Martyn MacDonald Adams
Godalming's Unfamous Residents
Lord Theodore Thaddeus Octavius Rahul, Oh-Rahul, Addams-Smythe-Bentwaters
The nearly famous inventor who lived in Godalming from 1841
Born: April 13th, 1839 (twice) in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Died: September 15th, 1899 after many attempts
Lord Theodore Smythe-Bentwaters was born at a very young age to Lady Hortense Ophelia Addams-Smythe (1816 - ?) wife of Lord Octavius Ulysses Lucian 'Rikidiki' Bentwaters (1801 - 1841). His father, Lord Octavius, was almost famous for his four-foot-wide moustache until it caught fire while smoking a cigar during a tiger hunt. Lord Theodore suffered minor burns, the tiger was unharmed, but the mahout had to be treated for aching ribs.
Lord Theodore was born in Pakistan, his parents’ only child. The family, including Lady Hortense's favourite gardener Rahul, moved to England in 1841 taking up residence in a house in Busbridge after Lord Octavius Bentwaters lost his fortune unsuccessfully suing his wife for divorce. She later sued him for losing all their money and won. Lord Octavius, now penniless and forced to sleep in the conservatory, committed suicide by the very unusual method of self-garrotting after, apparently, shooting at himself several times and missing. He was not known as a good shot and, apparently, neither was his wife.
Young Lord Theodore subsequently endured a deprived childhood growing up pretty much alone, apart from his nanny, two private tutors, the cook, butler, footmen, housemaids and several other servants who lived in the attic. The young Lord often reminisced that he couldn't sleep at night because of the pounding coming from upstairs. Thus, he would spend many happy hours alone reading or playing with himself.
After his father's suicide, his mother spent most of her time in London taking only her trusted gardener, Rahul, with her. She later married her divorce lawyer who, sadly, committed suicide some weeks later in the same manner as his father. And thus, the family fortunes were restored.
In 1860 he obtained a regular allowance from his mother, and thereafter allowed his staff and their families (most of whom were now married to each other) to move into the building proper while he occupied the basement. There he would spend his time creating inventions, writing doggerel and failing to learn to play the bassoon.
By 1880 Lord Theodore had very little money left as he had been sued so many times because of his failed inventions.
Lord Theodore died in 1899. He narrowly survived drowning in January when pushed into the River Wey by a passer-by, believed to have once been a customer. He was stabbed (probably by another ex-customer) in March of the same year but recovered. In May he was poisoned but recovered from that too. He was twice shot in July, but both times the bullets missed vital organs and again, he survived. Sensing that his time was near Lord Theodore, as is traditional in the nobility, turned to religion. He also adopted the practice of wearing the family suit of armour and never left his house.
On September 15th, 1899 Lord Theodore was struck in the faceplate by a very fast, low flying heron through an open window. Police suspected fowl play.
During his lifetime at Godalming Lord Theodore was nearly famous for his many inventions.
Some of his less uncommercial inventions include: -
1862: The Gentleman's Unobtrusive Blouse Retaining Apparatus
Elastic braces worn under the crotch and attached to the bottom of shirts to keep them taught. Tended to chafe and snapped at the most inopportune time, often causing the wearer to shriek falsetto in agony.
1863: The Gentleman's Trouser Lifting Comfort Booster
An ingenious system of levers activated when the wearer sits. It gently pulls the trousers up from the knee preventing 'knee-stretched trouser syndrome.' When activated accidentally it caused much confusion and general hilarity.
1865: The Gentleman's Automatic Painless Toe Nail Trimming Foot Stocking Insert
Shaped sandpaper inserted into the end of socks to gently wear away one's toenails. The tendency to abrade the wearer's socks and also his toes caused discomfort.
1867: The Gentleman's System for Discreet Vent-Silencing, Mal-odour Reduction and Leg Warming.
A leather tube with built in sound-baffle plates, inserted into the anus. The exhaust tube was then split into two, each downpipe strapped to the back of a leg. Painful to sit upon, but very popular with the older nobility who were often required to stand for long periods before Her Majesty, Queen Victoria. It is believed that a custom device still exists in the Royal Attic at Windsor, but with the baffle plates removed and an oboe reed substituted, tuned to high Eb.
1869: The Gentleman's Head Warmer, Posture Encourager and Automated Hat Doffer
A steam driven device built into a top hat that automatically lifts when the wearer bows his head slightly. The boiler had a tendency to explode if it was not used at least once every fifteen minutes.
1870: The Gentleman's Quality Height Enhancing and Emergency Ruffian Avoidance Footwear.
A very short, shoe-shaped, powerful spring embedded into the soles of specially designed boots. Upon encountering ruffians (muggers) a lever is pulled, and the wearer could leap over their heads and then run away. Sadly the wearer was usually propelled sideways, striking a wall and rendering them unconscious, much to the delight of the ruffians. It is rumoured that a Prussian Military Attaché accidentally triggered his footwear when clicking his heels before Her Majesty Queen Victoria. The hapless diplomat was nailed to the ceiling of Buckingham Palace by the point of his Pickelhaube. Her Majesty, and particularly the French ambassador, were most amused. Prussia invaded France shortly thereafter.
1873: The Ladies High-Pressure Air Powered Curvature Enhancing Apparatus
Foot pumps in the heels of lady's shoes would continually keep custom shaped rubber balloons inflated at a high pressure. These balloons were strategically placed around a lady's torso and would 'enhance' the profile of a lady's bosom and her bustle. In 1875 one such young lady became very nervous when meeting a young nobleman at a state ball. She had high hopes of becoming romantically acquainted with him, as her mother had found the size of his estate very attractive. Furthermore, he was said to have commented often on the size of the young lady's endowments. During the introduction, the young lady's feet started to tremble which overinflated the apparatus. System failure resulted in the bustle balloon bursting during the curtsey, causing a large explosive reaction. This propelled the young lady forward, such that her face struck the gentleman's 'gentlemanly' parts with some force. The subsequent trumpeting sound of the system deflating led witnesses to the conclusion that the luckless lady was both very, very keen to start her intimate relationship with the Viscount - and that she was also suffering from a severe case of explosive flatulence.
Military inventions: -
1864: Gun Carriage Cavalry Disguising Sound Effectuating System
Multiple arrays of half-coconut shells mounted on the wheels of gun carriages making them sound like a cavalry unit rather than horse drawn artillery. Didn't fool anyone.
1866: Smoke Blaster
Fitted to artillery, this bellows operated device blew gun smoke into the eyes of oncoming enemy infantry. It was ineffective in battle when the enemy were upwind and was captured on its first use as the gun crews were blinded by their own smoke.
1867: Electric Bayonet
Intended to be fitted to the Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle for the British Army, this device consisted of a large handle which, when turned, charged the bayonet with static electricity such that when plunged into the torso of an enemy soldier it would ensure his prompt demise while at the same time the convulsions would enable the user to withdraw his weapon easily. Found to be too clumsy and slow, required too much effort, and frequently electrocuted the user.
1868: Helmet Mounted Battle Field Illumination Engine
This was an early version of the 1870 Gentleman's Head Warmer. The miniature steam engine built into the soldiers helmet drove a small dynamo which in turn powered a helmet mounted lamp. This allowed the soldier, usually on sentry duty, to see further ahead during the night. Enemy snipers loved this invention as, when targeted, the miniature boiler in the illuminated sentry's helmet would explode quite spectacularly.
1871: The Rapid Re-Usable Hammering Steam Torpedo
Nicknamed 'The Door Knocker,' this was a novel steam-driven re-usable torpedo without a warhead. Launched from a fast torpedo boat the tethered torpedo would strike an enemy vessel but instead of exploding it would rewind its tether until it reached the torpedo boat again before re-launching itself at the enemy vessel. The objective was to crack the enemy's wooden hull by repeatedly striking it. Although the principle worked admirably in theory, in practice the torpedo dragged the torpedo boat into small arms range of the enemy ship before it could do any serious damage, apart from giving the enemy sailors a mild headache and plenty of warning of the approaching, unarmoured, small torpedo boat.
1876: The Expeditious Surreptitious Clandestine Agent Insinuator
This was one of Theodore's largest projects and was far ahead of its time. It consisted of a very long wooden tube based in Kent and pointed toward Europe. An agent of the British Special Intelligence Services, usually of small stature, would be placed in a bullet-like capsule and the weapon, basically a very long cannon, would be fired using steam as the propellant. Steam was used so that the pilot/passenger would not be crushed by the excessive g-forces of explosives. During flight the pilot was able to manoeuvre the free flying shell by the use of small pop-out winglets. This technology was later adapted by other countries who used slow burning explosives as the propellant. It was developed by the Nazi regime in WW2 as the V3 and thereafter by the USA in project HARP.
Theodore's attempt failed because he was unable to produce steam quickly enough and the first test pilot (name unknown) aimed at Calais, landed short. The projectile embedded itself in the hull of the SS Caribbean Paradise in the English Channel. The vessel was on route from Dover to Barbados with the Barbados Erotic Ladies Dancing Troupe. The test pilot was believed to have survived but never returned. He left behind one wife and thirteen children.