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Inbox Stories

from Annorlunda Books

Here we are at the second month of the Inbox Stories newsletter. I considered sending one of L.M. Montgomery's Christmas stories this month, but I decided that (1) You may be tired of everything being about Christmas (especially if you do not celebrate it), and (2) Some of her other stories are much, much better than the Christmas ones, which tend towards saccharine, so better to wait to use one of those.

Instead, this month's story is To the Bitter End, by Richard Matthews Hallet. It is the story of a woman who is a sea captain, and a feud. It has stayed with me since I first read it because of its sympathetic, bordering on admiring depiction of the woman sea captain, even though it was written in 1919. I like it as a reminder that there have always been strong women, but their stories are not always told. I hope you'll enjoy it, too.

To the Bitter End

by Richard Matthews Hallet

The feud between Hat Tyler and Mrs. Elmer Higgins sprang out of a chance laugh of Elmer’s when he was making his first trip as cadet. Hat Tyler was a sea captain, and of a formidable type. She was master of the Susie P. Oliver, and her husband, Tyler, was mate. They were bound for New York with a load of paving stones when they collided with the coasting steamer Alfred de Vigny, in which Elmer was serving his apprenticeship as a cadet officer.

The old cadet had just come up on the bridge from taking a sounding—he even had a specimen of the bottom in his hand, he said later, sand with black specks and broken shell—when something queer attracted his attention half a point on the starboard bow. It was a thick foggy night, ships bellowing all round, and a weird-looking tow coming up astern with a string of lights one over another like a lot of Chinese lanterns. It was probably these lights that had drawn the mate’s attention away from the ship’s bows.

At all events he was standing with a megaphone to his ear hearkening for noises on the port hand when Elmer took him by the elbow and called out: “What in the name of Sam Hill would you call that great contraption mouching across our bows? My sorrows, Fred, it’s a schooner!”

The mate went cold along his spine, and the vertebræ distributed there jostled together like knucklebones on the back of a girl’s hand, and he yelled “Port helm!”


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We Also Recommend....

Hungry Demigods, a beautiful story about family and finding your own way, by Andrea Tang, in Giganotosaurus.

(Image: Montreal on a winter evening, from Pixabay.)

A Fellow Reader Recommends....

Joyce Chng, author of Water into Wine, recommends Never Yawn Under the Banyan Tree, by Nibedita Sen, in Anathema. This is a delightful story!

(Image: A banyan tree, from Flickr user Huy N.)

Quote of the Month


"Ends had merely revealed intentions irrelevant."

- Vajra Chandrasekera, in Rhizomatic Diplomacy, one of the stories in the really great anthology, Alphabet of Embers, which you can buy on, or Kobo (and possibly other places as well! Look for it, it is worth your time.)
Thanks for reading Inbox Stories! Inbox stories is an email list run by Annorlunda Books that sends a short story to your inbox every month. We also include a recommendation for another story we loved, and a recommendation from someone else in the Inbox Stories community. The recommendations are always free. Sign up at $5/year to get the link to the full text of the monthly story.

If you have a public domain story you want to recommend for a future Inbox Story or a story that you'd like to submit for inclusion in the A Fellow Reader Recommends section, fill out this form.
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