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Yacht a surpise | Red lion 2nd April 9ish

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It took very little effort to discover which room Henry Grey was resident of, and her the furtehr surprise was that ti was right netx to his own.  What a small world it was. 

Isaac was not a great socialiser usually, but here he found himself neglecting his studies for the second day in a row. Yesterday had been duty, but today might be pleasure.

The man in dark fawn manchester-cloth jacket gave a friendly sounding knock on the Yacht Rooms door...

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  • 3 weeks later...

     Reginald was running errands that morning, so it was Henry himself who opened the door. As soon as he recognized who it was that was calling, the door was flung wide open, and a hearty laugh welcomed the visitor.

     The baron had been working on his new telescope eyepiece design so instruments, his notebook and other drawings were strewn all over the desk. His maroon justaucorps was resting on the back of the chair behind the desk and, although his moss-green waistcoat was properly buttoned, the lace cravat was in a terrible state of chaos. Thankfully, his visitor did not need him to be formally dressed; Newton was a friend.

     “Sir Isaac! Are you a sight for sore eyes! My time in London will be made bearable by the many long talks I hope we will have about a thousand and one topics! How has life treated you of late? Has your study of tangents advanced? Have you continued studying the nature of light? I have been hard at work with lens design and construction, with some promising results, although progress has been slow…”

     It was then that Henry realized that they were at the door. “But please, come in! Have you broken fast yet? Or will mead or ale be enough? Perhaps some brandy instead?” the lord said as he moved aside to let his visitor enter, with the intention of closing the door as soon as Newton did.

     “Please forgive the cramped space, but we have worked in smaller quarters, haven’t we?”

     It was not only the size of the room. It was the number of coffers and trunks of all sizes, some of them half-open and with part of the contents removed, that made the space look smaller. “If I spend a long time in London, I will need to find a more spacious place. I can think here, but there is no way I can hold my experiments in such a small space as this…”

     It was obvious that the nobleman was happy to see his friend. He would not have earned his Masters without Sir Isaac’s encouragement, and his gratitude was genuine and in the open.

     “Please, tell me, how have you been?”



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His Trinity friend was plainly enthused to see him!  Isaac was for a moment overwhelmed and stepped back, while pleased of the welcome he was unused to such a display of emotion.  Eyes widened with the surprise of it did settle though, and he took step forwards again, "Your note was good news indeed Lord Gray - Henry. And on the same floor of the Inn even. Why were you any other scholar I might fear you were set to spy on my progress through a hole in adjoining wall."  The quietly spoken scientist gave a chuckle at this truth shared. 

Stepping on into the room he replied, "Food I have l eaten, but would welcome another coffee if you've any spare in your pot?" 

"The Golightly's are very tolerant of a varying of the use in their rooms." he looked around the room, and discovered it comparative in size to his own, much tidier though. Give him time. "I myself have a number of  experiments upon the go in my room." he reassured Henry, "Though you might want to ask the maid to not touch anything.  I have barred all but the delivery of my breakfast to my room." 

“But what brings you to London, and for an extended time perhaps? I had heard you were made Fellow.  And what of your mapping of the moon?  The light pollution here in London is the worst of the realm.”


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     Henry closed the door carefully and locked it, a fact that would not be lost on Newton. He also smiled at the baronet addressing him by his Christian name. Henry’s father would have been horrified at the presumptuousness of it, but there had been a time, not too long before, in which Isaac and Henry had been the proper forms of address. The baron decided to get back to that, happier, time, at least while alone with his friend. It reminded him of a past lost that would probably not be recovered.

     “Not me, Isaac, not me. You can examine the wall at your heart’s content, and as often as you wish. I, for one, will sleep easier knowing I do not have to check that particular wall for spies…” The scientists understood each other. They were both very protective of their respective works. It had taken years to become friends, and during that time they had learned to respect each other’s scientific privacy.

     Baron Grey moved to the writing table, where a tray held a pot of hot coffee and two unused cups. He poured a cup for each and gave one to Newton. “Here you go. Coffee does help the mind keep pace, does it not?” After a moment off thought, he added. “Would you like some brandy or whisky added to that? I know there is some of both somewhere…” He started looking for the bottles among the larger trunks, in case his friend accepted the addition of spirits to his cup.

     “I am glad the proprietors do not mind experiments in the rooms, although explosions and furnaces are probably out of the question”, lord Grey said with a mischievous tone. “And thank you for the advice. I will ask Reginald to keep everything important locked inside its appointed container, just in case”. Many of the instruments were not easily replaced, and even if there was no theft, accidents did happen.

     “My brother died, Isaac, and I am now baron Grey. A sad turn of affairs, as I’d rather have my brother as baron and me in Cambridge”. Henry sighed. “But I have a responsibility to my name, so I have been summoned to parliament, and it seems I will stay in London for the season. Which meant…” this was one of the details that were the saddest, “... which meant I had to resign to my Fellowship. I could not, in good conscience, keep the position and not be there… it would just not be right to take the post away from someone who needs it”.

     Henry’s sadness at the fact was easily heard in his voice.

     “So I will need to continue my mapping of the moon and my efforts on telescope optics here. Do you happen to know of a place I could rent where I could setup a laboratory? Telescopes need space to set up, and telescopes in different stages of assembly need even more. You would be welcome to join me there, of course, and you have my word that anything you do or keep there would be guarded with the greatest of discretions. At least being a baron means I can pay for such a thing now...”

     The baronet’s scholarly work was greatly theoretical and could be done in cramped spaces. The baron’s, on the contrary, was mostly practical, so there was no way Henry could make progress at a steady pace without additional space. Besides, there was no way he could set up a glass melting furnace inside the inn’s room.In the kitchen, maybe, but not in the room.

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They shared wry amusement with a chuckle of their very neccessary paranoia.

 But to coffee, Isaac reached to accept the cup, "No, that is fine, coffee naturalis* suits me fiine.  Yes it is certainly a beverage for thinking men - but away from the ruckus of the coffee houses is my preferance, if I can possibly help it."  Though ther were occaisons that even he frequented those social and information hubs.    

"Well that is only good sense, I doubt that even you with your risen circumstances, would wish to foot the bill to rebuild the Inn if it were burnt down!"  Which was perhaps an angling for Henry to reveal more of this new life he'd stepped into now that he'd come into an unexpected inheritance of title. And on that, Henry ws forthcoming. "Ah please accept my condolances, god rest his soul, can we claim that he managed some joy out his life albeit all too breif?"  Death was an all too frequent occurance, various ratiionals might be formed to ease the sense fo sadness it caused, for Isaac it was the thought of leaving a legacy that softened thougths of the brevity of life.  

"Well, Greenwich Observatory is the rational choice." he replied with that simple statment of fact, assuming that Henry was intent to scrutinise the stars (and having no idea he wanted to build a furnace). "You shall need to petiton the board of course.  I am happy to supply you with a letter of introduction and recomendation."  Though of course the comittee would then judge Lord Grey upon his own merit.


*latin take on 'au natural'

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     “Coffee naturalis it is, then. And yes, when searching for a solution to a particularly difficult problem, I find that coffee, sometimes accompanied by some tobacco, does wonders”. In their occupation, namely discovering things no one else had thought of or building things that nobody had built previously, science was golden… unless hypotheses and theories were being discussed, that was. Then it was akin to a mob, with everyone talking at once, the louder the better.

     “Indeed! Footing such a bill would not be something I care for. Although my father and brother were very good at keeping the Grey estate growing in value, I don’t want to be remembered as the Grey who squandered the family fortune”. Henry was rather well off, probably more so than the average peer, but he had no desire to risk that state of affairs. Thus, no furnaces inside the inn.

     The topic turned sombre for a moment. “My brother Richard enjoyed being a baron. He would write to me relating all improvements he made to the estate, big and small, proud of what he was able to accomplish. Alas, it lasted a bit less than two years, but I do think he was at his happiest running things in Codnor Castle”. The baron smiled sadly. “I derive no such joy from keeping things in shape. But I did inherit a very able steward as well as a rather apt valet, so what I do not know, or do not care much for, the two take care of”. Lord Grey could count himself lucky. His father had chosen his people well, and they had thankfully kept their positions.

     “Royal Greenwich?” Henry asked, “that would be the perfect place indeed!” It was then Henry’s turn to smile at his friend’s offer. “If you were to write such a letter, I would be in your debt, my friend. Hopefully the board will agree that mapping the moon is a worthy endeavour”. There was more to it, of course, but to have access to such a place! Henry would not need to lease space elsewhere if he were granted to the Royal Observatory.

     Which reminds me…” there was a mischievous smile in Henry’s face. “According to my calculations the next full moon will occur during the daylight hours of the seventh, next week. I have heard there is a lecture in Gresham on the night of the seventh, but an idea occurred to me, an event that I would love your cooperation with. Would you like to co-host a moon viewing event on the night of the sixth? We would need a venue, but it might be just what we need to both raise awareness about astronomy, and perhaps finding you an additional patron or two”. The baron could easily finance his own research, but he was certain that his friend could use additional funding. “I would cover all expenses, of course. Besides, it would be the first scientific event of the season, which would carry some prestige with it just for that, no?”

     Lord Grey had left unstated that Gresham’s broadsheet stated that Robert Hooke would be the main speaker on the seventh, so perhaps Newton would not mind upstaging the man on the sixth?

     If Isaac agrees, this season would start in a very interesting way…

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“Then Codnor Castle,” While perhaps Henry had told him the name of his home estate before, it was not the sort of thing that stuck in the scientists mind,  “lost a good man.”

Fortunately Henry had persons in place that would keep the home fires burning.

“One in the same.” He replied with a chuckle, “but of debt, don’t speak of it. I am in the business of study not the gathering of strings I can later pull. I fear you might discover court to be very different to the life that you are used to old friend.  You be careful declaring yourself indebted to anyone once you are in Whitehall mind. They shall ask for your firstborn as quick as blink and eye.”

“Hah. You mistake me for someone else Henry, some social and genial fellow perhaps.  I shall politely abstain. The last time I was enlisted to help at a court event it was the longest most arduous night I ever experienced.  I am scarred forever - and as a result I can say with a certainty that I have no interest in explaining refraction to scatter brained women, or men for that matter.  But good for you if you are keen to enlighten the masses.”

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     “Yes, my friend; Codnor Castle lost a good man”. But enough of that. The present needed to be taken care of. The future too. “But that is the past now, and there is much to discover, learn and, eventually, teach!” Henry loved to teach. Newton not as much. Yet, their love of science had made them friends.

     “I bow to your wisdom, my friend. I will strive to keep as independent as possible”. The baron would try, of course, but he knew that in the world of politics, it would be impossible to totally avoid the patron-client relationship that had existed since the Roman Republic. There was also the matter of his bride to be, whoever she was. There would be a link to the family he married into, and that was also unavoidable. That link would bind him, not make him free.

     “They can’t have my firstborn… I am in dire need of an heir!” Lord Grey said jokingly. “I can give them my seventh daughter, if need be, but no one earlier than that!”

     Too bad that he won’t be a part of it. It was a long shot, but I thought it would have been good for him too. It would have exposed him to circles who would not think twice to finance him lavishly if they could tie their names to his. “I know your friendships are few but strong, Isaac, and that is one of the things that make you the great man that you are. And I know social events take so much time away from research. Yet…” How do I put it? “… yet, those same events bring two things: awareness and patronage. Someone has to enlighten the masses, as you say, so that some rise from the masses and apply themselves to study, while others finance those same studies. If no one else wants to do it, I will. You know how I love teaching”.

     Newton was the brightest of the two, but he was also the more private. Although Henry was on the shy side, teaching natural philosophy got rid of the shyness quite fast.

     “Changing the subject for a moment, let me show you one of the two things that I have been working on…” Henry picked up a pair of diagrams from his writing table. “You have proven that a lens will have chromatic aberration when used for image amplification, with greater amplification producing greater color separation. But what if we were to devise a composite lens, made of at least two elements, that when joined would get rid of that aberration yet still retain the amplification?”

   The baron passed the two sheets to his friend. The drawings depicted an eyepiece made of two glass elements. The first was the usual double convex lens, but the second was concave on one side and flat on the other. They were shown to fit together without any space between them, housed in a small brass cylinder.

     “It has been slow going, and I have not been able to get rid of red/blue aberration totally, but results are promising. At least I have improved my techniques, although the glass still needs to be polished by hand”. There was a pause for Sir Isaac to digest the information. “I think it could be added to your telescope design. It would create some aberration, but it would also increase magnification…” or at least that was the theory; Henry had not tried it yet.

     “What do you think?”

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Newton chuckled along with his humorous warning of courtiers and their demands, it was plain that Henry understood that danger. Forewarned was forearmed.   

“Ah yes, It is a fine idea for your own scientific career I agree fully.  It is very important to be known to the right persons, it is not enough to attend the right college, patronage is the rebounding board from which any scholar may then launch.”

And Isaac was keen to the fact that that Henry would do better if he was recognised on his own merits. He did not want his old school chum to become an ‘also ran’, a side act to the recognised speaker. (Though he was not vain enough to state those words out aloud.) 

“Yes yes.’ Of the others glowing sentiments on teaching Newton replied tersely, “yet I take issue with the inate censorship of intellect within the teaching profession. Approved philosophies and ideas are simply limitations to the broadening of minds.  I would assert that the best education any man may have it to challenge and question any concept an instructor puts forth.

“But when it comes to a court event, and the ‘students’ you might find there (I use the term very loosely, for I am sure you shall likewise discover that at such an event you will get persons professing interest simply because of everyone around them declaring they are too)  and they are uncapped wells. You may pour just anything in, and all unchallenged, not even sieved.”

Here the other showed him his drawing. “It has me consider the structure of an eye.” Newton replied, and lifted the sheet to read it’s mathematical workings. Math was the greatest revealer of truths…



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     “To tell you the truth, I wish I could dedicate all my waking time to scientific pursuits. There is so much to learn, so much to discover, so much to ponder upon! I wish I could devote my time to astronomy, philosophy, religion…” Henry sighed. “But I have been called to Parliament, and that is a duty I cannot shy away from. In a very real sense, Isaac, you are lucky. Your baronetcy can be inherited, but the politics of the realm is not an obligation to you, only an option”. Newton could run for a seat in the Commons, if he so wished. He was definitely someone now, and would win with the proper backing.

     “As for the worship at the altar of tradition”, the baron said after sipping his coffee, “I wholeheartedly agree. The fact that things have been done a certain way for centuries does not mean that it is the right way, or even the only way. I believe that we need to have a fresh outlook whenever we tackle a problem. No preconceived ideas. In a very real sense, we must have the mind of a child, just like the Good Book says”. The reference would not hold its water under close scrutiny, but it was close enough.

     If science was to advance, they would have to shed the frame off mind that had almost burned one of his personal heroes at the stake. “Galileo is something that must not happen in England!”, he summed up.

     For a second, Lord Grey was as candid and truthful as he dared. “Peacocks”, he said simply. “But if peacocks become patrons of those with inquisitive minds, I will have done my part. And if some of those worthy minds come to you, me, or anyone truly seeking knowledge and ask the right questions with the right attitude, then I will have done more than I could hope for”.

     Henry was a romantic in an unusual sense. His cause was the cause of science. His thirst was not for love or adventure, but for knowledge. Would he be worthy to be remembered?? Only God knew.

  Pointing at the drawings that Newton had in his hand, he commented: “I am having problems replicating results with that eyepiece. One may come out fine, while the next is even worse than using a simple lens. I try to use the same process every time, as much as I can, and I try to use the same materials. But there is one or more things that I am not seeing, at least not yet”. Sometimes it was so frustrating… “But one day I will find the solution, I am sure. A solution that can be replicated with a certain degree of success. It will be a joyous day, that one…”

     Yes, it will!

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“Politics?” Isaac barely stifled his surprise, “but what interest have I in politics. It is quite enough that my sponsors at times manage me like I am a card in their games.  I have quite enough of politics to bend my fields to present some manner of relevance to their popular affairs. A theory is one thing, proving it another, but to gain funding from a public that has no appreciation for the academics of it – that is enough politics for me!”

Of education: “Yes precisely. ‘Preconceived ideas’ is ‘discoveries’ enemy.  There in lays the great risk of education, that by teaching those open minds we thus shutter them to all the never before imagined possibilities.”

It was a fine subject.

“Galileo. Do expand more.” He cheerfully demanded Henrys expansion on that statement.

Of the ‘peacocks’ Newton conceded his agreement with a nod, while making the comment upon teaching, “You have a great patience for it than I.”

“Trial and error.” Newton replied nodded with sage understanding. “It is times like that when I fully marvel at The Lord, the Greatest Mathematician and Scientist, for the marvels of a universe of figuring’s that we, in our Enlighted age, have barely scratched fingernail upon.  All I can say it persist Henry, with your experiments, take copious notes and review often, while keeping ones eyes open to all that is around us.  This project of yours.” He passed back the papers, “looks a worthy and admirable thing.”

“But, looks also like you shall need a furnace?” this he added, having previously suggested Greenwich Observatory for Henry’s use, thinking him likely to want to use the new telescope recently commissioned there. Well, new in 75.  But this work of his was something different, and requiring greater secrecy.   “Would an enamel works furnace be big enough of you think. I know a very discreet Jeweller just off the strand… who might have space to spare.”

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     “Politics are a necessary evil, my friend”. Henry grinned. “But since you abhor the idea of involving yourself in such so much, perhaps I will have to do politics for both of us!” Truth was Newton had a bright analytical mind, and it would have been wasted in politics. He did have the option, though, which many others did not have. “I will strive to gain funding for research in many fields, not only mine. The king is known to favour science. Perhaps one day I will have his ear, or Parliament’s favour, and then funding will be allocated to deserving endeavours”.

     The baron pondered Newton’s ideas regarding education. “Hmm… perhaps you have a point there. Perhaps we should approach this in a way resembling naval cannon: just point them in the right direction and let them discover what they may? The only problem I see is that there needs to be a system for reviewing and publishing results, lest their discoveries are lost”. Both men were secretive about the details of their work, so that was a given, but eventually they would publish. The question was how and where. “Perhaps the way Gresham does it? Have researchers propose a paper, which can then be presented and defended in public? That is not my forte… I am nowhere near ready to publish yet”.

     It was a fine subject indeed. The philosophy of learning was as interesting, sometimes even more so than the learning itself.

     “Galileo?” To Henry the reference seemed obvious. “His heliocentric view was deemed vehemently suspect of heresy by the Inquisition and he was forced to recant. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest. That will not happen in England, my friend, not on my watch. That is one of the few things politics are good for, to defend the rights of the individual”. Or so Lord Grey hoped. Perhaps he was a fool. “Not that I see it happening in England, as Protestantism allows for free research unbound by poppish nonsense, but we must be ever vigilant”. His tone became quite serious. “I will defend the right of any man to be wrong, as long as he does not step on the God-given rights of his fellow men. This, I promise”.

     At the baronet’s mention of God, Henry’s tone became subdued, almost reverent. “Do you think mathematics with its precision is the language God spoke when he said let there be light? It seems to be the proper language to describe the universe, that is for sure”. For a second, a flash of regret passed over Lord Grey’s face. “I wish I had applied myself to geometry with greater determination. It has its limitations, as any other tool, but I would be a better researcher if I had”. Like Hooke. He was a good geometricist and was now presenting papers at Gresham.

     “I will not relent”, Henry said smiling at Newton finding his research noteworthy. “And you will be the first to know when I achieve success”. Fame did not entice the baron. Fortune he already had. But knowledge? That was an entirely different thing. The discovery of something useful would fill him with glee. “And, who knows? Perhaps a young and worthy mind will find my work useful and build upon it”.

     Grey’s eyes opened wide. “An enamel furnace? Hmm…” his brow furrowed for a second before answering. “I think so. I am not making large lenses, at least not yet. Small lenses can be made faster and with less cost, both of which are important right now. Once I have achieved consistency, then I can start making larger and larger items”. The fact that the jeweller was a man of discretion was a definite advantage. Henry did not want his research stolen. “Yes, I think it will do nicely! I will not need anything larger for quite some time”.

     Even though polishing was a more critical process, glass needed to be melted to be roughly shaped, and the recipes the baron had learned in the Continent all needed to be heated beyond a simple fire for the crushed components to be thoroughly mixed. Access to the small furnace would help immensely until he could build a larger one of his own.

     Henry’s coffee was gone. “More coffee Isaac? There is still some in the pot”.

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“Well I hope we shall not loose you to the violent mistress that is Politics.” Newton uttered of that – he was savvy enough to see that the thought of it excited Henry, but had experience enough to know idealists rarely fared well in the Halls of The House of Lords.

“Greshams process is very effective.” He agreed with a nod, pleased to feel his perspective was making an impression upon this would be teacher of men. 

But then they were on to Galileo – with Henry’s valiant claims.  Newton smiled of it and teased, “If politics does not suit you, then perhaps don the armour of a knight and mount your noble steed!” he was chuckling, content to keep company with such an upstanding fellow. “For London is teeming with men making huge mistakes, and don’t even get me started on the walls out side of College Gresham!”

“Ah yes, geometry. I understand your lack of application to that topic back at Cambridge.” Where Henrys diligence in attending classes had been impeded by a significant rift between he and Hooke.  Less said on that topic the better. Isaac was not a man who sought out controversy, would prefer not to become involved with that.

He was helpful with the suggestion of enamelling furnace however. “The Jewellers name is Isaac Gaunze, and yes a more dependable fellow you’d be hard pressed to find.” The others name revealed he was Jewish, which was also to say he possessed the jewish secrets of the trade that set them far above English, French and Italian masters of that craft.  

“No thanks, no more coffee for me. As agreeable as it is to the mind, I find too much gives me grief in the belly.”



ooc: Im not sure if Isaac Gaunze' shop is still in the guidebooks, but you'd be able to find it with a search in the archives readily enough.  

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     “I will do my utmost, old friend, I will do my utmost”. Truth was that Henry was worried about how much time politics would take away from his research. Still, he could not just walk away from his duties, duties that had been inherited from a long line of Greys.

     “As for a knight in shining armour, do take into account that I am a descendant of Anchetil de Greye, who was precisely that, destrier, plate, shield and jousting lance included! I must have inherited more than my share of his knightly attitude, it seems”. It was all said with a big grin. “As for mistakes, first time is a mistake, but second and subsequent times are a decision, and some decisions ought to be opposed, for the good of all”.

     “What I lack in Geometry I hope to make up for with ability in other fields…” A momentary shadow passed over his face. But Newton had been kind enough not to mention Hooke, and that was appreciated. The topic then changed to something far more interesting, so much so that his eyebrows rose up without Henry noticing. “Isaac Gaunze? I will seek him and tell him you sent me to him”. A thought occurred to the baron. “Gaunza… Jewish… I wonder… would he know Kabbhalah? I have heard titbits here and there that have made me curious, but I have never been able to speak at length with anyone who has real knowledge of it…”

     I almost forgot! A mischievous twinkle appeared in the baron's eye.

     “My friend, there is a lady who has invited me for dinner. She lives here in London, and is a bit of an astronomy enthusiast…” Let’s see how he reacts to that. “Would you please join us? I promise she is not fat, nor ugly, nor will she make impertinent demands on your time afterwards. I swear on my family name I am not trying to marry her to you either. But I also promise food and drink will be good, and we will be able to use her telescope and gaze at the stars at our leisure. I am sure you don’t receive many offers like this…”

     Henry hoped his friend would accept. Anne-Elizabeth would be very happy if he did.

ooc: I found a few threads of the shop, but I do not know in which part of the city it is located. Would it be in Central London?

Edited by Henry Grey
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"I would not know." Newton replied honestly. Many societies had their secret groups that remained that way by being secretive about it - so it was certainly nothing that one Isaac had spoken about to another.  Perhaps an opportunity would arise where Henry could ask the Jeweller for himself, though whether he'd be answered was the real question.

“Oh ho!" Here he gave a nervous laugh that Henry invited him along without the woman having any say!   Isaac was suddenly feeling worldly wise as he witnessed his fellows lack of protocol.  "I would certainly not impose upon the lady's invitation to you."  he explained, "Amd as far as matches go, I rather more likely suspect that she has designs upon you. Newly risen to your title, and with no small means, you are a worm on a hook Henry. Just watch, by the end of the season you'll have a number of women professing their interest in stargazing with you!"  



OOC: yes it was up a side street of The Strand. No sign out the front either, if I am remembering rightly. A very discreet little shop.  

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     Henry shrugged. Kabbalah, as well as other esoteric philosophical systems, explained the world in a very different way than Natural Philosophy did. Thus, they held an interest. Not his main focus, but there was an interest. Perhaps the jeweller would know. Perhaps the jeweller would teach him. Perhaps

     “I will ask him. Who knows? I might have some luck. Not as important as his furnace, though, but it might be an interesting line of research”. Luck. Sometime all it takes is Luck... Fate... Providence. Whatever the name, it is an outside factor, one that cannot be controlled.

     Henry blushed. Beet red. “Ermmm… ehhh… nooo…” he stammered. “It is not like that, at least I don’t think so. She is young, a countess and a widower. She controls her life. I do not think this worm is that appetizing. Probably too plump and too wobbly of a worm for her”. Anne-Elizabeth had not flirted with him… or had she? All that talk about arse-kissing… so confusing

     “It was not that, at least I do not think so. I will introduce her to you, and then you can form your own opinion. She could even be a patroness of science one day not too far off in the future”. Henry sincerely thought both the Baronet and the Countess would benefit from meeting each other's acquaintance. “But you are correct in a sense. By season’s end I should have a number, probably a small one, of interested ladies”. Oh, how I hope it will be so! “Truth is, I need it to be so. I need to marry now, and have children. I need an heir… I do not want to be the last of the Codnor Greys”.

     “But enough talk about me. Pray, tell me, what are you doing nowadays? Where is your research taking you? You were always a privileged intellect, and I am certain you have discovered or suspect a hundred new things since we met last. I always learn so much from the off-the -cuff remarks you make. They may be unimportant crumbs for you, my friend, but they are rare pearls for me”.

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Newton was by no means a bawdy man, but was rather more puritan in his views upon women.  “A widow? But those are the most predatory of their sex, the phrase ‘merry’ so oft connected to that title reveals as much as the letters behind your or my names.”  

“Keep your diaries locked away is you might after fall asleep is all I might add, for what is she is a spy for a rival.”

“Ah yes, marriage.” Isaac was the worst man to give advice on that score. “But can you really afford the further suffering to your studies, to spread yourself so thin as to take the Oath and also a Wife in the same year.  You may less need a furnace to model lenses in, than a larger wash-house for the subsequent nappies.

“Set aside your talk of brides, they are a distraction unnecessary until the last. Spend your youth upon matters that really – matter.”

 “My own studies progress wall.” Even with a friend he clammed up on that front. Nor had he told Francis any details. “By the by, are you known to Lord Kingston, you might know him by the name Francis Kirke? He is a Cambridge man, and newly made Chancellor of the University.”


OOC: That question just occured to me the other day - perhaps pm Francis to confir if you'd be known to each other?

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     Henry paused. Lady Cambray could be a merry widow indeed… I had not considered that. She had mentioned the Merry Gang and arse kissing, and other less… morally uplifting topics. Does that change my view of her as a possible good friend? The baron found himself answering his own question with a rotund negative. He was not a libertine, but he would not think less of her if she was.

     “Isaac, Isaac. Have you ever seen me being careless with my notes? Have you ever been with yours?” Both questions had the same answer, another rotund negative. “But I will make it a point to take additional precautions now that I am in London. I will use a more elaborate cypher I have been working on. It adds Cyrillic to the Greek and Hebrew glyphs I already use”. The use of other alphabets was only one of the layers of protection, of course. The cypher was tailored to Henry’s way of thinking. It also included words that, even if decrypted, made only sense to him.

     Also, I have a copy of my notebooks I never talk about, not even to you, my friend. Just in case the one I carry everywhere gets... misplaced.

     “I wish I could lock myself up, and spend my time only on research. That is the deep desire of my heart, and I wish I could do so, but…” and this was the truth, “you can afford to be so single minded, and that will take you to the greatest heights of science, but I can’t. I am a peer with responsibilities that pull me in other directions”. Sad, but true.

     Henry had to smile. He patted his friend on the shoulder. You do well, my friend, not to disclose your secrets until you are ready. I would not steal them from you, but I do not take offense. Being paranoid does not mean they are not out to get you. “I am glad you are making progress”, the baron said simply. “Just make sure you save a first edition for me when you publish. I would not forgive you if you didn’t!” It was all in jest, of course.

     “Lord Kingston? Francis Kirke? Hmm…” the baron’s brow furrowed. “It does sound remotely familiar. Thin and blonde, fifteen years or so younger than I? I think I do recall his name from the time I was finishing my Masters, although it would be hard for me to link a face to the name after all this time. Is he related to one of the better-known families, or is he an obscure country baron, like me?”

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Isaac liked to think (with modest pride) that Henrys paranoia with his notes was something learnt from himself. “Good good.”

Yet it was something of an insult Henry delivered him next, a rubbing in on the lack of title for Newton – though phrased as though that lack of was something to be envied. (Although equally apparent was that Henry would not let his title go for love of money.)  “Oh yes, I really am quite fortunate.” Newton uttered dryly.

“You have surely witnessed for yourself that there is an almost atmospheric transferrance of knowledge when such things are voiced.” Newton uttered of his extreme secrecy, “The ripple effect you might even say, a splash here touches the banks furthest. But it is even more than that.  A discovery is voiced here, and then a discovery made thousands of miles away.  It has happened time and time again.  For truth, I fret to even give voice to my ideas within the privacy of my own mind for fear of their being caught up into the atmosphere of thought.

“Ack. And publication, do not even get me started on that can of worms!

“How does a man settled upon whom to trust to set theories proven (or not!) to type?  I shall admit I have spent some months now getting costings on buying a printing press myself.”

 Of Lord Kingston.  “You have his description correct, and yes he was indeed an obscure Baron - but is now attatched to the Duke Buckinghams household, also is Lord of the Bedchamber to the King, Er… do not quote me upon that position, there are so many titles within the Household I may have got that wrong.  Social details do not stick in my mind so much.”

“He’s been working on his own scientific project too, one that he’s ben commissioned by His Majesty himself to resolve solutions to.  He has asked for my assistance in this, but I have been rather remis of it I must admit.  When so focused upon ones own lines of research it is difficult to break from it into a field quite utterly different.”  

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     Had Henry known that his friend had taken slight at his comment, he would have been horrified, and probably would have failed miserably at trying to explain what he had really meant, while at the same time turning beet-red and stuttering for the duration. But he had no idea, so he continued clueless.

     “Aye, I understand, and agree wholeheartedly. Ideas can be far too easily… borrowed”. The stress on the last word was noticeable. It was a topic the two men had approached a thousand times and from many angles. Even trusting a manuscript to a printer was a huge risk, as the printer would have to be most honourable not to take bribes so others could read it.

     Then, an unexpected thought. Henry's eyebrows rose.

     “A printing press? Newton Publications? It does have a nice ring to it”. It could also be an opportunity to help a friend without really asking for anything but friendship in return. “Perhaps I could be allowed to help in the endeavour? I would gladly help finance the project. All I ask in exchange is that you publish anything worthwhile I end up producing, like my map... and that only if you consider it worthy”. Lord Grey’s works would never be on the same level as Newton’s and he accepted it as a fact of life. “You would have total control of the operation. I would want neither voice nor vote, and would never ask to see manuscripts or works in progress. You have my word. To see your great ideas published safely would be reward enough for me. God knows your ideas are far above mine, and far above everyone else’s”.

     Henry knew his friend. He was a proud man, sometimes a bit eccentric, but also a brilliant one. Anything he could do to help Sir Isaac be better known and respected, he would.

     “A member of the King’s household and attached to His Grace Buckingham? That is quite the preferment indeed! And a Trinity man. And working on a King-appointed project. Please introduce us when you have the time and the inclination. Perhaps the three of us could share a meal at some point, or at least a few mugs of ale”.

     The Duke of Buckingham… I must not forget. I need to speak with him before the next session of the House of Lords…

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"The problem is not the funds, but the gaining a royal permit." Newton revealed the hiccup to his marvellous plan... and looking to Henry relayed the question about it's attaining. 

"Ah, but it is time I head back to the lab." the scientist set down his cup, "time and tide wait for no man." 


OOC: Isaac is not really a going out socialising man, thus you seem in repeatedly ducking the invitations Henry is giving. 

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     Sir Isaac had given answer to only one invitation, which he had declined. Henry smiled. He had known his friend for over a decade, so no offense was taken. I need to help him to loosen up and take it a bit easier once in a while. We will see if I can be successful or not. Something tells me it will be easier to find the solution to my problematic lens than to have him take even a weekend off, but I will definitely try!

     “A royal permit? Hmm… send me the details on the matter. I will do what I can...”. The baron had no intention to run a print shop, but perhaps Newton would like to. “I have no idea how to go about it, but I will make a few inquiries”. Perhaps after I know who is who, and what is what. Not something I can do in a day, I am certain, but I will do what I can.

     His friend bid his leave. Henry felt honoured that the polymath had taken so much time out of his studies just to greet him. With a grateful voice, he said, “thank you for coming to see me. I know you are a busy man, and I will not impose too much on your time even when you are just next door. But do know that my door is always open to you, and that anything I can help with, I will gladly do so”. There was sincerity in his voice.

     The baron extended his hand, although he would gladly hug his friend is the Baronet moved towards such. “It has been a distinct pleasure to see you my friend. You are the first person I meet in London I am really glad to see”. It was true.

ooc: Thanks for a great thread, Hope! Henry now has a goal to strive for, one that has nothing to do with himself :)

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"The press itself would come from Europe, surprisingly there are few advances upon the dependable Gutenberg, and so that is what I'd settled upon." He looked at Henry, who no doubt was thinking exactly the same thing as he was.  If Newton managed to get his hands on a press, he'd be looking at ways to improve it!     

 "I've not got details of how to go about securing a permit. That was where I got stumped." Newton explained, it woudl no doubt require a deal of smoozing, which was not Newtons field of prowess. 

Neither did he want to run a print shop, but to have his own printing machine would at last give him some peace of mind over publishing his works. "And of course you'd be welcome to use it too." 

It had been a fine meeting, and parting was done over warm handshakes. "It is good to know a comrade is so nearby."



OOC: glad you like it! I thought it might be an interesting one to pursue IC, it might take him though any number of interesting scenarios! I"ve already got a couple of exciting (to me at least, lol) sidelines that I am busting to throw at Henry! 

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