Dolls atTea

Dolls atTea

Dolls atTea

Dolls to Tea
Time frame — The Gilded age
Season — Autumn

Back in the early 20’s there was at the time ( and still is today) a rather large hotel/Inn located just 20 minutes’ motor ride from Cambridge. For the sake of a name, we will generically call it The Riverside Inn….

It had been built almost 2 hundred years ago around a natural mineral spring long said to have healing benefits by drinking or bathing. The pamphlets for the place promised ‘ Here, for just a two week stay, almost miraculous cures for a litany of ailments are promised simply by imbibing of the water’.
Gullibly wealthy guests from all over the realm come to visit, lured in by those intriguing promises of great well-being.
The hotel still stands in this modern age of cells rap,and mini motels…
But allow us to take the reader back, back in the hotels sometimes murky past, to a time when Jazz was all the rage and socialization was held firmly under thumb by some rather imposing hierarchy led standards. AKA, if you weren’t in their circles, you just did not exist… which made it far too easy for certain talented scoundrels to ply their nefarious trades…..

This story is taken from a dusty, tattered old journal kept in the study archives of Chatwick University. It was discovered in an old 1930’s era steamer trunk found in a dark corner of the Riverside Inn’s basement.
The trunk, containing a males’ possessions, was tucked away amongst a rather old, musty collection of unclaimed luggage and steamer trunks, filled with clothes and other artefacts from bygone ages. These trunks were being examined during the early 1950’s in an effort to gather materials for several new display cases.
The rather unique journal was turned over to a university professor by the authorities’ for investigation. The Journal contained entries made in the mid-(19) twenties and concerned, well you will read bout it soon enough…

The gentleman who kept the journal had written a first name on the inside cover… the name was Sabastien
Here is the story… Mostly in his words
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“This journal entry was made during my second visit to the Riverside, nearly 4 years after the first, plenty of enough time given for short memories to have forgotten previous, rather encroaching, incidents.”
What follows is a description of Sabastien’s two week stay at the rather ancient resort/hotel called Riverside. He details in full observations about his fellow guests, noting especially the females, , members of their entourage, their dress on certain evenings, the jewels they wear on those times, as well as their everyday jewels. Chronicles are also made of movements, habits, rooms occupied and a multitude of lists that would be far too much for this story. So we have just condensed his story to the relevant facts and descriptions pertaining to the gyst of his story….
If interested in reading these rather lengthy entries, please contact the Criminology Department of Chatwick University.
We will start out story on the events recorded on Sabastiens’s final day… The EDS.

It was a rather balmy fall day, that Saturday Afternoon that I was planning to leave. It had been quite an interesting week spent, as noted previously, and I was all too ready to leave now that my plans had been finalized and strategies worked out for my next adventure, as I always preferred to call them.

…..

The hotels motor car was not due for some 30 minutes, my trunk had been packed and ready for transportation to the railyard since breakfast, so I decided to entertain me self by going down one last time for afternoon Tea in the outside garden area.

I always enjoyed afternoon tea’s here, meandering amongst the well attired, wealthy guests, most of whom were under the impression that I was one of their class. If they only knew the truth!

The men dapper in day suits, straw hats and dangling thick gold and silver watch chains, and clutching ivory handled canes.

Their ladies were enchanting in their afternoon frocks, hats and parasols, their shimmering day jewels flickering an appealing display of colourful lights.

Ah yes, the ladies… The whole lot of em were mascaraed and lipsticked up, reminding me, not for the first time, like so many well-dressed posh dolls. Dolls at tea I was constantly thinking..Genuine Dolls, with genuine jewels my mind always added… For there-in lay opportunism, but for a different game than the one I was currently playing!

This is basically how the scene played out every afternoon in the Inns’ proper English back garden, complete with encircling hedge!

Today was no bloody exception.

As I leaned against the post of a deserted gazebo and watched with interest as the above thoughts played about in me head…

I let meself travel back to a time when as kids, my twin sister and I were shooed outside to play on a brite sunny afternoon. Sis had met a friend, and I had gone alone for a tramp in the woods. As I was coming back into the garden I saw me twin sister and a friend, both dressed up in some of their mums old shiny dresses, wearing some bits of play jewellery. They were pretending to have a tea party and had collected an assortment of dolls which they circled about. One of em, a larger one in a shiny pink ruffled frock, was wearing a small rhinestone necklace that sparkled in the sun. I walked past as sis and her friend pouring the tea for a rather dishevelled clown doll across form the doll in pink. With their backs adventitiously turned away, I walked past and whisked away the necklace, with the intention of waiting till the girl’s noticed so I could tease them a bit.

When the pair satisfactorily discovered the doll’s, necklace had gone dodgy, they discovered my hiding place and chased me around trying to get it back. One thing led to another and we discovered a new game.

We called it Robing hood at tea, me sister having an infatuation with the bowman thief!

They would set their dolls about wearing jewels. I would try to find them and, while avoiding the sheriffs guards ( the girls) , lift the doll’s jewels and try to make it back to Sherwood forest uncaptured with the girls usually in chase if I was discovered. Basically it was a mixture of cops n robbers and hide and seek.

My mind drifted back to the present, I let my eyes travel as I rested in my perch, pondering.

It twas an intriguing thought though, I mean, what if some of these ladies, all dressed and bedecked in real jewels, had been actual life size porcelain dolls? How easy it would be to walk past some of them whilst avoiding the guards, and become a far richer man for it? Of course, for me it was more than just fantasizing, but I would not allow meself to mix any pleasure whilst I was still out on business.

I straightened, stretched, and with my thoughts still in mind, started to head over to a group of ladies that had just wondered out after refilling their china teacups. One of em was wearing a necklace and earrings dripping of rhinestones. Her name was Theodora ( Teddi for short) and I called her privately “The Flamingo” for she was always fetchingly dressed in some shade of pink.
Today was no exception, a frilly frock of pink island coral. I fell in place beside her, and her jewels…which I, for the reasons given above, was obviously being vexed enough by to get a closer look at!

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After a bit, I left the enchanting Teddi, and continued walking around , joining various groups of chattering guests, and making small talk for about another half of an hour, behaving me self like quite the proper (mock) gentleman.
Soon I observed the hotels car pull in and a chauffeur exited and disappear inside. He promptly reappeared, followed by a lad carrying me trunk. I caught the chauffeurs eye and taking my leave of a of a rather fetchingly cross-eyed red haired Irish lass by the name of Cybele Gealach, I kiss’d her well ringed fingers, while studying with wry amusement her emerald bracelets as they slipped down from her inviting wrist in a shower of sparks. She smiled prettily at me, and I bathed meself in one last look at her lovely figure, resplendent in a green satin frock, with a pretty display of jewels as green as the emerald isles themselves, before I forced meself to turn and head over to the path leading from the garden to the car park.

But to some trepidation, I found me path was blocked at the end by the “triplets”, standing under an old chestnut tree, amusing themselves.

The triplets now were a trio of young gangly 16 year old “ladies” who fancied themselves as being proper grown up adults! Thicker than thieves that lot was, and possessed no less a mischievous thievish outlook upon happily creating misery for others! And there they were, looking all pretty and innocent in the dappled sunlight that was coming through the grove of chestnut trees. A group of charming angels, to all outward appearances, these young ladies could be mistaken for……! Never mind, even in me private journal I am unable to put down the word!
But then, appearances can be a bit deceiving….

My personal nickname for these pet peeves was the triplets , even though they all had different mothers, and for all I know different fathers. Two were cousins, the third belonged to a wealthy lady( hell, they were all wealthy ladies there, now, weren’t they?) named Beverly whom I had become rather great chums with, when her youngest daughter Sadie and friends were not around that is!.

The three girls set themselves apart from most of the other children their age by being rather snooty, stuck up and all too very self-important. The lot liked to be dressed up, insisting on wearing their Mothers’ good jewellery rather than costume that most girls their age wore. This all made themselves to appear far older than the 16 years they were. They also liked to huddle about and make snide comments loud enough so that their victim was quite aware of what they were saying. . And they were always willing to play the innocent children, the all pure and sweetness role , if things got too hot, or their gullible parents got involved.

They were Pretty.. pretty much damn near an annoyance any time I ( and most others I noticed with satisfaction) I encountered them…

But now there was nothing to do but walk past the triplets as they stood there chatting away in aimless abandon.

I approached and tipping my hat to the three, watched as all three heads turned away, averting my saltation. I heard sassy Sadie say loudly enough to reach my ears( no accident), in her habitually whining voice, wonder where that repulsive prat is goin? Away for good, hopefully!, I heard her sulky cousin Jackelyn chime in, and homely Miranda just giggled, or cackled was it?

I tried to walked nonchalantly past, but as I did something struck me smartly at the back of me head. I turned, but the three had their backs to me, giggling … No tellin which one had done it, but I was pretty sure there was one less horse chestnut sitting at their feet. Who’s did they think they was playin at.., a bloody Pulcinella?

Now I could have behaved meself like a proper gentleman and kept on walking as if nothing had occurred and let them have their little laugh. But what would be the fun in that?

So I turned and faced their lovely shiny backsides.

“Oi’ Miranda”, I called out cheerfully like I was greeting a well liked friend.

The tallest of the trio, and far less pretty, Miranda, was a blonde lass, fetchingly wearing a party dress of sage satin and lace, with pearls that dangled about , now turned and looked at me with arched eyes. She was showing a most unfavourable expression upon her puckered face as she threw back her long brown hair, pearled earrings swinging gaily. I knew she had to have been taken aback that I knew her name, but it did not show.

The other two looked also, on ready to pounce at me next move, I saw Sadie quickly glance over at her mother Beverly, making sure she was close enough to scurry to her daughters rescue..

For disclosure the cousins, their names were Jackelyn and Sadie. Both lassies were brunettes, of the same height and shapely build. Jackelyn was wearing a rather adultish cocktail dress of flowing purple silk, with brite silver chains decorating her figure. Sadie was wearing a velvet long sleeved French Frock, and her jewels were obviously an adults seed pearls with diamond clasps. If I had been up to the challenge of playing that robin hood game, Sadie’s pearls would have been the most desirable objective of all.

But I digress…

As Miranda and her “clowder” looked on I smiled and said…

Ta’ Miranda, almost forgot, Lucius said he would meet you in the gardens at ten tonight..
(Lucius was a 17 year old playboy with Italian good looks that all three had been playing for after he had arrived with his Mother, a vivacious raven haired lady by the name of Pamela) several days ago..

I turned heel abruptly and walked away with a purpose. After lobbying that bombshell into their midst I figured that jealousy should rear its vindictive head and do the rest of the damage. It would be ever quite a delight to see the three of em receive some comeuppance

I heard nothing from them as I walked away, and made it to the waiting car without further incident ( or thrown horse chestnuts).

The ride in the hotel’s car was rather dull, and unexciting. I arrived at the train station with 45 minutes to spare, saw my trunk on the train, and carrying my black valise headed off across the street to a pub for a spot of rhine steak and kidney pie( a item never found on a classy Riverside Menu) , along with two pints of house bitters to wash the lot down with.

I took my time, not even budging when the train, ten minutes late, whistled for the final departure.

I got to the station just as the departing train was just disappearing around the corner.

Appearing breathless I explained to the station master my predicament , and he told me that there would be no other train heading out till 2:00 am! ( a fact that I was well aware of, but I kept it on the quiet) Mocking my displeasure, I paid for a second ticket and had the master cable ahead to secure my trunk.

Taking my valise I went into town and found a place that hired out cars. Paying for 1 day in advance, I hopped in and headed back to the Riverside. There I made my story of woe known to a chosen few that I had missed my train and had decided to come back to pass the time.

Fortunately there was always enough going on to help pass the time ( one could almost feel Sabastien winking as he wrote this, especially considering what mischief follows ….the eds)

Traditionally, every weekend on Saturday there was a 5 course meal served (formal attire required) followed by a posh ball held for the guests in the elegant Regal ballroom located at the end of the Inns west wing, with a full orchestra playing. ( The ballroom still exists, but has since been turned into a modern dinner play theatre..the eds)

After supper I meandered out to the gardens while most of my fellow guests headed over to the ball room’s bar to start drinking their way into the night’s festivities. The Orchestra started up promptly at 8 and soon the ballroom was filled with the vast majority of the guests who were staying at the hotel that week, happily dancing and socializing with not a care in the world. If they only knew of the cat amongst the pigeons.

With the majority of the hotels security helping out at the ballroom, and with the guests letting down what little guard they felt about protecting any of their valuables here, it was the perfect opportunity to do a bit of my business that evening in the Hotels’ East wings third floor.

This area was home to some to some of the better suites, occupied by the wealthiest of the Riversides’ guests. Since said guests were all happily partying their night away, I was soon to be most happily occupying my “accidental” layover by emptying their rooms safes of jewels, money notes and other small, but pretty things of value. I was certainly not unabashed, for my livelihood, my trade and pleasure in life, is being a professional jewel thief, burglar and rather skilled amateur pickpocket.

I added the pickpocketing bit due to the reference I have written earlier in my journal about the Robing hood at tea game I played with my sister and her friend … because it had a direct refence to my becoming a pickpocket as well as a cat burglar…

This was because at my suggestion, usually the girls would be in play dress up mode, which I found to add a quite alluring addition to our play. I found meself becoming tantalized by dangling jewels shimmering about them as we were involved in the game. So Robing Hode soon had a private desire, to not only take the jewels that adorned the hidden dolls, but to lift those that the dolls’ guards were wearing! At first I was caught in all my attempts at this new objective… but practice makes one perfect! And so it was that I was soon able to become quite adept at certain opportune times ,lifting the very jewels me twin sister and her friend were wearing! Using the various distractions and engaging conversations I employed, Rhinestone necklaces, bracelets, and brooches soon fell under my ever increasing light touch. This awakened in me a certain secret desire, that may been a major focal point leading me to my eventual path in life.

So, for having played those childhood games with my sister and her friend, I would say made me a somewhat skilled amateur pickpocket. Giving me quite a feel for some things, I guess would be a way of putting it! So much so, that even though I started out emulating that persona of a gentleman thief , being a pickpocket of certain shiny lures was at the same time, never far from me mind!

Then, as it so happened , I was able to meet up with a like-minded bloke who( for a price) instructed me on a few of the finer, less practiced, points of pickpocketing.

So I was more than prepared for the first time the opportunity arose! And once it did for the first time, I was able to relieve, quite unnoticed, a pricey necklace from around the throat of a lady I had been dancing with… Possibly not an outstanding accomplishment on its own, for some people I will admit.

But when taking in consideration that I had brought up the subject to a lady I had been seeing during the course of gathering information, and found her so quite intrigued by the notion that she bet five shillings against me taking a piece of her jewellery before the night was gone, says something! It proved to be a rather enticing little challenge: If she caught me with my fingers in the till, I was out a few shillings, and if she didn’t?

Well suffice to say, betting 5 shillings against a 1000 sovereigns worth of her jewellery was a suckers bet, and the end play was, as I paid off my bet and left ,was a whole new avenue opened to me on a way to make a nice bit of extra money between heists..
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So, now, with just burgling on me mind, I waited in the shadows till the party was well underway before making my move from the gardens. Once I made sure all the players/pigeons were in position, and away from their suites, I slipped away to my hired car. Once there I retrieved my valise, and in the obscurity of some nearby woods, donned a black silk face mask, holstered my rather wicked looking military stiletto knife with its finely whetted blade., and pocketed a set of well used skeleton keys.

Then I circled around the woods, and cut across a small bit of grass, to a seldom used service door that I had opened earlier from the inside. I than snuck up a back-service staircase to the third floor, and opened the upstairs service door leading directly onto the east wing. Making sure the coast was clear, I went into the corridor, and starting at the far end, I began to work my back down..

I Finished the first six suites in record time, easily locating the safes( It was not Sabastiens first time here..the eds ) and quickly opening them and scooping out their lovely contents. End result being ¾ of me valise filled. To be honest, it had almost become mechanical and a bit run of the mill at times, but the thrill that drove me( as well as living money) still held strong….So It went quite smoothly, with no interruptions, or hearing any intruding footsteps coming down the tiled hallway floor. The tiles were black and white in a chess board pattern, which made me feel that I was playin a game on chess against and unseen, probably unforgiving, master. It kept me on my toes, never knowing if a vengeful queen would appear to check ( or checkmate) my roguish Pallidum as he pilfered the fair maidens jewellery caskets !

My next move was on the seventh Suite. This one was a large double suite at the end of the hallway, across from rooms 8 and 9 across the hall. This room was occupied by a silly lady named( kid you not) Bunny! , and her two pretty younger sisters’. I went across and easily picked opened the locked double doors.

This room was a right cornucopia with not one but two bedroom safes!

I took the master suite located on the right first. Slipping in I took my torch around for a careful look. A large four poster was off to one side, a vanity was set up next to it, my light catching in its mirror. Holding the light firm, I watched as my shadowy form approached, filling up the mirror. Above the vanity was a pretty picture of a lady in pink lingerie reading a book as she sat in a chair, her evening dress spilling about . This picture was on a hinge, and I moved it, exposing the wall safe hidden behind. Spinning the tumblers I soon cracked it and upon opening its door was rewarded by my torch setting off a display of rather dazzling light from an open jewels case. The small safe was crammed full of other, unopened jewel boxes and cases. Quickly, holding me torch tween my teeth, I quickly opened them and dumped their quite glittery contents into my valise. Then following the same pattern I had been all evening, I closed up the safe, slide back the picture, and making sure nothing else in the room had been disturbed , or missed,by me, quickly walked out.

Then I made my way to the second bedroom and slipped through the door. Again I let my torch canvas the room. This time a rather small, but shimmering pinprick of light came from one of the twin beds that lay on either side of a rather large vanity. My torch, following the pinpricks, soon captured a figure laying on the bed. Quickly I turned off me torch and by the moons light streaming through a window watched with held breath, not a peep! , Cautiously I made my way to the bed. It was Khaliesi, one of the sisters ( the prettiest in my book), out stone cold.
I looked at the small table next to her where several bottles lay. I picked up a couple, one was for a cold, the other was a sleeping aid, one I knew to be strong enough to put an elephant down for the count. I turned on my torch and allowed my light cautiously go up and down her silken peach coloured nightgown that outlined her petite figure. It was a diamond bracelet upon her lovely wrist that was sending out the shimmery pinpricks . It was a beauty, worth quite a few quid and I was rather shocked it had not been locked away safe. She also was wearing an emerald ring on her pinkie.

Turning away I went up between the beds and slid open the middle ages themed picture above the vanity. Then quiet as a churchmouse I cracked the safe and began opened a second assortment of jewel cases and boxes.

This safe was a little smaller, but no less full! I finished up, locked the safe and slid back the picture. Not a peep from the sleeping lady in the bed. I let me torches light go over her again, she looked like a china doll there asleep , her colourful silk kimono making her appear even more doll like! Me light caught the living doll’s bracelet again, and beckoned out to me like some dazzling sireen..

For a second my mind travelled back to when me sister and I were children. Sis had been wearing a costume bracelet that shimmered like the sleeping Khaliesi, along with a quite soft long gown our mother had worn as a bridesmaid to out Aunts wedding. I had taken that very bracelet from one of her dolls during play the week before, so I knew its clasp. As sis was talking to her friend ( similarly dressed for “tea”), I ran up to them and told them I had seen a fox with her pups in the hedge. Naturally the both wanted to see it and led them to a hole in the hedge. As both girls were bending down and gawking through, I stood close enough to be able to press a certain arm between me and a silken waist, then undo the clasp the shiny bracelet form the pressed wrist and slip it off without notice….The I went over to our friend, and attempted the same maneuverer on her necklace, but was caught red handed and promptly pummled and tackled in a smothering of silk and satin until I was forced to give up my ill gotten gains!

Shaking me head clear of the rather pleasant memory, I focused on the task in hand. There would be no friendly pummelling if I was caught now.

I tip toed on over and looked down upon the lovely girl’s Bracelet encircling her wrist. It was a simple enough clasp, box style with a button on the side.. In for a penny ,I thought to meself, and I reached down and ever so gently flicked open the clasp. It lay there shimmering along the brown satin sheets of the bed. I crouched down, and watching the lass’s sleeping face, half covered with her mass of long silken black hair, , slipped away her bracelet off from under her wrist, where it fell into my palm with the whisper of a swish. I watched carful, not so much as a flutter. Then I carefully removed a glove and dipping two fingers in a obligingly placed glass of water, whetted her pinky finger, the lass was out cold, did not stir a bit as I prepared. I Than slowly worked the ring over her wetted knuckle, then simply slipped it off her finger as easy as if she had been a real life doll. Actually, almost like, one of the mannequins I head of being used by some pickpockets to train others…..I hadn’t needed a mannequin with bells, not with an obliging sister close at hand !

Rising from her bedside, I backed my way carefully from the room, she had never as much as budged.

I made it back into the main room and took a few seconds to catch my breath and take quick inventory. Both safes had been surprisingly full, with enough jewellery and cash that my small satchel was now filled to bursting.

I right then and there then decided that I should call it a night, an early placed Checkmate if you will, leaving the last 2 rooms on the opposite side of the hall untouched.

Though one of em belonged Beverly and her three daughters, one daughter being Sadie of the nefarious triplets who like tossing horse chestnuts. Their room had been on my not to be missed list, but alas, birds in hand I thought. Though I would have liked to have nicked something of Sadie’s, if only to cause her further grief for the twit’s actions earlier.

The last room belonged to the flamingo, the beguiling young lady named Theodora ( call me Teddi, simply everyone does luv) . Teddi was a whimsical long blonde haired, blue eyed lass always ( as I wrote about earlier), dressed in some shade of pink and usually wearing pearls. I had quite liked the lass, so probably would have given her room a miss anyway I consoled meself.

Un-donning my mask and placing it in my vest pocket, I placed my knife in its sheath strapped to my right leg, straightened myself nicely up in one of the rooms floor length mirrors, picked up my now weighty black valise, then headed back out to the corridor. Swiftly walking the few paces to the end, I entered the service door, and made way down the corner staircase, and out the side door leading to the back lot.

I cut across the green space at the back, keeping in the shadows of the tall bushes that lined it. I stopped on the inside of the exit and looked over the parking lot where I could see my rental was still parked in its corner..

As I stopped and looked about for any signs of quick movement, I suddenly heard a girl giggling form quite close by. . I froze, then immediately hiding the weighty valise in a small hedge, cunningly made my way around to the corner. Glad I had stopped!

I let my eyes quickly become accustomed to the dark, a trick I had learned when as a lad I had gone into the woods at night searching for the elusive foxfire mushroom! I tiptoed It past the corner looked around a small shrub. There, I saw the girl Miranda talking to Lucius. Both had a clear view of the car park and my car! I grinned to meself, so the silly twit had believed me and approached Lucius I thought, well all the luck to them I thought!

I knew that Lucius and Pamela had had plans that evening, so was a bit surprised to see him around that early?

I will admit That earlier I had envisioned Lucius being out of the picture and a well jewelled Amanda searching in vain for him around the darkened gardens , perfect for a good jewel lifting bumping into! It had been a nice daydream while going to the station.

One that note, Miranda was looking quite rather fetching in a long lime green gown of satin and chiffon, an outfit I had seen her wearing out in earlier that week. . Her accompanying jewels were also the same, glittered smartly as they were bathed in the full cloudless evenings’ harvest moons brite light. It was a rather nice set, emeralds and small diamonds. As well as an expensively complete one, hairs clip, earrings, necklace, brooch, bracelet and ring, the horse being worth far more than the buggy, as my great uncle Thomas was always found of saying..! But wait a minute, Miranda was not wearing the either necklace or the brooch of the set… twas odd I thought at the time, knowing how she liked to flaunt her mother’s pretty jewels about ?

I watched the show for a bit, waiting till the quite engrossed couple were distracted enough to permit my unnoticed escape. I decided to chance taking the long way around and approach form the ballroom’s front gardens so that it would not seem unusual for them to see me coming from that area. I had begun to slink back, when the pair did me a favour and moved off towards that very garden. I watched until they had disappeared around the English ivory covered stone entrance. I did not think for a minute that the pair were heading back inside, rather probably going to one of the secluded gazebos to have a bit of unobserved fun…

I slipped away, retrieving the valise, I made my way straight into the woods and circled out of sight back to the rental car. I Quietly opened the boot and hide the valise with its purloined contents inside, carefully closing it. locked it up and pulled out me silver pocket watch. Luck had been on me side that evening, no lie, and it had all gone so very smoothly that time was also now on me side. I had well over 3 hours left to make my train. Double checking the autos door locks, I turned and slipped back into the woods to ponder about things a bit.. .

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From my concealment, I looked back at the far wing, eyeballing the lights spilling out from the ballroom’s massive windows unto the green close cut grass.. The faint strands of the orchestra could be heard from inside wafting over the top f the coming mist..

I mulled it over a bit, In my chosen line of business, one learned not to shy away from taking risks. I will also admit I was keen on practicing up on my pickpocketing skills. I had been a good boy up till then in regards to any such thievery for fear of upsetting my planned bit of burgling.. but now that that had been accomplished in spades, I felt a simmering desire to make an attempt, but only if the situation was 110% in my favour…. Seeing Miranda all decked out had whetted my appetite for an additional score, and one of the Triplet Doll’s would be a perfect “after meal Hors d’oeuvre”! Miranda was out of the running, But her cohorts Sadie and Jacklyn were probably not!

Now to note, even though I had behaved meself for the whole week, opportunities to lift a few rather enticing baubles form unsuspecting lassies had come up on numerous occasions. But during that time, I remained true to my plans. But If I hadn’t, I could almost guarantee that the jewels of one, if not all of the triplets, would have fallen into my plucking grasp. So, that now I decided if I was going to try for a second bird the evening, It would make all the sense in the world to try to make an additional score one of my pet peeves….!

I only needed 20 minutes to drive to the train station, so I had plenty of time to re-join the party, for one last look around at the poshly dressed guests, and also to satisfy my rather wide array of curiosities.

I skirted back through the woods around the opposite side the Inn from where the happy couple were probably snogging. I stayed in the wood line till I reached the back garden, hidden behind some thick hedges. I knew that there was a break in those hedges behind a pagoda that I could squeeze through. I did so and cutting across the deserted gardens made my way to one of the 3 exits that led back into the ballroom/banquet halls…

I entered a door that was next to the restrooms and looked around at the mingling throng of guests, all decked out for the grand event. There were whole families in attendance, ladies and girls in proper gowns and dresses, decorated with all sorts of gems and jewels imaginable. The men and male youths were all dapper in starched evening dress, high collars, many of the men wearing gold pocket watches that dangling from vests, and sporting large family crested signet rings.

I made my way through the crowd before I spotted Ms Bunny and entourage. I wanted to find her for two reasons, the first was to make sure she saw me there (after all, what thief is going to chat it up with the person whose room he has just burgled). The second reason was the question I had as to why the safes had seemed too full of jewels. That was answered as I came up to Bunny and her other sister, none of them were wearing any jewellery, other than a small ring or two. Lucky thing for me, rather a pity for Bunny and her sisters…

I showed no previous knowledge of where her sister Khaliesi was , playing it nonchalant by asking if she was, dancing with some dark mysterious stranger perhaps… Bunny , twittering at my foolish jestering, admitted Khaliesi had retired upstairs, with a cold, poor dear! That explains it I thought to meself, for I had made sure all the occupants of the rooms I had planned to visit were accounted for, and I knew I had seen Khaliesi’s perky figure swishing about earlier….

So my curiosity satisfied, I stayed around for a bit continuing on with my socializing when I noticed someone ( jewels) of interest coming towards me….
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Now, while I had been chatted up Bunny, I had been discreetly watching a table that was in a shadowy corner of the dining area. The shadows were caused by the placement of the table under an upstairs walkway that led across the wall of the room. The stairway was used by the service staff to take food up to the guest rooms. Since most of the guests were down here partying, it was not seeing a lot of use this particular evening.

But getting back to the table. There were two young ladies, quite well dressed, sitting there. Both were decidedly pouting. They were none other than the other 2 thirds of the triplets ,I had been seeking. Sadie and Jacklyn! It took no genius to guess what they were sulking on about, Miranda being absent, and in their vapid minds, still probably snogging Pamela’s prodigy Lucius!

I had been keeping them under eye, admiring their quite flickering jewels, positioning meself so that they stayed in my view. I was duly rewarded when Sadie pulled away and began walking with purpose across the room. Most of the tables were deserted, supper being over, most of the guests being on the dance floor, smoking room, or drinking heavily at the rather extensive bar on the opposite side of the ballroom. There were a few groups of ladies talking amongst themselves in the dining area, but all had their backs on the sulking girls. So Sadie leaving was not observed by anyone other than me!

I offered my sad my goodbyes To Miss Bunny, kissing her shiny gloved hand and whimsically wandered off, falling in line a discreet few paces behind young Sadie, who was walking with her usual swishing strut, nose high in the air.

Now Sadie had proudly preened herself in a rather fetchin silvery dress with puffed sleeves, that flowed with an elegant slickness along her petite figure. Sadie wore only three pieces of jewellery. One being a long gold braided chain with diamonded pendent in the shape of a rose, with deep blue sapphires for petals, the second was a brite Sapphire ring with diamond chips.

But it twas her third item of jewellery that dazzled above its companions! A pair of long diamond and sapphire earrings that shimmered and sparkled like African wild fires as she walked with her snooty noise held high with arrogance. The jewels were probably were her mothers, or an older sisters, and I was surprised that she wasn’t better watched whilst wearing such expensive baubles about.

My curiosity whetted, I was being speculative about where she was heading off to, weaving in and out of the mingling crowd, unescorted by any adult, advantageously unattended by her “clowder” of fellow fiends namely Miranda and Jackelyn!

I saw her stop by the door wherein I had gained entrance. I backed off and went to an opposite corner. She had stopped and was looking out looking out to the deserted (still I hoped) garden. So she did probably know about Miranda, and hence the reason for the sulkiness. But no, She skipped away and headed towards the ladies powder chamber. So I now pondered, should I wait to see until she came back through, or chance it that she was going to come out into the gardens? I didn’t want to make the wrong decision by hesitation too long .. There was a reason for this…

As I have stated previously, I had forced meself to be on best behaviour the entire week while plotting my nocturnal visits to the selected damsels inviting safes/lockboxes on Friday evening. So much so that even though opportunities were constantly waved beneath my nose, I had tried not to allow even so much as an attempt at any well decked out Ladies pretty baubles for the better part of a week. . Which was not easy, especially if I felt the opportunity presented would have been a way at teaching some snotty young lady a rather surreptitious lesson, even for my benefit only. Then it happened, on Thursday.

One of those opportunities had presented itself in a rather unexpected way. It concerned Miss Sadie, who on that delightfully enchanted evening’s party, had given me a bit to fantasize on. Sadie was scampering about in a ridiculously pretty long satin number that spilled and flowed swishing in an all too naughty fashion for one so young and naive. She was also wearing the even more ridiculously expensive Necklace and Earrings, bouncing gaily to and fro, that she was wearing again this very evening.

But I had been good, and had taken leave and was heading to bed when I started chatting it up with the pretty female desk clerk. Out of the corner of me eye, I caught sight of young Sadie scurrying through the lobby towards the rickety old elevator that led to the upper floors suites. I hesitated mulling it over, then the devil on my right shoulder made much more sense than the rather harried angel perched on the other. I made it just as the door closed in to my face. I watched as the ancient machined groaned and jostled its way up. Ahh it would have been all so very easy, but I convinced myself it was all for the better.

And now, right here, I was being given a rare second opportunity to …….. well you know!

So I made my gamble, and moved along the wall, reaching the outside door I propped it open an inviting( I hoped) crack ,then headed outside and took a position in the shadows of an advantageous and welcomed hedge wall. I figured that she would after all try coming into the garden to snoop up on Miranda. So I wanted to be ready to seize upon that little bit of opportunity if it presented itself..If not, than I was just all the closer to my exit anyway!.

So now I cunningly waited, ready to take full advantage of whatever situation decided to present its lucrative self.

My intentions were to do a bit of falling in step, slipping up against, and execute a bump like move in order to pickpocket a bit of this ones jewels, especially a try at her fancy necklace
.

Now I harboured no doubts that the Sadie’s earrings possibly would be out of reach, but her pretty ring and necklace would not be so elusive and was worth a tidy enough sum to whet my appetite to the point of taking the risk.

Now there are several ways to relieve a lady of her ring or necklace! I have at times given employment to a majority of them. So, with me thoughts training on which method to use, I waited, still hidden in the shadows, in eager anticipation. For the hunt was now very much on!

Then I saw a petitely lithe shadow by the door and sure enough, Sadie had come peeking around the corner and flutters down the path towards the hedge where I awaited with eager anticipation. I could see her flickering jewels sparkling with pinpricks of fire, as they were swinging against her figure whilst she made her way down the path towards me lair, and the trap I had set!

I smelled her perfume before I saw her… another chess piece was on the scene… Pamela!

Her shadow loomed behind the girl, she had swiftly came from the same exit as both Sadie and I.

It was most definitely Pamela ( or Pam Pam as Lucius was apt to call her) … She must have seen the naughty girl sneak out of the party and come to collect her back inside. I moved deeper inside the hedge, cursing me luck as I watched through a crack. And what I was witness too made me freeze in place. For this evening I was not the only scoundrel out seizing an opportunities.

Pamela, it should be noted, was purposefully dressed up in a pretty gown of slippery green taffeta, quite simply stunning on her. Her only jewellery was a pair of long earrings, swinging provocatively down to and almost touching her semi bared shoulders.

As I watched she approached, unnoticed, right up behind the girl, catching Sadie just before she had reached my hidey hole. She tapped Sadie on her satin clad shoulder, catching her startled attention with a hug of apology. She excitedly asked Sadie what she was ever up too this evening, outside all alone? She was seemingly surprised that Sadie was not with Jacklyn? Sadie just told her that Jacklyn was back inside, and that, she(Sadie) was old enough to be on her own. Of course you are me dear, were the approving words given, and Valentine gave Sadie a second hug to show no worries.

Within the course of the conversation, just 5 short minutes, Pamela admired Sadie’s slick silvery dress, her silken blonde hair which she playfully lifted up over the child’s head and let it flow down again in a silken mass. Then she had held Sadie’s hands as she cooed to the girl over how pretty Sadie was looking that evening. It was being laid on all too rather thick for my tastes I was thinking as I watched the show. Sadie had giggled as Pamela had touched her (Sadie’s) wrist, and with a ticklish touch, had let her fingers brush along the girl’s sides, doubling Sadie over giggling. Pamela laughed right along with he. Sadie was eating it all right up, blushing red at all of Pamela’s flattering words and the pleasant touch of her long, quite nimble fingers.

Pamela then told the girl to better shoo on about her business. I could see the relief in Sadie’s eyes that an adult had not scolded her for being out on her own, and had instead treated her like a real grown up girl! She turned skipping merrily towards my hiding spot. I shrunk back into the shadows, watching from a crack. Sadie came past, her shiny dress fluttering as she still was skipping happily on her own secret mission.

I then looked back at Pamela. She was still standing there, watching Sadie with a rather interesting smirk playing along her ruby red lips. After a long few seconds Pamela briskly turned and headed purposefully back inside, again using the very door that both Sadie and I had used to come into the garden.

I watched her disappear inside, my mind reeling over what had just transpired between Pamela and poor unwary Sadie.

I had watched, captivated and captured, the whole affair with awed astonishment…

Now, of course I have met several male pickpockets, including the one who had mentored me. But never given much thought that there would be any female ones, until now. For as I had watched in amazement as in a much quicker fashion, and using much more honed methods, than ever I would manged to accomplish. Pamela had first lifted and slipped Sadie’s sparkly pendent and gold braided chain effortlessly away from the poor thing not!). Then, focusing on Sadie’s hand, she had greedily, ever so gently caressed ,Sadie’s fingers while slipping off the enticing sapphire and diamond ring from her pinkie finger with an almost effortless simplicity of ease. Thus only Leaving Sadie’s dangling earrings, expensively and beckoningly, last on her list!. Pamela had then, with great finesse, managed to pluck the pretty sparklers off from delicate earlobes, one by one, as the pair of ladies had giggling away, their fore heads touching in a conspiracy like manner.

Mulling over the entire bit of Pamela’s’ inspiring achievement, I gave some careful thought to the situation as it now existed, whilst I waited for the coast to clear.

Now, I had learned earlier through idle gossip, that that the function Pamela and her “son” Lucius had been attending was rather posh, fancy dress bit of a wedding. It was taking place, or had been, at the big cathedrals ballroom in Cambridge. I figured that Her “son” Lucius, if indeed the handsome youth was her son atoll, ( I had wondered what the Pam Pam bit was all on about!) must be the spotter, giving Pamela information on the jewels of the girls he had met and probably danced and cajoled with.

Pamela, tipped off ahead of time, must then have moved in and worked her talents, magically making the chosen victims jewels mysteriously disappear. I wondered how many times the team struck gold (diamonds?) tempting fate before wisely knowing when to vanish before the wealthy guests finally figured something was not on the up an up due to the fact that their jewels were vanishing at an alarming rate?

Quite a charmingly practiced team indeed. I found meself wondering how much they had gotten away with ?, And now they had come back here , playing their tricks, putting a nice bit of shimmering icing on their already jewel gem encrusted cake!

(While doing research on the Journal, an undergrad was able to match up some of the incidents Sabastien described , including the ones that occurred at the Riverside, to police reports of unsolved thefts during the same time frame! Since it is highly unlikely that any arrest could be made( even if the suspects are still alive) by solely using the journals’ entries, said cases will most likely remain unsolved. Though in some a footnote has been made in the official files. the eds…)

I looked at the door leading back into the ball room. The one Pamela had just used a minute or so ago. I wondered if she had a purpose in mind, another well adorned victim, previously preselected and carefully observed. A vision of Jacklyn suddenly popped into me head. The last of the three. If that was where Pamela was heading, I knew of a shortcut to the dining area!

Now I was determined to beat Pamela at her own game….. go to play out a gambit. For there was yet one of the trio still in play, the fair damsel Jackelyn! I rose and went up the path, my mind traveling inside to her, as she had sat alone at the table after Sadie had passed me.

My vision went to her, imagining that she was still put, sitting alone at her table, wallowing in her self-induced misery….Jackie was wearing a soft gown of long purple silk that fell fluttering in layers from her shoulders down to her high heeled lavender painted toes.. Each layer was adorned with long fringed threads that swayed every time she moved. Her jewels were far pricier than Sadie’s, all genuine sapphires ringed with small diamond chips. They had consisting of a dainty jewelled necklace ,small dangling earrings, brooch on one shoulder and matching bracelets and rings, one on each wrist and hand.

A thought played out that I should not take any risks, bird in hand and all of that usual bit. But I felt an overwhelming urge to take something sparkling from at least one of the triplets, and to silently beat Pamela. For now I was sure that Pamela had Jacklyn in her heinous sights!

Or I could just leave right then and there, but where would the fun in that be! I ask of thee?

So, on a lark, I headed to the third entrance off the garden. A secluded door stuck in a corner that led to an upstairs corridor that looked down over the banquet hall. The hall below containing the tables where I had seen Jacklyn and Sadie brooding sulkily earlier. It would get me there far quicker than it should reasonably take Valentina who had to travel across the crowded ballroom before reaching the area.

Reaching the door , I waited a few precious seconds before slipping inside. I made my way up the stairs and into the seldom used , quite deserted corridor. I made my way, hugging the wall and staying in the shadows. The banquet hall came into a birds eyed view. I looked down and saw a flicker of a rich purple Silken gown at one of the tables. Jacklyn was still there, and she was alone, none of the other tables were occupied, everyone appeared to be on the dance floor, except for a small group with their backs to the dining area as they huddled by a roaring fire in the large stone hearth.

All I had to do was go down the back staircase, and walk up behind Jacklyn and make my move. It was a perfect set up, or would have been. For as I studied Jacklyn, while making my way to the stairway, I could not make out any sparkling signs of her expensive sapphires. which was odd, for they had ever so sparkled, winking vexingly at me as I was talking to Bunny.

I Made my way down stairs to the banquet hall floor, and started to stalk ever so carefully towards the unsuspecting Jackelyn. Soon I got close enough, without being spotted, to verify the reason I couldn’t see her sapphires sparkling, she was no longer wearing any of them.. She had been plucked as clean as her partner in crime, Sadie!

So once again, I was too be denied! But by whom? Was there yet another? A third pickpocket working the area stripping these unwary dolls of their precious baubles? Lucius perhaps?

I stopped in step and looked around.

Soon I saw her. So she had either beaten me to it, or had already visited the poor doll after I had left to follow Sadie!! Either way, she had made rather quick of it I thought , looking back at the totally unawares Jacklyn…

Pamela was back in the area, and had joined in with the group of four exceptionally well dressed ladies standing by the Hearth. As I watched one was hugging everyone good night, I observed her as she walked off… She was wearing a rather provocative long ruffled dress of ivory lace and satin. Her ears, wrist and fingers were home to a matching set of blood red rubies and diamonded jewellery. She was wearing no necklace, which I found conspicuous, and as I looked back towards the remainder of the group, I wondered what else, aside from Sadie and Jacklyn’s jewels, dear Pamela had buried deep inside some unseen pockets!?

Pamela stood amongst them as the rather shimmering decked out group prattled on. She currently had her hand on the gloved elbow of a lady in a long teal satin frock. Diamond rhinestone chains were hanging down from the ladies bobbed haired head, and a rather nice set of dazzling diamonds sparkling along the rest of her well-endowed figure, tightly outlined by her cocoon of shiny teal.

I looked back at Jacklyn, she had a foxy gleam in her eyes, and was happily singing to herself, obviously making plans. She was watching out towards the dance floor, oblivious to anything different. As I watched I saw her stand and move off towards the dance floor, perhaps looking for the erstwhile Sadie and Miranda?

I looked back to Pamela, she was already briskly moving off, her eyes on the wandering Jacklyn. I looked back at the well-dressed group she was leaving. Immediately I saw that a diamond bracelet was gone ,that quick and easy, from the lady in green teals wrist. The same arm Valentina had been so chummily holding… and I couldn’t quite put a finger as to why, but there was another member of that group wearing a brown satin gown that appeared familiar. And I had the distinct impression that there was a rather pretty diamond brooch that should have been hanging down like a glittering waterfall, from the front of that very same shiny brown gown!

Bollocks, I swore silently to meself , right there and then deciding to concede my intriguingly private game to the quite skilful Pamela and leave forthwith. For with a hefty satchel brimming with these wealthy guests purloined jewels in hand, it really was quite silly to keep trying riske it all on a silly parlour game of trying to outwit a fellow jewel thief! Turning sharply, I regained the stairs and again keeping against the shadows of the wall, followed the corridor to the outside exit, pausing up at the top of the stairs to see if I was being observed. I was not!

But my mood was anything but dark due to my missed opportunities. For I had still made quite a nice hull that evening, far more than Pamela had made from what she had taken from the triplets, and speaking of the triplets ; it twas Quite a delight to see the three of em receive their comeuppance, even if it was not done by my hand.

I went outside and entered the garden looked quickly around. No one was in sight. I darted behind a fountain, and watching the exit doors from the building, and the exit from the hedge for newcomers. With the coast seemingly clear, I slowly meandered my way down the path to the exit from the garden. The exit was in the form of a rather fancy wood trellis with red climbing moss roses set in the hedge. As I walked I heard voices, and looking back I saw all three of the triplets by a corner gazebo, talking with Lucius.

I could see nothing sparkly from anywhere on any the poor lassies figures. And apparently none of the three twits had noticed they had been royally stripped down to their pretty frocks either. What a shame I said, sarcastically, to meself, feeling not a bit of pitying empathy…And I was sure that Lucius was not going to enlighten the wretched young ladies’ as to the situation either!

Gaining the exit I waltzed me way out . I I then, with my back to the hedge , skirted the woods and made it back to the car, unseen as far as I could know, and hope.

Checking the boot to make sure I hadn’t been burgled (that would have been a laugh, not!), I started the engine and drove a nice leisurely pace back to the station. I only passed two other cars, so the road was my own so I travelled with comfort and ease, and made it to the train station without incident.

I gained my seat with 35 minutes to spare..
Figuring I would be the last on, I snuggled down and prepared to sleep the hours till the next stop (Chelsea which was about 2 hours away where I would meet up with my luggage, having the clerk telegraph ahead to have it taken off for me)

The train blew a last call whistle at 5 minutes to leaving. Suddenly there was a bustle of activity as two passengers scurried on. Cutting it close I thought.

Sure enough they were, and it turned out to be none other than Pamela and Lucius. Lucius was attentively carrying a large carpetbag, and I was pretty sure I knew some of its contents. Neither had changed costume, so they must have had a car loaded and ready for a quick exit.

They breezed past me without a glance and disappeared into the back bowels of the train.

I pulled me hat down over the eyes and pretended to be asleep , dozing for a quick kip as it were , while they passed by…
No need to chance uneasy recognition.

My mind, far from sleeping, now started to whirl with all sorts of thoughts upon the new development in me plans! Just as the train was pulling out at midnight I was pondering over those two, and the shiny contents of a certain carpet bag.

Now the express only stopped at larger cities, a total of 5 more stops on the route before that last at Surrey..

As I had said Chelsea was the next stop, and if Pamela and luscious did not depart the train with me at that stop, the next one was 4 hours away in Hampshire, which had a rather respectable police presence, no less than 2 chief detective inspectors

So I thought to meself, If the pair were to stay on the train, and the Hampshire constabulary were to receive an anonymous wire about what the contents of a certain carpet bag has to do with some nefarious activities occurring at Riverside Inn, Cambridge earlier that evening. And if the triplets jewels were returned, than it would mean that they were back in play for me to follow them home and try to steal the pretties for meself at a later date! It was a rather warming thought indeed!

Or, I additionally reasoned, I could give honour to the supposed thieves code and keep me tongue?
But than, I ask of ye, where would the fun be in that?

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Editors Note:
The journal has been ended at this point deliberately to maintain an element of mystery to the tellin.
However, without giving too much away.
We can reveal that there was at least a third visit that Sabastien made to the Riverside some years later, possibly this is when the trunk was left behind unclaimed.
During this visit he once again met up with one of the triplets, a bit older, a bit more posh, and a bit more of a bratty glib . She was also adorned with far more enticing baubles….. So it was no great deliberation on Sabastian’s part to come away from that rather unexpected reunion with a nice bit of added acquisitions. He accomplished this feat in ( his words) a rare trifecta; Burgling, lifting(pickpocketing), and stealing jewels from the same female victim in a 24 hour period!

And that is where the fun in that would be!

Posted by Subsequent Wickedness on 2017-10-02 20:33:42

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