(March 5th to 11th)

Format: Triple

…’Arry come forth e’en a’most ‘imself again – na’un hurt outside ner in of him. I nigh fell on me knees in de wash-house when Bessie was up street. “I’ve got ye now, my man”, I says. “You’ll take your good from me ‘thout knowin’ it till my life’s end. O God send me long to live for ‘Arry’s sake” I says…’


This is from ‘The Wish House’ in ‘Debits and Credits’. Mrs Ashcroft was deserted by her lover, Harry Mockler, but she loved him still, and when he was near to death with blood-poisoning she longed to save him. She had heard of a ‘Wish House’ where one’s wishes would be granted, and she had ‘wished’ to take on Harry’s hurt, and bear it in his stead. The price was an incurable cancer, but she did not grudge it.

‘…There wasn’t much I could do, except bury ’em. There’d been a bit of a thunderstorm in the teak, you see, and they were both stone dead and black as charcoal…’


A group of navy men, in South Africa, are recalling an old ship-mate, Vickery. He had become obsessed with a Mrs Bathurst, a widow who kept a little hotel near Auckland. Something had happened between them. We never discover what it was, but it had become his governing passion. He deserts from a ship on the South African station, and is found dead on the railway line, miles up country, with a ‘mate’. It is an enigmatic story, which has intrigued and baffled generations of readers…

…They had the coarse-grained complexion of men who habitually do themselves well, and an air, too, of recent red-eyed dissipation… Portson, their host, with Vandyke beard and a comfortable little stomach, beamed upon them as they settled to their oysters…’


This is from ‘Sea Constables’ in ‘Debits and Credits’. Three navy men, in 1915, fresh from wartime at sea, are talking shop. One of them launches into an implacable tale of how he has harried a neutral ship carrying supplies to Germany, and refused to help its captain get to hospital though he is mortally sick.