The failure of Lovecraft Mustard nearly cost Willard his entire fortune; saddling him with financial burdens until his death in 1924.
He is remembered fondly by British mustard enthusiasts for "what could have been." He is the paternal grandfather to Howard Lovecraft, film reviewer/serial killer Harry S. Plinkett, and apprentice mustard enthusiast Gubra Lagima.
Background (Prior to 1860)Edit
Inline with his life's work, Willard Huxley can best be understood by tracking the history of his family's passion for the mustard seed. Willard's grandfather, Leslie Herschel Lovecraft (1784-1857), was the sole surviving member of the Lovecraft family. Born to near-abject poverty to two dirt farmers in Devonshire, England, Leslie inherited next to nothing following the early death of his parents who most likely perished from a parasitic infection after attempting to consume handfuls of dirt in 1800.
Leslie sold what little he had and put everything into the East India Company's mustard shares. Shockingly, this investment began to pay in considerable dividends. Amazed by the sickly boy's talent for estimating mustard seed demand and price inflation, the Company recruited Leslie as their 'Chief Mustard Seed Consultant' in 1804, earning him the most pay any Lovecraft had ever seen.
Leslie's career with the East India Company had made the former dirt peasant into one of the most renowned financial strategists of the 19th century, though his personal wealth never came anywhere close to his officials. In 1820, Leslie married and had a son, Ebenezer Lovecraft (1820-1895) who, when he was old enough, joined his father in the Company as an officer of the private forces in India. Both he and his son had accumulated a considerable amount of stock in the Company over their combined 72 years, hoping to eventually make a move on mustard seed cultivation and exportation in the subcontinent. However, Leslie's death in 1857 temporarily left his share of East India stock on the open market. This distraction left Ebenezer vacant from his duties on-and-off for months as he tried to negotiate their legal transfer into his portfolio as his father's sole heir. What might have otherwise been a minor misunderstanding ballooned into a prolonged legal battle with the London Stock Exchange, all the while Ebenezer's crucial position as an officer in charge of monitoring local dissent was being so neglected that an otherwise benign uprising turned into a full revolt with the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
The event devastated the East India Company's reputation, resulting in the political acquisition of the colony by the Crown; they would never recover. Being the officer responsible, Ebenezer was terminated from his position. To make matters worse, the legal battle with the London Stock Exchange had almost bankrupted Ebenezer who was now left with virtually worthless stock as the Company hemorrhaged backers. Ebenezer would spend the next 38 years of his life rebuilding the fortune he and his father had lost, transferring his ventures into becoming an independent mustard middleman.
Early Life and Father's Death (1860-1895)Edit
Willard was born in 1860 after Ebenezer resettled in his ancestral Devonshire and married an unknown woman. For the next 30 years, Ebenezer would train Willard to become the best mustard enthusiast the world had ever seen. Apprenticing him in the ways of mustard speculation and importation, the two became the savviest mustard seed merchants in England. By the end of Ebenezer's life, the two had successfully redeemed their family name and secured a comfortable living for Willard's own family in London. Ebenezer would live to see his son have two healthy children: Harry Plinkett's mother (1880) and Ronald Lovecraft (1882). The future of their family enterprise secured, Ebenezer would spend the rest of his 13 years making the necessary business connections needed to transfer their mercantile venture into an official mustard condiment empire.
Willard took up his father's dream in 1895 after Ebenezer quietly died in his sleep. He was laid to rest under a plaque that read: "Matthew 13:31-32".
Bringing Lovecraft Mustard to Life (1895-1919)Edit
Lovecraft Mustard was officially created in 1895 following Ebenezer's passing, but mustard production would not begin for another twenty years. Although the appropriate arrangements had already been made to begin small scale distribution, Willard had been inspired by his family's story to hold off on selling until he had the means to do the unthinkable: bring industrialized mustard condiment production to England. By the 1900s, yellow mustard had already become a thriving commodity in places like France and the United States. Dijon's alone had been famous for centuries and the States had been quick to innovate its usage as an applicant to their "hot-dogs". Willard believed that while these accomplishments were worth applauding they were simply child's play compared to what the full might of British industrialism could accomplish.
Utilizing his homeland's direct connection to the largest production of mustard seeds in the world, Willard secured special connections to Indian mustard planters and acquired regional recipes on how to perfect the art of mustard making. Hiring the best condiment scientists money could buy, Willard oversaw the creation of the purest mustard paste the world had yet tasted. Its consistency and clever aftertaste proved a smashing success with focus groups and was officially patented in 1903. Willard himself consumed so much of his own product that the once slender 140 lbs. man had ballooned to a gargantuan 350 lbs. by age 55.
The rest of Willard's time between then and 1919 was spent coordinating the purchase of the factories and equipment needed to immediately begin worldwide mustard distribution. Willard would ultimately have to build his own factories throughout Southern England as what was even available in the region was too small or ill-equipped. The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 temporarily set back construction as the materials needed for industrial mustard production was being refocused to fleet building and artillery construction. Willard famously cursed them all as fools for chasing the "worldly gains of Empire" when the "full majesty of mustard" was so close at hand.
Grand Opening and DisasterEdit
Construction of Lovecraft Mustard factories continued in spite of the war and were, at last, completed in 1919. The first factory to open was in Brighton and Willard's marketing campaign had attracted considerable attention from across the country. Attending the grand opening with him was his son and heir, Ronald. The two gave brief speeches to the press before cutting the ribbon together to officially open the factory and allow the crowds to tour their industrial marvel. The sheer awe and spectacle of the mechanical wonders alone dazzled onlookers and prospective investors alike, adding to the absolute excitement being stirred by the "revolutionary taste" of the free samples of mustard handed out to the press. During one demonstration, father and son proceeded across a raised catwalk to explain the intricate workings of their 30 foot wide, 50 feet deep mustard mixer, the largest in the world. However, while waxing poetically on the majestic simplicity of mustard, Willard hadn't noticed his son, standing to his left sloppily shoveling mustard into his mouth, had tried to pass through the corps of press to get more of the free samples only to slip on some of the material left by the journalists themselves, launch off the catwalk, and plummet helplessly into the churning mixer below.
Willard screamed for his son at the top of his lungs, having to be pulled back from diving in after him by scores of reporters as his son hopelessly flailed in the golden paste. As Ronald was slowly consumed by the churning current of the mixer, workers scrambled to rescue him by deactivating the machine or offering their long stirring poles for him to latch onto. In the end, however, Ronald was pulled in by the undertow of the mustard and drowned in the savory liquid. He was pronounced dead later that evening.
Aftermath and Later Life (1919-1924)Edit
The hysterical Willard was forcibly restrained by over nineteen workers and journalists until he finally fainted from the 2 minutes of exercise (several of them joined him in his trip to the hospital). When he finally came to, several days later, he was completely distraught. The awful turn of events at the Brighton grand opening had been the scandal of the nation. While there was a considerable amount of support being sent to Willard and his family for their tragic loss, the accident had proved the negligence of Lovecraft Mustard's facilities and cast doubt on future investments in "British industrial mustard". As a result, most of the factories had to be shut down as the mounting costs of their upkeep and rent would no longer be outweighed by the barrels of money coming in from mustard sales. The interest on the land and equipment, labor and facilities, also mounted following the Brighton accident leaving Willard on the brink of poverty.
Despite the total catastrophe Lovecraft Mustard had become, Willard still had hope that his family's legacy could survive to one day become the burgeoning enterprise it was meant to be. With the death of his son, Willard no longer had any male relatives to inherit what was left of his fortune. Although he had an older daughter living in America, Willard loathed the idea of allowing a woman to take over the family business. In an act of total desperation, Willard divorced his wife of 40 years to marry the supposed 19 year-old Polish heiress of the "turnip fortune", [REDACTED], in 1919 to both rebound his financial burdens and secure a new male heir. In 1921, Willard was rewarded with a boy he would name Howard (Howard J. Lovecraft's father). However, Willard's wife eventually revealed that her connection to the "turnip fortune" in Poland was a "total lie" so she could emigrate. Totally banked out of hope, Willard accepted the turn of fate for what is was, drowning (😏) his sorrows in what he had left of his exquisite mustard.
The last three years of his life found Willard consuming nothing but mustard paste and extract—the diet slowly building a severe case of constipation which only added to his stress as he struggled to keep himself out of the poor house. Finally, in 1924, after suffering a particular horrid fit of intestinal blockage, Willard Huxley Lovecraft died on the toilet in his London home at the age of 64.
Willard had neglected to properly edit before passing that would allow his his son to take over his company. As a result, his estate was auctioned off by the British government and Lovecraft Mustard was officially dissolved out of an apparent lack of interest from possible buyers. His Polish widow and 3 year-old son opted to leave England for America later that year, finally settling down in Minneapolis, Minnesota where the two would remain for the rest of their days. Willard was eventually buried next to his father in Devonshire.
The story of Lovecraft Mustard's 115-year climb into existence has inspired and amazed mustard enthusiasts everywhere with Willard Lovecraft remaining an icon for innovative mustard entrepreneurship to this day. Willard's work in mustard helped revolutionize the condiment's production throughout the world though the recipe to his original mixture remains lost.
His descendants include: Harry S. Plinkett, Gubra Lagima, Harriett Plinkett, Howard Lovecraft Sr., Harry's children (including Rian Johnson), and Howard J. Lovecraft (including his clones: Spoony, Styxhexenhammer666, Some Schmuck, and RazörFist).