Such a lively bunch of characters I never had in my family!
Take this guy, for example.
We lovingly refer to this twig on a branch of the family tree as "the fog chaser". Born in England in the latter years of 19th century, Nigel was one of seven sons of some distant relative from the other side of the tree. His parents were lower middle class, lived adequately and would have lived better if they hadn't had all those sons. I understand there were daughters, but much of this history is blurred by...fog, of course.
Anyway, Nigel had a fairly normal childhood and being the baby of the family, managed to have his life made miserable by older brothers who taunted him for his brilliance and lack of athletic ability. Yes, Nige was smart but hopelessly uncoordinated.
His older brothers were robust and handsome and hard working, all contributing to the family income, making sure Mum and Da were comfortable. The sisters, too, evidently. But then, there was Nigel. He didn't contribute much at all to anything.
He was a shy boy, more bookish than seemed natural.
His only talent of note, at first, was his ability to be a teachers' pet because of all the reading and retention he did. Shooting back the answers his teachers wanted to hear was easy.
Understanding the Latin, the geography, the Greek, even, was easy. While his brothers had stumbled through to the third form, Nigel breezed through school, garnering prizes for his one glorious talent.
He would have made it to University had not the family fallen on much harder times.
One brother was run over by a horse carriage.
Another brother left life in the big city to move to the country.
Died while wrestling a pig.
Next brother (they went in order of age it would seem) apprenticed to a brewer.
Died while sampling the wort, fell into the kettle, at least he died with a smile on his face.
Alfie, the next brother, went into service.
Caught romping with the mistress of the house, shot by the master during a quail hunt. Found with a bird stuffed down his throat. How odd!
Sidney, next in line, also went into service.
He ran off with the vicar to Australia, good as gone forever.
Next to last brother became a copper. Mysteriously went missing third day on the job, whilst chasing Jack the Ripper through Whitechapel in a real pea-souper.
That left Nigel. Poor, scrawny but smart Nigel. He mourned his brothers. While they had been cruel to him his entire life, they were no longer a problem. But this left his sisters and parents bereft. Also rather poor without the income from the brawny bunch.
Nigel thought and thought of how he could help them, as limited as his abilities could be. One day, while strolling through London, careful to avoid particularly foggy streets but failing, it occurred to him that the vapors swirled about him as he moved. He thought about this. The more he thought about this, the more the vaporous vapor swirled until it dissipated. About his person was an area empty of fog.
This was nothing short of miraculous.
He leaned against a lamp post and thought hard about what he was witnessing.
The more he thought, the further away from his person the cloud moved.
Daring to take a deep breath (nobody actually breathed hard in the pea soup as one never really knew what it was made of, even back then) Nigel thought, "wouldn't it be loverly to make all the fog go away?" and, to his amazement, the area around him faded away, leaving him standing in a fifty foot in diameter circle of just air, not fog.
People walking down the street became aware of this empty circle and stepped cautiously within the nothing, only to see Nigel leaning on the lamp.
They smiled, as most Londoners are not chatty, not even back then when there were fewer of them and most spoke some sort of the Queen's language.
But they enjoyed the lack of fog.
"I made it go away, " Nigel boldly spoke out.
"Aw, g'wan. Yeh silly bugger!" echoed through the crowd.
Nigel merely smiled, thought harder and expanded the circle of emptiness even further to the astonishment of the growing crowd.
A scientist happened by at that time and stopped. After observing Nigel's apparent ability for some time, he stepped forward. "I don't know how you are managing to do this, young man, but I believe it requires study by the finest minds in the land. Come with me...I am on my way to a meeting of The Finest Minds in the Land society right now. I'm sure you will be of great interest to all."
So Nigel went. He stood outside the great hall where the scientists met and demonstrated his remarkable ability to them.
Most were awestruck.
Some were dumbstruck.
Nigel went on to be knighted by none other than Victoria Regina herself.
He lived well into the next century where he managed to dissipate the fog all over England where it was wanted. He cleared the skies for those brave young British fliers on their forays into danger. To keep out the German dirigibles that flew over London, Nigel kept the skies overcast where it was needed.
Unfortunately, Nigel passed away shortly before 1938 so he was unable to help prevent The Blitz. Since he died unmarried and childless, he had no one of his own to pass his ability to.
However, it is believed that one of his sisters produced children and that may be why there is no longer the terrible pea soup fog in England now.
We may never know the how or the why, we just revel in the fact that it was.