The Delta Pearl 36 — Research

Saturday, June 6, 2020 

Pixabay
Pixabay

Welcome my chuckaboos.  That’s a Victorian Era slang word for dear friend. Some of you have been following since very early in my blogging career — my long-time chuckaboos! One of the earliest of those is author and blogger, Christoph Fischer.

Last weekend’s chapter prompted Christoph to mentioned something I never knew about him.  If you’ll recall, at the end of the past episode, Eliza and Émeraude went to the library in Cairo, Illinois — and they encountered the librarian.  Well, for a time Christoph was a librarian.  So I asked if I could name our librarian after him.

Today I used two “random reader things.”  First I used fountain pen from GP Cox.  When I decided to give Christoph’s librarian a gemstone name, I thought of the fascinating gem, Jet.  Then I remembered that Resa McConaghy had suggested it as a “thing” awhile back. Sometimes things become characters too

Last time, Émeraude and Eliza parted company with Victor and Randall.  The women had just gone into the public library in Cairo, Illinois where Émeraude hoped to find information about the magical portrait that resembles her.  Then they spotted that… shall we say unusual looking passenger, Benjamin Dundas.  He looked irate as he left a jewelry store on the opposite side of the street.  I wonder where we’ll go from there?  Let’s see.

All aboard!

The Delta Pearl

Chapter 36 — Research

Fountain Pen by John Jennings at Unsplash
Fountain Pen by John Jennings at Unsplash

The librarian quickly finished entering a note in a ledger.  He put down the fountain pen and removed his spectacles.  The nameplate on the desk was engraved with “J. Fischer.”

The surroundings felt completely alien to me.  My life had been spent first in a small house with people who had no interest in educating themselves, and then on the riverboat, which was very much a world unto itself.  However, the librarian smiled when he greeted us, and I felt at ease. He seemed very kind.

Mr. J. Fischer was also very taken with Mrs. Eliza Needleman.  I was surprised when she made a point of undoing the buttons on her gloves to remove them.  I was curious at her less than proper action.  The man cast an admiring glance at her expensive wedding rings, and commented on the workmanship.

Eliza’s expression registered mild surprise that he didn’t seem disappointed upon seeing the symbol of her marital status.  However, she took it in stride.  In fact, I thought she was relieved.  I imagined Eliza usually received far more attention than she wanted.

Abruptly, I confessed that I had never been to a real library.  With a suggestion from Eliza that he show us around, Mr. Fischer began our tour with enthusiasm.

Euphemia_Effie Gray by Thomas Richmond Wikipedia
Euphemia (Effie) Gray by Thomas Richmond 1865, Wikipedia

Eliza brought up the portrait and I described it.  She added that it might be an ancestor of mine.  When the librarian learned we had come from the Delta Pearl, his attitude transformed.  He was eager to assist.  He said that he had always been fascinated by the riverboat, but didn’t have the means for a trip.

The nameplate only gave his first initial, J.  I wondered if it would be rude of me to ask about his name.  While I hesitated, Eliza addressed him as Mr. Fischer.

“Oh, please do call me Jet,” he said.

A gemstone name! I exclaimed silently, knowing the appeal such names held for the Delta Pearl.  Perhaps I should try and make some sort of arrangement for Jet Fischer’s passage.

It turned out that he was something of an art expert.  Plus, he had recently helped a religious group develop a process for researching family trees.  The librarian jumped to the task of leading us to different areas and removing large books from shelves to lay them out on tables.

Unfortunately, our search proved fruitless.  Jet recommended two local galleries whose owners were knowledgeable.  However, he had never heard of one to which Randall Needleman had been referred ― the Green Scarab.

“I’m sorry to say there have been some fly by night sellers of paintings that were likely forged,” he commented in a cautionary tone.

The advice reminded me that we saw Benjamin Dundas leaving the jewelry store across the street.  Eliza had recognized him too.  She asked if Jet had been inferring the owner fenced stolen property.  Mr. Fischer cleared his throat awkwardly, but nodded.

I commented that Dundas appeared to have been turned away.  However, that didn’t improve the librarian’s opinion of the event.

“Émeraude,” Eliza began as she pulled her gloves back onto her hands.  “Maybe he was just shopping, but the owner didn’t like his looks.  After all, those bushy sideburns are a downright frightening sight.  Even if the jeweler is dishonest, he might have been afraid of being robbed.”

Victorian woman drinking Cocacola-5cents 1890 Wikimedia
Coca-Cola ad 1890s, Wikimedia. Note the gloves.

“I agree that the look of the man makes me twitchy.  The Delta Pearl’s passengers are investigated before being allowed passage, but their physical appearance has nothing to do with whether they are approved,” I replied.

“Ladies, if I may,” Jet suggested.  “From what I’ve heard of that establishment, the owner doesn’t handle items that are particularly high in value,” he said with a glance at Eliza’s obviously expensive clothes.  “If someone tried to sell an item of great worth, he would likely be turned away, at least if he wanted immediate payment.

“Like the Pharaoh diamond,” I murmured.

“My chuckaboo, you don’t think Dundas is behind the switch someone made with my diamond, do you?” Eliza asked.  “I assumed that happened at some point in the past.  Who knows how long I had the fake gem?”

I didn’t want to renew any doubts my friend may have had about the riverboat, so I only shook my head.  However, I was sure that Amethyst would not have called our attention to the situation if she hadn’t seen something that caused her suspicion.  Otherwise the clockwork spider would not have so dramatically broken the imitation diamond.

***

End Chapter 36

***

I love hearing from you — and hope you will leave a comment.  Everyone is welcome to leave a random “steam era” appropriate thing.  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.

 


95 thoughts on “The Delta Pearl 36 — Research

    1. Hi Michael. I hope all is well with you and your loved ones. Yes. 🙂 The diamond is still missing.
      It’s been a while since I mentioned it, so I needed to bring it back into the story. Happy weekend. Crystal sends a purr. Thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you very much, Teagan! Here all is “business as usual”. Great getting notice from Crystal. Sounds she is not hunting the Mexican mice. Lol In my opinion Mr. Needleman hides the diamond in his pocket. 😉 Enjoy your weekend, Teagan. Best wishes, Michael

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe so, Teri. Although I wouldn’t bring a major character onboard this far into a story — not even a purely pantser story. But I couldn’t resist adding that detail about the librarian. Have a great new week, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It amazes me that not only can you write complicaed srories, but you can remember their details, Teagan. It amazes me too that you can find the time to do all hat you do with your blog. Don’t you ever rest? No, youdon’t, not even if you are not feeling well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, David. I needed that encouragement this morning. My first finished (but still unpublished) novel was a massive ‘high fantasy’ with many active characters and cultures. Early on I developed a character/story matrix for it (in Excel). It was so helpful to me that I a make one for every story. I find it even more useful for serials, which go on for so many weeks. I use the matrices whether the story has some planning, or if it is full on “pantser.”
      Taking the trouble to organize all the details that way beats the heck out of searching hundreds of pages to make sure I was consistent with, for example, the name of the hero’s sidekick’s horse.
      As for being busy, the utter lack of focus that came hand-in-hand with virus related anxiety still has me spending more time spinning my wheels than anything else I need to do. I’m promising myself right now that today I’ll make a bigger effort to move forward with my novel in progress. LOL, and “wheel” is part of its title. Be well be happy. Heartfelt thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo.

      Like

  2. Oh, I definitely think Jet should obtain passage on the Riverboat! He seems to be a perfect addition. 🙂 I loved how you gave us a tiny glimpse at Emeraude’s backstory in this segment, Teagan. Keep ’em coming!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. ^^’ I woke up down & out this morning, but you have me smiling (and blushing) now, Kirt. 😀 I wish I could share more about my novel in progress. I think (hope) you would find it very imaginative. I meant for it to be the “quirkiest” story ever. But then I let my heroine have the continued PTSD damage of an abused childhood. So it’s hard to find the right balance — to keep it quirky, but not discount the aftereffect of abuse. Anyhow the 1960s setting includes odd characters and lots of cool cars. If you’d be interested in doing a “beta read” let me know. *However, heaven knows when I’ll get that far.* Hugs.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I am having knee replacement surgery next week and will have a lot of time to read as I recoup, so would love to help in anyway I can at that point. I took a number of writing classes in high school and college….creative and journalism, so I have an appreciation of what writers go through!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Oh gosh, that’s some enforced down time. I’m only half finished, and utterly stymied from all my “stuff” so I’m writing even slower than usual. If I could “get with it” I might be ready for a beta reader in a couple of months… but 4 months is more likely. I’m hoping for a miracle though. 😀
              Wishing you smooth sailing with the surgery — and a quick recovery. Hugs on the wing!

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahhhhh an interesting post lots of twists and turns and a library I do love a library…I have been awol for a little while but aim to catch up..exciting times ahead lots of little sub plots…Hugs x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Valentina. I understand what you are saying. 😉 Jet may have been flirting. However, Eliza was a woman with manner and thinking ahead of her time, a suffragette too. She’s too direct to tease. In my stories, when a woman indicates “no,” then no always means no. Thanks for visiting, my chuckaboo. I hope you are having a beautiful, colorful weekend. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    Émeraude and Mrs Eliza Needleman are in the library in search of information regarding the portrait on the Delta Pearl that may have some familial connections to Émeraude. They meet the knowledgeable and charming librarian Jet Fischer who helps the best he can, including information on an establishment a little less salubrious across the way… Might there be some shading dealings in the offing, especially when connected to the theft of a large gemstone? To find out more you will have to head over to Teagan Geneviene and the latest episode of The Delta Pearl..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ahh, this episode is pulling some bits together, even with new questions arising.
    So great to see you used Jet for a character’s name. Love it!

    The gloves! I had a job restoring a pair of white kid gloves from the 1920’s. It was for a fabulous designer who was a stickler for authenticity. She found these vintage gloves…. stained and as hard as wood.
    She gave me an article from a Victorian magazine “How to Clean White Kid Gloves”.
    After soaking the gloves in tepid water until they were soft enough, I put them on. Using an old bar soap from the UK, I kept washing my hands with the gloves on. I was not allowed to take them off. Basically, I was working them while they dried, to keep them supple. So it was wash, work the gloves, wash again, work them again.
    It took 2 days, but they were pristine white, dry and supple.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I loved this episode and visiting the library:) I’m very curious about the diamond and portrait, so much to learn. Have a great weekend, Teagan. Sending hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like the addition of Jet to the story, Teagan. And what is Dundas up to? Tensions are ratcheting up. There are so many mysteries too – the diamond, the cameo, the portrait. A fun read. Have a lovely day, my friend. Be well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Andrea. How wonderful that you’re a librarian. Several readers have that or a related connection. I have happy memories of assisting in the very tiny (one small room) library when I was in elementary school.
      It’s been a slowly flowing river with my episodes being so short these many months. So I try to drop little reminders about past things. Thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome aboard, Gerlinde. It’s lovely to see you. There is a category button on the right side of the screen, “The Delta Pearl.” That will take you to past episodes. Although they are in revere order. Episodes have been a lot shorter than I wrote for stories in the past (that’s just all the energy I have). So that means this riverboat has been underway for a long time. Thanks for visiting. Hugs on the wing!

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  8. With longing, I expect time machines to travel into Victorian times. As we say, you have pulled my tongue. 😉 A great episode, Teagan! Christoph Fischer has integrated perfectly. Thank you, and enjoy your weekend.Dont forget to feed Crystal, the magical cat. 🙂 Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a fun expression, Michael. Especially since I collect slang and names. 😀 I’ve never heard it before.
      Haha Crystal is quite a “talkative” cat. She makes sure I know when she wants something.
      🐱 Thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. A new character who is quite familiar with the Delta Pearl and who is named after a gemstone! That can’t be a coincidence. Can’t decide if Eliza is quite the flirt, or if there’s some underlying reason she wanted the librarian to see her expensive wedding rings. I think Emeraude is going to learn more about maneuvering through life from Eliza than she bargained for!

    And what are the ‘boys’ doing, left to their own whiles?
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Ginger. I didn’t intend to bring the librarian for more than that “walk on” appearance. But that’s what happens when I’m in full-on pantser mode. LOL. I think Eliza mistakenly thought Jet was flirting with her, so she wanted to make a point of showing that she was married. Politely, without any embarrassing direct mention of it. But yes, you’re right — Emeraude might learn a lot about life from her! 😀 Thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Like

  10. A great chapter and thanks for including a librarian that is not a stereotype. You leave me hanging once again on a strand of spider webbing waiting for next week’s installment. Hugs slinging their way to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Librarians really do get stereotyped, don’t they Pat. I had not really thought about it until last week when I started looking for an image. Many jobs that are “traditionally” held by women today, were held by men in that era. I didn’t look it up (because that didn’t matter to the story), but I figured that was true of librarians of that day.
      I imagined this library was nearly empty, so Jet was happy to help with a project that interested him. Ooo, Spidey hugs! Big hug right back, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. my dear Chuckaboo, your magical story is getting more and more excitingly, and I feel also much more informed 😉 a Cairo in Illinois? I didn’t know it. very interesting. Thank you lovely friend 🙏💖😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀 Yes, dear Magician. Americans were not very original in naming our cities. Of course the ones that begin with “New” were settlements where the people hoped their city (or state) would be like, for instance York in England, or Jersey. England and Egypt do seem to have been popular. England is expected, but Egypt? Still there was Alexandria (Virginia), Cairo (another in Georgia), Memphis (Tennessee)… I’m sure there must be others too. Thanks very much for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks a lot my dear, I know America has been made by immigrations who came to the new world to make a better one as they had; therefore, all New… that’s why I love America and I hope it will embattle its origin; the freedom for all. be safe my dearest 💖💖

        Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. You are so kind, GP. I’m delighted you enjoyed it. Your fountain pen is actually what led me to name the librarian. The pen had to be on the desk, and then I saw the other things on the desk… including a nameplate that needed a name. 😀 Thanks very much for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This is a fascinating chapter, Teagan. Just when I think I know where the story might go, you give us a new character, a new idea and a new twist. I like the idea that the Delta Pearl has a reputation. I also like the intriguing little backstory of Cairo. Now, where do we go from here? I wonder what the boys are up to?

    I hope you have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Dan. I considered whether or not the Delta Pearl would be a complete secret. In poor rural areas, people neither traveled nor met many people who did. So the gigantic riverboat was a legend most doubted was even true (from the very first episode). That was where the magic/fantasy aspect entered. The riverboat was too large to navigate the rivers of such places. The original version of the novel eventually ties back to that part of the prologue.
      Anyway, I decided that where large vessels could travel, the Pearl had no need of secrecy, and being so large, people in that kind of city would know about her. However, to keep things from getting out of hand, passage would be very expensive. (Although the Captain and crew would quietly make exceptions for cost.)
      Where next? I want to ask that clockwork scarab… 😉 Thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. This chapter sent me down a rabbit hole of … you guessed it, research! I’d never heard of the gemstone ‘jet’ before, which then brought me to the topic of stone vibrations / frequency. Interesting topic!

    Hope you have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, sorry about the rabbit hole, Joanne. 😉 I love all the lore of gemstones. Though, as you probably found, jet does not have the same sort of composition as other stones — yet it’s still a gem. It was very popular in the 1920s, along with marcasite. Most jet beads now are only crystals named jet. They aren’t the same as the natural jet gem. It’s also surprisingly light weight. (I expected it to be heavier than other gems, not lighter.) Among its metaphysical properties is migraine relief. For many years I suffered from debilitating migraines. A friend already knew about jet and gave me a huge nugget that I used to place on my pillow when I had a migraine. Who knows if it really helped, but if you have a migraine you’ll try anything. When I used to make jewelry, I made a necklace, bracelet, and earring set of natural jet. Thanks for visiting. Happy weekend to you too, my chuckaboo!

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        1. I figure every little bit helps — particularly when it’s something that couldn’t hurt. If you like working with the legends of or the metaphysical properties of gemstones, the hard part can be finding “natural” gems. Like what I said about real and ‘crystal’ jet. Jade is a really difficult one because often serpentine and another gem (I forget which one) are often sold as jade. Turquoise might just be the color, when the stone is dyed howlite. It can take some digging.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks for giving me the role in the story. I like the character and the name Jet. Coincidentally my husband’s nickname is Jutt and we named our company Jutt Fischer
    Hugs on the wings and enjoy your weekend . Stay safe ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thanks, Teagan. I love the sound of the librarian (I didn’t know about Christoph’s background as a librarian either but it fits perfectly) and I am intrigued. I can’t wait to hear what will happen next! Keep safe and have a good weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

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