Slinking away, still smirking over how rewardingly gullible the bejeweled wealthy girls in silky dresses had proven, Angie unexpectedly came across fresh, opulently inviting, prey.
Angelique D. at play
Case study 113 subset b
Early development: “Pickpocket” of worn Jewelry
What is it about rich girls that make them so lucratively gullible?
Quoted by Subject: log 1959
Along a path just outside where a departing congregation of a small church still gathered.
The outskirts of Chestermere:
An early fall day, in the year of our Lord 1915
An appealing lady wearing a secret smile, clad expensively in a silky top and flowing satiny ruffled skirt, a pair of gold earrings flashing merrily as she strolls.
Excerpted from Diary:
A lady in a cream silk blouse and long blue skirt was walking happily along a path on the outskirts of Chestermere. She was coming from the early Sabbath service of a local chapel, filled with the rousing words of the Parson’s homily. As Angie walked, she hummed a cheerful tune, her conscious, as always, free of any guilty feelings.
Angie was very pleased with herself, and the main source of the pleasure was now bouncing against her thigh as she briskly walked along. For deep in a small pocket hidden well below the waistline of her flowing sleek skirt, was a pretty jeweled pendent on a delicate gold chain.
Only just 15 minutes ago that jeweled pendent was still being worn by a member of a rather wealthy looking family whom had been in attendance at the same Sabbath service. Angie had scoped them out as the family had waltzed in just after the mass had started. The mother was dressed in a pretty white frock with ruffles of lace falling from her throat and wrists, along with a rather nice set of pearls. The rather formal and severe father was in a “monkey suit”, a gold pocket watch and fob stretched across his rather bulging waist. The pair had their hands full with two rambunctious , pre-adolescent twin boys, who had continually distracted them during and after the lengthy service. Which was good, from Angie’s point of view anyway, for it left the parents totally ignoring their seventeen year old daughter , at the end of the pew, standing with a sultry air about her.
The daughter was wearing a rather fancy party dress of thick red silk. Dangling down the front of the sheer red silk bodice, on a thin gold chain, was an attention grabbing deep green emerald starburst pendent that fell swaying from her dress’s high neckline. It had been the sleek dress that had whetted Angie’s interest, but it was the pendent that kept that interest focused during the entire service, delightedly eyeing the pendant’s shimmeriness in the low candle lit church. During the communion procession she had managed to slip in behind her in order to closer scrutinize the prospect, soaking in the expectations of acquiring it from the unsuspecting proper acting young lady..
As the service ended, the family joined in the stream of the departing congregation. Angie followed closely, looking for her chance. It came when the Parson stopped the father to ask a question, a group soon huddled around the mother and the twins. As everyone bent over to focus attention on the twins, including their sister, Angie circled her prey and slipped in close, hovering briefly over her back before darting in. In one fluid motion, Angie lifted with one practiced hand the chain and flicked open the thin clasp, nimbly catching the swaying pendent in her other hand as it fell, whisking the sparkling emeralds and chain away and palming it from sight. Absolutely no one noticed the flashy necklace as it vanished from the front of the sister’s silky dress. Angie had continued on her way, clutching the pendent, and headed straight out the door without looking back. Instead of heading back the short 3 miles to her hotel in the city, she decided to head out towards the woods, where she planned to lay low until dusk.
Angie now turned her head to have a look behind her at the distant chapel and the people milling about, her gold plated earrings flashing as she did so. Good, she thought, no one was following her, and she, in total security that she was out of danger, crossed off the path and went on the road.
Angie strolled along the country lane, trees lining it turning red and yellow in their autumn gowns, for quite some time, before she became aware of a band playing off in the distance.. Then turning a bend in the lane, through the thin wall of woods, she spied a wedding reception up on a hill by a white stone Church. From her vantage point she could see a multitude of colourful , richly shimmering gowns and the occasional sparkle of , she hoped , opulent jewelry.
As good luck would have it, she decides to crash the party. She was dressed for it, she was hungry, and who knows what pickings she may find inside to increase her earthly riches ,as the Parson had been saying! She walked around, skirting the woods and came across a hillside garden with rose covered arbors and bright flower lined paths. Two grubby boys of about ten and twelve were playing in the woods on the opposite side, by a small pond surrounded thickly with Rhododendron s. She entered the Garden and made her way up the winding path, coming out onto a small field with benches that lay on the opposite side of the church and the auditorium entrance to the reception.
Angie entered the crowded auditorium underneath the Church. She helped herself to the food buffet and sat outside enjoying her meal, as she watched the richly dressed crowd. A young man came up and asked her to dance, which she did happily, and just as happily lifted his gold watch and fob. And, too boot, after a few dances with him, she had become a part of his circle, happily mingling, and rubbing elbows with the obviously wealthy guests he presented her to. Including an introduction to his pretty faced teenage sister, who was sporting a pretty diamond ring on all too slender finger, that she kept waving in Angie’s face as she played with her long silky hair.
Angie soon left them and started to stalk about for a bit, noting that most of the guests were older, more mature specimens. There seemed to be a lack of young, well dressed children around, whose shiny offerings had been Angie’s main bread and butter for almost two years.. She had just come to the conclusion that she would have to settle for picking a few pockets or purses before leaving. She started to look around for the bloke with the fancy gold pocket watch who had first asked her to dance….
Then she saw her.
The lady was moving through the crowd, on the arms of a man half her age, giggling, not paying attention to anything else around her. She wore a long gown of a shimmery purple silk. But it was not the gown that had caught Angie’s eye, but the jeweled brooch that hung from the gowns cleavage, shadowed by its mistress’s ample bosom. Like the figurehead in a seagoing schooner it came, shimmering in the dazzling light of at least a hundred diamond chips, surrounded by an oval of blazing sapphires. Angie’s fingers tingled. It was time.
Now, it had been better than three years ago when Angie had run across an ancient, toothless Gypsy in a long black dress with a faded shawl around her shoulders, who had spoken Angie’s fortune. When she had read Angie’s palm, she looked Angie dead in the eyes, a most knowing kind of look. Then she had risen, motioning Angie to stay and came back with a rather battered old pamphlet she wanted Angie to look over. Entitled the Cutpurse: skilles, artes and Secretes of the Dip by “Gaston Monescu, 1826”, it covered the various tactics and moves used by master pickpockets. Including whole chapters on successful “Methodes” of relieving a wealthe lady of her” jeweles”.
The Gypsy Woman, who had hovering over Angie as she had read deeply into the pamphlet moved and sat back down across from her.
Angie ,who by this time in her quite young life, was already an accomplished cutpurse and picker of pockets, looked up at the gypsy, grinned, and asked if it was worth her while. The Gypsy just smiled, reached up and opened her dirty laced shawl, revealing the silvery necklace that Angie had been wearing when she had come in. Amazed she traded the necklace for the pamphlet on the spot and quickly began putting its teachings into play.
Angie soon mastered this new level of her chosen craft.
She had started on mannequins: clothing them in long silky dresses and jewelry. She had practiced for months, first in a rented studio apartment, then in a secret basement located in an isolated, deserted old barn and then its surrounding woods. Soon she felt confident enough to go out and try it in the crowded streets amongst shopping women. She met with great success, but her gains were only a pittance. Still she practiced, and had gotten so adept that she soon was moved onto more affluent hunting grounds.
She reasonably started out with weddings. For the phamplett had suggested starting out at formal parties where there would be an abundance of youngsters dressed in their best by parents wanting to show their off female issues to an adoring public( in the minds of the wealthy parents, anyway). So she went, seeking out young, easily distracted young girls who were not used to wearing the array of enticing jewels placed on them by overly enthusiastic parents.
Angie’s first time out was met with some rather sweet success. A large day time wedding reception in Nova Scotia, held in a public park by a majestic sweeping waterfall.
Late at the reception, as she was still prowling without making any formal attempts, she soon noticed that the adults at the gathering were becoming quite gay with drink, and noticeably paying less attention to their children. Said children began to wonder off in groups, exploring and starting to run about playing games, their gowns and dresses whispering a Pied Piperish tune to Angie’s ears, their shiny jewels luring her ever closer.
Angie soon started to follow a pair of young ladies who had scampered off to explore.
One was an impish girl with long black hair flowing down, drawing ones attention to the frilly white dress she was wearing. Gold chain earrings dancing merrily from her ears, as a longish gold herringbone chain shimmering brightly in the sun as it lay hanging from her silk dresses’’ high neckline.
Her partner in crime was a most fascinating subject. A charmingly bright green eyed proper young imp, a couple of years older than white dress, with a rather pronounced Welsh accent, much like Agie’s remembered her parents having. Her silken red hair lay down her back in a neat long French braid. A long thin satin gown of emerald green swished as she ran with the awkwardness of youth to keep up with her new friend. A matching satin bow was tied just below her throat, its ends trailing down to her svelte waistline. At the bows center was fastened a glittering rhinestone pin. She also was wearing a small rhinestone necklace that encircled her throat just above the bow. Her ears were home to a pretty pair of clasped rhinestone earrings that matched the pattern of her necklace. Around one short shiny green satin gloved wrist was a brite rhinestone bracelet.
The duo found the waterfall, by which a photographer had set up a camera. Angie approached the lovely pair, and easily started up a conversation, helped by the fact that as an adult, she was not scolding them for walking off. They seemed pleased that Angie was actually doing the exact opposite, like a favored auntie, she was encouraging them to explore.
Angie led them around a bend for a different view of the cascading waterfall, out of earshot of the reception. She helped the black haired lass, Basil, up to sit on a small stone wall for a better look, also helping to slip off the shiny gold herringbone necklace from her throat with an almost effortless ease in the process. As, with itching fingers, she contemplated what to do about Basil’s gold earrings, Angie started to watch Lydia.
Oblivious to what was going on around her, the red head, Lydia, was standing next to Angie, looking over the fence which just reached her shoulders. Here dear, Angie said, after pocketing the purloined gold necklace, you’re messing up your pretty dress. Angie turned the girl towards her, reached over and said, here, let my fix your bow, darling. Lydia allowed Angie to retie it, as Basil, her back to them, happily was watching, enraptured, the splashing water. Angie finished undoing and retying Lydia’s satin bow, neatly removing the pretty rhinestone pin in the process, then as she straightened the girl’s color, Angie had her turn around. As Lydia obediently did so, Angie flicked open the rhinestone necklaces clasp, and peeled off the flashy necklace from around Lydia’s throat as she turned round. Just like that, Lydia’s rhinestone necklace went the same way of er pin, both ending up with the gold chain in a secret pocket hidden in the folds of Angie’s skirt.
Angie stood behind Lydia, placing her hands on Lydia’s slick silken covered shoulders, all three watching the waterfall. Angie’s left hand caressingly, ever so lithely inched down along Lydia’s side, reaching the girls wrist. As Angie engaged them in conversation, she slowly worked off the bracelet, leaving only the pretty earrings as her last challenge.
Angie lifted her right hand and slowly moved it up to one of the girl’s dangling earrings, sparkling in the waterfalls’ reflection.. With her left hand she pointed upstream. As both girls turned their heads to look, off came a rhinestone earring. Angie than playfully lifted Lydia’s long French braid and laid it over Lydia’s shoulder, below her now bare ear. She turned to look down, giggling, and as she did so, Angie plucked away the remaining earring; it easily came off and joined its companion with the rest of the collection of jewelry in Angie’s secret pocket. Amazed that the process of removing young Lydia’s jewels had gone off so easily, Angie almost wished Lydia had been wearing bells like one of her sleekly gowned practice mannequins. Her reasoning being that she would know if it was because her skill level was that good, or just the fact that Lydia was just an unworldly youth easily distracted. Whatever the reason, Angie, feeling fresh inspiration, looked over at the chirpy basil, and her shiny gold earrings.
Angie moved behind Basil, placing her hands upon the slippery waistline of her silk dress, then leaned forward, whispering in the girls ear, tickling it with her breath. As Basil giggled Angie reached up gently lifted the gold chain earring up from the lobe of the girl’s opposite ear lobe. Then nimbly with her thumb and index finger, flicked open the hinge clasp and neatly removed the earring, watching for any reaction from her victim. Basil never felt a thing, Lydia was still watching the waterfall, equally as oblivious. Angie kept her chin close to Basil’s ear, and the remaining earring. Cautiously she moved her fingers up, and then darting in with them, successfully repeated the maneuver. As the earring joined the rest of her collection, Angie could not help thinking that if all her future endeavors were as successful, she could end up living quite a comfortable lifestyle.
Angie stayed a few more minutes, keeping the pair distracted the whole time before she cautiously moved off, leaving the two of them there by stream. Basil happily perched on the stone wall, and Lydia bent down, busily plucking at the moss growing on the old stones. Both girls still quite fetching in their pretty gowns, both a bit less weighted down by any added trimmings.
For the next year, fueled by her early success, she started focusing entirely on wedding receptions. Honing her skills until it became almost mundane for her nimble fingers to lift a jewel, no matter where is was being worn by a squirming young lady upon her fancy dressed person. And, actually, some of her acquisitions where worth a surprising bit of dough when pawned.
Favored Case in Point:
It was in New Hampshire, on her 24th outing late during the wedding season of the following year when she came upon a rather prim young miss of about 13, clad in a long sleeved thick yellow satin blouse, a black velvet vest and matching gold and black vertical striped satin skirt. A young raven haired bumble bee with no stinger, but with pearls, black pearls in a long string dangling down along the front of her shiny back buttoned blouse. She was also wearing matched black pearled earrings, and a small, daintily jeweled pin in the shape of a humming bird on her velvet vest. She was sitting alone at a table, playing with some crayons and a book. Angie, who had been watching her for some time from a bar stool, had come up and caught the pretty little things full attention, easily capturing her interest, then, finally, suggesting they go and watch the activity on the ballroom floor from a small alcove in a corner. Liking the adventurous way Angie had suggested it, the bumble bee had eagerly followed Angie away from the table.
Angie continued making small talk as the pretty thing was watching the exquisitely gown guests on the dance floor, including the girls’ parents. She was met with youthful exuberance by the youth, who was so enthralled with the activity on the dance floor that she was as unaware of what was going on around her , much like one of Angie’s practice Mannequins. After quite easily removing the dainty jeweled pin, Angie’s subtle fingers were able to lift up and flick open the rhinestone clasp of the child’s pearled necklace. Angie than coolly waited for a prime moment before whisking away the wholly distracted young miss’s gleaming black strand of pearls from around the high ruffled collar of her yellow satin blouse.
And also, like one of her gowned and jeweled practice Mannequins, the young girl never noticed anything amiss as Angie continued on with her conversation for quite some time afterwards. It was daring, but exciting as Angie kept stealing looks at the bare front of the glossy yellow blouse where the pearls had hung down so deliciously, knowing they were in her own pocket, so close, but for the young lady, so far.. Finally she decided she was pressing her luck, and she wished the child a goodnight, before beating a hasty exit,( but not before circling back to the now deserted table and heartlessly lifted the fat, expensively made purses, of both the young girl, and her mother!)
The jeweled hummingbird pin, and string of matched black pearls, dainty and long, fetched a pawned price that left whetted Angie’s appetite for more!
So, it was after this that Angie, looking for fresher, richer challenges, decided to seek out slightly older prey in their natural habitats, proms and social teenage dances. Where real gems, usually borrowed from their mothers or Grandmothers, would be replacing rhinestones.
Still very youthful looking despite her twenty something age, Angie’s first attempt was an upscale dance she had come across while out about in a neighboring city. It was held in an old ballroom for a local boy’s prep school and their dates. Figuring the girls attending would be ripe for the picking in tight gowns and loose fitting jewels, Angie stole inside for a closer look. The only obstacle was getting one of the begowned girls away from her group long enough to make a play for something of value that she was wearing.
But, Angie came away with nothing but valuable experience on that first attempt.
And it was actually her third try before she met with success in the form of a gold bracelet. It was at a formal dance being held in a large room of a rather posh hotel called the Red Lion Inn. She had gone in for a peek, and spying a pretty young thing heading for the ladies room, fell in step behind her. She was a long brown haired girl, wearing a short silk dress, blue, forming the perfect backdrop for her mouthwatering selection of shimmering gold jewellery. Waiting in a small alcove, Angie made her move as the young lady came back out the door. Bumping against her, Angie’s right hand held onto the youngster by the waist, drawing her close, as she steadied herself, apologizing. At the same time, Angie placed her left hand on the unsuspecting mark’s left wrist, easily flicking open the clasp of the thick gold etched bracelet and slipping it off and away. The young lady, accepting Angie’s apology, went on her way, and Angie, swiftly darted for the nearest exit, securing the rather overly brite bracelet in her bosum.
Over the spring and early summer dance seasons Angie practiced, acquiring bracelets and rings down pat using her skillfully developing fingers. She soon also was having some success with necklaces, including one with a long gold chain and a flower pendent set with a diamond carpel surrounded by ruby petals that had turned a quite tidy profit.
Then there had been the night of her first big haul, at a private girl’s school homecoming in Connecticut
She had started out by finally selecting and shadowing a young lady clad a slinky black dress, draped in her mother’s diamonds. Angie was drooling over a flashy wide glittering gemmed silver bracelet that hung loosely from the young vixen’s limp wrist. She was sure it was made up of real diamond chips. As the girl squirmed past Angie heading to the dance floor, her bracelet was easily plucked off the wrist of her black elbow length satin glove and secured deep in the bosom of Angie’s dress.
It was now becoming all too easy, smirked Angie as she unflappably headed out of the exit with her trophy. But, as she crossed the street, she was stopped by a hard looking Italian thug who emerged from the shadows. Angie at first thought wanted to mug her for her earrings, but it turned out he just wanted to see a girl who was inside attending the dance . He described her, and Angie, her interest growing, agreed to locate her and give her his message to meet him outside.
Angie went inside and soon found the girl. All her wishes had been answered. The unsuspecting lass was both richly gowned and even more richly jeweled, combined with zero common sense. This fidgeting girl had been seeing the young Italian on the sly, away from her disapproving family and friends. Angie led her out the back way, the opposite side of the Dance Parlor where the Italian was waiting in an alley.
Angie pointed across the street towards an entirely different Alleyway, offering to wait with her when the girl balked about going down it. As they waited, Angie fawned over the poor, beautifully adorned young innocent. Helping her straighten her luxurious gown, and helping her primp her long hair, so she would look just right for her east end Romeo. After waiting ten minutes, Angie instructed the girl to wait, while she went out and peeked down the street to see what was keeping her lover.
As she left, Angie stole a look back at the still primping young lass, eyeing her slinky gown, and remaining jewels, before heading off down the street, looking into her palm at the pair of long Garnet and diamond earrings that lay nestled, glittering fire there. She then placed them into a secret pocket, joining them with the girl’s small, expensive matching pendent, liberated as Angie had helped her negotiate a curb with her stiletto heels. Both pieces of the lass’s jewelry shared the same pocket with the wide silver bracelet encrusted with diamond chips that Angie had taken earlier..
More than once since then, Angie wondered if the ditzy, well jeweled girl ever had made it back out of that alleyway unscathed.
The experience had even more so whetted Angie’s appetite. So, even though she was still practicing on younger females, she was now dying to ply her trade upon mature women displaying the real McCoy.
So it was with that in mind that Angie now watched, with itching fingers, the beckoning brooch. Though Angie was still unsure enough of trying her abilities on wealthy ladies who would not be as easily distracted as young girls, the timing felt right. As the lady recklessly displaying the brooch passed, her attention lost in the arms of her lover, Angie turned and followed, getting a close look first at the brooch and its pin, noting that it was not tightly clasped onto the gowns thin material.
As the couple headed to a table they passed two wealthy dames arguing vigorously with each other. Pricey rings flashing as they pointed fingers emphatically in each other’s face. On the side of table away from the pair, but near to Angie as she was passing by, lay a small, fat silvery clutch purse . Figuring that any dames loaded down with that many gems should be carrying a healthy wad of dosh in it, Angie, on the fly, took action.
As she passed she snatched it, and slipping it under her arm turned and headed towards the ladies powder room. Just before entering Angie looked back watching as the two still argued, gemmed rings flashing she had gotten away with it! Going into a stall she scrutinized the clutch for its valuables; disappointed to find only a fiver, some loose change, and a silky laced handkerchief. How cheap can you get she thought ruefully over the wasted effort? Hiding the clutch in the folds of her satin skirt, she left the stall, passing a lady applying makeup in a mirror. She was very pretty in a fluid teal gown, wearing dazzling white pearls upon her ears, neck and wrists. Something about this lady seemed familiar, and Angie’s senses started to sound an alarm. Catching each other’s eye, Angie nodded, but the lady appeared not to recognize Angie, nor Angie her, but the feeling still lingered. Angie left ,guardedly perplexed.
Angie went to the bar to have a drink while she thought about who the lady may have been. She was in a position to see the dance floor and she soon spotted the purple clad lady with the brooch Angie had her eye on, again in a deep embrace with her lover. The Brooch would be profitable, but risky as along as she stuck close with the Boyfriend. Angie needed a way to get him out of the picture for a while. It was as she considered several options to carry out the challenge that Angie again spotted the lady in teal , dancing with a tall red headed man. . Cold prickles like ice ran down her spine, It was the pearls! She suddenly remembered who the lady, and her dance partner were!
Only 5 days ago she had been starting her third week operating in Calgary. She had been following a rather attractive, obviously wealthy woman, wearing an eye catching purple silk dress, carrying a dress bag and some smaller parcels. Close at her side was an unheeded calfskin purse. Alongside the lady was a smaller version, obviously her daughter, a girl of about 14. She was wearing a white shiny turtleneck with an equally shiny long tiered skirt. Both of her hands were occupied with department store bags also. When the ladies darted into a swanky hotel ,Angie had followed, she always had had luck in these types of establishments. They had entered a crowded lift and Angie had worked her way in behind the pair, riding up with them in the rickety contraption. Mother and Daughter got off on 12 and Angie stayed on until 15, exiting with not only the fat wallet from the calfskin purse, but also the shiny gold herringbone necklace that had been flashing from the daughter’s throat, securely in her pocket.
Angie decided to call it a day. She had already made about 30 dollars from wallets lifted at the department store she had been working over when she had spotted the mother and daughter at the checkout. The mother was paying from a thick wad of cash, and judging from the jewelry of both were an indication of how wealthy the family was. She had followed them out onto the street and it had paid off in spades. Now, all she had to do was find an exit. She saw a stairwell next to a slightly open door with a maids cart outside. She stopped and hovered over the cart to peer inside the room. It was at that moment a door opened on the opposite side of the hallway.
A red headed man in an open tux shirt came out of a room, looking at the cart, and Angie standing next to it. Seizing the opportunity, Angie quickly asked if he needed something. I was looking for a maid; I spilled some wine on the cashmere carpet. Seeing the name Bannister above the bell, she said sweetly, certainly Mr. Bannister, I can have someone take care of that for you.. I was just coming up to let you know there is an urgent message down at the desk for you. (Quick improvisation was a special talent of Angie’s.) Why didn’t you bring it, he started to snap, than , never mind, just get a maid, and he headed towards the elevator.
Angie picked up the towels and headed cautiously into the massive suite. From the bedroom off one side she heard running water. She looked around quickly, seeing many valuable articles, but nothing small enough to quickly conceal. She took the towels into the bedroom.
Angie went into the bedroom, expertly taking everything in. A long silver lamee gown lay out on the bed. On the vanity lay a silvery purse, a pair of long silver satin gloves , a silver watch, silver necklace, a pair of long dangling silver earrings, and a small blue velvet pouch. On a side dresser laid a man’s thick gold watch and a money clip with a wad of bills, a tenner showing on top. In less than a minute after entering the room she had scooped up the money clip, watches, silver jewelry and gloves stuffing them into the purse and lifting up her long skirt hid it in one of its secret pockets. She lifted up the pouch and found it was empty. A picture on the vanity showed an attractive lady in a black dress and pearls. She briefly wondered where the pearls were, did not see any likely spot, and so had turned to make a hasty exit, when a feminine voice called out from the bathroom where a shower could be heard running. Steam was coming out from the slightly ajar door.
Dear, a refined voice stated, I have soap in my eyes and cannot find the washcloth. Angie, smelling an opportunity, peaked her head around the corner into the steamy bathroom. There was a shower stall with glass doors at the end of the long room with a double sink running along the side. From the hook by the shower hung a peach negligee and matching long robe. The door was open slightly and a very soapy femine hand was reaching out trying to feel along a towel bar, just missing a hanging washcloth.
A soapy hand from which glittered a pretty gold pinky ring set with small diamonds. Angie went over and pulling off the washcloth, rapped on the glass door , receiving a thank you dear in return as the hand reached out for it. Angie wiped off the protruding hand, and a dry voice said, no, not my hand dear, as the washcloth was plucked playfully from Angie’s grasp , and the door closed. Angie bent down and picked up the diamond pinky ring that had been slipped from the showering woman’s finger by the wash cloth, from the carpeted floor underneath the shower door. she than turned ran a hand along the satin rode, looking around. Bingo, on the counter lay a pair of sparkly long diamond earrings. Dumbstruck at her luck she grabbed them off the sink. , she was jolted back to realty when the voice again called out, are you still there dear? She scurried out of the bathroom, closing the door behind her.
She was at the apartment door in a flash, opening it a crack to make sure the coast was clear, it was. In the hallway Angie headed for the stairs because she knew that Bannister was far too important a man to take a stairway. She had been in the apartment less than 4 minutes, and had probably looted it of enough valuables to more than double her take so far of the last three weeks since arriving in Calgary. Leaving by a back exit she came out of a small alley. Looking over she spotted the young lady whose necklace she had lifted in the elevator kneeling down and looking in some bushes. Her shiny skirt pleasantly splayed out upon the ground around her. Angie briskly walked past her and off down the street. She made it without incident to the dingy apartment she was renting by the day. Collecting her meager belongings Angie checked out immediately. Leaving by bus for Chestermere, where at a small bank she rented a safety deposit box to stash all her ill-gotten gains for safe keeping until the heat wore down a bit.
Now Back to the Present
Angie now knew how lucky she had been. The red headed man, Bannister, may have recognized her. Calgary was too close to Chestermere , she should have been more cautious when scoping out the receptions guests. Angie turned and headed to the bar to think the situation over.
She saw the young man whose watch she had lifted, talking to an older, pretty lady laden with pearls. Behind them stood his sister, her diamond ring sparkling as she twirled her hair. Angie circled wide, coming up behind the lad, she grabbed his shoulder, why hello there. He smiled, introducing her to his Aunt, whose jeweled fingers she took into her hand in a gracious shake. He continued talking to his Aunt, it seems that they were discussing a family matter of some importance .Angie, finding the rings were tight on the Aunt’s chubby fingers, let go of her hand and moved over to the sister, and engaged her in conversation, moving a little off so that the sister turned her back to her brother and aunt.
The sister twittered, curling her hair impishly as Angie asked her why she wasn’t dancing. No ones asked, she giggled nervously. What about the boy who has been watching you all eyeing, Angie nodded her head outwards, the girl turned , her hair flying, as she lowered her hand, which Angie took up, petting it in a conspiratorial fashion, go over and ask him, Angie suggested. Go an ask him? I don’t see him she said, but I couldn’t, and she turned back to Angie, flashing her baby blues innocently. That’s okay deary, Angie patted the girl’s hand, keeping her eyes in contact, not allowing her to break the gaze, and perhaps looking down and noticing her loose ring was now gone from her slender finger. Angie took her leave of the sister, and of girl’s annoying nervously twittering giggle. Angie, slipping the diamond ring securely away, continued on until she reached a small alcove from where she could see most of the reception hall.
She lit a cigarette, purple silk and her desirably take able brooch was still safely out of reach on the dance floor, and Bannister’s attention was all on his wife. She thought it over, weighing her options, and the risks that were now in play. The song ended, and the dancers started to head off the floor. Angie’s eyes darted, Red headed Bannister and his wife were heading off to the far side of the room, Purple silk and her partner were heading to the bar. Angie’s heart stopped, no, Purple silk was heading to the bar, her lover was off to the men’s rest room. Angie snubbed out her cigarette, rising to the bait, it was now or never. Like a feral feline, Angie began to slowly stalk her prey.
But then Angie saw her chance slip through her fingers and evaporate into nothingness, like the smoke from her crushed cigarette. For at that moment an older man bumped into the lady Angie was tailing, spilling his drink down the front of her purple silk gown. Angie retreated and watched from a distance. As the man profusely apologized he produced a silk handkerchief and help wipe down the pretty lady. As he did so, the beautiful diamond broach vanished from her bosom. He had been slicker, slicker than Angie was ( for the time being) able to be. Angie felt her heart sink. Not only had she been deprived of the broach, but the existence of another member of her trade meant that she had better scram, not wishing to cross him. She could tell by the look in the man’s eyes that this was one not to be tangled with
Giving up on any plans she had been harboring, she got up, turned her back to the dance floor, headed as quickly as she could to the far exit, keeping her gains, and cutting her (presumed) losses.
Angie reached the door without challenge, opening it, she found stairs leading into the Church above. But first she stole a look back. She observed the man suavely talking to the now brooch less lady wearing purple silk. In that second a long haired (ginger) young lady passed by him, wearing a slinking green satin dress. Angie saw the man watching her walk on bye, and then immediately took his leave of purple silk, and began following the perky girl in green satin, with her savory collection of loosely dangling silver jewelry, heavily encrusted with flickering emeralds.
Angie turned away, and while wondering how she had failed to have spotted that prime prey in green earlier, went to the stairs.
She went up the stairs, coming out into a small chapel in back of the church. A door led to the outside, which Angie took, pouting inwardly, feeling all the world like a child who had been deprived of a desirable toy. She found herself on the side leading down to the Garden from which she had entered. The Church was now in between Angie and the reception, so she felt free to move unobserved. She crossed over to the gardens entrance and headed down the hill.
In front of her was a hedgerow, on the other side, Angie knew, was the small field with benches that lay at the entrance to the gardens proper. It was coming from there that she head the voices of children playing, on the other side, but she paid no heed, her mind was on leaving the area.
As she hurried along the hedgerow she saw something sparkle expensively in the sunlight through one of the gaps in the hedges. She stopped and curiously looked through a small opening. That’s were all the young darlings have been hiding she remarked to herself, her interest peaking. Forgetting all about leaving and lost opportunity of the brooch, she now focused on the new “toy” now dangling its enticement to her. It belonged to a girl in a slithering silvery gown, with her long hair done up in a long plait. Angie eyed the girl’s sparklers, which Angie first took as all rhinestones.. But, as Angie took inventory, her eye focused on a ring that she was wearing on one of her petite fingers. It held a fiery display, diamonds and rubies. There was no way the ring was rhinestone. Looking around to access the situation, Angie decided that by hook or crook, she needed to get a better look.
Watching the colourfully gowned young ladies innocently at play, Angie mused over the golden opportunity just waiting for someone unscrupulous to acquire the jewelry they were wearing. Someone should make them aware Angie decided, surprised that no one older than 16 was watching over them. Knowing that the scene before her was too fertile an opportunity to pass up without at least a long glance, Angie looked around, making sure no adults were about unseen in the woods, or any other nook and cranny of the play area.
Angie had found she had a knack for capturing young, well dressed lady’s interest, much to her amusement, and profit! It was with this in mind that Angie decided to allow herself a few precious minutes to watch from her hidden opening to see what may transpire. There were six children, four young ladies who were obviously dressed for a wedding, and the two urchin boys of about 12 and 10 she had spotted earlier. They were dressed as the local poor farm boys they obviously were. Angie quickly overheard the names of the girls as they called out to one another. .
The group were playing, appropriately enough for Angie’s point of view, a children’s standard game of cops and robbers. All Angie could think about, as she watched the boys with exuberance chasing and holding the giggling, squirming girls, was that there would hopefully be no actual robbing of jewelry as the game was played out. As each girl, Angie quickly memorizing their names, was ”captured” and taken to “prison”, Angie was able to scope them out at leisure.
The youngest Cecilia, about six, was wearing a long smooth gown of deep cream, with a midnight black bolero style jacket of velvet. From her neck was happily swaying a long silver chain with a jeweled winged beetle pendent, her jacket was home to a matching pin.
Cecilia’s older sister, 10 year old Claire, was wearing a puffy blue satin blouse with a long bow dancing down the front. Her long skirt of glistening black flowed in ripples as she ran. Also moving in ripples were the long gold herringbone chains she wore dangling from her neck, as were also her matching earrings and bracelet. A thick, expensively shiny gold ring encircled her middle finger.
Claire’s friend, Abbey, of about the same age, was wearing a longish gown of sunset pink satin, with a white satin sash encircling her waist. At the center of the sash glistened a gold pin set with pearls. Around her throat, dangling from her ears, were glimmering white pearls.
The oldest girl, the one in charge, was a fourteen year old named Amanda. Young and flighty, she kept looking up into the voluminous white clouds in the sky as if trying to see what they were forming. She was dressed in a longish slithering silver princess style gown, the style one may see flowing along the shapely figure of an actress at the moving picture awards ceremony. A fancy necklace with large garnet stones and small diamonds was flapping against her chest as she ran. The necklace matched her long earrings, bracelet, along with her pretty ring. She was wearing a flashy red jeweled head band , with strings of gold and rhinestones interwoven into her long plait of naturally wavy chestnut hair. The head band was all rhinestone, as were the garnets in the rest of her jewels. But what from a distance appeared to be small diamonds in her matching set that separated the garnets, were actually ¼ caret diamonds. Angie, upon realizing this, felt her heart burning with desire at acquiring a piece of the set being so vulnerably dangling from Amanda’s slickly attired person. But a couple of ripping gold herringbone chains, or even a jeweled beetle pendent flicked from a velvet jacket would be nice to acquire also, if only for the practice benefits.
To Angie’s secret joy, Amanda was the last girl to be captured, only because a stone lodged itself in her shoe brining her up lame. She was held by one of the boys, and lead, limping, to the other two girls. As a new game was started, she sat out. She hobbled to a nearby stone bench, brushed herself off , watching the group play before removing her shoe to find the annoying stone.
Angie started to make her move even before Amanda had made it to the stone bench. She reached her as she was shaking her shoe, slipping up alongside her on the cool bench. The girl jumped, but Angie’s special (practiced!) smile soon won her over. Angie soon enticed the young thing into casual conversation, extracting useful information as Angie, feigning a cheerful interest on the outside, while studying the girls expensive gown and drooling over the glistening garnet and diamonds that adorned it on the inside.
Angie tried to direct Amanda’s attention to her young charges, commenting about their pretty baubles, then asking who the boys were, and how well they knew them, about who suggested the game they were playing, how robbers were attracted to pretty things you know, and, were the boys playing the robbers next? Surreptitiously trying to plant seeds of distrust in the immature girls mind, and Angie could see that those seeds had found rich soil. Her intention was to keep the girl distracted long enough for a go at acquiring her necklace.
Angie, not unlike a feral cat, waited patiently for her opportunity to take the necklace from the unassuming Amanda to arise. But the girl was not cooperating; her attention on the playing girls lasting for mere seconds before focusing it back on Angie. Angie decided to use a different tactic. Angie placed an arm around girl’s silken shoulder and pointed up into the fluffy white clouds, asking her if she could see what Angie saw.
In the clouds, Amanda asked? As she leaned back into Angie who drew her close, relishing in the silky , quite scintillating feel of the child’s slick gown. No, Angie thought unkindly, you silly rich twit, the clasp of your necklace is what I see ( her fingers snaked up the backside of the sleek silver gown towards the tantalizingly easy open able clasp). The one you are about to lose to me, she continued thinking before answering the girl.
But seconds later, when Angie did answer, it was with a sweet motherly tone that dripped honey. Yes dear, in the clouds, doesn’t that one look like a soldier, or perhaps a highway man on a horse she inquired to Amanda? No, I think it’s a prince answered Amanda, and Angie thought , not for the first time, about the power of suggestion, for the mass of clouds looking like absolutely nothing but a mass of clouds to her!
But, it was an opportunity opened, and as the guileless girl was happily lost in her thoughts, Angie began to lift the clasp into position. As the necklace move up the girls chest, Angie could see its jewels, all sparkly, as the sun came back, peeking through the clouds. But Angie was not the only one who noticed, for the oldest lad who had been stalking up on the youngest sister’s hiding spot, was attracted by the sparklers now flashing around the distracted girl’s throat.
The boy headed towards them, and Angie’s fingers retreated. As the girl noticed the boy approaching, she gave a nervous giggle, and placed a hand to her throat. Angie began to rise from the bench, feeling the opportunity was slipping away, for the second time that day. But she hesitated a minute, and she was glad she did.
The boy came up and asked Amanda if she was going to play again. He was openly gawking at the necklace Amanda was nervously fiddling as he spoke, and Angie drooled to herself, you dear sweet child. For She could feel Amanda pressing hard into Angie as if seeking protection from his eyes. Angie took action, pointing out the sister the boy had been stalking. Successful diverting the boy’s attention, she sent him after the girl.
Maybe it was the things Angie had been feeding the girl about strangers and playing robbers, or pointing out the highway man in the clouds, but the attention to her necklace by the lad had had an obvious effect on Amanda. Angie, seizing the opportunity, exploited it to the fullest. With an Epiphany like thought, she knew what to say, and do next. And if it worked, then Amanda’s necklace would not be the only bauble acquired by old Angie girl.
Angie shooed the lad away, and he left, reluctantly to rejoin the game in progress. Then, in an inspired bit of deceitful storytelling, Angie related to Amanda a sad tale about an incident in her childhood, one she made up on the spot. The girl listened, still cuddling for whatever reason, as Angie stroked her enticingly attired figure down, relishing in the softness of her gown, along with admiring jewels she was so intent on acquiring. It was not often in Angie’s line of work that she was able to really check out one of her victims in this manner, and she relished every minute of it.
As Angie went full bore into her tale of woe ,she lifted up the attractive necklace from pretty girl’s chest, as she chokingly told the youngster that when she was her age she had been playing dress up in one of her mother’s gowns and had put on some of her mother’s jewelry without her permission.
Angie than took up the girl’s slender hand into hers, fingering gently the pleasingly expensive ring , seeing tin the young ladies eyes that she had struck a chord, and Amanda was totally held captivated with her story. Angie continued on… She had gone outside and over to the playground where a group of older children had convinced her to play a game of cops and robbers. When they had been done playing and Angie had gone home, she discovered some of her mother’s pretty jewelry was missing.
Angie noticed with satisfaction that as she was reaching the end of her story Amanda had stiffened, her heart started beating faster, and she started to check over her own jewelry. Your mother’s than, Angie drooled to herself, she had nailed it on the head. Carpe Diem Angie said to herself, throwing all caution to the wind.
Cops and robbers? That’s the game the boys are having us play, Amanda questioned with visible concern. As she was making this statement, Angie saw with satisfaction Amanda’s open mouth gasping as her eyes went to the boys who were now high in a tree, innocently unaware of what they were underhandedly being accused of eventually attempting to do ( steal the young girls jewelry)!
The two Boys had spotted a bird’s nest and where trying to see if it had eggs as the sisters watched them, backs to the bench where Amanda and Angie sat. Seeing the coast was clear, Angie quickly acted, before her story lost its effect over Amanda. Angie produced the purloined silver purse and pulled out the silky handkerchief. She spread the handkerchief out on Amanda’s silken covered lap, setting the purloined purse down upon her own.
I really think you should put your jewelry somewhere for safekeeping. Why don’t you wrap it up in this handkerchief, you can keep it in my purse. I’ll lend it too you if you promise to bring it back to me when you get back to the reception. Amanda nodded wisely (those earrings were very pretty Angie told herself) , Angie’s heart went to her throat, the young innocent, abroad from the reception, had swallowed Angie’s deviously luring tactic. Here, Angie promised, I’ll start, and she took of her gilded earrings and laid them gently out upon the shiny white surface of the silk handkerchief. This way I won’t lose mine either, she confided in Amanda, who looked back at Angie with her innocently wide blue eyes.
Amanda now showed no inhibitions while reaching up and removing her glittery necklace, laying it gently out upon the handkerchief. It was soon followed by rings and bracelet. Removing the headband and rhinestones chains, undoing her plait in the process, her long hair flowed down her back in curls. It curled up as she laid it upon the ever growing, sweetly glimmering, pile. Then she flung back her long hair and undid the screw backs of her flashy earrings, placing them on top of the heap. Angie’s heart began beating faster as she realized she was going to get away with this! Aw, she thought, as the last of Amanda’s expensively glittering jewels was added to the already glistening pile, wealthy children are so adorably cute when they are being gullible.
When Amanda finished, Angie looked down upon the glittering mound, unbelieving her luck. But then the unimaginable happened. Amanda, laying the handkerchief with its precious cargo on the bench next to her, stood and called back the two sisters and their young friend to the bench.
Angie held her breath as the girls, turned and dutifully ran up to her, the boys still high in the tree, paid no attention to them. Angie watched, almost salivating as the pretty darlings in their fluttering frocks came bouncing back, necklaces flinging in and out, obediently to Amanda’s call.
As they reached Amanda, she told them that they had better remove their jewelry for safe keeping. Why, Challenged Cecilia, with childish accusation? Amanda looked back at the boys in the tree, because I think you may lose them while you play, she scolded. We’re careful Cecilia retorted obstinately, as she looked from Amanda to her sister Claire. Amada looked at Claire, and lifting the girls gold necklace pointed her chin at the tree containing the two boys, and said, they will be the robber’s next game. Claire went wide eyed, and told Cecilia and Abby that they had better do as they were told.
Claire was closest, and with a nod from Amanda, unfastened her necklace and laid it out on the silky handkerchief. They were soon followed by her gold drop earrings, bracelet and ring. She started to back away still wearing her rhinestone hairclips. Don’t forget them… Angie started to say, but was cut off as Amanda told Claire to remove them, which she did promptly. Angie was glad she had been able to hold her tongue.
Cecilia was next. She approached Angie and Amanda, her long dress swishing richly as she came. She politely asked Amanda for help. Turning her back to Amanda she lifted up her long hair, Amanda remover her necklace and pin, laying them upon the growing shimmery pile. Cecilia removed her earrings and ring, happily placing them with the rest. Very pretty Angie said, admiring the dress, she lifted up the sleeve, admiring it, no bracelets, she whispered to herself, as she pulled the silky sleeve back ever so slightly.
Abby than approached, and quietly, obediently, unfastened her pearled necklace, and then removed her glistening matching earrings, and placed them all delicately upon the pile. Momma said to be careful with them, their Grand mama’s, she bleated sweetly, and Angie felt her heart skip several beats, suppressing an evil grin upon hearing those delicious words. Claire then helped Abby remove the pearled brooch from her satin sash.
Angie stood back, her heart had been pounding with cutting swords of mixed delicious pleasure and anticipation as, there on that sunlit church playground, the girls in swishy gowns, removed their valuables for “safe” keeping. She knew she now had to work fast, for there was an ever growing chance that an adult would show up from the reception and ruin Angie’s fun.
Angie than folded up the silk handkerchief, and in a classic bit of misdirection that would have made Gaston Monescu proud, appeared to place it inside the purse she was going to leave in the children’s safe keeping. But she actually palmed it, and slipped the bundle deep into her skirts pocket as she handed the purse over with her free hand. All three sets of eyes watching the purse, not what Angie’s other hand was doing.
Now go and have fun, Angie encouraged the girls as she handed the purse to Amanda. The youngsters seemed thrilled that they had an adult’s permission to keep on playing, and knowing that they would not be in danger of now being yelled at for possibly losing some of their pretty jewelry, they scurried off happily, in waves of whispery satin. Amanda stopped and gave Angie a hug before following the two sisters and their friend. The kind of hug that would have sealed the fate of any jewelry she may have still been wearing, and for which Angie did a double check for. Angie then watched Amanda run off, long gown fluttering out from behind her.
As the four girls rejoined the two boys, Angie slowly slinked away, melting into the woods. She allowed herself to smirk over how rewardingly gullible rich young girl’s in silky dresses ,wearing ripe for the plucking jewelry ,always proved to be.
Folle est l’agneau de la prune qui dans le loup avoue! She whispered to herself as she disappeared from the frolicking children’s sight.
She stopped suddenly as she reached a small clearing with the path leading to the rose covered arbor crossed. Not believing her eyes, as she unexpectedly saw below her fresh, opulently attired, prey.
A young couple was busily snogging in the garden the garden just ahead of Angie. As she looked over the pair of richly dressed pretty young things, she could not help but wonder if this couple had been in charge of watching over the children and had snuck away to be by themselves. She quickly ducked behind some bushes as the girl broke away, and with a come hither look, led her boyfriend through a rose covered arbor. Not a moment too soon, for the couple looked behind them, before crossing over the path and disappearing into the woods.
Angie cautiously snuck forward, and reaching the spot where they had disappeared into the woods, hears the girl giggling along with the unmistakable sounds of kissing. As the couple is otherwise occupied, Angie carefully moves into the woods. She spies the lad’s suit lying over some branches, and sees the shrubs moving underneath as the couple obviously have progressed now beyond kissing.
Angie spies something bright and shiny laying on the ground just in front of the shrub. She inches forward. It is the girls gown, laying spread out like a slick wet fluid purple pond , and there, in a nice neat pile, is the diamond jewelry she was wearing. Angie wonders what would have happened if some miscreant, or unscrupulous hobo were to stumble upon this scene. In her mind she reasoned that they would probably steal the jewels. So, why shouldn’t ole Angie be the one to acquire this one’s jewels also? Since she would probably be losing them anyway!
Angie reaches down and quietly pulls away the fluidly glossy gown, the silky material whispering along the grass as it moves. Angie keeps one ear on the couple just out of sight, the other listens for any noise on the path behind her that may betray her as she melts away back into the woods. Then, when she is a safe distance away, happily scoops up the girls small fiery diamonds. Picking up the gown she carried it back, hanging it from a limb just before leaving the path, she ran a hand along its enticing length, before leaving, snickering to herself the whole way.
Coup-Fourré, Angie thinks too herself as she regains the path, after carefully making sure no one else was about. Off in the distance she can just barely hear the children still at play. The purse where they innocently believed held their jewelry safe, she imagines still sitting on the bench. She thinks for a second about going back and lifting that purse, but decides not to push her luck, now that she had finally found some.
She once again pictured the beaming faces of the three young girls as they were being complimented on their shiny dresses by the pretty lady with the nice smile and gentle fingers as she carefully looked them over for anything missed that those nasty boys may try to take. Naively unaware that they had, in reality, been robbed of the precious gems that they had been convinced to remove for “safe keeping.”
Angie, for the first time, but not the last, imagined in her mind, what the children’s wide eyed astonishment would be like, they opened that sleek little purse , only to find the handkerchief had vanished! . And what the couple snogging about in the woods would make of the missing gown and jewels.
Even though Angie related this story as having occurred on the same afternoon ,the chronicler felt she was keeping something back. It was never discover what, if anything had been. The answer may lie in the events unfolded above. It may be worth re-reading the story to see if anyone can pick up on it.
Folle est l’agneau de la prune qui dans le loup avoue!
Silly is the plump lamb to whom in the wolf confesses
Our Thanks to Mr Gardner for pointing out the existence of Mr. Monescu’s 1826 guide
Courtesy of Chatwick University Archives
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prom dress haul
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