The Black Pearls

The Strand, October, 1948

Today’s inspiration from the Time Capsule comes courtesy of The Strand, October 1948. I used captions of illustrations from several different stories in this edition of The Strand to start off a new story. The first five sentences as well as “a stealthy encroachment of chill into his bones” are borrowed captions.

 

The Strand, October, 1948

The Strand, October, 1948

 

*****

Morley sprang up, dark-veined with rage.

Even Slick was startled. “It’s an impossible job,” he said.

The room was ice-cold and dark.

The figure on the bed came suddenly to life. “Did you not hear me? Go,” he ordered, sitting up and pointing a bony yet commanding finger at the door. “Get the Countess. Bring her here.”

“You’d put us in danger again, Squinty? You can’t ask us to bring the Countess here,” said Morley. “What about her bodyguards? And her husband’s spies? They’re everywhere. And they’re well-armed. Didn’t we go through enough getting hold of those pearls for you?”

“I said, bring her here.” Squinty sank back into his pillows.

Morley’s veins throbbed. The Countess! The rustle of her silken dress. The smooth slope of her bare shoulder. Her creamy neck. The string of black pearls around it! Each pearl a perfection!

Oh, how the very memory of those pearls caused a stealthy encroachment of chill into his bones.

“The Countess! The Countess! Always the Countess!” snarled Morley. “Why don’t you think of us for once?”

“You?” Squinty gave a feeble laugh. “Think of you?”

Morley ground his teeth, or what was left of them. He cursed the night he’d run into Squinty in a low-down tavern on the wharf. If only he could have foreseen how he’d end up paying for those free drinks!

*****

I particularly enjoyed a section in The Strand called “Useless Information.” Did you know, for instance, that “The first Victoria Crosses were made of bronze obtained from Russian guns captured during the Crimean War”? Or that “In flight the wings of the common house-fly make more than 300 vibrations per second”? Or that, because of an earthquake “In 1158 the river Thames ‘was dryed uppe, that all London might walk over the same dry-shod'”?

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Nerve Trouble, Dry Cheese and Other Complaints

Farm Field & Fireside, Friday April 27, 1928

Inspiration from the Time Capsule: this week I pulled out the April 27, 1928 edition of Farm Field and Fireside.

Finally my curiosity about French Polishing has been answered – I might actually try it (“1 pint of methylated spirits and 6 oz of the finest orange shellac”). And I was intrigued by all the possible ways to use the huge elder beside our house other than to make jelly (see quote at end of this post). 

Each line used below is from a different section of the newspaper – creating “alternative” problems and advice.

*****

Could you kindly tell me if there is
A Guide to Descent?
Does the eldest son take all?
(The game is to have only one left on the board.
The rules applied Continue reading

Time Capsule #3: The Goose Bone Weather Prophet

This week I pulled a copy of the Napanee Beaver from February 1901 out of our Time Capsule.

Napanee Beaver, 1901

The newspaper is huge (open it out and it’s 36 inches wide!), the print tiny and the articles, ads, notices crammed in.

I don’t understand how people could read it. I found it exhausting. And what about the typesetters? Imagine those thousands of teeny tiny blocks they had to put in place.

The Napanee Beaver

This week as I was searching for interesting tidbits to transcribe into this post, I realized how much I missed the creative zap from last year’s weekly Blurt-writing. Time for some creative fun! So this is a mash-up. I’ve spliced together Continue reading