The Disappearance of Mr Christopher Asquith

An essay by Christopher Asquith, as provided by James Rowland
Photograph by Eleanor Leonne Bennett

An Extract from the Diary of Mr Christopher Asquith

Wednesday 1st March, 1899

I did begin to think for the first time that this journal would lie naked and ashamed for an entire week in my present state of stagnation. After the documented previous failures (see 24th February of this year), I have begun to fear that my experiments concerning the properties of Mr Edison’s light bulb will find nothing new to record. It seems that unlike Newton, who stood upon the shoulders of giants, I am merely confined to be hidden within the shadows of them. I still must profess, though, to the unshakable feeling that this new invention is unsettling. There seems something wholly unnatural in its being.

Regardless of this current defeat, I have found my spirits buoyed over the last couple of hours. It was by chance (after the fifth light bulb had flickered to an early grave) that I found myself walking aimlessly through the streets of our glorious capital. Shortly after midday, I mindlessly marched swiftly down Chancery Lane and headfirst into the path of my former tutor, Dr Kenneth Seymour. After apologising profusely, returning back to old habits of my days at Magdalen College, Dr Seymour invited me to lunch with him at his club. Confessing to this journal alone, my current situation with money is just as austere as my new ideas in scientific research, so I naturally jumped at the chance for a luncheon that would usually be far out of reach for me.

Dr Seymour is apparently in no such financial troubles of my own, supplementing his already far from modest income with a shrewd eye in the financial markets in the City. Over a particularly well cooked meal, which included a type of pale fish that I had yet to hear of, Dr Seymour regaled me with a story of how he has become the majority stockholder in an assured profit-making industry. While I felt embarrassed at the lack of stories that I could repeat to him, I perceived a sense that my former tutor was merely happy for the company. Indeed, by the end of the meal he had offered me an opportunity to invest in his latest endeavour. If I can find the income for such a venture, then I daren’t think about the returns I could make within a year. Money would never be a concern again. I left the meal with an assurance from Dr Seymour that he would wait for me to raise the investment required, and once more I find myself indebted for his kindness. I can only hope that my dear brother will be willing to offer me a loan.

Christopher Asquith

The most peculiar thing has happened as I have written this entry. The five light bulbs that I have experimented on today have seemed to resurrect themselves from the lifeless state that they had entered early this morning. Despite not being connected to a source of energy, each of them flickered into life one by one for the smallest moment of a second. I am most startled by this current development and I shall suspect that I will forego bed tonight to discover the cause for this unexpected turn of events.

The Disappearance of Mr Christopher Asquith

There must be a small part of my brain still functioning logically, for I believe I can pinpoint this irrational behaviour to my lack of sleep. Once more, I spent a night investigating those cursed light bulbs.


To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2013 collection.

James Rowland is a young, British writer who is just beginning the journey of publication. Since it is just the start of that road, he doesn’t have a fancy website or an interesting twitter account. However he hopes 2013 will be an exciting year where he starts to self-publish his novelette series, The Collingwood Report, and also continues hoping to find people mad enough to publish his short stories.

Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 16 year old internationally award winning photographer and artist who has won first places with National Geographic, The World Photography Organisation, Nature’s Best Photography, Papworth Trust, Mencap, The Woodland trust and Postal Heritage. Her photography has been published in the Telegraph, The Guardian, BBC News Website and on the cover of books and magazines in the United States and Canada. Her art is globally exhibited , having shown work in London, Paris, Indonesia, Los Angeles, Florida, Washington, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Spain, Germany, Japan, Australia and The Environmental Photographer of the Year Exhibition (2011) amongst many other locations.

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