Vol. 2, Issue 14, April 6, 2004
Batten down the Hatches!
There comes a time in every man's Life when he must face the Fires of the Forge of life; and thence find the Steel of his spirit either Tempered, or somewhat Squashed and Misshapen, quickly dunked in the smith's Water-Bucket and tossed back on the Flames. For me, this day came promptly at Nine-Thirty on a Thursday.
The fateful morning began with a Bang, which indeed caused me to Spill some very fine Laphroaig on an important Document or two. As I plied my Ink-Blotter to the Contracts, and before I had finished pouring a Replacement glass and begun wondering about the Provenance of the Noise, a Second and a Louder one caused not only the Glass, but the entire Bottle to fall. Moreover, a most noisome Smoke began pouring from our News-Room.
My first Thought, of course, was that we had been Beset by Corsairs. Accordingly I instantly reached for my stoutest Walking-Stick and strode Forcefully out of my Office to defend the honor of my News-Paper. And lo! A soot-covered Miscreant stood before me! Have at you, foul Cur! Take that and That! I shall teach you that the Pen is indeed mightier than the Sword!
But an Outcry arose from the other Figures in the room, soot-covered All, who, as it turned Out, were not Pirates after all; or rather, they were the Pirates I normally employ. And the Cause of their Discomfiture was the smoldering Wreckage of our brand-new Difference Engine: its wrought-iron Armatures lay in Ruin, bent and blackened Copper tubing abounded. Aghast, I promptly took a Dram from the emergency compartment in the Shipman's clock.
"Uncle Zeke, you won't believe this, but we actually didn't do anything to cause this," said Ephram as he tended to the hapless Emmett (whom I had mistaken for a Pirate upon entry). Improbable though this story Was, now was Not the time for Recrimination: Now was a time for Leadership, by Jingo!
I quickly ascertained that no one was Seriously injured, and promptly ensured that One and All received a hearty medicinal Brandy. In addition, I verified that Everyone's shirt-collar was Loosened to permit Healthful Breathing. In all, we were most Fortunate: my Staff was mostly Hale and Hearty - with some minor Exceptions: but Ernest's hair was too Long in any event.
Alas, our Webamagraph publication did not Fare so well. It took several Days for a fresh Difference-Engine to be installed, and the Workmen caused a wretched Havoc in the meanwhile. Let me Tell you: when the Working Man is about, hide your best Tobacco. But I ensured that my Staff was not Wanting; for I put them up in a nice Hotel-Suite, where they depleted the Mini-Bar and slept on the Couches much as they do at Work. The doughty Elisabeth, I sent to a splendid little Spa. Our publication Suffered during the Week (as our Visitors surely Noticed!) but there are more Important things, as it happens, than even the News.