What Pegman Saw : Gimcracks and Gewgaws

Image: Google Street View

The shop bell sounded.

Quiver stepped through the low doorway, tall frame bunched. The winter sun sagged low in the sky, but the crowded little shop must be dark on the brightest summer day. He ran an eye over a clowder of prowling china cats, carved wooden spoons and printed tea towels.

‘Gimcracks and gewgaws,’ he breathed.

Movement caught his eye. In a display case by the window were globs of amber, the motes of a past age caught in each. He peered closer at one, a clump the colour of boiled honey, a tiny fly caught at its heart. He waited, patient as a stone.

A wing twitched.

‘A conjuring trick,’ said a voice from behind him. ‘But it helps them sell. And the rent must be paid.’

‘Cheap,’ muttered Quiver. He turned to the figure behind the counter, stout and greasy as ever. ‘Hello, Pounce. We must talk.’


Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View. This week we visit Tallinn, Estonia. See here to join in, share and read other stories.


Gimcrack and gewgaw mean similar things – gimcrack being something showy but badly made, gewgaw being a showy, trifling thing. So Quiver is really repeating himself here, I just liked the sound of these peculiar words together.

31 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw : Gimcracks and Gewgaws

  1. Gosh Lynn, this one’s gorgeous. Like the “motes of a past age” and globs of amber phrasing, the imagery all so dense.


    1. Thank you Bill. I’m really glad you liked it. I sat and thought about some of that phrasing, trying ot pick the right words. Glad you thought it worked. Thank you for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I bought the other half a piece of amber for Christmas – with a fly caught in it! Though I’ve misplaced my eyeglass, so he hasn’t seen the full glory of it yet. Thank you very much Crispina. Glad you enjoyed it

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pounce and Quiver: great names, up to no good I’ll be bound! Remind me of the sinister Vandemar and Croup in Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Goss and Subby in China Mieville’s Kraken or, more apposite here, Borgin and Burke from Diagon Alley.


    1. Ah, I can’t tell you how much your comment delighted me – I was thinking of Vandemar and Croup when I wrote this, though of course, they’re a shadow of Mr Gaiman’s wonderfully dark and twisted creations. Would quite like to expand this though, see where they take me. Thank you very much Chris

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a marvelous world you’ve crafted. The language is lovely, the characters compelling, and the world is pulling me in. This is the book I want to read today. I hope you have more!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gosh this is good, Lynn! It would make a cracking start to a novel. Pounce and Quiver are wonderful Dickensian names. I found it compelling. As Karen said “This is the book I want to read today. “

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, thank you Penny. I’ve been scribbling ideas about them this week, thinking about their story, what they do – what they’ve done. Of course, their world is a dark one. So glad you liked it 🙂


  5. I like the sound of the two words together too. And what a fascinating hint you’ve left us here — Quiver and Pounce? Why, I can only imagine the trouble they’ve gotten into in past stories, and are about to do so again. And beautiful descriptions, as always. My favorite was “a clowder of prowling china cats” — really brought it to life.

    Liked by 1 person

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