Friday, December 9, 2011

Punch’s Cousin, Chapter 411

Damn!” Ulrika Rittenhouse screamed so loudly that she woke Fuller who was asleep in Giovanni’s arms. Giovanni, too, was startled and jumped, causing the carriage to rock, and thus, making the child scream even louder.

“Shut him up!” Ulrika growled.

“What is the matter?” Giovanni muttered.

“I’ve forgotten something.” Ulrika frowned.

‘We’ve forgotten many things—our clothes, for one. You said we could get anything we needed in Marionneaux.” Giovanni mumbled sleepily, his accent thicker than usual.

“This one particular thing can’t be replaced in Marionneaux.” Ulrika snapped. “In my haste…well, really…how could I have been so stupid?”

“What did you leave behind that’s so important?”

“The diamond, you fool!”

At that very moment, back on Royal Street, Barbara Allen slumped onto the steps of one of the palatial homes that lined the street.

“Barbara, let’s go rest. Gamilla will let you use her room.”

“I’m not going back to my brother’s house.” Barbara shook her head. “We must continue to pursue Ulrika. I just want to sit for a moment.”

Charles sat on the wet pavement next to her.

“It’s not necessary. You know your own son will remain with the Duke. You may not like your brother, but, you can be assured that Colin will have a good life. What becomes of Adrienne’s Halifax’s son is none of your concern.”

“Adrienne Halifax once showed me kindness when no one else would. I repaid that with betrayal.”

“So, you think that restoring her son to her will make amends?”

“No!” Barbara laughed. “I’m not interested in making amends. I’m interested in punishing Ulrika Rittenhouse! Taking the child from her will cause her pain—just as she caused me pain when she took the blue diamond from me.”

Charles bit his tongue, but desperately wanted to remind Barbara that she herself had stolen the diamond from her own brother.

“Wait…” Barbara said excitedly, her eyes flashing with thought.


“Ulrika fled without taking anything with her. That’s what Robert Halifax told us. Surely she wouldn’t be carrying that priceless gem with her on the streets of New Orleans in the middle of the night.”

Charles took a deep breath.

“I’m sure it’s still in Edward Cage’s house.” Barbara continued.

“You don’t think that we have a chance of gaining entrance into Mr. Cage’s house? With his wife’s illness, his gunshot wound and the place crawling with officers?”

“Remember, Charles, I trained under Iolanthe Evangeline. There’s nothing I can’t do.”

Did you miss Chapters 1-410? If so, you can read them here.

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