It's time for Part Seven of our serialization of Greenmantle by John Buchan. But, before we get to tonight's episode, several listeners were startled by this passage from last night's - in which Richard Hannay found himself at the home of Colonel von Stumm. Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome:
Stumm locked the door behind him and laid the key on the table. That room took my breath away, it was so unexpected. In place of the grim bareness of downstairs here was a place all luxury and colour and light. It was very large, but low in the ceiling, and the walls were full of little recesses with statues in them. A thick grey carpet of velvet pile covered the floor, and the chairs were low and soft and upholstered like a lady's boudoir. A pleasant fire burned on the hearth and there was a flavour of scent in the air, something like incense or burnt sandalwood. A French clock on the mantelpiece told me that it was ten minutes past eight. Everywhere on little tables and in cabinets was a profusion of knickknacks, and there was some beautiful embroidery framed on screens. At first sight you would have said it was a woman's drawing-room.
But it wasn't. I soon saw the difference. There had never been a woman's hand in that place. It was the room of a man who had a passion for frippery, who had a perverted taste for soft delicate things. It was the complement to his bluff brutality. I began to see the queer other side to my host, that evil side which gossip had spoken of as not unknown in the German army. The room seemed a horribly unwholesome place, and I was more than ever afraid of Stumm.
"A passion for frippery"? "A perverted taste for soft delicate things"? "The queer other side ...not unknown in the German army"? Hmm. What are you trying to say, Buchan? At any rate, you can understand why Major Hannay is anxious to skedaddle what with all the homoerotic subtext in the decor scheme. Members of The Mark Steyn Club can follow his attempt to elude Colonel von Stumm simply by clicking here and logging-in.
Earlier installments of Greenmantle can be found here - and thank you for all your comments. I was especially touched by this note from Babs, a first-month Founding Member from Long Island:
I so love Tales For Our Time.
My last encounter with reading stories was the hours and hours I spent reading to my children. Now, someone is reading to me and I love it!
Thank you so much for that, Babs. I loved reading stories to my kids and rather regret they've outgrown it, so I'm glad to have a whole new audience of listeners around the planet.
If you'd like to know more about The Mark Steyn Club, please click here - and don't forget, for fellow fans of classic fiction and/or poetry, our Steyn Club Gift Membership. Or join us on the inaugural Mark Steyn cruise, which will include a live seaboard Tale for Our Time. More details here. Alternatively, you can email us, or call Cindy on 1-800-707-1634 or, from beyond North America, +1 770 952-1959.
And do join me back here tomorrow for Part Eight of Greenmantle.