Aunt Lydia left him more than he’d thought.
|I still couldn’t believe it. I never knew I had an aunt Lydia until the lawyer said she’d left the house to me. It hadn’t been occupied in 92 years and was so buried in acres of dense woods and brambles it had never been ravaged by people, but few knew it existed and it had been left to deteriorate on its own. It took me 2 weeks to reach the house.
I stepped over the front door into the entry hall, the stairs were a faded glory. Looking at them I thought, “They must have been spectacular.” They made a 180 turn between the floors, caked with dust and age and the remnants of what once was beautiful carpet clung to some treads, the gilding on the balusters was mostly peeled away. A miracle might restore them.
The parquet floor in the entrance hall was buckled in places from water, broken in others, but all a dull grayish color, except for one spot that had been rubbed by something and showed the original beauty of the wood. Another restoration, miracle? Replacement most likely.
“The will said the envelope was in the library on the first floor.” I talk to myself. What else when spending a significant portion of your life alone.
The library was behind the staircase and had been a rodent palace. Paper scraps of the thousands of books that once covered the shelves now covered everything, shelves, floor and several tables. In a swan shaped bowl on one table were shreds of paper and the key. The envelope was gone.
When I opened the safe behind a panel in the bookcase I found it. Missing for over 100 years; The Florentine Diamond, 137 carats of deep yellow diamond cut in a 126-facet double rose.