It was a beautifully satin-surfaced, rich-toned, boxwood alto recorder, tuned to A-415, made by the oboe and flute maker Thomas Stanesby Jr. of London in 1763. I could imagine the sublime breath-texture of the notes it would produce. I gripped it tightly in my fingers and it felt somehow warm to the touch.

I hit Roger on the head with it in the parlor and he went down like a sack of mulch. Anyone who says I did it with a candlestick in the conservatory is a liar.