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 Hon.
Lord Baldwin Berkeley, a multi-billionaire, is desperately in love with Marjorie
Stagg-Mantle, a chorus lady, who is an ambitious but unsuccessful actress, and
who is partly under the hypnotic influence of Major the Senior Subaltern Luke
Lockhart. For many years she struggles against this inhuman monster’s
insidious will-power, and could she obtain enough money to buy a certain
curious Persian charm she would be safe. Berkeley learns Marjorie’s position
from her coachman, Sir Charles Claridge, a rakish and benevolent baronet, who alone
knows the secret of Marjorie’s birth. Berkeley has therefore acquired the
Mascot Theatre in Claridge’s name, and Marjorie is engaged to play lead in a
new play entitled “For Love or Honour.”Click the link to read the Globe serial of that name from 1907, the real source of this fictive play.
Limelight and Love.
The conductor’s bâton swept
upward. The overture began. In the brilliantly-lighted auditorium there sat
the élite of the
suburbs, and the presence of Mr. WalkleyArthur Bingham
Walkley (1855–1926) author
and dramatic critic for the London Times. George
Bernard Shaw dedicated Man and
Superman to him.
reciting the French irregular verbs with rapid precision into the unwilling ear of Comrade Wabbs proclaimed that it was a first night at the Mascot Theatre.
In the gallery Mr. Hicks’
Mr. Hicks: Seymour Hicks (1871–1949)
Actor, music hall performer, playwright, screenwriter, theatre
manager and producer; married actress Ellaline Terriss in 1893. Hicks co-wrote
The Beauty of Bath in 1906 which included an interpolation by Wodehouse
and Jerome Kern, their first collaboration. Wodehouse portrays Hicks as the
character Higgs in The Head of Kay’s in 1905, and as Stanley Briggs in Not
George Washington in 1907. Wodehouse would dedicate his 1912 novel The Prince and Betty to Ellaline Terriss.
trained band of chuckers-out were eyeing the puny limbs of the Belvedere Booers Clubbites with satisfaction. Lord Baldwin sat calmly in his sumptuous box with a Maxim gunType of early machine gun invented in 1884 by Hiram Maxim.
directed at the pit, and in her dressing room, lying back luxuriously in her Chippendale Nest for Rest, Chippendale Nest for Rest: Chippendale, the furniture maker; “nest for rest” refers to a bird returning to its nest after hunting food, and was used as a term for a reclining chair.
was the sinuous form of Marjorie Stagg-Mantle. Within the next ten minutes she was to make her entrance as Juliet, and, with the true instincts of the genuine article, she had already begun to commit to memory the all-too-insignificant part which her édition-de-luxe of the works of Shakespeare told her she must learn.
But her mind—her real ego—was elsewhere. She was thinking more of the mad Fakir and his mysteriously wrought Eastern toe-ring. To-morrow he would offer it at the Baker Street Sixpenny Bazaar. She had decided to draw the necessary sum in advance from the management, and be free for ever from Luke Lockhart’s spell.
Suddenly the call-boy’s raucous shout
of “Marjorie, come ’ere; you’re wanted to speak your piece on the stage,”
aroused her from her reverie. She ran swiftly to the wings. The vast
concourse of gilded youth chatting with the chorus girls crowded round to wish
her success. Mr. Hall Caine
Hall Caine: (1853–1931)
novelist and playwright of the late Victorian and the Edwardian eras; was
exceedingly popular and at the peak of his success his novels enjoyed huge
sales. In appearance Caine was a short man who tended to dress in a striking
fashion. His eyes were slightly protuberant, giving him an intense stare. He
had red-gold hair and a dark red beard which he trimmed to appear like the Stratford
bust of Shakespeare; indeed if people did not notice the likeness he was
inclined to point it out to them. His friend Bram Stoker dedicated the iconic
1897 book Dracula to him. Wodehouse, who detested pretense in any form, but
especially among writers, lampooned Caine mercilessly throughout The Globe
By the Way Book, portraying him as a self-absorbed, self-promoting
know-it-all. “Beerbohm claimed that Caine was so ridiculous that at Edwardian
parties you could raise a laugh simply by pronouncing his name.” Wodehouse’s
selection of the nom de plum of “Paul Vane” for the serial is most certainly
a rhyming reference to Caine.
was there with a horse-shoe for luck. Mr. William GillettAmerican actor William Gillette (1853–1937) dramatized Sherlock Holmes, with Conan Doyle’s permission, and played Holmes on stage over 1,300 times in the USA and the UK. Radium was big news back then, having only been discovered a few years earlier.
brought her a bracelet of radium. Mr. Keble Howardauthor and editor of the illustrated weekly The Sketch from 1902 to 1905
begged her to express an opinion on his made-up tie. The Bachelors’ Club, the Stock Exchange were there to a man. In the midst of this brilliant scene Claridge stepped before the footlights and announced that to-night had witnessed the longest stage-waitan unintentional pause during a performance, usually caused by a performer missing a cue
on record. A roar of enthusiastic applause came from the already excited audience, and Marjorie, blazing with diamonds, and slavishly followed by a pure stream of green lime, swept on to the stage. Hardly had she uttered the word “Romeo,” when she noticed that the character in question was being played by Luke Lockhart.
“The iron curtain,”The
first recorded use of the term was derived from the safety curtain used in
theatres to prevent the possibility of fire from spreading from the stage to
the rest of the theater.
she gasped, and exerting her full strength, held the actor under the descending sheet of metal. Simultaneously a pistol shot rang out from the second row of the stalls.
(To be continued.)
To read this story is a Nerve Tonic.
Flipping-the-Flap at Shepherd’s Bush
Exhibition (1908) was a large public fair held in an area of
West London near Shepherd’s Bush which is now called White City.
The area acquired its name from the exhibition buildings which were all painted
white. The exhibition attracted 8 million visitors and celebrated the Entente
Cordiale signed in 1904 by the United Kingdom and France.
The “Flip-Flap,” shown
here on a period postcard, was a large iron ride consisting of a pair of arms
186 feet long working on a pivot, pinioned together near their bases, and
swinging vertically like a gigantic pair of shears. On the outer end of each
was a cage with seats for forty eight persons arranged in tiers so that each
passenger could have an unobstructed view. From the English
Illustrated magazine 1908: “The sensation of a trip in the flip-flap can scarcely be so
thrilling as that of being wrecked on the rocks, but it is said to be very like
that of going up in a balloon. At any rate it has pleased so many people that
they stand in line all day waiting for their turns to ride in the cars, and
hence the projectors are coining money from this device, which was so expensive
will seem a mere trifle after you have perused the next chapter.
Printer’s error corrected above:
Book had the word “of” italicized following édition-de-luxe.