As Christians, we are not excluded from bearing the trials and tribulations of a sinful world. ‘The rain falls on the just and the unjust.’ Yet, it’s how we respond that will set us apart from someone who follows God and one who follows his own way. In this little story, I am showcasing just such a case. Even as Christians, we sometimes get side tracked. Yet, we can never respond to any situation in an unrighteous way and expect to find righteous results.
Let me set the stage. This story takes place in the mid 1800’s. It’s a time when women dress in long ball gowns and show their pricey jewels. The town is alive with parties and guests enjoy an evening of live musicians and dancing. It’s a romantic time when the men are decked out in top hats and tails and their cravats are tied around their necks just so. Boots are polished and every person arrives at their destination in a horse drawn carriage. The town could be anywhere so let’s just call it Downsberry.
There has been a rash of jewel thievery. This began when the Earl of Levinshire had been burglarized and his wives entire family collection of jewels was stolen. Let’s open the first scene at ten in the morning. Two men sit and enjoy a cup of tea with scones. Let’s listen in.
Sheridan and his father Giles Langsworthy sat at the long dining room table and checked the jewels with those listed in their log book. ‘Well done Sheridan! This ruby is the last of the ones stolen from us. Now, we’ve got a long ways to go of course but at least it’s half way done!’
Sheridan sipped his tea and sat back in his chair. ‘It’s such an easy job Father. Those women are so busy batting their eyes at me, they never see what my hands are doing.’
‘Yes well, as long as those hands stay out of harm’s way! This is serious business Sheridan! You mother’s family owns these jewels and unless they are recovered quickly we may never see them again.’
Sheridan turned his head to the window where his mother was tending to her flower garden. It was rows and rows of pink. They grew well for her in the warm sunlight. Each spring she’d be outside tending to their care until well into the fall. Only pink carnations would do for his mother Louise.
‘I still think it’s quite fun to leave a pink carnation in the place of a priceless jewel. Everyone thinks the jewel thief is neurotic. Yet, I do worry I’ll get caught. Just the other day one of the ladies mentioned I smell like flowers.’
Giles Langsworthy wasn’t worried. ‘Oh, for heaven’s sakes Sheridan. Just tell them about your mother’s gardens. Everyone knows she has the biggest garden of carnations around. The whole house smells of flowers. It’s bound to permeate the clothes we wear. Why, just the other day a policeman even dropped by to see if any had been stolen. ‘The jewel thief you know.’ He’d said.
‘I assured him that none seemed to be missing and we have a guard dog. ‘There is nothing to worry about at all.’
Sheridan shrugged and bid his father a good day. Slowly, he mounted the staircase and went into his room. It had been a long night and he was tired. A few hours sleep and he’d be good to go for that party tonight.
He stood six foot two and his frame was slender and agile. He was not the athletic looking type but women found him charming and his wit never failed to amaze them with laughter. He was a quiet man not looking for the lime light yet never missing anything going on around him. That was why his father entrusted him to help locate the stolen jewels. He knew who he was and was comfortable in his own skin.
Sheridan was able to steal into windows and open drawers as quiet as a mouse without leaving fingerprints. His step was sure and the moccasins he wore made no noise. His eyes adjusted easily to the dark and he was able to see things in the dark that most would miss in the day of light. He was able to maneuver himself into places most wouldn’t attempt. He’d once slung a rope over the roof of a house and dangled there until it was safe to enter the upstairs window. His long fingers were very nimble. He could unbutton a hidden pocket in a girl’s dress while dancing with her and remove a locket without her knowing.
Yet, he was a gentleman. Never taking advances or given to lewd conversation. His mother raised him with impeccable manners. She did not know the goings on between him and his father or she would have called a halt to it. Louise was a Christian and jewels meant nothing to her.
The town’s people had dubbed this thief ‘The pink flower’ as he left a pink carnation wherever he took the jewels that had been stolen. There was one home who never would find a flower though. The woman was beautiful and Sheridan never tired from watching her across the room in church. Her family stole nothing from the Langsworthy collection. The women wore little in the line of jewels except for silver. The Banninger family had made it’s fortune in the silver mines and were much richer than any family in town. They had doubled their wealth from making silver jewelry. Compared to them, the Langsworthy jewels wasn’t worth bothering with. Yet, they had stolen one thing without knowing.
Their daughter Juliana Banninger had stolen Sheridan’s heart. No amount of flowers could compare to that. Each week Sheridan watched as Juliana laughed and displayed a delightful warm atmosphere to all of her friends. Like her family, she had dark hair and light gray eyes. She was never seen without an escort yet she was out and about almost every day. Her activities included helping with the horses on her father’s vast estate. That is where Sheridan had a chance to visit at times. Their land boundary line was across the small stream that divided the Banninger and Langsworthy property.
Sheridan crossed his arms beneath his head as he stretched out on his bed. He thought of the night ahead. It was to be a coming out affair from Trudy Milestone. She was seventeen and her parents wanted her to be wed. It might prove rather difficult Sheridan thought. ‘Trudy is a pleasant enough young lady but she has a horrible habit of laughing too loud. In fact, she sounds like a trumpet at times when she laughs too long. Her voice is also a cross between a cat mewling and the sound of fingernails running across a chalkboard.’ He smiled a bit and then wondered if he would find any diamond earrings this evening in the shape of a half moon. The setting was gold and they were unique in that his family’s initials were engraved inside the moon. It was such a clever design though that few would realize it.
He yawned and hoped that he wouldn’t find the earrings on Trudy’s earlobes. Soon, he drifted off to sleep.
To be continued …