A Formulaic Romance
This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.
It starts with the trope, Lady Rachel on her way to London, is stranded in the country by an unfortunate accident. Her carriage is a wreck, the thoroughbrace, a leather strap that holds the cabin up, broke. When the cabin fell, it broke the axle. It’s snowing and they’re in trouble.
They’ve made their way to the house in the distance, but not without slipping in the muddy lane. At least it wasn’t full of “slough” – a wonderful and now disused word for that unique mixture of horse apples, mud, and muck that so characterized roads in the days before the automobile.
This week we see what ‘the Master’ says.
An Interruption, continued.
A knock on the laboratory door interrupted Rupert’s intense concentration on his latest experiment, electrolysing a molten salt to determine what metal he could recover. He had opened the windows in the laboratory to disperse the thick yellow gas that rose from one electrode, and a cold wind blew through the room. The thick coat he wore, because of the cold, concealed a wiry yet muscular frame. Striking blonde streaks in his dark hair showed where the caustic fumes had partially bleached it. The fumes had also bleached his face, giving him a ghastly white pallor. He wore goggles to protect his eyes. Without looking away from his apparatus, he said, “Brindle, what is it. This time?”
“Sir, there are two women at the front door. They asked for refuge from the storm, their carriage having had an accident on the main road.”
“I told you my opinion about visitors. Send them away.”
“One of them is uncommonly pretty, sir. She would be a diversion.”
“I don’t want to be diverted, but,” he paused, “Are they suitable company?”
“One claims to be Lady Hayforth, the other her maid. They are young.”
“Suggesting something again, Brindle?”
“I wouldn’t take that liberty, Sir. Still, may I remind you about the entail?”
“Yes, I know, I shall marry, sometime, if I ever meet the right woman.” Rupert shrugged, “Which seems rather unlikely. My experiment is at a critical stage. Ensure that they are warm and send someone for their bags. I’ll be ready at the regular time for supper.”
“Sir.” Mr Edward Brindle bowed. Then he shuffled off.
Rupert is doing an experiment that is dangerous (an understatement). Electrolysing a molten salt to extract the metal. Chemistry in the early 1800’s was decidedly heroic. The 1803 paper in the Royal Academy on synthesizing mercury fulminate – an explosive that will enter into this work – had the chemist analyzing his product by tasting it. There is no way on heaven, Earth or hell that I would do that.