Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode- 30

Unexpected Connections

I don’t delude myself that my blog serials are “properly” written stories.  They are pure unplanned, pantser fun.  Since I never know what the next episode will bring, I can’t do advance planning so that everything is properly connected from the beginning. Events and characters show up later than is “acceptable.”  I’m aware that flaw exists as this story-line works its way to an eventual close.  Hopefully you can still enjoy this as unanticipated fun.

Phuong ShrimpThere have been other unexpected connections for me because of the serials.  I’m very pleased that many of you who comment here are also my connections on my “career network” at LinkedIn.  It was exciting to see that network reach a milestone number, and I was honored to have Dr. Phuong Le Callaway as my 100th connection there.  That was also around the time I started the first culinary serial.

Phoung Rolls-shrimp

Phuong is successful and admirable in her career.  A couple of years ago, I encountered some completely unexpected obstacles and had little idea of how to navigate them.  Phuong started mentoring me in those unknown seas.  I found her to be wealth of information, and a tireless fountain of support.

Phuong Cooking with MeHowever, she isn’t just a business woman.  Phuong has authored several cookbooks!  She was generous with photos from them, so I’ve added a few here.  I’m featuring her book Cooking with Me.  Check out all of Phuong’s books! You’ll also get one of her recipes at the end of this episode.

Episode 30 ties back to early chapters particularly Episode 5. That installment also has an unexpected connection to a famous person in history.

Are you ready to return to the Victorian Era, and the amethyst world? The steam locomotive is at the platform.  All aboard!

Train subway abandoned NYC

From Episode 4

When I upended the owl-shaped lamp, I found an opening.  Some very old documents were tightly rolled and inserted into the lamp…

From Episode 5

“Oh!  What have we here?” Cornelis Drebbel exclaimed excitedly over the ancient papers.  “Don’t tell me this is what was hidden in the lamp!” he cried and Copper and I both nodded, taken aback by his enthusiasm.  “Really?  The audacity!  To hide such treasures that way.  Don’t you know what these are?”…

… “My dear, these are the work of Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci!  They are valuable beyond belief,” Cornelis exclaimed.

“The Leonardo da Vinci?” I couldn’t help asking.  “Then they must be at the core of whatever is going on here,” I said with certainty. 

From last time…

The chimpanzee looked contrite, as if there was something he did not want to disclose.  “Viola’s son Von had that family ring he stole from your son.  There was a man who seemed to recognize the ring.  He tricked Von into giving it to him and then ran off.  Von slipped off to track him.  We found them at a fine home that looked a lot like yours.  But when we got there they were both dead,” the chimp explained.

“We took both bodies and hid them,” the chimpanzee added.  “We were afraid of what might happen if the residents of that world noticed the two were doubles.”


Steam Locomotive Wheels

30.  Herbs, Kitchen, Texan

Through an accident of alchemy, the submarine in which we traveled crashed on the shores of the amethyst world.  The Green Fairy and Cornelis Drebbel had an animated conversation about the submarine Cornelis invented, and whether it could be repaired quickly enough.  If we didn’t leave the strange purple place soon, we might be trapped forever.  After a moment they rejected using the submarine as a means of departure.

When the missing “chapel chimps” were returned to the amethyst world, a few of them hung back to talk to us.  Cal Hicks sent those chimpanzees back to submarine to retrieve our belongings.  The two fairies, Absinthe and Aubrieta, fluttered ahead of the apes, leading the way.  Copper watched from the laboratory window as they disappeared from view.

Copper with FlowersThe girl stood at a table in the far corner of the long building, tying string around a small bundle of herbs.  I noticed a number of varieties hanging to dry.  Unexpectedly, Copper seemed to know what she was doing.  When I commented on the fact, she told me that she used to help her governess dry herbs.

“Is Viola coming back?” she asked Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape.

“I’m sure you’ll see her again,” Hicks answered.  “You two became friends very quickly,” he prompted.

Copper nodded as she tied the string into a bow.  “She reminds me of Violet, my governess.  I didn’t want her to go away, but Daddy said she was going back to live with her son Vaughner,” Copper told him with a sad look in her eyes.  “Daddy shouldn’t have let Violet go.  I heard him say her son was a criminal.”

“He did?” I was surprised into saying.  I felt like my brain was pulling threads together that I couldn’t quite grasp.

“Yes.  I heard him tell your boyfriend,” Copper answered with a distasteful twist of her mouth and the glimmer of a dare in her eyes.

Basil Gill as Ignatius Belle
Basil Gill as Ignatius Belle

“My what?” I exclaimed with a strangled chuckle, but then I remembered her distrust of Ignatius Belle.

There had not been more between Ignatius and me than some light flirting.  In fact, when I saw how focused he had become on Copper, and apparently wanted to lure her away, I felt he had tried to use me.  I had developed my own mistrust of the tall handsome innkeeper, and learning that he was really Copper’s half-brother did nothing to allay my concern.  However, considering that father and son were somewhat estranged, I was surprised to learn Calvin Hixon had confided that information in Ignatius Belle.

“Daddy shouldn’t have made her go live with Vaughner.  I don’t think she wanted to,” the girl said of her governess.  “Anyway, I think Viola looks like her,” Copper added with a sudden grin.  “Or she would if she had been a chimpanzee.”

Another idea clicked into place when Copper spoke.  I looked around for Cornelis Drebbel, but he had popped off somewhere.  Where was the alchemist?  He’d finish my sentences for me and this would go a lot faster.

“He asked me if the laboratory had a kitchen,” Cal answered my question.  “I think the Lord of Alchemy was feeling a bit peckish.”

Cornelis Drebbel
Cornelis Drebbel

“Trust Cornelis Drebbel to go looking for a snack at a time like this,” I complained.

Without the alchemist to be my sounding board I spoke my thoughts aloud as I sorted them.  “So… Copper’s father dismissed the governess she loved because he could no longer pay her wages,” I remembered Cornelis figuring out that in the past.  “That woman’s son was a reputed criminal, as Copper told us…” my words trailed away as I continued to assemble jumbled bits and pieces.

“Meanwhile, here in this amethyst world, Voila is the double of that governess.  Viola’s son was a ‘scoundrel’ as you commented,” I added turning to Cal Hicks.  “And the son of the governess a criminal,” I repeated and Copper nodded.

I paced as I untangled the mess.  “So Viola’s son Von met his doppelgänger in our world… and that doppelgänger was the dead man in Calvin Hixon’s study — and he was Vaughner, the son of the governess!”Reading Ape purple

What a moment of crystal clarity!  If I’d worn suspenders on my trousers I would have given them a snap of satisfaction.  Copper had a wide-eyed expression on her face, but she seemed to have kept up with my summation.  Cal Hicks nodded every step of the way, an intelligent man for certain — or rather ape.

“Vaughner was surely up to some duplicity, since Copper heard her father calling him a criminal.  He stole the signet ring from Von so he could pass himself off as a member of the Hixon family.  He was in the house, sitting at Calvin Hixon’s desk when he died.  So he must have been looking for something.  But did he find whatever it was he wanted?” I questioned.

“I don’t think so.  You’ll see when the chimps get back,” Cornelis Drebbel said as he materialized at my side with a sharp pop.

I jumped, startled.  The Dutchman grinned, as it was his intention to disconcert me.

“Cornelis Drebbel!  Will you please cease doing that,” I insisted for the thousandth time.  “Where have you been?”

Purple Cowboy bootThe alchemist, originally from the 1600’s, was attired in knee britches with his favorite doublet, which had broad velvet sleeves, slashed with satin.  The broad brimmed hat that matched his ensemble was exchanged for a Stetson, and he wore tooled leather cowboy boots on his feet — both hat and boots were purple, of course.  Seeing me stare at his apparel Cornelis twisted his pointed blonde beard and wriggled his bushy eyebrows, clearly pleased with himself.

“I found my doppelgänger’s closet,” the Dutchman said with a twirl to show off his borrowed accessories.  “He has the most marvelously eccentric taste, don’t you think?”

I tried not to laugh, but I failed.  “Cornelis, you look like a Texan who fell into a Shakespearean fair,” I said and he pursed his lips, deciding how to react.

“I think they’re rather smart,” Cornelis replied, sticking out his lower lip.  “Copper, don’t you agree?”

Copper answered by giggling and hugging the alchemist.  I decided that was probably the safest response.  Besides, I was rather envious of those cowboy boots, just not with that outfit.Owl Lamp Victorian

There was a commotion at the front door of the laboratory.  The coverall clad chimpanzees brought in our belongings.

“Ah, good!” Cornelis said.  “You’ll see what I mean.”

He went directly to the large carpet bag Copper had packed with all manner of things.  Cornelis retrieved the owl-shaped lamp.  I gasped.  Inside that lamp, were hidden valuable drawings made by Leonardo da Vinci.

Cornelis upended the owl lamp and removed the priceless da Vinci papers.  He smoothed out one in particular.

“Is that some sort of children’s toy?  A top of some sort?” I speculated as I looked at the drawing.Aerial Screw drawing

“Oh no,” Cornelis corrected me.  “It’s an aerial screw.  I think it is the key to finding Copper’s daddy.  And it might be how we get back to our world.”


Will the combination of da Vinci’s aerial screw and the alchemy of Cornelis lead our trio to Copper’s daddy? Or will it lead to a disastrous accident of alchemy?  To find out, be at the train station again next time.

But first, here’s the recipe for this episode. Bon appétit!

Recipe:  Fish and Herbs in Soy Sauce

Recipe and photo credit, Phuong Le Callaway

Fish n Herbs in Soy Sauce

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.

87 thoughts on “Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode- 30

  1. I managed to miss the train last week but finally made it. The story is ramping up the tension and I feel the peak is near and I’m holding on for dear life. Must run over to read this past Saturday’s episode. 💡 ❤


  2. Mind boggling (as they say here in the UK), and what a lovely pair of boots to come into the story. I’ve a feeling our heros are going to be flying off somewhere in the search of finding daddy but, knowing you, I’m sure you’ll have a few twists up your sleeve and in the story, Teagan.
    Marvellous stuff 🙂
    Hugs to you.


    1. Hi Hugh. Thanks so much for the encouraging words. Your prediction is true, as da Vinci’s aerial screw will provide a “twist” in the Episode 31. Working on it now.
      Have a satisfying Saturday. Hugs!


  3. Lovin’ those boots Teagan. And I admire your getting around to all the social sites. I don’t spend enough time on LinkedIn and that is something I want to rectify in the coming months. On my sporadic visits there I always see your smiling face somewhere on a post or on my own pages. 🙂


    1. Why thank you Debby! You’ve encouraged me on a different level. I’m no good at FB, and don’t have time to try (or dare I say care).
      Since I have always known I have no time to do Indie right (promote my book, etc) I really don’t do that much social media.
      But you see me on LinkedIn because I have job objectives. I focus my social media there, hoping to kill two birds with one stone.
      Many thanks for taking a moment to comment. Hugs


    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Kev! If you want to catch up, you can click the category button for the serial’s name on the right side of the screen, and go back ward. Since I usually only post once a week, they aren’t hard to find. Or go to the serial’s homepage button at the top of the screen, where the episodes are in chronological order. Have a wonderful weekend. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Teagan, you are so creative! I have been missing your posts for a while, my apology.. Thank you for sharing fascinating story and I always enjoy the recipe that you attached here – I will check out Dr. Phuong Le Callaway’s recipe books!


  5. Dear Teagan… ✨🍓✨🌞

    I love the image of Cornelis´submarine which crashes on the shores of the amethyst world.

    I hope that they will be able to scape from that alternative world…. Time is ticking!…

    The owl-shaped lamp with Da Vinci´s drawings hidden inside, is such a great element, a symbol that totally caught my attention!…

    I could not but think of Athena , whose Roman equivalent was Minerva and their related attribute, meaning the owl, which represents Wisdom and knowledge… ( “Only when the dusk starts to fall does the owl of Minerva spread its wings and fly”.—G.W.F. Hegel, Philosophy of Right (1820), “Preface”)…

    Thanks so much for another great episode…

    I truly enjoyed it… Many hugs for a perfect day! Aquileana ⭐


    1. Dear Aquileana, it is always so good to see you! Thank you for the comment relating to Athena and the owl — I loved the quote too. The owl-shaped lamp was one of the “3 things” from early in the serial. While the da Vinci papers were not one of the “things” they were also in an early episode. I’m trying to tie up all the loose ends and elements the various 3 things led me to in early episodes.
      I’m so happy you enjoyed this episode. I fear they are not as exciting when I’m trying to tie up the loose ends. So thanks very much for your comment. Mega hugs my friend. 🙂


  6. Teagan I don’t know what you mean when you say these aren’t ‘properly’ written stories. Yes, they’re fun, but they’re most definitely proper stories that always transport me to another world – and you make them seem so easy 🙂


    1. And it is always delightful to see you here Laurie. With all the beautiful photos you take, I’m surprised you can tear yourself away from that lovely place! I mean… lorikeets in the yard… gorgeous. Have a wonder-filled week. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, the delight runs both ways here teagan. 🙂 I actually do tear myself away sometimes. It’s getting to be a regular bird hang out. Although they all aren’t at the feeder, I think other types come in because they feel safe. My week will be super. Hugs, Laurie.


  7. Sorry it took so long to hop on board, Teagan, but I’m never sorry to be here! 🙂
    My computer went bye bye (it was old, but still…) so I got a new one and went through the frustrations of setting it up and now getting used to it…it will take some time. But I’m here now and soooo happy. 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Love the refresher and all the recipes, I’m drooling (oops, maybe that’s what happened to the old computer lol).
    Well, you’ve left us wondering yet again, but that’s good, it will keep our curiosity until the next train leaves the station.
    I kept thinking I was missing something and now, since I’ve read this, the feeling is gone. Thank you. I’ve had a super stressful week and now I feel much calmer. 🙂
    Thank you, sweetie, hope this week treats you kindly. 🙂
    Megahugs and now I’m thinking of Mu Shu Pork… 🙂


    1. Hi Donna! Oh I sooo feel your pain with the computer. That was my last straw the other week when this train was completely derailed. Although I have still not made peace with the new computer. The touch-pad is hyper sensitive and it causes me chaos. I hope you have a calm, content week ahead my friend. Thank you so much for reading and commenting — especially amid all the stress you’ve had. Mega hugs! 🙂


  8. Isn’t a laboratory a kitchen by default? Creating a mental image of a Shakespearian faired Texan requires making some rather strange and unexpected connections.


  9. I had to leave for a wedding yesterday so I didn’t have time for my weekly Teagan hit. The line “Cornelis, you look like a Texan who fell into a Shakespearean fair,” knocked me out. I love the fact you and we are on the same path when it comes to finding out what is happening next. Great one.


    1. LOL, John you have a gift for making me smile (that’s not always the easiest thing to do). I hope you and your wife enjoyed the wedding enormously. And I’m sure you had a list of “what not to say at a wedding” 😀 Love your lists.
      I thought twice about that line, because I didn’t want to risk offending my many Texan friends. But Felicity was ribbing Cornelis, not Texans, so I let her have her say. 😉 Great big hug.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Sarah, you are so kind. Thank you. I hear people critique other stories, and otherwise talk about character arc, and a hundred other things (beyond good grammar and sentences)… In writing fiction, I don’t pretend to be or create like them. “So there!” from me to them too. 😀 You’re a treasure. Huge hugs.


  10. I want to move into that train station – it’s so amazingly beautiful. Where do you find these pictures? Pure genius!
    I had boots like those once – they were big (acceptable) in the 80s – and the owl lamp is inspired, too. Another delightful episode – thank you so much Teagan. Happy Weekend Hugs! 🙂


    1. Dear Christoph, thank you so much for always taking time to read this serial and comment. 🙂
      I believe that station is in NY. There is a lot of information (& photos) on abandoned and disused subway stations. Many beautiful. But it can take some digging to find a good collection of pictures, unless you luck out and find a great article. I saw one years ago; can’t find it now…
      Mega hugs my friend. Have a wonderful new week.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I LOVE the unplanned and unexpected…..oh yes:) and Teagan my dream is to have some purple cowboy boots…..You keep me on my toes, and that is fantastic….and it’s so clear to me that you are surrounded by magical hummingbirds. Everything you write shows how you are connected to the unseen magic in our world. Roll on next Saturday and am very glad to hear that you have recovered from your cold. Janet. xxx


    1. Dear Janet, I think that is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. Ever since I’ve lived here, I’ve felt blocked from “hummingbird energy” — I try to reconnect, but never quite make it. So what you said is encouraging to me in more ways than you’d expect. Someday, somehow, I’ll move back to the desert southwest, where I felt so connected. Keep painting beautiful things. The brush is a magic wand in your hands. Mega hugs! ❤ ⭐ 🙂


      1. Good morning dear Teagan…I can see you in the desert southwest. I have family in Scottsdale and also in higher desert, friends in the beautiful Santa Fe area…I love it…..and the colours are extraordinary…so different from the greens of the UK, but equally as beautiful. Enjoy your day and week ahead…Janet. xx


        1. Thank you — Thank you, Janet! Since it’s so hard for me to visualize things for myself, I’m happy to know you sent your visualization out there! And magical hummingbird energy too. 😀 Mega hugs.


    1. Hi Lin. You’re always welcome on the steam locomotive to the Victorian Era, whether you can make it every weekend or not. 🙂 The story line is chugging to a close, but the serial’s home page button at the top of the page will let you read from the beginning.
      Many thanks for commenting. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I am getting more and more intrigued… I suspect every ape… Hopefully I will know more next weekend 🙂
    My love for seafood has no limits. The prawns look delicious, and I like the idea of cooking fish with some ginger. Why not?
    Thank you for the cool read! Hugs!!! 🙂


  13. I feel like things are moving in the right direction here, but I’m getting nervous. I ave up trying to figure out what was going to happen next about episode #2, so I am totally waiting until next week Teagan.


  14. I’m so curious as to what happened to Copper’s daddy. You know me, I worked with kids all my life. I have always been concerned for them–even your character. 🙂 I lovvve the cowboy boots and Texan as one of your words. I used to own a pair of cowboy boots, you know. Two pairs! Black and brown.


    1. Thanks so much for taking time here, Mary. I’m glad you liked this chapter. And I can imagine you with those boots. Believe it or not, I used to have a pair of purple cowboy boots. They were comfortable and I wore them so much that I had to have the heels replaced twice. I still miss those boots. 😀 Mega hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I was so into the story and then I saw the recipe and all I could think is that no it can’t be over already!! That is not a criticism, far from it you had me so completely involved in the story I simply wanted more, I will have to wait until next week. I have been thinking of Leonardo Da Vinci for some reason all week, not sure why and there you have brought his work into the story. Love the recipe, it sounds delicious.


    1. Suzanne, you are so kind! I went over and over the sequence with Felicity “untangling” things trying to make sure it made sense. I’m glad to know I didn’t lose anybody. … Maybe that early episode when the da Vinci papers were introduced hung in the back of your mind. Either way, I’m delighted to bring you a moment of happy entertainment. Mega hugs my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Hey Melinda. I thought you might like those boots! 😀
    The first one was a big oops on my part… I goofed up and hit publish long before i meant to… And posted with only the intro. It happens. Thanks so much for dropping by! Huge hugs.


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