Wednesday, January 9, 2019
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.
Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers
26.1 — Ginger Beer and Cast Iron Finial
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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!
Now some shameless self-promotion.
Universal link to my Amazon Author Page
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