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[CD] A Master and His Apprentice | Thursday 22nd - sunup

Henry Grey

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Grey Rental Property

A small but clean and functional Tudor-style home with two bedrooms, a dining room, a parlor, and service areas. The dining room was repurposed into a work area by placing the chairs against the walls and using the large table for instruments, experiments, and notes.  A small stable that can hold a carriage and its horses can be found behind the house. Inside the stable there was a locked storeroom where Lord Grey’s trunks and coffers could be stored safely.

It was a fewe minutes after sunup, and his assistant should have already left. The boy had other duties besides cleaning telescopes. But the lad had a bright mind and had learned quickly. Sure, he had made a few mistakes at start, but they were becoming rarer and rarer. The cost in time and materials was minimal compared to having the convenience of a dutiful assistant.

“So, master Tom”, Henry said after examining and approving the boy’s latest attempt at fitting a lens in an eyepiece, “is lens making boring you to death?” As if on cue, both master and apprenticed stifled a yawn. “No, my lord”, the youth asked. “Truth be told, I much rather help you with telescopes than memorize Georgics…” Suddenly realizing what he had said, he turned a rather dark of beet. “I mean… err… I mean…”

The Baron interrupted the boy’s attempts to amend his words with a hearty laugh. “I will take the secret to grave, if need be, master Tom. Your guardian may be the Chancelor of Cambridge, but he does not need to know that you prefer natural philosophy to the Classics. Truth be told, so do I”. The boy’s face was one of relief. “Besides”, Lord Grey continued, “you have been diligent in your appointed duties, so there is no need for me to raise a complaint”. It was true. Tom had begun cleaning parts, then he had learned to dismantle them and put them back together. He would soon begin the long road of lens and mirror polishing and then, if he still cared to continue, that of crafting the lenses and mirrors themselves. Henry did not say it in so many words, but he was quite pleased.

The youth decided that keeping silent was the best course of action, just in case. He felt fairly treated by the man of science, but trust had not developed between them yet. He may not be as terrified of Lord Grey as of the Duke, but it was not far from that.

“There are a couple of things I would speak with you about before you leave, master Tom, so begin putting what you are working on safely away”. Henry continued as the boy did as he was told. “First, I would ask you to procure some fireworks for me. Enough to light the skies above the castle at the end of the season. If you prove yourself worthy of the responsibility and wish to accept it, you will oversee setting them up and lighting them, if that is your wish. I am too old to do a young man’s job…” the last was but an excuse to help Lord Kingston’s cousin to accept the task. It would have been unneeded by the wide eyes and even wider grin in the youth’s face as he moved his head up and down. After all, what youth did not like to set off fireworks?

“Second, I have set up a small account in your name at the Celestial Patisserie, and I mean small. You are not to buy their entire stock and then make a business of reselling it, and you cannot kill the Cardinal by feeding him things he ought not to eat, understood? But if you were to need a gift for a… shall we say… a young acquaintance deserving such a gift, you will have the freedom to do so. Just do not abuse the privilege, or you will lose it. Understood?” It was a safe way to measure the boy's character.

Tom could not believe it. If he understood correctly, Lord Grey was telling him that he was willing to pay for a small gift to a girl, without asking who the girl was before authorizing the purchase. “Thank… thank you… mmy… my lord” the boy blurted out when he could finally speak. “Thh… that is very gracious of you”.

“Master Tom, by now you have realized that in my laboratory we work hard, very hard. What you now will learn is that, at appropriate times, we play as hard or harder. Go home now. The sun is up, and you have a long day ahead of you!” The youngster did as ordered, but the smile did not erase from his face until he reached Windsor Castle.

He might make a good natural philosopher one day, if he learns to love the craft of it.

It was time for the Baron to break fast... and check on what the Cardinal was up to.



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