Jack Bell is a bespectacled man of middling years with a shock of thinning light brown hair defying both gravity and comb. Blue-grey eyes burn fiercely from dark circles pitting a sallow, drawn face. Of average height and somewhat thin, his physique could best be described as flaccid - once-toned muscles have fallen into disuse and are obscured by the residue of a fat-rich diet. He walks with a slight limp due to a clubfoot, though he claims it was injured by a malfunctioning invention.
Jacquard Hamilton Thimonnier Bell was born in a farmhouse less than a mile from Stonehenge. Named after several famous textile industry inventors his father admired, Jack embodied his father's vicarious hopes. A failed inventor, his father was blinded in an accident before Jack's birth. He was testing his new "Automated Dye Applicator," which he called "ADA," his "mistress." His wife became jealous and sabotaged the machine, hoping to destroy it. Unfortunately, she also blinded her husband, ending his inventing days. The accident salvaged the marriage, but only because he now needed her and she felt a responsibility to him for causing his disability. The Bell home was angst-filled and guilt-ridden.
Growing up so close to Stonehenge, a boy can't help but bathe himself in the ancient world, soaking in the rich history of his people stretching back to civilization's origins. Jack spent many an hour on and around the monoliths. When archeologists were there, he would help them in any way they'd let him. He seemed destined to follow in their footsteps, were it not for a chance meeting with a man who had lost an arm in a textile mill accident. His prosthesis had been damaged in a fall from a monolith, and Jack fixed it. Even though it was quite advanced for the time, Jack told the man that he could improve the design given the proper tools. This man, the grand-nephew of Jack's namesake, Joseph Marie Jacquard, provided said tools and Jack repaid him by doing as he had promised. Access to Jacquard resources, both financial and technological, provided a steady stream of interesting work and what seemed at the time to be ungodly amounts of money.
Encouraged by his success with arm prostheses and flush with cash, young Bell began branching out into other avenues of inquiry with the primary thought of eventually restoring his father's sight. Doctors had informed him that his father's eyes were beyond repair, but surely a prosthesis could be created? Perhaps this new "fiber optic" technology could be helpful... or perhaps he could transplant eyes from one man to another?
Now in his early twenties, he had his own home and workshop in the village of Amesbury proper. He becaome well-known locally as the "Wizard of Amesbury" mostly because of the strange goings-on in his laboratory but also because of his talents at fixing intricate machinery and firearms. This was a large part of his income, and he needed it because the Jacquard family were providing him less and less business. Unfortunately, it took time away from his primary research, and he became frustrated with his lack of progress. He looked for time-wasting tasks to eliminate, such as sleep, eating, hygiene, and the like. Hygiene seemed ironically necessary for business, and didn't take much time. Eating could be done while one worked, but sleep was a problem. It took a long time, but it couldn't be avoided, or could it? Pharmaceuticals seemed to provide the solution, and that's when he became acquainted with the coca leaf. He chewed it at first, getting the slight buzz that helped him focus and stay awake. Seeing the value in this stimulant, he arranged for a large quantity to be shipped to his lab, where he began experimenting with it. After some years, he learned how to turn the leaves into cocaine powder, which he used regularly, but with much self-discipline - well, as much discipline as can be brought to bear against such a drug.
In his early thirties, his father died, and his mother moved to Edinburgh with Jack's yougest sister. The primary beneficiary of his research was now gone, no family were left in the area, and he had no friends to speak of. So he left Amesbury for London, moving his laboratory to a small workshop in the city where he had better access to supplies and was closer to fellow scientists and inventors.
Now at home in London, Jack always carries a small vial of cocaine powder in his breast pocket, just in case he feels the need for a little more focus, or he needs to stay awake. Like any bad habit, cocaine abuse is frowned upon, but not so much so that he might have to avoid doing it in polite company. And it's not illegal, so he has no fear of the police seeing him carrying the drug or using it.
There is no truth to the rumour that Jack spends many nights digging up corpses in the potter's field. Jack has paid morticians for cadavers on which he performs experiments, mostly focusing on reviving the lifeforce of the most vital organs with little success. There are very few stray dogs in Jack's neighborhood... but one such dog is rumoured to have one grey eye, and the other brown.
Some have suggested that Jack Bell is in some way related to Alexander Graham Bell, the great American inventor. Indeed, both have roots in Edinburgh, and both are inventors and scientists. However, they do not share a recent common ancestor.