Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 21

Wednesday, December 12 , 2018 

Welcome one and all to another Hidebound Hump Day!  Find your seat on the #SteamPunk train.  We’re headed for another episode of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.

Did I mangle the mangle?

Victorian schoolroom
A Victorian Era school room

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!

Hugh RobertsBack in 2015, the “three things” for this episode were provided by Hugh Roberts at Hugh’s Views & News.  One of his “random things” (Mangle) sent me to do my research — but that’s the fun part.  Yes, I know.  I’m strange that way about enjoying research.

Hugh writes incredibly imaginative short stories.  He also blogs and tells stories about “everyday life,” which of course are often more interesting than any fiction.  I hope you’ll click over to visit and get to know Hugh. 

Apparently I did mangle the mangle.

Serials really do make for a great “beta read.” I ended up revising this chapter and re-posting because a few people weren’t able to keep up with the magical shenanigans at the end.  Or maybe I should have left it alone…  Maybe when I changed it I belabored the points too much, when some people really just weren’t paying attention.  This will be a chapter for me to carefully consider when I book-ize this story.  I’ll show you my revisions in bold and you can decide for yourself.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Chapter 20.  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…?”

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

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

21 — Moustache Cup, Apricot Charlotte, Mangle

 

Asian girl kimono red Pixabay free
Pixabay

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.

“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 those eyebrows.

Mustache Cup

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, alerting me that he was doing one of his tricks.  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 the question, making it part of the magic he worked.

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 that meant Cornelis worked his alchemy on the map, but then again, 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.  Yes, a magical implement with powers similar to the tuner Cornelis was using at that very moment.  The night we ran from the Hixon estate, the two harmonic tuners being in close proximity had a profound effect.  The magic the alchemist worked that night went out of control when the other harmonic tuner’s influence became involved.

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, asking the alchemy to show him what or who was in the area of the map that his harmonic tuner touched.

Sessue Hayakawa cigar 1917
Sessue Hayakawa, 1917

“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.

Once again, the inadvertent influence of the second harmonic tuner had an unpredictable effect on the magic Cornelis was working.  The 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.

As I said, the sound seemed to vibrate throughout the entire world.  The magic reached far and wide.  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, and I knew it had to be the work of the alchemy gone awry.  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.  The magic had traveled all the way down there.

Everyone turned at once, ready to race toward the sounds and the runaway magic.  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.  Under the influence of the magic, the wayward alchemically affected the washing machine 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

“There’s something in the mangle,” Cornelis muttered, and I was sure that was also the magic at work.

“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.

When the washing machine made its magical escape from the storage building, the washtub had been dragged along by the 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 — the magic having pulled the cloth into the 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 magical 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 mangle started to supernaturally 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.

Of course, he had no concern about whether the table cloth was clean.  Rather, he jokingly referred to something he saw, something the enchantment had put onto the cloth.

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. 

A word had been written by the rogue magic that resulted when Copper accidentally added a second harmonic tuner to the magic worked by the alchemist.  It wasn’t something anyone would want to wash away, because it was never part of the laundry.  As I said, that was only Alastair’s wit, a joke.  It was a magically provided clue, resulting from the alchemist’s spell.

In large glowing green script I read the word aloud. 

Daddy.” 

***

Real World Notes

Moustache Cups.  Harvey Adams invented mustache cups in the 1800s.  Adams devised a mustache guard to prevent embarrassing accidents.  Now, I mean things more humiliating than a damp ‘stache.  In the Victorian Era, many men put a lot of effort into their impressive moustaches.  They men waxed or even dyed their moustaches to keep them groomed and curled and looking fashionable.  Also, they drank tea.  That tended to cause the wax to melt, and dye would run.  It was quite embarrassing to the gentlemen.

***

Another “accident of alchemy,” yet we can’t really blame Cornelis.  How could he have expected Copper to interrupt — and with the other harmonic tuner?  Maybe this time it’s a happy accident.  Could the word “Daddy” magically written on the table cloth provide a clue to the whereabouts of Copper’s missing father?

Please come back to the station this weekend.  I’m bringing back Straightlaced Saturdays for the next chapter.  That set of three random things were from John W. Howell.  Guess what “Pistachio, Penne Pasta, and Porcini” will cause.

I’ll be looking for you at the station this weekend.  

Hugs! 

***

Now some shameless self-promotion.

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

USA:  The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

Amazon UK

 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2015 and 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 


88 thoughts on “Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 21

        1. Hi GP. I know Michael used to reblog my posts. Then he had to make changes to his site — which I understand. It’s no longer public. I can’t access the link you posted here. So I guess my answer should be “no.” I know he’s been a wonderful support here, but I didn’t know he was able to reblog them again.
          That’s wonderful of him. Thanks for letting me know.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m so glad that the moustache cup has stirred up a lot of interest, Teagan. Now I wish I still had mine, but I’m sure I can find another.
    You did a brilliant job at getting my three items into this chapter. In fact, you always do a brilliant job at getting the three objects you get given by your readers. It goes to show how brilliant your creative mine is.
    I remembered parts of this chapter from the last time I read it, especially the washing machine with a mind of its own. I’ve seen a fair few washing machines wander when on a fast spin cycle.
    I loved how this chapter had so much magic happening in it.
    Looking forward to tomorrow’s chapter.
    Have a great weekend.
    Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I’m really happy you thought so, Rob. You make it sound so afternoonified, and I know you’d never sell me a dog. Having you visit is just butter upon bacon, my chuckaboo. But damfino how long I can keep up this burst of Victorian vernacular! 😀 Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I read it both ways and preferred the unrevised version, I felt there was too much repetition in the revisions. My mum would have said ‘over-egging the pudding’ 😊 don’t worry about people keeping up, it wasn’t hard at all to follow without the revisions.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mustache cups! Who would have thought? Men and their primping, huh? Ha ha. And mangle is an awesome word, Teagan. My mom had a washer with a mangle when I was a kid…. a long time ago! Great episode. I’m looking forward to the next installment. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Diana. Victorian men must have been early “metro sexuals.” 😉
      I remember my granny had that kind of washer when I was very young. She had a modern one too, but liked to keep old fashioned things alive, like churning butter, and making lye soap. Peeeew!!! You could smell it for miles…
      New episode Saturday. I’m so glad you’re on this train! Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have an antique moustache cup packed away in my treasure trunk. I have no idea what I’ll ever do with it, but this episode made me think of it. I instantly liked Alistair Wong and his entire household. He is most interesting. I have a feeling Copper knows more about magic than the adults give her credit for. Thank goodness the rogue washing machine is under control again. Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jan. Once I left a washer was so badly over-balanced that it “walked” as far as the wall would let it. Thank goodness it didn’t have this kind of escape route!
      How cool that you have a mustache cup!
      I’m glad you liked Alastair the elder. I think I have a crush on both him and his descendant (Pip’s friend).
      Children haven’t had time to “unlearn” magic or seeing spirits — so it comes naturally to them. That’s my take on it.
      New episode Saturday. I’m so glad you’re on this train! Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jan. I guess that means you didn’t keep the cups. I think the Victorians must have been more whimsical than we realize to have come up with mustache cups. 😉
      Thanks so much. I try to bring sound into my stories when I can. I’m so glad you’re on this train. Hugs.

      Like

  5. The words in bold pulled me out of the story, I think it’s great without the overdone explanations. This is getting interesting! I wonder what the message is trying to convey?
    I’m going to watch for a mustache cup now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jacquie. I appreciate your feedback. The bold was just to let people know what I “revised for clarity.” I should also keep in mind that reading as a book would not be as difficult as reading as a serial. I really appreciate this. Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so kind, Robbie. Thank you. Actually I didn’t struggle with these as much as I have with many others. They were fun.
      However, sometimes people think it would be fun to try and stump me. “La Llorona, Coyote, and Chupacabra” gave me a devil of a time… I had to fall back on using hallucinations as a device… Not my best.

      Other times they just aren’t thinking and give me something that doesn’t belong to the era — like “microwave” for one of Pip’s stories. I got determined to use that one, and it happily resulted in the Hank Hertz character.
      Thanks for being on this crazy train. Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Super episode, Teagan. I wondered what the benefit of a mustache cup. I mean I could see it right away if drinking a cup of cocoa with marshmallows. Your explanation makes perfect sense. Could you see leaving a linen napkin all smudged with wax and dye? This had to have been a life saver. Looking forward to Pistachio, Penne Pasta, and Porcini. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi John. I guess my dad didn’t call mustaches “soup strainers” for nothin’! 😀
      Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t know about the giant pistachio in NM when I wrote this story. There’s no telling where this steampunk train would have gone! Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I for one do not consider you “enjoying research” to be strange. I enjoy researching topics very much, except when I discover that what I think I know, isn’t the case. I hope Copper isn’t scared by what happened, but perhaps this clue will help. I like the way you make magic an unpredictable force. It adds a curious and fun element to the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dan, it’s great to see you. Yes, I see what you mean. I once advised someone (about research or confirming [what you think are] facts) not to look for proof that you are correct. There is so much stuff out there that most any false assumption can be “proved” right. Rather, research to prove yourself wrong. Then you are more likely to find the right information.
      I’m glad you agree about the magic. I knew from before I typed the first word of this story that Cornelis needed unreliable magic. What could be more fun?
      Thanks so much for being on this train. Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t think you needed the additions for clarity. But it doesn’t hurt anything. If they’re helpful to some of your readers, there’s no harm in keeping them.

    I’d never heard of moustache cups. That’s interesting. And wow, do you know how to end a scene. I thought Copper’s tuner might summon the mischievous chimps, but I definitely didn’t expect “Daddy” to be written in the laundry.

    Now, if I could get a recipe for the apricot Charlotte…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Deborah. I’ve never seen one in person either. Dare I hope for a photo post at your place — of the teacup collection? 😀 It seems that a few people here collect them.
      I’m so glad you enjoyed this chapter. Thanks for being on this crazy train! Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Don’t look at me, I’ve ‘mangled’ the English language so often it’s unrecognizable…it’s now like my own language on Planet Donna. lol 😉
    This is amazing, as always, dear Teagan, and the mustache cup (I prefer mustache mug just for the fun of saying it) has me singing ‘The Mustache Song’ from ‘A Million Ways To Die In The West’ now. Thank you for the early morning fun and learning, you’re the cat’s pajamas and I can’t wait for more.
    Hope the week is treating you kindly, dear friend.
    Mega I get the whole sleep eludes thing, way too much hugs xoxoxoxox

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s wonderful to see you, my chuckaboo! I think Planet Donna would be a fabulous place. I’ll make my reservation right away.
      Hm. I need to look up that song, and that show… the satellite broadcast to Planet Teagan must have been on the fritz.
      Ditto on the elusive sleep. o_O 🐑 😴 🐑 🛌🏽 🐑
      Yes, it’s a good week — great progress on a personal endeavor that I don’t talk about here. (But do have on posts at Facebook.) Thanks so much for visiting. Have a wonder-filled, mega hug-filled week.

      Like

  10. I’ve seen moustache cups and didn’t really know what they were. I’m trying to imagine a big burly hand holding one of those delicate china cups 🙂

    I expect more magical shenanigans ahead. The appearance of a second “daddy” is starting to reinforce a theory I have and seeing how wrong I was about Belle’s relationship to Copper, I’ll have to wait and see how badly I’m off the mark this time 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! That does make an amusing image. I wish I had found one like that. Okay agent Joanne. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find a mustache cup and photograph a very burly man’s hand holding it. 😉 Shouts of “What’s under that kilt? WUK! WUK!” are bonus points.

      Like

      1. This might take me a while … but challenge accepted!

        I can picture it – months from now after you’ve long forgotten about it, I’ll do a random post titled WUK! WUK! WUK! about a moustache cup and you’ll be the only person who gets it 😆

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s good to leave people scratching their heads once in a while. It keeps their little gray cells alive. 😉
          Oh, be sure to send me a link, because WordPress is such a brat, being unreliable about letting me know things it is supposed to tell me. ❤

          Liked by 1 person

  11. As an addition to the moustache cups (note silly English spelling) have you come across the snood? My father had one when he grew a handlebar tache way back when And mum made him one to wear when he played rugby which she knitted in this club colours!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Geoff. It’s great to see you. I actually do remember hearing of beard snoods — but I’ve never seen one in person. Although I had not heard of one for a mustache. Your mom was one of a wonderful kind. I would like to see a picture of your dad wearing the snood in a rugby game! Thanks for visiting. Hugs.

      Like

  12. Thanks, Teagan. I think the clarifications make the story easier to follow, although I think some of it might be due to the fact that one does not remember all the details when reading a chapter from one week to the next. I was always clear that the green glow meant something magical was taking place. Perhaps it will all become easier once you edit the final book, although the joint effect of both harmonic tuners becomes clearer this way. Another great episode.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Another great chapter, Teagan:) I’m completely fascinated by the mustache cup. I definitely need one in my teacup collection! I understood the story without the bold, but it did make it clearer. I like the message on the laundry and can’t wait to see where that goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Denise. I was very intrigued by the cups (and spoons) too. LOL, now everybody wants one. I’m still sad that Hugh lost his own mustache cup.
      I’m glad you liked that part. More on the laundry soon! Thanks for being on this crazy train. Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to fragglerocking Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.