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Bright Ideas: A Record of Invention and Misinvention

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
Bob Templeton tucked a leg under him on the parapet of the bridge on which he was sitting, and with a look of gloomy disgust spread a number of coins, the contents of his trouser pocket, on the weather-beaten stone. "Eleven and ninepence," he said, dolefully. "That's all." Tom Eves, who had been leaning his elbows on the bridge, and watching the roach darting among the weeds in the clear running stream below, straightened himself, smiled, and, diving a hand into his pocket, gave a comical glance at the coins it returned with, and said: "Well, you beat me. I've got seven and fivepence halfpenny, and no chance of more for nearly a couple of months. We're sturdy beggars: under a pound between us." "You can't do much with a pound." "True, old sport, and still less with nineteen and twopence halfpenny. Might as well not count the halfpenny." "And there was so much I wanted to do. There's the levitator, and the smoke machine, and the perpetual pump——" "And the microphone, and the lachrymator, and the super-stink——" "And the electric cropper, and the tar entanglement, and—but what's the good of talking? They all mean cash." "Well, haven't I read, in the days of my youth, in the excellent Samuel Smiles, that most inventors have been poor men?" "That's all very well; but they started with more than nineteen and twopence half-penny—and war prices, too! It's maddening to think what chances we are missing. This is just the sort of place where you can think out things quietly. No masters to pounce on your inventions before they are half finished. That automatic hair-cutter, now; there was a ripping idea simply squashed flat. A few touches would have made it perfect. If that blatant ass, young Barker, hadn't shouted before he was hurt——" "Barked before he was bitten." "Eh? Oh, that's a pun. I wish you'd be serious. If he hadn't shouted and brought old Sandy on the scene the thing might have been finished by now, and on the market." "And what would the Hun say when he came back after the war and found your patent cutter in every one's pocket? His job would be gone. Really, I've a sneaking sympathy with the gentle Hun."