“Ye say it was supposed to be worn by a hussy?” Amos Jones slowly sat himself down on the warped stair boards leading up to the front entrance of the cemetery administration building. “What kinda ornament is that?”
“No, it’s a posy holder for something called a tussie-mussie,” Shelby sat down next to him. “A ’tussie-mussie is a tiny bouquet of herbs and flowers, and the woman would put this aromatic bouquet into the holder, and then attach it to her hand to swing free, or else fix it to a blouse, using that chain and pin. She’d hold it close to her nose to remind her of her gentleman-caller. It’s really romantic, actually.”
“Yeah, but tell him the rest! It also was used to mask the stench of inadequate sewage drainage and horse manure that was common during the Victorian Age,” Edgar laughed. “Not so romantic after all!”
Amos pulled out the silver posy holder and brought it to his nose for a whiff. “Well I be. That’s gotta be lavender I detect. Imagine that — a hundred year-old lavender. Gotta say, I never thought to stick this thing close to my nose.”
“Whatever. I think it’s romantic,” Shelby pulled Edgar down hard beside her. “A lady likes to show favor. I think it’s elegant.”
“Anyway, Amos,” Edgar tried to steer the conversation, “that’s the answer to this puzzle. Have any more mysteries for us?”
“Got one more, since ye asked.” Amos grimace-smiled. “Weren’t gointa bother ye none, since ye done so much for me already. Ye’s kind to ask, though.”
“Let’s see it, then.”
“Meant to tell ye, yer granny stopped by and chatted a bit. Brought more vittles. That was right decent of her. Ye got a sweetheart of a granny. She sure can whip up a decent clam chowdah.”
Edgar detected a hint of bile creeping into his throat. Could Amos Jones actually be into his grandmother?
“Well, she’s pretty cool, I guess –”
“No, no! She got spunk, and mighty full o’ class as well. Bewitching is what she be. That’s the word, right theyah. Bewitching. Right decent to make a feller welcome around here. That Stelton woman only wanted to see what I was rummaging’ through upstairs.”
The mention of Cora Stelton made Edgar sit up straight. Cora had been a pain in Edgar’s side for as long as he could remember, and recent events concerning the forgotten St. Edmund witch trials — and a certain Lost Grimoire — back in the winter had not made her any more endearing.
“Cora Stelton asked about the stuff upstairs? What even made her even think to ask? Amos, did you show her all these antiques?”
“She asked about the upstairs first thing when she stopped by, which made me think to show her what I’d found so far. She didn’t want to know about it all, though. Didn’t even have the decency to pretend to be curious. She asked if she could borrow that dang box I found and then made her getaway, box an’ all, like a fox in a henhouse. Rudest woman!”
Edgar gave Shelby a glance, but said nothing.
“So what did you want us to help you figure out this time?” Shelby asked.
“Oh, right,” Amos dug into his pants pocket, and soon pulled out an odd, green-colored glass object. “Seen one o’ these before?”
“I haven’t,” Edgar said. “You found this upstairs as well?”
Amos nodded, glancing mischievously up toward the far window on the upper floor.
“Amos, you know this stuff isn’t yours, right?”
“Ain’t yers neither,” Amos rose from the stairs and began pacing. “Or that Stelton woman. Anyway, ye gonna get a shot o’ this one and go work yer magic? I got a plot to make ready and I ain’t gettin’ any more young.”
“Sure. Edgar, hold it steady and I’ll just take a picture of you holding it. That’ll give a better sense of it’s size.”
After Edgar and Shelby had left the cemetery grounds and were strolling by the many downtown tourist-traps that made St. Edmund a classic summer destination, Shelby finally allowed a deep giggle to escape her throat.
“Bewitching,” she leaned into Edgar and gave him a hard nudge. “Just think, Amos and your grandmother may have a need for that tussie-mussie yet!”
“There is no way that is happening!” Edgar cringed.
“But wouldn’t it be too cute? I can soooo see them feeding pigeons together, sitting in the park being all lovey-dovey on each other.”
“Not happening. And — a big eww for that disturbing image. Thanks a lot, Shelb.”
“Well I think he’s a right fine feller,” Shelby laughed, pleased with her spot-on imitation of Amos.
“Wonder what was up with Mrs. Stelton being so eager to rummage around up in that building, though,” Edgar said. “Really weird.”
“Edgar, do not even go there. She was just rummaging, probably looking for stuff for the Historical Society. Right? I mean, what else could it be?”
“I guess you’re right,” Edgar said. “It’s just — really weird.”
“You’re weird,” Shelby mocked playfully.
“You are the weirdest of the weird,” Edgar replied.
“You’re so weird, even weird people think you’re weird.”
“I’ll take that as sufficient admission of your being weird,” Edgar nodded, self-satisfied.
“Grrrr!” Shelby grabbed Edgar by the waist and began tickling him with merciless abandon.