The Delta Pearl 27 — Claim

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Image by Teagan R. Geneviene, source Pixabay
Image by Teagan R. Geneviene

Happy spring, my chuckaboos!  I hope the vernal equinox brings all of us good health and happiness.  

The “random reader thing” for this chapter comes from Jacquie Biggarcorset.

I made links to the previous chapter — and several others, just click here.  Without further ado…  

All aboard!

Last time

As I stared at the tiny landscape, I saw that what I had taken for a tree on the outcropping was a human figure.  The tiny painted person moved to the edge and jumped off the cliff.

I gasped.  It was impossible for something in a painting to move!

I was vaguely aware of hearing someone behind me, but I was so engrossed that I did not turn.

The Delta Pearl

Chapter 27 — Claim

steampunk woman green corset riverboat Pixabay
Image by Teagan R. Geneviene, sourced via Pixabay

Perhaps I recognized a familiar energy, as Coral would say.  The young woman who served as either maid or wait-person, depending on the need, was interested in all variations of spiritualism.

“Émeraude?”

Whatever the case, I would have known the voice anywhere, particularly with his dialect.

“Here thou art again, gazing at this picture,” the Mate commented, blue eyes twinkling.  “Although I suppose it is better that you daydream over an old portrait than what you did the last time ye got upset over summat.”

“Blue, what ever do you mean?” I asked pretending ignorance.

I had been the butt of no small amount of teasing since the night the Cook got me tipsy.  The fact that she meant to play matchmaker for Victor Elam and me made it all the worse.  So of course, I knew that was what the Mate meant.

“Got y’usen puddle-drunk, you did.  And there’s no telling what else thee might have done,” he said suggestively with wriggling eyebrows.  “I hear that pretty governess even tried to take ye to her cabin.”

“Why Blue John Boulton!  What an outrageous thing to suggest!  As if I would dally with a passenger,” I cried, but instantly thought of Dr. Victor T. Elam with whom I would have very much liked to dally.  “First, whatever Azalea Morton’s preferences may be, I am not attracted to other women.  Secondly, my less than sober condition was all Agate’s fault.”

Kirk Douglas as Blue John Boulton
Kirk Douglas as Blue John Boulton

“Less than sober,” he chortled.  “Puddle-drunk I say again!  As for the Cook, the fault weren’t ern alone.  I know Agate can be a mischievous little minx in getting folk to do as she thinks they ought.  But a big part of the blame for that hangover was yourn,” the Mate teasingly chided me with a wagging finger.

“The question is, will thou be spiking some tea again after having to tell the Harvey couple they’re to be put off the Delta Pearl?  And if ye are, would ye have the decency to invite me this time?” he added mournfully, but he was obviously trying not to laugh.

The exaggerated solemnity of his expression earned him an eye-roll.  However, I sighed, relieved that unfortunate confrontation was actually finished.  It had gone much better than I expected.  I simply cowered behind the Dealer and let him do all the talking.

“I’m sorry, Mate.  You’ve already missed the show,” I told him.

I had thought Hyacinth Harvey would engage in a high level of theatrics, so determined and often dramatic had she been in her attempts to get someone else to look after her nephew.  However, one look at Jaspe’s stern countenance quelled any rebellion from her.

The Dealer was as fascinating to me as the portrait, actually more so, since he was a living being, right there in my own time and place.  While his manners were perfect, and he was elegant and graceful, that was not what allowed him to handle the Harvey couple so smoothly.

No, Jaspe possessed a positively lethal grace, and I don’t mean that as a figure of speech.  When he chose, the Dealer could project that quality quite clearly.  If Jaspe got that look, only a fool would trifle with him.  Witnessing the transition from mannerly to dangerous was chilling, even if one saw nothing more than the expression in his eyes.

Leslie Caron and Louis Jourdan 1958 Gigi Wikipedia
Leslie Caron and Louis Jourdan 1958 Gigi Wikipedia

“Whatever the case,” Blue John continued.  “I just thought you’d want to know that the Harveys and that little angel, Hershel, are safely gone ashore.  They’re in a carriage as we speak, headed for dear old grandma’s house.  And never to return to this fair riverboat again.”

“That’s a relief.  Blue,” I began, wanting to ask if he really meant to leave the Delta Pearl for an extended time, perhaps forever.  “Oh, never mind.  It’s nothing,” I finished but he waited.

Blue John lifted his eyebrows and tilted his head, silently nudging me to say what was on my mind.  However, it simply was not my nature to pry.  Instead, I found myself asking him about something else that weighed upon my mind — something about me.

“They say I’m ‘twice claimed’ by the Delta Pearl.  What do you think that means?  Rather what does it mean for me?” I asked in earnest.

He seemed surprised that I would ask.  I supposed it was obvious to him.  I realize I was in a state of denial.  His extraordinary blue eyes held mine gravely.  When he spoke, the strength of his odd dialect eased.  Blue’s accent was heavier when he was being playful.

“Well, you know the Delta Pearl is no ordinary riverboat.  The same applies to some of the items that are part of her.  Artifacts, as Jaspe calls them.  Anyhow, the Pearl tends to like folk with gemstone names.  Her chosen feel a close bond with her.  In your case, the portrait seems to have also taken a shine to you,” Blue John explained.

He paused, waiting for some acknowledgement from me.  I was feeling unaccountably nervous.  I took a deep breath ― or as deep of a breath as my corset would allow.  I nodded for him to continue.

Warner_Bros Corset ad 1900
Warner Bro’s Corset ad circa 1900

“Doesn’t the long-ago lady look familiar to you?” the Mate asked, and motioned to the portrait.

“Yes.  That’s what fascinates me most about the painting.  But I can’t place her, or think of whom she reminds me,” I replied, wondering at the direction his words had taken.

The Mate started to chuckle.  He shook his head and plopped his hands on my shoulders to make sure I remained facing him.

“Émeraude Perlezenn, you are the spitting image of the woman in the painting.  You are connected to her in some way.  Maybe she’s a relative.  Maybe you were her in a past life and fate threw the twist of making you look alike.  It could be any number of things!  I don’t know how or why, but you are connected to the lady.”

The clang of a bell sounded outside.  It signaled a shift change on deck.  Blue John excused himself and left me pondering that revelation, while he went back to work.

A very quiet clicking sound drew my attention back to the portrait.  When I turned back to the painting, Amethyst the clockwork spider sat upon the frame.  She bunched her little mechanical legs, launched herself, and landed on my shoulder.  I flinched, not expecting her to come to me so fast.

The purple spider emanated a series of clicks.  It sounded like she was excited.  Her speech capabilities were imperfect.  I believed she could observe and understand far more than she was able to describe.

Altered Spider jewelry pin Starbright Pixabay
Pixabay image, tomfoolery by Teagan

She loved to spy, especially on the passengers.  When she overheard a juicy tidbit, machine or not, Amethyst became excited to share the information.  Unfortunately, it could require a good deal of interpretation due to her limited speech.

I moved several steps into the corridor where an elaborate mirror hung on the wall.  Amethyst had to sit under my ear so she could whisper to me, which prevented any eye contact during the exchanges.  The spider had long been captivated by being able to see both our reflections in the mirror while she whispered from her shoulder perch.

She had a row of four cabochon eyes, which were so dark a purple they were almost black.  The two center eyes were larger.  I looked at the four brightly shining orbs in the reflection.  They eagerly sought my gaze via the mirror.

“Diamond,” the clockwork spider stretched to whisper in my ear and then turned back to observe my face in the looking glass.

My brows knitted.  Many of the crew had gemstone names, but no one was called Diamond.  I could only think of one diamond that would have interested Amethyst.

“Amethyst, you don’t mean Eliza Needleman’s big yellow diamond, do you?  The Pharaoh Diamond?” I asked incredulous.

The mechanical spider bobbed her entire body up and down by straightening and then relaxing her legs.  That was her equivalent of a nod.

I ran pell-mell for the Needleman suite of rooms.  Passengers entrusted their personal safety and that of their valuables to the Delta Pearl and Captain Cecil Perlog.  By extension that responsibility was also mine.  If something was amiss with anything even half as valuable as the Pharaoh Diamond, I shuddered to think of the consequences.

Amethyst hooked her little feet into the shoulder of my gown and crouched down, hanging on as I ran.

Victoria-Transvaal Diamond 1951_Wikimedia
Victoria-Transvaal Diamond 1951_Wikimedia

***

End Chapter 27

***

Yes, Amethyst is finally back! I wonder if she’s leading Émeraude to another red herring… I suppose we’ll know next time! Thanks for visiting.  I hope you’ll leave a comment to say hello, before you leave, my chuckaboos.

 

 

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 © 2016 and 2020 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.

 


89 thoughts on “The Delta Pearl 27 — Claim

  1. I’m relieved to read that the devil spawn is off the Delta Pearl, but do I dare breath a sigh of relief? I’ve read enough of your work to suspect things are not always as they seem. I smell more intrigue ahead!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha. It’s good to see you, Joanne. I guess that if you knew when to trust me, then I wouldn’t be much of a cliffhanger maven. I’m somewhat confident that we’re done with the Harveys — particularly little Hershel. But definitely more intrigue along the river.
      I have a small book of big silliness free today in my next post. Be well, be happy. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Teagan! This was a very exciting episode, a trilogy of events – from the portrait resemblance to why the Delta Pearl chose Emeraude, to Amethyst. Very exciting!! Apologies I am behind in reading. School has taken on another whole dimension, and I had to get creative. My new YouTube channel is a big hit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Teagan, glad to see you’re still producing, and that your spirits are still high. On the one hand it seems unnatural to still be writing and reading blogs as though everything is normal. On the other creatvity and life must go on. Stay well friend. Be careful; be intelligent. See you next week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly, David. To me, emotional health is critical to physical health. Attitude. Gratitude. Critical thinking skills. I can’t honestly say that my spirits are up — but I’m always trying to figure out how to lift them. One thing I learned long ago was that uplifting others brought me up in the process. Along the way, I found one of my favorite quotes. In the words of Robert Ingersoll — “We rise by lifting others.” Hugs on the wing.

      Like

  4. Hello Teagan!
    First, I keep forgetting to say I really adore the new portrait in the green top hat.
    I quite enjoyed this chapter, after all Amethyst is back, the rotten kid is gone and Dr. Victor T. Elam is not out of the picture.
    I always felt Émeraude looked like the portrait!
    Hope you are taking care to be safe in this cray time ovC-virus.
    Chuckaboo hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good to see the spider back! The moving object in the painting is also an interesting twist. I am enjoying the ride!

    We are all OK here. Things are slowly getting locked down all around here. At least people are not hoarding cat litter, yet. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Cat people think alike, Lavinia. That was one of the things I thought when the TP hoarding started. I went ahead and ordered kitty litter a couple of weeks early.
      I’m glad Amethyst has a friend in you, my chuckaboo. Thanks so very much. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a wonder and thank you for giving us such a gift, especially under the circumstances (COVID-19). I’m sorry I can’t “Like” or “Follow” right now, WordPress is playing some weird game, but I shared it all over the place and as soon as this latest glitch gets fixed I’ll come back and Press Like and follow again and again and again, my friend. Stay safe, dear Teagan. 🙂
    Hope the week ahead holds much peace.
    Mega hugs on the wing hugs xoxoxoxoxox

    Liked by 1 person

  7. How could I let Saturday pass and not realize the Delta Pearl was back??!! You’ve really ensnared me in your clockwork spider web this week, Teagan. Well done. I can’t wait to read next week’s installment. It gives me something to look forward to. Slinging a webby hug your way.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A super episode, Teagan. We now have to be concerned about the big ole diamond. I don’t know why but I always thought the portrait would end up looking like Émeraude. I enjoyed it and Hugs to you. Please stay well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy to see you, John. Either you’re brilliantly insightful, or your mind has a lot in common with the windmill filled abyss of my mind. LOL. 😀 Personally, I’d just say that your’re brilliant.
      I promise to do all I can to stay well. (I’m horribly agoraphobic anyway (terrified of being away from home), so I have less temptation than others. Although I can see that this pandemic has set me back on progress in getting better with that. As if I were actually making any progress. But that’s my excuse and I’m stickin’ with it. 😉 Be well, be happy, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wouldn’t worry about the agoraphobia right now. Maybe God’s way of keeping you protected. With a premium Amazon accountyou never have to leave. 😁. Looking forward to the next episode. Your advice to me is the smae I give to you. Be well, be happy.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The shelves are empty in Amazon’s Prime Pantry. I was stunned to see the site closed. But I’ll manage. LOL, at least my shipment of industrial-rolls of TP arrived safely! I was more worried about that than food! 😀 Hugs on the wing.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Jacquie, I hope you had a fantabulous birthday. Congrats on your latest #1 book What a birthday present! I sometimes write about teens, but I’d never be able to do something about parenting them. Amazing! Thanks for taking time to visit here. Stay well, by chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thank you ever so kindly, my chuckaboo! I’m delighted you enjoyed it. I need to get over to your blog, GP. My “Hiroto Minamoto” character (with a violet airplane) just reminded me that I haven’t been to visit you. 😉 Take good care of you. Hugs!

      Like

  9. Happy to have Amethyst back, even if she’s possibly imparting bad news. Guess I have to wait and see what next week brings. Thanks for the Saturday ride on the Delta Pearl, Teagan. It’s always a good time! Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so happy you could be on the boat ride, Mary J. It’s hard to guess what Amethyst might be up to. I have fun thinking about what her motivations and interests might be when I write her character. Stay safe and well, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It was so much fun to hop back on board of the Delta Pearl! Somehow I think I must have missed an episode so I will look backward to find it where Jaspe tells the Harveys they have to leave. I loved this conversation between Emeraude and Blue John. And the conversation with Amethyst was very interesting! Great episode!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you enjoyed it, my chuckaboo! I hope all is well with you and yours, although I know you can’t help being concerned about family. As an agoraphobic, it’s different for me. I admit to guilty pleasure for “giving myself permission” to not go anywhere — just as I was in the middle of the self torment of weeks of trying to get myself psyched up just to go and get the license plate & inspection for my car… I’m fine here in my little cocoon. Take good care of you, my friend. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is wonderful to see you, Michael. Crystal and I are fine. I try to keep plenty of her prescription, hypoallergenic food on hand. LOL, and I just got a shipment of “industrial” large roll toilet paper! (After nearly a month of intestinal flu at Christmas, I was more worried about running out of that than food! o_O ) I’m delighted you are part of this riverboat, my chuckaboo! Be well, be happy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Me too, Tegan! Great to have you, and Crystal back. Toilet paper? Lol Its most buyed here too. They think it can help against the virus.:-)
        Gosh, what a scary situation here. Sometimes i thought Germany was built like a small state of the USA. Now i know, its the same as it ever has been. Best wishes, Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Yaaayyyy, Amethyst is back!! And she brought more mystery and intrigue with her. I’ve been thinking the woman in the portrait was Emeraude’s mother. But since she’s apparently “been claimed twice by the Delta Pearl”, it has to be her in the portrait. Curiouser and curiouser!! 🤗

    Very happy to see the Delta Pearl is back with no threat of Covid-19 aboard!

    Isolation and empty market shelves has become the new, hopefully temporary, norm here in NYS, and everywhere else. Amazing that a virus has managed to almost bring the entire world to its knees. So having the Delta Pearl back, with all its whimsy and mystery, is a great treat.

    Stay well Teagan. Keep safe.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My lovely friend, nice to see you’re ready again continue this amazing magical story. I am a little handicapped today as I can’t like or as I may wish, to reblog any post!! I don’t know why 😏🙄 Anyway, have a wonderful WE and stay safe 😘😘🥰🙏💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No worries, my chuckaboo! I think it is true that WordPress is gobbling up more of a computer’s resources (during the past year), making it hard for the “like” or “reblog” buttons to show up. If Internet gets slow at the same time… things become impossible. Be well, be happy. Hugs on the wing.

      Like

  13. I’ve been looking forward to this episode since the Delta Pearl docked, even more since you announce it was coming – you did not disappoint, Teagan. This is wonderful. I love how you brought us closer to Émeraude and helped us learn more about this mysterious ship. I giggle at the thought of being puddle drunk – a state I can imagine. The portrait is more intriguing now, and the mystery is once again afoot.

    Have a great weekend and I hope to see you on board again next week.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s nice to see you are back. Amethyst and a diamond. Intriguing. How are things in your neck of the woods? There’s is a rumor that the Governor is going to order New Mexico locked down for two weeks. I had to get the kitties a different dry food because Costo has been out of the food I normally feed them for a couple of weeks. Otherwise, we are in good shape if we get locked down. I’m really happy you got out of D.C. You are in a much better place to weather the Covid-19 drama.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tim. I’m glad you and Laurie are in good shape. I was digging for info quite a few times during the week, but didn’t turn up anything for local stuff. I had not heard about the potential for the state being locked down. (I don’t have regular TV, so finding reliable news is difficult.)

      LOL, now that an order of toilet paper arrived, I’m not too worried — I was more concerned about that than food! I would have been freaking out about the cat food. (Crystal has to eat prescription hypoallergenic food. A couple of times it’s gotten on back-order, so I try to keep a small surplus. Then through coincidence, I ended up with an extra bag. So we’re covered on that point.)
      The other day, the postman mis-delivered a heavy box. It was half open. When I saw that it was 2 cases of (lg cans) of cat food, I put it in the car and took it to the correct address. No one answered the door, so hopefully it was okay. I only hurt my back a little dealing with it. I was okay by the next day.
      Yes, the shortages and fears can bring out the worst in people. I really am glad to be away from DC where that is *always* brought out in people. Especially since I seem to be a magnet for it. (During the year before I left, one coworker got TB, and dealing with “the worst in people” at the office was pure hell. Management wouldn’t even talk about it.)
      Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We got wind of the possibility of the state being locked down from some of the agencies we do work for. I don’t know if it will happen, but I imagine it will. Good to hear you got toilet paper and kitty food. Nice of you to deliver the kitty food to the corrrect address. There would have been some sad kitties otherwise.

        Liked by 1 person

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