melodrama’s very modern modernity

May 19, 2008 § Leave a comment

1914. Wow:

“Wait!” the latter admonished in a half-whisper. “Look there!” 
Barcus followed the direction of his gesture, and 
was transfixed by sight of a rocket appearing into 
the night-draped sky from a point invisible beyond 
the headland. The two consulted one another with 
startled and fearful eyes. 
As with one voice they murmured one word : “Judith!” (p. 103)

A little later (p. 131), Alan climbs up an unfinished skyscraper:

a colossal apartment structure, the gaunt iron skeleton rearing a web of steel stencilled against the shining sky. (…) The ladders were 
crazily constructed and none too securely poised, 
but at length he gained the gridiron of girders on 
a plane with the lighted window across the way, and 
crept along one of these, gingerly on his hands and 
knees, until he came to its end, and might, if he 
cared to, look down a hundred feet to the sidewalks. 

And still later (p. 159), Alan is picked up by a plane:

Out of the very sky dropped a hydroplane, cutting the water with a long graceful curve that brought it, almost at a standstill, directly to the head of the swimmer. and at the same time forced the police-boat to sheer wildly off in order to escape collision. 

And though the first transcontinental flight had been achieved a mere three years before, this does not seem to bother our Alan Law:

Promptly Alan called up the Aviation Fields at 
Hempstead Plains and got into communication with 
a gentleman answering to the surname of Coast, 
the same bird-man who had come to Alan’s rescue 
with his hydroplane. Their arrangements were 
quickly consummated, Coast agreeing to wait for 
Alan with his biplane in Van Cortlandt Park from 
midnight till daybreak, prepared if need be to undertake 
a trans-continental flight

(other takes on Trey o’ Hearts here or here or here)


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