Mr. Punch didn’t enjoy a very good start to his week, did he? Nope. This week began with Mr. Punch being choked by Ellen Barrett’s brother, Roger. It seems Roger also suffers from Dissociative Entity Disorder (which at the time—1853—was not diagnosed as such). Roger, however, unlike Punch, tended to cycle through personalities very quickly and seemingly at random. At that particular moment, Roger was under the impression that he was Victor Geddes, Baron of Lensdown—the former employer and lover of Ellen. As Ellen begged for her brother to released Mr. Punch, Charles and Gerard leapt to their master’s rescue. Punch was, naturally, quite miffed and ordered Ellen and Speaight to send for the beadle. However, after Robert came downstairs, Punch began to realize that Roger was “just like him.” Robert and Punch offered to help Ellen with her brother and Ellen was very grateful. Robert told Mr. Punch about his desire to write a book about people with conditions like his and Punch thought it was a good idea, offering his support.
Of course, Punch had already had one visitor in the form of Lady Constance Hamish. After her unpleasant visit and the kerfuffle with Roger (as well as the trouble with Hortence and the strange, threatening letter he’d received), Punch wasn’t too eager to see anyone else in a hurry. However, another person did, indeed, visit No. 65 Belgrave Square—one William Stover who came to see Robert while the two men were out. Robert explained that William had once been his “friend.” Punch found himself unnecessarily jealous and asked Robert a lot of questions about William. Robert told Punch that he had met William just after the 1851 Great Exhibition at the Museum of Manufacture and that when William suggested they share a house, he broke things off with the man, declaring that they shouldn’t meet again.
While Robert was out, looking in on Roger and Scotty (Roger’s hired companion), Mr. Stover paid another call. After being told that Robert was not at home, William asked to see the Duke. Curious, Punch agreed to see the man. An awkward interview ensued wherein Punch (doing a masterful imitation of Julian) finally met the barrel-shaped former friend of Robert. Punch, as the Duke, ensured William that Robert was very happy and the man left. However, after his visit with the Duke, William went to see his sister, Eudora—a most unpleasant woman.
Apparently, Eudora was close friends with the Duke’s former maid, Hortence. The two women had hatched a scheme to blackmail the Duke’s household in exchange for not going to the press with tales of the Duke’s “madness.” William wanted no part of it, reminding Hortence that Robert had always been kind to them and that he was pleased that his former friend had found happiness. But, then, Eudora told her brother that if he did not cooperate, she would go to their imprisoned father and tell him that his only son was “different.” Eudora assured William that when their father was released from prison, he would surely murder his son for being a “sinner.”
Broken, William goes back to Belgrave Square and skulks around the central garden waiting for Robert. As Robert comes home after a long day at Mr. Barrett’s rooms, he at first tries to ignore William. But, he can’t ignore the man for long. William confronts Robert, dying for some positive attention, but Robert—while not rude—is clear that he wants nothing more to do with the man. Once Robert leaves, William states privately, that if only Robert had given him a kind word he wouldn’t have given his support to Eudora and Hortence.
So, what’s next for our chums? Well, a huge event is on the horizon—one which will change the lives of everyone at No. 65 Belgrave Square. Someone will die, and someone else will unjustly be blamed for it. But, first, Punch and Robert must endure some further awkward encounters, some household turmoil, another visit with Prince Albert and some additional uncomfortable correspondence. Furthermore, Ellen finds herself in an odd position as she and Gerard grow closer and Gamilla realizes that Charles has gotten himself into quite a lot of trouble.