The oak door creaks open and I venture into the darkness, reaching for the safety lamp. Controversially, there are several competing claims for the invention of this device, including William Clanny, George Stephenson and Humphry Davy. We always buy Stephenson’s Geordie Lamps, hailing from England’s North East, instead of the lamp from Davy, who ‘borrowed’ Clanny’s idea.
The light creeps further into the room and reveals a large candlestick on the reception’s desk; the best weapon available. Armed and ready, I step quietly down the hall with rage coursing through me: this is my building, business, and livelihood. Who dares break into my office?
Utmost on my mind is protecting the work progressing in this office, which is laid out in sections, according to our different clients. Merchants require to know their shipping routes, Civic Leaders are compelled to understand their cities and Landowners demand charts of their boundaries. This line of large easels, where the original maps are drawn before being committed to print, are carefully navigated until my office is reached.
A candle flickers behind the glass, revealing a figure sitting in my chair, clicking their fingers.
The office door is opened, my mind has raced the whole time and the penny finally drops. There is only one person, I know brave enough for this.
“Mary, it’s you.”