Kill or Curare

Nigel Woodhead

Published by FishesEye Publishing

Copyright 2009 Nigel Woodhead

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Row, row, row your boat

Gently down the stream

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily

Life is but a dream

English traditional song

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.

Edgar Allan Poe


In the early hours of 20th May 1897, the English Channel was covered with an unusually thick summer fog. The sea was calm however, and the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway Company’s white-funnelled steamer La Tamise, which had left Newhaven late the previous evening, made good time towards the French coast. Most of its passenger list was made up of wealthy English families. The decks were crowded with tourists arriving for the first weekend of the French summer season. Their first glimpse of Dieppe was of the dome and minarets of the new Moorish casino, its windows lit up above the shingled beach as if floating there on a carpet of sea-mist. Strangely reminiscent of the Brighton Pavilion perhaps, or St Pancras Station. Only at the last minute, as the steamer rounded the lighthouse at the end of the jetty, and entered the port, could they make out the high cliffs surrounding the town, drenched in the soft mauve overspill of the sunrise beyond. La Tamise tied up at the quay at 4.30, only a few minutes late despite the poor visibility.

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