It was the evening of April the 5th, 1864 when I called upon my friend, the Count of Samerand, at 337 Dover St. His home was of the recently revived Gothic peaks that caught the eye in such a way that one had to admire the artistry of the free masons. Stepping down from the hansom I placed three shillings into the grizzled cabbie's hand on his word that he would remain until I returned. I smiled as I spied the good house woman Mrs. Clarke, who as I understood it had been in the Counts employ since his return to Great Britain after spending four years in France, was still up so late attending to her masters needs. Generally the main window was to be covered over with a thick curtain at night giving way to candles and lamps, while in the day they would be opened to allow natural sunlight to illuminate the room, though through a lack of decorum or an ignorance of it, my companion's window remained uncovered at all hours. Though because of his strange manner, a visitor was never left waiting for long, as was this time when upon seeing me Mrs. Clarke had opened the door as soon as I approached.
"You are fortunate Sir, his lordship is still up." Mrs. Clarke was a stocky woman of fifty years, her brow creased with age and kind brown eyes being outline by crow's feet, as her thin lips were by laugh lines. Her hair was already the salt and pepper shade that so marks the passage of time, and on this night it was falling loosely from her bun after a hard day’s work.
"Not another of his experiments I hope."
"I am afraid so, Sir." She said wringing her hands "He would have the whole house down if it were possible."
"Don't worry Mrs. Clarke." I said brushing past her. "I will make sure he doesn't blow himself up."
"Please do." She called after. "It’s deathly hard to find work at my age."
I took the stairs to the second floor landing where my friend maintained as his salle d'étudie.