Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 31

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Copper promo USS Razorback Torpedo rm Pixabay

Welcome to Hidebound Hump Day, my chuckaboos!

When I wrote this episode back in 2015, I was working on a novel called The Guitar Mancer.  Later I even tried to serialize it here as a means of finishing it. The feedback of readers back then brought an unexpected change to the story.  It was almost complete, but with my job, I still wasn’t able to write “the end.” 

Special thanks to Lavinia Ross, who I think loves that story more than anyone else does. “Time keeps rolling on,” as she sings in one of her songs, yet she continues to encourage me to finish that novel.  Hopefully, once I get moved and settled into my new digs, I will do that soon.  Here’s a beautiful sample of Lavinia’s music.

Yes indeed, time keeps rolling on, and yes, I said I’m finally moving.  Can one woman, alone, except for a cat, and with severe agoraphobia manage to relocate across 2,000 miles?  It sounds like a comedy to some.  However, I assure you that for me, it’s a horror story.

Onward…   The three things that propelled the #steampunk submarine in this episode are from an author who is a wonderful supporter of this blog and of my writing — Olga Núñez Miret.  She’s multi-talented, and one of those talents is picking terrific “things.”

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Chapter 29.   Felicity figured out at least part of the mystery of the “trained” chimpanzees, but we still don’t know who was using them. 

Chapter 30Cal Hicks, the ape version of Calvin Hixon, showed our heroes to the laboratory of the purple world’s Cornelis Drebbel.  Just before they went inside, the bloodcurdling hunting call of the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater was heard.  They ran to the laboratory to hide.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

31 — Glass Eye, Silver Vinaigrette, Sextant

Copper pensive

Copper

Her usually rosy cheeks were pale.

“I feel orf chump,” Copper said softly. 

She must have gotten that ridiculous phrase from Cornelis.  I gave the Dutchman a threatening look for teaching the child slang.

The one eyed one horned flying purple people eater roared a terrible screech a moment before, though the creature was not within our sight.  I thought all the excitement must be too much for the girl.  Copper, Corneils, Cal Hicks, and I hurriedly hid from the beast in the huge laboratory that belonged to the amethyst world’s duplicate of Cornelis Drebbel.

Copper got down from the lavender alpine goat that had playfully carried her into the building.  She really did seem unsteady.  Absinthe had been concerned about us consuming the water of this strange place.  I wondered if something she ate or drank at tea disagreed with her.

Frantic cries from outside caused Cal Hicks to dash to the door.  When he opened the door, the violet complected chimpanzee housekeeper rushed inside.  She was in a terrible state, having heard the roar of the flying beast.  She sank to a stool that was nearby.

“Viola!  Whatever brings you out here?  Were you hurt?  Did you see the beast?” Cal Hicks asked in a single breath.

The housekeeper shook violently.  I stooped down to see if she was hurt or unwell.  Cornelis looked over my shoulder at her.  The alchemist seemed to think she was unharmed.  He made a flirtatious comment and wriggled his bushy eyebrows.  She gave a tittering laugh, seeming to recover herself.

Well dash my wig,” Cornelis murmured so that only I could hear.  “She’s got one and a peppermint drop.”

“What?” I began, annoyed by the Dutchman’s excessive use of slang.

Violet purple eye

Originally “My Blue Heaven” by Rob Goldstein. (I couldn’t resist making it purple for this story.)

Then I noticed that she had a glass eye.  Of course, the eye was purple.  It was also the first time I realized that she must be elderly.  There were broad strands of pale lavender in her reddish-purple hair.  It was not until that moment that it occurred to me that those pastel streaks would be the same as gray hair in our world.

Cal Hicks turned to us and described how the purple people eater had attacked the village where Viola grew up.  She had been among the casualties.  He discretely indicated that her eye had been one of her wounds.  It was no wonder just hearing the creature frightened her to such an extent.

The amethyst ape seemed to know his way around the laboratory quite well.  I thought he must have worked closely with the purple version of Cornelis Drebbel.  He went directly to a table that held many intriguing devices.  Cal opened a drawer and removed an intricately designed silver vinaigrette.  An invigorating scent drifted over to me when he took the vinaigrette to Viola.  The aroma seemed to revive her.

Smelling salts?” I inquired.  

“No, not precisely.  Rather than ammonium, it’s a restorative herb,” Cal explained.

Assured that Viola was only over-excited and not injured, I stood up again.  As I moved, I felt suddenly lightheaded.  There was also an odd hollow feeling at my heart.  My ears were ringing.  I closed my eyes, placed my hand to my solar plexus and took deep breaths.  When I looked up, I noticed Copper sitting on the floor, the lavender goat nuzzling at her hair affectionately.

silver vinaigrette

A silver vinaigrette

I tottered a little as I stood.  Viola handed me the vinaigrette and patted my arm in a grandmotherly way, but I wasn’t experiencing the vapors as she had.  Whatever I was experiencing, it was not from the emotional response that upset the housekeeper.  She nodded, encouraging me to inhale the scent.  I found that it actually did help.  I took it over to Copper, suspecting that whatever had overcome me was also the cause of her discomfort.  

“Viola, you must have run to catch up with us,” Cal said.  “Whatever was so important?”

“It’s the family.  They’ve returned.  I wanted to make sure they got to meet your extraordinary guests, but I wanted it to be a surprise for them.  So, I hurried here, only telling them that I was going to fetch you,” Viola explained.  “Then I heard that horrid beast.  I’ll never forget that awful day!” she cried, tears leaking from her good eye.  “I ran the rest of the way, fearing for your safety — for all of you.”

When Viola uttered the word “family” Cornelis paled.  He looked from me to Copper. 

“You’re not feeling well,” he said and it was a statement not a question.  “They are too close,” he muttered worriedly.

“Who do you mean?” I asked unsteadily.

The dizziness was making it hard for me to think.

“Your doppelgängers!  They are too close.  That’s why you feel ill.  A hollow feeling?  Dizzy, ears ringing?  Am I right?” Cornelis demanded and I nodded apprehensively.  “You must not get any closer to your doubles from this world!” he said, including both Copper and me.

green skunk palm

At the excitable tones from Cornelis, Absinthe poked his head up from the alchemist’s jacket pocket.  The tiny fairy stretched his wings and then fluttered to a long worktable that was covered with charts, maps and scientific looking implements.  The Green Fairy inspected the maps, and drawings carefully.  He was just as thorough when he began to examine the contrivances scattered across the table.

He was also remarkably silent.  Though I’d never heard him utter an actual word, the tiny skunk-looking fairy usually muttered, chirped, or grunted most of the time — especially if he was intrigued by something.  However, Absinthe seemed quite serious as he investigated the strange implements on the long table.

He stopped abruptly when he came to a gleaming brass sextant.  It was beautifully decorated with amethyst cabochons.  The navigation instrument was supported by two exquisitely formed gold mermen.  The apparatus sat on a wooden base of purple streaked mahogany. 

Absinthe checked the sextant closely, finally muttering very quietly.  However, he still didn’t seem to be himself.  For a moment I wondered if he had a doppelgänger nearby as well.  Then the Green Fairy sighed resignedly.  He looked up at Cornelis and chirped something that the alchemist appeared to understand.  They exchanged a sad look.

Terrence Mann as Cornelis 2

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

The Dutchman moved to examine the sextant.  He muttered in much the same manner as Absinthe.  Finally he nodded. 

“Yes.  This should do the trick,” Cornelis said with a decisive nod.

“Can you take care of the err… the Purple Fairy?” Cornelis asked the tiny Green Fairy, and Absinthe nodded, again with that sad resigned attitude.

The grave tone in the alchemist’s voice puzzled me.  I wondered what the skunk-looking creature would do.  Then with a sharp pop Absinthe disappeared.

“What Purple Fairy?” I wanted to know. 

The amethyst ape seemed to grasp the fact that was eluding my dizzy noggin.  I struggled to catch up to their thinking, but I felt so woozy.  I vaguely remembered the amethyst ape calling the purple people eater a fae — a fairy.

“Oh, you don’t mean?” Cal Hicks gasped with a horrified expression.

Viola echoed Cal’s sudden inhalation, putting a hand to her mouth.  “No.  You can’t mean that very small green creature is going out to confront the giant one eyed one horned flying purple people eater!” the violet chimpanzee housekeeper exclaimed.  “Why the poor little thing won’t last a minute.  Please! Can’t you call him back?”

Purple one horned dragon

Racheal Marie, Pixaby

***

Real World Notes

Vinaigrette.  If one wasn’t paying attention, a kind of salad dressing might have been expected.  No, this is vinaigrette.  That is a small container used for holding various aromatic substances, usually dissolved in vinegar.  Think of it as a decorative holder for smelling salts.  A vinaigrette often took the form of a tiny hinged silver box.  A little piece of sponge, soaked in the vinegar mixture, was contained beneath a grill or perforated cover.

Victorian Vernacular

Dash my wig Exclamation of dismay.  “Dash my wig!  Nothing good will come of that.”

One and a peppermint drop:  When a person has only one eye.

Orf chump:  No appetite.

***

 So, the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater is actually a fairy!  Could tiny Absinthe really intend to confront the gigantic beast?  Be at the steampunk submarine port next time, to find out what happens when Chartreuse, and Salmon Koulibiac drive the chapter of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers!  

My chuckaboos, it’s sure to be an adventure, and I’m not trying to sell you a dog! 

***

Now some shameless self-promotion. 

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

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USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

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USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

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USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

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USA:  The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

Amazon UK

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 © 2015 and 2018 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.

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 30

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Saturday Evening Post, 1937. Delivery boy ringing doorbell, waits with man in formal attire (and top hat) who has his head through a cut out in a big Valentine card

Saturday Evening Post, 1937

Happy Valentine’s Day, my chuckaboos!

I know this image is not from the right era, but the dashing man looking all afternoonified, made me think of something Cornelis might do.  I think Valentine’s Day around him would be positively naty narking.

Back in 2015, Christoph Fischer sent the “things” for this chapter.  Christoph is a blogger, reviewer, and the author of many compelling novels.   I’m currently reading “The Body in the Snow,” and I’m having a great time.  If you asked Christoph to let you see a photo of his Valentine, he might show you something like this…

4 Labradoodle puppies

Christoph’s Labradoodle Puppies

It’s time for Hidebound Hump Day!  If there are Valentines where our heroes are, then they are surely in shades of violet and lavender.  

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Chapter 28  Our bricky friends met a very gentlemanly, large, chimpanzee. He also happened to be dressed in a suit and hat.  Oh, and he was undeniably purple.  

Chapter 29   Felicity figured out at least part of the mystery of the “trained” chimpanzees, but we still don’t know who was using them.  Can Cal Hicks, the ape version of Calvin Hixon, somehow help our trio reach Copper’s real daddy?  Felicity also saw a portrait of primate doubles of herself and Ignatius Belle, and it caused her to ponder her capricious feelings about the handsome innkeeper.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

30 — Babylon, Toothpick, Alpine

Harper's Bazar, March 1896, Victorian woman riding bicycle with red heart design background

Harper’s Bazar, March 1896

Cornelis Drebbel had that look in his eyes — the twinkle-eyed look that never failed to worry me.  That expression would make you think he came from ancient Babylon — powerful, affluent, and downright sinful.  However, he actually wasn’t born until 1572.  I knew that expression meant he thought he was being clever.

Young Copper was a regular church bell.  While the amethyst ape, Cal Hicks, was distracted by Copper’s animated conversation, the alchemist cast a considering gaze his way.

“What are you up to Cornelis Drebbel?” I narrowed my eyes and whispered in a warning tone.

“It’s important that we get back to our own world, don’t you think?” he asked drolly.  “If there was a version of myself here, then that me would have had a laboratory or a workshop of some sort.  I suspect this ape knows where it is.  But how to get him to disclose the information…” the Dutchman pondered.

“Why not just ask him?” I sputtered in exasperation.  “There needn’t be any subterfuge.  He already believes you are, well… you.”

Cornelus Drebble With Eclipse and Sundown rev

Rob Goldsteins vision of Cornelis Drebbel inside his submarine

The Dutchman’s mouth twisted to one side.

“Oh, I suppose you’re right.  You do have a way of taking the fun out of things, Felicity,” he said drolly.

“Mr. Hicks,” I began.

“Dear one, please do call me Cal,” he said in a fatherly tone and added a little bow.

That felt a little too much like something a gal-sneaker would say, but I smiled and nodded agreeably, determined to give our host the benefit of the doubt.

“Would it be possible for you to show us to the Lord of Alchemy’s laboratory?  Cornelis doesn’t like to admit to having lost so much of his memory — temporary though it may be.  I think being amongst his things would help him remember.  Besides, he dotes on this submarine and would love to repair it,” I said.

The amethyst ape was eager to comply.  I gave Cornelis a sidelong look.

“See,” I told the Dutchman.  “Simple as that.”

Surprisingly, Absinthe seemed to object.  He fluttered around the alchemist’s head, chirping excitedly.  Remembering how impossibly potent one of his poots could be, it made me nervous to see the Green Fairy so agitated.

“Calm down old boy,” Cornelis said soothingly to Absinthe.  “Everything will be fine.  If I so much as sense something a hair out of the ordinary, I’ll come back here straight away.”

Green fairy skunk

Absinthe, the Green Fairy, by Teagan

At the words “out of the ordinary” the tiny skunk-like fairy shrieked.  I had to agree.  Everything in this world was out of the ordinary.

As we exited the submarine, Absinthe followed.  He seemed torn between flying protectively around Copper and Cornelis.  The girl turned back and gasped delightedly.

“Look at the submarine!” Copper cried.  “Isn’t it beginning to turn purple?”

Absinthe zipped through the air and quickly circled the submarine.  He came back, with nervous sounding chirping.  He hovered six inches away from the alchemist’s nose, looking quite excitable.  Cornelis looked from Absinthe to the submarine.

“It’s becoming part of the amethyst world,” Copper said in awe.  “If we stay will we turn purple too?” she asked in a way that made it clear she found the prospect of such a transformation delightful.

“We might at that,” Cornelis answered in a wry voice.

Finding the Lost De Milo (2)

Finding the Lost De Milo, by Rob Goldstein

I thought he had gone to hide when Absinthe darted back into the submarine.  However, a moment later he emerged with a seabag floating behind him.  The tiny fairy seemed to be handier with levitation than Cornelis.  Absinthe continued to levitate the bag until he reached me.  Then he unceremoniously dropped the bag at my feet.

The seabag came open and out rolled a frightful looking head.  I gasped and nearly screamed, but closer inspection showed it to be some kind of hideous mask.  It had two big round goggle eyes and a long snout that ended at a flat circle and a leather strap to hold it to the wearer’s head.

Absinthe levitated the mask over to Copper.  She was quick to understand that he meant her to wear it if needed.  When I saw that the bag also contained several bottles, I thought the Green Fairy was still concerned about this strange environment.  When we first arrived, he had given us bottled water; fearing things of this world would be harmful to us if consumed.

gas mask

As I returned the bottles to the bag, I discovered a charming silver toothpick holder.  It was shaped like a little gazebo with a domed roof supported by columns.  Within was a crystal bird with wings outstretched.  Tiny holes in the rounded roof held toothpicks.

“Why ever would he think we’d need toothpicks?” I murmured, bemused.

Cornelis suddenly appeared at my elbow.  He knew it annoyed me when he did that.  It never failed to be disquieting, and it always entertained him to startle me.  He smirked.

“Absinthe isn’t far off the mark,” Cornelis whispered.  “There is a very real danger that we could become trapped here.  However, we would have to be here for a very long time before that potential became a reality.  This is a measuring device,” he explained, pointing at the toothpick holder.  “If the toothpicks begin to turn purple, it is a warning.”

Seeing my widening eyes, he was quick to elaborate.

“Many of the effects can be mitigated,” he waived away my concern.  “For instance, a little lavender hue is of no real concern.  But if all the toothpicks turn purple, then we are in serious danger of being unable to return home.  Should the bird turn purple,” he added pointing to the crystal ornament in the center of the gazebo.  “Well, then it is too late,” he finished with a wry twist of his mouth, which suggested that was a real possibility.

The Green Fairy was still agitated, but the purplish color of the undersea vessel seemed to have changed the cause of his worry.  Absinthe fluttered over to Cal Hicks and chirped once.  The ape chuckled, still marveling at the tiny fairy.

 

Reading Ape purple

Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape

“You are the most delightful shade of green,” he said in a mystified tone.

“He wants you to lead us,” Copper translated.

“Ah, so he does!  This way then,” directed the purple primate as he adjusted his bowler hat and pointed with his amethyst topped walking stick.

After about fifteen minutes of walking we reached a clearing.  In its center was a sprawling building.  It was only one story tall, except for a broad, towering dome in the center.  Cornelis gazed at the facility in childlike wonder.

The sound of clamoring hooves and the clanking of a bell made everyone turn.  A lavender Alpine goat ran out of the building and barreled into Cornelis.  The Dutchman landed on his back with a thud.  The goat sniffed happily at his face.  She made the oddest warbling behh sound.

I had become accustomed to the amethyst ape’s warmhearted chuckle.  So, I was surprised to hear him laugh uproariously.  He recovered himself somewhat and turned to me to explain.

“The Lord of Alchemy allowed us to keep a herd of milk goats behind his laboratory.  There was something about the grass there that improved their milk greatly.  I’ve always pondered if that was because this grass has a greenish tone,” Cal Hicks told me, but then shook his head.

“But I digress again,” he apologized.  “Cornelis Drebbel made a pet of this particular goat.  However, I always told him that it was she who thought he was the pet.  She’s quite possessive of him.”

1920s man w-goats

Wikimedia commons, circa 1920. (Altered by Teagan)

Cornelis clamored to his feet.  The lavender goat gently head-butted the Dutchman and nearly knocked him over again.  She nibbled at his coat sleeve and pant legs, ignoring his attempts to brush her away.  From time to time she uttered that strange warbling behh sound.  It really was funny, and I couldn’t help laughing.

Copper had no compunction about offending anyone.  She wrapped her arms around the goat’s neck, hugging the animal.  The girl laughed so hard she toppled over.  Fortunately, the goat seemed to take to her.  The next thing I knew, the large goat had maneuvered Copper onto her back.  Copper sat astride the goat as if she was about to take the animal for a gallop.  The oddest part was that it looked perfectly natural.

All the laughter was abruptly cut short by a trumpeting screech.  I looked to the amethyst sky from which the sound came, but saw nothing.  Cornelis looked apprehensive.  The ape, Cal Hicks, trembled fearfully.

“Quickly!  Get inside,” Cornelis ordered pointing toward the building that was the laboratory of the version of him that inhabited this world. “Quickly,” he added with a sharp pat to the goat’s rump.  “Hang on tight, Copper!” he called.

The lavender goat bolted toward the laboratory, carrying Copper on her back.

“What was that?” I exclaimed.

Cal Hicks came to himself as we all ran behind the goat.

“I was so sure it was dead,” the amethyst ape said.  “That was the hunting call of the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater!”

Purple one horned dragon

Racheal Marie, Pixaby

***

Real World Notes

Duffle bag.  The term dates back to 1677, when it was used to describe a coarse woolen cloth having a thick nap or frieze.  The name comes from Duffel, a town in Flanders, Belgium, where the thick duffel cloth used to make the bag originated in the 1600s.  During most of the 1900s, a duffel bag typically referred to a specific style of cylindrical, top-entry bag.

Victorian Vernacular

Church-bell A talkative woman.

Gal-sneaker:  A man devoted to seducing women.

Make a stuffed bird laugh:  When something is utterly preposterous.”

Mind the grease:  When you need people to let you pass, use this phrase as you would “Excuse me.”

***

I hope our heores find something in the laboratory to help get back to their own world.  Yet with the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater out, and apparently on the hunt, will they be able to reach the laboratory?

Next time when the “three random things” are from Olga Núñez Miret.  Be at the steampunk submarine port to find out where Glass Eye, Silver Vinaigrette, and Sextant take Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers!  

My chuckaboos, I’ll be looking for you when the steampunk submarine comes into port next week.  Mega hugs! 

***

Now some shameless self-promotion. 

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

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USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

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USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

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USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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USA:  The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

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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 © 2015 and 2018 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.

 

Coming in Spring — Back to the 1920s

Friday, February 9, 2019 

We went back in time, from the Roaring Twenties to the Victorian Era. This spring, it’s time to get back to the future, if by the future you mean the days of flappers.

Coming in Spring…

An Uninvited Guest…

In Granny Phanny’s Kitchen!

 Here’s a hint.  What “thread” ties this story to Murder at the Bijou?

Daisy thread ad

Ad for sewing thread, circa 1895

***

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

USA:  The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

Amazon UK

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USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

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USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

Atonement Video Cover copy

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

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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 ©  2019 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.

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 29

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Not to repeat myself from my Saturday post, but…

Happy Chinese New Year.  Happy Year of the Earth Pig!

Porthole Cornelus-The Sub

A portal in Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine, Art by Rob Goldstein

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system.  My chuckaboos, it’s time for Hidebound Hump Day!  Our heroes are in a strange purple world.  It reminded me of this image Rob Goldstein made for the virtual art show I held for him.

This chapter has Felicity pondering some issues of the heart.  Some of you might think back to earlier chapters, and whether or not you were on “team Ignatius.”  If you ask Cornelis, he’d say the Woman in Trousers was smitten.  (Chapter 16)

People have always encouraged me to write romances, but I leave that to the experts — like Mary.  The “random things” that drove today’s episode were sent by Mary J. McCoy-Dressel.  She writes novels about “sweetly-sensual contemporary western romance with strong family ties.”

Cornelis Drebbel’s magical submarine is at our port.  The klaxon sounds as the vessel rises to the surface, and we’re ready for another chapter of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers! 

Cornelis Drebbel inside sub _001

Rob Goldstein’s vision of Cornelis in his submarine

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Our trio was on the run from three different groups of bad guys, including huge and dangerous trained chimpanzees, one of which gestured in sign language the word daddy.  Felicity recognized the leader of one group by her voice as a woman from Copper’s town, but she couldn’t recall which woman possessed that voice.

They hid out at the pavilion of Alastair Wong, where alchemy gone awry gave them a map with a clue to where they might find Copper’s missing father. Still on the run, they boarded Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine where they met Absinthe, the Green Fairy.  Subsequently the submarine ran aground in an amethyst world.

Chapter 28  Our bricky friends met a very gentlemanly, large, chimpanzee. He also happened to be dressed in a suit and hat.  Oh, and he was undeniably purple.  The words of the “amethyst ape” stunned everyone when he met Cornelis Drebbel.

“Cornelis Drebbel, Lord of Alchemy, I welcome you to these shores.  Please accept my humble apology for not recognizing you.  No one has seen you for decades.  It was feared that the purple people eater had… well…  But how foolish of us to think you would have been bested by any beast, no matter how fearsome.”

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

29 — Straitlaced, Queen Anne Style Architecture, Harper’s Bazaar

Copper lavender

The suited, bespectacled purple primate was a willing listener for Cornelis Drebbel.  I wouldn’t have expected an ape to speak our language, even if he could talk.  Nor would I have thought we would understand him.  When I was about to ask, a significant look from Cornelis caused me to realize it had to be one of the Dutchman’s tricks at work, allowing us to communicate with one another.

The alchemist gave the primate a full tour of the submarine.  The amethyst ape soaked up every detail as Cornelis explained how the many inventions onboard were used in the navigation and other workings of the submarine.  The ape seemed to have an astonishing scientific comprehension of what the Dutchman said in describing his inventions.

Cornelis had gone on about doppelgängers and was genuinely concerned about the consequences if one of us met our double in this perplexing purple place.  I remembered Copper’s giggling exclamation comparing the straitlaced ape to her father. 

I thought it simply childish fantasy, but then I recalled how the Dutchman reacted to her words.  He curled his lips inward in a rueful grimace and raised his bushy blonde eyebrows.  Then he pursed his lips and inclined his head pointedly toward the purple primate.  At that moment the ape reminded me very much of the portrait of Calvin Hixon.

I studied the primate’s face and tried to imagine a human version.  My eyes grew wide.

Reading Ape purple

Cal Hicks, the Amethyst Ape

Daddy, but not Daddy,” I thought.  “Well dash my wig!  The amethyst ape is Calvin Hixon’s doppelgänger!”

Cornelis was quite adept at reading facial expressions, no matter how fleeting.  When he glanced my way, he raised one eyebrow and gave half a nod to indicate he knew I had finally caught on to what he had figured out the first moment he saw the ape.  It was no wonder he’d frozen in amazement when Copper and I had gotten out of the submarine.  I finally understood why.  I tried not to stare at the ape version of Copper’s daddy.

After Cornelis had shown off his favorite inventions, the ape invited us to tea.  Cornelis wasn’t quick enough to hide his reluctance to disembark the submarine. 

The ape tried to encourage him by describing the setting and the Queen Anne style architecture of his charming home.  I couldn’t help wondering if this amethyst world had held a purple primate version of Queen Anne, and suspected that it actually had.

Though Cornelis was disinclined to accept the invitation, Copper was beside herself with excitement.

In a very discrete way, the alchemist worked the conversation around to inquire about the ape’s family life and whether he lived alone.  Abruptly the purple primate puckered his face, looking very contrite.  He bumped his palm to his brow and apologized profusely.

“I was so amazed and excited that I forgot to introduce myself.  Can you ever forgive my lacking manners?  Cal Hicks — at your service,” he said with a bow.  “Penny will be devastated not to have met you.  That’s my daughter.  She’s away for the week, visiting her brother Nate and his wife.”

Queen Anne Style House

Queen Anne Style House, Wikimedia altered image by Teagan

When the ape — or I should say Cal Hicks, mentioned his daughter-in-law he gave me the strangest, quizzical look.

“Something in your manner puts me very much in mind of my delightful daughter-in-law,” he told me with a twinkle in his eye.

I was speechless.  Could there be a purple ape version of me?  And was she married to simian version of Ignatius Belle?  Surely not, it was incomprehensible!  Even one of those ideas was too much, but both?  I suddenly had a headache.

Was my future preordained?  Ignatius Belle was a dashing figure of a man, but he was exceedingly proper.  While I, on the other hand, liked to wear trousers, and flatly refused to wear a corset. 

However, as the purple primate spoke about his family, I realized the doppelgänger had made different choices than Calvin Hixon.  The course of his life did not predict or ordain the path of his human counterpart.

The ape didn’t know the reason behind the alchemist’s concern, but what he disclosed about his family reassured Cornelis that it was unlikely for any of us to run into our doppelgängers.  With a little more please-pretty-please urging from Copper, Cronelis finally agreed.  So we set out with Cal Hicks, the primate equivalent of Copper’s daddy, to have tea at his home.

***

 

Image of teacup and saucer with lavender flowers

Mareefe, Pixabay

The facial expression of a violet complected chimpanzee housekeeper attested to even more astonishment than Cal Hicks showed at our arrival.  However, she graciously served tea with all the trimmings.  She seemed delighted to have a chance to show off her skills, and served the perfect pot of tea to complement each course.

“Thank you, Candy.  It looks as delicious as ever,” our host told her.

The aromas of the food arranged before us abruptly brought to mind Cookie, the cook at the Belle Inn.  I turned my gaze to the well-rounded form of the housekeeper.  Seen from behind, she looked remarkably like Cookie.

Such an afternoonified setting, hosted by primates wearing human clothes, and speaking proper English… Quite frankly, it unnerved me.  I was ready to call it call it eight bells! 

My cup rattled against its saucer.  I was embarrassed to spill my tea.  Charming and hospitable as Cal Hicks was, I almost wished I had stayed behind at the submarine with Absinthe.  Cornelis was downright twitchy — probably still worried about doppelgängers.  Copper was the only one who took everything in stride.

After we finished tea, I noticed several portraits hung in the hallway.  The life of Cal Hicks truly did seem to include a much happier, devoted family life than Calvin Hixon experienced.  The son was presumable born out of wedlock, since this place seemed to reflect our own world.  But unlike Ignatius Belle, Nate Hicks agreed to become a true part of the family.  Since Penny was visiting Nate and his wife for a week, I assumed that she did not share Copper’s dislike and mistrust of her half-brother.

Victorian Ape Couple

Wikimedia Commons

A purple primate version of Harper’s Bazaar magazine lay on a beautifully crafted mahogany table.  The deep color of the wood had dark purple highlights.  On the magazine cover was a woman-ape wearing a fashionable ensemble.  A painting hung above the table.  It was a portrait of Cal Hicks’ son and daughter-in-law.  I had to admit the young ape in the portrait bore a vague resemblance to Ignatius Belle.  However the female looked nothing like me whatsoever.

“Look Felicity!  She looks like you,” Copper enthused.

Looking away, I tried not to let Cal Hicks see how aghast I was at the girl’s comment.  With narrowed eyes I watched Corenlis.  His mouth twisted in any number of ways as he tried to stifle his laughter.  I knew it was our host he didn’t want to offend.  He certainly wouldn’t be concerned about my pricked ego.

To hide his mirth, the Dutchman tapped his fist to his breastbone, pretending to stifle a burp.  Then Cornelis asked our host if we might stroll around the grounds to help the fine repast Hicks provided settle.  The amethyst ape was happy to oblige.

As we toured the property we came upon a church.

“That doesn’t look like it’s been used in quite some time,” I commented about the chapel.

“Ah yes.  That was indeed a tragedy,” Cal Hicks replied sadly, and Copper was quick to push for details on a topic we adults may have deemed too delicate.

“It happened during the last confrontation with the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater,” the ape said then turned to Cornelis as if concerned.  “Do you not remember it?”

“Err…” Cornelis hesitated, but a spark in his eyes told me he was about to dissemble.  “I must confess,” he said looking so sad and sincere that I almost rolled my eyes.  “An accident of alchemy brought my submarine back to these shores.  Sadly I have no memory of the events that happened here,” he explained.  “Oh now, there’s no need for concern, I’m sure the memories will return in due time.  Such is the way of alchemy,” he assured our worried looking host.

Purple Stone chapel ruin stairs Pixabay

Pixabay altered image, Teagan

“Well, perhaps a refresher will help it along then,” Cal Hicks replied with a hopeful nod.  “I mentioned that we had thought all of your species,” he said turning to me, but hesitating when he looked at Copper’s wide eyes.  “Well, um, that the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater had, um gotten them,” Cal told us, and seeing that Copper didn’t look frightened, he continued.  “However, there was one more confrontation with that huge purple fae creature.  You, Cornelis Drebbel, cornered the magical beast, and with your alchemy intended to transfigure it to something harmless.”

“Let me guess,” I said with a wry grin.  “The alchemy went awry.”

Cornelis glared at me, but the ape remained perfectly serious, continuing his narrative.

“The Lord of Alchemy insisted that everyone take refuge in the chapel while he confronted the monster alone.  Meanwhile, I ran to retrieve his harmonic tuner.  It’s a magical device decorated with a carving of a trio in the classic mystic people pose — hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.”

The ape suddenly looked overwhelmed with regret.  He moved his spectacles to wipe a tear.

“In my haste, I tripped.  The harmonic tuner flew from my grasp.  It rang as it flew through the air.  However, you, Cornelis Drebbel, caught it before it fell.  So I thought all would be well, and that my mishap had done no harm,” Cal Hicks told us in an apologetic voice.

The ape dabbed his nose with a silk handkerchief and took a deep breath before continuing.

“The purple people eater vanished, presumably vanquished.  You, Lord of Alchemy popped off, as was your habit, to make sure the beast was gone for good.  But you never returned,” he said, looking like a repentant child caught in mischief.  His expression gladdened as he looked up and added, “Until today that is.”

“And the church?” I prompted.

Cal Hicks turned somber eyes to the chapel.  He shook his head slowly.

“When the loud harmonic noise of the misused tuner dissipated, I realized there were no sounds whatsoever coming from the church.  To my horror, I found it empty.  Everyone inside had vanished along with the purple people eater,” he said.

I gasped despite myself.  The ape seemed to think I found his telling of the story that shocking, and he seemed gratified to have at least told it well.  Although it was obvious that he blamed himself to a degree for what happened.  So I tried not to let on that the story wasn’t the reason for my gasp.

“Cornelis!” I whispered to the alchemist.  “That army of chimpanzees back at the Hixon estate.  What if they weren’t trained,” I said but paused, looking for the right word.  “What if instead, they were actually translocated?”

***

Real World Notes

Harper’s Bazaar.  Harper’s Bazaar is an American women’s fashion magazine, first published in 1867.  Published by Hearst, it considered itself to be the style resource for “women who are the first to buy the best, from casual to couture.”  It was aimed at what it calls “discerning ladies.”  In this story those ladies included simians in tones of purple.

Victorian Vernacular

Olive oil:  Slang pronunciation of “Au revoir.”

On the make:  Flirting, making advances on people.  “She was really on the make last night.”

Orf Chump:  No appetite. 

***

Felicity has figured out at least part of the mystery of the “trained” chimpanzees, but we still don’t know who was using them.  Can the ape version of Calvin Hixon somehow help our trio reach Copper’s real daddy?  Will seeing the portrait of primate doubles of herself and Ignatius Belle influence Felicity’s capricious feelings about him?  

Next time when the “three random things” are from Christoph Fischer.  Be at the steampunk submarine port to find out what happens when Babylon, Toothpick, and Alpine drive the chapter of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers!  

My chuckaboos, it’s sure to be an adventure, and that’s no kruger-spoof! 

***

Now some shameless self-promotion. 

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

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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 © 2015 and 2018 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.

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 28

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Purple lake with tree and mountains

Ken Cheung, Unsplash

Hello, my chuckaboos!  It’s Hidebound Hump Day.  I’ve mentioned that originally, in 2015, this #steampunk story was also a culinary mystery.   I really miss the cooking bloggers who followed it back then.  This chapter reminded me of them.  Sometimes rerunning episodes of this serial can be rather bittersweet. 

Cornelis Drebbel’s magical submarine is at our port.  The klaxon sounds as the vessel rises to the surface, and we’re ready for another chapter of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers! 

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Chapter 27  “It’s an amethyst world!” Copper exclaimed when she saw the strange place where the magically whirling submarine went aground.

A purple ape wearing a three piece suit with a starched collar and a bowler hat came into view.  It seems strange to say, but the hat and the suit made me think of Ignatius Belle.  However, I was also reminded in an odd way of the portrait of Copper’s father, Calvin Hixon, who turned out to be Belle’s father as well.

The amethyst colored ape moved his hands in sign language.

Copper, the alchemist, and I spoke in chorus, “Daddy?”

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

28 — Broken Knife, Sea Urchin, Potable Water

ape eyes purple

Image by Teagan R. Geneviene

The simian’s reaction surprised all of us.

“Oh! You can speak.  How wondrous!” was the delighted exclamation of the purple ape who wore a man’s suit, hat, and spectacles.  “And what remarkable coloring you have!”

“Of course we can talk.  But it’s amazing that you can!” Copper called out in reply as she clambered down from the submarine hatch, too quick for me to stop her.

The alchemist stood in gaping astonishment.  I pushed past him and hurried after the girl, although I didn’t know how I could protect her from something as strong as the ape surely was.  I had no weapon on me, not so much as a little muff pistol.

Abruptly I remembered my pearl handled pen knife.  It wasn’t much use as a weapon, but I reached quickly into my pocket.  However, the pen knife seemed to have been damaged during the chaos of the spinning submarine.  When I tried to open it, the broken knife fell apart in my hands.

The creature seemed genial enough, but who could say?  I had no idea into what sort of place we had been cast by the accident of alchemy that sent Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine off course with rogue magic.

“Have a care, Felicity,” Cornelis hissed, as though he’d finally come back to himself.

“Of course I’ll be careful.  Why didn’t you stop her?” I said through my teeth, trying to hide my anger with the Dutchman from the strange primate on the shore.

Copper lavender

I turned back toward the quickly moving girl. 

“Copper stop right there and wait until I catch up with you,” I demanded and for once she complied.

“But Felicity!  I like him.  He’s funny,” the girl pleaded.  “I’m sure it’s perfectly safe,” Copper added in a rather good imitation of an adult.

“How can you think a purple ape — in a suit no less, is perfectly safe?” I whispered as I caught up to the girl and took her hand.

Cornelis cleared his throat loudly. 

“That’s not what I meant.  I wasn’t talking about the ape when I told you to be careful,” the alchemist said urgently.  “Doppelgängers!” he exclaimed, using his trick of casting his voice directly to my ear.

“What’s a doppelgänger?” Copper wanted to know.

The moppet was close enough to me to hear the projected voice of the alchemist.  She looked from Cornelis to me and then back over her shoulder at the very large purple chimpanzee.

“It’s a sort of lookalike,” I told her.

As I gazed into the shallows of the sparkling amethyst water I noticed a violet colored sea urchin.  

sea urchin violetHere even fishes and such are one color of purple or another, I thought. 

The water itself took on the hue of lavender from the sky it reflected.  That alone was enough to make it a stranger place than anything I had ever imagined.

Cornelis seemed to be permanently adhered to his surely uncomfortable position, halfway out of the submarine’s hatch.  I could hear Absinthe inside chirping excitedly, but I couldn’t tell if the Green Fairy was anxious, angry, or simply feeling chatty. 

Then a bottle levitated up from within the submarine.  Cornelis snatched it out of the air and thanked the Green Fairy in a droll tone.

“Absinthe thinks you should take this potable water with you, as it might not be safe to drink anything here,” the Dutchman commented.  “I think it’s a bad idea for you to leave this vessel at all.”

“Whatever are you talking about, Dutchman?” I looked up at Cornelis and asked while Copper stood staring at the chimp in a suit. 

At the shore, the chimpanzee shifted his bowler hat and placed his walking stick in front of himself with both hands propped on its crystal top.  Naturally the crystal was an amethyst cabochon.  He looked curious, but quite patient and relaxed.

“If you meet your doppelgänger it could be dangerous,” the alchemist said.

Jaime Murray n Double

Jamie Murray as Felicity

“Why on earth would I meet my double?” I asked feeling piqued, with Copper pulling me forward and the alchemist holding me back.

“I think it’s the nature of this world, this place,” Cornelis explained with exaggerated patience.  “It probably has its own versions of all of us.  Purple versions, but still…” he added with a shrug.

“Why is it purple?” Copper interrupted.  “Is there a purple fairy, like Absinthe is the Green Fairy?” she asked, eyes widening in anticipation.

The Green Fairy stuck his tiny nose out of the hatch and bit onto the alchemist’s sleeve, pulling it as if he wanted Cornelis to get back inside.

“Alright, alright,” he told Absinthe.  “Copper, I suspect there is a good reason for the purple coloring, but the important thing you need to understand is that everything around us could become — well you could say the place may get unstable, just because of our presence.  If any of us met our doubles it could be,” he paused, probably looking for words a young girl would understand.  “Bad.  It could be very bad,” he finished, but looked dissatisfied with his choice of words.

“Cornelis, aren’t you coming with us?” I asked with an uneasy eye on the large, strong chimpanzee, who had moved forward to the very edge of the water.

“No, Felicity.  Were I to meet my doppelgänger it wouldn’t be dangerous,” he replied, and closing his eyes he took a deep breath.  “It would be catastrophic.”

Seldom had I seen the Dutchman so serious.  I don’t pretend that I fully understood his vague explanation, but I knew it had something to do with alchemy.  So I didn’t press.

“Do I have a doppelgänger?” a giggling Copper wanted to know, and I realized she’d found a new favorite word.  “The monkey might be Daddy’s doppelgänger,” she added, giggling even harder.Lady with pigeon

When I looked at Cornelis he curled his lips inward in a rueful grimace and raised his bushy blonde eyebrows.  Then he pursed his lips and inclined his head pointedly toward the amethyst ape.  The ape shifted his stance.  Suddenly he reminded me very much of the portrait of Calvin Hixon.

The purple primate saw us looking at him and raised his voice to make sure it carried to us. 

“I’m sure it’s most unsettling, having your vessel run aground.  And clearly you aren’t from here,” the ape began.  “Or from any place of which I’ve ever heard…” his voice trailed off as he shook his head wonderingly.  “But I assure you it really is perfectly safe, just as the young err… the young lady said.”

Had the ape hesitated to call Copper a young lady?  Could it be that he perceived us as we saw him — as strange animals?  Profound thoughts crowded my mind.

The ape looked remarkably like the portrait of Copper’s father.  With of course the exception him of being an ape.

The suit-wearing creature bumped his palm to his forehead as if something obvious had just occurred to him. 

“Oh!  If you are concerned that you don’t see people like yourselves, please don’t fear.  We thought your species was extinct.  I can’t tell you how delighted I am to know that is not the case!  And that extraordinary coloring you have.  This is so exciting!  But pardon me.  I digress,” he said in a gracious apologetic voice.

Green fairy skunk

Absinthe, the Green Fairy by Teagan

“As I was saying, there’s no need to fear.  The one eyed one horned flying purple people eater is surely dead.  None have been seen for a hundred years!” the ape said, adjusting his spectacles.

At the primate’s comment Absinthe fluttered up and out of the submarine.  He chirped and grunted excitedly.  The Green Fairy hovered around Copper’s head briefly.  Then he darted toward the purple ape.  Absinthe made several passes around the primate to inspect him, grunting the while.

“How delightful!” the very large chimpanzee exclaimed, taking off his spectacles since Absinthe was mere inches from his face.  “What a colorful little chap.  Why you’re like a very tiny, very green version of the purple people eater,” he said and Absinthe gave a disagreeable chirp.  “Well no, I suppose that’s not true at all.  But you seem to be the same sort of fae being.”

I couldn’t sense any animosity from the ape… and judging by the crash landing of the submarine we were going to need some kind of help.  So I allowed Copper to lead me to the shore where he stood.  The suited primate bowed politely to us, doffing his bowler hat.

Absinthe settled in his protective position atop Copper’s head.  However, the ape’s attention wandered to the submarine.  He was so intrigued that he waded out into the shallows for a better look. 

“You know,” he said in a self-deprecating tone.  “I’m something of an inventor myself.  What sort of vessel is that?  It looks almost as though it’s meant to sail under the water,” the ape marveled.

Drebbel stamp

Cornelis Drebbel, Wikimedia Commons

Cornelis never could resist showing off one of his inventions and the ape was clearly a willing and eager audience.  Abruptly the alchemist appeared at his elbow.  The purple primate jumped with a start.

“Allow me to introduce myself,” the Dutchman said.  “I’m Cornelis Drebbel and I’d be delighted to show you the submarine.”

The ape gasped.  His eyes grew large and his mouth opened silently.  The primate’s eyes narrowed and he looked intently at Cronelis. 

“With this outlandish coloring, how could I suspect,” he murmured, and then he bowed extravagantly to Cornelis.

“Cornelis Drebbel, Lord of Alchemy, I welcome you to these shores.  Please accept my humble apology for not recognizing you.  No one has seen you for decades.  It was feared that the purple people eater had… well…  But how foolish of us to think you would have been bested by any beast, no matter how fearsome.”

***

Real World Notes

Potable water.Where we say “drinking water,” the Victorians may have used the term potable water.  It simply means water that is safe to drink or to use for food preparation.  While safe drinking water is something many take for granted, that wasn’t always the case.

The Romans developed aqueducts solely dedicated to this purpose as early as 312 B.C.  Yet the rest of the world seems to have been many centuries behind them.  By the 1800s some communities were beginning to create water filtering systems.  As the 1900s progressed, so did standards and regulations.

Victorian Vernacular

Nanty Narking:  Great fun.

Neck oil:  Beer.

Not up to dick:  Not well, feeling wretched.

***

Will this newfound status go to the alchemist’s head?  Will a doppelgänger of one of the characters show up and wreak havoc?  How will they get back home so they can find Copper’s daddy?  What about that one eyed one horned flying purple people eater?  And for that matter, wasn’t Absinthe acting stranger than usual?

Be at the steampunk submarine port next time to find out what happens to learn what happens when Straitlaced, Queen Anne Style Architecture, and Harper’s Bazaar meet Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers!  

My chuckaboos, it’s sure to be a naty narking adventure! 

***

Now some shameless self-promotion. 

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

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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 © 2015 and 2018 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.

 

Straightlaced Saturday — Vril

Saturday, January 26, 2019 

victorian novels 2

Welcome back to Straightlaced Saturday and a new feature here at Teagan’s Books. Victorian Novels will complement the era of my steampunk serial, Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers. 

The latest chapter of that serial (click here for chapter 27) mentioned another novel written within the time-frame of my story. 

Vril, the Power of the Coming Race

This week’s novel from the Victorian Era is Vril, by Edward Bulwer-Lytton.  It has been published as The Coming Race (as Bulwer-Lytton first anonymously published it in 1871), Vril the Power of the Coming Race, and simply Vril.

Victorian Science Fiction

Vril was science fiction, before anyone even gave the genre that name.  The straightlaced folks of the day might have described it as “science fictional” though it wouldn’t have been a genre name.  

vril

Vril, the Power of the Coming Race, by Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Project Gutenburg Link to Vril, the Power of the Coming Race   FREE

(Link now repaired.)

Back in the day, many readers actually believed this story about a superior subterranean master race and the energy-form called “Vril.”  Or they at least believed parts of it to be true.  Plus these were well educated and respected people of the time, like Helena BlavatskyWilliam Scott-Elliot, and Rudolf Steiner.

Central character is a young traveler.  Inside a mine, he explores a natural chasm that has been exposed by an exploratory shaft.  The traveler finds his way into a subterranean world occupied by beings who seem to resemble angels. He befriends the first being he meets, who guides him around a city that is reminiscent of ancient Egyptian architecture.  He meets a love-interest, so I won’t spoil any of that, although that part is rather predictable.   

If all that sounds an awful lot like several movies that have been made over the decades, then just think how long ago this novel was written.

If you want the book and have trouble accessing it, let me know and I’ll send you a file.

 ***

wine glasses long table-346560_1920

Pixabay

Can you imagine being at a hidebound dinner party and mentioning this book as the topic of conversation?  What do you think would have been said in a Victorian pub if someone read a chapter to his chuckaboos?  Please leave a comment and start or join a conversation. 

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers continues on Hidebound Hump Day.  Next time, the “three things” driving the story are from Mary J. McCoy-Dressel.  Tune in to see what Straitlaced, Queen Anne Style Architecture, and Harper’s Bazaar add to the story. 

My chuckaboos, I’ll be looking for you at the steampunk submarine port on Wednesday.  

***

Now some shameless self-promotion. 

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

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USA:  The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

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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 ©  2019 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.

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 27

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Abandoned Locomotive 2

When I wrote this chapter back in 2015, I was experiencing a lack of energy.  It made me relate to these images of worn-out, abandoned locomotives.

Since my characters sometimes reflect my experiences of a given moment, I went to my manuscript with the intention of exploring what a tiny magical green skunk-like creature would do if he was fatigued.

However, to my surprise I didn’t give my characters my own weariness.  Quite the contrary — they energized me!  Today I hope to tap into that energy once again.  My simple life has made many demands on me lately.

Abandoned Locomotive Santa Fe

The #steampunk submarine is at our port.  It’s rising to the surface now, and we’re ready for another chapter of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers. 

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Chapter 26.1   Absinthe, the Green Fairy, managed to pilot the submarine and take it underneath the ack ruffians who were hunting for them.  Although, the others didn’t know that was what he was doing.  

Chapter 26.2    Felicity, the Woman in Trousers, was still a bit fishy about the gills from the potent poot of Absinthe, the Green Fairy.  Her nausea was made worse by the maniacal spinning of the submarine when the Alchemist accidentally uttered the incantation Yadadarcyyada! 

Will Cornelis have another accident of alchemy?  Will Felicity be mad as hops?  Will Absinthe be startled into another powerfully potent poot?  Read on to find out.  

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

27 — Corded Stays, Pickled Beets, Cold Cereal

Steampunk woman Noel Nichols Unsplash.png

Unsplash

Through the velvet black of unconsciousness I heard my name called.  I shook my head to clear it, but found I could barely move.  Some unseen force held me fast.  I managed to open my eyelids and vacantly looked straight ahead.

Absinthe, the Green Fairy clung protectively to Copper’s head.  All I could think was what an odd sight it was. 

Then memory surged back, filling my mind.  The pressure that held me still was from the force of the violently spinning submarine.  Even if I could have moved spryly, the Green Fairy had created a protective barrier around Copper, himself, and me.

“Thank God you’re awake.  It took you long enough,” Cornelis called from across the chamber where he moved like a maniac to correct the damage of his inadvertently spoken incantation, yadadarcyyada.

He fiddled with an odd multi-armed contrivance, which whirred and hummed, shooting rainbow light everywhere.  It also shot colorful sparks now and then, which Cornelis adroitly ducked.

I muttered a rude response to the Dutchman’s ill-mannered comment.

“Don’t just sit there!” he complained.  “I only have two hands.  Have you a corset, woman?”

“I beg your pardon!” I said warningly.

Flexibone corset ad

Flexibone corset, Wikimedia Commons

“This is no time to suddenly become delicate,” Cornelis chided.  “The thingamajig is on the verge of coming apart.  I believe I can use the corded stays from a boned corset to keep its arms in place.”

“The thingamajig?” I repeated incredulously.

“Well, that is the name of the device after all.  It is the original thingamajig!” the alchemist said in a tone which suggested that fact should have been obvious.  “Didn’t Copper put a corset in that big carpet bag when you had her collect her belongings before we left the Hixon estate?” he asked.

“I believe she did at that,” I answered in a mystified tone.  “But how did you know?”

“Never you mind,” Cornelis said and abruptly broke eye contact.  “Absinthe, dear boy, could you release that shield enough to let Felicity out?”

The tiny skunk-looking creature snuffled and grunted sounds of uncertainty.  The Dutchman made encouraging sounds at Absinthe.  After a moment the bright green light he had formed around himself, Copper, and me flickered.  When I had touched the aura before, it felt as hard as steel.  I raised a hesitant finger and touched it to find it had become pliable.

“Go ahead,” Cornelis said through gritted teeth, apparently having to put great concentration into what he was doing.  “You should be able to move about now.”

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

As I struggled to my feet, the Green Fairy’s magical shield stretched and preceded me while I moved.  It caused everything I saw to take on a greenish cast.  I spotted the black bag with a floral design.  If I had not been looking through the green of Absinthe’s shield, the flowers would have been embroidered in a shade of mauve. 

My movements were sluggish as I made my way to the carpet bag.  It felt like walking in waist deep water.

When I opened the bag I had the passing thought that Copper had an eye for fine things.  She had packed my nicest undies.  Despite the fact that I felt corsets were horrid, barbaric torture devices, I looked from the garment to Cornelis regretfully.  It really was well crafted…

“Don’t look at me like that, Felicity!  You know you’ll never wear the blasted thing,” Cornelis said sounding strained.

I plodded over to him as if in slow motion.  At least two of the gemstone capped arms on the thingamajig waved erratically.  They seemed in danger of flying off.

Boned Corsetry

Wikimedia Commons

“Do I need to cut the stays out of it?” I offered.

I’m sure my tone of voice was compliant and helpful.  It betrayed not a whit of the regret, even though I knew that a beautifully made garment was about to be torn to shreds.  I determined to be helpful. 

I took a breath first, but only because it was difficult to move within the protective field Absinthe created.   Although I couldn’t bear to look, I didn’t hesitate as I passed the corset to the alchemist.  I’ve no idea what the Dutchman could have heard that he mistook for a sigh from me.

“Oh, the drama!  For pity’s sake,” he complained.  “Don’t sound like such a martyr.  No, you don’t have to do anything to it.  Just put the corset in my hand and I’ll take care of it.”

“But both your hands are on the machines,” I began, just as his hand darted away from that cast iron finial and grabbed the corset from me.

As Cornelis grasped the corset it became engulfed in the rainbows of light produced by the multi-armed contrivance.  Then, my under garment disappeared before my very eyes.  The arms still whirred at blinding speed, but the machine’s movements didn’t seem as erratic.

I staggered as the spinning submarine abruptly slowed.  Apparently the corset and its corded stays had been a proper fit to fix the wayward spell that caused the submarine to violently whirl.

“That’s better,” Cornelis murmured as the limbs of the machine slowed somewhat.  “Now I just need something to set it.  Um… Felicity do you notice anything missing?” he asked in his best professorial voice.

“Cornelis, I hardly think this is the time for an educational lecture,” I began.

“Just look, Felicity,” he said impatiently.

Watching the wildly gyrating thingamajig made me queasy, but I could see that something wasn’t right.  One of the jewel end-caps was missing.  Looking at the rainbow lights cast by the machine I noticed there was no purple amid the numerous colors.

“The amethyst is gone!” I said feeling downright proud of myself, since Cornelis usually got the better of me when he went into professor mode.

“Ah…  So it is,” he said sounding drolly bemused.

“You don’t have to sound so surprised,” I countered.  “And you needn’t be smug either.”

“Now I need something purple,” he said looking all around.

“I saw a jar of pickled beets inside the desk — or rather the bridge as you called it,” I suggested.

Just as the words left my mouth, Absinthe shrieked.  He left his protective perch on Copper’s head and fluttered upward to be at eye-level with Cornelis and me.  The Green Fairy muttered and grunted in an angry sounding way.

Green fairy skunk

Absinthe, the Green Fairy

Typically the fairy’s striped tail curled over his back, rather like a squirrel’s tail would.  The moment he started making those irate sounds, his tale stood up straight. 

I kept a worried eyeball on Absinthe’s bantam backside and eased backward.  However, the submarine had no place where I could escape if the fairy let loose another spray of super concentrated absinthe fumes.

“What’s wrong with him?” I hissed at Cornelis.

The Dutchman hit his own forehead with the heel of his hand as if something he should have remembered had just come back to him.

“How could I forget?  Beets are his favorite treat,” the alchemist muttered.

Absinthe fluttered threateningly in front of the bridge.

“Come now my chuckaboo,” Corenlis implored, but the fairy hissed.  “It’s ever so important,” he encouraged, but Absinthe grunted an irate sound.  “I only need one or two.  I promise not to take them all,” Cornelis pleaded as the thingamajig swung erratically.

The Green Fairy’s emerald eyes narrowed as he looked skeptically at the gyrating contrivance.  He fluttered down to the drawer where his pickled beets were stored and with a dramatic sigh opened the drawer.  The jar of beets levitated up to my hands.  Hurriedly I went to the alchemist and opened the jar.

Meanwhile Absinthe turned his back.  He refused to look at any of us or what we did with his cherished beets.

Wikimedia Commons

When the spinning submarine slowed, the Green Fairy dropped the protective barrier he had created.  Copper went to the alchemist’s side to watch what he was doing to the thingamajig.  She looked closely at the faceted gemstone caps that adorned the machine’s limbs.

“The beets aren’t the same color of purple as an amethyst,” she pointed out the difference.

“So you know your gems then?” Cornelis commented fondly.

“Daddy has a tie pin with a purple stone.  He said it’s amethyst,” Copper explained.

“You make a valid point,” Cornelis replied, surprising me, as I didn’t expect him to take the girl’s comment seriously.

The beet was momentarily engulfed in a green glow.  When the verdant aura dissipated, the reddish purple hue of the beet became a vibrant royal purple.

“Now if I can just attach the beet to the proper arm without stopping the motion of the thingamajig,” Cornelis murmured.

His hand darted out so fast that I couldn’t say exactly what he had done.  However, the wonky motion of the multi-armed contrivance smoothed.  Gradually the machine slowed to a gentle rhythm.  I spotted the perfect amethyst, which only a moment before had been a pickled beet.

I had not seen the Green Fairy move, but he suddenly fluttered at my shoulder.  He made a few clicking sounds that seemed to be a grudging compliment to the alchemist’s skill.

Absinthe flew to the opened jar of pickled beets making tut tut noises until Cornelis put the lid back on the container.  Then in a rapid blur of motion the fairy grabbed the jar and put it back into the drawer.

Quickly he fluttered from the bridge to the submarine’s brass periscope.  Tiny paws made lightning fast adjustments to the crystal knobs on the apparatus.  Uttering a nonstop stream of grunts and chirps, Absinthe turned it this way and that, taking a 360 degree view of the surroundings. 

Abruptly the fairy fell silent.  He darted backward a pace, staring at the periscope.  Then he shrieked.

Copper - Victorian young girl

Copper

“Absinthe! What’s wrong?” Copper cried in concern as she hurried to the tiny creature.

The Green Fairy didn’t appear to be hurt in any way, so I felt puzzled but very anxious.

“Whatever is the matter with him?” I asked Cornelis.

The Dutchman seemed rooted to the spot where he stood.  Like me, he dreaded what might have upset the fairy to such a great extent.

“I don’t know,” Cornelis began.  “But I haven’t seen him this agitated since I tricked him into eating cold cereal.”

I didn’t move any closer to the fairy for fear that he would fart more of his ferociously fragrant fumes.  One false move and I knew from experience that I might startle him.

Cornelis gently moved the tiny fairy aside and looked through the periscope.  He drew back, frowning, eyes narrowed, and brow furrowed.  Then he looked again and shook his head slowly without taking his eyes away from the periscope.

The alchemist started whispering to the fairy.  Absinthe muttered a series of chirps, seeming to insist that his opinion was correct.  Cornelis whispered again and waved one arm emphatically.  Absinthe chirped once then widened his emerald eyes and screeched a warning.  Cornelis took a step backward, and raised his upturned palms, conceding the argument to the Green Fairy.

Finally the alchemist turned to me. 

“When yada— ahem…  That is, when that incantation worked itself into the spell I was crafting with the thingamajig,” Cornelis began.

“You mean when you accidentally spoke the incantation?” I couldn’t resist inserting.

Drebbel stamp

Cornelis pursed his lips. He narrowed his eyes and looked to one side.  The Dutchman refused to take my bait.

“Ahem!” He cleared his throat pointedly.  “As I was saying.  Something went wrong with the thingamajig, and we have been transported.”

“Isn’t that good?  That woman with the hydrofoil and that vicious trained chimpanzee were right on our heels,” I reminded him.

“Well, yes.  Yes, I suppose it is at that!” Cornelis stammered but Absinthe hissed a warning at him.  “All right, all right,” he said to the fairy and then turned back to me.  “I admit that the mechanics of the situation are beyond me.”

“What are you trying to say Cornelis?” I insisted worriedly.  “Where are we?  Oh no-no-no…  You are not telling me that we’ve moved through time are you?  Or  that we’ve not just gone under water, but under-ground, like Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s novel Vril, the Power of the Coming Race or some other science fictional story?” I asked, my eyes widening.

“No Felicity.  We haven’t fallen in with some sort of superior subterranean master race,” Cornelis said drolly.  “And it’s not so much about where we are, or even when we are.  And we haven’t gone to some other planet.  Or at least, not exactly,” he said incomprehensibly and climbed the ladder to the hatch.

“Well, don’t just stand there,” the alchemist said.  “It’s much easier to show you than it is to tell you.”

He turned the brass wheel that opened the submarine’s hatch.  Copper scurried up the ladder behind Cornelis. 

I took a look over my shoulder at Absinthe, hoping for some hint that would help me understand what was happening, for some pearl of wisdom. 

The fairy plopped down on the desktop of the bridge in a dejected seeming way.  His wings settled on his back.  He looked at me and gave a resigned sounding chirp.  Then he started eating the rest of the pickled beets.  They were clearly his comfort food.

“We’ve run aground,” Cornelis said in concern.

Copper’s musical voice came down to me when she beheld to landscape before her.  “It’s an amethyst world!” she exclaimed.

I couldn’t imagine what she meant.  So, I climbed up to the opening.  My first concern was that the people from the hydrofoil would be there to attack us, but there wasn’t another soul in sight.  I looked all around, speechless.

mauve-purple_sunset-945435_1920

Pixabay

Everything was purple.  It reminded me me of a pair of spectacles with rose-colored lenses that Cornelis once gave me – except I saw a landscape in purple, rather than pink.

I tensed as the vegetation parted about fifty feet away.  A figure wearing an all purple three piece suit with a starched collar and a bowler hat emerged.  The hat and the suit made me think of Ignatius Belle, but I was also reminded of the portrait of Calvin Hixon.  However, the person’s gait was nothing like either man.  He moved awkwardly in a loping walk.

The figure began to make motions with his hands, repeating a pattern of movements that I had seen before.  As he came closer the three of us gaped in astonishment.  It was no man.  Rather it was a very large purple chimp wearing a suit, hat, and spectacles.  He made the motions again.  Sign language.

Copper, the alchemist, and I spoke in chorus, “Daddy?”

Reading Ape purple

***

If you don’t remember the significance of a chimpanzee signing “Daddy” then think back to Chapter 9.

Real World Notes

Dry cereal.  George H. Hoyt created Wheatena circa 1879.  Back then, the most often purchased cereals were cracked wheat, oatmeal, and cerealine.  Retailers usually bought cereal in barrel lots, and scooped it out to sell by the pound to customers.  Hoyt, who had found a distinctive process of preparing wheat for cereal, sold his cereal in boxes.  This offered consumers a more sanitary and consumer-friendly option.

Victorian Vernacular

Mad as hops:  Excitable.

Mafficking:  Getting rowdy in the streets

Meater:  Coward.

Meathook:  A hand (preferably used while yelling at the police to stop dragging you to the hoosegow — “Get yer meathooks off me!”).

Mutton Shunter:  The police

***

Betcha didn’t see that coming!  What have our characters gotten themselves into this time?  

Next time, the “See what happens when Broken Knife, Sea Urchin, and Potable Water drive the story.  We’ll find out more about the “amethyst world” and the chimpanzee in a three piece suit. 

I’ll be looking for you at the submarine port next time! 

Mega hugs!

***

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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 © 2015 and 2018 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.