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He In His Cups : Robert Warwick

We can't bring him back. Daniel looks at me as though it's my fault, getting up from the table saying, "This is bullshit." He walks away, his rear-end twitching left and right in silky shorts that basketball players wear. I watch him, the roll of his shoulders, the bob of his head. He walks like someone who's played football or wrestled; he walks like someone who might pick up the first girl he sees.

I try again with the cup, the overturned teacup on the makeshift Ouija board, even though it's never worked for me by myself. I concentrate on an image I have of August, a snapshot of his widened eyes and opened mouth, his arms out and around nothing. He has his beard and his short hair, all of it silver, and he isn't wearing a shirt. He's at the dining room table and it's a mess of plates and glasses and bottles; a private party; just the three of us: August, Daniel and me. You can see the back of Daniel's head and his face in the mirror behind August, and me crouching behind Daniel, taking the picture, a detail pointed out to me by Daniel just last week, because I just brought home the picture, enlarged and framed, to hang in the dining room.

"There you are," he said; "in the mirror with me." He turned to me smiling and said, "What do you think of that?"

I will the cup to move now, nudging it around first to ensure that it will move if called upon by the spirits to do so.

Not tonight. "Something's not right," I hear Daniel say, all pissy, from his bedroom down the hall. From where I sit, I can see the light he's turned on, the lay of it across the hallway floor. I hear the noise his bed makes as he sits on it. It's an old bed, older than Daniel– the frame and headboard and mattress and box springs. He says he likes it, though I suspect he is just used to it. It is brass and unpolished and noisy, and he settles in a trough in its middle.

I touch the teacup. I upright it. I lift it by its dainty handle; as light as paper; Japanese lustreware; grayish-blue that is opalescent outside; inside, it's chartreuse. Its saucer is long-gone. I touch its cold side, press it against my eyelid.

Sometimes he talks to us directly, but mostly we learn about him through his peers, his fellow spirits, who tell us he's doing fine, carrying on, causing a ruckus. When August speaks to us through the cup, he wants to know how it is here: "How are you there?" August asked us once, causing Daniel to draw back from the table. We'd only just started to sleep together, Daniel and I.

"He knows," he whispered later, from his bed, unwilling to join me upstairs in my room.

"Of course, he knows," I said, trying to sound rational, standing in his dark doorway feeling anything but rational. "Come up," I whispered that night.

"Nothing doing," he whispered back.

Tonight I hear him wrestling with his bed clothes, trying to make a comfortable spot for himself, reminding me of a dog I used to have that would fluff his own pillows. Daniel's light clicks off down the hall. I hear him say good night.

"Good night," I say back, holding the teacup in my hand as though it weren't at all like the grenade it sometimes seems.



I walk quickly through this flea market, and Daniel lingers at tables. I told him in the car, "I'll meet you back here at eleven if we get separated," knowing that, of course, we would be separated, that I would walk-run in front of him, scanning tables while he stopped to pick things up, to talk to the dealers, wasting his own time and mine. He won't buy anything, but he touches everything, and then he'll complain in the car that his hands are dirty. I look back at him. He turns, hiding from me his bumpy profile, scalp shining through his too-short hair. He wears khaki shorts, sandals, and a shirt that is mine.

My own hair is sharp with Daniel's forsaken gel. I touch it gingerly, not wanting to break the pointed tips of it. I spot a photograph of football players that pulls me across the dusty aisle. I usually don't shop both sides at once, preferring to do one side and then the other, but I can see that the boys in the photograph are mostly attractive, the photo itself in good shape, nicely framed and nicely priced. I tip it forward to see its back, merely going through the motions of inspection. It's cheap enough, but still. "Best price?" I ask the man behind the table, leaning against the bumper of his old Cherokee. He looks like all the other dealers here– fat and tanned and unimaginably bored.

"You're looking at it," he says slowly, and I say, "Fair enough." I give him three twenties and he hands me back two fives.

The photograph does not interest Daniel, but he has in his hand a small bag. "You bought something," I say, and he smiles at my shock. He moves the bag behind his back, hiding it from me. "It's a surprise," he says, and then; "Coffee?"

"It's terrible here," I tell him. "At Shupp's there's a good place– lattes and cappuccinos."

"Another flea market?" he complains.

"It's on the way. Besides," I say laying a hand on his arm, "You're a collector now."

He shakes his head. "Three things," he says. "August said three things make a collection." And I agree.

Later, in the car, he shows me what he bought. It's a sterling julep cup, dented and without any inherent value except to Daniel, who says excitedly, "It reminds you of him, doesn't it? Doesn't it just say his name?"



Because I've had too much coffee, I rearrange the living room furniture. I hang a painting I'd bought while Daniel was waiting for his cappuccino. It's a seascape, signed dubiously on one of the stretchers and dated 1898. I move the gaming table to the other side of the room where, in my opinion, it should have been placed in the beginning, behind the sofa. It's been in front of the two front windows, though, three chairs placed around it, the fourth in my room, beside my bed, holding books I doubt I'll ever read now without August's goading. I look at the room from the doorway and then from the other side, by the windows. Daniel isn't going to like the change. I am thinking of buying an ottoman to replace the coffee table.

The house is old, and taller men and women stoop through the doorways when they visit, but Daniel and I are short, comparatively speaking, and we fit nicely, as did August. There's a false wall in one of the closets near the entryway behind which runaway slaves hid, the house being a sort of layover for the Underground Railroad. There are a series of additions that edge back from the front door, elbowing out of the original structure– the kitchen and pantry, for instance, and the master bedroom at the rear of the house. As a result, there are seven entrances to the house, including the slanted wooden door that lifts up and allows entrance to the dug-out cellar.

It has long been said that our house is haunted. Guests have stumbled out of bed to their doors, answering late-night knocks, only to scratch their heads sleepily looking up and down the empty hallway, and to complain good-naturedly at breakfast about the tom-foolery of the night before, which always made August smile and nod vigorously, giving me a look to dampen my skepticism.

"Spirits!" he proclaimed, hands lifted. Our friends would laugh nervously or out-right or shake their heads at silly August and his occult leanings.

I suspected it was August himself, creeping about at night, knocking on doors like a Trick-or-Treater. But now I sleep with mine open, and noone knocks except for Daniel.

At dinner, I ask Daniel about paint colors. I am thinking of painting the livingroom now that it is rearranged. He hunches over his plate, elbows on the table, forking into mashed potatoes and meatloaf. I see him shrug.

"Any preference?" I ask, and he looks up from his food. His eyes are brown and deep, soul-filled eyes canopied with thick lashes and a heavy brow. I prefer his hair longer, I'm thinking, but I am also thinking about the historically-correct paint swatches I've picked up the other day at Home Depot.

"None," he says simply. He's had a bad day, I can tell, and will probably run to the gym after dinner. He'll come back damp-headed and better-tempered, but he will not ever give a damn about the color of the trim in the livingroom.



We try again with the cup. "It feels different tonight," Daniel says optimistically. He seems so young to me tonight although I'm only five years older. He is all shoulders and arms, muscled lately and getting bigger.

I drink bourbon in the kitchen, away from the table, on the sly. "Why is it here?" he asks, days since I've moved the table to this side of the room. I take a neat sip by the cabinet I keep it in and feel it trailing warmly down my throat. Daniel doesn't like these interruptions, but has come to accept them. I come back to the room, explaining to him the righted balance of the room.

"This isn't some Feng Shui crap, is it?" he says, making a face.

"No, not that, not that at all," I say. He eyes the cup shyly; he licks his lips.

We settle at the table and troll around the board, looking for an operator, someone, some spirit, who will connect us with August. We've tried all our regulars– Bertie, and the Most Impressive Miss Donna Mobilay, and the one called Honey. They're all "too busy, darlings," or in foul moods, or just not there. It's like tuning into your favorite radio station and finding it gone. Daniel watches our fingertips on the upturned base of the cup. I watch too, because his nails are beautiful, the quintessential ends to his beautiful fingers– perfection, even the one that's stained purple, injured; a window-opening accident.

"There's got to be someone," Daniel says. "Someone must know him."

I nod and try not to slur: "He's very social."

Daniel's face wrinkles; his lip curls. "You're drunk," he says.

"Not exactly," I tell him. And it's not my fault, our not reaching August, which is what I think he is implying. His fingertips come off the cup, and I say his name the way August would when he wanted to calm his riled son. "Dan," I say easily, and he looks sternly at me.

"You can just cut that shit out," he says, standing.

I shrug, apologetic.

"You need another drink," he says, obviously disgusted.

"Obviously," I say. "But this isn't my fault."

"You think not?" he says.

He sounds so like his father that I laugh. His hands are on the back of the chair and then they're not. He goes to his room and I follow.

"Sleep upstairs tonight," I say from his doorway; "Please."

Later, in bed, I see he has misunderstood. "Stop," I tell him; "Lie still." That's all I wanted, for him to lie still with me.

We'd gone down the hall together, past his room, and up the steps. He stopped to brush his teeth and pee. I heard him as I got out of my clothes, waiting for my bathroom turn, going to the window and looking out at the dark nothing outside. "We need a dog," I said, conversationally, although I was always wanting one. There was no reply, but I heard him spit into the sink. It would be nice to have a dog, I was thinking, someone to welcome you when you came home, like a concierge. "It would be nice," I said.

"What would," he said, coming into the bedroom yawning and undressed.

"This was your idea," he says now, his arms behind his head.

We listen together to the house, to the noises it makes, no ghosts tonight, just the settling creaks we always hear nights like this one.

He rolls toward me. "I'm not mad at you," he says.

"That's good," I answer carefully. I feel him against me, and his breath on my face.

"It's different without him," he says. "Have you noticed?"

"What is? This?"

"This and everything else," he says.

He's been gone nearly a year. I still feel sometimes that he's just off somewhere, at the college or some symposium, soon to return. Sometimes, when I hear Daniel pull into the drive, or catch the sound his hand on the door, I think it's his father instead.

"What's changed?" I ask, and I feel him shrug. I look at the clock on the table by the bed. He has to get up early in the morning, but he won't ask me to set the alarm for him. Instead, he'll ease out bed when he thinks I'm asleep and go back to his own groaning bed. I think I know him that well. But he stays with me this time, after he's finished, and we both sleep a little and wake up and sleep a little more, and when I find my hand in his I say his name.

"I'm asleep," he says, and then, "I can't talk about it. Don't make me talk about it."

In the morning, I hear him in the shower, getting ready for work. I hear the front door close, the engine of his car turning over, idling a while, warming up on this cold morning.



What do I look for when I'm shopping a flea market? I always want four things: something mid-century; a pair of something; something intriguing; something I can't live without.

No– five: something for August.

This time around I find a self-winding watch, falling under the category, I guess, of Something I Can't Live Without.

I'm by myself; Daniel sleeps in. There are emus where I shop today, corralled by a pond, fenced-in. The emus look like feathered pillbox hats on stilts, reminding me of a hat my grandmother will still sometimes wear. Their presence is unexplained.

I look at this watch. It's under glass, in a case. It appears to be in good shape, although it is not running. Sometimes the faces are foxed like old prints, but this one is clean and pearly. I ask to see it, and the dealer reaches into the case and gets it out for me. It is not very old, but old enough, older than I am. I put it on my wrist, thinking I might buy it for Daniel, not that he'd appreciate it– its wrist band isn't made of rubber, and the watch isn't waterproof to 150 feet, and probably couldn't withstand the shocks his wrist must endure. I slip it off and put it on again. It is merely gold and lovely.

"It belonged to a priest," the dealer says.

"Did it?" I say, and he nods.

"Good shape, too," he adds.

I look at the watch's wholesome face. "It's quite nice," I tell him.

"Inscribed," he says, pointing at my wrist.

I hadn't looked. I take it off and turn the face around. To Father Dan from his Parishioners, 1962. I smile.

I buy the watch, refusing a bag, wearing it away from the stand. Now I have on two watches, one on each wrist, which makes me look, I am thinking, eccentric or obsessed or just past a trend.

It's the last warm day of the year, but nobody knows this. Men walk by in tank tops, when just last week they were wearing gloves and polar fleece. Bees waft by and there's the smell of apples in the air– an orchard nearby. There's nothing I want anymore, but I stay anyway, going up and down the aisles.

"Well, there's a stranger," I hear, recognizing the voice immediately. I turn around and there's John DePaul, his freckled face beaming, bringing to bear his Katherine Hepburn jaw. He's got two totes, loaded, and he's wearing a sweater tied over the shoulders of his crisp white shirt, and shoes far too nice for this packed-dirt flea market. I haven't seen him in ages.

"How are you, John," I say, expecting the usual protracted DePaul biographical synopsis.

"Fine," he says with a simple elegance I can't help but appreciate. "And you?" he asks, putting down the bags he's carrying, staring hard at me. He catches me up in a swift and awkward embrace, his smooth cheek against mine.

"How's Daniel?" he asks.

I lean away from him, still held, and he lets go, stepping back. I smile. "He's fine. I'm fine," I tell him. I look at his bags stuffed with things wrapped in newspaper. "Anything fabulous?"

His eyes roll. "At this trailer park yard sale? I think not. No, just some trashy objet d'art for some New York friends." He regards the bags for a moment before looking at me again. His eyes are watery blue and suddenly terribly sincere.

"I was very saddened," he says slowly, "the day I learned of August's death. It's a great loss. He was a fine, fine person."

I look down the aisle, past the junk and treasure, to the field where my car is parked. "I'd meant to call," I start, but am hushed and turn to see John shaking his head.

"Well," I say, feeling a little undone and wanting to talk of other things. I look up at the bright blue sky. I love days like this one. I wish every day could be just like this one. I say this to John DePaul. He swats away a buzzing bee, bobbing and ducking.

"Allergic," he says, his face going red. He bends down to scoop up his bags. "And you– empty-handed today?"

I show him the watch. "Pretty," he says, although he is clearly unimpressed. He looks away, down the walkway. "It's the Beanie Babies that concern me," he says, a hand on my arm. "I mean, Matthew, what's next?"

We walk together and part at the end of the row. "My best to the boy," he says, dropping his bags again for another swift hug, and I feel my face color and a dull throb in my throat. I am suddenly afraid to speak. I smile and nod hard, my teeth clenched, unwilling to share this emotion. He grips my arms and blows air against my cheek and walks off with his bags and whatever I am feeling.



We used to be mistaken for brothers, Daniel and I, but that was before, in the company of August, and it was clearly a means of explaining the three of us together. I used to buy beer for him when he was under-aged. I cooked their dinners, moderated their arguments, cleaned their rooms. I was Daniel's surrogate mother and August's makeshift wife.

Daniel has a beer with me out on the back porch because it's still warm enough to want to be outside. I tell him about running into John DePaul and what we're having for dinner. "What did you do all day?" I ask. He has his workout clothes on: noisy pants and a sweatshirt, running shoes.

"Not much," he says, playing with the bottle. He stares out at the field behind the house, the dried grasses golden in the last of the sun, contrasting with the deep purple menace of an approaching storm. The winds have started up.

"I don't have friends anymore," he says. "Have you noticed?"

It almost feels like an accusation, the way he sits looking at me. I say no, I hadn't noticed, and he settles back in his chair. I can smell the chicken baking, and the rice and the squash, and I realize I have been heavy-handed with the curry powder. Everything is in the oven together– with any luck, it will all be finished at the same time.

"It doesn't really bother me," he says. "I've only just noticed and it seemed strange."

"Would you like another beer?" I ask.

He looks at his bottle and nods.

In the kitchen, I check dinner: I baste the chicken and stick the end of a wooden spoon into the rice, and I fork the squash. I get our beers, satisfied with the way things are going, and with the day in general, the watch secreted upstairs, wrapped in a handkerchief and placed in my underwear drawer. I turn and there he is, Daniel.

He doesn't look at all like his father. He leans against the doorjamb, his head tipped back, looking at me over the tops of his cheeks. I first met him on his fifteenth birthday– does he remember, I'm wondering, although of course he must remember. What fifteen-year-old would ever forget meeting his father's lover on his birthday? We all had wine that night, much to the waiter's chagrin, August saying to him, sotto voce for us all to hear: "He'll have wine," pointing at Daniel, "or you'll have no gratuity." I wasn't yet twenty-one myself at the time, but had already that established look of a lover, I think, which put me beyond reproach or at least made me not subject to the same laws as a straight boy like Daniel.

I smile thinking of it, and Daniel smiles, too. "What?" he says.

I shake my head. "I was just remembering something."

"What?' he wants to know, his face changing a little. His smile checks itself. He folds his arms over his chest.

I tell him. "And I thought of my own fifteenth birthday. The day my father burned our house down."

"Not much different," Daniel says simply, no longer smiling. There is a long and dangerous pause. The air goes dead between us, but still I feel a prickling at the back of my neck, a spirit's tickle, and it makes me shudder.

His brown eyes are still on something behind me; it seems as though he is looking right through me. The smell of our burning dinner moves me, and I go to the oven. It's just the squash, suddenly shriveled and blackened. My plan has not worked; I've run out of luck.



We connect with Miss Donna Mobilay. Babies, she spells out quickly, I'm all undone tonight. I'd kill for a decent hairpin. And a cigarette.

How's August, we ask. I glance up from the teacup to see Daniel intent and sweating.

That rascal: See Plato.


They sit together sharing a cup with Marlon Brando.

"Brando's not even dead yet, is he?" Daniel says to me. I have to think about it for a moment. "No, I just saw him on C-Span for something. OR was it Court TV?" We apprise Donna.

Are you sure? Oops! Quel faux pas! This girl's eyes aren't any better than they were picking up tricks in the park– Lordy! The mistakes I made! Well, girls, they're chatting up some thick tee-shirted boi nonetheless.

It's hard to keep up– beer and then bourbon; I'm not exactly on my toes. The teacup darts under our fingers, super-charged tonight. Daniel spells everything out, writes it all down. It can't be easy.

"Can we speak to him?" he asks, and the cup spins, meaning no.

"We want to speak to him," Daniel says firmly, his fingers pressing hard. It spins again, regardless of the pressure.

Maybe some other time, Donna spells back breezily: I see something tasty, ladies, must run!

Daniel moves the cup to the question mark again and again, the spot from where we can voice our questions, trying to catch her before she's gone, but the board is dead, we both can feel it, she's gone, and I swear I can smell some flowery perfume hanging in the air like smoke. I take my fingers off the cup, leaning back, sore-shouldered, wanting to run back to the kitchen for a nip.

"What!" Daniel says, standing up, knocking his chair back, looking from me to the cup. "I just want to say hello," he shouts. "What is the big fucking deal?"

I am as careful around him as I am around broken glass. He stares at the cup, and I know he'd smash it to bits if he weren't so afraid of it. I hate the cup, too, and hate to think about hating it because I'm afraid it can somehow read my thoughts, which makes me crazy, I suppose: crazy or drunk.

He looks at me, his eyes electric, not his own. "You do it, don't you?"

I make my face very still, but still, I can't help but blink.

"You move it," he says.

I shake my head. "I don't."

"Swear it," he spits. His eyes are nothing like his father's. His face is nothing like his father's face. But his hands. They are August's hands. I stare at them gripping the back of his righted chair.

"You make it all up, all that fag shit, and August, too, you make him up, too, don't you?"

I shake my head again. I shake my head hard and I slap my hand down on the table, making the cup bounce and scatter. "I do NOT," I say, getting up, leaving him there holding onto his chair.



The cup and board are put up; weeks go by. Daniel is out more and more, and his cell phone vibrates on his bureau whenever he's not around to answer it, if he's not already talking into it, back turned, rushing anywhere for some privacy. Our own phone rings: "Just tell him Eric called," some man says, authoritatively, someone used to giving orders – a head waiter or maybe the service manager of a local tire retailer.

But I don't tell Daniel about the calls.

Then one day I meet him. He doesn't just go away like the newspaper salesman or the Police Benevolence Association. He shows up at the house, as tall as a soap opera actor, wearing a black leather jacket as thin as skin. I feel like a maiden aunt.

"Are you dating?" I ask Daniel later, in bed with him, my own self-invitation. He stinks of this Eric.

"We see each other," he says lazily, breaking out in a noisy yawn. He has his legs up on the brass foot of his bed, uncovered, over-heated. "I thought you'd be happy to have me out of your hair."

I'd imagined a nice girl, though. I was actually looking forward to that, something completely different from what we had, something completely different. This one looks to me like competition.

"I like you in my hair," I tell him.



I sit alone, feeling for the first time since August's death like a widower, bereft. Daniel comes home at all hours or not at all. I cook for two, finally mastering the art of not cooking for three, and still a plate goes into the refrigerator, wrapped to go moldy, uneaten. I need a dog, I keep thinking.

I don't ask about him. But I think about them, the two of them together, which is a mean and selfish game I play like Solitaire, but there you have it. It passes the time.

I get out the board. This had been August's idea years ago, this homemade seance-parlor game. No Houdini– he hadn't exactly promised to come back through it, but he was the one who drew up the board, the one who picked the saucer-less cup. I who shellacked the board and brought Daniel to the table. "It'll be fun," I said, was always saying back then, trying to include the boy in all the things August and I did, not so much to fabricate a new family out of the one I'd been presented with as I was trying to wedge my way in between them.

"You're already in," August would say whenever he saw me trying too hard.

I can't find the cup, though– it's not with the board. I look everywhere– in the hall closet, in the trunk we use as an end table, on every windowsill and ledge, every shelf in the kitchen. It's nowhere to be found. I stand at Daniel's door, certain that he's taken it, tired of me and my silly games, tired of me, tired of me. I go through his drawers, pulling out clothes as familiar as my own. It's here, I'm thinking, I know it's here. I move to the closet, sitting on the floor, touching his shoes and sobbing, and Daniel's at the bedroom door with Eric.

"Where's the fucking cup?" I ask him, unable to turn my face toward his. I hear them whisper and Eric is gone. Daniel's hand is on my shoulder. "Up," he says softly.

"Where is it?" I ask him, getting on my knees, touching his pants leg. He gets his hands under my arms and helps me up, and I feel old, years and years older than Daniel.

"Sleep here," he says, helping me over to his bed. I close my eyes, feeling my shoes being taken off, his hands on my socks, my feet in his hands.

"It's gone," he says, sitting on the bed beside me. The lights go out, there's a pillow under my head. "It's gone."



You're already in, August said to me.

In what? I asked, knowing, and August laughed. We were alone at the dinner table, the boy gone off with friends. There were plates to clear, left-overs to wrap, dishes to do.

In this, he said, raising his hands. We're all in it, he said with another laugh. Inextricably.

Which is why I can't get out of it now, I'm thinking, moving an empty bottle here and there on the table.

It's going to be a long winter.



Daniel doesn't exactly pack his things, but shirt by shirt, pants by shorts by pairs of socks, he moves out of this house and in with Eric. He leaves me behind with his high school trophies and record albums. "This is your home," I told him, as he stood at the door with his last good suit and a handful of ties.

He smiled at me. His hair was winter-long, beginning to curl. I hadn't seen it this length since he was a college freshman.

"It's August's house," he said. "It's always going to be August's house."

I touched the wall behind me, seeking solidity, something against which to steady myself. I realized then that I could go anywhere, do anything. The air moved around me; he'd opened the door.

"Then I should go – you belong here," I tell him. He looked outside; the wind blew the snow into high drifts; it swirled in eddies on the porch.

"No, Matt, YOU belong here," he said.



I buy a prayer rug, its weave worn threadbare – from the knees of worshiping Muslims? It's a nice thought, but I know nothing of rugs and nothing about this one except that maybe I paid too much for it. The dealer has no story for me; I have to make up my own. I will use it to cover the trunk in the livingroom.

It is a good day, the first warm day of the year and our first venture out to the markets. I look over my shoulder at Daniel and Eric. They picked me up this morning – I've promised them brunch after this, happy to cook for three again. They lean together over a table of junk and lunch boxes. Dan leans back against Eric's shoulder and they look at one another, laughing and saying something. I look ahead, smiling myself, and– surprise– there's John DePaul inspecting some costume jewelry. And then I look at the table I've stopped in front of, my rug rolled under my arm, thinking I should have brought the dog after all, and the man behind this table– good-looking, although I can't see his eyes through the mirrored lenses of his sunglasses– looks up at the sky and then at me, smiling, and says, "Hello."

He takes off his glasses just as John DePaul approaches the table, leaning between the two of us. "Well!" he exclaims. "What a coincidence! Cal, this is THE Matt I was just telling you about!"

Cal blushes. His green eyes squint as he smiles and he extends a hand for me to shake.

"And Matt, this is Cal, who I had every intention of telling you about as soon as I got home," John continued.

"Nice to meet you," I say to the man across the table, this squinting, smiling man, who says, "Likewise."

"Beautiful day," John says, stepping back, a Dolly Levy smile on his face.

"It is," I say, smiling myself. All these smiles, I'm thinking, looking down at Cal's table, his spread of little wonders– shagreen boxes and ivory combs, a tiny Henry Moore-like sculpture, some sterling napkins rings engraved, oddly enough, with my own initials, and a forlorn lustreware saucer, grayish blue, its teacup gone forever.