wandered up the street, smoke trailing from her pipe. Wasn’t
her usual neighborhood, but the coppers had been rousting folk again,
and in any case, doing a circuit through other places didn’t
hurt a gypsy. She was used to travel, used to moving along, either by
choice or force.
up, she sussed the street and with
surprise, noted a familiar figure. Ah, the tall mustachioed one! The
feller she’d been paid to taunt about someone named Mary!
had been fun, Rosa remembered with a
fuzzy grin. Clearly the shorter dark-haired man had been determined to
break his friend’s engagement, and since she’d come
out of the mock-job with a handful of coins, no real harm done.
sauntered up and slowed when it was
clear a woman was at his side. A damned pretty one too, all blonde and
thin, done up for a turn in merino blue. A right looker, although pale.
cocked her head, and on a whim,
planted herself in front of the lady. “You’re
she announced, putting as much drama as she could in
got the desired result; the woman
blinked and froze while the mustachioed man—what was his
came that familiar slightly impatient voice.
game this time,”
she told him, pulling her pipe out and smiling. Rosa knew she
wasn’t a beauty, but it was all in the eyes. Hold their eyes
and they’d believe anything of you. “I want to see,
sir. No charge.”
the woman Mary
began, looking to him.
could see he was embarrassed.
a tasteless prank that
Holmes attempted using this poor gypsy woman. Nothing
was all sham before and we
both know it, sir. I do
have the Sight though,” Rosa spoke
up, much quieter than last time. “And I ain’t poor.
Alls I want is to see the lady’s hand, sir. I knows how much
you truly luv her, and how good she be to you.”
waited until they’d looked
at each other a moment. Sweet, it was. Yes, they were in love, that was
certain as the sun coming up eastside.
the Mary woman extended her slender
hand, and Rosa tucked her pipe along her own bosom, carefully cradling
the long palm before her.
gazed on the fine mesh of lines along
the woman’s palm.
blinked, and looked up into that pale,
waiting face. The man was watching took, his expression all
is it?” he asked
in a sharp voice.
took a breath, and thought about how
she’d say it. “Miss . . . . You will be . . .
happily married all yer life. I swears it on my soul.”
Mary woman smiled, and Rosa tried to
smile back; it was all about makin’ em feel good about what
they thought they heard.
Mary woman asked, still smiling.
knew it was time to go.
pulled her pipe out and pointed it
behind the couple, “Copper comin’ and I
don’t want to make no trouble. Be good to each other,
quickly she gave the Mary
woman’s hand a soft pat and darted around the couple, weaving
in and out of folks along the sidewalk until she reached the first
corner and turned down it.
leaned against the building there and
took a long drag of her pipe, feeling a pang of deep sadness. She
smoked the rest of it, and then knocked it clean against the heel of
one boot, and wondered if it was too early yet for a pint somewhere.
Sometimes it hurt to have Sight,
wondered if maybe the dark-haired man might have known it too.