Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 28

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Purple lake with tree and mountains
Ken Cheung, Unsplash

Hello, my chuckaboos!  It’s Hidebound Hump Day.  I’ve mentioned that originally, in 2015, this #steampunk story was also a culinary mystery.   I really miss the cooking bloggers who followed it back then.  This chapter reminded me of them.  Sometimes rerunning episodes of this serial can be rather bittersweet. 

Cornelis Drebbel’s magical submarine is at our port.  The klaxon sounds as the vessel rises to the surface, 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 27  “It’s an amethyst world!” Copper exclaimed when she saw the strange place where the magically whirling submarine went aground.

A purple ape wearing a three piece suit with a starched collar and a bowler hat came into view.  It seems strange to say, but the hat and the suit made me think of Ignatius Belle.  However, I was also reminded in an odd way of the portrait of Copper’s father, Calvin Hixon, who turned out to be Belle’s father as well.

The amethyst colored ape moved his hands in sign language.

Copper, the alchemist, and I spoke in chorus, “Daddy?”

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

28 — Broken Knife, Sea Urchin, Potable Water

ape eyes purple
Image by Teagan R. Geneviene

The simian’s reaction surprised all of us.

“Oh! You can speak.  How wondrous!” was the delighted exclamation of the purple ape who wore a man’s suit, hat, and spectacles.  “And what remarkable coloring you have!”

“Of course we can talk.  But it’s amazing that you can!” Copper called out in reply as she clambered down from the submarine hatch, too quick for me to stop her.

The alchemist stood in gaping astonishment.  I pushed past him and hurried after the girl, although I didn’t know how I could protect her from something as strong as the ape surely was.  I had no weapon on me, not so much as a little muff pistol.

Abruptly I remembered my pearl handled pen knife.  It wasn’t much use as a weapon, but I reached quickly into my pocket.  However, the pen knife seemed to have been damaged during the chaos of the spinning submarine.  When I tried to open it, the broken knife fell apart in my hands.

The creature seemed genial enough, but who could say?  I had no idea into what sort of place we had been cast by the accident of alchemy that sent Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine off course with rogue magic.

“Have a care, Felicity,” Cornelis hissed, as though he’d finally come back to himself.

“Of course I’ll be careful.  Why didn’t you stop her?” I said through my teeth, trying to hide my anger with the Dutchman from the strange primate on the shore.

Copper lavender

I turned back toward the quickly moving girl. 

“Copper stop right there and wait until I catch up with you,” I demanded and for once she complied.

“But Felicity!  I like him.  He’s funny,” the girl pleaded.  “I’m sure it’s perfectly safe,” Copper added in a rather good imitation of an adult.

“How can you think a purple ape — in a suit no less, is perfectly safe?” I whispered as I caught up to the girl and took her hand.

Cornelis cleared his throat loudly. 

“That’s not what I meant.  I wasn’t talking about the ape when I told you to be careful,” the alchemist said urgently.  “Doppelgängers!” he exclaimed, using his trick of casting his voice directly to my ear.

“What’s a doppelgänger?” Copper wanted to know.

The moppet was close enough to me to hear the projected voice of the alchemist.  She looked from Cornelis to me and then back over her shoulder at the very large purple chimpanzee.

“It’s a sort of lookalike,” I told her.

As I gazed into the shallows of the sparkling amethyst water I noticed a violet colored sea urchin.  

sea urchin violetHere even fishes and such are one color of purple or another, I thought. 

The water itself took on the hue of lavender from the sky it reflected.  That alone was enough to make it a stranger place than anything I had ever imagined.

Cornelis seemed to be permanently adhered to his surely uncomfortable position, halfway out of the submarine’s hatch.  I could hear Absinthe inside chirping excitedly, but I couldn’t tell if the Green Fairy was anxious, angry, or simply feeling chatty. 

Then a bottle levitated up from within the submarine.  Cornelis snatched it out of the air and thanked the Green Fairy in a droll tone.

“Absinthe thinks you should take this potable water with you, as it might not be safe to drink anything here,” the Dutchman commented.  “I think it’s a bad idea for you to leave this vessel at all.”

“Whatever are you talking about, Dutchman?” I looked up at Cornelis and asked while Copper stood staring at the chimp in a suit. 

At the shore, the chimpanzee shifted his bowler hat and placed his walking stick in front of himself with both hands propped on its crystal top.  Naturally the crystal was an amethyst cabochon.  He looked curious, but quite patient and relaxed.

“If you meet your doppelgänger it could be dangerous,” the alchemist said.

Jaime Murray n Double
Jamie Murray as Felicity

“Why on earth would I meet my double?” I asked feeling piqued, with Copper pulling me forward and the alchemist holding me back.

“I think it’s the nature of this world, this place,” Cornelis explained with exaggerated patience.  “It probably has its own versions of all of us.  Purple versions, but still…” he added with a shrug.

“Why is it purple?” Copper interrupted.  “Is there a purple fairy, like Absinthe is the Green Fairy?” she asked, eyes widening in anticipation.

The Green Fairy stuck his tiny nose out of the hatch and bit onto the alchemist’s sleeve, pulling it as if he wanted Cornelis to get back inside.

“Alright, alright,” he told Absinthe.  “Copper, I suspect there is a good reason for the purple coloring, but the important thing you need to understand is that everything around us could become — well you could say the place may get unstable, just because of our presence.  If any of us met our doubles it could be,” he paused, probably looking for words a young girl would understand.  “Bad.  It could be very bad,” he finished, but looked dissatisfied with his choice of words.

“Cornelis, aren’t you coming with us?” I asked with an uneasy eye on the large, strong chimpanzee, who had moved forward to the very edge of the water.

“No, Felicity.  Were I to meet my doppelgänger it wouldn’t be dangerous,” he replied, and closing his eyes he took a deep breath.  “It would be catastrophic.”

Seldom had I seen the Dutchman so serious.  I don’t pretend that I fully understood his vague explanation, but I knew it had something to do with alchemy.  So I didn’t press.

“Do I have a doppelgänger?” a giggling Copper wanted to know, and I realized she’d found a new favorite word.  “The monkey might be Daddy’s doppelgänger,” she added, giggling even harder.Lady with pigeon

When I looked at Cornelis he curled his lips inward in a rueful grimace and raised his bushy blonde eyebrows.  Then he pursed his lips and inclined his head pointedly toward the amethyst ape.  The ape shifted his stance.  Suddenly he reminded me very much of the portrait of Calvin Hixon.

The purple primate saw us looking at him and raised his voice to make sure it carried to us. 

“I’m sure it’s most unsettling, having your vessel run aground.  And clearly you aren’t from here,” the ape began.  “Or from any place of which I’ve ever heard…” his voice trailed off as he shook his head wonderingly.  “But I assure you it really is perfectly safe, just as the young err… the young lady said.”

Had the ape hesitated to call Copper a young lady?  Could it be that he perceived us as we saw him — as strange animals?  Profound thoughts crowded my mind.

The ape looked remarkably like the portrait of Copper’s father.  With of course the exception him of being an ape.

The suit-wearing creature bumped his palm to his forehead as if something obvious had just occurred to him. 

“Oh!  If you are concerned that you don’t see people like yourselves, please don’t fear.  We thought your species was extinct.  I can’t tell you how delighted I am to know that is not the case!  And that extraordinary coloring you have.  This is so exciting!  But pardon me.  I digress,” he said in a gracious apologetic voice.

Green fairy skunk
Absinthe, the Green Fairy by Teagan

“As I was saying, there’s no need to fear.  The one eyed one horned flying purple people eater is surely dead.  None have been seen for a hundred years!” the ape said, adjusting his spectacles.

At the primate’s comment Absinthe fluttered up and out of the submarine.  He chirped and grunted excitedly.  The Green Fairy hovered around Copper’s head briefly.  Then he darted toward the purple ape.  Absinthe made several passes around the primate to inspect him, grunting the while.

“How delightful!” the very large chimpanzee exclaimed, taking off his spectacles since Absinthe was mere inches from his face.  “What a colorful little chap.  Why you’re like a very tiny, very green version of the purple people eater,” he said and Absinthe gave a disagreeable chirp.  “Well no, I suppose that’s not true at all.  But you seem to be the same sort of fae being.”

I couldn’t sense any animosity from the ape… and judging by the crash landing of the submarine we were going to need some kind of help.  So I allowed Copper to lead me to the shore where he stood.  The suited primate bowed politely to us, doffing his bowler hat.

Absinthe settled in his protective position atop Copper’s head.  However, the ape’s attention wandered to the submarine.  He was so intrigued that he waded out into the shallows for a better look. 

“You know,” he said in a self-deprecating tone.  “I’m something of an inventor myself.  What sort of vessel is that?  It looks almost as though it’s meant to sail under the water,” the ape marveled.

Drebbel stamp
Cornelis Drebbel, Wikimedia Commons

Cornelis never could resist showing off one of his inventions and the ape was clearly a willing and eager audience.  Abruptly the alchemist appeared at his elbow.  The purple primate jumped with a start.

“Allow me to introduce myself,” the Dutchman said.  “I’m Cornelis Drebbel and I’d be delighted to show you the submarine.”

The ape gasped.  His eyes grew large and his mouth opened silently.  The primate’s eyes narrowed and he looked intently at Cronelis. 

“With this outlandish coloring, how could I suspect,” he murmured, and then he bowed extravagantly to Cornelis.

“Cornelis Drebbel, Lord of Alchemy, I welcome you to these shores.  Please accept my humble apology for not recognizing you.  No one has seen you for decades.  It was feared that the purple people eater had… well…  But how foolish of us to think you would have been bested by any beast, no matter how fearsome.”


Real World Notes

Potable water.Where we say “drinking water,” the Victorians may have used the term potable water.  It simply means water that is safe to drink or to use for food preparation.  While safe drinking water is something many take for granted, that wasn’t always the case.

The Romans developed aqueducts solely dedicated to this purpose as early as 312 B.C.  Yet the rest of the world seems to have been many centuries behind them.  By the 1800s some communities were beginning to create water filtering systems.  As the 1900s progressed, so did standards and regulations.

Victorian Vernacular

Nanty Narking:  Great fun.

Neck oil:  Beer.

Not up to dick:  Not well, feeling wretched.


Will this newfound status go to the alchemist’s head?  Will a doppelgänger of one of the characters show up and wreak havoc?  How will they get back home so they can find Copper’s daddy?  What about that one eyed one horned flying purple people eater?  And for that matter, wasn’t Absinthe acting stranger than usual?

Be at the steampunk submarine port next time to find out what happens to learn what happens when Straitlaced, Queen Anne Style Architecture, and Harper’s Bazaar meet Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers!  

My chuckaboos, it’s sure to be a naty narking adventure! 


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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.

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101 thoughts on “Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 28

  1. That purple ape, only you could conjure him up
    And your descriptive pose of him suited with walking stick.. 🙂 and bowler hat no less,
    They say we all have a doppelgänger somewhere in the world.. LOL..

    The Romans were advanced beings, yet like many who rise, they fell..

    Loved reading this episode dear Teagan, and I don’t know how you find the time for such excellent posts when you have so much to do as you begin your adventure of 2,000 miles..

    Sending LOVE and well wishes Teagan… Take care in ALL you do, Keep safe and much love your way..
    Sue ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sue, my chuckaboo! It’s good to see you. Thank you so very much. I appreciate your feedback about the ape’s description. It always helps me to know the details that worked for a reader.
      I can’t seem to get ahead on scheduling posts. So sometime late this month or early March, I will probably be offline for a while, for the move.
      Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think dearest Teagan your readers will understand.. Goodness knows I am absent enough and look at you all, you keep popping back to say hello..
        Take care my friend, my thoughts are flying right beside you for a safe journey ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Love your imagination and your story-telling abilities, Teagan. I’m halfway through Atonement in Bloom and absolutely hooked! Fun, fun fascinating read. I’ll review on Amazon and Goodreads when I finish, but I don’t want to finish! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam, I’m gobsmacked! You made my day. Heartfelt thanks. I’m thrilled that you are enjoying that story. You have really encouraged me. By the way, Deme and Honeybell get a shout out tomorrow.
      I hope you are recovering nicely. Keep being good to you. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Did you just happen to know that gobsmacked is one of my favorite words? ;-0 I’ll admit, I’m gobsmacked at how much I’ve enjoyed entering the land of your Atonement. Ahhh, I LOVE how imagination carries us into spectacular lands of mischief and wonder. Okay – I gotta go. Back to Atonement and the flower lady. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The purple ape is an interesting addition, and sounds like his character will take some interesting twists and turns.

    A purple sea urchin! I am familiar with Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. Good to see one here! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The ape sounds so polite and charming, almost like an upper-class, English gentleman, Teagan. He sounds like he belongs in the city and would like afternoon tea at Harrods. What a delightful chap.
    I’d forgotten all about the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater. Something tells me it will be back.
    Hugs to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This episode was nanty narking, Teagan. You know I had to use one of those words, but I don’t know if I used it in the right context. It’d be fun to search some of the books you’ve been highlighting to see if any of your “Victorian Vernacular” words and phrases are in there. Stay warm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha. I think you got it right, Mary. It’s been hard to try and use more Victorian slang in the story (one of my intentions with this go-round was to add more). The slang doesn’t feel as “intuitive” as Roaring Twenties slang did.
      Yeah, it’s way too cold. I know it’s twice as bad where you are. Stay safe and warm. Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Carol, my chuckaboo. I’m so glad you’re aboard! You are so kind — heartfelt thanks. We’ll see what happens next time. I think the amethyst ape might invite our heroes to tea. That should be… interesting. 😉 Hugs on purple wings!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rob. That’s a fun comparison. Now I’m chuckling remembering Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. 😀
      I was going for the incongruity of an adult chimpanzee acting like and dressed like a Victorian gentleman. “The Amethyst Ape” was my main vehicle for showing that the residents of the purple world were normal ones (there), so it was only natural that they would think our heroes were, (I suppose a good word would be) curiosities.

      It’s 8 degrees in the sun, at 8AM here… That’s way too cold for this part of the country. I sure wish I could have gotten to the desert by November… Oh well.
      Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

            1. I’m doing better today. An unplanned job possibility. I didn’t want to start work right away, and certainly not during this move! But if it works out, I can’t refuse. Jobs are too hard to get in NM. I’ll know more Monday. I’m blessed that you are concerned. Great big hug.

              Liked by 1 person

  6. This was a wonderful episode to sit back and enjoy at the end of a long and difficult day. I’d say “I love where this story is going” but I’m not sure I know (and I was on this submarine before). BTW, I love the subtle insights you gave us into the atmosphere of the day – “rather good imitation of an adult” “curled his lips inward in a rueful grimace” “disagreeable chirp” – these and others added a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dan, thank you so much. I know I’ve said it before, but the specifics you mention are always truly helpful.
      Since I’m writing in first person, “I” can’t know what the other characters are thinking, so I try to describe their facial expressions. Absinthe doesn’t have a human face… so I tried to thread emotions into his noises. I’m relieved that stood out.

      I don’t want to even think of how cold it is in Connecticut. It’s 8 degrees in the sun, at 8AM here… That’s way too cold for this part of the country, and I know it has to be colder there. Burrr…. Take good care of you. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Holy Hannah — I guess not! I gather from Google that you’ve finally made it into double digits… if barely. I’ve done all the packing and shifting my back can handle for today. (I re-positioned the shelf-spacing on my bookcases so i could put some boxes there and not have to climb over so many. I may have over done it, or so says my back.) I might not come out from the electric throw until dinner! LOL.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Jacquie, my chuckaboo, I’m delighted you enjoyed it. While the song wasn’t one of the “things” it was mentioned in the comments (when I was writing this), and I couldn’t resist adding it to the story. Thanks for being on this crazy submarine. Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “Oh! If you are concerned that you don’t see people like yourselves, please don’t fear. We thought your species was extinct.” Ha ha ha. Love the episode, Teagan. I do hope the purple people eaters are dead! Can’t wait to see what happens next because, with your stories, you never know! Happy Writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. I’m glad you liked that, Diana. The amethyst ape may not have been quite as reassuring as he intended. Yeah, about that… I never know what’s going to happen next either… 😉 I’m so glad you are on this crazy submarine. Hugs on purple wings! 💜 🐵🐒 🤩

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re too kind Robbie. It has hazards. Long about now I was scratching my head, trying to figure out how the heck I was going to pull all this together for an ending. That’s the scary part about pantsering.
      Thanks for being on this submarine, my chuckaboo! Hugs on purple wings!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This story gets more intriguing as we go along. Wow! I can’t even imagine where it’s going from here. And where the heck is Clavin Hixon? All the more layers of mystery and strangeness. Well-done, Teagan!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have Purple Planet of the Apes swirling around in my head, then you throw in this purple people eater flying around, but I’m also wondering how cool would it be to see your ape doppelganger. So much to think about.
    Hugs, Teagan!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Teri, back then, I actually did try to find ape doppelganger images. I was surprised by how very many images the Victorians made of apes, and other animals, in human clothes. Those folks had some odd quirks for sure! 😀 Thanks for being on this crazy submarine. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so kind to say that. It helps that the story is already written, but I do add new images, and the “real world things”. I’ve been giving myself too much of a break these 2 days. I need to get busy packing again! 😀 You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Joanne, I’m sorry you are unwell, but happy I could do some small something to brighten your day. The weather is miserable enough, without being sick ta boot.
      Well… it takes me awhile to get them out of this one. I hope you like purple!
      Please take good care of you, and feel fabulous fast, my chuckaboo. Hugs on purple wings.


  10. Ah me, I do love a purple ape. As for the stamp, my old dad collected them for years, confident he’d assembled a valuable collection. When he died I took them to a famous stamp collectors in London. They offered me 20 pounds for the lot. So sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well dash my wig! I’m sorry to hear that, Geoff. Seriously though, I had a similar experience with a couple of things from my dad. Later two different “non professional” (very knowledgeable aficionados where were not working for money) suggested the appraiser hoped to buy things from me at a steal. Someone also said the geographical area makes a difference. Here, things can be valuable on the west coast that are common place in the southeast — that’s what I mean.
      I’m glad the amethyst ape has a friend in you. Thanks for being on this steampunk submarine! Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m very curious what this new purple place holds, including perhaps one eyed one horned flying purple people eater? The doppelgangers situation sounds scary. Another great episode:)

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Sometimes, Denise, with these “three things” style serials, it’s more than the things people intentionally leave that I feel compelled to add to the story. Someone had mentioned the purple people eater in a comment, and I just had to include it. Just like the chimps in an early episode (who went through Copper’s house and stole the dead body) — those were inspired by a GIF Chris Graham had made — and they became a huge part of the story. There were other things as well.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I’m glad you were compelled to add them, because they have made the story extra fun for me and I’m sure all your other readers, too! Thanks for letting me know why you added them, I always love knowing the backstory:)

            Liked by 1 person

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