Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 16

Did I mangle the mangle?

Victorian schoolroom

English is an amazing language.  It’s amazing because with words that have the same spelling as another word but have a different sound and a different meaning… and then words that have the same sound as another word but are spelled differently and have a different meaning… Well, it’s a wonder we can communicate with one another at all.

Then we added to the chaos when words came to mean different things depending on the country in which you live…  But of course, that confusion can sometimes be entertaining!

(Speaking of entertaining — although this might be stretching the term… I’ve added a little work in progress treat at the very end of this post. I hope you enjoy it.)

Hugh RobertsThe “three things” for this episode were provided by Hugh Roberts at Hugh’s Views & News.  I had to do my research — but that’s the fun part.  A case in point would be the word “mangle,” one of Hugh’s things.  (And yes, I know.  I’m strange that way about enjoying research.)

Hugh blogs and tells stories about “everyday life,” which of course is often more interesting than any fiction.  Even so, you’re likely to find entertainingly unexpected posts amid the “everyday.”  He also does book reviews at Lit World Interviews.  I hope you’ll visit both sites and get to know Hugh.

 

Just one more thing.  It’s National Train Day!

national train Day

You know I had to add that. I just learned about it from Dan Antion at No Facilities.  Meanwhile, I believe our steam locomotive just chugged past the window.

All aboard!

From last time…

Then I suddenly saw what had been there all along.  A resemblance.  Copper’s face was full with youth, while Ignatius had masculine angles, but their features were very much alike.

“They’re related,” I said amazed.  “And closely I’ll wager…?”

“Hixon was youngish in the portrait…  I remember you asking Copper about it.  She indicated that he was much older when she was born,” I commented as assorted bits fell into place.  “But he had no previous marriage…” I started but did not finish my sentence.  “Oh.”

“Yet that’s not to say that Hixon had no other children.  I didn’t just prowl around, as you put it, at Hixon’s estate.  I went to Belle’s office at the Inn, and to his bedroom.  Based on letters Ignatius kept, he is the illegitimate son of Calvin Hixon,” Corenlis revealed.

“So he is Copper’s half-brother?  Why would she distrust him so?” I thought aloud.

***

16.  Moustache Cup, Apricot Charlotte, Mangle

The tiny woman who had shown me to my room when we arrived at the beautiful family estate of Alastair Wong appeared with a coffee and tea tray.  She had told me she was named Victoria, after the Queen.  She motioned more than asked if I would like more coffee.  Victoria seemed rather excited when she turned to the Dutchman.  At first I thought it was simply because of Mr. Wong’s admiration for the alchemist.  However, it turned out there was a little more to her enthusiasm than that.Mustache Cup

“Sir, mayhap you like this cup?” Victoria suggested to Cornelis as she lowered the tray to our table.

Smiling brightly she picked up a teacup with the same pattern as the rest of the dishes, but it was of a slightly different shape.  It must have been specially made to match the rest of the china, and she was obviously both proud of the cup and delighted to have the chance to offer it to a guest.  Inside the cup was a semicircular ledge.  The ledge had a half moon-shaped opening to allow the passage of liquids and to serve as a guard to keep a mustache dry.

“Look Cornelis!  Why it’s a mustache cup,” I exclaimed.

Cornelis Drebbel had a mustache and a short pointed beard, and bushy blonde eyebrows.  When he was in a playful mood, or a sarcastic mood, he wriggled his eyebrows.

Where Sheriff Bullard, back in Copper’s home town, had a very thick mustache — as was the fashion, Cornelis wore his neatly trimmed.  While Bullard would have desperately needed the special cup, it was not as much of an issue for the Dutchman.  However, I gave him a little nudge with my elbow when it looked like he might decline the cup.  With another look at the tiny woman, he seemed to realize that it was important to her.

So Cornelis, bushy brows wriggling flirtatiously, made over the cup and smiled when Victoria filled it with coffee.  The woman was obviously overjoyed to have someone use the cup.  I thought she must have put a lot of effort into having it made.Mustache protectors

A soft chuckle caused me to turn.  Our host, Alastair Wong had come back downstairs.  He carried a large roll of paper.

“I thought you were going to turn in early, my friend,” Cornelis told him.

The tiny woman turned at the sound of Alastair’s voice.  She was still all smiles.  “I feared that tonight no one would eat dessert — and it turned out so well.  It would have been a shame that you did not get to enjoy it,” Victoria said as she hurried away, presumably to get the dessert.

I gasped when I saw what she brought.  Sticky sweet glazed apricots peeped out from a golden brown cinnamon sugar crust, dusted with white powdered sugar.  When I asked what it was called, she told me proudly that it was an apricot Charlotte.  It was irresistible, so everyone had at least a bite before going back to the reason why Alastair had come back downstairs. “So did you find a second wind, as they call it?” Cornelis asked.

Map Columbia River Basin Lg Dams“It was my intention to retire early,” Wong admitted ruefully.  “However, sleep eluded me.  I couldn’t stop thinking about the raven you told me about — the one that tried to carry a message about your whereabouts.  I kept wondering where it might have been going.  When I realized you were still up, I thought it might be helpful to look at a good, detailed map,” he added and motioned for us to move to a long table where he unrolled the map.

“This is a beautiful work of cartography,” I admired the map, which covered part of California, Oregon, Washington, and southern British Columbia.

“We are here,” Alastair said pointing to a golden dot on the map.  “And I expect you were approximately… here when you were spotted?” he asked, pointing to another location and Cornelis nodded.  “So we know the bird was headed north of that area,” Alastair said motioning in a large circle.

“That covers a lot of ground,” I said in a dejected tone.

“Ah!  Perhaps we can be at least a little more precise,” Cornelis offered.Tiffany Arabesque bell

The alchemist reached into his coat and produced the device that looked like an intricately worked silver bell.  Wong’s eyes widened in obvious recognition.

“The harmonic tuner!” Alastair exclaimed interestedly.  “My grandfather told tales of its magic!  But wait.  It is not going to cause the large gong to sound again is it?  The hour is late, and I wouldn’t want to disturb the household.”

“Neither would I, my friend.  This time the tuner will have a different purpose,” Cornelis said, but I knew how often his tricks didn’t go as planned.

A subtle green aura emanated from the alchemist.  He turned the harmonic tuner onto its side and rolled it around on the map in the area Wong indicated.

“Where were you going, raven?” the alchemist murmured.

At his words, the topography on that part of the map blurred and became three dimensional.  Then a part of that area took on a phosphorescent glow.

Dressing gownAlthough mesmerized by the magical transformation of the map, I was vaguely aware of faintly padding footsteps.  I turned to see Copper, wearing a dressing gown and slippers.  She clutched something wrapped in a scarf to her chest.

“Miss Copper,” Alastair Wong addressed her in a playful tone that was likely meant to distract her from what we were doing.  “You needn’t have come down here,” he told the girl and then turned to Cornelis and me somewhat awkwardly.

“I suggested Copper go back to bed when she saw me in the hallway.  I apologize that I made a bit of noise, and she got up to see what the bother was.  Copper I hope I didn’t frighten you, in a strange place, trying to sleep,” Wong told her.  “I said that I was bringing boring grownup things to show you,” he said to us.

The girl must have begun to worry that she was about to get into trouble for leaving her room at so late an hour.  She hadn’t even noticed the phosphorescent glow on the map, but then, Alastair may have blocked her view.

“Yes, but I had a favorite thing to show you too!” Copper told him, clearly wanting to participate.  “Because you’ve been so nice.  This is my favorite thing that Daddy gave me.”Wise Monkeys statues

Suddenly I realized that Copper held her cherished “mystic monkeys” bell, which her father had given her.  It was an ornate bell with detailed carvings of the fabled three mystic apes — see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.  It was also a harmonic tuner.  The night we ran from the Hixon estate, the two harmonic tuners being in close proximity had a profound effect.

I glanced at Cornelis for his reaction.  The alchemist was so focused on his trick with the map that I wasn’t sure he had even noticed Copper’s entrance.  He was completely absorbed in his work.  “What will we find here?” he muttered over the map as he rolled his harmonic tuner across the glowing area.

“Here it is,” Copper said proudly, and before I could shout a warning, she unceremoniously plopped the second tuner right onto the map on which the alchemist worked his trick.

Auras 2 BodiesThe existing harmonic sound from the Dutchman’s tuner quadrupled.  A varicolored aura made a rainbow around the bells and the map.  The sound seemed to vibrate through the entire world.  Then I felt it inside my throat, and just as before, I couldn’t help wondering if my voice would take on that dual harmonic sound when I spoke.

Alastair must have felt the bizarre sensation as well.  He put his hand to his throat.  The tiny woman dropped her tray to the paved terrace.  Fine china shattered, the sharp noise blending with the harmonic sound.

In the distance I heard noises that I couldn’t quite define.  It reminded me of the sound of men scuffling, but it sounded heavier than that.  Then I heard a crash from that area.  The din was followed by clacking and clanging sounds.  The louder noises were enough for me to know the commotion came from the hot spring.

Everyone turned at once, ready to race toward the sounds.  Thankfully I had the presence of mind to tell Copper to stay there.  Even better, with a wise wink the tiny woman took the girl’s hand and led her to the kitchen with the promise of a serving of the apricot Charlotte.  I heaved a sigh of relief and followed Cornelis and Alastair toward the disturbance.

When we reached the hot spring I saw that the door to one of the small gold-painted buildings was off its hinges.  The washing machine had somehow bumped and thumped its way out of the storage building.  It looked as though it had clambered around until it was caught between two maple trees.  Every few seconds it gave a futile bump to the trees.

Kinkaku-ji Temple Sunset

Kinkaku-ji Temple Sunset

“There’s something in the mangle,” Cornelis muttered.

“What’s that you say?  Oh yes, the mangle.  Here they call that part the wringer,” Alastair said absently as he looked in astonishment at the rogue washing machine and the damage it had done.

The washtub had been dragged along by the washing machine, halfway to the spring.  I remembered the young man putting a tablecloth in the tub to soak.  I suspected that was what hung from the mangle, or wringer.  When I cautiously walked over to the still grumbling machine, I found that I was right.

Cornelis held out his harmonic tuner.  A faint current of green streamed from the tuner to the washing machine.  That had another effect on the washing machine.  It wobbled, gurgled, and creaked.  The wringer started to turn again, pulling the tablecloth on through as we watched.

“All that hubbub and the cloth is not clean,” Alastair said, surprising me with his acerbic wit.Laundry washing machine

He was correct, there was something on the tablecloth, but it wasn’t simply dirty.  It looked like writing — phosphorescent writing.  Cornelis flicked the tuner with his fingernail, causing a faint ting sound and then the tuner cast a bright light like a torch.  The Dutchman shined the light on the cloth as it finished rolling from the mangle.  In large glowing green script I read the word aloud.

Daddy.”

***

Where will the mystically inscribed word, Daddy, take our characters? I hope you’ll be at the station when the steam engine returns to the platform.  The next “things” are from author John W. Howell. What kind of trouble can Pistachio, Penne Pasta, and Porcini create?

By the way, look for Hugh Roberts to be featured in the new theme for the “Sunday Show” at Sally G. Cronin’s Smorgasboard, Variety is the spice of life.

And now, here’s the recipe for this episode.  Bon appétit!

Recipe:  Apple & Apricot Charlotte

 Apricot-apple Charlotte

Photo and recipe credit: Taste.com

 ***

Here’s a special treat — for reading to the end!

A trailer for my main work in progress, Atonement in Bloom.

https://animoto.com/play/OgE0TBW4wn1BM68VZ7wVrQ

***

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

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104 thoughts on “Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 16

  1. Pingback: Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 20 | Teagan's Books

  2. Hello Teagan! Great episode and video! I had no idea what any of those words were but you put them to good use and now I know what they are. That apple and apricot charlotte looks scrumptious! Don’t worry I too love the research part of writing. 😉

    Like

    • Hi Inese. I’m so pleased that you wanted to do catch up reading. I hope this episode didn’t confuse you as it seems to have a lot of people…
      Delighted you like the little trailer too. 😀
      I’m still thinking about your latest post. The images were so compelling. They really stuck with me. Great-big hug! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Teagan – you commented on my post, and when I was answering, my annoying glitch kicked me out of the page, as it lately does … After logging in again I didn’t find your comment any more 😦 So sorry…
        Your Atonement is my kind of book 🙂
        Hugs!

        Like

  3. Another wonderful episode. So not only does English have issues with like words, different meanings, and often strange spellings held over from Old and Middle English, the computer age introduced acronymphomania. First in the arcane users manuals and tech trade mags, then it morphed from tech terms into general communication and dialog with chatrooms, texting, twitter and all that. I mean like WTF? More than one are two too many to deal with. LOL! OMG G2TU IAIL! GMAFB ridic it was an “ID ten T” error! Spoopy I must be an ID10T! NTS GGG, idd!

    Have a great Sunday, Teagan!

    C4N GBH&K

    Like

        • Hey, Teagan, I’m back, 🙂 Say, I somehow missed the video at the end of this post — it’s a wonderful preview to your book! Did you do it or have someone else prepare it? It’s really so nice, professional — and it does a great job of grabbing the viewer’s attention and building interest in your latest book. Bravo!

          Like

          • Hey Deb. Thanks very much — though i think the ones you do show a lot more talent. 🙂
            That’s just an Animoto template, and i added pictures and text. I have their cheapest subscription, so it’s pretty limited. However, i was really pleased by how well that template fit my story.
            Back to work. Huge hugs. 😀

            Like

  4. I know what you mean about the English language being complicated! I am teaching English as a second language right now and it has given me a whole new appreciation for this fact. I really liked all the images you included with your post, very cool!

    Like

    • You are so kind, Christoph. I appreciate it so much, but i know i don’t deserve the praise i’m getting. (But i still love it! 😈 )
      >You can usually tell which “thing” was the greater challenge by the order in which they appear, and the length of the words-gap between things. Having just used “washtub” the episode before, mangle was the challenge of these 3.
      > And for any women listening — if my male readers all grow mustaches, blame Hugh! 😀
      Mega-hugs my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Teagan, again, another amazing episode. And the added trailer, intriguing – an abduction, a blue rose in bloom. Had to laugh at the word mangle or rather wringer. We had one of those washers at home for many years! Okay…so about the word Daddy. Who wrote Daddy on the tablecloth? And who wanted it washed off? I think we’re in for a surprise next week. I can’t wait for the next episode and your weaving in Hugh’s three things. I love cliff hangers! Happy Mother’s Day! Many hugs! Christine

    Like

    • I can see that i really botched that with “Daddy”… Definitely writing a clarification to begin the next episode. But i thought it was clear enough that Alastair was joking when he said that the cloth didn’t get clean… Maybe i should delete that whole thing.
      I’m glad you enjoyed yourself in spite of it all. I guess that’s the main thing. 😀
      And i’m delighted that you like cliffhangers, because what’s a serial without them.
      Happy Mother’s Day back to you Christine — i’m still enjoying those virtual chocolate covered strawberries. Great big hug.

      Like

    • I’m blushing! Maybe it is “imagination” in stead of insanity. ^^’
      > *Groannnn* That dessert picture had me drooling. Looks scrumptious, huh? If it makes you feel any better, next weekend i’m giving you mushrooms… no sugar! 😉
      Thanks for your comment about the trailer, Mary — I had fun making it.
      Happy Mother’s Day to you. Mega-hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t wait for Atonement in Bloom, loved the trailor and loved this episode. I have a love hate relationship with cliff hangers, love the suspense but I am an impatient person and can’t wait to find out more. You are reeling us all in, can’t wait for next week.

    Like

    • Hi Suzanne. It’s great to see you. I almost typed the same thought about cliffhangers… When you’re on the receiving end they can be absolutely maddening! But it does add to the “old time serial” feeling. I’m delighted that you’re enjoying the story. Wishing you a happy Mother’s Day my friend. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This was a magical episode Teagan, very exciting and you left us with a cliffhanger – what on earth can daddy mean?! Loved the trailer – I think I’m going to love Atonement in Bloom 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you Andrea! I’m quite humbled that you read three episodes today. Thank you so much.
      …Oh the trailer… (Teagan gibbers hysterically.. o_O ) OMG… how am i going to manage to finish that novel? If only i could win really big with the lottery so I didn’t spend so much time and energy working… But it would help if i actually bought a ticket! LOL. Mega hugs my friend.

      Like

  8. Another fine episode. I am thoroughly enjoying this. Thanks for the shout out on national train day; I consider this a fine train story. I’ve said it before but I really admire the way you can sneak little bits of information about your characters. Rather than learning who they are in one fell swoop, I am getting to know them as I would a real person. Have a great remainder of the weekend.

    Like

    • Thanks for commenting, Dan. That is high praise to me. I’m happy to hear that i’m achieving that, and delighted that you enjoy the story. I hope everyone will check out your National Train Day post and all the great train songs. All aboard to Dan’s! Hugs. 😀

      Like

  9. Great installment, dear Teagan….
    Plus I liked your reflections on homonyms, homophones and homographs ( i.e difficulties of the English Language) at the beginning of the post. Best wishes to you. Aquileana ⭐

    Like

  10. *sipping tea* Great episode. Have to wonder where Daddy will leads us all. As I recall many moons ago I offered up Pistachio, Penne Pasta and Porcini as a way to accentuate the three P’s that I enjoy. The pistachio represents my favorite ice cream. Penne pasta I love with shallots, basil, and hot Italian sausage. Porcini is excellent sauteed in butter with some slow-cooked Vidalia onions. Your trailer is excellent. I loved the blooming flower effect. Here have some lemon curd on that biscuit and can I pour you a cup?

    Like

  11. Oh bravo! Love the English language for that very reason. If it wasn’t for contextual concepts we’d all be in a mangle for sure. 😉 I loved the way Cornelis used the word. ha ha! Brilliant! I could read it all over again. lol

    Like

  12. Teagan – that’s correct – There is no word in the English language that rhymes with month, orange, silver or purple.

    Secondly – The reflection of your episode is watching to continued drama and additions…Amazing Performance!

    Like

    • Hi Mihran. It’s lovely to see you. I had forgotten that about the non-rhyming words. That’s a great addition to have here in the comments. I’m delighted that you enjoyed this chapter. Hugs to you and yours! 🙂

      Like

  13. Another seamless addition and this from someone who says she doesn’t like fantasy. Ha!
    Loving it, Teagan. I don’t want the story to stop. It’s getting harder to wait a week for the next installment, but it is well worth the wait. The tension continues to ramp up. ❤ ❤ ❤

    Like

  14. Thwarted again you devious minx. I was so looking forward to finding out where the bird was going and maybe who’d sent it. Now I just have an extra puzzle to cope with, how did the word appear on a tablecloth and why?
    You do like keeping us on tenterhooks Teagan and you’re doing an excellent job of making sure no-one can guess the outcome yet of who’s a baddy and who’s a goody.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Like

    • David you are always a delight. LOL, you can’t guess because i don’t know. 😀
      I should probably clarify… Felicity sometimes complains that Cornelis’s magic often goes wrong… He was using the harmonic tuner to learn where the raven was going, when Copper plopped the other harmonic tuner (the one with the monkeys) into the middle of the spell. Copper always thinks of her father… So the addition of her tuner sort of blew up the magic. Instead of doing what Cornelis asked, the magic got “mangled” and wrung out the word “Daddy” from the washing machine. One can suppose the part of the map Cornelis had already highlighted with his tuner is the location of “Daddy.”
      I’ll make a point of beginning the next episode with that clarification. Sorry not to have explained it well enough.
      Mega-hugs back for your lovely Massive Hugs! ❤ 🙂

      Like

  15. Daddy!!! What a cliffhanger for sure! I totally enjoyed this episode, Teagan. And your trailer was just as intriguing, great job! Keep up the fantastic work. I’m very looking forward to the mushrooms next week. 🙂 Super Hugs! ❤

    Like

  16. Oh I do love this…so whimsical…charming. Love the mystic monkeys and remember mangles after the war in England! Loved the trailer and everything else…can’t wait for next week. Janet. xx

    Like

  17. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Another terrific episode of Copper, The Achemist & The Woman in Trousers, beautifully illustrated as always and this week some great props from Hugh Roberts. The mystery deepens and it is a week to go to the next episode… steam punk!!! But some consolation in that there is a trailer for Teagan’s work in progress. Atonement in Bloom. great job as always Teagan.

    Like

  18. I also love the video… You know how much of a pest I’ve been about the new Atonement… I’m really intrigued by the harmonic tuners and I think next week we’ll have a treat with all those ingredients. The apricot charlotte looks fantastic too…

    Like

    • Hi Olga. You’re never a pest with anything. Sometimes i think i need more encouragement than most people. So where you think you’re being a pest, i feel encouraged instead!
      >When all the “things” are food, it’s harder to write the episode — to make the “things” Influence the story. So i haven’t finished the next one yet… But i did find lots of Victorian mushroom illustrations. That will be a theme for certain. 😀
      Mega-hugs my friend.

      Like

  19. Wow, what a cliff-hanger, Teagan. And, would you believe, I’ve just written a post for Lit World Interviews all about Cliff-Hangers! It should be published next week.

    I’m so pleased you were able to use all three of my items. I have a moustache cup which I purchased in Amsterdam back in early 1990’s. I just love it, but have never used it.

    Thank you so much for making this episode such a brilliant read. I’ve already booked my train ticket for next Saturday.

    Hugs and best wishes,
    xx

    Like

    • Hugh, i’m delighted that you enjoyed your episode, and glad you’ll be on the train next weekend too. 🙂
      Oh, I’ll keep an eye out for your LitWorld feature. I’m curious now what you’re going to say about cliffhangers!
      I love it when a single word can pack a big punch. So i’m happy you liked the ending. Great-big hug. “)

      Like

      • I should have added (like many others), that I love the book trailer as well. Sorry I forgot to mention it. I was carried away with my three items being included in your wonderful story. 🙂

        I’m off to finish the washing now. Some of those staines are hard to get out. I hope the mangle is fixed 😉

        Like

  20. I’ll start at the end, intriguing preview.
    Now to the installment, I was attuned to it (groan) and there was no ‘mangling’ involved, it was fantastic and intriguing, but we’ll wait for next week (nuts, pasta, and mushrooms, yum) to learn more answers.
    Wonderful ingredients from Hugh, that’s no surprise, his work is always amazing.
    Thank you, Teagan for the entertainment, information, and delight.
    You made my day. Just what I needed. 🙂
    All the best and hope this week is good to you. 🙂
    Megahugs! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donna, you’re such a treasure. It’s no wonder i look forward to your visits.
      I’m no longer “ahead” on writing episodes… So i’m just as curious about what happens next as anybody. LOL. I gave myself 2 days leave from work last week. You’d think I might have accomplished some writing. But i worked at setting up a new computer in stead… (I hate the dratted machine… I can’t imagine how HP managed to make such a complicated computer… Gurr!)
      Wishing you loads of happiness and hoping everyone shows their appreciation for you. Mega-hugs right back! ❤ 😀

      Like

    • Why thank you so much, Doc! For something from a template (that included music) and me inserting photos and text… It was so simple, even I could do it! I was very pleased with it, so i’m glad to know you liked it. Wishing you a happy Mother’s Day. Hugs. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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