For 300dpi Downloadable Version go HERE
Words by Rhissanna
Ephemera Sets & Reprocessing by Rose
Dr. Crupper lowered himself into one of the thickly padded seats as the ladies of the Hangar Club gathered around him. His engineer stood respectfully to one side, the offending newspaper advertisement now discreetly rolled away.
"Well, dash it all," one tall lady said, rather stridently, "There must be some fix for this! Come along, Crupper! Stiff upper lip, and all that."
He nodded, and dug about in his waistcoat for his Chronometer. It resembled a large and well-appointed pocket watch, fitted with three dials and the hands for all of them were moving alarmingly. Dr. Crupper got to his feet and, holding the device in his hand, watched the sweep hand as it wound itself counter-clockwise. Backwards...
"Confound this thing! I can't get a reading!"
He looked again at the women and then. In sudden inspiration, he moved to the window. Outside, where there should be the brick walls of his carefully constructed tunnel, he saw open fields and a soft snow falling in the moonlight. The ladies clustered behind him.
"How lovely," one said, softly.
The Pneumatic Conveyance plunged onward. However, Dr. Crupper now looked much less alarmed.
"Dear Ladies, we will make a short excursion! I know the very place!" He nodded to the Engineer, who had been staring out of the window and together they headed toward the rear of the machine.
"Crupper!" cried the tall lady, who really did have a loud voice.
Dr. Crupper winced a little. "Yes, my dear?"
"What are we to do?"
"Do?" said Dr. Crupper with an enigmatic smile, "Why, get dressed, of course. You can't go out like that!"
The ladies looked at each other, resplendent as they were with their fur-lined muffs, their beautiful hats and their colorful coats. Whatever was wrong with their clothes, they wanted to know. They all started talking at once. To each other, to the Engineer, (who backed away in alarm at being accosted by so many ladies) and to Dr. Crupper.
"You can't wear those because you'll draw the curious eye. We can't have that. Please, allow me..." He pressed a button, which summoned a servant in livery, ''Bring the steamer trunk, would you, my good fellow?"
The servant nodded slightly, gave a glance to the ladies as if counting their number, and left. When he returned, he dragged behind him a large trunk, which proved to be full of cloaks and hooded capes. The articles were examined and the universal opinion was that they were warm, but rather roomy.
"You need to be covered, ladies. Concealed. Did I not promise you an adventure?"
The vehicle drew to a halt in a narrow and dark little station. It was much less well-appointed than the one from which they had begun their journey. In answer to their questions, Dr. Crupper would only say that the station was rather old and that they'd best hurry along.
The ladies chattered animatedly as they walked the chilly street, although they had little idea where they were as Dr. Crupper evaded every question but one, their destination.
"We're bound for the Crescent Moon Apothecary, dear ladies."
This, of course, only added to the questions, but Dr. Crupper would offer no more information.
It wasn't until the party turned into a wide and open road, that the ladies began to exclaim. "Why, this is London!"
And so it was, but rather different from the London they had left. There was snow, and it was still winter, but this was a London they could hardly recognize, with no modern buildings, and the citizens were dressed in VERY old fashioned clothes.
They were ushered into the little shop under the sign of the Crescent Moon. The ladies were told to touch nothing, to ask no questions and, under no circumstances, were they to interrupt the procedure. Rather chastened by Dr. Crupper's stern demeanor, the ladies, for once, fell silent.
Dr. Crupper was sat down in a chair and a strange device was placed on his head. A label on the box stated in large letters that this was a Hill's Magnetic Cap.
"I must re-set the Chronometer. It is attuned to my magnetic resonance and I'm afraid, my dear ladies, that your outlandish gear has rather upset it. Please, a few more moments of silence."
The rather odd hat didn't seem to do anything observable. In fact, all the ladies could see was that Dr. Crupper went a little pale. He held his Chronometer in his hand, watching it while the cap did its mysterious work and then, without a word, he got unsteadily to his feet.
"Steady!" cried the engineer, hastening to support his employer. "Let me help him."
But the ladies of the hangar Club had already clustered round their Doctor. They guided him back to the station, where the Pneumatic Conveyance waited, gleaming softly in the tunnel's half light. They sat with him, in the engine room, while he carefully re-calibrated the machinery, and they dabbed his brow and offered smelling salts, as the device swept them through strange fields of ice and moonlight, before plunging into another tunnel.
It was alarming, but only for a moment. Then they were out in fields of fresh snow and bright sunshine. Around them they could see a lake, filled with happy skaters.
"Oh," they cried, and clapped their hands. "How wonderful."
Dr. Algernon Crupper nodded. He looked fatigued, but triumphant. "I believe skating would be in order, if one of you dear friends would assist me?"
Would they! They were more than happy to parade their hero over the crisp and clean ice. In fact, they wore the poor Doctor out. He pleaded the day's excitement and exertions, had been too much for him and so they all retired to a country inn in the snow, where the ladies took turns to attend him. The offered him restorative medicine and hot cocoa and one took it upon herself to write down his notes of the day's curious events.
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