Straightlaced Saturday — Cornelis Drebbel 22.1

Saturday, December 15 , 2018 

Cover Copper Alchemist Woman n Trousers

It’s Straightlaced Saturday!  Welcome aboard the #SteamPunk train.  Our destination is the northern Pacific coast of the USA, during the Victorian Era.  We’re headed for another episode of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.

Back in 2015, the random “three things” for this chapter were provided by John W. Howell at Fiction Favorites.  As some of you might remember, this serial was originally a culinary mystery.  John sent some delicious things to drive the episode.  Consider yourselves warned that reading may give you the munchies. 

Since I know you have a lot of other things to do on the weekend, I’ve divided this rather long chapter.  The third thing will play out on Hidebound Hump Day.

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

Chapter 21The alchemist had been using his harmonic tuner on a map, trying to divine the destination of that message-carrying raven (Chapter 18).

When Copper unexpectedly put the second harmonic tuner on the map, there was an accident of alchemy that reached all the way to the hot spring and the washing machine…

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

Alchemically inscribed phosphorescent lettering appeared on the tablecloth.  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, 


All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

22.1 — Pistachio, Porcini

Copper curious w-green

My first thought wasn’t exactly a thought.  All cogitation was clogged in a bottleneck of befuddled ideas.  The first thought that got through the blockage was relief that Copper was up at the pavilion.  It would be awful if the supernaturally printed word, Daddy, got her hopes up for no good reason.

At that point, I wasn’t feeling too optimistic myself, and to be honest, I was losing my sense of trust.  So, that single, magically written word brought out all my suppressed concerns. 

As if it wasn’t bad enough that I experienced occasional twinges of distrust for Ignatius Belle (who turned out to be Copper’s half-brother), it also bothered me that I had begun having doubts about Copper’s father, Calvin Hixon. (Revealed in Chapter 20.)

Granted, if Hixon was abducted, he probably had no chance to leave a warning or a reason.  What if he left of his own accord?  The notion was so awful.  Had he willingly left his daughter with no explanation, and worse left the child on her own?

Other than his unfortunate money situation, Calvin Hixon appeared to be utterly brilliant.  Could the circumstances be more complicated than an abduction?  Did Hixon stand to somehow see a financial gain from the situation?  Could he be involved in his own disappearance?  

Steampunk woman Noel Nichols Unsplash.png

Oh surely not, I told myself.  I’m over-analyzing things.

Most often the simplest answers are the correct ones.  But was running away as simple as being abducted…?  Had Calvin Hixon suddenly run away from his adversaries, perhaps thinking he would lead them away from his daughter, thereby keeping her safe? 

I’m still over-analyzing, I admonished myself.

“Felicity,” I heard my name and realized that Cornelis had called it more than once while I pondered the unpleasant thoughts about Calvin Hixon.

“Do step back,” the alchemist told me.  “Something unexpected might happen,” he said as he reached into that supernatural void through which he sometimes fetched things.

“Unexpected?” I commented sardonically, knowing how often Cornelis’ tricks tended to go awry.

To my surprise he produced the long map we had been looking at on the terrace.  The area on which he had used the harmonic tuner still gave off a greenish glow.  However, the phosphorescent script “Daddy” on the table cloth had begun to dim.  Cornelis noticed the diminished glow with a frown.  Hurriedly he placed the map atop the cloth.


The Dutchman held up the harmonic tuner and gave it one sharp clear ring. 

The tiny ping of a sound reverberated and grew.  I felt the vibration at the base of my spine.  I could feel the sound spreading outward all around us.  In the distance the big gong in front of the pavilion gave a mighty boom, the volume of which was magically transported into our midst.  I put my hands over my ears, involuntarily squeezing my eyes shut.

Cautiously, I opened one eye.  The map was copied onto the tablecloth.  At first the drawings of topography overlaid the word “Daddy,” but then the script blazed through the map.  The word shone with eye-searing chartreuse light, before stabilizing and dimming to a flat pistachio green. 

Did it mark the location of Copper’s father?


Kinkaku-ji Temple Sunset
Kinkaku-ji Temple Sunset

I don’t know if it was a meteorological effect or if it was residual magic from the previous night, but when I got up the next morning, the sky above Alastair Wong’s home blazed with yellow clouds at sunrise.  

No wonder they called it the Golden Pavilion, I thought.

Cornelis said he wanted to get an early start, but judging by the activity of the household staff, I suspected they were always up at that hour.  As I admired the sunrise, the alchemist drove up in the road locomotive.

It didn’t seem like there could be enough room, but Cornelis, Copper, Alastair, and I all managed to get on the road locomotive. 

To my surprise, Victoria, who was so taken with Copper, insisted on coming along.  I wouldn’t have thought one more person, not even a tiny woman like Victoria, could fit on the little steam engine… and she carried a large picnic basket too.  Yet somehow the tiny woman and the big basket managed to fit. 

When I saw the hint of a green aura surrounding the Dutchman, I understood how so many of us managed to get onboard.  One of his tricks of alchemy had made room for everyone.

We would part company with Alastair and Victoria when we reached the Pacific Ocean.  Wong would take the road locomotive back to his pavilion estate for safekeeping, while Copper, the alchemist, and I continued our journey.

I looked a question at the basket Victoria carried.  The night before, all the noise and vibrations from the harmonic tuners had given me a headache — and I still had it.  So I was probably frowning fiercely.  Victoria looked a bit uneasy.Mushroom ad Victorian

“It will be past time for a meal before we reach the ocean.  Copper is a growing girl and must eat,” the tiny woman said with a sharp nod that would have settled any row. 

I tried to reign in my smile at her feistiness, because I truly did take her seriously.

“Besides,” she turned and spoke to Cornelis in a flirtatious tone that took me completely by surprise.  “You will love what I’ve done with the porcini mushrooms you mentioned earlier,” she added, and the Dutchman’s eyebrows shot up to his hairline.

“Ah yes,” the Dutchman sighed.  “Porcini are God’s great gift to humanity, a mushroom delicate enough to flavor a sauce, yet vigorous enough to stand up to a grilled steak.”

Really…, I thought.  Should he encourage the tiny woman by flirting?  And Could Victoria actually be attracted to Cornelis?  The idea seemed not merely imaginative and impractical, but just plain impossible.  I scratched my earlobe as the idea took root.  Then I had the wicked thought that I’d like to see an argument between Victoria and Cornelis.  The Dutchman would surely get his comeuppance.

“What are you smirking about?” Cornelis asked me quietly.

“Oh?  Did I seem to smirk?  It was just a bit of indigestion,” I said with no attempt to hide my expression.

Victoria held tightly to Copper’s hand as the steam engine barreled toward the ocean.  The tiny woman’s eyes were huge with astonishment for the unnatural speed at which we traveled.  However, it was clear that she possessed a fierce determination.  She would not have gone back if the chance was offered.


Burrell Road Locomotive


Victorian Vernacular

Half-rats:  Partially intoxicated.

Hanging:  Excellent, outstanding.  “Hanging new tie there, old man!”

Hawkshaw:  A detective.

Holy Water:  Said when one intensely hates someone or something.  “He loves him as the Devil likes holy water.”

Hoosegow:  Prison.


We’ll finish up the three random things supplied by John W. Howell on Wednesday for Hidebound Hump Day.  Come back to learn where Penne Pasta takes our trio.

I’ll be looking for you at the station on Wednesday.  

Mega 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.


82 thoughts on “Straightlaced Saturday — Cornelis Drebbel 22.1

  1. It’s early in the morning and I’m taking some time time to read your wonderful posts . You weave so much into the tapestry of your stories. I love it,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I have my suspicions about Victoria. Why did she want to come along on the journey? Was it really just to look after Copper? And surely, no, Cornelius can’t have a twinkle in his eye for Victoria, can he? Or, is the boot well and truly on the other foot?
    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, Teagan. 🎄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Hi Hugh. It’s great to see you. I hope you and yours had a lovely Christmas.
      Cornelis has the occasional flash of wisdom. I think he might be respectfully cautious of Victoria — yet intrigued at the same time. Respectful in the way one might be of a mother lion. 🐱
      As for her interest in Copper, I’m glad for your question, which I see as feedback. I’m glad because that means I’ve been devious enough so far to leave the reader somewhat distrustful and waiting to see if there is another twist. So thank you for this.
      However, I think it’s partly that Victoria is a very tiny woman, so she may feel a kinship with the little girl (who doesn’t tower over her like other adults).
      Hmmm… should I add a bit of dialogue with Victoria saying something about that, do you think?
      Have a terrific rest of 2018, my friend. Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, no, I think you’ve described it very well, Teagan. Plus, it’s the background characters that often bring a story together or can shock the reader when they are led down the wrong path. Then again, Victoria could have a very sad background, especially if she can not have children herself. Maybe that’s why she is acting like a mother to Copper? See how you’ve got me making up a character’s story? My imagination is running wild, but that’s a sign of your excellent writing sparking my creative cogs.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You’re too kind, Hugh. I was looking at the section where Victoria was introduced, I had already made notes about a scene a little later (the blue velvet gown) that I felt should have sort of an “alchemy explanation”, so I thought it best to make that simple mention about Victoria there. She’s a very minor character, but if a single sentence can help develop her, then that’s good.
          I hope you are enjoying the holidays. I love the photos of the corgis you posted. Enjoy your break. Thanks for spending part of it here. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Joanne. Since Cornelis had been using the map and tuner to try and determine where the raven had been going, I hoped to hit a balance between too obvious and too obscure. LOL It eventually goes from curiouser and curiouser to completely off the rails insane. 😉 Thanks so much for being on this train, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope to keep everyone guessing, without creating confusion. 🙂
      This story really did get a lot of threads that I had to pull together for the end. At one point I wasn’t sure if I could do it. So, I’ve always felt it was “technically” my best serial. That makes me particularly happy when someone enjoys it.
      Deborah, thanks for being on this train. It means a lot to me. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL, Jacquie, I was about that far into the story before the “things” let me figure out where it actually was. I try to let the “things” guide nearly everything. I remember being really surprised that no one seemed to notice.
      You’ve joined the group for Victoria/Cornelis. I think I need to bring her back when I do book 2. 🙂 Thanks for being on this train! Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    As I close down for the night. I will leave you with the next episode of Copper, the Alchemist and the Woman in Trousers (Felicity). There are all kinds of green pointers to the possible location of Copper’s father.. did he jump or was he pushed? you will get the meaning of that if you head over to read..and Cornelis might just have enough aura for you to fit into the road locomotive but you better hurry or you will be left behind. #recommended

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sure does sound yummy right now, Mary. Steak with mushroom sauce on this cold rainy day would be awfully good! 🙂
      Thanks about “pistachio.” If I had known about the “giant pistachio” in New Mexico when I wrote this, things might have gone very differently. LOL. Thanks so much for being on this train. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. LOL. It’s between “Alamo” and my friend’s town, so maybe I’ll get some pics. Wishing you a sunshine Sunday, Mary. Although we’re getting record-setting rain here this weekend. Thank heaven it’s a little too warm for it to be snow! That would be several feet… Hugs.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I love these new folks that have joined in the journey! Perhaps Cornelis is attracted to Victoria. I like that idea. And how wonderful that she brought food to sustain them. That has to be a sight better than Cornelis sneezing. 🙂 Great segment. I feel they are getting close to their destination!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember the last time how amazed I was at the tuner and the map made out of Daddy. No less amazing this time. Thanks for the shoutout. It was something to see the word hoosegow still in use today. (well sort of) Hugs, Teagan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi John. The shout-out is my pleasure. The “things” from you resulted in that fun flirtation between Victoria and Cornelis. Reader comments about that (this go round) have me getting a vague idea for something in the next book for Cornelis.
      I had the same thought about “hoosegow.”
      Thanks for visiting. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for another wonderful episode, Teagan. I love the mental/verbal back and forth between Felicity and Cornelis. Nothing says human like questioning motives and being a little jealous.

    I hope you’re having an easy weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I read your December posts, Teagan, love the Woman In Trousers episodes, also enjoyed the stories you posted a couple of years ago when I was a better reader :). Hope to have all your writings on my Kindle some day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! My brain can be a scary place, Cindy. 😉 But I’d rather live there than outside in the “swamp.” Many thanks for taking time to visit. Hoping for a spotlight on your kitty. Hugs on the wing to you and everyone in the Holler.


Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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.