Inside Zachary's waistcoat the ruby necklace throbs. He has carried it night and day since Mojo Rags bestowed it... in the forest... with an eerie admonition, lest Jewel escape forever:
Zachary had resented, then rejected the notion of being denied, just as he had convinced himself that Jewel had been abducted. Yet here it was, this pendant, superstitiously retained, stowed within his pocket like a prophesying amulet. He takes it out... regards it in flickering lamplight... facets turning clockwise from a length of slender chain... counter clockwise... fragile in its beauty... clockwise... silver setting intricate... counter clockwise... hauntingly familiar...clockwise... reminiscent as a dream... counter clockwise... recurrent... clockwise... like a story oft recited:
It did, too; Beulah cried with each retelling, the characters evidently sisters-of-the-heart, one coloured, one White (a Mistress and her slave).
That had been the catch phrase: "deir bloated bellies nuzzlin', pressin' one 'gainst de ot'er like a pair o' fresh-bake' biscuits" that had triggered Zachary's reaction, each and every time, imagining womb to womb, then the babies changing places: White child mothered by a Negress, black child by a corpse.
In Zachary's later variation, "Mist'ess" was killed by Zachariah barehanded, strangled when the baby she produced came black not White—a distortion of the facts but no less incredible than the story's actual outcome.
Either way, in Beulah's or Zachary's version, Zachariah proved the villain—a role for which he was lastingly despised.
Counter clockwise... clockwise... the dangling ruby turns... telling its twofold tale of abandonment and reunion.