I told her something of my experimental work. She had never heard of the soaring aeroplane, and was excited by the thought, and keen to hear about it. She had thought all the work so far had been a mere projecting of impossible machines. For her Pilcher and Lilienthal had died in vain. She did not know such men had lived in the world.
"But that's dangerous!" she said, with a note of discovery.
"Oh!—it's dangerous." . . .
"Bee-atrice!" Lady Osprey called.
Beatrice dropped from the wall to her feet.
"Where do you do this soaring?"
"Beyond the high Barrows. East of Crest Hill and the wood."
"Do you mind people coming to see?"
"Whenever you please. Only let me know——"
"I'll take my chance some day. Some day soon." She looked at me thoughtfully, smiled, and our talk was at an end.
All my later work in aeronautics is associated in my memory with the quality of Beatrice, with her incidental presence, with things she said and did and things I thought of that had reference to her.
In the spring of that year I had got to a flying machine that lacked nothing but longitudinal stability. My model flew like a bird for fifty or a hundred yards or so, and then either dived and broke its nose or what was commoner reared up, slid back and smashed its propeller. The rhythm of the pitching puzzled me. I felt it must obey some laws not yet quite clearly