As the carriage makes it’s way down the streets of London, I look out at the people who live on the streets. Old men, rowdy young men, families, mothers and babies. There are thousands of them. Please excuse my exaggeration.
Then I see two boys. They are younger than all the others, between men and boys. I look back at them but one is gone.
I feel the carriage jolt as if we had gone down a pothole, but surely there are none that big in London?
My neck begins to tickle strangely and then my locket falls to the floor. The chain must have snapped. I put my purse down on the seat and bend down to collect my locket. It was a gift from Gerard.
After inspecting it I find it in perfect condition. How odd that it should just fall of. It is only now that I notice my purse is not on the seat where I had left it, nor on the floor. Then I hear a sharp intake of breath from behind me.
Suddenly it all makes sense. The boy disappearing, the carriage jolting, my neck tickling, the necklace falling to the floor and my purse going missing.
I hear yells in the street, a clatter, the blow of a whistle and more yelling. I look out and see the police.
I shove the purse down my shirt and grin. It is quite heavy.
Once again I reach through the gap at the back of the carriage.
Clapping my hand over the young woman’s mouth. I hear her scream silently. Right that was my cue. Archie had taught me the art of thieving when I was small.
The gap is tiny but I can probably fit through it. I jump in and draw the curtains. Then I pull the knife out of my shirt, giving myself a few cuts a I do so and release my other hand from the girl’s mouth.
‘If you scream, I’ll kill you.’
My voice is shaking embarrassingly. I’ve never done this without Archie before.
Suddenly the woman grabs my arm.
‘I’d like to see you try.’
I hadn’t expected that.
‘ I am the Lady Olivia. Best friend of the Princess Elizabeth and the seventh richest woman in the country including the royal family. If I scream... Well lets just say that you could get arrested for even touching me. So stealing my purse...’
She was cleverer than I’d thought. Reluctantly I hand her the purse. Slowly she lets go of my arm.
‘Thank you. I do believe that we have left the police behind and are about to arrive in Broad street.’
I nod my head, squeeze up through the window and crouch at the back of the carriage.
‘Wait until we slow down.’
Why is she helping me?
I slip my hand to the back of her neck, undo her locket and drop a hunk of bread on the floor. As she bends down, I roll some bread into little cubes, rip a strip of my shirt and stuff the bread cubes onto it.
‘Give me my necklace please kind sir.’
I can hear sarcasm in her voice but I have been expecting her to say that. I tie the strip of my shirt loosely round her neck and jump of the carriage.