It took Geraldine and Dav two years to find their dream house, a brick Victorian with a price to match its dilapidated state. Geraldine blessed it, planting cuttings from her grandmother’s garden. She bought a new broom with which to sweep aside cobwebs. They moved into the one livable room and the restoration began.

While clearing out the basement they found, among the household rubbish of generations of owners, a glass case so dirty its contents were concealled. They put it aside on a stone ledge that had once been foundation for a chimney.

They would have thought nothing more about it had their curiosity not been pricked next day by another find—a parsel of baby clothes—in the same far corner of the basement. The little clothes had been wrapped with care. As Geraldine unfolded them in the light of the backyard she could tell they were special things; a christening gown, tiny shoes, a knitted cap with Elsie on the band.

Dav fetched the case and Geraldine took a cloth to it. As its contents became clearer she turned pale. Inside was a doll, the size of a baby, laid out on a tiny bed. Geraldine clutched her midriff.

Within weeks the For Sale board had gone up again on the couple’s front fence.

2011-Richard Holt / small stories about love (smallstoriesaboutlove.wordpress.com)

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