Hello again colleagues!  I’ve recently found another diary in the trunk, this one from Miss Julia Sett, our crafty mathmatician.  Though the entries are sporadic, I’ve found one that appears to chronologically follow her last letter.  It seems she may have found that second set of hands to knit for her after all.

March 13th 1885
The idea of an automated knitting fabrication device has quite consumed me.  Erma brought dinner to me in my library again tonight. I keep forgetting to stop for simple things like eating, and yesterday I even worked through the night and watched the sun rise!
I do believe I am close to something though. I am using the hooked needles found on the designs by Lee and Lamb but I’ve been experimenting with a gearing mechanism by which the needles may be manipulated to create lace patterns. It’s quite exciting to think this delicate craft may be executed in an automated fashion. What a wonder to live in these times. The advances I come across daily inspire me to reach for greater and greater ideas to enrich our lives.
I do hope to have this device fully fashioned and working by the time of The Ladies symposium this year. I believe they would truly appreciate its innovation.  I am nearly finished with the gearing.  My next steps shall be to fully automate the device and set up the steam powering system.  Perhaps the boiler can generate the hot water for my tea as well!
Oh dear, clearly I must get some rest in order to think clearly. Generating the hot water for my tea indeed!

It seems that her passing jest to Alyssa really got her wheels turning, as it were.  I’ve certainly been there myself – when one is of a scholarly persuasion, inspiration can strike from the most unlikely places.  And the good Dr. Erma Melanogaster appears to have been with her;  I had a suspicion those two were close, perhaps even frequent collaborators.  Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself.  I will get back to the diary right away to see if there’s any truth to my speculations, as well as to see what I can learn about The Ladies symposium Miss Sett mentioned.

Best regards,

~The Archivist

What’s sheepy and lives in the jungle?

Greetings colleagues!  As you may recall, last week I shared with you an exciting new letter from Theodosia LaDuke, beginning her Amazonian explorations.  Well, I’m thrilled to share with you some excellent field notes of hers I just found, complete with drawings.  Enjoy!

Field Notes:

Ovis pluvia (Jungle Sheep)

First spotted in amazonian basin June 18th 1884

Initial observations:

These remarkable new creatures are small in stature, measuring 40 centimeters long from tail to muzzle and 30 centimeters tall at mid back. The animals’ hoofed feet appear to be rough on the bottom and slightly split, presumably to help climb into the trees much the same way a mountain goat would scale a cliff side. They have two small horns atop their heads which have rounded nobs on each.

The wool of these beasts is a buttery tan shade with patches of mossy green. The staple length is 6 centimeters and has the most incredible crimp, making this wool top grade. The most notable quality to this wool is that it appears to resist felting. Even once spun up this wool fabric will not felt when exposed to heat and water (presumably this adaptation is to protect the animals in their warm, wet jungle environment.) Fabric made from this extraordinary new fiber has kept me cool and dry. I knit with it continuously and wear nothing else. I simply cannot wait to get this fiber back to the states and into the hands of Miss Miriam Tingley to see how it holds up to cold weather.

These sheep live among the low trees that occupy the river edge. They spend a good part of the day here consuming mostly young vegetation. At night they venture to the ground and sleep in small crevices and hollow logs along the jungle floor, their colored wool acting as a deterrent from large nocturnal predators.

I can only wonder what the Ladies made of her outstanding discovery.  Did any of these fine animals and/or their fleece make it back to the United States?   I should definitely have some of the wool items I have recovered (oh yes – there’s more to come!) analyzed to see if the fiber has any of the distinguishing characteristics mentioned above.  Perhaps it was a well kept Ladies of Mischief secret!  They seem to have quite a few…

Welcome to the Jungle

Good day, my colleagues.  I’ve been hard at work categorizing the artifacts in the lower portion of the trunk – some very exciting finds to show you in the near future!  I had to put this one up right away, since it’s an update from Miss Theodosia LaDuke, who we last left skipping town for the Amazon to shake off some financial disputes.  Well, it seems there was quite a turn of events…

My dear Ladies,

This letter is sent to you in greatest confidence. If my now husband, Mr. Beechworth, were to discover my location, I would be in grave danger. Just yesterday, I escaped from Cape Cod and am safely making way to the Amazon on my newly christened ship, the Coriolis. You may be asking, “What on earth happened at her father’s funeral to prompt Theodosia to marry such an intolerable man?” As you know, Mr. Beechworth was the sole heir to Father’s fortune. Try as I may, no lawyer in town could reverse that tradition, thus marriage was my only option. It will please you to know, however, that this union has finally subdued Mother. Upon receipt of our marriage certificate, I was able to secure a loan for the sum of my share of the inheritance, just as my ship was completed and ready to board. Now that all is right, I may continue my adventures south of the border. Fear not, I have told no one about my departure; tracking me and the remaining funds will be a difficult endeavor indeed.

We have set sail for the northern point of Brasilia, where the mighty Amazon meets the sea. From there, we will trek overland to the heart of this great unexplored wilderness. Who knows the varieties of flora and fauna I may discover! With luck I will make some wondrous finds for the Institute.

So it seems our clever Miss LaDuke was able to turn the situation to her advantage. For those of you not up on your Pride-and-Prejudice inheritance laws, as a daughter, Miss LaDuke would have been skipped over and the next male relative would have the rights to her father’s estate.  It appears the next “rightful heir” (don’t get me started) Mr. Beechworth was a distant cousin or some such.  Thus, Miss LaDuke was able to marry him and secure her family funds once again.  And then promptly use the money to run away from her horrible new husband and resume exploring!  The Ladies never fail to impress with their bravery and cunning in defying the standards of the time.  I will of course keep my eye out for more letters from Miss LaDuke’s Amazonian adventure and her finds for the Institute, whatever that may be.  Until next time!

%d bloggers like this: