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! 

***

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Atonement Video Cover copy

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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

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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 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!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion. 

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

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¢ )

Amazon UK

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USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

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 

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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 — Lady Audley’s Secret

Saturday, January 19, 2019 

victorian novels

Welcome back to Straightlaced Saturday!  I’m toying with a new feature, that will complement the era of my steampunk serial, Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers. 

My thought is to give you some information about novels written in the Victorian Era of the real world, along with a link where you can get the book for free! 

I may or may not have read the book, depending.  Either way, I invite your discussions about the novels here, in the comments.  Think of this as a reverse book club.  We can discuss whether or not it’s something we want to read, or simply general thoughts about the book.

I’ll begin with… 

Lady Audley’s Secret

victorian woman text behind-1077958_1920

Pixabay

This is one I haven’t read yet, but it caught my eye right away.  In fact, it’s partly what gave me the idea for this feature.  Some of the thoughts it brings up are very current. 

Lady Audley’s Secret is an example of a type of fiction the Victorians enjoyed — the sensation novel.  

The Sensation Novel

Romance and realism had traditionally been incompatible types of literature.  Sensation fiction brought them together.  Many of these stories were allegorical and abstract, but that gave the authors room to explore scenarios that wrestled with the social anxieties of those famously straightlaced Victorians.

The “loss of identity” is part of many sensation fiction stories because that was a common social anxiety.  This worry is reflected in novels such as The Woman in White and Lady Audley’s Secret.  

Project Gutenburg Link to Lady Audley’s Secret

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

Now about this novel — I’ve assembled some details about the story, based on Wikipedia’s summary.  I hope it will stir your curiosity, just like it did mine.

Lady Audley’s Secret is a story about gender and class – and a woman’s “objectionable upward mobility.”

It might also be a true crime story.  The novel mirrors many of the same themes from the real-life Constance Kent case of June 1860, which gripped Great Britain with headline news for years.  

1867 harpers weekly wikimedia

Harper’s Weekly, January 1867

The first installment of Lady Audley’s Secret as a serial came out about a year after the Kent murder.  The novel, like the real-life case, featured a wicked stepmother (and former governess who married a gentleman), a mysterious and brutal murder in a country manor house, a body thrown down a well, and characters fascinated by madness.  

The novel plays on Victorian anxieties about the domestic sphere. The home was supposed to be a refuge from the dangers of the outside world, but in the novel, well… to avoid spoilers, we’ll just say that isn’t the case in this novel.

Anxieties about the increasing urbanization of Britain show up in the novel.  The city gives Lady Audley the power to change her identity because it renders its citizens effectively anonymous.  The small town of Audley is no longer a refuge where everyone knows the life story of every neighbor.  The residents of Audley must accept Lucy Graham’s account of herself since they have no other information about her past.

***

If my life wasn’t in utter chaos right now, I would have dug into this story on the spot.  However, even if you don’t have time to read it, the topic alone is interesting. 

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers continues on Hidebound Hump Day.  Next time, the “three things” driving the story are Broken Knife, Sea Urchin, and Potable Water. 

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

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

Pigs collection cover banner

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¢ )

Amazon UK

Bijou front only 2

USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

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

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 26.2

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Steampunk Fish Eugene_Ivanov_2439

Eugene Ivanov, Wikimedia Commons

This episode finishes the three random things from Donna Parker at Yadadarcyyada.  Be sure to visit her blog and look around, read and enjoy.  

The #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 25  Cornelis remarked about about other realities. Dash my wig, but that has me worried!  The alchemist intended to work an extremely dangerous spell.  Absinthe, the Green Fairy used his own magic to create a map that showed Calvin Hixon’s location on a starry map. Or at least that’s what everyone seemed to think. 

Chapter 26.1   When we left our heroes, Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine had managed to go underneath the ack ruffians who were hunting for them.  The alchemist’s shocked reaction to that news upset the Green Fairy, how chirped a warning.  I hope Absinthe doesn’t produce another potent poot and get them all boiled owl…

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

26.2 — Backgammon

baby skunk 2

Wikimedia Commons

Our bricky little girl wasn’t the only one who was concerned about the Wongs.  We didn’t know much of anything about the villains who pursued us.  There were three different groups.  They might be working together, but I believed they acted independently.  Cornelis and I assumed that their intention was to abduct Copper and use her as leverage against her missing father.

However, “Daddy” or Calvin Hixon was also an unknown quantity.  We knew Copper loved her father dearly.  Yet the only things we were certain of were that he was a widower, a genius inventor, and he was in dire financial straits.

Regardless, our foes had been closing in on us.  They had used trained ravens, and at least one scent tracking chimp track us.  When we parted company with Alastair and his cousin Victoria, the big gong at their home rang out a warning.  I was as worried as was Copper.  Cornelis, on the other hand, seemed overconfident that the Wongs would be fine.

“What!  They’re right behind us?  Do you mean to say we’ve gone under the hydrofoil and gotten ahead of them without even knowing they were there?” Cornelis exclaimed.

The Green Fairy gave an indignant and shrill warning.

Cornelis caught himself.  He quickly modulated his tone, and tried to calm the skunk-like fairy before he could spray that intoxicating vapor of highly concentrated absinthe.  Fortunately Copper had a soothing effect on the creature.  She gently stroked his tiny head with a finger and murmured compliments to him, saying he was lovely and brilliant. 

Absinthe hopped onto her shoulder and snuggled down under her ear, making an occasional snuffling sound.  I heaved a sigh of relief.

“I need to create a very good illusion to keep them from seeing us,” Cornelis began.  “I think a mirror trick will suffice.  A few illusory reflections so that it seems to them that they see the route ahead, but they do not see us.  But we’ll have to be absolutely quiet,” he said emphatically. 

The muscles in my face tightened until I thought I would twitch.  Quiet?  Absolutely quiet?  As I looked at Cornelis and Copper that requirement seemed impossible to meet.

Jean Beraud_The Backgammon Players

The Backgammon Players by Jean Beraud 1849-1935, Wikimedia Commons (Note the glass of absinthe.)

“This illusion will amplify any sounds we make,” he stressed.  “We’ll have to maintain silence for quite some time.  I suppose that will be easier if we occupy ourselves somehow.  Ah!  I know,” he said as he hurried to open a drawer in the submarine’s desk-like bridge.

He looked rather pleased with himself as he produced a backgammon set. 

“Unfortunately Cornelis, I don’t know how to play,” I told him.  “And teaching me will defeat the purpose of being quiet.  Oh, but you have some books over there,” I said noticing a bookcase in the corner.  “You and Copper can play while I read,” I suggested, knowing that the girl would enjoy the act of pretending to play even though it was unlikely that she actually knew the rules of backgammon.

“Yes, I want to play,” Copper quickly confirmed my guess.  “Absinthe and I can play against you Cornelis,” she offered, and the Green Fairy chirped and settled on the backgammon board the Dutchman had just opened.

Absinthe seemed to guide Copper in arranging the pieces on the game board.  Meanwhile Cornelis went to the second of two perpetual motion clocks.  It was a good deal larger than the first machine.  He gave the thing that looked like a cast iron finial another toss and then twisted it onto the base of the clock.  It began to spin slowly.  It had a rather hypnotic effect.  Looking at it made me queasy again.

Jaime Murray as the woman who wears trousers

Jaime Murray as Felicity

A green aura surrounded Cornelis.  From out of nowhere the alchemist produced postcard sized images of the waterway, the shorelines, and the sky.  He placed one hand just above the images and rested the other on the crystal dome of the perpetual motion clock.  As the glow around him intensified, one by one the images disappeared and then reappeared inside the dome.

“Wow!” Copper sighed and the Green Fairy made a soft shushing sound.

“I’m sure it’s important that we don’t interrupt Cornelis,” I whispered to Copper.

“Oh really?” Cornelis muttered drolly.  “My skills aren’t that limited.  Do go about setting up the game.  I’ll join you shortly.  Felicity, select a book and relax.”

I glanced at the titles.  Everything on the first three shelves was dry and scientific sounding.  When I looked at the fourth shelf I couldn’t suppress a chuckle.  The Dutchman had a small collection of Jane Austen books.

“You’ve an Austen collection?” I murmured in surprise.

“Yes.  I met the lady and several other authors.  She gave me the books herself.  You’ll see an inscription inside each, written in her own hand,” Cornelis said in a rather smug tone.

I was impressed. Of course, I couldn’t let Cornelis see that, so I hid my face behind a book.

Pride and Prejudice,” I commented.  “My favorite,” I said, silently reading the brief note from the author to her “dear friend, Cornelis Drebbel.”

A tinge of envy wriggled across my thoughts, but quickly departed.  I understood the things the alchemist endured.  Or I came as close to comprehending his life as a normal person could.  I could not feel envy of jealousy toward him for more than a moment.

“What’s it about?” Copper asked, moving to my side, apparently already bored with waiting for the game of backgammon to begin.

jane austen by sister cassandra 1804

Watercolor of Jane Austen by her sister, Cassandra, 1804

“Shall I read a bit to you while Cornelis sets up his trick?” I asked the girl and she nodded.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.”

Abruptly I paused.  The term “rightful property” was trying to work past my headache and connect itself to a half-formed suspicion about Calvin Hixon.  However, Copper interrupted my thought and it was absorbed into my bottle ache.

“So is it about a man getting married?” Copper asked when I paused, causing me to lose that train of thought. 

I gave my head half a shake to clear the jumbled notions inside it, and immediately regretted the motion.  “It’s about a young woman, and yes it’s also about a man.  Fitzwilliam Darcy,” I told her with a smile as I anticipated enjoying a favorite story.

Copper looked intrigued. 

“Is he handsome?” she wanted to know.

“Oh yes,” I answered.  “Darcy is noble and handsome, and smart too.”

Victorian courting

Wikimedia Commons, altered image

I saw Cornelis emitting a bright green aura as he worked his spell.  He paused in making some very intricate looking adjustments to the perpetual motion machine.  The alchemist looked at us and rolled his eyes heavenward.

“Oh yada Darcy yada,” he said derisively, cutting off my praise of the character.

Absinthe suddenly looked up when the alchemist made the comment.  The fairy’s emerald eyes grew large and he shrieked.

“Oh bugger,” Cornelis said in frustration as the tiny fairy flew over to him making a series of very irate noises.

“What’s wrong with our tiny friend?” I asked worriedly though my voice came out in a sardonic tone.

Yadadarcyyada is an incantation.  I can’t believe I just said it aloud.  If you hadn’t picked that blasted book it would never have happened,” Cornelis complained and the Green Fairy screamed again when Cornelis said the magic word a second time.

The submarine started to vibrate.  It shuddered every few seconds.  Everything around me looked like reflections from a fun-house mirror ― stretching, expanding, contracting, becoming triplicate reflections.

It was more than my upset stomach could take.  Apparently the nausea was plain on my face.  Absinthe gave a sputtering grunt and a wastebasket appeared in my hands, just in time for me to retch into the container.  I had the sneaking suspicion the tiny fairy was more concerned about keeping his submarine home clean than worried about my upset stomach.

brass alarm clocks distorted pixabay time-2801595_1280

Pixabay

Cornelis was yelling something about shifting of “the in to the out” and tucking a bit from this reality into the next — just as he had mentioned before.

The submarine began to spin.  I lost my balance and landed on the floor.  Copper fell down next to me, and I held the child with one arm and used my other arm to deflect books that fell down from the shelves and onto us.

Absinthe seemed to realize Copper was in distress.  He fluttered down to us, and landed on Copper’s shoulder.  Then he wrapped his tail protectively around her head.  A bright green light formed around us.  When I touched the aura, I was surprised to find it felt as hard as steel.

As the world around me whirled, I saw Cornelis frantically working with the perpetual motion machine and the magical finial.  The submarine whirled so fast that everything became a blur.  

As the force and pressure created by the maniacally spinning vessel became too great, darkness overtook me.

***

Perpetual Motion Clock Photo

Drebbel Perpetual Motion Clock

Real World Notes

Perpetual Motion Machines.  Drawings of perpetual motion machines date back to the 13th century, with French master mason and architect, Villard de Honnecourt.  Leonardo da Vinci also made a number of drawings of devices he hoped would make free energy.

Thomas Tymme, a writer of the era, described Cornelis Drebbel as having opened Nature’s secret closet.  Indeed, that seemed to be the widely held perception of Drebbel at the time.  In 1598 Drebbel obtained a patent for a sort of perpetual clockwork.  By (around) 1604 he had made a “perpetuum mobile,” entertaining and astonishing the court of King James I of England.

Victorian Vernacular

Inexpressibles:  Trousers.

Kill the canary:  Shirk work.

Kruger-spoof:  Lying.  Promises made but not kept.

Listening to myself:  Thinking.

***

What has the unintended incantation “Yadadarcyyada” done to the submarine and its passengers?  Might the magical effect extend beyond the submarine?  Will it be enough to allow our friends to get away from the villains on the hydrofoil?

Next time, the “See what happens when Corded Stays, Pickled Beets, and Cold Cereal drive the story.  I’ll be looking for you at the submarine port! 

I’ll be looking for you at the port on Saturday. 

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.

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 26.1

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Cover Copper Alchemist Woman n Trousers

Welcome to Hidebound Hump Day.  Back in 2015 he three things” for this chapter were from Donna Parker at Yadadarcyyada.  Her writing is uniquely wonderful as she shares her thoughts on a variety of things.

Aside from the random things, Donna’s inventive blog name inspired an important part of this chapter.  Be sure to visit her blog and look around, read some posts.  (Bet-ya can’t stop at one.)  I think you’ll be glad you did.

There it is, my chuckaboos! The port’s sonar has detected the approach of the steampunk submarine.  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 24  Copper was safely ensconced in a compartment beneath the “bridge” (desk) of Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine.  But the alchemist and the woman in trousers were quite intoxicated by the farts from the Green Fairy, aka Absinthe, who helps power the submarine.  Cornelis opened the hatch and he and Felicity hung out from the opening for some air to clear their befuddled heads.

Chapter 25  Cornelis remarked about about “other realities.”  Dash my wig, but that has me worried!  Absinthe, the Green Fairy used his own magic to create a map that showed Calvin Hixon’s location on a starry map. Or at least that’s what everyone seemed to think. 

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

26.1 — Ginger Beer and Cast Iron Finial

pagoda finial wikimedia

Finial from a pagoda in Sankeien, Yokohama. Wikimedia

Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine traveled quite smoothly, I was relieved to note.  After having been inebriated by the vapors of Absinthe the startled Green Fairy, I was feeling a bit fishy about the gills.  So I had worried about travel on — or rather under water.

To my astonishment, the tiny skunk-like fairy led me to a bottle of ginger beer.  With a sharp pop, Cornelis suddenly appeared at my elbow.

“Where did you run off to?” I asked, referring to the fact that a moment before the alchemist wasn’t there.

“Good idea, Absinthe,” he told the fluttering fairy, but ignored my question.  “Do try and drink it, Felicity.  Ginger beer works wonders when one is not up to dick.  It will help settle your stomach.”

Cornelis absently tossed what looked like a cast iron finial.  I raised my eyebrows, silently prompting him for an answer.

“I went to get this,” he said, giving the ornament another toss.

Drebbel stamp

Cornelis Drebbel stamp, Wikimedia

I tried to look at the thing, but Cornelis gave it a spin when he threw it.  Several strands of iron reached up and twisted to come together at the tip making an open teardrop shape.  Those twisted strips combined with the spin Cornelis gave his throw, made the shape seem to shift in an odd way as it went up and down with his tosses.  I thought my stomach would lose its contents.

Absinthe glided down for a closer look at the finial.  Then the Green Fairy gave a series of discontent sounding grunts at Cornelis.  Apparently he didn’t like the finial to be tossed around.

“Oh, Absinthe.  Don’t get testy,” the alchemist told the fairy with as his mouth twisted in a derisive way.  “No harm will come to it.  Besides, the tossing helps charge it.”

“Why did you need a bedpost finial?” I wanted to know, despite another nauseous lurch from my stomach.

“This is no ordinary piece of cast iron,” Cornelis explained.  “At least it is not any more.  Once it crowned one of the posts of my bed.  You see, many of my ideas come to me as I sleep.  For some reason this particular finial gradually took on unexpected properties, although the other three did not,” the Dutchman said with a shrug.  “I thought we might use it to help the submarine over the shallow places.”

The Green Fairy sniffed delicately at the finial, or whatever it was.  Then he fluttered back to the ginger beer and chirped at me.  As I took the proffered bottle, I gave the Dutchman a contemptuous look.

1877 ginger beer sellers london wikimedia

Ginger beer vendor, London 1877, Wikimedia

“Have you no shame, Cornelis?  You could at least pretend to have a hangover,” I complained.

“I don’t get bottle aches.  As I have no real stomach, I don’t tend to digestive upsets of any kind,” the alchemist explained merrily.  “But as you know, my skull does exist in this world.  So I can get miserable headaches, but rarely hangovers.”

“And head colds!” Copper chimed in, and giggled over the magical results of Cornelis sneezing when he and I were afflicted with that ailment.

The little skunk-like fairy snuffled and grunted in a way that sounded a lot like chuckling.  I gathered that he had also witnessed the alchemist under the influence of a head cold.

Copper

Copper was giggling so hard it was difficult to understand her words, but the fairy seemed to know what she said.  The only words I could pick out from the jumble of chortles were frogs and pancakes.

“You don’t act as though you have any sort of headache now,” I said, unwilling to laugh at the memory that so amused Copper, as I was feeling a bit put upon.

Cornelis chuckled. 

“I developed a tolerance to Absinthe’s frightened flatulence.  When he and I first met, I startled him many times.  One begins to get used to the effect,” he said.

As I sipped the ginger beer I gave Cornelis an arch look.  I wondered if he may have deliberately “startled” Absinthe on more than one occasion, to cause him to produce those potent poots.  The Green Fairy wrinkled up his pointed nose and made a grumbling sound at Cornelis that led me to believe my assumption was correct.

A pinging sound interrupted the conversation.  It came from that multi-armed machine.  Its limbs shifted.  The arms that were capped with blue and green gems lifted and spun, while the arms adorned with warm colored jewels lowered unmoving.

“We’ve come to a shallow area,” Cornelis commented, moving toward the device.  “Umm…” he pondered.  “The water is deeper than I expected.  We should be able to navigate it without much assistance.  However, if any of them should look, we will be easily spotted,” he added.  “Absinthe, have we caught up with any of those three groups of ack ruffians yet?”

The Green Fairy fluttered to one of the two perpetual motion machines.  The glass dome filled with green fog.  After a moment the haze cleared.  Within the glass, a blurry figure lurched and bobbed.  When it came into focus I saw that it was the hydrofoil! 

I saw the big chimpanzee jumping around and the sorry jade of a woman who commanded that small group.  I tried hard to get a look at her face, but the image was too small.  She again wore rain gear, so I couldn’t even make out her figure to help me ascertain her identity.

Forlanini hydrofoil

Alexander Graham Bell’s HD-4 hydrofoil, 1919

The Dutchman looked uncertain. 

“Absinthe, perhaps we should slow down.  We don’t want to get too close to them,” Cornelis advised.

Absinthe chirped then made a tut-tut sound.  That worried me.  Surely we hadn’t…

“What!  They’re right behind us?  Do you mean to say we’ve gone under the hydrofoil and gotten ahead of them without even knowing they were there?” Cornelis exclaimed.

The Green Fairy gave an indignant and shrill warning.

***

Real World Notes

Hydrofoil.  Way back in Chapter 4, Alexander Graham Bell was mentioned and his hydrofoil came into this story.  However, the “Real World Note” was very brief.  So I’ll elaborate. 

Concepts for such a craft were developed as early as 1899.  Italian inventor Enrico Forlanini began work on hydrofoils in 1898 and used a “ladder” foil system. Forlanini obtained patents in Britain and the United States for his ideas and designs.

Around 1906, Alexander Graham Bell began to sketch concepts of a hydrofoil boat.  With his chief engineer Casey Baldwin, Bell began hydrofoil experiments in 1908.  Baldwin studied the work of the Italian inventor Enrico Forlanini and began testing models based on those designs, which led to the development of hydrofoil watercraft.  During Bell’s world tour of 1910–1911, Bell and Baldwin met with Forlanini in Italy, where they rode in his hydrofoil boat over Lake Maggiore.  Baldwin described it as being as smooth as flying.

Victorian girls whisper_Hotel Perrin

Victorian Vernacular

Call it 8 Bells:  The Victorian version of “It’s 5 O’clock somewhere.”  Since it was bad form in nautical circles to have a drink before high noon (or 8 Bells), one might “Call it eight bells” if they went for a drink before that hour.  “I know it’s early but I fancy a drink at that bar.  Call it 8 Bells.”

Catafalque:  A hat with a tall plume, especially if the feathers were black.  Such hats rose to their greatest height in 1897.  They were sometimes removed to the laps of the wearers when in the theater. 

Donkey’s breakfast:  A man’s straw hat. 

Fishy about the gills:  The appearance of recent drunkenness, which produced a pull-down of the corners of the mouth and the squareness of the lower cheeks or gills, suggesting the gills in fish.

Jamiest bits of jam:  Absolutely perfect young females.

***

Good heavens… has Cornelis startled the Green Fairy into another potent poot?  It’s no time to get arfarfan’arf, what with the that group of ack ruffians on the hydrofoil so near!

Next time, the “See what happens when Backgammon adds to the story.  

I’ll be looking for you at the submarine port this weekend for Straightlaced Saturay!  

***

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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 25

Wednesday, January 2, 2019happy new year Teagans Books cats planeHappy New Year, my chuckaboos!   It’s a new year, and appropriately enough our heroes have a new mode of transportation.  We are no longer on the road locomotive.  The #Steampunk train is now a submarine! 

No matter how we’re traveling, I’m happy to share the journey with you.  My heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you for sticking with me throughout 2018 — from the last episodes of the faery serial, Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam, to short stories of the Pip-verse for Jazz Age Wednesdays, to a completely different 1920s serial Hullaba Lulu with artist Rob Goldstein, to the launch of Atonement in Bloom, to reruns of this steampunk serial. You, each one of you, made it a wondrous year for me.

Cornelis Drebbel inside sub _001

Rob Goldstein’s vision of Cornelis Drebbel in his submarine

The best part of writing with random things sent by readers was that I used it to promote others.  Back in 2015 when I wrote this chapter, I had temporarily run out of things, so I didn’t have anyone to publicize.  I decided to take the things from Atonement, Tennessee.

The port’s sonar has detected the approach of the steampunk submarine.  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 21  A word had been written by the rogue magic that resulted when Copper accidentally added a second harmonic tuner to the magic worked by the alchemist.  It wasn’t something anyone would want to wash away, because it was never part of the laundry.  As I said, that was only Alastair’s wit, a joke.  It was a magically provided clue, resulting from the alchemist’s spell.

In large glowing green script I read the word aloud. 

“Daddy.”

Chapter 23 Through one of his “tricks” the alchemist saw a dozen villains rapidly approaching the family estate of the Wongs.  Alastair’s ancestral connection to Cornelis made him as eager to defend the alchemist as he was to protect his home.  Alastair and Victoria used the road locomotive to rush back home while our trio waited to board Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine.

Chapter 24  Copper was safely ensconced in a compartment beneath the “bridge” (desk) of Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine.  But the alchemist and the woman in trousers were quite intoxicated by the farts from the Green Fairy, aka Absinthe, who helps power the submarine.  Cornelis opened the hatch and he and Felicity hung out from the opening for some air while he gave clearing their heads a magical assist with the harmonic tuner.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

25 — Home, Neighbors, Mimosa

mimosa blossom

Wikimedia Commons

It was no accident, I thought to myself, that the Green Fairy looked like a tiny green skunk, albeit one with gossamer wings. 

Much like a frightened skunk could spray a noxious odor from special anal glands, Absinthe produced a vapor that was the equivalent of highly concentrated absinthe liquor; an already potent potable in its pure form.  That such a petite personage could produce so powerful a poot was positively— Oh my, what a lot of P words, I thought.  Perhaps I’m not fully sober.  I’m glad I kept that ramble to myself.

“Felicity,” Cornelis began raising one bushy blonde eyebrow.  “You did say that out loud my chuckaboo,” he added and I cleared my throat, looking around suspiciously.

Where was that little green skunk?  I’d hate to sit on him and start the whole drunken business over again.  I hazarded another look at the Dutchman.

Green fairy skunk

“No.  Whatever that was, you didn’t say it aloud that time,” he told me with a smirk.  “Do try and make yourself at home,” he told me, making a general motion, as if to include the entire submarine.  “I’ll see if I can coax out the Green Fairy for a proper introduction.  He has a finely tuned appreciation for formality.  Why don’t you let Copper know that it’s safe to come out?”

Cornelis left the room, or whatever I was supposed to call the compartments inside a submarine.  Was it a ship or a boat? 

I turned to the beautiful desk.  I supposed it might be called the bridge since we were on a ship… or boat.  A small groan escaped my lips at my excessive indecision.  Yes, I was still a little tipsy, even after the head-clearing effect of the harmonic tuner, which Cornelis had rung right next to our heads.  I hoped I wouldn’t have a hangover.  Oh heck, now I was having at it with H words.

Oh yes, the desk — that’s where Copper is,” I muttered foggily.

The center area, where a chair might go, had a roll-down cover.  It was tightly closed with the girl inside, to protect her from the potently intoxicating vapors. 

I squatted down and knocked on the cover.  Copper lifted the door and looked out curiously.

Copper

“The air has cleared now, Copper,” I assured her.  “You can come back out.”

I scooted backward to give her more room to crawl out from the desk.  Then I lost my squatted balance, and fell backward on my bottom.  The room still spinning a little.

“Are you all right, Felicity?” Copper asked, giving me a quizzical look.

Her expression made me want to laugh.  Though I tried to maintain a serious face I burst out in giggles.  Copper joined in and we plopped down on the floor in a helpless giggling heap.  A movement caused me to look upward.  It took me a moment to focus.  I blinked.  A green creature, about as long as my hand, hovered over our heads.  It looked like a tiny bright green skunk with gossamer wings — Absinthe, the Green Fairy.

The smile froze on my face.  I daren’t frighten the Green Fairy again.  Through the clinched teeth of my now forced smile I cautioned Copper, trying to motion upward with just my eyes.  Fortunately she followed my gaze.

“Gently now Copper,” I began.  “We don’t want to disturb the neighbors,” I said meaningfully, as I tilted my head toward the fairy.green skunk palm

“Oh there you are!” Copper cried with enthusiasm as she turned to look up at the skunk-like creature.

His bushy tail curled over his back, much like a squirrel’s would.  Green butterfly wings shimmered like a faceted peridot as they fluttered, bringing the fairy close to the girl.

“Copper!” I whispered the warning.

“Don’t worry, Felicity.  It’s just Absinthe.  Isn’t he pretty?” she asked and I nodded mutely, otherwise still as a statue.

The little fairy seemed to be aware that he’d been complimented, and he chirped at Copper.

“Absinthe, this is my friend Felicity.  She and Cornelis are helping me find Daddy.  You’re friends with Cornelis aren’t you?” Copper told the creature introduced me to the creature in quite a grownup way.

She nodded when it chirped as if in reply.  I watched in fascination.  Copper seemed like a little girl at play, having a tea party for her imaginary friends — except for the fact that it was all real.

 

Copper held out her arm and the Green Fairy fluttered down and perched there, chirping and snuffling contentedly.

 

“I wish you could have met my other friends, Mr. Wong and Victoria,” she told the tiny creature.  “But something was wrong at their house and they had to go back home.  I’ve been afraid for them ever since they left.  There were some really bad people chasing us, and I think those people took Daddy too.  So now I’m afraid they might hurt Victoria and Alastair.  I wish I could see them and know they’re okay,” she said in a voice so sad that I thought my heart would break — and then I hiccupped.

The little fairy watched Copper intently as she spoke.  When she paused he chirped once and abruptly fluttered up toward the desk. 

On either side of the desktop sat what I recognized for variations of Cornelis Drebbel’s perpetual motion clock.  No doubt both were alchemically enhanced in some way.

 

 

Absinthe went directly to the clock on the right and hovered before it.  He looked at Copper and chirped.  She hurried over to the desk.  I followed very cautiously.  I was still concerned about startling the fairy.  It wasn’t that my balance was still unsteady, or that I was tipsy from the absinthe vapors.  Really it wasn’t…

A dozen small knobs protruded from the base of the first perpetual motion clock.  Lightning fast, the fairy’s dainty paws touched and twisted the knobs.  The glass dome covering the clock became clouded by green fog. 

The clock then chimed the quarter hour.  The vapor beneath the glass cleared.  I could see a three dimensional image of the Wong family’s pavilion as if I looked from the air high above the estate.

The fairy turned another knob and the view drew in closer to the carefully designed and manicured grounds.  Several kinds of ornamental trees decorated the area. 

The fairy brought the view even closer and I saw the ground was littered with bodies.  At first I feared the entire family and staff were all dead.  However, I realized there were subtle movements.  The people were merely unconscious.  Then I saw that the fallen were not the Wongs at all, but the intruders!

I saw the small woman, Victoria beneath a flowering tree.  She knelt over a man, deftly tying his hands behind his back before he could regain consciousness.  She straightened her back, as if she was about to rise, but she stilled.

Asian girl kimono red Pixabay free

Pixabay

As if in slow motion a mimosa blossom floated gently down from the tree’s branches.  As I watched the delicate flower’s descent one of the intruders crept up behind tiny Victoria.  She never looked up.  The man was behind her, ready to strike. 

As the falling blossom grazed the tip of a blade of grass, Victoria sprang to her feet, twisted while on the toes of one foot and squarely planted a hard kick into the villain’s midsection.  By the time the blossom had settled into the grass, the tiny woman was tying up the intruder.

“Wow…!” Copper said on a sigh with a grateful look at the Green Fairy.

Then the image faded away and the clock went back to its usual, though unique appearance.

“I believe Victoria and Alastair and everyone at the pavilion are fine,” I told Copper, and I was as relieved as she.

The tiny Green Fairy fluttered over the desk, or bridge or whatever.  I hiccupped again.  I looked uneasily at Absinthe, but the involuntary noise didn’t seem to concern him.  He moved to the contraption that had originally caused me to make the comment and motion that had startled the fairy, eliciting his intoxicating emanation, which inebriated Cornelis and me.  Especially me.

Albert Maignan's "Green Muse" 1895

Albert Maignan’s “Green Muse” 1895

Where was I?  Oh yes… Absinthe fluttered to that multi-limbed brass contrivance.  Each arm ended with a walnut sized faceted gemstone.  Just as before, the device gyrated and whirred so much that it was difficult to count its arms, but I thought there were seven, each capped with a different colored gem.  The base of the device was brightly lit and it caused the gemstones to cast a rainbow effect as the arms spun.

The rainbow lights filled the inside of the submarine.  Cornelis had closed the hatch and climbed down the ladder.  He made over the lights, praising Absinthe, no doubt intending to soothe the creature before I could startle him again. 

However, Absinthe didn’t pay any mind to the Dutchman or to me.  He darted from the multi-armed contrivance to the first perpetual motion clock and then to the second one on the other side of the desk.  His tiny paws adjusted crystal knobs and other apparatus so fast his motions were a blur.

The rainbow lights that filled the room became blotchy.  Gradually, they took form.  After a moment I realized the lights had transformed into a map that filled the room.  It was a duplicate of Alastair Wong’s map, which Cornilis had used the harmonic tuner to magically enhance. However, it didn’t have as many dots as the map that resulted back when the alchemist’s spell went awry and the mangle went rogue, magically producing the word “Daddy.”

Absinthe’s map had one dot that sparkled particularly brightly.  I thought the mark might streak away like a shooting star, but it remained stationary.  Then three other smaller dots appeared; each in a different place on the map.  Those dots crawled about like fireflies, but they all moved toward the crystalline bright star.

“Which one are we?” Copper asked, meaning the dots.

james-seddon-Couple Blue Lights 1238544-unsplash.jpg

James Seddon, Unsplash

The Green Fairy’s snuffling sound changed to something that sounded very much like “Tut, tut.”  His tail twitched in an irritated way as he fluttered across the map.  A shimmering blue area that I expected represented water flashed once.  A small, shimmering copper sphere suddenly appeared in the blue.  Cornelis chuckled.

“It’s a copper dot to show where Copper is,” he explained.  “Well done Absinthe.”

Copper looked from the floating ball that represented her and then back at the first dot.  She gasped as comprehension showed on her face.  She reached toward the first radiantly glowing dot, but it was far over her head.  Absinthe chirped happily and darted down to the girl.

“Daddy,” I murmured.  “So that’s where Calvin Hixon is?  But he’s away from all three of the groups who were chasing us.  Although I suppose that doesn’t necessarily mean that he is not under duress of some kind,” I speculated.

While I spoke Cornelis strolled about the map-filled room, looking intently at the magical cartography and all the moving parts.  I noticed that our copper sphere was farthest away from the star that apparently represented Calvin Hixon.

The alchemist seemed to be tracing all the waterways. 

“Is it possible for this submarine to travel to the spot where Hixon is?” I asked.

His mouth twisted, but Cornelis put a knuckle to his lips and knitted his brows in thought.  He tilted his head to one side and looked at the Green Fairy.

Reconstruction of Drebbel’s submarine, Wikipedia

“No,” he said as if he had been distracted.  “There are places that are not nearly deep enough for this submarine,” he commented and Absinthe hissed as if scolding Cornelis.  “But with a little shifting of ‘the in to the out’…  Tucking a bit from this reality into the next…  Together Absinthe and I should be able to make it work,” he said.

The Green Fairy appeared to be happy with that pronouncement and he fluttered down to alight on the alchemist’s shoulder.  I felt very uneasy.

“What do you mean by shifting of ‘the in to the out’ Cornelis Drebbel?  And other realities!  I don’t like the sound of that.  You know full well how often your tricks go awry,” I warned him.

To my surprise, Absinthe grunted and chirped in a way that sounded like he actually agreed with me.  Cornelis tilted his head to look at the tiny fairy in surprise.

“Why Felicity!  Absinthe, you too?  You wound me,” Cornelis said in his most melodramatic voice.  “What could possibly go wrong?”

All I could manage to do was shake my head.  I sank back to the floor and dropped my forehead against my knees with a groan.

***

This episode didn’t include anything I wanted to use as “Real World Notes.”  So here are some more Victorian slang terms.

Victorian Vernacular

Bitch the pot:  Pour the tea.

Boiled owl:  Drunk.  “I can’t remember anything about last night.  I got absolutely boiled owled.”

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

Dirty puzzle:  A promiscuous woman.  “I dirty-puzzled around when I was in university, but who didn’t?”

***

Well, dash my wig!  That bit about other realities has me worried.  Will Cornelis finally get that extremely dangerous spell to work perfectly?  Does that bother anyone else as much as it does me?  What if something startles the Green Fairy into another inebriating absinthe-super-charged fart?  Will they make it to Copper’s daddy before their foes find him?  Then again, is Calvin Hixon, in fact, really at the indicated star on the map…? 

Be at the port again next time when this the steampunk submarine continues on Straightlaced Saturday.  Next time, the “three things” were from Donna Parker at Yadadarcyyada.  See what happens when Ginger Beer, Cast Iron Finial, and Backgammon enter the story. 

I’ll be looking for you at the port on Saturday.  

Mega hugs! 

***

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