Hand Still Improving In The land Of Possibilities

A moment in history captured by a cheap picture postcard. It is April 1906 and MBD is in Washington DC. He – or could it be, she – is there for the day: and that can mean either Washington or, more specifically, the Pensions Building. The building is a grand affair, built in the mid 1880s to serve the needs of Union veterans after the American Civil War. The message says, “Hand Still Improving“, and it was sent to J Hemmings Esq, Nobel House, Scotland. Nobel House was the Scottish headquarters of Nobel’s Explosive Company and was situated on West George Street.

When you have nothing better to do, you can let your mind explore the land of possibilities. MBD, in a fetching kilt, wandering around the battlefields of the Civil War with his travelling salesman’s suitcase full of samples of explosives. A missed footing, a stumble, a small explosion, a damaged hand: and a thirty-year old pension claim? More likely, a Victorian tourist doing the rounds of the sights of Washington. More likely, but less engaging.

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