Victorian Lapidary Chapter 3-2

Murders made all sorts of sensational news, but that boy at the harbor – my crystals hadn’t guided me there and I’d paid him little mind, deeming it unnecessary.

“When was the boy in the harbor found again?” I asked casually.

“The tenth. Just a few days ago.” He finished the tea in two large swallows.

The tenth. I had been guided towards a small churchyard called St Paul’s Communion and spent hours searching the area but found nothing. My crystals were never wrong.

“We’ve been trying to follow on any possible old haunts for the two boys, see if there’s some sort of connection we missed.”

“Had they any personal effects?”

“Oh yes. We emptied their pockets. The first boy carried a remarkable amount of lint and wet, old newspapers.” I chuckled. “But the boy this morning – there was some molding bread he was probably saving for a later time, and this.” Kenneth fished out a bag from his pocket and took out a gold pocket watch. I arched a brow in surprise.

“It’s a lovely piece.” I carefully took the watch between gloved hands, weighing it. “Four karat gold, I’d say.”

“That’d cost quite a pretty penny, wouldn’t it?”

“Considerably more than a rent boy could make, unless their prices have risen,” I said dryly. “Perhaps he lifted it?”

I clicked open the watch, looking at the picture inside and said softly. “I don’t suppose he did, did he?”

“That’s him, the boy in the picture. Better dressed and well fed, but him all the same. And his family with him, I suppose.”

“He had a sister,” I murmured, rubbing a thumb over their faces. They had ignored the photographer’s instructions and were smiling at the camera. A happy family. I felt a pang of something deep inside that echoed hollowly. Not sympathy, surely.

“I don’t suppose you’ve seen him before, or his parents?” Kenneth said hopefully.

“No.” I inspected the engraving of the watch, two doves flying close together and weighed the piece in my hand. “Would you like me to take it inside and clean it a little?”

Without waiting for a response, I ducked into my workspace and fished out a scalpel, scraping a small amount of gold flakes into a piece of tissue paper. “It’s a good size, don’t you think? I’ve made several watches like that for the Earl of Blackwood before, he insisted it be custom-made to fit his palm.” I said, loud enough to be heard. “The watch is too big for a young boy. Must be the father’s. It’s a keepsake then. Quite an expensive one.”

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