The Delta Pearl 33 — Chaperone

Saturday, May 16, 2020 

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

In the Victorian Era, someone’s dear friend was their chuckaboo.  So welcome back, my chuckaboos! 

When I first wrote The Delta Pearl, I wasn’t satisfied with the story.  So I’m using this serial as a means of rewriting it. I’m also adding random reader things to keep the paddlewheel turning.  With this episode, I was able to use three reader things! 

First we have Bottled Tears from Diana Wallace Peach.  Next, Fraggle suggested Watch Camera.  Then, very early in this voyage, Tim Price gave us Paper-strip Film.  I hope you’ll check out their amazing blogs.

Last time, the steampunk riverboat showed that she has an unexpected level of awareness. The Delta Pearl actually seemed to flirt with our young inventor, Victor.  Will our potential lovebirds ever get off the riverboat?  Or will something else get in their way?

All aboard!

The Delta Pearl

Chapter 33 — Chaperone

Courtship Edmund Leighton Wikipedia
Courtship by Edmund Leighton Wikipedia

Jaspe was suddenly at my side.  Victor stepped back as the Dealer deftly lifted me to my feet.  Jaspe had the most habit of appearing out of nowhere.  I supposed that his long legs and amazingly quick reflexes explained the ability, but it was dash-ed annoying.

Randal Needleman must have noticed his speed, based on his startled and perplexed expression.  The entrepreneur gave a half bow before turning back to his wife.

“Dearest, did you check the bottled tears?” he asked, motioning to the decorative tear catcher that was suspended at her waist.  “I understand some parts of town are… unpleasantly odiferous.  You might need to replenish the scented vinegar it contains.”

“Not to worry, darling.  The chamber maid, Coral, already checked it,” Eliza replied.

To my chagrin, the Dealer struck up a conversation with the Needlemans.  Before I could steer the discussion, he has suggested that I go along with them in case they needed any assistance.

As I stood sputtering, Onyx turned his clockwork head 360 degrees.  He gave a wink and a nod to the Dealer.  Then the brass owl swooped low to fly behind a row of crates where he wouldn’t be seen by the approaching passengers.  Then the clockwork owl discretely made his way to the pilot house.

Randal Needleman chuckled.  His wife lightly punched his arm.

“I see, old boy.  We’ll keep these two from going off filly and foal,” he assured Jaspe.

Blushing scarlet, I turned to Victor hoping for some kind of support.  Although I realized there wasn’t much he could do about the situation.  I was further irritated to see that my inventor had stepped aside and was speaking to a deckhand.

Then the Cook approached the young men.  Agate made a point of not looking over at the Dealer or me.  Her giggle reached my ears as she tweaked Victor’s cheek.  Then she made a hasty retreat, with a covert glance up at the pilot house, where the Captain was.

Couple boat pug
Luke Fildes, Wikipedia

“Mr. Needleman, I was hoping we could discuss the idea you mentioned,” Victor began, as he walked back to us.  “It would be an interesting invention.”

Needleman always seemed excited about discussing mechanical things with Victor.  He quickly invited Victor to join the three of us.  However, I was surprised that my inventor had thought of it.  Then I realized Agate had likely suggested it to Victor.

To my surprise that prospect seemed to satisfy Jaspe.  Perhaps all he wanted was a chaperone.

While the Needlemans spoke with the Dealer, I whispered my concern to Victor.

“I wanted to visit antique shops and the library.  I was hoping to learn more about the portrait and my cameo,” I complained.

“Yes, I remember, and I agree that your necklace looks identical to the one in the painting,” Victor told me.  “I took a close look at the portrait after we spoke.”

Balderdash! I thought.  I hope it didn’t move while he was looking.

“Did it, umm… Did you notice anything odd about the portrait?” I asked.

Victor gave my expression a curious look, but shook his head.  I heaved a sigh of relief.

“The more the merrier?” Victor commented with a disappointed twist to his mouth.

He took a deep breath and then smiled at me.

“Their presence doesn’t have to change anything.  Well, at least not all that much.  Mrs. Needleman would probably enjoy shopping.  Plus, I expect the library would be very much to her taste.  She’s quite an intelligent woman,” he added reasonably.  “Oh, and I brought this.  It will be handy if we need more time with your research than the Needlemans want to spend.”

Victorian Watch Camera ads
Victorian Watch Camera ads, 1884 and 1904

Victor removed a thick silver pocket watch from his vest.  Then he demonstrated that it was actually much more.  It was a small watch camera.

“You invented this?” I exclaimed.  “It’s amazing.  How can something so tiny take photographs?”

“No, it’s not really my invention,” he stated modestly.  “But I did make it.  This one is a self-erecting camera, which expands six spring-loaded telescoping tubes when it opens.  That forms the bellows of the camera.  It’s got an internal meniscus lens and a drop shutter.”

My response to that answer was a nod and smile.  It didn’t make the least bit of sense to me.

“I have a collection of cameras at home.  I also have a hand-held camera that uses paper-strip photographic film that’s kept inside it.  The film is supposed to be sent to the Eastman company in New York to be developed, but I usually manage on my own.”

The crew had the swinging stage securely on the shore.  Eliza called to us from that ramp as she opened a ruffled umbrella that matched her mauve gown.

I was about to take Victor’s arm when something bumped my elbow.  It was a curved wooden handle.  The dealer handed me my lace parasol.  I held my breath so that I wouldn’t say anything impolite.

Really, Jaspe was an insufferable mother hen!


End Chapter 33


I guess there isn’t much freedom or privacy to be had for Émeraude and Victor.  Feel free to leave a random Steam Era thing to fuel this riverboat.  Or just leave a comment to say hello, before you leave.  Be well, be happy, 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.


93 thoughts on “The Delta Pearl 33 — Chaperone

  1. The excitement builds! Super episode, Teagan. I’m holding my breath how it goes off the riverboat. Victor hasn’t had a moment to talk to Emeraude about the riverboat hanging on to her ankle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s all so much slower in a serial than reading a novel would be. But the purpose of serializing this one is to flesh out the novel. I’m relieved to know that it’s holding reader attention after so many weeks. Thanks for being on the riverboat, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Valentina. I did one episode featuring the language of the fan, but enough time has passed that I could work with another fan. I’d love to see the photo. Perhaps they will find one when they go ashore. Thanks for visiting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I am so late to the riverboat, Teagan! I think the Needleman’s and Jaspe need to get lost and let love take its course, as long as the wooden planks of the riverboat agree. Hope you had a most excellent weekend. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Diana. I really liked the bottled tears as a thing. I’ve actually tried to use it several times before this. An additional round of research showed me more ways they were used than I had first thought. Thanks for reading, my chuckaboo.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. No wackier than Google. I couldn’t even find the mourning ritual things I had looked up previously. But yes, exactly like smelling salts. That was one of the uses I found. With all the different things they used to avoid odors, the Victorian Era must have really stank. Literally! 😀

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Indah, it’s great to see you. I wish I could have gotten more clarity on the image. It took a lot of looking to find those. I hoped for a public domain photo of one of the cameras, but didn’t find any. Anyhow, I’m happy you enjoyed that one. Seeing advertisements for some of the unexpected Victorian items brings home the fact that they were real. Hugs on the wing.


  3. Well hell’s bells, Emeraude and Victor can’t catch a break in trying to be alone. Too many cooks in the kitchen! Jaspe may be acting like a mother hen, but I think he’s flaming jealous! I can’t figure the Needlemans out…friend or foe? I’m thinking Onyx will be discreetly on this outing and will manage to finagle a few moments alone for the love birds.

    So glad to hear you’re keeping safe. I get panic attacks in a crowd or having to face a new situation. Fortunately I never get cabin fever so a quarantine/lockdown doesn’t bother me at all. So use this time of limited freedom to be able to move around at will, and give yourself a break. One day at a time, one foot in front of the other. You’re in control of your time schedule, no one else. “You be the boss lady” Teagan, so order yourself to have some fun. Sometimes you have to get away from personal issues in order to deal with them. Sending positive vibes your way and hoping your weekend turns out to be everything you would like it to be! 💕
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this Ginger.
      Thanks for the encouragement. The “challenges” just keep heaping on… Now I’ve got bees that won’t go away, building their nest… and I have anaphylactic reactions to bee stings — and I’ve had that same reaction to one of the ingredients in the Epi pen… I knocked down their nest yesterday. I ordered Hotshot, but 4 days for delivery, and the nest doubled in size within half a day. So I had to knock it down. Now they were already out there trying again. I went with my broom, but couldn’t see whether I got it or not. Heck, I’m already “broken” — I can’t handle bees too. Sorry… Okay… Rant over. I’m having a martini. I only have one shot of gin left, but this is close enough to the apocalypse. Cheers, my chuckaboo!


  4. At first: Thank you for beeing back, Teagan! Hope you are well and stay save. You are describing the scene in a wonderful way. Feeling like i am part of the story. Thank you for another enjoyment. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Deborah. When Fraggle sent that as a “thing” I was amazed that it was real. I wonder what quality of photos it took… Hmmm… I just had an idea about a scene for that… Thanks for being on this riverboat, my chuckaboo!


    1. Hi Andrea. I entertain myself by letting the Dealer (with his “lethal grace”) also be a mother hen. I’m delighted you like this new part developing the relationship between Émeraude and Victor. Thanks for reading, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m delighted to see you, Christoph. Yes, we’re still rolling on the river, and with new content to flesh out the missing middle of the original novel. I’m so happy you enjoyed it, my chuckaboo!


        1. Haha! That sounds a lot worse than chapped lips!
          Ugh! I hope this doesn’t sound like complaining, because I’m just explaining… My “stuff,” combined with the current pandemic situation, still makes it nearly impossible for me to focus. (Add a few random panic attacks, from various triggers, to that.) I resorted to editing what I had so far of my November novel. Now I’ve reached a point with it AND this serial where i have no existing content. So I’m feeling overwhelmed — making it even harder to focus. I did have a sort of breakthrough with the novel yesterday. Now if I can focus at all to work with that. You always accomplish so much, Robbie. Take good care of you, and don’t work too hard. Hugs.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. He does seem a might awkward, John. 😉 Although, he handled himself pretty well, back when that toxic brown cloud descended. Maybe there’s hope for him to come out of the romantic shell too. Thank you for reading, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my! I feel Emeraude’s frustration with Jaspe. He is being quite the mother hen. I can’t wait to see what adventures Victor and Emeraude can have ashore. Perhaps they can ditch the Needlemans somewhere along the way. 🙂 Another really engaging segment, Teagan!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The course of true (hopefully) love is not allowed to run smoothly. A quite inventive chapter, Miss Teagan. I look forward to where we meander next. The owl is certainly a fowly meddling piece of clockwork. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He might be a bit of a milquetoast at first glance, but I think he has backbone when it’s needed. One of the things I wanted to do with this rewrite is better develop the relationship between Emeraude and Victor. It was barely hinted at in the original. Thanks for reading, my chuckaboo!


  7. With the oddities going on, it is probably a very good thing that Jaspe is a mother hen. Even though she knows quite well how unique the Pearl is, she sometimes forgets how paranormal it can be.
    Stay safe and remain the Kewpie pie you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha. Why thank you, kind sir. GP, that’s a very good point. Emeraude has lived on the Pearl almost all her life, so many of the supernatural things about the riverboat are just ordinary to her. You’ve also caused me to remind myself that it might be time to bring Malachite back into the story… Hmmm. Great big hug, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t that the truth, Joanne! I wonder if that’s why the Pearl grabbed her ankle — to slow her down until the Needlemans could catch up… (Seriously, I’m writing this spontaneously, and I didn’t think about that when I had the boat grab her.) Happy weekend, my chuckaboo!


  8. Well, this isn’t going quite as Emeraud or Victor had planned. Then again, lots of others, perhaps even the ship herself seem to have plans for this couple.

    “My response to that answer was a nod and smile. It didn’t make the least bit of sense to me.”

    While working in the technology arena, I became familiar with that response 🙂

    It looks like the young couple will get off the ship. Maybe they will be able to have some time to pursue their interests. I wonder how far the Delta Pearl’s ‘influence’ extends.

    Great episode, Teagan. My Saturday is off to a good start. I hope you have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a very good point about the Pearl’s “influence.” That thought flitted through my mind during the previous episode. I think her power is derived from the river, and possibly even dry riverbeds, for the residual energy left from thousands of years when water did flow there. Oh, a very good point indeed. I’m adding “Influence” as a thing from you, my chuckaboo. Happy weekend hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Agrh. Damn my crappy TDS Internet. I just lost my reply, and it was a good one. TDS Interned drops every few minutes.
      Dan, my chuckaboo… the Readers Digest version is — Great point. I’m adding “Influence” as a thing from you. Happy weekend hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. They’re opening business here today, but with masks being mandatory everywhere. But I won’t be going anywhere any time soon. I’m a worse agoraphobic than ever. So I’m safe. 😀 Happy weekend hugs to you and Mrs Ape. ❤

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking of them taking photos of some of Emeraude’s research… But GP just triggered an idea for something else. 😉 Thanks for the marvelous thing, Fraggle. Happy weekend, my chuckaboo!


  9. The young couple are never going to have a moment to themselves at this rate! What fascinating contraptions Victor creates! Looking forward to whatever their research uncovers! Happy weekend, Teagan, and keep safe!


    1. Hi Olga. One of the things I wanted to do with this rewrite is better develop the relationship between Emeraude and Victor. It was barely hinted at in the original. Thanks for reading, my chuckaboo!


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