December 28, 1862
It has been a few days. Holidays are like that even on the ship. People have been working or learning in the lab. Rachael and I have been had at work in physical therapy or strength training. I was a bit bothered when she said that she didn’t want me to help her in her room, but I think that is because I end up working with her a lot in the gym area. Jason has been working with us in the pool teaching us to swim. He learned as a young boy. We city folk never learned. As the others are engaged in other activities and Millicent said that swimming would be good for Rachael, the two of us are learning together.
John O’Malley II is different from the rest of us in some ways. Apparently he spent his years at University trying to fit in with the upper class folk. It worked out during his time at University, but did not help him afterwards. John comes from Stepney. His father owns and runs a aeroship repair shop that operates off the Greens on the East End. Unlike Rachael, John’s household is not a happy one. He tells stories of abuse from his father that are once chilling and saddening. That John remains pleasant to talk to and not full of anger astonishes me. But he tried to find his way out of that hell hole through social climbing. Not knowing much better he took on some of the less likable traits of those in the upper classes and that caused a fair amount of resentment from those in school who lacked privilege. (Why they resented it could be a whole new journal – but I’ll save that).
I mostly see John in the galley and in the gym. In the morning, he is drinking a cup of tea and he usually has a screen open and is reading something. He, unlike the rest of us, has started asking Charles for music in his idle time which has pleased Charles no end. The music we typically hear is from Josef Haydn and is certainly pleasant to listen to while eating breakfast. In the gym, Millicent has had him working on more intricate fighting techniques. John is a big man and he always has used his bulk in fights, I gather. But Millicent says that a good opponent will be able to use that against him if he does not work on balance and technique. So he spends time working balance and gymnastic moves. I have been lift weights a lot lately. John has been helping me but it can be discouraging then he lifts with one hand what I can barely lift with two and my whole body. Michael says not to worry as he is happy with my current shape.
When he works in the lab, he either works alone or with Eleanor. This makes perfect sense given his background. Eleanor is simply a genius with things that fly. John, apparently, is simply a genius with motors. They have been working on a scale model of one her efforts. They did a test flight in the warehouse and the small model powered up and flew the length of Millicent’s ship. While Eleanor was jumping and yelling, John seemed content with a smile.
John is also different in that he reads. Others read, including myself. It is what he reads. In his efforts to hide his origins, he started reading philosophy. Maybe they discuss such things in Paris, but Simone said hardly anyone in London discusses philosophy unless they are stooped over, grey haired and wander around in headmaster’s robes. Right now he is reading Thomas Hobbes. He and Charles have the oddest conversations. Charles will ask how John can believe in the Natural Equality of all men, if he had struggled so hard to make it into the upper classes. John then replies how his efforts merely prove that Locke was right and if he could survive in upper class society, clearly all men must be equal. Charles says that John is the only one of us who truly grasps who he is besides Millicent. So I guess it must mean something.
While others help Rachael and myself occasionally, John makes sure to check in every day (sometimes multiple times) to see if he can help me or Rachael. With my grafts in place, I’ve needed less of his assistance. Rachael continues to struggle as she learns how to manage without her legs. Perhaps he is making up for being a bit snobby before or being aloof now, but we both secretly appreciate his efforts.
Sorry for the delay. I hope to get more in over the next few days. Please let me know what you are interested in.