D is for Darkness, Despite, and Dimly

Welcome to Stranded!, my The Strand Magazine-based April A to Z Blogging Challenge!  In this challenge, I will be taking illustrations from The Strand Magazine and making new stories out of them.  So, in order to fully appreciate the Stirring Events eventuating here, a look back at my older A TO Z entries is advisable.  I promise you, they are short (the first panel below is the longest–by far–that I have done).  Click Here to start with my Theme Reveal, or Click Here to start with A!  It is also totally acceptable to just look at today’s post.

And what of Annabelle?  She has, I fear, her troubles, too.  Specifically:

Now, dear reader, I know what you are thinking.  “But, my dear Atherton!”  You are thinking.  “Surely– surely!  That second image is from Punch.  It is much more characteristic of the style of that publication than of The Strand.”

And I say to you in reply–quick as anything, too, for I am Like That– “My dear Jenkins, you are perfectly correct!  However, The Strand Magazine ran, for a time, a series of articles entitled A Peep Into “Punch,” in which they re-printed some pictures that were originally in that droll periodical.  Including this really horrifying elephant.”

If you’ve read my 2015 A to Z (and, to all of you who have read it, you are my personal heroes; it is good, but it is almost novel-length, so… yes), you are perhaps worrying about this apparent Moral Deterioration in Sneakfork, the butler.  Fear not!  This is not the same fellow.  Agatha Christie, I think, called more than one butler in her stories Treadwell (in fact, my impression is that she used that name for all of her butlers, but I am probably wrong, and I don’t fancy sitting down and reading through all of Dame Agatha’s fine stories again to check).  I have chosen to call all my butlers Sneakfork.  This could indicate that the Sneakforks are a large and ramifying family who go in for being butlers; then again, it may be a Mere Whim on my part.

Sneakfork, The Butler

Pictured: Zebediah Sneakfork, who is Not The Same Fellow as the Sneakfork in this story

The first picture of today’s installment came from The Strand Magazine No. 16, the second image came from No. 100, and the third came from… oh dear.  It looks like I forgot to record which issue this one came from, and I don’t intend to flip through all of them all over again now in order to find out.  I will be flipping through them again tomorrow (and tomorrow and tomorrow), and will post the issue number in a comment or something when I come across it again.







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  1. Love the pic of sneakfork

  2. This looks like fun! Wonderful pictures and a tidy little story, too.

    • Melanie Atherton Allen

      Hello Sorchia! And thank you! And, “little” is right– I hope and trust. My 2015 A to Z clocks in at something like 50,000 words, and I am determined not to do anything nearly that long this year. Have you similar concerns for your Gothic Serial Novel (which, btw, I have started to read, and am enjoying so far)?
      Thanks for your visit, and do call again!

  3. What will happen to Alfie after this? ‘I have to read on

  4. My, this is a twisty story 😉

    The Old Shelter – 1940s Film Noir

  5. It looks like Alfie has some unpleasant relatives, that’s for sure. And Annabelle has some pretty crazy dreams. Also, nice picture. 😀

    • Melanie Atherton Allen

      Hello Sara! Yes, Alfie is indeed cursed with some terribly unpleasant relatives… and Annabelle’s dreams are The Worst. Thanks!

  6. Sneakfork! I burst out laughing the first time I read it and I still haven’t stopped. What delightfully devious name for a butler.

    It seems I’ll have to read the 2015 A to Z now to acquaint myself with Sneakfork Sr. (Jr.? Dr.? I have no idea…).

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