Our Lightning Serial.
AUTHOR OF “THE BLOOD THAT DRIPPED ON THE DOORMAT,”
“THE SCREAM IN
BELGRAVE SQUARE,” “THE VAMPIRE OF BODGER’S ALLEY.”
Synopsis of Previous Chapters.—The Right
Reverend the Hon. Baldwin Berkeley, a thick-and-thin supporter of the
BillThe Licensing Act was “An Act to amend the law
relating to the sale of Intoxicating Liquors and to Drunkenness, and to provide
for the Registration of Clubs.”
, has by means of a series of impassioned speeches in the House of Lords incurred the hatred of the Amalgamated League of Brewers, at the head of which is Earl the Senior Subaltern Luke Lockhart, the grey-haired but sin-sodden concoctor of the famous One-Glass-One-Funeral Table Beer. Twice he is saved from the vile attacks of his enemies by Her Grace the Lady Marjorie Stagg-Mantle, a beautiful young SuffragetteClick this link to visit John Dawson’s article on suffragettes in Wodehouse’s early writing.
, who is hanging about Palace Yard The Palace of Westminster is where the House of Lords and the House of Commons meet; Old Palace Yard (now paved over and secured) contained the main entrance to the House of Commons.
in the hope of getting a chance to slip about two inches and a-quarter of jewelled hat-pinFor more references to the Suffragette’s supposed weapon of choice, see the link under Suffragette above. into the fleshy part of Mr. Asquith’s Herbert M. Asquith (1852–1928), prime minister of England from 1908 to 1916; he dismissed suffragism as an unpopular movement with negligible support. He became an admirer of Wodehouse’s work, and Wodehouse mentions him repeatedly in The Globe By the Way Book as well as in The Intrusion of Jimmy (1910). PGW dedicated 1927’s Meet Mr. Mulliner to his fan: “To the Earl of Oxford and Asquith.”
leg. The fury of the League is turned on to Marjorie, and the two resolve to fly to Ealing West,a suburban development situated 7.7 miles (12.4 km) west of Charing Cross; often referred to as the “Queen of the Suburbs.” [It is some two miles north of the Thames, so a steamboat is not the best way to get there. —NM]
where Baldwin owns vast estates, in a Thames steamboat.
Those in Peril on the Deep.The hymn Eternal
Father, Strong to Save is the official hymn of the Royal Navy. The first three
verses end with the line “For those in peril on the
sea.” Wodehouse titled a 1927 golf story Those in Peril on the Tee.
“Dirty weather ahead,” said the
grizzled old skipper of the Sir William Treloar
Sir William Treloar: (1843–1923), was a manufacturer and
philanthropist known as the “Children’s Alderman” and Lord Mayor of the
City of London in 1906.
, scanning the horizon. It was this ability to scan which had made him famous as a Limerick-winner from Poplar to Limehouse.
“Aye, aye, sir,” responded the mate. Honest old Tom TownendA tribute to Wodehouse’s classmate and colleague William Townend. [NM] had been with the Sir William Treloar since her first trip (a week before), and when he said “Aye, aye,” he meant “Aye, aye.”
“Aye, aye?” said the skipper, interrogatively.
“Aye, aye, sir,” replied Tom, as if he were dictating his autobiography.
“Then we must prepare for the worst,”
said the skipper. “Cast loose the aft binnacle,” he shouted down the
engine-room tube, “and stop the jibboom spanker spanking. All hands to the
pumps, and if we bump Waterloo Bridge man the boats. “I,” he concluded,
producing a tube of
Seccotine: popular brand of liquid fish glue patented in 1894.
“shall stick to the ship.”
A cheer rose from the crew, but it was drowned in the howling of the tempest. With a crashing of thunder, a flicker of lightning, and a rush of wind the squall had begun squalling.
“Marjorie,” murmured Baldwin tenderly,
pressing her more closely to him, “be brave. This is nothing. It will soon be
over. Why, boating on the
Serpentine28-acre recreational lake
in Hyde Park, London, created in 1730.
sometimes I—” He broke off suddenly, as did the main mast.
A scene of indescribable confusion followed. The waves, which had started mountain high, were now mounting higher. The white foam hissed through the air like molten snow. The ship rocked from side to side, her every timber creaking. All the sails had gone, and the bowsprit was wobbling. The keel had long since melted before the fury of the elements.* A leak had sprung in the fore-part of the vessel, and only the promptitude of a member of the crew in shoving his cap into the hole had saved the Sir William Treloar and her precious freight from destruction.
Was all lost? No!
A triumphant shout rent the air.
Battersea!a district in South London located 2.9 miles
(4.8 km) southwest of Charing Cross. Battersea runs south of the River Thames
from Fairfield ward in the
west to the ward of Queenstown in the east.
We are saved!”
“Saved! Saved!” The glad cry was on every lip.
“Marjorie,” whispered Baldwin, “we are—”
A terrific explosion shook the vessel from stem to stern.
The water had reached the powder-magazine.
(To be continued.)
* Editor: But, after all, what good is a keel at the best of times?
Author: I don’t know, but it sounds nautical; and, anyhow, it seems an effective touch.
TO NEW READERS!—Study the chatty synopsis at the beginning of this instalment, buy an ice-bag and start right in.