Greetings again, dear colleagues. What a treat I’ve found this past week: another letter to the Ladies of Mischief, with not only details on a highly intriguing mechanical device, but also a very personal tale of the daily ups and downs of Victorian life. I’ve recovered the first page below, and will continue my frantic dig (I mean careful search) for the rest of the letter…
I write with exciting news! As you know, I have been developing an ambulatory, automatic sheep-shearer to make the shepherd’s life easier. When finished, it will truly be a marvel—it will live amongst the sheep, causing them to become accustomed to its presence. When the fleece is fine and ready in the springtime, the shearer will simply approach each sheep individually and, with no harm or discomfort to the animal, shear the fleece as neatly and cleanly as the most skilled man or woman could. It will pack the fleeces into convenient bags and when finished, deliver the bags of wonderful, fresh fleece to the shepherd. In this way I hope to carry on the wonderful work of my parents with their steam-powered fleece-picker!
This news isn’t about the ambulatory shearer. It involves the ambulatory shearer, but it’s about something else entirely.
I seem to have rescued a gentleman from an arranged marriage.
This wasn’t at all what I set out to do, I would like you all you know. I set out to test the ambulation systems of my shearer. I was initially pleased with the results, as it was quite capable of self-guided locomotion… Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for me?) it was only capable of self-guided locomotion. I had failed to take into account the lack of operational instructions in its system, and it quickly escaped the workshop and set off down the road in search of something to shear. (In hindsight, I ought not have left the shearing mechanisms intact while I tested the ambulation. I shall keep this in mind for the future.)
I found myself alone in my workshop, watching the culmination of weeks of work fleeing to cause havoc elsewhere! This was not a situation I could allow to continue, so I quickly saddled Belinda, my favorite mare, and set off after my shearer. It had quite a headstart, but being made of metal and clockwork it left a very distinctive trail in the dirt. It also occasionally left a bush or shrub partially bare of leaves—the shearing mechanisms were quite functional, if poorly aimed. By the time I caught up with it, though, it had crashed a party in the most literal way possible.
And that is all I have for now. I hope to recover the next page/s soon, and will post again the moment I do. I must say, I’m highly curious how this story continues – an ambulatory shearing machine (on the loose, no less). Amazing!
In other exciting news, I’m pleased to announce my collaboration with a knitting designer to reconstruct Miss Hackworth’s handkerchief, as mentioned in my previous post. A final pattern is nearly complete, quite a feat given the few scraps and pictures I was able to recover. Details soon!