WRITING FIRST PRINCIPLES. 1860-62. ÆT. 40-42.
Up to this date my life might fitly have been characterized as miscellaneous. Here it may not be amiss to pause a moment and ask whether there was any relation between this trait of it and the course subsequently pursued.
From the education ordinarily passed through, mine differed by its comparative variety; and while lacking most of the usual linguistic elements, it included a good deal of physical, chemical, and biological knowledge not commonly gained.
Throughout the years passed in civil engineering many phases of the profession occupied me. Beyond plan-drawing and making designs of various kinds, there came surveying and levelling, secretarial business, drafting of contracts, and over-seeing execution of them, testing of locomotives, preparations of plans and sections for Parliament, joined with superintendence of the required staff and followed by attendance on Parliamentary Committees. And along with these sundry forms of engineering activity, there went the occasional invention of appliances and devising of methods.
During a long unengaged interval, inventing and experimenting in many directions filled a large space.