Vol. 2, Issue 8, February 24, 2004
The Man in the White Hat
To run a Webamagraph publication such as Ours, it is Necessary to use the most Carefully Calibrated machinery. Daily our Difference Engines must be adjusted with a great iron Wrench, wires pushed and Pulled, and various other Components polished and Oiled. It is a Messy job at times, but the lads in the News-Room are particularly Adapted to such Travails. The six Babbage Engines hum Quietly along with the little blue "Apple" machine that Ephram has wired into the back. They are a mighty Team - thoroughbred Clydesdales chugging along, dispensing Quality Journalism the World over.
But alas, one of our iron Horses has gone Lame. I am of the Opinion that the problem Began when Ephram attempted to stash some Italian Spices - Oregano I believe - in the Vent of Machine No. 2. He denies this is the Case; but whatever the Difficulty, it was evident that we would Need to use a New machine to put forth our next Issue, as the old one was somewhat Indisposed due to a certain amount of Melting. Also, it became evident that one ought have more than one Bucket in case of Fire. Lessons of Life, good readers!
A telegram was quickly Dispatched; the delivery quickly Made - a brand-new Babbage Analytical Engine was delivered, the gears in its Mill gleaming fresh from the Factory. I stood in Awe once more of Mankind's mechanical Ingenuity.
I was considerably Less in awe, however, of my Staff's mechanical Ingenuity. Long into the Night Ephram, Emmett, and Ernest labored - now a wire Here, now a cog There; but try though they Might, they could not get the new Machine up and Running. By thunder, this was Serious! I spent long hours at the Club worrying about it. When I returned, Ephram was no Closer to success, and the News-Room was considerably Smokier.
"Zounds, lad!" I gesticulated with my Walking-Stick. "Can none of your Friends do the Task?" He admitted that there was One: One friend gainfully Employed elsewhere who could do the Trick. "Summon him!" I commanded, somewhat Mystified that Ephram had a friend gainfully Employed somewhere else.
In due Course a gentleman entered, with a pleasant, cultured face, high-nosed and pale, with the steady, well-opened eye of a man whose pleasant lot it had ever been to gain a full night's sleep on a regular Basis. His manner was brisk, and yet his general appearance gave an undue impression of age, for he had a slight bend of the back as he walked. His hair, too, as he swept off his very curly-brimmed white Hat, was grizzled round the edges. As to his dress, it was careful to the verge of foppishness. This? A Friend of Ephram?
"Allow me," he said graciously; and reaching with his ivory-tipped walking-stick, he prodded a Lever protruding from the recalcitrant Difference Engine. Immediately it Roared to Life, with the unfortunate loss of a Sandwich that Ernest had left in the Gears. But no Matter! - our Webamagraph site was Restored, the new System fully Functional. I stood and Applauded this singular Gentleman while Ephram and his cronies stared Dumbfounded.
Alas, he would not Stay for Luncheon, nor accept my Offers of full-time Employ; for which the lads seemed rather Glad as they sought their accustomed Places on the Couch. But he has offered me his Card should we need him once More; and I look forward to the Day when I may learn of what Hold my nephew has on this singularly Competent individual. I am sure it is a Ripping good Yarn.
Our thanks, Stranger in the White Hat. We - nay, the world of Journalism - owe you a Debt of Gratitude, and a bottle of thirty-year old Glen Garioch as well.