Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 31

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Copper promo USS Razorback Torpedo rm Pixabay

Welcome to Hidebound Hump Day, my chuckaboos!

When I wrote this episode back in 2015, I was working on a novel called The Guitar Mancer.  Later I even tried to serialize it here as a means of finishing it. The feedback of readers back then brought an unexpected change to the story.  It was almost complete, but with my job, I still wasn’t able to write “the end.” 

Special thanks to Lavinia Ross, who I think loves that story more than anyone else does. “Time keeps rolling on,” as she sings in one of her songs, yet she continues to encourage me to finish that novel.  Hopefully, once I get moved and settled into my new digs, I will do that soon.  Here’s a beautiful sample of Lavinia’s music.

Yes indeed, time keeps rolling on, and yes, I said I’m finally moving.  Can one woman, alone, except for a cat, and with severe agoraphobia manage to relocate across 2,000 miles?  It sounds like a comedy to some.  However, I assure you that for me, it’s a horror story.

Onward…   The three things that propelled the #steampunk submarine in this episode are from an author who is a wonderful supporter of this blog and of my writing — Olga Núñez Miret.  She’s multi-talented, and one of those talents is picking terrific “things.”

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

Chapter 29.   Felicity figured out at least part of the mystery of the “trained” chimpanzees, but we still don’t know who was using them. 

Chapter 30Cal Hicks, the ape version of Calvin Hixon, showed our heroes to the laboratory of the purple world’s Cornelis Drebbel.  Just before they went inside, the bloodcurdling hunting call of the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater was heard.  They ran to the laboratory to hide.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

31 — Glass Eye, Silver Vinaigrette, Sextant

Copper pensive

Her usually rosy cheeks were pale.

“I feel orf chump,” Copper said softly. 

She must have gotten that ridiculous phrase from Cornelis.  I gave the Dutchman a threatening look for teaching the child slang.

The one eyed one horned flying purple people eater roared a terrible screech a moment before, though the creature was not within our sight.  I thought all the excitement must be too much for the girl.  Copper, Corneils, Cal Hicks, and I hurriedly hid from the beast in the huge laboratory that belonged to the amethyst world’s duplicate of Cornelis Drebbel.

Copper got down from the lavender alpine goat that had playfully carried her into the building.  She really did seem unsteady.  Absinthe had been concerned about us consuming the water of this strange place.  I wondered if something she ate or drank at tea disagreed with her.

Frantic cries from outside caused Cal Hicks to dash to the door.  When he opened the door, the violet complected chimpanzee housekeeper rushed inside.  She was in a terrible state, having heard the roar of the flying beast.  She sank to a stool that was nearby.

“Viola!  Whatever brings you out here?  Were you hurt?  Did you see the beast?” Cal Hicks asked in a single breath.

The housekeeper shook violently.  I stooped down to see if she was hurt or unwell.  Cornelis looked over my shoulder at her.  The alchemist seemed to think she was unharmed.  He made a flirtatious comment and wriggled his bushy eyebrows.  She gave a tittering laugh, seeming to recover herself.

Well dash my wig,” Cornelis murmured so that only I could hear.  “She’s got one and a peppermint drop.”

“What?” I began, annoyed by the Dutchman’s excessive use of slang.

Violet purple eye
Originally “My Blue Heaven” by Rob Goldstein. (I couldn’t resist making it purple for this story.)

Then I noticed that she had a glass eye.  Of course, the eye was purple.  It was also the first time I realized that she must be elderly.  There were broad strands of pale lavender in her reddish-purple hair.  It was not until that moment that it occurred to me that those pastel streaks would be the same as gray hair in our world.

Cal Hicks turned to us and described how the purple people eater had attacked the village where Viola grew up.  She had been among the casualties.  He discretely indicated that her eye had been one of her wounds.  It was no wonder just hearing the creature frightened her to such an extent.

The amethyst ape seemed to know his way around the laboratory quite well.  I thought he must have worked closely with the purple version of Cornelis Drebbel.  He went directly to a table that held many intriguing devices.  Cal opened a drawer and removed an intricately designed silver vinaigrette.  An invigorating scent drifted over to me when he took the vinaigrette to Viola.  The aroma seemed to revive her.

Smelling salts?” I inquired.  

“No, not precisely.  Rather than ammonium, it’s a restorative herb,” Cal explained.

Assured that Viola was only over-excited and not injured, I stood up again.  As I moved, I felt suddenly lightheaded.  There was also an odd hollow feeling at my heart.  My ears were ringing.  I closed my eyes, placed my hand to my solar plexus and took deep breaths.  When I looked up, I noticed Copper sitting on the floor, the lavender goat nuzzling at her hair affectionately.

silver vinaigrette
A silver vinaigrette

I tottered a little as I stood.  Viola handed me the vinaigrette and patted my arm in a grandmotherly way, but I wasn’t experiencing the vapors as she had.  Whatever I was experiencing, it was not from the emotional response that upset the housekeeper.  She nodded, encouraging me to inhale the scent.  I found that it actually did help.  I took it over to Copper, suspecting that whatever had overcome me was also the cause of her discomfort.  

“Viola, you must have run to catch up with us,” Cal said.  “Whatever was so important?”

“It’s the family.  They’ve returned.  I wanted to make sure they got to meet your extraordinary guests, but I wanted it to be a surprise for them.  So, I hurried here, only telling them that I was going to fetch you,” Viola explained.  “Then I heard that horrid beast.  I’ll never forget that awful day!” she cried, tears leaking from her good eye.  “I ran the rest of the way, fearing for your safety — for all of you.”

When Viola uttered the word “family” Cornelis paled.  He looked from me to Copper. 

“You’re not feeling well,” he said and it was a statement not a question.  “They are too close,” he muttered worriedly.

“Who do you mean?” I asked unsteadily.

The dizziness was making it hard for me to think.

“Your doppelgängers!  They are too close.  That’s why you feel ill.  A hollow feeling?  Dizzy, ears ringing?  Am I right?” Cornelis demanded and I nodded apprehensively.  “You must not get any closer to your doubles from this world!” he said, including both Copper and me.

green skunk palm

At the excitable tones from Cornelis, Absinthe poked his head up from the alchemist’s jacket pocket.  The tiny fairy stretched his wings and then fluttered to a long worktable that was covered with charts, maps and scientific looking implements.  The Green Fairy inspected the maps, and drawings carefully.  He was just as thorough when he began to examine the contrivances scattered across the table.

He was also remarkably silent.  Though I’d never heard him utter an actual word, the tiny skunk-looking fairy usually muttered, chirped, or grunted most of the time — especially if he was intrigued by something.  However, Absinthe seemed quite serious as he investigated the strange implements on the long table.

He stopped abruptly when he came to a gleaming brass sextant.  It was beautifully decorated with amethyst cabochons.  The navigation instrument was supported by two exquisitely formed gold mermen.  The apparatus sat on a wooden base of purple streaked mahogany. 

Absinthe checked the sextant closely, finally muttering very quietly.  However, he still didn’t seem to be himself.  For a moment I wondered if he had a doppelgänger nearby as well.  Then the Green Fairy sighed resignedly.  He looked up at Cornelis and chirped something that the alchemist appeared to understand.  They exchanged a sad look.

Terrence Mann as Cornelis 2
Terrence Mann as Cornelis

The Dutchman moved to examine the sextant.  He muttered in much the same manner as Absinthe.  Finally he nodded. 

“Yes.  This should do the trick,” Cornelis said with a decisive nod.

“Can you take care of the err… the Purple Fairy?” Cornelis asked the tiny Green Fairy, and Absinthe nodded, again with that sad resigned attitude.

The grave tone in the alchemist’s voice puzzled me.  I wondered what the skunk-looking creature would do.  Then with a sharp pop Absinthe disappeared.

“What Purple Fairy?” I wanted to know. 

The amethyst ape seemed to grasp the fact that was eluding my dizzy noggin.  I struggled to catch up to their thinking, but I felt so woozy.  I vaguely remembered the amethyst ape calling the purple people eater a fae — a fairy.

“Oh, you don’t mean?” Cal Hicks gasped with a horrified expression.

Viola echoed Cal’s sudden inhalation, putting a hand to her mouth.  “No.  You can’t mean that very small green creature is going out to confront the giant one eyed one horned flying purple people eater!” the violet chimpanzee housekeeper exclaimed.  “Why the poor little thing won’t last a minute.  Please! Can’t you call him back?”

Purple one horned dragon
Racheal Marie, Pixaby


Real World Notes

Vinaigrette.  If one wasn’t paying attention, a kind of salad dressing might have been expected.  No, this is vinaigrette.  That is a small container used for holding various aromatic substances, usually dissolved in vinegar.  Think of it as a decorative holder for smelling salts.  A vinaigrette often took the form of a tiny hinged silver box.  A little piece of sponge, soaked in the vinegar mixture, was contained beneath a grill or perforated cover.

Victorian Vernacular

Dash my wig Exclamation of dismay.  “Dash my wig!  Nothing good will come of that.”

One and a peppermint drop:  When a person has only one eye.

Orf chump:  No appetite.


 So, the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater is actually a fairy!  Could tiny Absinthe really intend to confront the gigantic beast?  Be at the steampunk submarine port next time, to find out what happens when Chartreuse, and Salmon Koulibiac drive the chapter of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers!  

My chuckaboos, it’s sure to be an adventure, and I’m not trying to sell you a dog! 


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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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102 thoughts on “Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 31

    1. Yes, the little Green Fairy is really “stepping up to the plate.” :mrgreen:
      I had never heard of (that kind of) vinaigrette before Olga sent it as a thing either, Inesse. She chooses great things. Thanks for the good wishes. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I met a woman with one purple-blue eye and one yellow-brown eye. They were the most astounding eyes I have ever seen, really magical. I wrote about those eyes in my last book ©The Road To Top Of The World.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Valentina. Indeed you did, and it was delightful.

      I had a class in college with a woman who had one blue and one dark brown eye. She usually wore contact lenses to make both seem the same color.
      Thanks for taking time to visit. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Absinthe sounds like he could be David about to meet the giant, Teagan. I do hope the small fellow will be OK. I can’t remember what happened to him when I first read this story. so I’m going to have to wait and find out.

    Wishing you much luck with the new adventure that awaits you and Crystal.
    Weekend hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Hugh, it’s so good to see you. I have faith in Absinthe. 😉 :mrgreen:
      A friend has a cousin who runs a charity thrift shop. Yesterday we got them to take all my furniture. (I’m only taking my piano and a slue of boxes, no furniture.) It was utter chaos… but it was free. (The cheapest estimate I got was close to a thousand dollars…) LOL, now I’m looking for my phone charger and well… everything I need in the course of the day. Wish me luck. Mega hugs right back.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! I can’t believe how many episodes I’ve missed, but I could easily jump back into the story. I wonder if Absinthe will survive a confrontation with the Purple People Eater. I’ll be sure to check in and find out.
    Good luck with your move.
    Love and hugs, Teagan! 💕🤗💕

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, I am so late to the dock for this episode. Before I start, here’s hoping that one woman and her cat successfully make that journey and that once safe and sound in new digs, “The Guitar Mancer” is revived.

    You captured two odd feelings today, that I would be hard pressed to describe:

    “There was also an odd hollow feeling at my heart.” What an interesting way to describe that feeling. I think I know it, but I would have never imagined describing it that way.

    “The amethyst ape seemed to grasp the fact that was eluding my dizzy noggin.” While not really a description, this is a very unsettling feeling, when others seem to understand something that I don’t. It brought me closer to Felicity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dan, it’s great to see you, any time you have a moment. I always say there’s no such thing as late here. Besides — it’s only Thursday. Thanks for the good moving wish. I’m quite overwhelmed today, so I need it. 🙂
      Your feedback is greatly appreciated on those two items. The “odd hollow feeling at my heart” was from personal experience, but I wrote this so long ago that I don’t remember what. But I was thinking of a sensation immediately after a shock, whether from getting the breath knocked out of you (physical), or an extreme fright (emotional). That’s how I wanted to portray the effect of being near one’s doppelgänger as being both physical and emotional.
      In these serials, having to write completely unplanned, and quickly, I just sort of go with the immediate thought. So I’m glad to know it worked.
      Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. ^^’ Dear Robbie, you are far too kind. I blush! I know I can’t compare to Dickens, but he was a serial writer too. I imagine we both try/tried write/wrote the kind of stories to which our audiences could relate, or would simply enjoy.
      I hope you’ve been having a wonderful week. With all the upheaval and constantly changing move preparations, I haven’t been able to keep up with all the blogs I love to follow.
      Heartfelt thanks for visiting. Mega hugs, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi there Teagan! Hope you are doing great. A beautiful overview, as always. And I meant to tell you how I enjoyed all of your metaphoric names given your characters. Absinthe… Copper. Certainly prominent during the steampunk era. Cheers and loving hugs!!❤💕❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why thank you, my chuckaboo! I wanted to do more than simply rerun the serial. Plus I wanted to add more Victorian slang to the story. So I added the vernacular and real world segments. I’m delighted to know you enjoy them.
      Shhhh…. don’t tell, but I think you might be write about Absinthe. He’s a bricky little thing. 😉 Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting complication when doppelgangers get too close, Teagan. I didn’t know that. And yes, how is that little fairy going to fight off a purple people eater! Great cliffhanger! Can’t wait to see what happens! Hugs. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Diana. Thanks so much for visiting.
      It’s interesting that you should mention that. Well… in my universe, being close to a doppelgänger has that effect — It might not in someone else’s. LOL. Years after I did this serial a woman adamantly corrected me. She told me that “doppelgängers” *only* are paranormal phenomenon type entities, not “doubles” of any kind. So belatedly, I started looking into it. Some sources agreed with her, while others used doppelgänger interchangeably with double (as I had always seen)… So I left the word in this story. In most stories I’ve seen the consequences of meeting either double or doppelgängers are dire. So I’m probably bending the supposed rules by making my characters sick. 😉
      Thanks for chatting. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi John. Yes, I imagine using a vinaigrette today would draw a lot of attention.
      Tee-hee! The minute I saw “One and a peppermint drop” I could just hear Cornelis saying it. I’m glad it made you laugh too. Heartfelt thanks for visiting. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh dear! I hope Absinthe comes out intact after confronting the one eyed, one horned flying purple people eater!
    I’ve never heard of a vinaigrette before and am going down the rabbit hole like Joanne did to learn more about them. The image you have included of one looks like a gorgeous babble.

    Best of luck with the move. I know you can do it! xx Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Deborah. I’m glad Absinthe has you in his corner!
      I wasn’t familiar with vinaigrettes before Olga left it as a thing. Writing these serials can be quite educational!
      Today I’m deep in the throes of the last purge. Packing is down to the things I don’t want to do without until the last minute — and there are far too many of those things!
      My “junk removal” to take away my furniture is supposed to be Friday, so I’m working hard with the purge and cleaning, and putting signs on everything. Crystal is exhausted from watching me. LOL. Thanks for the encouraging word. Mega hugs right back!


  8. nooooo – you’re not sending little Absinthe out to confront the monster!!!! The situation is getting rather dire, but I’ll be brave 🙂

    I was quite taken with the image of the vinaigrette you had in this post. I’ve never seen anything like it, which sent me down a rabbit hole looking at vinaigrettes online. Holy Hell! An antique vinaigrette is worth a lot of money!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re a bricky lass, Joanne! I know you’ll be brave. 😉
      I agree that vinaigrette is exquisite. I wasn’t familiar with them either, before Olga left it as a thing. I guess they didn’t catch on so well on this side of the Atlantic, and maybe that’s why they are so expensive. I didn’t know about that either, but I’ll happily take your word for it.
      Huge thanks for visiting. Mega hugs!


      1. I’m guessing that the need for them here in the New World wasn’t so great as in the heavily populated areas of Britain. Although our sanitation practices were still abysmal, at least we had sparse population and wide open spaces to our advantage.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I don’t really think so — not this round anyway. When the “dedicated” mover called out of the blue, offering to cut his price by more than half, if I would combine my stuff with his sister’s move, I switched (again) to that means of moving. Now he hasn’t confirmed a pick up date, and mentioned something about his sister making up her mind… So that has me worried. I’ve made other cancellations to go with him… It would create huge problems if he lets me down… That is the kind of delay I’m worried about at the moment.
          Calling for all weather-angels to come through during the first week of March. ❤

          Liked by 1 person

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