Turn of a Friendly Card
Based on a true adventures of a rogue active in the waning years of the 1930’s as discovered in the criminal archives of Chatwick University.
I begin my tale in the present…
That afternoon a soiree was given as part of the purchase price of the tickets for the annual Autumn Charity Ball to be presented later that evening at the manor’s great house. Since I was alone, I just went mainly for the free food and to rub my elbows with the wealthy guests who would be in happy attendance there, and at the Ball. I was alone, but certainly not bored. There was a game I enjoyed playing to pass the time at these affairs that entailed scoping out by their dress and day jewels worn, those ladies whom would be most likely to be wearing the better costumes and sparklers that evening. It often proved to be a most beneficial insight into the actions and mannerisms of the very rich. I walked amongst the cheerful guests, eying one here ( a lady in satin and pearls) and another there( a high spirited girl with a diamond pin at the throat of her frilly silken blouse). It was as I was passing the latter that the friend she had been talking too (dressed like a vamp), bumped up against me. I caught her, steadying her as they both giggled. I didn’t mind, for the lassie’s too tight satin sheath tea dress had been an enticement to hold, and the gold bracelet that had been dangling from her gloved wrist had been a pleasure to observe. I kissed her gloved hand, rings glittering, as I apologized gallantly for my clumsiness. Her eyes were bright, almost as bright as the twin necklaces of gold that hung swaying down pleasantly from between her ample bosom. I left them, moving on to greener pastures, and it was very green, all of it….
It was then that I detected another pretty lassie. It was her long fiery red hair with falling wispy curls that first captured my attention. She was wearing a fetchingly smart white chiffon party dress that commanded me to acquire a closer examination. She appeared to be a blithe spirit, seemingly content with just being by herself and roaming about with casual elegance, the extensive grounds of the manor proper. I began to discreetly follow her at a distance. Although she did not wear any jewelry, her manner and the eloquent way she moved is what attracted me the most. It would be very interesting to seek her out later that evening and she what she would have chosen to decorate herself with. I followed her as she sojourned into the depths of a traditional English garden with a maze of lushly green trimmed 8 foot high hedges
As I strolled through the hedgerows in her wake I allowed my mind to wander its own course. Suddenly I straightened up, my reverie broken by an epiphany of sorts. I allowed myself to grin and the lady whose enchantment I was swollen up in, at that moment turned, and seeing my beaming smile assumed it was for her and gave me a rather cute nod of her head. I answered in same, as I headed en route to a nearby stone garden bench to allow my thoughts to think through themselves.
But before I go on, allow me the pleasure to sojourn and reminisce about an incident that occurred several years prior:
I was still working unaided in those days, travelling on to a new next quest that would take me just outside of Surrey.
I had just purchased my train ticket and had seen my luggage safe on board when I decided to rest in the lounge, it being some 45 minutes before allowed to enter personally aboard. Being so early the lounge was almost deserted, only one other occupant. I assumed she was waiting for someone on an incoming train due to the fact she carried no luggage. She was obviously well off, well dressed in satins and lace, and her jewels shone magnificently in the dim lights. Especially one of her rings, noticeably lying loosely around a finger, it sparkled with an expensive brilliance. I had seen one like it in a tiffanies store, worth almost 250 pounds. But she did not appreciate the show her jewelry was putting on under the lounge lights, for she was fast asleep.
I circled around her, aiming for a seat next to her, eyeing her and her possessions carefully. I noticed her purse had fallen off her lap and lay on the floor. An idea popped into my head, and I picked the purse up, and looked around carefully, before placing my plan into action. But I was thwarted as an older, matronly lady was spotted heading our way. I slipped the purse into my jacket and moved off before I was noticed. Of course she came in and took the empty seat across form the sleeping princess, and soon busied herself with knitting. As the older lady had sat down, not quietly, the wealthy lady stirred waking up at the noise. I went into a corner and sat, waiting. The two ladies soon fell into conversation; the minute’s ticked by excruciatingly slow. Soon I noticed we even had more company.
He was a lad of only fourteen, but with a devilish look about him that marked him a kindred spirit to meself, and his quick eyes were darting about taking it all in as he stood outside the paned glass window.
It was as the first announcement of boarding the train that I saw a chance for opportunity to strike.
The older lady folded up her knitting and clinching her bag, bid adieu to her new friend,( befuddled a little by the old ladies constant stream of gossip), and headed to the train. I was twenty steps ahead of her and was standing behind the youth as she left the lounge. I tapped him on the shoulder; he looked around at me suspiciously, and then caught sight of the shilling I was holding in front of his nose. I quickly whispered a few words into his ear on how he could earn it, and his grin spread as he bought into my story. I still held onto the shilling as he darted around and inside the lounge. I watched as he ran up behind the lady, circling her, then running in front of her he tripped over her leg, as she helped him up, her hand with the ring reaching down, he turned and spat onto the wrist and sleeve of that hand, than standing he ran away. Running alongside me, I handed him the shilling in passing as he ran off, disappearing in to the street.
I went inside and approached the astonished lady, as she was looking for her purse to get a handkerchief, confused as to its absence, while she held up her soiled hand( ring glittering furiously) in utter disbelief. I approached, catching her attention by the soothing words I uttered to her. I took her hand, unbelieving with her at just had happened, and I as I apologized for the youth of today I produced my own silk handkerchief and starting with her silky sleeve, began to wipe it off, continuing my tirade of displeasure and contempt at what had just occurred to the dear lady as I did so. As I finishing wiping her down, ending with her warm slender fingers, I kissed them, just as the last boarding announcement came over (perfect timing!) I let her go, explaining that I must catch my train. I turned and without looking back made the train just as it was letting off steam before chugging off.
I gained my private carriage just as the train began to lurch away. It wasn’t until after the train began its journey that I casually removed my silk handkerchief from my pocket and unwrapped it carefully, admiring up close the shimmering, valuable tiffany ring that was lying inside. I pocketed it, and then remembered the purse. I took it out and examined its contents: coin and notes equaling a handsome amount, a gold (gilded) case, embroidered lacy handkerchief, small silver flask of perfume, and ( of all things)a large shimmering prism , like one that would have dangled from a fancy crystal chandelier. A prism?, I questioned with interest as I examined it. It was pretty thing, about the circumference of a cricket ball, but shaped like a pendulum, it shimmered and glittered like the most precious of jewels. Why she had it in her purse? I couldn’t guess, and I saw no value in it, so I pocketed it and allowed it to leave my mind.
As I settled into my seat I began to think of the lad I had just met, I had been right on the money as far as his eagerness for mischief. Actually he reminded me of myself at that age, and I wondered if that lad with the shifty eyes would also turn out to follow the same course I had explored.
Which Begs the question, what had I turned out to become. And since I’m still reminiscing
I’ll give little background material about me, hopefully I don’t come across as being too conceited about my self-taught skills..
I had never been one to take the hard road, and even at a young age I was always looking for angles, or short cuts to make some money.
Once, while watching for some time a street magician and his acts. I observed a pick pocket working the crowd. He approached a pair of well-dressed ladies in shiny clothes, and standing behind them bided his time and then lifted a small pouch from one velvet purse, and a fat wallet from a silken one, then he moved on. Now both ladies were wearing shiny bracelets, one with jewels. I thought that he could have realized a greater profit if he had nicked one or both of the bracelets first, than try for the contents of their purses. The bracelets’ alone would have realized a far greater profit than what he lifted from their purses. It further occurred to me that by mimicking some of the sleight of hand tricks and misdirection that the magician was using on his audience, it could be accomplished. A hand placed on the right shoulder and as the lady turned right, whisk off the bracelet from her left wrist, and excuse oneself, that sort of thing.
So, I practiced (on my sisters, who proved to be willing accomplices to “my game”) and learned to pick their purses and pockets. I than moved onto their jewelry, starting by lifting bracelets and slipping away rings, before advancing to the brooches, necklaces and earrings they were wearing. After I was satisfied at my skill level, I went out and worked the streets. Sometimes using my one sister who was also hooked on what I was doing as a willing partner.
But I found myself still not being satisfied, in the back of my mind I thought there had to be a more lucrative way to turn a profit.
I’d found my answer when an attractive lady in a rustling satin gown zeroed in on me while I was “visiting” a ballroom. She was jeweled like a princess right up to the diamond band she wore holding up her piles of soft locks like a glimmering crown. The more she drank, the closer she got and I decided that her necklace would definitely help pay my expenses more than the contents of her purse (although I had already lifted the fat wallet from her small purse), and I did have very expensive tastes to pay for. So I took her onto the dance floor.
I was amazed at how easily I had been able to open the necklace’s clasp , slipping it over her satiny shoulder, lifting it off and placing it safely in my pocket with almost no effort. Then she decided to be playful once the song ended and brushed up against me. She felt the necklace in my pocket and before I could act she had her hand in and pulled it out.
The silly naive twit thought I was teasing her and told me that for my penance I had to go up to her suite in order to put it back on for her. I kept up the charade as best as I could.
And that’s where we ended up. A little bit of light fondling began as I placed the necklace back around her throat. I began to tease her, plied her with more and more alcohol as I tried to keep my distance, and virginity. Finally she passed out in a drunken stupor, but not before I had learned where she hid her valuables by suggesting she should lock her jewels up for the night..
With her safely unconscious, I began to strip her clean off all her jewels, reclaiming the necklace first. Then I visited all her jewelry casket and began looting it. I even took her small rhinestone clutch with the diamond clasp; of course I already had liberated its small wallet.
When I’d left her lying happily asleep in bed, still in her satin gown( the only item left to her that shined), I knew I had found a much more profitable line of “work”
So I began making circuits around to the haunts of the very rich, I still kept may hand in pickpocketing, so to speak, but centered only on those “pockets” containing mainly jewelry. I also began to carefully explore new ways of acquiring jewels” in masse”, so to speak.
Soon I had accumulated many tricks and tools, having them at my disposal to put into action once required, and for the remaining years up till the present had managed to live quite comfortably off of the ill-gotten gains using them allowed me to acquire.
Which brings me back to the train ride, my prism, and the rest of my background story before I retun to the present tale. Please be patient.
So, anyway, I reached Surry without any further incident and disembarking, made my way out to the large country house where I would be staying to take a short rest, vacation if you will. But, pardon the play on words, for there is never any rest for the wicked, is there?
I had become acquainted with a servant of the old mansion ( almost a small castle, really) , that was about a mile off. I managed to learn a great deal, and soon found myself, on the pretense of visiting her, exploring the grounds. There was to be a grand ball taking place a couple of weekends away , and the maid had filled my ears with the riches that would be displayed by the multitude of regal ladies making an appearance. I began to think about trying to make a little bit of profit from my vacation. I am not sure how the idea developed, but the prism that I still had in my possession, came up centrally into my plans.
Late on the evening of the regal affair, I snuck over, covered head to toe in black, with my small satchel off tools by my side. I set up a candle behind an old stone ivy covered wall in a far corner of the rather large and intricate English garden that surrounded the inner circle around the mansion. I than strung the jewel-like prism in front of it. Standing behind the wall, I would strike the prism with a long stick I was holding whenever I observed sparkles emanating from silkily gowned ladies walking in the distance, solitary or in pairs. The prism would flash fire, sort of like a showy lure being used when fishing in a crooked trout stream. Only I was fishing for far sweeter game than trout. My objective was to trick certain types of jeweled ladies (scatterbrains some may call them) by luring them down onto the path beyond the wall, using their natural curiosity to my advantage.
I had at least two strikes rise up to my lure in the second hour.
On was a pretty lady in flowing green satin number, decorated with plenty of emeralds, which, hidden in the shadows, I observed were probably paste. I let her wonder about; as she looked and played with the shiny toy, remaining hidden until she grew bored and wandered off.
The second was a slender maiden wearing a long sleek black gown with long ivory silk gloves. I had never before seen a lady so decked out in jewels, literally head to toe. With the exception of the rhinestones adorning her heels, the rest of the lot was real, so valuably real that I could feel my mouth salivating at the thoughts of acquiring her riches. Now in Edwardian times only older, married ladies would be allowed the privilege of wearing a diamond Tiara. But in these modern times, it had become culturally acceptable for any well-to do lady, single or otherwise, to wear one out in society. Even so, they were still rarely worn, and seldom seen outside the safety of large gatherings. But there it was, a small, delicately slender piece of intricate art that glistened from the top of her head like some elegant beacon. That piece alone was probably worth more than I had made all the last four months combined!
I began to skirt around in the shadows, placing myself in position to cut off her retreat. Her diamonds blazed as she approached, eyeing the swinging prism with total concentration. Which was unfortunate, because as I was about to leave the shadows, she walked into the thorns of a rose bush, screeching out, and attracting the notice of a pair of gentlemen who had just crossed the path quite a ways off, called out when they heard the commotion. She started to become chatty with them, obviously coming on to her rescuers, my prism all but forgotten. Than before I knew it, in a swishing of her long gown, she was gone, “swimming” off before I was able to set me ”hook”.
Which I was able to do on the third strike, almost an hour later, just as I was beginning to ponder wither I should call it off and head back home..
They were a pair of young damsels in their young twenties. They may have been sisters, or cousins at the least. I still remember how my heart leapt into my throat as they observed my colourful prism and turned down the old flagstone path. I had not seen anyone out and about for some time, so I knew they would be no would be rescuers around to come to their aid
And, best of all, they were both dressed for the kill!
One, the blonde, was clad in a black velvet number that one could cannily describe as quite form fitting. As were the small ropes of pearls that hung from all points of interest, pretty with a matching pricelessness.
But her cousin, as I will refer to her, out shone black velvet quite literally.
This one, a stunning raven haired beauty, wore a long streaming gown of liquid ivory satin. A diamond brooch sparkled as it held up a fold of the gown to her waist. The fold allowed her to show a rather daring amount of a slender bare calf. The brooch was not paste, but a real jewel that had been added for the nights festivities ( To be successful, one learns to read these signs accurately) Her ears and neckline were home to a matching set of pure white diamonds. A wide diamond bracelet graced a bare right wrist ,so she must be left handed I instinctively thought, an observation that would have aided me if I were planning on having a go for slipping the bracelet from her wrist, but tonight I was planning a much more daring attempt to empty the entire jewel casket, so to speak.
They went to the prism, playing with it a bit, I had begun to circle around, when I noticed black velvet pointing out with multiple ringed fingers, to something further down the path past the wall.
With a clicking of heels I let the pair pass, they apparently wanted to see what was on the other side of the wall. I followed; it was not hard, because the necklace the raven haired one wore, diamonds fully encircling her throat, rippled and sparkled from their perch, caught in the full harvest moon’s cast, giving me more than enough light to shadow them quietly .
After a while they caught on that something/someone was following them, but as they turned they could see nothing. I was in black, and hooded, invisible to them in the shadows of the trees. They whispered amongst themselves, now worried, realizing that there were dangers lurking beyond the pale, in their case, the safety of the gardens , especially for ones decked out as they were. They then turned and headed right back from where they had come, right into my waiting arms.
It is interesting what good breeding does for young, poised ladies. For, as I stepped out of the shadows, a finger of my right hand to my lips, my Fairborn in my left hand, its black blade glinting wickedly in the moonlight , they did not scream out or shout for help. Instead the pair merely let out small gasps, and then they both, in a quite charming synchronized display of disbelief, place each one hand over their open mouths, and the other upon their perspective necklaces.
And as I flourished my wicked looking Fairbairn–Sykes blade in their direction, they unquestioningly reached around and undid those pretty necklaces, tremblingly handing them out to me, like actresses following a well-read script. I took the little pretties and after stuffing them into my satchel, held out again my free hand, my fingers beckoning. Not a word was spoken between us, as the frightened pair of young ladies began removing their shimmering jewels and added them in a neat little growing pile along my open palm. The raven haired girl even undid her brooch without me having to command her to do so. Once I had stashed it all away, I motioned for them to turn back around, than with a little helpful prodding on my part, they began moving forward back down the hill, away from the garden. The one in white hobbling a little now as she kept tripping over the hem of her dress, now no longer held up by the stolen brooch.
After we had traveled about 200 meters I had them stop, and take off their high heels. Then picking the pretty things up, I motioned them to turn back around and made them walk back the way we had come in their bare feet, watching the pair awkwardly hobble barefooted down the wooded path. They would be quite a while on their journey back, allowing me more than ample time to make me escape. I threw their shoes off to the side and went briskly the other way, reaching the place was staying at , gaining my room without notice. But not before I had hidden the jewels inside an old stump to retrieve them at a later date. I never really heard so much as a whisper of the incident, other than from the pretty lips of my friendly maiden. The wee hours of the morning before my early departure for the train station found me revisiting the stump and retrieving my satchel and its precious cargo. After hiding it all in a false bottom of my case I laid my head on the pillow and drifted off to sleep as I wondered what had happened to the little prism, marveling at how useful it had ended up proving to be.
So, how does this story (journey rather) relate to the one I had already started? Please read on, and enrich your curiosity… my dear readers.
So, with apologies for my lengthy elucidation, but I now return you back to the garden party I was now attending on that warm fall day. But, as you will see, my prism story needed to be told in order to add a bit of flavor to what was about to unfold.
As I sat on the garden bench I formulated my plans. I should be able to acquire the main piece tonight at the Ball, I would have time this afternoon to retrieve my ever handy satchel and its array of tools and have it hidden at the spot I had already selected. It was perfect, located at the end of the path I had found, or rather the charming lady in the smart chiffon dress had found for me. A gas lamp would provide adequate light for my “lure”, and it led to a back wood where I could lead any victims away and liberate them of their valuables before making my escape. I rose, just enough time to walk my escape route, before setting up and then be dressed for the evening’s festivities. I looked around, I was alone now, my lady in white had disappeared, following her own course, whatever it may have been.
The Autumn Ball that evening was in full swing by the time I arrived. Being a cool fall day, most of the women were wearing long gowns and dresses, and that, for whatever the reason, usually meant they were decked out with more layers of jewelry than say , if it had been the middle of summer. In order to put my plan in action I need and intrinsic piece of the trap, a prism. The one I had once had was long ago lost, a minor pawn in a game to take a pair of princesses.
I knew exactly the type of prism required for my plan, and so began mingling amongst the guests with that in mind.
I started out by walking through to the chamber like ballroom where a full orchestra was starting to play. The first person I saw from the garden party was the little tramp who had been wearing the too tight satin tea dress. That dress had been replaced with a long silky gown, her gold jewelry replaced with emeralds; including a thin bracelet that had taken the place of the gold one that she had so obligingly dangled in my larcenous path. I decided to avoid her In principle, and in doing so spied someone quite interesting.
That someone was a pretty lady in a long velvet gown standing off to one side, idly watching the many dancers out on the floor. The dancing couples were forming an imagery of a rainbow coloured sea of slinky swirling gowns and with erupting fireworks of sparkling jewels, ignited by pair of immensely large chandeliers that hung over the dance floor, setting them off. I made my way, skirting the dance floor to reach her, my eyes on her jewels, which were making pretty fireworks of their own. I happened to walk up just as a waiter with a tray of drinks was passing by. Plucking off a drink I offered it to the lady with one hand, my other hand placed on her back as If to steady myself. She laughed prettily, and taking the drink I met her eyes, as she was focused on reaching and holding the glass in her slippery gloved hand, mine was on the ruby and diamond necklace. My hand behind her had flicked open the simple hook and eye clasp of the antique piece and was in the process of lifting it up and whisking it away from her throat. As I said a few words to her, I pocketed it, while also taking in the rest of her lovely figure and its shiny decorations, before biding adieu. She smiled, her pale bare neckline now quite glaringly extinguished of its fire.
It was about an hour later, after spotting, but unable to make inroads with several likely candidates, that I finally struck gold (figuratively). It came in the form of a young couple arguing between themselves in a far corner of the chamber. She was lecturing a rather handsome man in a tux, her jeweled fingers flying in his face. If she hadn’t been moving about in such an animated fashion as she lectured, I may not have even noticed her. But as it happened I did, especially noticeable was the sanctimonious lady’s wide jeweled bracelet that was bursting out in a rainbow of colorful flickers as her hand was emphatically waving, as her long gown of silk swished around with every movement she made. Perfect. I watched for a bit, and sure enough they moved off, the man heading for the patio leading outside, the wealthy girl following him, still giving him lashes with her tongue. I moved and managed to have her bump into me simply by stepping on the hemline of her long gown. For a few seconds I was the one on the receiving end of her wrath, but I took it like a man, I could see in the eyes of her tongue lashed husband, that he was grateful for the respite. I was also grateful; grateful for the quite wide, very shimmering, bracelet that I had removed from her wrist and now was residing in my pocket.
I began to leave the patio, but was stopped by a matronly lady in ruffles, laces and pearls, her breath heavy with alcohol. She started to question me on what the couple had been on about. Then without waiting for an answer she launched herself into a tirade of her own, her gem encrusted, silken gloved fingers, waving in my face for emphasis. It was almost ten minutes before I was able to make my escape. Which I did, but not before slipping off one of the lecturing ladies vulgarly large cocktail rings.
I headed onto the patio; the time was getting ripe for my plan, which I was now ready to put into motion, now having acquired its most essential piece. I went to the end of the large patio, weaving in and out of the by now well liquored guests whom had assembled there. Across the way I saw a lady tripping over her own gown. By the time I reached her she had fallen down, giggling merrily. Two of us rushed to her aid, she was busy gushed her thanks to the rescuer she knew, while ignoring the one she didn’t! Which was unfortunate on her part, for by ignoring me, she also was ignorant of the fact that I was busy lifting the small stands of black pearls from her wrist. I left unnoticed, much like a shadow fading out of the light, or at least that’s how it seemed. Finally I reached the patios outer edge without further incident, or gain. I went on the grass and turned a corner with the intention of going, post haste around the house to reach the gardens by the long way, hoping not to be seen by anyone. But I no sooner turned the corner, when I realized that it was not to be the case.
It was my blithe spirit in white chiffon from the garden party, pardon me, soiree. She was unescorted, looking up at the moon above a stone turret with one lit window, so intently that my presence had not been noticed. I had been absolutely correct in my observation of her as far as what she would be wearing for the evening. For what she had lacked in ornaments at the soiree, she had more than made up for in the evening festivities. She was absolutely gorgeous, resplendent in as beautiful a silvery satin gown that I had ever witness. It was just pouring down, shimmering along her delightful figure. Her long blazing red hair was still curling down and free, but now a pair of long chandelier earrings cascading down from her earlobes, were peeking out every now and then as they swayed with her every movement. Her blazingly rippling necklace was all diamonds, dripping down the front of her tightly satin covered bosom, twinkling iridescently like an intensively glimmering waterfall. Her slender gloved wrists were home to a pair of dangling diamond bracelets that were almost outshone by her many glistening rings. All in all she was quite a lure all too herself
I came up to her, starling her from her reverie. Taking up her hand, I looked into her startled, suddenly blushing face. I complimented her on the fine gown she wore. She thanked me, and I could see I that she suddenly remembered she me as the chap who she thought smiled to her in the garden. She seemed to accept my compliment quite readily. I chanced it( although Lord knows I was short on time) and asked her to a dance. I did not think she would agree, so it was with a little bit of surprise, hoping she would politely decline and walk off, leaving me free to go about my business unobserved. But she accepted, and I will admit that my heart leapt as she agreed (although in the back of my mind I knew I should be off if my plan was to work). The music had stopped so we made small talk as we slowly walked back to the ballroom. Her name was Katrina. It seems she was waiting for someone, which suited my plans, but he was late and so she had time. Which may have sounded dismissive, but from the apologetic way she said it, it was anything but the sort.
The orchestra started to tune back up as we entered, and taking her offered hand up, was soon lost in the elegance of my appealing partner. It was a long dance, and a formal one, but I could tell she was subtly anxious to be off on her meeting, as I was to be off to my own adventure. But Katrina did not really allow it to show, which was very uncharacteristic of her someone with her obvious breeding. So I was ready when the by the end of the music she begged her condolences and took flight. I watched her as she fluidly moved away, her jewels sparkling, all of them. On her mission to meet Mr. X I thought, for whom I was already harboring a quite jealous dislike. I should be off I thought to meself.
But I stood, still as stone; totally mesmerized by the way Katrina’s swirling silvery satin gown was playing out along her petite, jewel sparkling figure. It wasn’t till the last of her gown swished around a corner out of sight that I moved, but not without having to shake my head to clear the thoughts of her out of it. Well old son, focus. For by now the guests were starting to wander a bit afield in the waning hours of the Autumn Ball, and my small window of opportunity was closing fast. If my little plan was going to have any chance of success it would have to be now.
I walked out and made my way to one of the outside exist of the garden wall. Reaching into my pocket as I did so, fingering the bracelet, now cold, that had belonged to the quarrelsome lady,and soon would be playing another role, far from one its former mistress would ever have dreamed off. I also felt my new acquisition, still warm from my dance partner’s body. I will admit that I had felt a twinge of regret for taking it from a lady I had found to be most charmingly captivating. But slipping off the diamonds up and away from her throat had been as temptingly easy as it had been automatic. I had advantageously made use of the sleekness of her scintillatingly silky gown, and with the distractions created by the movements of the dance, successfully managed to keep Katrina’s attention safely diverted from the reality of why my fingers were ever so gently, caressingly sliding along her slippery gowns neckline. The truth was I had originally placed my hand there because it had felt so right, and I was a little startled when my fingers had subconsciously started playing with her necklaces clasp. Before I knew it, they had flicked open the gemstone clasp of her obviously expensive diamond necklace, and had lifted up. As I watched out of the corner of my eye, almost like I was a spectator, as opposed to being the perpetrator, I saw the chain move up and over her shoulder; its diamonds sparkling with is as the necklace disappeared from view behind her back.
It was a favored technique that I had perfected to the point that by this stage of my career I nearly always acquired my objective. But, as odd as it sounds, I was not happy with myself on this occasion.
But I did not long dwell on my mixed feelings on taking the charming lass’s diamonds, for by now I had reached my place of ambush. It was in one of the farthest reaches of the garden, at a bend on the end of a long path that, with a gas lamp at its beginning just off the patio, would allow me to see from some distance off. Behind me was a break in the hedge wide enough for a person to walk through comfortably. It was here, off a tree limb, underneath a second ornate cast iron gas lamp, which was now lit, that I hung the shimmering bracelet that I had sought out and acquired for just that reason
I walked around and saw that it could be seen flickered off in the distance from the woods, Perfect! Earlier I had hidden my satchel with a hood and knife and bit of rope in the hollow of an old tree. I now retrieved them, and after getting ready, found my position and waited. At 10 minutes past the first hour of my wait, with nary a single glimpse of anyone, I started to fidget. My corner may be just a bit too desolated I was beginning to admit to myself. It seemed that most of the guests were staying by the patio. I was starting to think that I should pack it in, possibly rejoining the guests for one last parting( of someone from her Jewelry). I was just reaching down to pick up my satchel when I suddenly saw something flash under the gas lamp at the beginning of the path, and my senses immediately perked up. I watched as the wisps of rich shimmery satin moved closer, I stiffened, drooling with anticipation, the game was afoot.
I could see clearly the flickering jewels she wore, and by their blazing sparkles of rippling fire, I knew that my long vigil would not have been in vain. As the lady drew I recognized her gown of silvery satin! I knew who was making those tantalizing flashes of appealing treasures. Katrina!
I watched as she approached, in all her glittering elegance. My heart and conscious was in turmoil, but I knew I probably would not get a second chance. I could not let her get away unscathed. Beside, from the shock of being confronted with a masked scoundrel wielding a wicked blade, she would be in no shape to recognize her assailant. She stopped, apprehensively looking back towards the bright lights of the Manor, Then turning back I saw she had a self-satisfied smile creeping upon her face. She reached up, and undoing her hair, shook it down, curls of softness cascading down, hanging loosely down. It was as she performed this provocative act, that I saw her eyes open wide in curiosity; she had spied my pretty little “prism”. The charming fish was hooked.
I waited, watching her approaching ever closer to fate, and from my concealment, I basked in her glow. My heart beating fast, my adrenaline pumping, for the remaining jewels (I thought of her necklace in my custody) that she possessed I already had witnessed were quite valuable. She passed my hiding spot and went to the hanging, shimmering object. As she reached up, looking around, she failed to see me approaching in the shadows. I came up from behind, jabbing a finger in her back as I reached her, I gruffly in no uncertain terms, snarled for her to freeze and make no sound. She stiffened under my touch, but made no move or outcry. I went around; pointing my knife in her direction, looking into her sad doe wide eyes as she realized what was going to happen next. She was trembling; from fear I guessed, and knew I had her right where I wanted. As I made my demands upon her, gimme them jewels sister, she, not surprisingly, was very compliant in giving them up to me. She reached for her necklace last, and looked entirely shocked to find her throat bare, as she searched the neckline of her gown I saw her look into my hand, now dripping with her precious jewelry, almost as if to see if she had not already removed it. She looked apologetically into my eyes, startled; almost pleading that she didn’t know what had happened to it. I just played dump. She than spoke for the first time, sir, may I ask to keep my purse? Her words would have instantly melted even the coldest chunk of ice, I looked down at the little silvery clutch hanging from her arm on its rhinestone chain, I nodded, indicating that she could, and saw relief wash over her face. I told her she now needed to turn around and walk off into the woods ahead of me. She hesitated, and I told her no harm would befall her, I had no intentions along those lines.
About 5 meters in I stopped her, and had her remove her shoes, as she bent over to undo the high heels rhinestone clasps I watched her gown tightly outlining her figure. She tripped on the hem of her gown, and as she attempted to keep her balance, accidently let her purse slip off her shoulder. Without thinking I reached down to pick it up for her as she tried reached for it simultaneously
The small purse was far heavier than it should have been. Curious I opened it, finding that it contained a rather extensive array of mismatched jewelry, glittering in unbelievably expensive fire . I looked into Katrina’s horror struck eyes dumb founded, as she looked guiltily into mine. The gig was up. The jewels belonged to the lady of the manor, my muse in silver was a thief, a female version of me very self.
Aye, what’s this than luv? I questioned her as she looked into my eyes, hers large with a mixture of fright and disbelief. She melted before me, fainting, I caught her in my arms, and it was no ruse. I held her as she came to, holding her warm, silky figure lovingly to mine. I did not know what to think. Nor could I ever explain what possessed me to do what I did next. As she came to, her eyes opened, and I removed my mask, looking back into them deeply.
Oh, she gasped, I’m glad it was you, startled that she had said the words out loud. She than started to coyly blushes, quite demurely. Something sparked in me, and unless she was an incredibly good actress, it did also for Katrina. Our eyes both looked into the others, melting away in the lust of the moment. We embraced, deeply, and I held her squirming warm slick figure tight in my enveloping arms. I looked over her shoulder, eyeing the glistening bracelet hanging from its branch. To catch a thief, the thought suddenly opened in my mind, what a great title for a novel I thought to myself, as I buried my nose into Katrina’s luxuriously soft hair.
We talked for a bit, walking off into the woods, then she looked into my eyes again, a coy, look that melted me on the spot, and that was the end of it, we embraced again, and wholly gave ourselves to one another. What about your man I asked suddenly remembering, my man she questioned , than oh, you mean the Lord, I was waiting for him to come down from smoking in his tower study, that’s where the lady’s jewels are kept. She broke into an Irish brogue as she said the last bit, and that I guessed was her natural tongue. she laid a hand on the side of my face, thanks for being jealous though, me lad.
I should collect my lure I said, which made her smile; it was such an enticing smile at that. We started to head back and watched as it dangled in front of us flickering. With a far off look in her green eyes, Katrina spoke as if in deep though.
The daughter of the house, she has a bracelet on like the one you have dangling, a bracelet of diamonds that I had taken a fancy to, wishing it had been in the safe along with the rest of the ladies of manors jewelry. I knew who she was talking about. The one in green taffeta I asked? Aye lad, that’s the one. Actually her necklace would be just as easy, and worth more I said. Just then her bright green eyes gleamed, Give me about a half an hour, she told me, we will put your little lure to use again. She noticed my hesitation, don’t worry luv she said soothingly placing a gloved hand to my cheek, no longer was it sparkly with its stolen bracelet and rings. I’ll leave my purse with you, can’t very well be carrying it around now can I? I nodded my consent, my mind burning with the thoughts she had alluringly placed there.
She turned, and then hesitated; turning back she said I probably should not go back in naked luv. I smiled, reaching in I pulled out her necklace and placed it around her throat. With a little gasp she blurted, so it was you, I was wondering who and when it had happened. It’s not the first time I’ve had me jewels lifted, but it’s a bloody annoyance to have to let them get away with it, crawls under my skin to have pretend not to notice so that I don’t draw any attention to me self before making my move to steal the posh ones jewels.
But you, mister, I never felt as much as a prickling. I was ready to assume my pretties had been a victim of a broken clasp this time. I gave a little nod in acceptance. That wasn’t exactly a compliment lad, she said in what I hopped was a subtle jest. Just last summer some clumsy bugger slipped of me earrings, my favorite pearls, as we were danc… she stopped, seeing the guilt in my eyes. Men! As thieves you are all of the same skin she spat out angrily, or attempted to sound angry, for the look in her eyes to me she wasn’t. I best be off, before I change me mind about out little endeavor.
With that she swirled around on her heels, and started off, but not before turning and giving me an extremely coy look of interest. As she swirled back around I heard her say loud enough for my ears, I’ll learn me self to be a picker of pockets, see how males like to be taken advantage of in their vulnerabilities! She nodded to herself as she said it. Then suddenly she stopped, than twirled on her heels, her gown swirling enticingly along her figure. Looking me dead in the eye she said, “Vie ne est pas d’attendre que la tempête , mais d’apprendre à danser sous la pluie” !
What does that mean? I questioned in a low voice, perplexed.
Maybe, Mon Cheri, someday I will tell you… And with that she turned on her heel, her gown once again swirling about, and went, determinedly, swishing her way back up the path. I just watched. I had never heard anyone speak French with an Irish Brogue and I had found it to be rather provocative!
I watched as she swished and swayed her way back through the hedge and regained the path leading back to the manor. Her plan was simple; she would lead the daughter of the house to my corner and as she had done, go out with her to look at the swinging charm. I would then make my appearance, rob both ladies of their finery, and telling the daughter to wait until I released her friend, walk off with Katrina as a hostage, and we would both take off and make good our escape. A simple plan, so simple it should actually work.
So, there I was. Holding a purse with a small fortune in jewels, my pocket full of more jewels worth an additional pretty farthing, and her charms were wearing off by her leaving. And my thieving nature coming back, reawakened from the spell they had been under!
The devil of my conscious crept out on my shoulder, the angel markedly absent from the other.
Look mate, she may not be all she seems, and possibly has some other game in mind. Maybe she does have a male confidante helping her out… and was actually on her way to fetch him. He said in my inner ear. And, after all, you took her diamonds twice, didn’t ye now? Do you really think shell forgive you of that me lad?
And there is no honor amongst thieves, as the saying goes, he added as a closing argument…
I rolled it over in my mind…I could leave, absconding with it all, book a cruise to the states or down under where there lay untried fertile grounds to ply my trade. Not to mention working over my fellow passengers aboard the cruise ship while they attended the fancy affairs that were always going on, or so the brochures always seemed to show……
Then In the distance I caught a wisp of Katrina’s long silvery gown. She was coming, and not only with the daughter of the manor, but also with a spare. For I could see a purple coloured gown swishing alongside with the prey in rustling green taffeta.. I watched as all three ladies, resplendent with the rippling fiery gems they all possessed, came up the path, gowns sweeping out , shimmery from the now misty distance.
The thought of making my escape with all the loot continued to haunt me, there was still time now to take off without notice, or I could rob all three, and leave with purple silk as my hostage, Katrina would not be able to say anything on chance of giving up her part of the game, or I could just be a good lad and sty with the script that Katrina had written. Take a chance, roll the dice and believe that she was all she had me believing she could ever be.
As they came closer I knew my time was running out. The thoughts of just looking out for myself kept coming up playing the devil with my conscience as the precious seconds ticked away…
No honor amongst thieves…
What will it be, old boy I challenged myself,
What will you have it be?……..
To see what his decision ultimately was, and the eventual path it led to, see the album question answered)
Life is not about waiting out the storm, but about learning to dance in the rain.
Vie ne est pas d’attendre que la tempête , mais d’apprendre à danser sous la pluie .
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