Spooning with the King

Just ahead of my return to “Tucker Carlson Tonight” in an hour or so, here’s the latest episode of Tales for Our Time, our monthly audio adventure for members of The Mark Steyn Club. Earlier this summer we relaunched our timely Tales home page in Netflix tile style, with the stories organized by category – thrillers, fantasy, romance, etc – which we hope will make it easier for you to find your favorite serial. If it doesn’t, please let us know. But you can access nearly thirty of our cracking yarns here – and all previous episodes of our current adventure, Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome, here.

And with that welcome to Part Eleven of Three Men in a Boat. In tonight’s installment, our intrepid troupe find themselves at a momentous location:

We went over to Magna Charta Island, and had a look at the stone which stands in the cottage there and on which the great Charter is said to have been signed; though, as to whether it really was signed there, or, as some say, on the other bank at “Runningmede,” I decline to commit myself. As far as my own personal opinion goes, however, I am inclined to give weight to the popular island theory. Certainly, had I been one of the Barons, at the time, I should have strongly urged upon my comrades the advisability of our getting such a slippery customer as King John on to the island, where there was less chance of surprises and tricks.

There are the ruins of an old priory in the grounds of Ankerwyke House, which is close to Picnic Point, and it was round about the grounds of this old priory that Henry VIII. is said to have waited for and met Anne Boleyn. He also used to meet her at Hever Castle in Kent, and also somewhere near St. Albans. It must have been difficult for the people of England in those days to have found a spot where these thoughtless young folk were not spooning.

Have you ever been in a house where there are a couple courting? It is most trying. You think you will go and sit in the drawing-room, and you march off there. As you open the door, you hear a noise as if somebody had suddenly recollected something, and, when you get in, Emily is over by the window, full of interest in the opposite side of the road, and your friend, John Edward, is at the other end of the room with his whole soul held in thrall by photographs of other people’s relatives.

Very true that. What other book gets you from a landmark of liberty to irritating spooners in the space of three paragraphs? Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear me read Part Eleven of Three Men in a Boat simply by clicking here and logging-in. Earlier episodes can be found here.

There’s more on Magna Carta in our special 800th-anniversary book by Chris Berg and John Roskam with a bit of help from yours truly. If you’re a Steyn Club member, don’t forget to enter the promotional code at checkout to enjoy special member pricing.

I’m especially enjoying the correspondence on Three Men in a Boat. With reference to Friday’s episode, Diane Oliver, a very convivial shipmate on last year’s Mark Steyn Cruise maiden voyage, writes:

I have wondered why antimacassars were so called, it’s such an odd word. Good to know at last and with all the facts that come and go in my head, this one I just know will stick.

Glad to hear that, Diane. We make no great claims for SteynOnline, but we are the one-stop shop for all your antimacassar etymological needs.

If you’ve yet to hear any of our Tales for Our Time, you can do so by joining The Mark Steyn Club and enjoy our nightly audio adventures every evening twenty minutes before lowering your lamp – or hoard the episodes and binge-listen at the weekend or on a long car journey. For more details on that and other benefits to Steyn Club membership, see here – and don’t forget our special Gift Membership.

Please join me with Tucker on the telly live across America at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific – and right here tomorrow evening for another episode of Three Men in a Boat.