Well ‘excited’ is putting it mildly. Henry and Charles have been leaping around Steampunk Towers all day, slapping each other on the back, chortling, yelling and banging their fists triumphantly on the workbench.
I really can’t blame them, though. First, they sold another of their time machines – and to a university lecturer in the United States who teaches time-travel, no less – and secondly, they have published their first book!
It’s a slender volume, comprising just twelve pages of text, but it constitutes an essential guide for any time-travellers who wish to journey through London’s past and future.
Oh, there will be those who purchase the book and then complain that its print is too small to read. So as is our custom, we will reproduce the text here in its entirety.
However we strongly suggest heading to The Steampunk DollsHouse and downloading a copy for yourself. Not only is it a delightful little item to own, but if you do so, our little authors here will be quite ecstatic.
THE TIME- TRAVELLER’S COMPANION
Charles and Henry Fortescue
Having travelled extensively through time from our workshop in the city of London, we humbly offer this volume to fellow temporal voyagers, in the earnest hope that they may avoid some of the pitfalls and experience some of the delights which we ourselves have encountered. We feel that this will quickly become an indispensable aid for all serious time-travellers. London 1885
Section One: Dangers
Clearly, one of the most useful services we can render to our readers is to provide warning of times to avoid, when calibrating your time machine.
As all serious time travellers will be aware, your geographical location will not change – only your temporal one.
Consequently, this volume will be invaluable, should you be located in London or its environs.
A List of Dates to Avoid
AD 43 Moderate risk. Roman military invasion underway. Pretty ruthless bunch.
AD 61 Extreme danger. Iceni tribe sacking the city. Slaughtering everyone they see.
1066 Moderate risk. Unsettled times as Normans take control.
1381 High risk. Gangs of peasants rampaging. Some chap called Tyler in charge. Avoid.
1642-9 High risk. Civil war.
1664-6 High risk. Plague is rife. People dropping like flies.
1666 Extreme danger. London is ablaze. Do not attempt to stop in early September.
1888 Low risk. A spate of grizzly murders taking place in the capital.
1915 High risk. War! Airships and futuristic flying machines dropping fire bombs on London.
1940-41 Extreme danger. London ablaze and virtually destroyed by fire bombs from flying craft. Do not stop.
Having seen the devastation of 1941, we have chosen not to travel further into the future, since we feel there is a very real possibility that some dreadful post-apocalyptic times lie ahead and that the world will indeed end in the year AD 2012.
Should any readers dare to venture into those uncertain times – and survive – by all means notify us of your findings upon your return and we will incorporate them in a future edition, with due credit to the authors, obviously.
Section Two: Highlights
Whilst it is only prudent to take due care, we wish to emphasise the uplifting and informative experiences that can be gained through judicious time-travelling.
In this section, therefore, we will outline some of the most fascinating and instructional journeys which we ourselves have experienced within the historic and fascinating city of London.
c.600,000 BC: We have found this to be a surprisingly warm and pleasant period in our capital’s history. The astonished traveller can expect to encounter herds or mammoth, hippopotamus, deer, wild horses and much other wildlife strolling around the banks of the Thames. A remarkable experience.
c.200 AD: Should you wish to view London’s origins as a city, this would be an excellent time to stop. A golden age of prosperity exists as London is being laid out by its Roman leaders. They appear more mellow in this age.
c.884: The chance to see King Alfred the Great setting London up as his capital should not be missed. The traveller is warned to avoid any encounters with the warlike Danes, but it is most instructive to see the Roman city being expanded and improved upon by a truly enlightened monarch.
1588 -1600: It would be foolish, in our humble opinion, not to visit London at the time of the flowering of the world’s most esteemed playwright – William Shakespeare. One of us was fortunate to watch a performance of Macbeth at a playhouse, with Mr Shakespeare himself taking the role of Duncan.
1838: Should you be able to calibrate your machine to arrive in London on a specific date, why not attend the coronation of our beloved Queen Victoria on June 28th? A stunning occasion.
1920-30: For those requiring a relatively safe journey into the future, the wonders of this era should not be missed. You will find locomotives running in tunnels beneath London’s streets, astonishing vehicles travelling at great speed on said streets and wonders which we can barely dream of.
Perhaps, in the far future – should the world survive – there will again be halcyon days of great splendour and achievements. We earnestly hope that this will be the case.
Let us end this slim volume with a short, and by no means exhaustive list of items it would be wise to take with you on any adventures into other times.
A supply of candles and lucifers.
A tin of dry biscuits.
A hip flask of brandy.
A supply of fine gold chains to exchange for currency.
Spare breeches and hose.
A firearm for self-protection.
We wish you safe journeys.