Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 257

Chapter 257 

Robert looked up from his desk and saw Punch hurry past the door of his study. He followed Mr. Punch into his bedroom. Punch threw open his wardrobe and began to hastily pull coats, shirts and britches out of it, tossing them onto the bed.

“Dear Punch?” Robert exclaimed.

“Chum,” Punch replied, his voice rattling, “Go to the nursery and tell Gamilla to gather up Colin’s duds and toys and such.” He spun around. “Dog Toby!”

The terrier looked up from the chair where he slept and groggily snorted.

“We’re gonna have to get a big basket for Dog Toby to ride in.” Punch chirped.

“Punch,” Robert began.

“Dunno where we’ll go.” Punch shook his head. “Reckon we could go to Yorkshire.” He frowned. “That’ll give us some time. Still, I ain’t been back to Fallbridge Hall since…since I been a puppet all the time. Dunno how Julian will like that, but it’s gotta be better than bein’ here with Ulrika Rittenhouse.”

“Ulrika Rittenhouse?” Robert roared.

“She’s here.” Punch panted. “Downstairs. Downstairs in our house.”

“She couldn’t be.” Robert shook his head.

“Why? Witches float, don’t they? She come here. Right to our house! Speaight told me. Barged right in, she did. She’s with Lennie! Hope she don’t eat poor Lennie or whatnot. She…she…you know how she helped ruin Barbara! What’ll we do? Chum…what’ll we do.”

Robert sat defeatedly on the bed and rubbed his eyes.

“See?” Punch shrugged. “They always find us. That’s why we can’t get settled. We gotta stay alert, we do. We gotta always be one step ahead.”’

Robert shook his head. “We cannot predict what will come to us—neither good nor evil.”

“I know!” Punch nodded. “That’s why we gotta always be ready.”

“My dear, there’s only so much for which we can be prepared.”

“Never, never, never…” Punch sighed. “Of all of ‘em, I never thought it’d be Ulrika Rittenhouse what came to our door. Of all them folks what made us suffer while in America, she were the one what I thought would be the first to forget us.”

“It is true,” Robert nodded. “I rather guessed she’d be too self-absorbed to give us another thought once we were out of her sight.”

“She’s a queer duck, ain’t she?” Punch sat down next to Robert. “Never met a woman who took so much joy in seein’ people suffer. Even Orpha…who’s a horror, to be sure…has got some side to her what ‘lowed her to at least pretend to be decent for awhile. Ulrika don’t even make a show of bein’ nice.”

“I suppose we should credit her for her consistency.”

“No.” Punch shook his head. “Chum, we gotta get her away from Lennie. Then, we all gotta go. You don’t think that Her Majesty will mind if we borrow her coachman for a long trip? Do ya?”

Robert took a deep breath. “Even if she didn’t, we’re not going to be able to put the entire household into one coach.”

“Oh.” Punch scowled.

“Nor will we be able to carry our responsibilities with us.”

“Our responsibility is to Colin and each other…and the folk what live in our house.”

“Primarily.” Robert nodded. “But, what of Her Majesty? What of Prince Albert and the plans for the museum? What of Roger Barrett? Your charities? Your business? My practice? I’ve a good many people waiting for me to return to it. Jenny’s family will still rely on us. Ethel’s in no condition to move. This house…we can’t just leave it unattended. And, what of Lady Lensdown and her children? We’ve promised her our assistance. Also, though Lady Constance proved to be treacherous, her daughter is still in the clutches of Orpha Polk. An innocent child…”

“What of our innocent child?” Punch answered. “That ginger witch tried to take him once before.”

“I remember well.” Robert responded.

“She’s in this house. The same house as our Colin!”

“Your house.” Robert said. “You are the master here.”

“Our house…” Punch frowned slightly.

“Yes.” Robert smiled. “That’s why we can’t leave it.”

“If we don’t leave, I’m…I’m gonna do somethin’ Punchinello-like, I’m afraid. Chum, I’ve had all I can stand. I been calm, I have, only should one more obstacle keep me from a ‘appy life, I’m ‘fraid I’m gonna have to grab a stick and start hittin’ folk o’er the head.”

Robert smiled again.

“I mean it, Chum.”

“I know that you do.”

“All I want is to be with you and Colin and Dog Toby.” Punch continued. “That’s all. Like folk do, you know. Just that. No more.”

“That’s all I want as well. However…”

“I know.” Punch sighed. “Part of that is all them other things what you said.”

Robert nodded.

“Why you always gotta be so rational, Chum?” Punch snorted.

Robert shrugged. “Because I love you and our family.”

Punch looked down at the floor. “I do, too.”

“That includes your sister.” Robert began.

“We’d best go downstairs. By now, Ulrika’s prob’y got her backed into a cupboard.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t be so sure. Your sister has proven that she’s got the same fire in her that you do.”

“The one thing we got from our mother.” Punch nodded. “Errrr…Julian’s mother.”

Robert stood and extended a hand to Punch. “Shall we, Your Grace, greet our foreign visitor?”

“She’s foreign all right.” Punch grumbled. He took Robert’s hand and paused. “Only maybe I oughta grab an umbrella or some fire tongs or somethin’, just in case.”

“I think not.”

“I know I lost me touch in the sport of whackin’ folk on the ‘ead. But, I think I can get it back.”

Robert shook his head.

“Fine.” Punch sighed. “Let’s go, then, and get ‘er outta our house.” He grinned. “Besides, there’s lots of heavy things downstairs.”


“Should we need them…” Punch winked.

Did you miss Chapters 1-256 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them
here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 258.


Darcy said...

Great chapter. I like the way Robert and Mr. Punch reason out things together.
And I'm glad there are lots of heavy objects downstairs if Mr. Punch feels the need to use them!

Joseph Crisalli said...

Thanks, Darcy, there may have to be some head-smashing.

Matt said...

I have really enjoyed these plot twists like the monster baby and Ulrika coming back. You keep us on our toes.

Joseph Crisalli said...

Thank you, Matt.

Carolyn said...

Robert and his dear Punch are so good for one another. I am scared of the two-headed baby though.

Joseph Crisalli said...

I think that's a perfectly reasonable reaction, Carolyn.