Good morning, Everyone! I hope you’re having a great Tuesday today.
Quick reminder about the Blog Hop post from last week. If you haven’t jumped over to check out Rati’s, Linda’s, and Jessica’s blogs yet, I say go for it! Click on their name and spread some views around. 🙂 Okay, so I’ve got an old tale to tell starting this week. I originally wrote the story of The Clock Builder about 15 years ago and decided it needed some love. So I gave it some, because you probably know by now that I LOVE to tell a story. I’ve spent the last two weeks or so re-writing this oldie but goodie.
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The Clock Builder
A clock is a precious thing. The ability to keep time in a pocket or on the wrist was something that seemed close to God-like only sixty years ago, when a clock was confined to a tower or building all its own. Now the tiny cogs and gears fit with such precision it took master craftsman to assemble and repair these functional works of art. William Trivoli was such a craftsman; each and every component was hand-made just as his father had shown him. He knew every piece down to the smallest detail in every clock and watch he had ever created. People came from all over Italy, some from as far as England, where he was born and raised, to admire the delicate craftsmanship, the intricate quality, of a Trivoli Timepiece.
William kept his life in the same metronome rhythm as he kept his clocks. He was predictable, his timing perfect, his punctuality so mundane; he knew time so well he rarely needed to check. His workshop, on the first floor of the family home, was filled with them; a clock for each time zone across the globe, exact down to the second.
His day to day life was just as measured. Everything had its time, from when he woke to when he ate. His work, only interrupted by the need for an afternoon meal or trip to the water closet, was counted by the hands of a clock. In true English fashion, he still took time out for tea in the afternoon before returning to his craft and careful assembly. Then his evening meal, the time he set aside for reading the newsprint after, and a glass of brandy accompanied by a cigar before bed.
It was just past eight in the morning when the door opened and the scent of lavender and vanilla drifted in with the rustle of fabric. William quietly winced, people were a distraction. They were clunky, awkward things.
“Excuse me?” She stepped closer, the sweet perfume filling the workshop. “Are you Mister William Trivoli?”
“I am,” he said, never lifting his gaze from the workbench.
“I was told I should see you, and only you. My husband’s watch has stopped and no one dared to touch it.”
William carefully set the small cog he had been filing on the table, she had his attention now. “May I,” he asked holding out his hand.
She took the pocket clock from her clutch, the polished silver case gleaming in her dark blue gloves, and handed it over. William depressed the small button and it sprang open showing the smooth yellowed glass front. The hands had ceased keeping time at 12:00 and the ivory face bore the small encircled “T” that was his father’s mark. He recognized the pocket watch, it was perhaps the most simple of designs his father had made. The watch itself was nearly a decade old and it did William some small comfort to see that it had been kept clean.
“It’s a bit unseemly for a woman’s pocket clock. Your husband’s or father’s I presume?”
“It is my husbands.” she stifled a quiet cough.
William gave no regard for the Glory of the British Empire; he had lived in Italy with his father since he was fifteen, and after twenty years England was only a memory. He turned away from the thoughts of his mother’s death and focused on the pocket clock. He closed the face and quickly opened the back plate exposing the gears, coils, and the tell-tale chain made of oh-so many miniscule links; a trademark of the Trivoli self-winding watch. He positioned the magnifying glass and leaned over it looking closely at the interior function of the still mechanism. There appeared to be nothing wrong with the timepiece, it was indeed puzzling.
“Would you be able to leave this with me, it may take me the rest of the day to see to it. Are you staying locally?”
“Yes we are; a lovely villa just outside the city. We’ve only just arrived this morning on holiday. Do you think you can fix it?” She asked with a hopeful gleam in her eyes.
“This watch was made by my father, I’m sure it’s a simple matter. See me tomorrow in the afternoon, if you or your husband can spare the time.”
With that said William turned away from the woman and began to remove the internal workings of the pocket clock. She stood for a moment expecting him to say more, though recognized his curtness and quietly left the shop. As he pulled each wheel, spring, and cog from the clock, he found the lack of any problem perplexing. Even stripped down to the case there was nothing wrong with it, the clock merely refused to function. He refitted every part with lifelong trained precision and closed the back plate.
He lifted the pocket watch and watched as it slowly spun on the fob chain, the glint of polished silver catching the light and reflecting white beams of light. He hung the watch on a small hook set into the wall above his workbench, briefly trailing his fingers over the smooth case. It had been years since his father had left for Africa with his younger brother. At first William had received a monthly correspondence from them, but that had slowed suddenly last year. Letters arrived every two months, then nothing at all since October, and it was now April. He let the watch go and returned to his previous task as the heavy clock thudded gently against the wall.
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