Inferno News 1877

(with thanks to the London Times and various other worthy publications)

DISAPPEARANCE   The Hon Alicia Pinch-Fawcett has disappeared, leaving only this letter to her
brother the Hon Steven: "Dear Steven, When you read this I shall be lost to you,
oh poor, dear, dissolute brother! Do not think too harshly of your poor Alicia that
she thus abandons you. Be sure that it is with the utmost wrench of my heart that I
leave my one remaining relation. If you had heeded my counsel, then this circumstance could
have been avoided, but I have long since known you to be lost, body and soul, to that Den of Vice,
 Moriarty's gambling house. I need not tell you the many times I have wept at your feet, begging
you not to return to That Place, and squander the small remains of our fortune, but in vain. I need not
tell you of the vile attentions to which I have been exposed at the hands of Squire Sneegrin, who seemed
 to think a sister's honour a just return for a brother's debts. Forgive me, Steven, but I could not agree
to his abominable demands for all the love I bear you. You, my brother, should have been my protector. You have failed me, and forced me to find another. He is a gentleman, and has taken pity on a poor oppressed wretch. Do not try to contact me. If I hear good reports of you, and find that you have reformed, you shall hear from me. Your grieved and loving Alicia." The letter was found next to the Hon Steven's body - he had taken his own life, with a Giffine Gun.

AN ADVERTISEMENT   cried on every street corner: "See the amazing Cinematograph, a Wonder of the Civilized World. See the strange and wondrous inhabitants of the Moon."

ITALY WOOED BY PRINCESS ARABELLA!   Italy has not seen the likes of these grand spectacles in a long time! Comte Bertrand has provided sanctuary for the beautiful Princess Arabella and she has returned the favour by hosting several grand banquets and balls, tickets to which are like gifts from the gods! Anybody who is anyone, or aspires to be so is there, with the Princess tugging at the hearts of many an Italian Gentleman. Who will be the one to capture the diamond? Several have remarked upon a chemistry between the Princess and the Comte, but with many showing such interest, this columnist does not want to predict whom she will choose. (from Ciao! magazine)

AN ADVERTISEMENT   "Join the Orca Institute - for those who dare to walk their own path. PO Box 88, London."

BLESS THEIR COTTON DOCKS   Power to the people is the widely spoken motto in the dockyards of Britain at the moment as one of the largest Union of workers is being formed. A new member said, "It's about bloomin' time. Britain needs us like, well, like something really important, and we want better pay and better houses. Too much to ask? Just you lot remember how your tea gets into your teapots!"

LIECHTENSTEIN IS LIBERATED   The King of Liechtenstein has expressed immense gratitude to the Prussians in restoring him to his throne. However, there are reports that he is in rather poor health, having suffered so much during the Occupation, and speculation is rife as to whether Princess Arabella will be as skilful in the position of Queen.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR   "Dear Sir, I was glad to see that you reported the vicious and unprovoked attack upon my person while exercising my right of free speech at Speakers Corner. However you failed to point out that if the rights of an Englishman to speak his mind clearly and freely are to be ignored so thuggishly by the cronies of that arch-villain, the Pope it is an attack on the very core of Britain. Every one of your readers is at risk of brutal attack from the Levantines simply by using their basic rights granted since the signing of the Magna Carta. The Pope's actions are an attack on the very nature of British society and its traditions. I urge every patriot to aid those forces that are resisting the Pope in his relentless attack on our noble isle and its ancient traditions. Let us unite against the Pope! Yours, Sidney Weaver."

NEMO TAKES DESK JOB   The world of marine research was shocked by the announcement of Captain Nemo becoming Professor of the Poseidon Institute of Marine Sciences in southern Italy. Nemo has been the pioneer of many radical techniques in underwater exploration, does this mean an end to his research? "On the contrary" he told our reporter, "I believe that my Professorship at the Institute will do a great deal to develop the finest scientists of our generation, and is a just recognition of my abilities."

CRIME WAR IN PARIS   Is the reign of violence in our city never to end? A great number of suspected gangsters have been massacred in their beds, no less than 20 in one night. The police are denying any involvement and are on the case searching for the killers; yet many suspect them of dealing a swift blow to the crime syndicates without having to bother with trials, and other such delays on the route to justice. Le Soir, Paris.

FRENCH HEIRESS MISSING   The young Comtesse de Pernot has disappeared, only the most prominent of many to have suffered from the chaos plaguing France. She left only this note, to her father: "Dear Papa, I have no doubt you have been very worried about your naughty Lucille, have you not? You should not fret yourself, Papa, for you know I am all of seventeen and quite capable of looking after myself. When the nasty mobs ran about in Paris, what do you think I did? Why, with no-one about but that funny old coachman with gruff voice, I ran to stables, climbed on a horse and rode away. Not even side-saddle like a lady, Papa! You would have been so cross with me! But if you had seen how scared I was you would have forgiven me. Well, I rode and rode, all of a fright, until I was quite dizzy and cold and lost. I thought I would ride south and find you and mama, but all the road made no sense, and however far I rode it was all strange to me. But you see, it has all worked out well. I have met up with the dearest little clergyman who says he will take me meet his wife. He says that she and I are of a height, and I think he means to make a present to me of some of her clothes, for mine are quite splashed with mud. Then he says he will have me taken straight to you by carriage. Kiss Mama and Bobo for me, Lucille." But the Comtesse never arrived at Pernot, another victim of civil disorder no doubt.

LOVE AMONGST THE STANZAS   Is there love blooming between the new up and coming poet Rudyard Kipling and the Poet of the masses, Julianne Fulbright? Sources suggest that they have been working closely on the "Poetry on the Omnibus" scheme, and his poems do seem to be used in abundance... Many on the subject of love. Watch this double decker... (from Ho Do You Do? magazine)

WOMEN SUFFERING IN JAIL?   Shocking stories of the treatment of women in British jails has recently been brought to light by a suffrage journalist in the Minerva Times magazine. The Times would like to question the objectivity of the Lady author, is there not injustice everywhere if one seeks it enough? And surely prison is supposed by definition to be unpleasant, so that criminals may suffer.

CHEAP HOSTELS IN FORMER ASYLUMS   The asylum property bubble so noted in Britain in recent years seems to have finally burst, with some of the over-capacity now being converted into hostels for the poor.

*** TURMOIL IN EASTERN EUROPE   Bereft of the guiding hand of the Hapsburgs, Eastern Europe has not been slow to descend into chaos, with Bulgaria and Greece combining to overrun the small states of Albania and Macedonia - the latter their ally in the war against the Turks. How short are Balkan memories! Reports are also emerging of guerrilla struggles in Serbia, Montenegro and even the Prussian client state of Rumania.

AN ADVERTISEMENT   "The New Radical Theatre seeks playwrights to bring the reality of the dynamic and modern Britain to the stage. New writers should be socially aware and conversant with topics such as Labour, Social Inequity and Science and its Wonders. No script unread."

RUSSIAN NOBLE VANISHES   The Countess Anna Pushova has disappeared on the eve of her planned wedding, leaving only this note to her nurse Sonia. "My good a true-hearted friend, How often like unto a willow and its reflection we have locked soft hands through a wall of tears? How often like twin teardrops we have seen ourselves reflected in the other, unto infinity? And how often have we sought consolation in the other's serious conversation when a brash, insensitive world attempted to rouse us into an unthinking jollity, a crass and foolish optimism, and asked us what the deuce was the matter? Oh Sonia! I am to be wed! I tell only you of this, for I suspect the rest of the world would put on a foolish smile and treat the matter as one for celebration. It is far from being so - do not imagine I flee to the imagined joys of wedlock. My Tiberius is of a dark and melancholy persuasion - sometimes his sighs and fancies alarm even me. I have no doubt that he will do something desperate and poison himself before long, leaving me prostrate with grief. Nonetheless it is my duty to be with him to the end, my destiny. We are soul mate (do not envy us, sweet Sonia!) and must be together until death do us part. When I next see you, expect me in widow's weeds. Take care of my estates until then. Your wretched Anna."

LILITH NOT SO FAIR   "... the foul witch Lilith tore out another infant's throat as panicked spectators were tortured by demons..." (from an unsuccessful applicant for the post of Religious Correspondent)

*** NEW EMPIRE DECLARED   The chaos in the East has finally resolved itself, with the various rebel groups, together with the Bulgarian army, uniting the entire region under the rulership of young George Petrovich, known as Kara-George, a Serbian freedom fighter whose mother was a Greek aristocrat. This obscure individual is clearly a figurehead for the true authority in the region, in The Times's opinion, with Dutchman Colonel Niels Graaf - finally revealed as the true identity of the mercenary commander 'Olaf' who has been guiding the Bulgarian hand all these years - given the post of Magister Militum and sure to be the real power behind the throne. Be that as it may, the Emperor was crowned Constantine the Reforger by Photios, Patriarch of the Greek Church, on the 26th of May 1877, the anniversary of the fall of Constantinople. The new Empire consists of the capital, Constantinople, and five provinces, each with its own prefect; Hellas, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and Rumania. Its only land neighbours are Venice (Slovenia), Prussia (former Austria), Hungary and Russia. This leaves Hungary as the only independent state in the entirety of Eastern Europe.

NEWSPAPERS TAKING UNIFORM LINE   The Times has not been slow to notice that its competitors are now uniformly taking a more Liberal line in matters such as religious conformity, opposition to the Levitican Army, and even women's suffrage. The Observer has been foolish enough to say "given that the greatest Empire in the history of the world is run by a woman, it seems a little difficult to argue that women can't understand politics and matters of the state" - as though any ordinary woman could be compared to our dear Monarch! Readers will be pleased to learn that The Times intends to continue to cover news according to the principles of fairness and conscience, rather than singing from a prescribed hymnsheet of political views.

CABINET RESHUFFLE   Only a minor one, with Lord Chelmsford stepping down from the difficult Home post to take up a new role as Chairman of the Conservative Party, The Prime Minister paid tribute to this much-valued servant of the party. Home Secretary, the hottest job in the Cabinet, has been offered to up-and-coming Mr James Derothshire, but it is whispered that the Marquess of Salisbury is to be given an Ambassadorial post rather than joining the Government, as some had thought.

NEW RELIGIOUS CORRESPONDENT APPOINTED   After assessing the merits of rival applicants, The Times has appointed Mr Herbert Lomas to the vacant post. No doubt, with religious affairs remaining full of controversy, you will be hearing much from him this year.

STEAM INC. PUFFS INTO VIEW   The enigmatic Comte Bertrand, Senatorial candidate for Vicenza in the forthcoming Italian elections, has formed an umbrella company named Steam Inc to look after his various manufacturing interests. Does this mean that the Comte will be taking a more hands-off approach in coming years, and leaving administration to the able team he has gathered about himself? Rumours from the closely-guarded Venetian headquarters were scarce as usual.

FREAK WEATHER   A small patch of curious weather conditions seems to have been moving across Europe this year, In particular, Mr Ferdinand Lancelot Gaboon's noted Flying Circus's performances have been accompanied by snow, hail and lightning, even during the months of summer.

SALISBURY ENTERTAINS   The mischievous Marquess was at it again this year, hosting a series of shoots at Cranborne (some graced by the presence of 'people's poet' Miss Julianne Fulbright, who recited some of her work to great applause), as well as a series of engagements at his new Boston home, where his in-laws the Cabot Lodges were of course much in evidence, together with such luminaries of the American cultural scene as Mr Stephen Foster, Mrs Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Mr Mark Twain. (from How Do You Do? magazine)

*** ELECTION PROSPECTS   The General Election has been called for March, and things look uneasy for Mr Southville's government: it is by no means a certainty that they will be re-elected. The mood in the country is sour, what with the bubonic plague still raging and the crime problem worse than ever. As has been made abundantly apparent, a number of voters are driven primarily by religious views: with Archbishop Fortescue gone, how will their votes be determined? Paradoxically, it seems that the best hope for the Conservatives is if the radical Equity Party do well. Heavily funded by Italian democratic interests, this new party is putting up candidates in fully half Britain's seats, and it is sure to be taking votes from the Liberals rather than from the Tories. It could well be that Equity will take enough seats to prevent the Liberals from edging the Tories out of office. (by our Political Correspondent)

HERESY BILL SHOULD BE OPPOSED   "... this country has a long tradition of respecting freedom of worship, and we should not fall victim to the levels of persecution suffered in foreign climes. You may feel, as this correspondent does, that no one form of worship, Catholic, Protestant or Nonconformist, has any special privilege of correctness over any other, and all are led by autocratic characters. Stand up for the freedom to think for oneself!" (from our new Religious Correspondent)

PRUSSIAN RIOTS QUELLED   The scattered anarchist revolts that plagued Prussia last year have been put down by Army units, and the ringleaders executed with the efficiency we associate with the Teutonic race.

JESUS HAD A SISTER?   The religious world has been turned on its head by the shock discovery of the original Census carried out at Caesar Augustus's behest, in which the Nazarene carpenter Joseph ben Jacob and his wife Mary are shown as being accompanied by their three-year old daughter Rachel. The Census is a known historical even, of course, but its records in this far-flung outpost of the Roman Empire were assumed to have been lost long since. It emerges that the documents remained in Ephesus for some centuries, unregarded, before finding their way onto the black market only recently. They have now emerged in the collection of the late eccentric American antiquarian and property magnate Mr Gerald Moores, who sought to leave it to the Vatican: but it was intercepted by persons unknown and delivered to the New York Times. Historical experts have pronounced the document indisputably genuine, although religious authorities are still withholding reaction. At times like these, how much we miss the trenchant pronouncements of an Archbishop Fortescue: we shall not see his like again. (by our new Religious Affairs correspondent)

KING BEGS FOR RETURN OF HIS DAUGHTER   Princess Arabella, darling of the Italian elite, has disappeared, suspected kidnapped by Austrian extremists. It has been uncovered that the Princess was heavily involved with the Liechtensteinian Resistance during the Austrian occupation, and made several enemies in the process. However, no ransom demands have been made and the King is said to be distraught and in resulting poor health. It seems that in this day and age, not even royalty is free from escalating crime over Europe.

LONDON KILLINGS CONTINUE   Our great capital seems to be plagued with a wide range of killers - apart from the Slasher, who has been mercifully inactive in the later part of the year, there is Sabre, who has killed several criminals including one thought to be a key lieutenant in the Steampunk Mafia, another vigilante known as The Masked Man (no prizes for originality), and the blood-draining killer, who seems to have moved his nefarious operations to the suburbs during the course of the year. Lord Chelmsford proved himself unable to handle the job: will Mr Derothshire do any better, should he decide to accept the post of Home Secretary? The fact of it is that Mr Southville himself is the most effective Home Secretary we have had these past ten years or more: and who would have thought we would ever say that, eh, readers? (from our Home Affairs correspondent)

AN ADVERTISEMENT   "Interested in swimming with fish and seeing what's in the sea? The new craze DIVING. Contact Henri Giffard at his new factory in Antwerp."

ARCHBISHOP'S SERMON   "... friends and Christians, it is with hope we celebrate the establishment and increasing popularity of what I believe is known as the Committee to Welcome Our Alien Friends who look to the skies for arrival of beings from the stars. I have been asked, and the question is a fair one, as to the opinion of the established church on these matters. All I can say is 'All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small. All things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all' and who but a base heretic or agnostician could doubt the word of the hymn reflecting indeed the word of God. If indeed such beings, 'God's Other Children' as I would prefer to call them, do visit us be sure they come in love and peace and will pour their bounty upon us. Welcome them with love in your hearts as would our Saviour this Eastertide"

ONE FURTHER STEP   "Today, we take a further step to the stars," announced Mr Henri Giffard as he dramatically boarded the Pioneer's manned Moon mission. "We, intrepid space travellers, journey to the Moon to answer finally the question 'Are we Alone?' Today marks a further step for our group - Baron von Poelzig, Colonel Maguire, Mr Stone, Mr Goddard, Mr Swift, Mr Dawson and a representative of Dr Bang - thank you."

*** AUSTRIA DISMEMBERED, EMPEROR EXILED   The victorious Prussian forces under von Essen have signalled the death of the ancient Empire, in the hands of the Hapsburg family for 440 years. Franz Josef and his family have been sent to a small island in the Baltic, except for Crown Prince Rudolf who cannot be found. The government have all been thrown into jail, with the seniormost ministers executed - a tyrannical act, surely, for these men who did nothing worse than try to defend their nation. Liechtenstein has been liberated and returned to its King. Count von Essen announced that an effort would be made to integrate the new possessions, with Austrian officers and troops allowed their own units within the Prussian Army, and full rights to all citizens.

*** HERESY BILL PASSED   In amazing scenes reminiscent of the great days of Pitt the Younger, the Religious Conformity & Social Cohesion Bill passed the Commons with strong support, despite vigorous and at times violent opposition from progressive MPs. Even the Archbishop's repudiation of the Bill seemed to make no difference, as Roll of the Lamb MPs came out of the woodwork in all directions, supported by a curious coalition of power-seekers and place men from across the benches. Informed opinion suggests that pressure must have been applied from a variety of sources to push this important measure through, yet curiously the Government itself remained mute on the issue. Mr and Mrs Britain now face a climate of suspicion and fear, with any who offends against the religious orthodoxy subject to exile or stronger punishment. Is this any way to approach the twentieth century? (by our new Religious Correspondent)

*** VON ESSEN IS NEW PRUSSIAN CHANCELLOR, C-I-C   Count von Essen, victor over Austria, has been appointed commander-in-chief of the Prussian armed forces, and also appointed Chancellor of what normally sober Prussians are already calling Der Dritte Reich, the largest Germanic empire since the days of Charlemagne. Pfalzgraf von Seyffert, thought by many to have been losing his grip in recent years, has been edged into retirement. But can von Essen, known until a few years ago only for his reorganization of the Prussian Army's Audit Department, really hold down these two huge jobs, or has he been promoted on the grounds of his close blood relationship to the Kaiser? Only time will tell.

*** ATTEMPT ON KING'S LIFE   The life of King Morgan of Bavaria was only just preserved by a revolutionary alarm system installed in his bedroom, reports emerge from Munich. The bold assassin had silently infiltrated the palace and killed his way through Morgan's heavy personal bodyguard, and was poised over the sleeping monarch ready to strike when he was suddenly consumed in a pillar of sulphurous flame.

*** CHAOS IN FRANCE DEEPENS   We can only look with pity on our troubled neighbours across the Channel, and count ourselves fortunate to be British, as a brutal power struggle festers vigorously throughout the French nation. First the entire ruling junta of generals, led by Marshal Joffre, were assassinated on the night of St Valentine's Day. Then the heads of both major parties called for immediate general elections. Then they themselves were all rounded up and executed by the military. Then the towns, departments and prefectures erupted into civil disorder. Now it seems that no-one is governing France at all: the military are attempting to enforce order, but have no public support at all, while no politician dare raise up his head. To add insult to injury, the toppled Emperor Napoleon III, together with all his family, have mysteriously disappeared from their island exile, despite being under constant heavy guard - reports that they simple dematerialized into thin air are being put down to idle speculation. What next for the French? One thing is for sure, if this state of affairs continues, Europe is not short of other nations who will be eager to step in and 'lend a hand'.

FRENCH MILITARY WOES DEEPEN   The captured Britannic, the largest warship in the world, taken by the French and renamed to La Republique, has been scuttled by brave British saboteurs in Marseilles harbour. How they got aboard is a mystery, but they overpowered the crew and were attempting to sail the vessel out before being surrounded by the remainder of the French Mediterranean fleet, which rendered destruction the only option. The Government has been quick to assume credit for the action, maybe in an attempt to distract attention from the persistent rumours that French agents have stolen some of our military secrets.

LORD TRIPPINGHURST TO WED   The proprietor of the Observer newspaper has announced his nuptial plans. A Miss Catherine Mendel, of London, is the fortunate intended, and the wedding is to be a quiet affair next February.

STONE WAVES LICENSED   A new company named the Imperial Network Incorporated has been set up to broadcast over the new Stone Waves. Signs perhaps of a spat between Mr Stone and his mentor Lord Hamilton, as Hamilton Industries was beaten in its own bid for the license. The INI station transmits music-hall entertainers, readings from popular novels and poetry, as well a news, sport and the weather, but its most popular item is the 'Voice of the Empire' nightly broadcast, in which a character known as John Bull makes his trenchant views known on a variety of topical subjects, such as the desired separation of religion and politics. Meanwhile Mr Stone's own station, Radio One, has proved somewhat less popular, perhaps because of the incessant commercial breaks during which the entire range of Stone products is advertised.

*** IT'S UNITY, DEMOCRACY FOR ITALY   The Italian plebiscite resulted in a spectacular landslide for the forces seeking unity and democracy, with a comfortable majority in every part of the peninsula. This must be seen as a personal triumph for Minister d'Aventine, who spent much of the year campaigning endlessly in every town, showing off his wide command of dialect and accent. The new King, Cosimo de'Medici, was crowned by the Pope in a brief but moving ceremony, and the new provisional government headed by Grand Duchess Adriana Sforza as Prime Minister and Mr d'Aventine as Minister of War have taken up office. Elections to the Senate, which will involve full adult suffrage on the Slovenian model, will take place next year, after something of a debate about timing - in the end it was decided to give all parties time to organize, an opportunity which has certain been taken by the new Italian Democratic Party, a coalition of progressives from Florence and the South whose policies are vague but whose appeal seems assured.

MINING THE MOON   The new Lunar Mining Corporation has been established to exploit our satellite's mineral riches, its directors being the crew of the Pioneer, plus Comte Bertrand, but not including Mr Stone.

VOLTE-FACE FROM ARCHBISHOP   The Archbishop of Canterbury, sponsor of the Heresy Bill in the Lords, has now repudiated it and dissociated himself from it, much to the surprise of his supporters. In fact these last few weeks have seen a meeker and milder Fortescue than we are accustomed to, somewhat repentant of his former bombast. (from our new Religious Correspondent)

RASPBERRY RIPPLES SPREAD IN BAVARIA   King Morgan has been busily whipping up his populace into a nationalistic fervour, focussing popular hatred on the raspberry-growers and other purveyors of soft fruit who are thought to have held the late King Otto in their sinister thrall. "They were probably in league with the devil, and poisoned his raspberries to drive him mad!" exclaimed the King in one particularly stirring address. He has founded a prestigious youth movement, called the Young Men of Leman, to spearhead the drive against the fruiterer menace.

SALISBURY CUP FINAL REPORT   "... and it was another shock result, a victory for the Christian Rovers - what a good bunch of supporters they have - who have revolutionized the English game with their overlapping wing-backs. The Newcastle team showed moments of the supreme skill we associate with them, but looked tactically outclassed on the day, a mere shadow of the team who defeated Salop in that epic semi-final only a month ago. Did Lady Salisbury permit herself a smile as she handed the Cup over to winning captain Reverend Thomas Stanley? In the League it was Newcastle all the way again, though, their large squad holding up admirably over the arduous League programme, now swelled yet further with the addition of the new Langley team, sponsored by Dr Bang - a beautiful stadium and excellent support, but with still a little to learn before they can eat at the same table as the big boys, they finished ahead only of everyone's chopping-block the Newton team." (from our Sports Correspondent)

ALIEN INTEREST GROWS   In the wake of the Archbishop's Easter sermon, a surprising note of tolerance and understanding from this source, and the continued success of the Committee to Welcome Our Alien Friends, speculation is growing as to what alien lifeforms might look like - long and thin, like worms, or short and fat, like sea-urchins? And would they want our women, and if so, why? The Times can only say that in the absence of any evidence of alien life, it will likely be some time before it appoints an Alien Affairs Correspondent.

SCIENCE FAIR SHENANIGANS   Mr William Stone's great Science Fair was even more of a success than last year, with all the latest inventions paraded for all to see, including a working Difference Engine that answered the public's questions, and a demonstration of Stone Waves. Another attraction was a series of lectures by Mr Charles Darwin on his theories of the 'evolution' of life, but the last of these was disrupted in ugly fashion by militant Christian hecklers.

BLACK MASS EMBARRASSES ARCHBISHOP   News that members of the Archbishop of Canterbury's staff, including his personal chaplain, have been caught celebrating a Black Mass cannot but cast further question on his fitness for the post. Look to the plank in your own eye, critics are saying. (from our new Religious Correspondent)

CURIOUS LIGHTS OVER WAPPING   The London night was disturbed by flashings, gunfire and odd noises reminiscent of brass instruments, while the night-time denizens of the East End hid their heads. Whether this had anything to do with the presence of Dame Lilith Fair and a squad of Knights Templar remains to be seen.

A PUBLIC LETTER REPRINTED IN THE TIMES  "Dear friends, The last few years have been very trying for us all and for myself especially. In the recent past I have had cause to question some of my actions, I think especially of the forming of the Militia of the Lamb and the sponsoring of the Heresy Bill. In the light of these, shall we say, missteps from the path, and my own personal fatigue, I resign from my post as Archbishop. I have strayed from the path the Lord has set down for me onto a more worldly one, and must re-examine my faith. Perhaps I should have re-examined my life when my own Abbey fell around me. The Lord's grace be with you always, my children. His (ex-) Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, Fortescue Smyth-Carruthers."

ATTACK ON US BASE   A US Army base at Roswell, in New Mexico, came under attack from Mexican bandits, with much loss of life. Reports that air power was involved have been rebutted by the American Government, who have remained resolutely tight-lipped about the base's function.

UNDERSEA MENACE FOR BRITAIN   Armstrong Industries have developed an undersea attack vehicle, the Snark, and are hoping to sell it to the British Navy - that we may not too much longer lag behind those nations being supplied by Comte Bertrand's Krakens!

PLAGUE WARS   Efforts to combat the plague threatening Northern England have been considerable, with Baron von Poelzig, Dr Bang and the Red Cross all chipping in to help Government initiatives. However, it seems impossible to eradicate the disease, which started in Whitby two years ago - new eruptions persist in coming forth from the ancient seaside town.

STEP WAS A GIANT ONE   The Pioneer returned from its arduous voyage with crew exhausted but happy, with sadly one casualty en route. Mr Giffard had this to say: "People of the World, today we have taken a giant step in our exploration and understanding of the universe. We have successfully travelled to the moon and have discovered (fairly) intelligent life there. We will analyse our results over the coming years and will present our findings to the world in the near future. We have boldly gone where no man has gong before and returned. The dawn of enlightenment is upon us."

AN ADVERTISEMENT   "Interested in the later high tech weaponry? The Giffine Gun. Be all you can be. Contact Henri Giffard at his new Antwerp factory."

NEW ARCHBISHOP ENTHRONED   After the shock resignation of Fortescue Smyth-Carruthers as Archbishop of Canterbury, the former Bishop of Oxford, the Reverend Anthony Margulies, has been enthroned as his successor. Margulies is very much cut from the same theological cloth as Fortescue, but perhaps more of a conciliator, so we may expect to see more forgiving signals emerging from Lambeth Palace in the coming years. (from our new Religious Correspondent)

AN ADVERTISEMENT   Pictures of a man swimming deep under water (about 200 ft) and underneath have the following message "Giffard's Diving Suit: the only way to see what's in water without losing your breath".

CINEMATOGRAPH EXPO WOWS PUBLIC   Colonel Maguire's amazing Cinematograph and Moon Expo has been packing in the punters all winter, and looks set to continue its popularity. Astounding moving images are projected onto a screen, including scenes of life on the Moon. The Colonel announced that he soon hoped to have the Cinematograph inb production and available for private purchase.