By William McIlvanney

Eddie Cameron is a salesperson for Rocklight Ltd., an electric apparatus enterprise in Glasgow, the place he has been fiddling the firm's costs. Eddie's lifestyles is in tatters - his spouse hates him, and his violent mood has left his mistress teetering at the fringe of sanity.

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It was said that every day she delivered orders from her husband, carried on the business of assembling the bridge as he instructed her. The public chose to believe that story; they Page 27 imagined Washington supervising the project, a telescope thrust out his bedroom window. But the untalented son no longer recognized trousers, trusses, or even the spelling of his own name. When the bridge's road had finally been laid, joining Manhattan and Brooklyn, the chief engineer rode across to check for vibrations.

She led an expedition to Vinland, then murdered her male partners to get their boats and cargoes. Bartering bowls of milk drawn from dragon boat cattle, along with pieces of junk they'd planned to throw away, the Vikings took Page 17 beaver pelts, wolf and fox skins, the tanned and decorated hides of deer and moose. The men with scruffy beards could hardly keep from laughing at the natives, their greed for cow's milk and broken tools. But one skraeling, as the Vikings called them, spotted the scam, demanded two bits of brass instead of one for his decorated deerskin.

Their strange-smiling children would eat logarithm tables, travel a gridwork of concrete pathways beyond calculation. John Roebling was a genius. His son Washington barely made it through Rensselaer, and tried to substitute labor for inspiration. As he dug deep into the riverbed, laying foundations for the two massive towers, Washington lived six days a week with the tunneling sandhogs. There was widespread praise for this admirable chief engineer, but secretly he dreamed of the Savage Mother, waited to ram those towers up Her two holes, East River and Hudson.

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