Monday, January 14, 2013

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 232

Chapter 232 
The Rightful Heir 

Her eyes wide and her lips slightly parted, Queen Victoria leaned forward in her chair and listened, enrapt as an eavesdropping char, as Punch and Robert hesitantly, and with great amounts of blushing and stammering, recounted the story of the Baron Lensdown, Orpha Polk and Lady Constance.

“Well!” Her Majesty gasped as she threw her hands into her lap. She settled back into her chair and repeated. Well!”

“As we said, Your Majesty,” Robert said softly, “it is an ugly tale.”

“I should say so.” The Queen replied. “Can it be true?”

“We believe it to be.” Robert answered.

“I knew the man was a scoundrel, but…” Her Majesty began. “My husband has told me that he thought that Lendsown had probably fathered most of the children in London. That much we knew. I am rather taken aback to hear of Lady Constance. Her mother was always something of a…flirt, shall we say, but Constance is so plain and severe, so…prim. Who would have guessed?”

“Very often,” Robert replied, “when I was working at the clinic near Covent Garden, the young ladies who would come to me…in trouble…were often those you’d never have guessed.”

The Queen shook her head. “However, we are not as shocked by this as we are by…”

Mr. Punch grimaced. “Yes, Your Majesty…”

“His own sister?” The Queen frowned. “And…and…the produce a child from such a union. What must it be?”

“I couldn’t say,” Robert sighed.

“There are rules which must be followed. We’ve learnt that, haven’t we? Even in dynasties such as my own, we…” She coughed. “Well, aside from being revolting, it all is quite titillating, isn’t it? In a tragic way.”

“Aye,” Punch nodded, “it is tragic, it is. I’d just like to see them children returned to their mamas.”

“And, they all have the same father…” Her Majesty muttered. “Well, at least his offspring with Lady Lensdown are his rightful issue—his legitimate heirs. The others…poor things.”

“Yes.” Punch responded.

“Just beastly! What could that Polk woman have been thinking? While we can see that this creature’s clear target is the brother who left her to die in a workhouse, we can’t help but be concerned that she still has revenge in her heart for the two of you.”

“Thus why we shall have to resort to trusting two such rough characters and Mr. Donnan and Mr. Stover.” Robert replied.

“It is too dangerous.” The Queen shook her head. “We cannot let you proceed with such a scheme. Prince Albert and I shall have discuss this, and, then, we will, of course, intervene. This Polk woman is an admitted murderess, we can simply seize her. She should be hanged!”

“I don’t disagree.” Robert nodded.

“How many lives has she taken? That Stover fellow, your Mrs. North…how many others? And look what she’s done to your poor sister.”

“That’s all true, Your Majesty,” Punch answered. “However, hanging Orpha Polk will only solve half of the problem. We still got the baron, who, ‘imself is a killer and a torturer of men.”

“Yes.” The Queen sighed. “It’s worse than my husband suspected. I simply don’t want you…” She paused. “I know we’ve asked for your assistance in this matter, however, knowing what we’ve just learned…”

At the rear of the room, a polished footman opened a door.

“The prince approaches. We shall revisit this topic later.”

Robert and Punch rose as Prince Albert strode into the room. For a change, he actually looked cheerful—a look he reserved for times with his children and the moments during which he would present something wonderful to his wife. In his long, pale fingers he held a small box of wine-colored leather.

Prince Albert nodded at Punch and Robert, pausing to look Robert up and down, and then settled into the chair adjacent to his Royal wife.

Robert anxiously looked to Punch who nodded, signaling that they could also sit.

“My dear,” Albert began, looking intently at his wife’s face. “After some difficulty,” his voice turned acid as he referred to Punch’s past tardiness, “I have managed to see to it that one of the finest and most beautiful diamonds in the world is finally in the hands of the finest and most beautiful woman.”

With that, he theatrically presented the small box to the Queen who, with a giddy giggle, took the package and opened it. Her pale face was illuminated with flecks of violet, azure and amber.”

“It is magnificent.” The Queen gasped as she studied the substantial blue diamond. “We’ve never seen such a color.”

“It can be re-cut,” The Prince suggested. “I’m sure that Fallbridge,” He pointed at Punch without looking at him, “can make it sparkle all the more.”

“It’s perfect as it is. I’d not see it altered.” The Queen shook her head.

“So, you are satisfied?” The Prince grinned.

“Almost.” The Queen smiled.

“Oh?” Prince Albert’s eyes widened.

Her Majesty closed the box and, with a twinkle in her eyes, extended her arm, offering it to Mr. Punch.

“Your Majesty?” Punch began.

“We would be so much more satisfied to see this magnificent jewel returned to its rightful owner.”

Prince Albert frowned.

“Oh…Your Majesty,” Punch shook his head, he chose his words carefully and spoke them as Julian might. “Your Majesty’s generosity is overwhelming, however, this diamond belongs with the Queen.”

“No,” Queen Victoria grinned.

“I cannot.” Punch said quickly.

“It’s not for you, Your Grace,” The Queen winked. “This gem rightfully belongs to your son and heir. It would please us to see it returned to him.”

Did you miss Chapters 1-231 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 233.


Darcy said...

I just love this chapter! It's so nice that the Mulliner Blue is going back to Punch/ Julian's family.
Punch was so willing to give it up to save baby Collin. But the Queen wanted him to have what his Grandfather would have wanted his namesake to have. It's all come full circle.
I don't know if the Prince totally agrees with the Queen's decision , but Queen trumps Prince.

Joseph Crisalli said...

Thanks, Darcy! It seemed only right for the Queen to return the diamond. And, no, I don't think Prince Albert is pleased at all. But, as you say...Queen trumps Prince!

Matt said...

I was really happy the queen did that!

Joseph Crisalli said...

It's good to have the Queen like you.