The Delta Pearl 38 — Tangle

Saturday, June 20, 2020 

 

delta-pearl-cover-1
The Delta Pearl book cover created by Teagan R. Geneviene

Welcome, my chuckaboos, to another episode ashore in my fictional, Victorian Era version of Cairo, Illinois.  

Last year, just as this riverboat left the dock, Rob Goldstein left an amazing “random reader thing.”  It’s Telectroscope.  Read on to learn what that is.

Now we return to Émeraude and Eliza.  I think Victor and Randall are about to join them. Without further ado… 

All aboard!

The Delta Pearl

Chapter 38 — Tangle

Leadenhall Street London 1837, street scene engraving by J Hopkins, Wikipedia
Leadenhall Street in London 1837, engraving by J Hopkins, Wikipedia

Following the clockwork scarab, I ran out the library door.  I barreled straight into Dr. Victor T. Elam, my young inventor.  We both landed on our backsides.

Randall Needleman, the wealthy entrepreneur and Eliza’s husband, looked down at us.  His expression was startled yet bemused.  His mustache twitched.  I knew he was trying not to laugh – because I could see for myself that it was a comical thing.

“Miss, are you hurt?” asked Jet Fischer, the librarian.

The bustle and the voluminous fabric of my gown had tangled me.  At the same moment, both Jet and Randall bent to help me up.  Victor was also getting to his feet, but he tried to avoid stepping on my skirts.  That caused him to stumble into Jet, who then lost his balance and fell into Randall.  A second later all four of us were in a heap at the entrance to the library.

A street urchin ran to his friends, shouting “Fight!  Fight!”

Eliza caught up with us.  She took in the sight.  She and her husband made eye contact, and they both burst out laughing.

Despite the gallantry that surrounded me, I was the first one to get to my feet.  Eliza leant a steadying hand while I righted my skirts and my hat.  Then she made a humorous display of helping her husband to his feet.  Eliza flew in the face of social convention whenever she could.  Jet and Victor followed her lead and made a joke of helping each other.

The street urchin and his friends came running back.  They looked confused and disappointed when there was no collie shangle to entertain them.

I stopped smiling as I gazed skyward.  A sooty cloud blotted the sun.  Something small and green spread its golden wings and flew into the cloud.

“The scarab,” I whispered.

Victor followed my gaze.

“Randall and I found most of the components I need for my tinkering,” Victor cleared his throat and began.  “Or I should say, our tinkering, because he has offered to participate.”

Scarab Ankh Pixabay
Pixabay

“How delightful, darling.  You shall be a great inventor,” Eliza told her husband, her sense of fun still evident.  “Perhaps the gentlemen can create something that speeds the drying of a lady’s hair,” she added in a self-deprecating voice as the wind tugged her chapeau.  “I’d hate for anyone to see my hair just now.”

“The wind would dry it.  Perhaps an electrical fan, but one small enough to direct the stream of air… yet powerful enough…” Victor replied innocently.

His voice trailed away.  I could almost see the gears turning in his mind.  I smiled.

“So, what tinkering materials did you gentlemen find?” I asked, with an apprehensive glance at the sky.

I tried to sound calm, but the color and texture of that cloud was distressingly familiar.  Eliza’s expression became serious when she looked at it too.  She made eye contact with me, but didn’t speak.  I was sure she remembered when last there was such a cloud.

“We’re going to try and make a telectroscope.  You know, the optical telephone Louis Figuier imagined,” Victor started.

“A telephone device for distance seeing,” Randall interjected upon seeing my knitted brow.

“A device that allows objects or people anywhere in the world to be seen anywhere ― by anybody?  How marvelous!” Eliza exclaimed, and my puzzled expression shifted to her.

The woman’s progressive attitudes and scientific understanding never failed to amaze me.  Her smile faded as she looked down the steps that led up to the library.

“I think we should be getting back to the Delta Pearl,” I said, unable to stop myself from looking at the sooty sky.

We all started down the stairs.  Randall had asked the Clarence carriage he hired to wait for them.  The driver stepped down, ready to help us.

Clarence Carriage Wikipedia
A Clarence Carriage, Wikipedia

“Speaking of such, isn’t that the odd tall fellow from the riverboat?  He’s headed our way.  We should offer to let him ride back with us.  I’m embarrassed to say I’ve forgotten his name.  What was it?  Dundas?” Randal asked, turning to see what caused the change in his wife’s demeanor.  “Balderdash, the man could use a barber,” he muttered as if to himself.  “Wildly unkempt facial hair like that makes a bad impression in the business world.”

My bustle felt crooked from landing on it a moment before.  While the others continued the sidewalk, I stopped several stairs before reaching it.  It’s difficult to be discrete about adjusting one’s bustle, but I tried.

The others had reached the curb and were about to board the carriage.  The Victor made a surprised noise.  Eliza gasped.  Randall lifted a shielding arm and stepped in front of her.  They all looked toward me with expressions of shock and surprise.

“Really, can’t a girl fix her bustle without causing shock and awe?” I murmured.

Émeraude!” Victor shouted.

It felt as if something large pressed against my entire body.  My hat was knocked off and landed on the steps.  I fell on the abused bustle again.  Then something small but very heavy hit my shoulder just as a weighty covering pushed me the rest of the way to the ground.  Then another of the heavy little things hit my head.

“Émeraude!” I heard my name called by all my friends, but the voices blurred together.

My world went dark.

Enrique Meseguer at Pixabay
Enrique Meseguer at Pixabay

***

End Chapter 38

***

Real World Note

Telectroscope.  Also called an electroscope it was the first conceptual model of a television or videophone system. The term was used in the 19th century to describe science-based systems of distant seeing.

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.

 


105 thoughts on “The Delta Pearl 38 — Tangle

    1. The inventions of that era are positively astounding, Deborah. I wasn’t familiar with that one until Rob left it as a “thing.” I hope to bring it back into the story later. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Unexpected steampunk treasures — that sounds like huge fun, Rob.
      You left the telectroscope at the very beginning of this serial — more than 40 weeks ago. I wouldn’t expect anyone to remember that. It’s taken me this long to find the right place to use it.
      It will likely make another appearance toward the end of the story. Thank you for visiting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh My! what a tangle… that poor bustle is taking a bashing and underneath all that corsetry is poor Émeraude …methinks your new cover is awesome and that scarab…never trust a scarab…Hugs x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You gave a colorful moment of them being all tangled in each other. I was cracking up. I have a feeling the scarab was a part of whatever happened to her. Can’t wait for next week to see what happens next. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so kind, Joanne — thank you. I designed that cover when I began the original version of the novel in 2016. (I usually make my covers before I’ve done more than a few pages of writing. It inspires me to write the story.) Even this much later, I don’t want to change it.
      I started this serialized rewrite because the story needed… more. I had a big epiphany toward that yesterday! So I promise there is more, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The cloud has returned! The tale unravels as it ravels!
    I wonder if the cloud mystery of the Delta Pearl will be solved by the end of the story, or will only some things be cleared up? Will the cloud go on to darken another day?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my! Poor Emeraude! This scene has a little of everything in it, Teagan, from humor to dark. Wow! I love it and I’m beginning to really like Mrs. Neeldman. She’s a smart lady with a sense of humor. I can’t wait to see what has attached Emeraude with such ferocity! Great writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Poor Émeraude taking a beating after the pile-up outside the library. I can’t wait to see which way you go from here.

    Like

  6. You are wonderful, Teagan. 😉 In the narrative, you feel right in the middle of the story, and with the Telectroscope you also bring learning material to the readers. 🙂 The cover has been wonderfully successful. You are a treasure. 😉 Have a nice weekend! With best regards also to Crystal. 😉 Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly, Michael. The technology that was developing during the Victorian Era and the 1920s is fascinating for me to learn about. People in those times had to be determined to learn — they had to have a passion for it, because they had to work harder to get access to the fundamental knowledge required for their inventions.
      Now, a vast wealth of information and ways to educate ourselves is available at no cost — hundreds of times more knowledge is accessible than it was for people in those past days. One would think humankind would have been able to do/create/achieve proportionately more today. Maybe that is why I find those days so fascinating.
      Happy weekend to you as well. Haha — Crystal is snoring, taking her after-breakfast nap.
      Thank you for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Goodness. Ending with Émeraude being pasted with who knows what. I enjoyed the pileup at the library. Was a delightful piece of writing. I can’t wait to find out what is falling and if Émeraude is okay. Hugs, Teagan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Darn… I lost my own comment.
      This is such a wonderful comment, John. The segment is all new to this rewrite, so I’m not absolutely certain what is about to happen to Émeraude either! LOL 😱 Heartfelt thanks for being on this riverboat, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Yowzer, there is no end to the weirdness that surrounds Emeraude. She sure has a penchant for falling down, and apparently taking others with her! That nasty cloud is back…..is it raining scarabs on her? Clearly they don’t want her to find something…..like the truth!

    Great episode Teagan, but I’m beginning to wonder if you have a mean streak leaving us hanging like this. 🤔

    Keep trying to stay safe. The escalating Covid cases is more than a little worrisome. It ain’t over yet!
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ginger. Émeraude seems to have inherited my own clumsiness. She shouldn’t have ducked out of any of Jaspe’s “poise and deportment” lessons! I figure that with long, full, trailing skirts to tangle the feet, bustles sticking out in the way — it must have been hard to move around (especially when the movement of the river is part of it) and stay on one’s feet. I expect there was a lot more falling down in the Victorian Era than we’re led to believe. 😉 Half those fits of “vapors” were likely stumbles.

      Yes, I freely admit to my mean streak. I put the capital B in the word. Before me, it was just “itch.” 😱 Heartfelt thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Like

    1. Now, Pat… you know I can’t tell. But when one has fallen down, there’s nowhere to go but up….
      😱
      Maybe… I haven’t written it yet, so your guess is as good as mine! o_O Happy weekend, my chuckaboo!

      Like

    1. It’s always a treat to see you, my birthday sibling! I hope you have something special planned this year — even if the virus has interfered with whatever you may have originally intended.
      I’m so glad you’re on this riverboat, my chuckaboo. Happy weekend hugs.

      Like

  9. Just as my curiosity piqued about the telectroscope, Émeraude is in trouble. You’ve left us on the sidewalk of Cairo to wonder what has happened. The ominous cloud? The scarab? Oh my, it’s going to be such a long week.

    I hope Émeraude is not seriously hurt, and that our gang makes it back to the Delta Pearl. From whimsy to danger, you’ve brought us to the edge in grand fashion.

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for this wonderful comment, Dan. This section ashore is completely new for this rewrite, and I have not planned for it… but I might be going farther “afield” than Cairo, IL… Not sure yet. 😉 Although… I think I’ve just given myself an idea. Oh-oh….
      Thanks for all your support, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’d never heard of a telectroscope before. Wonders never cease in your stories, Teagan! How will we be able to wait a whole week to know what will happen next? Excellent episode! Live the humor as well!

    Liked by 2 people

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