The Delta Pearl 48 — Left

Saturday, September 12, 2020 

Scarab pectoral belonging to Tutankhamun Wikipedia
Scarab pectoral belonging to Tutankhamun Wikipedia

Welcome to another episode of The Delta Pearl, my chuckaboos.

Something Personal

This weekend I’m celebrating two days that have personal significance for me. I can’t discuss them, so let’s just say that they are big parts of a personal transformation. That is so true for September 13th that I call it my “rebirth-day.”

Writing Process

As you know, along with this re-write of The Delta Pearl, I’m “bookizing” a previous serial to a dieselpunk novella, and still working on the novel I started last November.  I’ve realized that novel is going to be more than one book.  So, maybe I’m not proceeding as excruciatingly slowly on that as it feels. 

Today’s episode of The Delta Pearl was very labor intensive.  We’ve gotten close to the original ending.  That means sharing it with you here has added the “middle” I felt the story was missing.  However, not too long ago, I suddenly knew what the ending of the story should have been all along. Combine all that and it made this episode difficult to research and match it up to the present point in the story + lead into the old ending (which I’m keeping, it’s just not the end) + and match both to the new ending.  Okay, if that was hard to follow, imagine how my brain feels actually doing it.

Random Reader Things. Last weekend, I was beleaguered by obstacles from my Internet and from WordPress. I didn’t manage to leave a link for Resa McConaghy for her “thing” Gibson Girl hairdo. But what’s a Victorian setting without several of those?  So I used it again today.  I also used one that Pat at eQuips left, Cartouche.  That added a little more intrigue — read on to learn what.

When we were last aboard the Delta Pearl, Obsidian Durango was to make sure Victor Topaz Elam made it to Agate, the Cook so that she could look after him.  The Captain had come back aboard, and successfully retrieved our favorite suffragettes, Eliza Needleman, from police custody.  While the Captain and the Dealer were about to a serious conversation, the Captain sent Émeraude to check on Mrs. Needleman.  I wonder if she’ll remember to change out of her nightgown first…

All aboard!

The Delta Pearl

Chapter 48 — Left

crochet Curtain hand window Adriana Popovich Pixaby
Adriana Popovich at Pixaby

Movement in the sky caused me to rush to the window as soon as I entered my cabin.  The lace curtain billowed in a breeze, despite the calm day.  A chill went down my spine, and it wasn’t caused by the wind.  The window had been closed when I left my cabin.

I leaned out, trying to find the source of the movement that caught my eye.  A sooty brown cloud moved across the sky at an unnaturally quick speed.

That cloud again, I thought worriedly.  There’s always something awful when it appears.  It must hide something horrible.

Then I spied an object swinging from a thin tether.  Whatever held it was obscured by the dark cloud.  The thing itself was tiny in the distance. I had no idea what it could be.  However, just the fact that something could hang from it reminded me that the cloud truly did hide something.

First it concealed something large and deadly enough to wage a brief attack on the Delta Pearl during my sweet sixteen party, interrupting that right of passage to adulthood.  Though I found it impossible, the Dealer had believed that I was the object of that attack.

Then the cloud came back while the Needlemans, Victor, and I were ashore in Cairo, Illinois.  That time it dropped a net that captured me and almost carried me away.

Seeing the nimbus again left me cold with fear.  The fact that the cloud beat a quick retreat wasn’t much consolation.  I wanted to tell the Captain, but I couldn’t rush back to the boiler room and interrupt when Jaspe had said he needed to talk with him privately.


Cairo Illinois panoramic map 1885 H Willbe Wikipedia
Cairo Illinois panoramic map, 1885 H Willbe, Wikipedia

The senior crew were like parents to me.  Despite my coming of age party, they still didn’t genuinely recognize me as an adult.  So, I didn’t want to go running back to the Captain and the Dealer like a frightened child.

I closed and latched the window.

Taking a deep breath, I decided that getting dressed would give me a moment to collect myself.  Agate would remind me that more than enough people had seen me in my nightgown.  Besides, I needed to resume my duties.

Crisp white poplin drew my gaze when I looked at my wardrobe.  A double row of ruffles flounced at the gown’s hem and it had leg of mutton sleeves.  The fabric was covered with delicate ivy leaves embroidered in my signature emerald green.

As I brushed my hair, I noticed my cameo necklace lay on top of the jewelry box.  My hand froze.  I always put the cameo away if I wasn’t wearing it.

The necklace was the most expensive thing I had ever bought myself.  It was also just like the cameo the woman in the beguiling portrait wore, all the way down to the bluish-purple color of the exotic shell from which it was carved..  I had to have it even though it cost me a month’s wages.

Beside the cameo was a strange pendant.  It was a narrow oblong shape that surrounded a stack of odd little symbols.  I picked it up and examined it closely.  It was made of gold.

A light knock came to my door.  I called out a “Come in,” expecting that the Cook had sent one of the maids to check on me.

The door opened a crack, and I saw a tawny Gibson Girl hairdo for a moment before I realized it was Eliza Needleman.

“Oh no, I was just on my way to see you,” I began, embarrassed that a passenger had come to me before I could fulfil my duty to visit her.  “You had such an ordeal with the police.  You were so brave to do what you did!  Distracting the police, letting yourself be seen in your pantaloons,” I added, trying not to gush and probably failing.

Lily Elsie circa 1900, English actress-singer
Lily Elsie circa 1900, English actress-singer. Tomfoolery by Teagan

“Oh, bosh.  I was never in any physical danger.  You, on the other hand…” she paused, seeming at a loss for words.  “Émeraude, my poor chuckaboo, that had to be terrifying.  Are you sure you were not harmed?”

Suddenly, and unexpectedly, a tear ran down my face.  I had not taken time to let myself react to being hauled up into the air in a net, like a helpless fish.  Her kind words brought out my delayed reaction to the abduction.

Eliza reached out to give me a hug, but then drew back.

“How is your shoulder?  Randall said he found you injured when he sliced into that abominable net,” she asked.

“Jazpe ‘adjusted’ it ― he knows how to manipulate a joint back into place.  But I admit that I fainted when he did it,” I told her with a regretful chuckle.

“What a lovely bauble,” she commented of the odd gold piece in my hand.  “I have a chain that would fit if you want to borrow it.”

I looked up at Eliza, puzzled, not knowing what to say.  She could tell that I was upset about the thing.  Her brows knitted curiously.

“May I see it?  Why it’s a cartouche.  How fascinating,” she commented and looked up at me with a surprised expression.  “These symbols are Egyptian hieroglyphs.  They typically representing the name and title of a monarch, but I don’t recognize this as any pharaoh or queen.  Wherever did you get it?”

Then I remembered that she and her husband had met in Egypt.  I commented on the fact.  Eliza blushed and explained that she had actually gone to Egypt with a select group of university students.  She was something of an expert on Egyptian things.

“It caused a bit of a scandal when I went,” she told me with a little smirk.  “But if I had not indulged in Egyptomania I would have never met Randall.”

Statue of Iset inside the Great Pyramid. Image by Teagan Geneviene
Statue of Iset inside the Great Pyramid. Image by Teagan Geneviene

I explained the details of how I had just found the odd piece.  Curling my lips in tightly, I tried not to cry.

“So, it’s not from a secret admirer, then?” she asked.

I knew she meant to make me laugh.  I turned away and wiped my eyes, but I did laugh.

“I think I saw that cloud again.  It moved so fast,” I explained, sniffling.  “But what bothers me most is that someone was looking at my cameo.  This gold piece was placed beside it… as if it means something.”

“I admit that the whole thing gives me a bad feeling,” Eliza replied.

Oddly, I her frank response made me feel better.  Her words and manner validated me.  It was more reassuring than any false promise that everything was fine.

“We never learned anything about the portrait when we went ashore in Cairo.  Although she looks so much like you,” she said.

“You know, Cleopatra had an emerald mine,” Eliza commented as she held the cartouche to the light.  “I believe the hieroglyphs mean emerald.”

“And whoever left it, placed it next to my cameo…” I stopped in the middle of my sentence and looked at Eliza as an idea formed in my mind.

“The woman in the portrait wears a cameo that is nearly identical,” Eliza said as her eyes locked onto mine.  “And the cartouche means emerald.  You said a tether depended from the brown cloud?  The net that captured you was being pulled up into that cloud.  So, whomever―”

“Or whatever left this cartouche must have something to do with that cloud,” I interjected.  “But I still don’t understand what it means.  I feel like I’m being sent a message, but I don’t understand.”

Then I gasped and rushed to my nightstand.  I opened the drawer and gave a sigh of relief.  The little papyrus scroll was still there.

Eliza knew about my clockwork spider from when Amethyst exposed the fact that her Pharaoh Diamond had been replaced with a fake.  So, I explained to Eliza how the malachite scarab had dropped the strip of hole-punched papyrus to me while I was trapped in the net, and that Victor had identified it as a template for a music box cylinder.

“Maybe someone who is connected to that cloud and the malachite scarab is trying to send me a message,” I offered.

“An innocent in need of rescue, do you think?  Or is it a villain intent on taunting you?” she asked.  “We need to know what notes the papyrus would play if it was a music box.”


End Chapter 48



This riverboat has a while to go before it will cruise into its final port.  I could use some “steam era” appropriate random reader things.   Whether you can leave a “thing” or not, stop to say hello with a friendly comment.

Be well, be happy, my chuckaboos 


This serial is made possible in spite of (not because of) the deplorable lack of Internet service from TDS Telecom.  They are even worse than the government about claiming no problem exists in the face of  failure.  TDS Telecom meets every complaint and service call by saying they find no problem. Their technicians come to my home and refuse to do any work or replace equipment, even when their offsite managers have instructed them to do so. They brought equipment that they openly state does not work properly. They refuse to let me talk to a manager. They refuse to promise to send someone other than the previous do-nothing tech.  They refuse to make sure the technicians have working hardware with them. My letters, emails, and tweets go unanswered.  Dear readers, please do not comment here in response to this paragraph. Just be aware of my awful experience with this so called provider.

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.


90 thoughts on “The Delta Pearl 48 — Left

  1. I enjoyed this episode, Teagan! I am just catching up now, and looking forward to the next installment.

    We are out of immediate danger here, the Level 1 for our area has been downgraded to “normal” if there is such a thing these days. Fires still burn around the state, and the west in general. People talk of percent containment. It’s been a horrible September.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you kindly, Joanne. I will eventually “bookize” it, but this one will be a huge editing headache — mostly to remove all the “recap” paragraphs and figure out where chapters should start and stop (since these episodes have been too short to be chapters). But finishing and publishing the novel was the whole purpose of this serial-rewrite. There’s still a good ways to go though. I hope all is well in your world, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Many people I know are transforming into something new this year, including myself. Enjoy your rebirth.
    I like the way you are including Egyptian elements in the story and I can’t wait for the boat to reach the final port.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, my transformation was 20 years ago, Valentina. I’ve had one this year too, it just has not been a good thing. So hopefully yet another one on the way, after the Covid Apocolypse is over. I’m happy you enjoyed this chapter, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, the intrigue continues to build! That darned cloud! It needs to go away. 🙂 I wasn’t sure, at first, if I liked Eliza, but she had proved herself and I’ve become quite fond of her. Great segment!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A very Happy Re-Birthday to you, my friend! This was an excellent episode. You pulled in many details, using Eliza Needleman. Perfectly done! I’m excited to know what that paper cylinder will play on the music box. I love the Delta Pearl!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I couldn’t possibly work on three pieces of writing at once. You’re amazing and no wonder you’re busy!!! I liked this episode. It felt a little bit like connections are firming up. Here’s a thing for you: amphibious bicycle. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Diana — that’s great feedback. Oooh, amphibious bicycle is a terrific thing. But LOL… now you’ve gone and done it. My Cornelis Drebbel character is screaming at me for his next story. o_O Sorry, Cornelis — you’ll have to wait — and try not to be jealous.
      Wishing you huge success with Liars and Thieves. I’m happy you’re on this riverboat, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Another jam-packed episode. The mysteries are piling up Teagan. That damn cloud is getting on my nerves! Lol. Good to see Eliza back. She’s one smart cookie and will be a big help to Emeraude. I’m always frustrated when the episode ends because I want more, much more.

    Enjoy your two day celebration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so kind, Ginger — thank you. LOL re the cloud. It just keeps coming back. I would say we need to get to the bottom of it, since it’s above… I’ll drop that line of thought before I give myself a headache… 😉 Thanks for making me want to keep writing this serial, my chuckaboo!


  7. Happy rebirthday Teagan. Your metta prayer for loving kindness was poignant and meaningful. Found you on YouTube and am am enjoying listening/watching your creative videos. September has always been a time of awakening for me. They is a sense of wonder in the air that brings me close to the earth, to the passage of time, to the wonder of every moment. You capture this brilliantly in the The Delta Pearl. Another great post that engages readers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you about the video, Rebecca. My therapist said she had no idea who wrote it, and that there are several slightly different versions out there. She invited me to change up the words to make it suit my needs better, but I liked it as it was.
      Thank you again for the podcast/chat. Please let me know if you need anything.
      I’m delighted that you enjoyed this chapter, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A great episode, Teagan.
    I love the mystery you are creating, and the Egypt angle!

    Items: I left pince nez & something else a few weeks ago, but I can’t remember.
    Have you used the flat iron, yet?

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Happy Rebirthday, Teagan! Enjoy the weekend and thanks for another mystifying chapter with Emeraude and the Delta Pearl. You always leave us wanting for more and, in this case, wanting to know who was in Emeraude’s room and how the papyrus and egyptian symbols tie together. Great intrigue!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Another great episode. Thanks for the shout out, I don’t remember providing cartouche and am happy you found a significant way to include it. Congratulations on your “re” Birthday. Can’t wait for the next installment.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My pleasure, Pat. Cartouche fit perfectly with the new ending I have in mind, or as a lead-in to it at least. I don’t track *when* the things are left, but it was with one of the episodes with the malachite scarab.
      Thank you for the good wishes. I wish I had some spumante to celebrate, but I’m still afraid to go out anywhere. Wine will do though! I have some of my favorite rose, that I’ve been saving. I’m delighted you’re enjoying this riverboat ride, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I hope the anniversary goes well, Teagan, and thanks for a great chapter. You’re juggling so many balls! I’ve always loved the steam machines whistles, but have no idea if they would have any on a boat… Otherwise, I was also thinking about a lorgnette. Big hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Excellent job, Teagan. You could feel what the characters “feel.” And you kept the suspense up.

    I heard 2 words this week I had forgotten existed: persnickety and canoodling. And don’t you think a rickety, homemade aircraft and/or hot air balloon might fit in? (we do have an inventor on board the Pearl).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. LOL, maybe a character is persnickety about her (or his) canoodling, GP. Thanks for the fun words. Hmmm… perhaps a small airplane, like a model… that might help me accomplish the new ending I have in mind. I appreciate your encouraging feedback, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 2 people

  13. This episode illustrates perfectly why the book versions of your serials are so wonderful to have. I could continue reading this story all morning. I can only imagine the work involved in aligning all the parts, almost like Jazpe “adjusting” Émeraude’s shoulder. Today, you’ve brought us closer to something, something that is only gradually being discovered by all those aboard. Your ability to control the perception of time is amazing.

    I hope your special day is wonderful. Hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Funny that you should say that about “time” Dan. LOL, I keep having the thought that time must flow differently for me than it does for the rest of the world — because it’s flying past too quickly, and other people get so much more accomplished than me.
      Heartfelt thanks for your positive feedback. What you said really does help. Big hugs back, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Sigh… Jaye there are so many things I need to do, home maintenance, cleaning (and none of them getting done) — and my book progress is excruciatingly slow. When I see what others seem to accomplish… well, I think bad things about myself. But one “mitigating factor” occurred to me this week. Even though I’ve been working on the novel since November, and only feel half finished with it — I realized that it is bigger than one book. It will be at least two (or maybe three smaller volumes). So if I think of it as having finished the first cut of one novel, I feel less like a slug. Have a beautiful weekend, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Happy “rebirth-day.” Hope it’s a wonderful day with great memories.

    I don’t have other suggestions for steam era items. But I was reminded that a proper Victorian or Edwardian household could not possibly have existed without an aspidistra plant, usually on or near the piano. There were even highly decorative specialised pots for them—

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the lovely wishes, Barb. I will try and do something nice for myself. Maybe even a small treat for the house from Amazon, since I had a payday last month.
      Andrea left us an aspidistra early in the voyage — but it’s a favorite place for Amethyst, so it could certainly come back! 😀 I actually do like to re-use things. This will be a good way to make the scene visual. Happy weekend, my chuckaboo!


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