#48. The Hope Chest

[This one is written in a different hand than most of the rest]
A hope chest is a small box or trunk given to young girls. The idea is that over the course of their lives, they collect linens, baby things, crockery and pieces of household decor to take with them when they get married. It’s sort of a poor man’s dowry. I remember when my sister got hers… but I’m wandering. You want to know about the Hope Chest in the old house on the hill, up by the river, but you’re too shy to ask me. Don’t want to be on the hook for another favour? That’s okay, boy, I like you.
The hope chest measures about sixteen inches by twenty four inches by twelve inches and is made from cedar, as was the custom at the time. The order was for an art deco chest, this was the twenties you understand, before the house was even built. The order was furnished promptly, and I added to the chest all the objects that the customer ordered. Bottles of unguents, potent herbs and… allspice. He requested that it be sewn into the cloth lining, which I of course indulged. I had no idea of knowing who They were at the time. We thought they were just postwar immigrants.
Insofar as I know he never opened the hope chest. It’s a sort of a safety, you see. The second it opens, everything inside is let out and, well, after this many decades of fermentation… well, you know what they say about mutually assured destruction? I’m pretty sure that They could show them a thing or two about assured destruction.
[It’s signed “Edward Ramsay De Cae” With a bold, antiquated flourish]

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