Thirty K.

Word count: 30,038
LBR census: I think fear counts as blood.
Authorial sadism: Since my last update . . . making Irrith play politics, and making Galen face down twenty-five tons of By The Way You Know You’re Mortal, Right?

Halfway through Part Two (of seven). I don’t feel like my narrative momentum has quite cohered yet, but we’re getting there. Mostly it’s still Irrith giving me trouble. Unlike Galen, she didn’t show up with her intestines on a platter, asking if I’d like to play with them; I’m having to pry useful conflict out of her.

This is what happens when you write a relatively care-free character. It’s hard, getting her to care about stuff.

But Galen’s at the Royal Society now. I wonder just how many photographed pages of minutes I’m going to read through before I decide I really don’t give a damn when Henry Cavendish first attended a meeting, and that nobody will much care if I put him there in late 1757. After all, biographical info on the guy is remarkably sketchy, so aside from the minutes, there’s probably no record at all of when he showed up for the first time. And given that I had to photograph handwritten pages out of giant leatherbound volumes you can only get by applying to use the Royal Society library and then filling out request forms, the odds of anybody being able to call me on my error are pretty low.

(If a piece of historical accuracy falls in a forest and there’s nobody qualified to notice, does it constitute an error?)

Er, nevermind. Since they helpfully put visitors at the beginning of each set of minutes, and those are easy to find, I, um, already found my answer. June 15th, 1758. Possibly not his first meeting, but the first one in the range I copied, and therefore the first that will appear in this narrative.

(If a piece of historical accuracy falls in a forest and a deranged writer runs over to prop it back up again, does it constitute grounds for involuntary commitment?)

Bedtime now. Before I go even crazier.

0 Responses to “Thirty K.”

  1. celestineangel

    Unlike Galen, she didn’t show up with her intestines on a platter, asking if I’d like to play with them

    Heeeeeeeeeeeee. I suspect it may be a little wrong that this made me giggle so very much.

  2. moonartemis76

    I can see how she would give you problems. Just remember: everyone has intestines, even if they don’t where them on their sleeve, er um, platter. 🙂 My sleep schedule seems to have solidified at 6am until 2pm so anytime before 3am your time feel free to call if you’d like to chat at all. I am happy to be a sounding board for the story if you are digging for intestinal matter.

  3. Anonymous

    It looks as if you’re safe with that. Henry Cavendish was introduced as a guest at the Royal Society by his father for the first time in June 1758; in all, he was present as a guest on 18 occasions before being elected FRS in May 1760. He was proposed for membership of the Society of Royal Philosophers (the Royal Society dining club) in November 1757, but had to wait his turn in the ballot for election until July 1760; meanwhile, he attended dinners as a guest (and was treated as if already a member). The club met every Thursday at the Mitre Tavern.
    (Source: “Cavendish – The Experimental Life” by Jungnickel & McCormmach (1999))

    • Marie Brennan

      Thank you, anonymous stranger! I had been debating how vigorously I should hunt down a biography of the man in an attempt to answer that question. The added detail about the dinner club is especially good — I don’t suppose you happen to know whether that took place before or after the meetings, which were also on Thursdays? My impression is that the meetings were at night, so I would guess (given the timing of “dinner” back then) the club was before, but I’m not certain.

      • shui_long

        That wasn’t meant to be anonymous – I obviously hadn’t logged in properly.
        The Society of Royal Philosophers met in the afternoon (4pm is quoted) at the Mitre Tavern, Fleet Street; the Royal Society met in the evening, at Crane Court. The President of the Royal Society (Lord Macclesfield at the relevant period) was also President of the club – and proposed Henry Cavendish for membership. Dinner was on the heavy side: at Henry’s first occasion as a member, in 1760, there were nine dishes of meat, poultry or fish, two fruit pies, plum pudding, cheese, and wine, porter or lemonade. It cost 3 shillings a head. There were typically a dozen members and guests at dinner, sometimes more, out of a membership limited to 40.

        • Marie Brennan

          Awesome. I knew the details about the Royal Society, but had not as yet come across anything about the dinner club other than its existence on Thursdays.

          Now I know one of the scenes I’ll have in Part Three: Galen meeting Henry at dinner. (I’m going to have fun with that; the reality of Cavendish is far quirkier than most of the characters I make up.)

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