used himself in the many long days during which he was confined to the house by ill health.
It is at this stage the steam and kettle story takes its rise. Mrs. Campbell, Watt's cousin and constant companion, recounts, in her memoranda, written in 1798:
Sitting one evening with his aunt, Mrs. Muirhead, at the tea-table, she said: "James Watt, I never saw such an idle boy; take a book or employ yourself usefully; for the last hour you have not spoken one word, but taken off the lid of that kettle and put it on again, holding now a cup and now a silver spoon over the steam, watching how it rises from the spout, and catching and connecting the drops of hot water it falls into. Are you not ashamed of spending your time in this way?"
To what extent the precocious boy ruminated upon the phenomenon must be left to conjecture. Enough that the story has a solid foundation upon which we can build. This more than justifies us in classing it with "Newton and the Apple," "Bruce and the Spider," "Tell a