Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 24

Choices

Couple boat pug

One of my favorite bloggers, Donna Parker, wrote about choices. Her post got me thinking — as it often does. Eventually my pondering turned to choices about writing. Despite the fact that writers are advised to choose one genre and stick to it, I think most of us like to dabble in various types of storytelling. I continue to dally with different styles, but my stick-to-it choice is fantasy.

I’ve been encouraged to write romances, but I leave that to the experts — like Mary. This time, the three things that fueled the steam locomotive to the Victorian Era were sent by Mary J. McCoy-Dressel.

Mary’s latest book, Of the Cowboy’s Own Accord, took off like a rocket. It reached #1 in Amazon’s ranking of best sellers in Contemporary Western Fiction.  She describes herself as an author of sensual Contemporary Western Romance with strong family ties. I’m fond of calling it her dynasty of cowboys, but it would be more correct to say (as Mary puts it) she specializes in “gentlemen cowboys (with a touch of bad) & their feisty heroines.”

Mary_Double Dutch Ranch Series

Our steam locomotive is rolling ’round the bend. Again, I’ve included some fun informative links in text and images. This time I’m also giving you a menu for a Victorian afternoon tea.  All aboard!

 

As you’ll recall…

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 — she was a woman from Copper’s town, but the woman in trousers couldn’t recall which townswoman possessed that voice.

Our heroes 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.

24.  Straitlaced, Queen Anne Style Architecture, Harper’s Bazaar

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.

Tea Gown by Charles Frederick Worth as seen in Harper's Bazaar, December 1891

Tea Gown by Charles Frederick Worth as seen in Harper’s Bazaar, December 1891

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.  The amethyst ape was 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 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.  However, Copper was beside herself with excitement.

Carson mansion Queen Annd

The Carson Mansion located in Eureka, California is considered one of the finest examples of American Queen Anne style architecture.

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.”

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.Jaime Murray-2

I was speechless.  Could there be a purple ape version of me?  And was she married to an ape version of Ignatius Belle?  Surely not, it was incomprehensible!  The ideas were a bit too much and I suddenly had a headache.

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.

A violet complected chimpanzee housekeeper 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.

(How to Host a Victorian Tea Party)

 

1920s Catering Menu-1Tea Menu

Sandwiches and Savories
Smoked Salmon with Dill Butter on Dark Bread, garnished with Dill (open face half-moon sandwich)

Ham and Chopped Watercress with Basil Butter on Rye Bread (finger sandwich)

Thinly Sliced Cucumber & Chopped Mint with Mint Butter on White Bread (open face round sandwich)
Chopped Egg and Diced Black Olives on Whole Wheat Bread (pinwheel sandwich)

***

Scones and Breads

*********

Enhancers

Devonshire Cream

Flavored Butters (Fruit, Herb & Spice)

Raspberry Preserves and Rose Petal Jam
***

Sweets

Served in a champagne or martini glass:

English Trifle with Heart-Shaped Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

***

Mauve teacup Wileman Co 1893

My cup rattled against its saucer.  I was embarrassed to I spill my tea.  Charming and hospitable as Cal Hicks was, the entire situation was unnerving.  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.

Several portraits hung in the hallway.  It seemed that Cal Hicks enjoyed a much happier, devoted family life than had Calvin Hixon.  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.  And 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 CoupleA 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 the ape 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 he asked our host if we might stroll around the grounds to help the fine repast he’d 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.

Mount Olivet Cemetery Chapel, Nashville, TN

Mount Olivet Cemetery Chapel, Nashville, TN

“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.

“Well, perhaps a refresher will help it along then,” Cal Hicks said 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 said 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 Drebbel

Cornelis Drebbel

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.1860s Woman Handkerchief tintipe

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?”

***

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?  I hope to see you at the platform for the train to the Victorian Era again next time. 

Hot and humid… day after day, night after night – it’s just that time of year here.  So when I saw a beautiful post from Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen for “Nicoise Salad,” it seemed like the perfect recipe to share with this episode.

Recipe:  Nicoise Salad

Nicoise Salad suzanne

Photo and recipe credit:  Suzanne Debrango

 

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

 

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 21

Pride Predjudice

 

Thanks for waiting 
Welcome back everyone.  I’m so glad you waited for the steam locomotive to the Victorian Era.

The “three things” for this chapter are from Donna Parker at Yadadarcyyada – Vague Meanderings of the Broke and Obscure, a truly wonderful blog. In Donna’s posts she shares her thoughts on a variety of things.  In one post she’ll have me laughing so hard my stomach hurts, and with an another I’ll be climbing up onto the soapbox with her as she gives voice to her feelings.  So be sure to visit her blog and look around, read a few posts.  I think you’ll be glad you did.

The “things” Donna sent created a new twist for the story.  I really wasn’t expecting it — but you’ll have to read on to learn what that is!

Now the locomotive is back on track, so without further ado, I present Episode-21.

From last time…

“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.

“I don’t like the sound of that.  You know full well how often your tricks go awry,” I warned him.

21.  Ginger Beer, Cast Iron Finial, Backgammon

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 queasy.  So I had worried about travel on — or rather under water.

Ginger Beer 3To 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.  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.

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, it helps charge it.”

Terrence Mann as Cornelis 2

Terrence Mann as Cornelis Drebbel

“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.

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

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

“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

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.  Those 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 anyone should look, we will be easily spotted,” he added.  “Absinthe, have we caught up with any of those three groups 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.  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 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

The Dutchman looked uncertain.  “Absinthe, perhaps we should slow down.  We don’t want to get too close to them,” Cornelis said.

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 and the Green Fairy gave an indignant shrill warning.

Cornelis caught himself and quickly 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 as she gently stroked his tiny head with a finger and murmured compliments to him.  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.  “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.

The Backgammon Players by Jean Beraud 1849-1935

The Backgammon Players by Jean Beraud 1849-1935

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 added quickly.  “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, the Woman in Trousers

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.  You’ll see an inscription inside each, written in her own hand,” Cornelis said in a rather smug tone.

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

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

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

Green fairy skunk“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 aching head.

“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

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 funhouse mirror; stretching, expanding, contracting, becoming triplicate reflections.

Drebbel Perpetual Motion Clock

Drebbel Perpetual Motion Clock

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 — that he wasn’t so worried about my upset stomach.

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.

***

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?  Be at the train station next time!

Now here is the recipe for Episode-21.  Bon appétit!

Recipe:  Ginger Beer,

A Probiotic Summer Drink

Ginger Beer 2

Photo and recipe credit:  A Real Food Lover.com

 

Next weekend the three things are from the wonderful R.C. in the Land of Enchantment.  See where Pickled Beets, Corded Stays, and Cold Cereal take our characters.

 

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 20

Caution: Shameless Self-promotion AheadAtonement Tennessee

Thank you so very much to Donna, RC, and Kathryn, who have all sent “three things” to drive this story.  All those are waiting in queue.  However, the steam(punk) locomotive was all out of fuel when I started writing this episode.  Also since I didn’t have “three things” to drive this episode that meant there wasn’t anyone for me to promote either!  So… since indie authors are supposed to engage in incessant, brazen self-promotion, I guess I’ll promote my novel, Atonement, Tennessee.

 

Atonement, Tennessee is available now and you can get it here:

Barnes & Noble Nook

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/atonement-tennessee-teagan-geneviene/1117790203?ean=2940148918431

Kindle and Paperback

http://www.amazon.com/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B00HGSVA8A/ref=la_B00HHDXHVM_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412384486&sr=1-1

Amazon UK

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B00HGSVA8A

Amazon India

http://www.amazon.in/Atonement-Tennessee-Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/dp/1481826948

Work in ProgressAtonement in Bloom

Book-2, Atonement in Bloom, is in progress.  No estimated completion date, because I spend all my time working on this blog and the serials.  Somehow I have to become able to do everything faster.  Doing less is not an option.

Regarding this serial, for those of you who need a refresher, look to the right of your screen, scroll down to categories and click “Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers,” to see the most recently published episodes.  Or if you’re new, go to the top of the screen and click on “Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers, Serial Home,” where you’ll find all the episodes, beginning with the first.

Anyhow, for this shameless self-promotion, I decided to take the “things” from the first three chapter headings of my novel.  So we have Home, Neighbors, and Mimosa.

Be sure to read to the end for a refreshing beverage recipe link!  Keep an eye out for fun, informative links in the text and images.

What did you say?  I couldn’t hear you over the engine noise.  Oh!  Our locomotive to the Victorian Era has arrived.  All aboard!

From Last Time

Episode-19 left Copper 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.

20.  Home, Neighbors, and Mimosa

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 positivelyOh my, what a lot of P words, I thought.  Perhaps I’m not fully sober.  I’m glad I kept that ramble to myself.Green fairy skunk

“Felicity,” Cornelis said raising one bushy blonde eyebrow.  “You did say that out loud darling,” 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.

“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.  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.  Yes, I was still a little tipsy, even after the head-clearing effect of the harmonic tuner, which Cornelis rang 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 was.  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

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 was only 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 said 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 and she nodded when it chirped as if in reply.

Jamie Murray as Felicity 3I watched in fascination.  She 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.

Drebbel Perpetual Motion Clock

Drebbel Perpetual Motion Clock

Absinthe went directly to the clock on the right and hovered over there.  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 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.

mimosa blossomAs 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 touched the ground Victoria sprang to her feet, twisted while on the toes of one foot and squarely planted a hard kick into his 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.  But then they started to take 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 that Cornilis had used the harmonic tuner to magically enhance, but it didn’t have as many dots (back when the alchemist’s spell went awry and the mangle went rogue, magically producing the word “Daddy”).  It had one dot that sparkled 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.

Copper curious w-green“Which one are we?” Copper asked, meaning the dots.

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 knew 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.Drebbel submarine

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.

“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.

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.

***

Will Cornelis finally get that extremely dangerous spell to work perfectly?  Or will something startle the Green Fairy into another inebriating absinthe-super-charged fart?  Will they make it to Copper’s daddy before their foes?  Is Calvin Hixon, in fact, really at the indicated star on the map…?  Be at the station again next time.

Don’t leave yet!  Here’s the recipe for this episode

Recipe:  Blood Orange Mimosa

Blood-Orange Mimosa

Recipe and photo credit:  Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower  http://cookingwithawallflower.com/2015/05/20/blood-orange-mimosa/

Be at the train station next weekend when the three things are from Donna Parker.  Where will “Ginger Beer, Backgammon, and Cast Iron Finial” take our steampunk locomotive?

 

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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