I saw the most extraordinary thing, my last day on the train! And Mr. Faulken, the District Officer for Denver, was with me, so I was treated to a satisfying discussion rather than simply going starry eyed, and wondering about it by myself.
We were at one end of the dining car with the window open, as Mr. Faulken enjoys a smoke (yes, oh yes, I do agree it is a disgusting habit), and I saw movement out on the plains of West Dempshire. The land undulates in this part of the country, not quite flat and not quite hilly, but a pleasing expanse of dips and rises that would be well-suited to agriculture, were the soil not rather poor. I saw this movement, and at first I could not say what it was. My eyes would not accept it. But after a few moments I discerned the great block of clay – not a rock, but reddish, packed earth sprouting prairie grasses – the size of a man, and regular as two cubes stuck together, sliding uphill.
I am afraid I pointed, and was largely inarticulate, but Mr. Faulken comprehended.
His discourse then on quarky ions, and the love of clay for high places, transported me from my undergraduate physics seminars to armchair philosophy and back again, whilst I watched the clay block, with its grasses swaying like untamed hair, reach a small summit, quiver, and seemingly disappear into thin air.
I had a number of questions for him then, largely around the theory that clay enjoyed high places – if so, then why did it disappear from just one such spot? Mr. Faulken scratched his ear and said that maybe this particular piece of wandering clay had been more sentient than most spotted in West Dempshire, and perhaps it knew that one cannot always have what one wants for long.
What a very yellow-bellied piece of clay that would be, in my opinion. It didn’t try to keep to its summit for more than two seconds altogether.
Anyway, I bid goodbye to Mr. Faulken after supper, for we have crossed the New Cambridge border; later tonight we shall arrive in Kingstowne, and I will disembark. Rather embarrassingly, it seems the gentleman noticed my green-eyed glances at his wristwatch-compass over the course of our short acquaintance, and upon parting he gave me the directions for the workshop on the east coast which makes them. He cautioned me that they are terribly expensive – but never mentioned the magnitude of the price. And I have no head for their New British pounds yet at any rate. All I could do was thank him effusively.
I will no doubt write to you soon with news of what Kingstowne is like.
P.S. Thank you for visiting my papa – you make it sound as though he were no too shocked at my sudden departure, and I shall endeavour to believe this to be true.