The Material World: Part 10-The Ring of Truth

The Material World: Part 10-The Ring of Truth

Exercise Your Imagination!  Do you like stories with mystery and suspense? Well, if you do, keep reading and enjoy Eggcentricsagas.  If you are just joining Eggcentricsagas, start from the beginning: A La Mano: Part 1-The Treasure

Penelope had massaged Pepe’s bad leg the entire carriage ride home. When they arrived, she placed Madame des Plumes’ turban on her head so she could carry him up the stairs. Claude opened the door for her as Penelope set Pepe down to see if he could walk. His limp seemed much better as he entered the apartment. Penelope followed him in. Madame Bisset looked her up and down and gave a little snort of disdain as she focused on the blue hat.

Then Claude stepped in. Seeing Claude’s bruised face with his left eye blackened and swollen shut, Madame Bisset gave a little squeal of concern. She hurried to her boy and fussed over him. Leading him to her chair, the only comfortable one in the apartment his mother bade him sit. Then she hovered around him with a watery gaze, clasping and unclasping her hands until he rather brusquely told her to sit down too. They spoke in rapid French, but Penelope knew that he was trying to reassure her, that he was fine, and tell her what happened. When he finished, Madame Bisset looked over and scowled at Penelope. Then she proceeded to ignore her presence.

Penelope told Claude that she would be in her room. “C’mon on, Pepe,” she encouraged. Her loyal pet accompanied her willingly. Picking him up, she placed him on the bed. Then took off the turban and set it next to him as he laid down. Grateful for his presence, she kissed his cold, wet nose and told him, “I love you Pepe.” He wagged his tail in response.

The girl patted his head before searching for the small scissors she kept in her dresser drawer. When she had located them, she sat down next to Pepe on the bed. Picking up the hat, Penelope began to carefully rip open the seam of the lining of the blue turban. What she found inside was another piece of paper folded around something. Her lips parted in awe of what she discovered after undoing the packet. Enclosing a piece of jewelry was a note, including an address. A ring with three sapphires and encrusted with tiny diamonds.

“My Dearest Penelope,

I hope that this letter finds you well. When we were in the jail cell, your mother told me her history. When we knew that she was going back to prison in England, I made a promise. I would find you and take care of you. 

When I was released, I didn’t know your whereabouts. My nephew, Émile, said that he would help me. He assured me that eventually, you would come back and that he would take care of the situation. I wasn’t sure why the police arrested us, but Émile told me that it would be best for me to leave before there was any more trouble. A former sailor, he pulled some strings and got me on a ship bound for America. Here is my cousin’s address in New York City. I want you to join me here. You have natural ability, and together we will make a great team.

You have found my mother’s ring, one of the few things of value that I own. I want you to sell it to pay for the ship fare. I have not always trusted Émile, so this is why I hid the ring in the turban and put it in your drawer. I dreamed that you would find it and the clues that I left for you. 

Find someone you trust and tell them my plan. They will help you find your way. Follow your star, Penelope. I am waiting for you.

Your friend always, 


Penelope remembered the Lenormand Star Card that the seer had left for her and a particular meaning stuck in her mind. Finding your way and believing in it. The girl decided to sew the ring back inside the lining for safekeeping. When she finished, she put the turban on her dresser and then looked out her small window. People had already begun to light their lamps in the waning hours of daylight. The setting sun cast its beams across the clouds peppering the skyline of Paris, coloring the buildings salmon-red and fiery orange. As the sky darkened and became layers of blue, Penelope thought about all that had happened.

What would Martin, the red-haired policeman, do? Would Claude help her? What would Madame Bisset do? What would happen to her? Would the seer’s plan work? Could she make it to America? Finally, exhausted by her mental efforts and the day’s happenings, she lay down on the bed next to Pepe. Curling around the already sleeping pooch, the girl fell fast asleep.

With her mother, she had on a blue swimsuit, and they were wading in the ocean. Then they were in a tunnel going somewhere. She could see Madame des Plumes standing at the end of it, smiling and looking at her. She was beckoning to her to come forward.

Penelope awoke from her dream and knew what she had to do.

She and Claude were interrogated the next day by the red-haired policeman. He told them that they suspected that Émile had killed his victim over gambling debts and had tried to frame his aunt. Penelope kept quiet about the letter of Adelaide. She and Claude were allowed to return to the apartment.

While there, Madame Bisset made Penelope feel uncomfortable. The grumpy, old woman would only occasionally look at Penelope and talked less.

Penelope knew that she had to tell Claude of Madame des Plumes’ plan. When his mother was out of the room, Penelope suggested to the young man that they take Pepe to the park. He agreed and, there, she told him about the note and the ring.

“But what about the sewing? Who will help us?”

Penelope felt sympathy for them, but she did not want to stay with Madame Bisset and keep sewing for nothing. “Do the ateliers like your mother’s creations?”

“Oui. Very much.”

“What if she just designed the patterns for them and they found other seamstresses to do the sewing? She taught me well.”

“I don’t know.”

“Please, Claude. You are the only one I trust to help me.”

The tall, thin, young man placed his elbows on his knees and rested his forehead in his hands as he pondered her proposition. Penelope looked at his long neck and recalled when she had first seen him in Saint-Sulpice.

Claude sat up and turned to her. “I need to let my face heal first. Then I will suggest your ideas to the shopkeepers and see what they say. If they say yes, then I will do all that you want. Can you be patient?”

Penelope nodded and added, “Can we get the inspector to unlock the door to Madame’s apartment so I can get my things?”

In time, all things came to pass. Penelope got her belongings, Claude’s face healed, only a tiny scar on his upper lip remained, Madame Bisset became a designer, Pepe’s lameness resolved, and Adelaide’s ring was sold.

Claude bought the ticket and took Penelope and Pepe to the ship. Before she boarded it, she turned and hugged him. With tears in her eyes, she thanked him for all that he had done. He returned the embrace, the appreciation, and got misty-eyed as well.

“I’m going to miss you, kid, and your interesting French,” he said and grinned. Looking down at Pepe, he added, “And your little man dog.” Bending down and patting Pepe’s head, Claude advised him, “Take care, mon ami, and keep protecting her too.” Pepe wagged his tail and then strained on his leash. The dog was eager to climb aboard the boat and discover a new adventure.

Claude waited on the dock and waved goodbye as the ship set sail. Penelope was sad but, like Pepe, was keen for what the future would bring.

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About J Fremont

Author/veterinarian J. Fremont has created Magician of Light, a novel about famed glassmaker Rene Laliqué. Exercise your imagination. Enjoy!