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captainkettle

‘an Englishman in disguise’

It turns out that Carruthers has a talent for disguise (as if, perhaps, he were some kind of real spy…). The rough marine garb he bought in a slop-shop in Amsterdam has served him well. Having successfully fooled a guesthouse owner in Esens and a drunk in Dornum that he’s some kind of German merchant sailor, he’s […]

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Goltz-portrait (1)

‘where does Böhme come in?’

Some time ago notDavies & I made an attempt to track down real-life von Brünings and Dollmanns – or rather we speculated wildly on who Childers might have been thinking of when he invented these characters. We did the same with Clara Dollmann too. But it isn’t ’til now – on October 23 – when […]

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Hiram Maxim with his invention

‘One 4.9 gun, one 3.4, and four maxims’

The matter-of-fact description of the weaponry aboard the Blitz, which Carruthers and Davies see on October 16 for the first time, includes the phrase ‘four maxims’. These days, the word ‘maxim’ is more associated with sleazy lad-mags, but in 1898 it had an altogether darker sense. A maxim is a machine-gun, named for its inventor, Sir Hiram […]

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