Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Today In History

On this day, in 1786, Sir Percy Dashington and his young ward Edwin Marshall were walking in the streets around Petticoat Lane in picturesque old London town. Edwin was a young engineer who had been enthused by the new technology of steam and had come to London in the hopes of meeting James Watt, who was alleged to have been in London at the time consulting the Lords regarding various of his patents.

As they turned the corner of one of the picturesque cobbled streets of this filmed-in-Prague scene, young Edwin exclaimed: "Why, nuncle! I believe my quarry is in sight!" He pointed into the crowds around the market. "Is that not James Watt himself?"

His guardian, being a Georgian fop somewhat like Leslie Howard in them Scarlet Pimpernel movies, arched his eyebrows er... archly and said, "Indeed?" He raised a pair of slightly anachronistic opera glasses to his face and scanned the crowd.

"If I can just explain to him my theories on pnuematics and hydraulics I am certain he will give me a place in his workshop!"

"Do you now," drawled Sir Percy, feeling an opportunity coming on to school the young fellow in the ways of the world. "I think you will find, young man, that prior acquaintance and family connections will serve you better in securing such a position." He dropped his opera glasses on their string and turned to his nephew. "And besides, as is ever the case, it's not Watt, you know. It's a hugenot."

His nephew regarded him blankly.

"Watt you know. Hugenot," said Sir Percy, leadingly, although his cloddish nephew was none the wiser. "Ah well, no matter. Tis time to sup cocoa."

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