Search this blog

Friday 29 May 2020

๐Ÿ“š Segment 5: Mudlarks and the Silent Highwayman - Alan M. Clark

Thank you for joining us for the fifth segment in the serialisation of Mudlarks and the Silent Highwayman, an Historical Supernatural Illustrated Novelette by (, IFD Publishing, 69 pages).

Mudlarks and the Silent Highwayman is set in 1884 Victorian London, rife with "the dangers of illness from the Thames", such as "The Great Stink, a nearly two-month-long period in the summer of 1858, during which those who could afford to do so, evacuated London to get away from the smell coming off the river.

In such periods of fouled water and air, the poor, needing the income, or fearing unemployment, continued to work, despite the dangers of disease, real or perceived.

This is a fanciful story about a mudlark and the choices he made within that environment."
- Alan M. Clark

If you missed the previous segments, you can catch up, find out more about the story, its serialisation and Alan M. Clark here, or jump to the segment you missed by using the links below.

|| Synopsis || Segments: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 || About the Author ||

"The Eve of Cholera": click here to purchase the original drawings by Alan M. Clark
The Eve of Cholera
      Mum was up and down in the night many times to use the chamber pot. Trying to sleep in the bed next to her, while full of excitement over the hope of the salvage, Albert got little rest.
      In the morning, to his frustration, he found himself attending Mum in her illness.
      “I am expected to deliver my collection to the Tannery’s man this morning,” he told her.
      “Before you go, fetch water for me,” she said.
      Seeing that they were indeed out of fresh water, Albert winced, but dutifully picked up the bucket and went out. The closest public pump was in the passage to White’s Rents. He ran there, about a quarter mile, then wobbled his way back home along the stone streets as fast as possible, trying not to spill.
      Mum drank deeply of the water upon his return. “You must steady me to the privy and wait to aid my return,” she said. “I’ve become light in the head, and fear a fall.”
      She remained in the crooked wooden privy behind their lodgings long enough that he might have run to the wreck of the wherry and returned. Not that that would have given him the time he needed, but the thought fed his frustration. Just as he considered making his excuses and leaving her to fend for herself, she stepped out and grasped his steadying arm.
      Over the next few hours, he found no reasonable excuse to leave her without admitting his goal and revealing that he scavenged the river.
      Mum was in a desperate state. He continued to fetch and tote for her through the afternoon, as she had little strength to do for herself. She moaned and writhed, complained of muscle cramps, and retched to no effect in the basin several times. When she lay back on the bed, to his alarm, he saw a rapid pulsing of the vessels in her neck.
"Albert's Sick Mum": click here to purchase the original drawings by Alan M. Clark
      “Shall I get someone to help?” he asked, “Aunt Gert is on my way to meet the man what pays for my findings. I could tell her to come help you.” If he got away from his mother, he might look in on his find. Aunt Gertrude lived in a room in Tooke Street on the Isle of Dogs, very close to the wrecked wherry. At the least, he could go to the marine store—not nearly as far away—and sell his half of the linen cloth he and Turvey had found.
      “Your findings will not go bad. The tannery can wait. Aunt Gertrude has her own problems, and I need you.”
      Albert felt ashamed of himself for trying so hard to deceive his mother.
      Although he had seen Mum looking rough when ill before, he’d never feared her beauty would not return as he did presently. Her rich auburn hair was plastered to her head with perspiration, dark circles grew under her beautiful eyes, and her soft skin looked increasingly pale and gray. Albert didn’t know what to do for her. He grudgingly accepted her need to have him nearby.

Mudlarks and the Silent Highwayman copyright © 2020 Alan M. Clark

Come back tomorrow for the sixth segment of Mudlarks and The Silent Highwayman, or purchase your electronic or paperback copy from...

purchase from purchase from purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo UK purchase from iTunes UK purchase from Smashwords find on Goodreads

(The price for the paperback will be reduced to $7.95 on starting on the 29th of May)

No comments: