(April 4th to 10th)
From a drawer in the table he took a well-worn catapult, a handful of buckshot, and a duplicate key of the study; noiselessly he raised the window and kneeled by it, his face turned to the road, the wind-sloped trees, the dark levels of the Burrows, and the white line of breakers falling nine-deep along the Pebble-ridge. Far down the steep-banked Devonshire lane he heard the husky hoot of the carrier’s horn. There was a ghost of melody in it, as it might have been the wind in a gin-bottle…
This is from “Slaves of the Lamp” Part I, in Stalky & Co..
Beetle has been held up to ridicule by King, and the three are taking their revenge, getting themselves turned out of their study, but secretly using it as a base for tickling up the drunken local carter – with buckshot. He curses loudly, and King, whose study is just below, opens the window to rebuke him. The carter retaliates with stones, and wrecks King’s study.
After two hours of rooting through this desolation at an average rate of five miles an hour, his eyes were cheered by the sight of one white buoy in the coffee-hued midstream. The flat-iron crept up to it cautiously, and a leadsman took soundings all round it from a dinghy, while Bai-Jove-Judson smoked and thought, with his head on one side.
‘About seven feet, isn’t there?’ said he. ‘That must be the tail-end of the shoal. There’s four fathom in the fairway. Knock that buoy down with axes. I don’t think it’s picturesque, some how.’ The Kroo men hacked the wooden sides to pieces in three minutes…
This is from “Judson and the Empire” in Many Inventions.
There is trouble in Portuguese East Africa, where republican agitators have been stirring up trouble against the British. Lieutenant Judson, with his gunboat, has been sent up from the Cape to resolve the problem without fighting or loss of life. Here he is laying a trap for the local gunboat, which needs deeper water than his own vessel. Once it is stranded on the hidden shoal he will have naval supremacy, and can deal with the local siituation by genial diplomacy.
‘Between two and three that Sunday morning—dark an’ blowin’ from the north—I was woke up by an explosion an’ people shoutin’ “Raid!” The first bang fetched ’em out like worms after rain. There was another some minutes afterwards, an’ me an’ a Sergeant in the Shropshires on leaf told ’em all to take cover. They did. There was a devil of a long wait an’ there was a third pop. Everybody, includin’ me, heard aeroplanes…What we noticed first—the Shropshire Sergeant an’ me—was a rick well alight back o’ Margetts’ house, an’, with that north wind, blowin’ straight on to another rick o’ Margetts’. It went up all of a whoosh.’
This is from “A Friend of the Family” in Debits and Credits.
Hickmot, an Australian from the outback. fighting in the Gteat War, had made friends with an English lad, Vigors, who is later killed un action. At home, the two Margetts boys, sons of a business rival, have been granted exemption from the war, with the result that the Vigors firm goes broke, while the Margetts family prospers. Hickmot, who has lost a leg, comes to stay in the village. The night he leaves, the Margetts’s house and greenhouse are destroyed by bombs. This was not an air raid, as officially reported, but Hickmot’s retaliation for the injustice to Vigors, using grenades from a bombing-range.