Mrs. Trudge

Chapter 4 Episode 1 | The Machine God | The Drifting Isle Chronicles

Juni 15th: Expedition Day

To Adewole, the early morning darkness possessed a surface tension holding back the sun. Even the lamp light in Mrs. Trudge's dining room struggled against it. The room felt encapsulated and small, and Adewole fidgeted. "Mrs. Trudge," he said, "you did not need to get up before dawn and see us off."

"How was I to stay in bed, knowing two of my lodgers are about to make history!" she exclaimed, shoveling fish onto his plate. "No, no, no, if you're going to risk your lives in those flimsy mechanical whirlybirds, you'll do it with food on your stomachs." Adewole winced at the word "flimsy."

Deviatka saluted him over an enormous pile of fried potatoes. "Eat up, old thing! Death is optional, but Mrs. Trudge's breakfast is inevitable."

On the center of the table between the toast rack and jam pots lay the newspaper. A photograph of the delegation press conference took up most of the paper above the fold, but for the masthead and a six-column headline screaming:


Explorers Depart for Dangerous Journey!

The Question: Is There Civilization on Inselmond?

Chapter 3 Episode 1 | The Machine God | The Drifting Isle Chronicles

Mai 7th

Adewole's last trunk—the one bearing the precious green coffee beans—had still not arrived. He should have put them in the one with the tricky new combination lock, the one full of books he might just as easily have left behind in favor of the coffee. How was he to face Dean Blessing this morning without coffee? He drank tea at breakfast instead, politely keeping himself from making faces in front of his landlady Mrs. Trudge, whose outline mimicked the teapot’s. Eisenstadters believed tea to be more refreshing, altogether more restorative than coffee, but Adewole couldn’t figure it himself.

Mrs. Trudge set a good table otherwise, including on this morning: mushrooms fried in butter; fresh little fish straight from Lake Sherrat; toasted bread; and an oaten porridge—something he’d never eaten before, millet or rice porridges being preferred in Jero. “Eggs?” Adewole said hopefully.

“Eggs, sir!” said Mrs. Trudge in a whispered shriek. She took a calming gulp of tea. “You’re a foreigner, Professor Adewole, and as such I can’t expect you to know all our ways. Dear Professor Deviatka,”she appealed to Karl, “please, make sure he doesn’t ask for—eggs–in front of strangers.”

“Don’t ask for eggs in front of strangers, Ollie,” admonished his friend.

Chapter 1 Episode 2 | The Machine God | The Drifting Isle Chronicles

Adewole continued up the stairs to the sitting room he shared with another young professor, Karl Deviatka. Though Deviatka was a newly-made full professor in engineering--the University's most celebrated department--and Adewole held a chair in the most neglected department, they'd become fast friends almost from the moment of their meeting here at Mrs. Trudge's house.

"Do you have a few pfennigs to buy standing-room tickets to the Opera House, old thing?" called Deviatka from his bedroom.

Adewole opened the case of his two-stringed Jerian bansu. "Why?"

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