London Gazette

 

Reader’s Letter: My Night With Saccadius

September 23, 1906 ·

Dearest Sasha,

You will never guess who I met last night in town? Saccadius Cartwright, the government scientist who presented the first clock parts back some ten years ago, at the Department for the Advancement of Science’s exposition Tomorrow’s World Today.

I’m afraid Canada has not been kind to him. He seemed to be drinking heavily and was ranting and raving to anyone who would listen about this and that. He seemed most upset about how things are turning out with the clocks, the Clockwork Watch and all that.

He also warned me away from a fellow scientist, a sinister man. I have seen him around before. He wanders the docks looking for ladies of negotiable affection as far as I can tell. The queer thing is that I have seen him go away with several such ladies but I can’t think that I have seen them since.

I think Mr Cartwright was quite right to warn me away from him. Poor man, I wish I had been able to think of something to do for him. He seemed full of melancholy, I don’t think he regrets helping bring clockwork automata to the world but I think his sorrow is tied up with it.

Seeing him had me thinking back to the Tomorrow’s World Today exposition. Did I ever tell you that I was there when a chracter known as the alchemist was arrested? Dragged away by plain clothes police officers he was, to chants of “long live the alchemist” from the crowd.

To this day I know not either what he was arrested for nor why the crowd supported him and I have not heard his name since. I wonder whatever became of him? Perhaps he was packed of to Canada also and was not lucky enough to be allowed to return like Mr Cartwright.

Another Rumour doing the rounds, and you will think this either quite scandalous or quite ludicrous, is that Her Majesty, our beloved and esteemed Queen Victoria, is no longer on the throne. That she has been replaced by an automata in her likelness. Can you imagine such a thing?

I could not at first countenance it, but on consideration it is true that Her Majesty must be quite a prodigous age. The question is how would one exchange the queen for an automaton and leave the country none the wiser? Moreover what would be the benefit of doing such a thing? I rather think that the presence of clocks in our midst has made us paranoid.

I hope this letter reaches you well.

Give my love to father.

Elizabeth

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