The Story Thus Far:
The following was found in the back of the old framed photochrome that belonged to Great-Aunt "Granty" Miriam (Maryam) and in a secret compartment of her battered Steamer Trunk.
A faded letter from Nicolai
(who was he? as far as we know Granty never married and last we heard was a professed Orthodox Nun who died in a Beirut convent),
an orange blossom botanical card,
a bar of orange oil soap still in its wrapper,
dried orange peel
an Eastern Orthodox 'lestovka or Ladder to Heaven',
and most surprising of all, cut and polished rubies, citrines, emeralds and amethysts.
(These were secreted in the bar of orange oil soap and it was only when I unwrapped it and bits of the soap fell away, that the gems were exposed)
Orange blossom is traditionally associated with Betrothal - is this why the botanical card was enclosed?
* Note to my faithful readers: (all 7 of you ) This is a A Story..I wish to heaven I had a real Granty Maryam who left me all those gems... But just in case you thought the Story was Real..it's only real between my heart and head. (If you believed it true, then I offer my sincere apologies but even so, believing in my tale is the best compliment any StoryTeller could ever hope to have.)