I have just received a new publication from my old school chum Latimer Naseby, now serving in the Protectorates. I am pleased to see that his enthusiasm for scientific antiquarianism remains unabated.
It is perhaps fitting that the work of the master be more celebrated than that of the pupil. But it is most lamentable that Mr Faraday has little or no credit to this day. His work on the refining and diffusion of gases underpins not a few of our modern conveniences.
It is, however, to the everlasting honour of Sir Humphry Davy that our toasts and accolades flow. Mr Faraday, the master’s apprentice as it were, would be more regarded to this day, had it not been for his misguided early work on electrics. Indeed, after the Wood Lane disaster his was a name as reviled as that of Miss Lovelace or of that scoundrel Disraeli.
I was in the Capital for the Empire Games of 1900. I was little interested in the sports, but I was keen to see the Exhibition. I was hoping to see the new wonders from India and the treasures of Nihon, so kindly lent to us by the Shogun. My life in the Protectorates was comfortable enough, but as is the case in many of our newer cities, the backstreets of Winston City, British Nebraska had little to offer the keen antiquarian.
Here in Mother London however, I knew I would find many likeminded souls in the crowded streets around St Paul’s. I was not disappointed. Soon I had almost a trunkful of books and papers to ship back to Government House. I kept aside a few papers to peruse on my trip home. No one can complain that the service is slow these days, though I doubt if HMH Chatham was ever a contender for the Blue Riband. Then again, Mr Brunel’s patent hydrofoil still never fails to amaze me. A mere fifty hours to the port of New York is as convenient and as comfortable as I would wish for.
I do not sleep well on board a ‘foil, but thanks to Mr Davey’s refined gases, there was always light enough to read by. One of my packets of papers contained a number of letters from Mr Michael Faraday. Davy’s misguided and sometimes reviled assistant was of great interest to me. I found that the man had considerably more skills than has been previously assumed. To his small list of talents, for instance, I think I can add the title of ‘fictionist’. His Gothic sense of drama is considerable, as he is able to add depth and verity to this otherwise ridiculous tale. The handwriting is plain and easily deciphered. I was able to get a typesetter in Winston City to set it up for me. I keep the manuscript still, as it may be of interest to my fellow antiquarians.
Latimer Naseby, Winston City, MCMII
From the engine room, HMH Chatham
This is the second excerpt of an ongoing fiction work ‘Mr Faraday’s Cage & Other Tales of Obscure Science’. I will be publishing new parts on Wednesdays and Sundays