A new entry into the Omicron Matter – A Door Chime is Added. Eleanor and the team make the final installations on the door chime. Her air ship moves around the cable with ease. As the final adjustments are made, Millicent, Michael and Felicity arrive. Rachael has decided to formally sign on with Millicent. However, she has not been able to tell her father. She delivers that difficult message just before the door chime gets its first test.
For those of you who are new to the Omicron Matter, the home page is a good place to start.
Look for the final entry on this chapter tomorrow.
This is a longer entry. The installation explanation isn’t that long, but there are some long conversations that Eleanor over hears. Rachael’s position on the team shifts and all that needs to be explained. Life continues to be busy and I am still a bit behind on writing so I am not QUITE making my goal of an entry a day. December shattered previous view records. January was respectable, but was far short of December. I am still trying to work out a rhythm. With a coming set of rainy days on the weekend, I might actually pull ahead. But then I can be excessively optimistic.
The next day, they left earlier but still used the wagon because Rachael expected to finish and they would want to haul the tools back. She rode in the back with the blankets and the pillows. Eleanor was sure that Rachael enjoyed being out of the wind for the ride. Simone joined her under the blankets and the two of them laughed while Eleanor and Liam shivered in the cold slow ride to Stepney Green Square.
At the shop, coats, gloves and hats were replaced with warm tea and a discussion of the final activities. Eleanor and Simone worked on mounting the cable and the airship. The work was not as challenging mentally as it was physically. Holes had to be drilled for the screws and for the brackets which took time with the hand crank tools Eleanor and Simone took turns using the hand drill in the ceiling. With the holes drilled, Eleanor held the cable in place while Simone secured a bracket and the cable. Both Simone and Eleanor had sheens of sweat by lunch despite the chill of the front room.
Around 1PM, Liam clapped his hands announcing, “I’ve got the last of these corner boxes up and I need luncheon.”
Mordechai poked his head from the back room and said, “I’ve got some root soup made that will get you going again.” Eleanor felt a bit warm and wasn’t sure that soup seemed so good, but she found she cooled quickly and the warm soup helped keep the chills away. The five sat crowded around the work table surrounded by gears and springs, and half built clocks. They shared what their favorite soup was. Liam’s was a fish soup he could get near the docks. Rachael’s was chicken matzo ball soup. Simone’s was beef stew despite it being a newly acquired taste. Eleanor described a spicy fish stew her mother would make when Eleanor was young. She said, “We have only had it once since mother died. It was hard to find all the spices and father isn’t much of a cook and mother never wrote recipes down.”
After the lunch break, Eleanor and Simone returned to the cable that circled the room. When she and Simone had nearly mounted the cable all the way around the room, Eleanor brought out the model airship. The two foot long balloon had a small cable and wheel device that rested on the cable so that ship could roll along the track easily. Eleanor flipped a test switch in the cabin of the model and the engines came to life and the airship started traveling around the room.
Liam stopped his work on the final corner box and watching the large air balloon travel let out a loud whoop, and shouted, “Aye, that’s fine one lass.” Simone gave Eleanor a hug and a kiss. Rachael clapped her hands to get people’s attention and said, “Hoy! Center box still has to go up and O’Hannigan still hasn’t gotten that last station. Less jumping… more work!”
Eleanor stretched herself and then nodded an acknowledgement to Rachael who still smiled when she looked at Eleanor. Simone, however, lined herself up in rigid attention, snapped hand in salute to her head and said, “Yes, Cap’n.” Eleanor caught the airship and turned off the motor. Eleanor and Simone lugged out the center cabinet. That box would control the ship and set the stop locations for the airship. It had motors that helped control the ship and it also played a tune as the ship travelled.
The afternoon passed as Eleanor and Simone made adjustments to one station or another while Rachael directed. Eleanor ran the airship again and now it came to a stop a corner music box and stopped. A figure came out of the corner box and bowed. Rachael viewed it with narrow eyes and then said, “I think we’re close. Let’s clean up the place a bit.”
In this, Liam could help without direction. He moved tools back to the box and started sweeping the floor. Rachael moved around cleaning the counter or adjusting a clock or music box put out of place by their work. Eleanor and Simone collected the crates that had held the parts and moved them out to the wagon. With the place nearly back in order the door opened, but the door chime had not been reset. Eleanor heard Millicent’s voice, “Are we on time?”
Liam leaned on a broom and said, “Aye, Ma’am. Rachael has been workin’ us right brutally.”
Rachael snorted and said, “That’s just because you don’t know what hard work is.”
Liam struck a dramatic poised with his hands up, “I have been wronged. Wronged! Miss Eleanor. Miss Simone. Surely you don’t agree.”
Eleanor smirked and said, “I was raised on a factory floor. You’ll get no sympathy from me.”
Liam looked pleadingly at Simone. Simone smiled and shrugged, “I was so fascinated by all the mechanisms, I hardly noticed the effort.”
Liam looked over at Mordechai who put his hands up in the air in an apologetic fashion. Liam said, “Mad women. And your daughter is leading them.”
Millicent put her hand to her mouth hiding a smile and then managed to say, “You can always appeal to Charles.”
Liam harrumphed and went back to sweeping vigorously. Millicent slipped out of her coat as Michael and Felicity came in. Simone greeted Felicity with a hug. Eleanor climbed down off the ladder and said to Millicent, “I didn’t know you would be coming.”
Rachael spoke before Millicent could reply, “The bell has a bit of everybody in it. So I’ve invited a few people to see it.”
Mordechai poked his head out of the back and said “Come in the back. There is tea.”
Michael moved in that direction rubbing his arms shivering, “I could go for that.”
Eleanor stayed at the base of the ladder as Millicent came over and asked Rachael, “Are you sure about this?”
Rachael looked around the room and then stared at the ball waiting to be released on the track, “Is anyone? You said I would work wonders and I find that a bit scary.” She smiled a bit and then looked at her legs and the wheel chair. She said to her feet, “I have to wonder what my life will be like when you leave.”
Millicent said, “You would not want for money.”
Rachael turned around and faced Millicent, “No. ‘spose not. But there are only so many ramps I can make. And I don’t like the idea of father lifting me in and out of the chair. Truthfully, I am better off with you now.”
Millicent looked around at the new piece and then said to Rachael, “Does he know?”
Rachael put her hands in her lap and said, “He suspects but changes the subject if I bring it up. Now I think he wants me to stay.”
Eleanor, who had been cleaning a piece of glass said, “He almost lost you once to fate. That can change just about anyone. ”
Rachael rolled her chair and said, “We’ve switched places. Now HE doesn’t want me to go.”
At that moment, Liam poked his head through the door and said, “Hoy, when do we get to see this beast?”
Rachael said with a small break in her voice, “Father and I always waited until a customer came through.”
Michael came through the door holding a cup of tea and asked, “It’s near on 5:30. Who do you suppose would come to a clock shop at this time?”
Eleanor could see Millicent hide a smile behind her hand and Rachael said with a smirk and a twinkle in her eye, “Oh I’m not worried. Now everyone get some tea and biscuits.”
Millicent pointed to a basket and said, “I brought something stronger.”
Rachael looked around and said, “After it goes off, I think.”
Eleanor followed the crowd into the back room and got a cup of tea. Rachael stayed behind and rolled around behind the counter to adjust more clocks and music boxes. Mordechai was helping everyone to tea. Simone touched him on the shoulder and said, “Mr. Weiz, Racahael’s out front. We’ll be fine. We can join you in a few minutes.” Eleanor felt her eyes get a bit wet as his shoulders slumped and he nodded to Simone. He hung up his apron and headed into the front room.
Eleanor whispered into Simone’s ear, “I hope you are as gentle when you deliver bad news to me.”
Simone pulled her close and said, “I hope never to deliver bad news.” The two stood together in the now cramped room as Liam described the installation and how slavishly Rachael worked them. After ten minutes of Liam’s claims of overwork and generally horrible work conditions resulting in much laughter, Rachael could be heard shouting through the door, “If you lot are finished gossiping, you’ll want to be here when someone arrives.”
Michael said, “She seems awfully sure.”
Eleanor smiled as Felicity said, “I don’t think Rachael leaves much to chance.”