Welcome to Part Two of The Wendigo, our Halloween audio adventure in Tales for Our Time. I thank you for all your kind words about this thirtieth monthly yarn for our Mark Steyn Club members. Sol, a First Weekend Founding Member, writes of this Algernon Blackwood chiller from the Ontario wilderness:
The point of view of the narrator seems to hover benevolently over the nimrods. Though Jack London filled in the Yukon, the right side of the map has been a big question mark. The outdoor stage is taking shape. Great choice.
If you like Jack London, Sol, we have a treat for you in the weeks ahead.
If you're not a Steyn Club member, I hope you'll consider joining us. It's not too grueling a schedule: we have a Clubland Q&A in which I'll answer your questions live around the planet tomorrow, Wednesday, at 4pm North American Eastern - that's 8pm GMT; and in the next few weeks we have some live members-only shows to which you're cordially invited.
In tonight's episode of The Wendigo a young divinity student prepares to embark on a great adventure:
Simpson, who saw it all for the first time as he paddled hard in the bows of the dancing canoe, was enchanted by its austere beauty. His heart drank in the sense of freedom and great spaces just as his lungs drank in the cool and perfumed wind... On this trip—the first time he had seen any country but his own and little Switzerland—the huge scale of things somewhat bewildered him. It was one thing, he realized, to hear about primeval forests, but quite another to see them. While to dwell in them and seek acquaintance with their wild life was, again, an initiation that no intelligent man could undergo without a certain shifting of personal values hitherto held for permanent and sacred.
Simpson knew the first faint indication of this emotion when he held the new .303 rifle in his hands and looked along its pair of faultless, gleaming barrels. The three days' journey to their headquarters, by lake and portage, had carried the process a stage farther. And now that he was about to plunge beyond even the fringe of wilderness where they were camped into the virgin heart of uninhabited regions as vast as Europe itself, the true nature of the situation stole upon him with an effect of delight and awe that his imagination was fully capable of appreciating. It was himself and Défago against a multitude—at least, against a Titan!
The .303 was, of course, the standard cartridge for British Empire infantrymen for almost a century - and very familiar to my teenage self from my cadet days and my trusty Lee-Enfield. But it's also excellent for taking down deer and moose, as young Simpson intends to do. Which is why the sole surviving army in the Commonwealth to issue them is Canada's: Only in the last year have Canadian Rangers in the northern wilderness begun finally phasing out their Lee-Enfields in exchange for the new Colt Canada C19 - because previously, whenever they tried anything else, nothing proved quite as reliable as the .303 at taking down a charging polar bear.
Whether it will prove much use against what Simpson will encounter we shall discover. To hear me read the second episode of The Wendigo, please click here and log-in. If you missed Part One, you'll find that here.
Tales for Our Time started as an experimental feature we introduced as a bonus for Mark Steyn Club members, and, as you know, I said if it was a total stinkeroo, we'd eighty-six the thing and speak no more of it. But I'm thrilled to say it's proved very popular, and and we now have quite an archive. If you're a Club member and you incline more to the stinkeroo side of things, give it your best in the Comments Section below.
We launched The Mark Steyn Club over two years ago, and I'm truly grateful to all those members across the globe who've signed up to be a part of it - from Fargo to Fiji, Vancouver to Vanuatu, Cook County to the Cook Islands, West Virginia to the West Midlands. If you've enjoyed our monthly Steyn Club audio adventures and you're looking for a present for a fellow fan of classic fiction, I hope you'll consider our special Club Gift Membership. Aside from Tales for Our Time, The Mark Steyn Club does come with other benefits:
~Exclusive Steyn Store member pricing on over 40 books, mugs, T-shirts, and other products;
~The opportunity to engage in live Clubland Q&A sessions with yours truly (such as tomorrow's);
~Transcript and audio versions of The Mark Steyn Show, Mark's Mailbox, and our other video content;
~My video series of classic poetry;
~Booking for special members-only events such as the three coming up next month;
~Priority booking for the above-mentioned Third Annual Mark Steyn Club Cruise from Rome to Gibraltar, Barcelona and Monte Carlo with Michele Bachmann, Conrad Black and my other guests;
~Advance booking for my live appearances around the world;
~Customized email alerts for new content in your areas of interest;
~and the opportunity to support our print, audio and video ventures as they wing their way around the planet.
To become a member of The Mark Steyn Club, please click here - and don't forget that special Gift Membership. As soon as you join, you'll get access not only to The Wendigo but to all our other audio adventures.
One other benefit to membership is our Comment Club privileges. So, whether you like my reading of this spooky Tale for Our Time or find it less scary than Andrew Scheer's hologram, feel free to comment away below. And do join us tomorrow for Part Three of The Wendigo.