I was home first that evening and had brought supper with me. A good chunk of game pie, half a bottle of wine, and even some vegetables, although it has to be admitted that these had a sad a wilted air. Still, chopped, seethed in the juice of a punnet of boelits (also somewhat past their best) and a little butter, the result would compliment the pie adequately.
When Shena arrived back she passed me a small packet wrapped in rotting sailcloth.
I inspected the contents, a metal object the size of my hand with the mud of the estuary still on it. So I dropped it in a bucket of water drawn from the river and left it there until we’d eaten.
Finally after our meal I emptied the bucket and looked at what Shena had given me?
“Miscellaneous metal debris?”
“I bought it by weight, so it’ll be worth you cleaning it off to see what it is.”
Shena and I have had this discussion. In spite of my protestations she cannot see how I cannot write peerless poetry while at the same time cleaning the muck off anonymous rusty metal lumps. To be fair, while three lumps in every four remain anonymous even after cleaning, the fourth comes up a treat and more than pays for the time spent. So I set to work with my brushes and probes to see what I had.
It was a fruitful evening. After a little while the one object separated into two. Then I got down to the surface and discovered that it wasn’t corroded. I glanced towards Shena who was totting up a column of figures. “I think it could be bronze.”
She grunted in a positive and affirming manner so I continued my work. It seems somebody had wrapped the two items together using cheap wire, and that was much corroded. But once I’d got rid of that I was left with a pair of bronze knuckle-dusters. I washed them with soap and warm water to divest them of the last of the grit and examined them carefully. Judging by the size of the finger holes and their spacing, this was a set of knuckle-dusters for a woman or boy. The ornamentation of delicate, with flowers, bunches of grapes and a lot of scroll work. Carefully I passed them to Shena. She inspected them carefully and passed them back.
“Try ‘Nodd the knife’ at the Shalan Street morning market. Don’t take less than an alar for the pair.”
Continue reading here