The Anodyne Necklace(61)
Author:Martha Grimes


    And Emily Louise, who had up to the last refused to come with her mother, was still there—back in the wood, camouflaged by branches and leaves, up on her pony. She would not come nearer, but she still participated. Her velvet cap was off, held in the circle of her arm like a Queen’s guardsman might have held his tall hat.

    Jury, Melrose Plant, and Wiggins stood bunched to one side as if unsure of their business there. And farther back, by herself, and perhaps even more unsure, stood Jenny Kennington. Her hands were stuffed in the pockets of a black coat; a lacy black scarf was wound around her hair.

    Their heads were bowed as the vicar of St. Pancras commended the body of Katie O’Brien to the ground—earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. When the coffin was lowered, a thickly veiled Mary O’Brien stepped forward and let fall from her hand a fistful of earth. The other mourners followed suit, circling the grave, each stopping to scoop up a handful of black earth, letting it trickle onto the lid of the coffin. It reminded Jury of some terribly sad version of a children’s game.

    He saw Emily turn her pony and disappear into the trees. He still stood there as the others dispersed, beginning their procession downhill. He stood there too as Wiggins and Melrose Plant made to leave. Melrose looked at him over his shoulder; Jury nodded to indicate he was stopping there for a moment.

    He was watching Jenny Kennington. She had not left; she was still standing some distance off on the other side of the grave, as if waiting for everyone to leave. Jury stayed.

    Finally, she walked to the graveside and gathered up a handful of earth and let it fall on the coffin. She raised her fingers to her forehead, and at first he thought she was about to cross herself. But she didn’t. Instead, she smiled slightly and sketched a tiny salute in the air.

    And then she walked away.

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