio serialization. First-day Founding Member Holly Henry wrote of Friday's opening episode:
I always enjoy the start of a new tale. This one is even better, because today is my birthday. I know I'll like this first installment better than anything the local cinema has to offer. Thank you, Mark, and keep the stories coming.
Hope you had a great birthday, Holly. And sorry I can't do the 40-minute CGI battle scenes with just my one wee voice, but we'll try to keep the excitement going all the way to the home stretch. As the concluding episode of The Man Who Would Be King begins, King Dan's plan to find a queen among the Kafirs is not going well:
Dravot damned them all round. 'What's wrong with me?' he shouts, standing by the idol Imbra. 'Am I a dog or am I not enough of a man for your wenches? Haven't I put the shadow of my hand over this country? Who stopped the last Afghan raid?' It was me really, but Dravot was too angry to remember. 'Who bought your guns? Who repaired the bridges? Who's the Grand-Master of the sign cut in the stone?' and he thumped his hand on the block that he used to sit on in Lodge, and at Council, which opened like Lodge always. Billy Fish said nothing and no more did the others. 'Keep your hair on, Dan,' said I; 'and ask the girls. That's how it's done at home, and these people are quite English.'
'The marriage of a King is a matter of State,' says Dan, in a white-hot rage, for he could feel, I hope, that he was going against his better mind. He walked out of the Council-room, and the others sat still, looking at the ground.
'Billy Fish,' says I to the Chief of Bashkai, 'what's the difficulty here? A straight answer to a true friend.' 'You know,' says Billy Fish. 'How should a man tell you who know everything? How can daughters of men marry gods or devils? It's not proper.'
He has a point, as we'll discover. Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear me read the conclusion of The Man Who Would Be King simply by clicking here and logging-in. Earlier episodes can be found here. Steyn Club member Fran Lavery says:
When I have to wait too long for another Tales reading, I can sense my springs popping, engine sputtering and i get all out of alignment. Thanks for coming to the rescue!
No need to pop your springs, Fran. Tales for Our Time will return in a few days with something rather special as part of our first anniversary observances - and a few days after that with a birthday bonus.
I thank all those among our first-month Founding Members from May of 2017 who've decided to re-up for Year Two. It means an awful lot to me. Meanwhile, if you've yet to hear any of our Tales, you can enjoy the first year's worth of audio adventures - by Conan Doyle, H G Wells, Conrad, Gogol, Dickens, Jack London, Robert Louis Stevenson and more - by joining The Mark Steyn Club. For details on membership, see here - and, if you're seeking the perfect present for a fellow fan of classic fiction, don't forget our limited-time Steyn Club Gift Membership. Alternatively, if you'd like a book in old-fashioned book form, over at the SteynOnline bookstore there are bargains galore among our Steynamite Special offers.