Today, I thought I’d share the first page of my steampunk novella set in Marvellous Melbourne in 1880s, Evangeline & the Alchemist.
I hope you enjoy….
As soon as Miss Plockton rapped on the door to the laboratory-workshop in her efficient Scottish way, Evangeline knew something exciting was about to happen.
“Chief Inspector Wivelsfield to see you, sir?” she burred.
“Ah yes. I plum forgot.”
Evangeline’s father placed down his trusty brass screwdriver with the ivory handle. Her father, Professor Montague Caldicott, the pre-eminent horological engineer in all the Colonies, smoothed down his humongous moustache with his real hand.
“Your lesson is over for today, m’dear. Follow Miss Plockton upstairs and continue with your embroidery.”
“But Father…” Evangeline groaned.
“Police matters are not for the ears of impressionable young ladies.”
Evangeline grimaced and stowed away her rosewood-handled screwdriver in the pocket of her dress. The smaller and more delicate screwdriver was a recent gift from her father, an encouragement to pursue her own inventions.
The Professor shooed Evangeline and Miss Plockton from the laboratory-workshop, before carefully locking the door behind him.
There was a time when a visit from the police would have frightened Evangeline. She would have hurried to hide her loot but not today. Today she was a reformed character, setting aside her street urchin ways and learning to be a proper young lady. But Evangeline had to admit being good all the time was a bit dull.
Evangeline sulked all the way up the stairs, clumping her feet and dawdling. Her father passed her and continued up the oriental carpeted hallway into his study, closing the door behind him. The conversation of men muffled by the closed oak door.
Evangeline loitered in the hallway, waiting for Miss Plockton to drag her into the sitting room to complete her crudely stitched handkerchief. Whilst Evangeline was proficient in many skills, needlecraft was not one of them.
Rather than bustling Evangeline away, Miss Plockton did something curious. Her father’s personal secretary produced a large brass key from her pocket and opened the small closet adjoining the Professor’s study. The room where all the house linen was stored.