Sat in contemplation of events just gone, the cloak of melancholia draped close about my shoulders and dressed it could be said appropriately in my smoking jacket, sampling the scorched taint to the air. I held within my grasp the small white still cooling skull that had once been our chimney boy. Gazing into the black and empty sockets I pictured the cheerful scamp, always black with soot and weeping of eye, disappearing into one of the institutes many flues with a merry doff of his cap. Concentrating my faculties I broke through the imprisoning bars of human emotion and reached for the cold detached mantle of the scientific observer and let the work begin.
Once again the brass cranioscope begins a journey of discovery, carefully catching the cartography of crests and depressions indicative of personality and character, matching what has been observed in life with that that may be mapped in death. For each student is assigned a member of staff to observe and record their behaviours that knowledge may advance. So measurement complete it is to these notes I turn, for the greater part the accuracy is unerring and typical of one from the lower reaches. There was however a discrepancy in the area of love of beauty, hope and generation, all above the average and well developed, could we have had a potential Turner, Constable or Wordsworth hidden in plain sight?
Swirling my brandy and inhaling deeply of the restorative vapours I gaze once again into the empty sockets and wonder what might have been. Could other potential be out there unobserved among the masses? So a plan slowly materialises as the fine French spirit works it’s magic and lets fly the soul.
Henceforth I have determined that at the point of application all new personnel are to be mapped in the cranioscope. Then assessed and tested to determine their suitability to the role sought, also to seek any potential for development that may benefit both the individual and society, for as Buddha observed “What we think, we become…”
So in a better frame of mind I replace the skull upon my desk, sad not to have known the name of its owner, but resolved to have it sent for gilding to use as a paperweight, that it may stand as a reminder of the shining potential that may exist in the most unlikely receptacle.