Clumsiness rather than cleverness marked the starting point. To put it another way, the discovery happened after two blunders.
It was New Year's Day, 1755, in the midst of Lord Montfort's dinner, when I stumbled first. The platter I was serving tipped and sent a pyramid of oranges madly spinning over the Turkey carpet. Puce with self-consciousness, I squatted to gather them up, threading my way between a forest of silk-stockinged and mahogany legs. But I needn't have worried; no one had noticed. They were ablaze with alarm at the cause of my slip -- a deafening gun blast that had rudely interrupted their party. It had...