Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 26.1

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Cover Copper Alchemist Woman n Trousers

Welcome to Hidebound Hump Day.  Back in 2015 he three things” for this chapter were from Donna Parker at Yadadarcyyada.  Her writing is uniquely wonderful as she shares her thoughts on a variety of things.

Aside from the random things, Donna’s inventive blog name inspired an important part of this chapter.  Be sure to visit her blog and look around, read some posts.  (Bet-ya can’t stop at one.)  I think you’ll be glad you did.

There it is, my chuckaboos! The port’s sonar has detected the approach of the steampunk submarine.  It’s rising to the surface now, and we’re ready for another chapter of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers. 

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

Chapter 24  Copper was safely ensconced in a compartment beneath the “bridge” (desk) of Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine.  But the alchemist and the woman in trousers were quite intoxicated by the farts from the Green Fairy, aka Absinthe, who helps power the submarine.  Cornelis opened the hatch and he and Felicity hung out from the opening for some air to clear their befuddled heads.

Chapter 25  Cornelis remarked about about “other realities.”  Dash my wig, but that has me worried!  Absinthe, the Green Fairy used his own magic to create a map that showed Calvin Hixon’s location on a starry map. Or at least that’s what everyone seemed to think. 

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

26.1 — Ginger Beer and Cast Iron Finial

pagoda finial wikimedia
Finial from a pagoda in Sankeien, Yokohama. Wikimedia

Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine traveled quite smoothly, I was relieved to note.  After having been inebriated by the vapors of Absinthe the startled Green Fairy, I was feeling a bit fishy about the gills.  So I had worried about travel on — or rather under water.

To my astonishment, the tiny skunk-like fairy led me to a bottle of ginger beer.  With a sharp pop, Cornelis suddenly appeared at my elbow.

“Where did you run off to?” I asked, referring to the fact that a moment before the alchemist wasn’t there.

“Good idea, Absinthe,” he told the fluttering fairy, but ignored my question.  “Do try and drink it, Felicity.  Ginger beer works wonders when one is not up to dick.  It will help settle your stomach.”

Cornelis absently tossed what looked like a cast iron finial.  I raised my eyebrows, silently prompting him for an answer.

“I went to get this,” he said, giving the ornament another toss.

Drebbel stamp
Cornelis Drebbel stamp, Wikimedia

I tried to look at the thing, but Cornelis gave it a spin when he threw it.  Several strands of iron reached up and twisted to come together at the tip making an open teardrop shape.  Those twisted strips combined with the spin Cornelis gave his throw, made the shape seem to shift in an odd way as it went up and down with his tosses.  I thought my stomach would lose its contents.

Absinthe glided down for a closer look at the finial.  Then the Green Fairy gave a series of discontent sounding grunts at Cornelis.  Apparently he didn’t like the finial to be tossed around.

“Oh, Absinthe.  Don’t get testy,” the alchemist told the fairy with as his mouth twisted in a derisive way.  “No harm will come to it.  Besides, the tossing helps charge it.”

“Why did you need a bedpost finial?” I wanted to know, despite another nauseous lurch from my stomach.

“This is no ordinary piece of cast iron,” Cornelis explained.  “At least it is not any more.  Once it crowned one of the posts of my bed.  You see, many of my ideas come to me as I sleep.  For some reason this particular finial gradually took on unexpected properties, although the other three did not,” the Dutchman said with a shrug.  “I thought we might use it to help the submarine over the shallow places.”

The Green Fairy sniffed delicately at the finial, or whatever it was.  Then he fluttered back to the ginger beer and chirped at me.  As I took the proffered bottle, I gave the Dutchman a contemptuous look.

1877 ginger beer sellers london wikimedia
Ginger beer vendor, London 1877, Wikimedia

“Have you no shame, Cornelis?  You could at least pretend to have a hangover,” I complained.

“I don’t get bottle aches.  As I have no real stomach, I don’t tend to digestive upsets of any kind,” the alchemist explained merrily.  “But as you know, my skull does exist in this world.  So I can get miserable headaches, but rarely hangovers.”

“And head colds!” Copper chimed in, and giggled over the magical results of Cornelis sneezing when he and I were afflicted with that ailment.

The little skunk-like fairy snuffled and grunted in a way that sounded a lot like chuckling.  I gathered that he had also witnessed the alchemist under the influence of a head cold.


Copper was giggling so hard it was difficult to understand her words, but the fairy seemed to know what she said.  The only words I could pick out from the jumble of chortles were frogs and pancakes.

“You don’t act as though you have any sort of headache now,” I said, unwilling to laugh at the memory that so amused Copper, as I was feeling a bit put upon.

Cornelis chuckled. 

“I developed a tolerance to Absinthe’s frightened flatulence.  When he and I first met, I startled him many times.  One begins to get used to the effect,” he said.

As I sipped the ginger beer I gave Cornelis an arch look.  I wondered if he may have deliberately “startled” Absinthe on more than one occasion, to cause him to produce those potent poots.  The Green Fairy wrinkled up his pointed nose and made a grumbling sound at Cornelis that led me to believe my assumption was correct.

A pinging sound interrupted the conversation.  It came from that multi-armed machine.  Its limbs shifted.  The arms that were capped with blue and green gems lifted and spun, while the arms adorned with warm colored jewels lowered unmoving.

“We’ve come to a shallow area,” Cornelis commented, moving toward the device.  “Umm…” he pondered.  “The water is deeper than I expected.  We should be able to navigate it without much assistance.  However, if any of them should look, we will be easily spotted,” he added.  “Absinthe, have we caught up with any of those three groups of ack ruffians yet?”

The Green Fairy fluttered to one of the two perpetual motion machines.  The glass dome filled with green fog.  After a moment the haze cleared.  Within the glass, a blurry figure lurched and bobbed.  When it came into focus I saw that it was the hydrofoil! 

I saw the big chimpanzee jumping around and the sorry jade of a woman who commanded that small group.  I tried hard to get a look at her face, but the image was too small.  She again wore rain gear, so I couldn’t even make out her figure to help me ascertain her identity.

Forlanini hydrofoil
Alexander Graham Bell’s HD-4 hydrofoil, 1919

The Dutchman looked uncertain. 

“Absinthe, perhaps we should slow down.  We don’t want to get too close to them,” Cornelis advised.

Absinthe chirped then made a tut-tut sound.  That worried me.  Surely we hadn’t…

“What!  They’re right behind us?  Do you mean to say we’ve gone under the hydrofoil and gotten ahead of them without even knowing they were there?” Cornelis exclaimed.

The Green Fairy gave an indignant and shrill warning.


Real World Notes

Hydrofoil.  Way back in Chapter 4, Alexander Graham Bell was mentioned and his hydrofoil came into this story.  However, the “Real World Note” was very brief.  So I’ll elaborate. 

Concepts for such a craft were developed as early as 1899.  Italian inventor Enrico Forlanini began work on hydrofoils in 1898 and used a “ladder” foil system. Forlanini obtained patents in Britain and the United States for his ideas and designs.

Around 1906, Alexander Graham Bell began to sketch concepts of a hydrofoil boat.  With his chief engineer Casey Baldwin, Bell began hydrofoil experiments in 1908.  Baldwin studied the work of the Italian inventor Enrico Forlanini and began testing models based on those designs, which led to the development of hydrofoil watercraft.  During Bell’s world tour of 1910–1911, Bell and Baldwin met with Forlanini in Italy, where they rode in his hydrofoil boat over Lake Maggiore.  Baldwin described it as being as smooth as flying.

Victorian girls whisper_Hotel Perrin

Victorian Vernacular

Call it 8 Bells:  The Victorian version of “It’s 5 O’clock somewhere.”  Since it was bad form in nautical circles to have a drink before high noon (or 8 Bells), one might “Call it eight bells” if they went for a drink before that hour.  “I know it’s early but I fancy a drink at that bar.  Call it 8 Bells.”

Catafalque:  A hat with a tall plume, especially if the feathers were black.  Such hats rose to their greatest height in 1897.  They were sometimes removed to the laps of the wearers when in the theater. 

Donkey’s breakfast:  A man’s straw hat. 

Fishy about the gills:  The appearance of recent drunkenness, which produced a pull-down of the corners of the mouth and the squareness of the lower cheeks or gills, suggesting the gills in fish.

Jamiest bits of jam:  Absolutely perfect young females.


Good heavens… has Cornelis startled the Green Fairy into another potent poot?  It’s no time to get arfarfan’arf, what with the that group of ack ruffians on the hydrofoil so near!

Next time, the “See what happens when Backgammon adds to the story.  

I’ll be looking for you at the submarine port this weekend for Straightlaced Saturay!  


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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

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83 thoughts on “Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 26.1

  1. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    Here is the first of the episodes of The Copper, The Alchemist and the Woman in Trousers… the intrepid band of adventurers are in their submarine, navigating uncertain waters. They are trying to catch up with their quarry but there are some surprises in store. And I have been dying to say this since the beginning of this serial.. Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder…….#recommended.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Teagan, oh my, the chimps are closing in, but how? And what about the appearance of backgammon? Such an unusual steam punk submarine. Interesting to learn the history of the hydrofoil. You certainly put a lot into your post, educational and intriguing information. Look forward to the continuation. Have a restful weekend! Christine 📚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Christoph. I’m happy to hear that, since I put a good deal of work into the look of the post too. I’m reusing some from 2015, but many of them were not part of the first run of this serial. Thanks for being on this steampunk submarine. Mega hugs right back!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh lord! Now the chasers have become the chasees. 🙂 Whew! Ginger Beer sounds like a great remedy for Felicity’s stomach. At least the ginger part does. I keep trying to guess who the woman leading the Chimps is, but I’m drawing blanks. Guess I’ll just have to wait. 🙂 Another intriguing episode, Teagan!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi John. Thanks for being aboard for this rerun. I’m glad you enjoy the addition of the Real World Notes and Victorian Vernacular for this run.
      Oh… I’ve been so overwhelmed with stuff here. I need to at least visit Story Day before I lose track! Thanks for visiting, my chuckaboo! Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

            1. Ugh… I was right about the sticker shock.
              I’ve realized I can’t be ready to be out of here by the end of the month. If I have to pay February rent, then I may as well use the time. So I’m aiming for the 3rd or 4th week of Feb. Thanks in advance for the good thoughts. ❤

              Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jan. The skunk fairy is named Absinthe. So he sort of *is* absinthe. The drink was known as The Green Fairy because if its strong effect. So I brought my version of the Green Fairy to the story — and he looks like a baby skunk with wings.
      No, you didn’t miss the definition. “Not up to dick” is the same as not up to snuff… not feeling very well, not quite 100%.
      Thanks for visiting. Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Michael. I’m chuckling about the ginger beer. * It makes me sneeze, and I don’t know why. I do like it. * It is good for upset stomach — I’ve tried it myself. * I don’t know if it comes in an alcoholic version, so the craft brewers need not worry. 😉
      And best of all… I saw a clip with Steven Colbert explaining the government shutdown, with beer. Hysterical. Huge thanks for visiting. Mega hugs.
      (I hope you can get this video.)

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Ugh, not those guys again. I hope Conelis can figure out a way to avoid them. I positively loved: “Copper was giggling so hard it was difficult to understand her words,” I can picture that so vividly that it brought me onto the submarine for an instant. Great line, Teagan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What? No tipsy-making flatulence? I figure they smell like… well, absinthe. Although I confess I don’t know what it smells like. o_O
      I like ginger beer too, but it makes me sneeze… no idea why. I still like it though. Thanks for being on this steampunk submarine, my chuckaboo! Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love ginger beer. I don’t drink a lot of sweetened soda (I prefer unsweetened seltzer), but I do enjoy that.

    My, Teagan, I did not (as usual) see that ending coming. I can’t wait to see how they get out of this jam! Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Staci. I’m relieved that I can still toss in surprises. 🙂
      For some reason I can’t get your blog to open today. Don’t worry — the problem is surely at my end, with my slow Internet.
      Seltzer is my favorite too! I like ginger beer, but it makes me sneeze… no idea what it is. I still like it though. Thanks for being on this steampunk submarine, my chuckaboo! Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My money was on the problem being on my end, but it looks okay to me. (Technology and I aren’t close friends.) Sorry you’re having issues. There will be a new and fun post tomorrow, though!

        Sneezing from ginger beer? That’s kind of funny. You should write that into a story.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I hope the ginger beer works for Felicity. I’m wondering if she is also suffering from seasickness? I wonder if one can get seasickness when travelling in a submarine? I was hoping we’d find out who the woman was in the raingear. I have my suspicions, but I won’t spoil it for the other readers.
    Hugs to you, Teagan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Hugh, my chuckaboo, right now, I can’t remember who she is either! 😀
      Hmmm… I imagine there would still be some motion on a submarine. That’s an interesting question. However, I’m sure Cornelis or Absinthe would have a remedy! :mrgreen: Mega hugs right back.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You are too kind, Janet. I really wish I could overcome my fear. 2000 miles of just me and my cat would be daunting even for someone without my problems. Thanks for your encouragement. I’m so glad you’re on this steampunk submarine, my chuckaboo. Hummingbird hugs right back!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It will be interesting to see if they startled the green fairy again. I’m glad you explained the hydrofoil:) I love the name of the hats and call it 8 bells! I’m entertained and learning new things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha… only if they smelled better than real farts! It makes me think of the women’s restroom at the office. It’s the bog of eternal stench.
      Although holding your breath that long can make you woozy… 😉 Thanks so much for visiting, my chuckaboo. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

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