It has been a long and cold and quiet winter in Bois-de-Bois—quiet, that is, except for the noise produced by little Anne-Marie and Margaret. So quiet, in fact, that there has been little to say, as occupied as I have been with Amelie and children, and with settling back into my normal life here in town. The front of my workshop has remained a hotbed of anecdotes and grey hair; Jean-Baptiste has been ably running the shop for Amelie; the hot springs have retained all of their warmth and attraction; and the new Town Hall, completed in my absence, has been receiving regular use, which has done much to reduce the friction between the original settlers and those who have come to Bois-de-Bas in the aftermath of the war. And Patches the Goat has remained every bit as much of an infernal nuisance as ever.
I wonder—it is possible to harden plates, pots, and so on; I wonder if it is possible to soften Armorican goat hair while it is still on the animal. It would have to be repeated periodically, of course, and I am not at all sure that I want to be spend quite that much time with goats on a regular basis. I shall have to think on this.
But quiet is good; and that is not to say that I have been idle, for I have been diligently studying mathematics with Luc. It is difficult, yet intriguing; and I believe that in time I will be able to state my findings with regard to thaumaturgical effort, greed, and generosity with great precision.
In the meantime, working from my trials of this past summer and fall, I believe I have come up with a way to make my warming blocks practical without risking the destruction of other formed elements in the vicinity. They will necessarily be more complex than the simple wooden blocks I started with, and so will be more expensive; but I think they will not be difficult.
The trick is to combine a simple heating block with a thin hardened element that is under tension. The tension is achieved quite simply, by means of four screws that fasten the hardened element to the heating block. The screws are tightened, causing the thin element to bend imperceptibly (I have exaggerated this in my diagram). This produces a source effort generously given up by the hardened element and used greedily by the hardened element. The whole contraption may then be enclosed in a frame leaving the faces of the two primary elements exposed.
I am not yet sure how as to the best size for the hardened element, or the required degree of tension, to make them absolutely safe; but this, after all, is why my design leaves the hardened element exposed: should the greed of the heating block consume the hardened element it will be immediately obvious to the user. And
In the meantime, our beds are toasty warm, which is a joy and a delight in this cold, snowy weather.
In the meantime I am eager for spring. We have received no letters from Mont-Havre, let alone Yorke, in some time, due to the snow; all I can say for certain is that there have been no disasters, or Jack would have spoken with M. Suprenant, who would have sent me an arrow. I must remember to provide him with a new set sometime in the coming months, for it is likely he is running short.
I suppose I am over-eager, for it has been barely enough time to have received word from Yorke concerning Trout’s pernicious plans and ultimately fate at the hands of His Majesty’s government—always assuming that anyone deigns to pass the details along to me—for the wheels of government grind slowly. But I hope I may soon have word from my mother.
Ah! Amelie is calling.