(September 4th to 10th)

Format: Triple

My companion washed his hands of all responsibility. He was an old man; he had been lured into a stolen boat by a young man—probably a thief—he had saved the boat from wreck (this was absolutely true), and now he expected salvage in the shape of hot whisky and water. The sergeant turned to me. Fortunately I was in evening dress, and had a card to show … I heard my companion say angrily to a constable, ‘If you will not give it to a dry man, ye maun to a drookit.’ Then he walked deliberately off the edge of the flat into the water.


This is from “Brugglesmith” from Many Inventions

The narrataor, after dining on board a merchant vessel on the Thames, becomes embroiled with another guest of the ship, who is extremely drunk. After he has been fished out of the water with a boat-hook, the plot thickens.

I never realised that there were so many bees in the world. When they had woven a flashing haze from one end of the desert street to the other, there remained reserves enough to form knops and pendules on all window-sills and gutter-ends, without diminishing the multitudes in the three oozing bonnet-boxes, or drawing on the Fourth (Railway) Battalion in charge of the station below. The prisoners in the waiting-rooms and other places there cried out a great deal (I argued that they were dying of the heat), and at regular intervals the stationmaster called and called to a signalman who was not on duty, and the train whistled as it drew nearer.


This is from “The Vortex” in Actions and Reactions.

A motor car, inexpertly driven, has collided with a messenger boy, who is carrying some boxes of bees on his bicycle. The boxes fall and burst open, and the bees swarm into a crowded village on a busy Saturday afternoon, with spectacular results…

‘It is dead easy. I’m going to drive her to Instead Wick—aren’t I?’ said the first-class engineroom artificer. I thought of his performances with No. 267 and nodded. After all, it was a small privilege to accord to pure genius.

‘But my engineer will stand by—at first,’ I added.

‘An’ you a family man, too,’ muttered Pyecroft, swinging himself into the right rear seat. ‘Sure to be a remarkably hectic day when we meet.’


This is from “Steam Tactics” in Traffics and Discoveries.

The narrator, a barely-disguised Kipling, and his chauffeur-engineer, are driving through Sussex in his steam car, when they meet Petty Officer Pyecroft and Mr Hinchcliffe, Engine-Room Artificer 1st Class. The narrator forgoes his lunch engagement and offers Pyecroft and Hinchcliffe a lift. Hinchcliffe takes the controls….