Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 279

Chapter 279 

Charles, ashen and visibly shaking, unlocked the area door and entered the servants’ hall.

Gerard, Gamilla, Violet and Mrs. Pepper smiled at him.

“Hullo, mate.” Gerard said brightly. “Did you get them collars for His Grace?”

Charles nodded and, walking past Charles extended the box of collars to Gerard who took it.

Silently, Charles sat in his usual spot by the hearth.

“What’s it all about?” Mrs. Pepper asked.

“Charlie?” Violet looked up from her needlework.

Gamilla rose from the table where she was folding some of Colin’s linens and walked over to Charles. She sat across from him. “You saw that woman, didn’t ya? Miss Rittenhouse.”

Charles nodded.

“Oh…” Gerard shook his head, joining Gamilla cross from Charles. “I’m awful sorry, Charlie. Did she say terrible things?”

Charles nodded again. “She wasn’t the worst of it.”

“Did she make you see your brother, then?” Violet asked.

“Maybe we’d best leave Charles in peace.” Mrs. Pepper suggested.

“No.” Charles said quickly. “Please don’t leave me alone!”

“Sure, Charlie. We won’t leave ya.” Gerard said gently. “So, you saw Giovanni, did ya?”

“Yes, but that wasn’t the worse of it.” Charles moaned.

“No?” Violet joined the others by the hearth.

“Where are the young ones?” Charles looked around.

“Maudie and Ethel are in the scullery.” Mrs. Pepper said. “Georgie’s in the pantry takin’ inventory. Or, he’s meant to be. Likely he’s talkin’ to them girls.”

“Would you, please, close the door to the kitchens?” Charles asked softly.

“I’ll do it.” Violet volunteered. She scurried to shut the door and came back.

“What happened, then, Charlie?” Mrs. Pepper asked. “You can tell us. Mr. Speaight’s upstairs directing the men who’ll be takin’ down the nursery wall. It’s just us here.”

“Where’s Master Colin?” Charles asked.

“Up in the nursery. They ain’t gonna start the work today. Mr. Speaight’s got an eye on him so I could come down and do the linens.” Gamilla responded.

“Maybe you’d like a nice cuppa?” Mrs. Pepper suggested. “It’ll brace ya.”

“No.” Charles answered. “I couldn’t. I understand now.”

“What’s that, mate?” Gerard asked.

“Why Ethel’s the way she is now. If she saw what I did…and Miss Fern…I understand.”

“Did Giovanni hurt you?” Violet asked.

“No, not really.” Charles asked.“Orpha…”

“Orpha?” Mrs. Pepper leaned in. “So, it is true? She’s with the American?”


“What’d she do to you?” Gerard asked, incensed.

“She introduced me to her son.” Charles answered quietly.

“Is it…?” Gamilla gulped.

“It’s a monster of a thing. A two-headed beast, a gargoyle. But, that’s not the worse. It’s…it’s so…sentient. It’s alert. It looked into my soul with four eyes. There’s no sweetness to it, it’s not…it’s not…a baby like Master Colin. It’s…” Charles bent over and put his head in his hands. “I don’t know what.”

‘There, now.” Mrs. Pepper stood and put her hand on Charlie’s shoulder. “You’re safe here.”

“I don’t know that we’re safe anywhere.” Charles moaned.

“Gerry,” Mrs. Pepper whispered. “Maybe you’d best take ‘im up to Dr. Halifax and His Grace.”

“They’re both in the library now.” Gerard nodded, rising. He extended a hand to Charles. “Come on, mate. Dr. Halifax can help ya.”

Charles nodded and took Gerard’s hand. Gerard slipped his arm around Charles’ trunk to steady his friend.

“I’ll follow ya.” Gamilla said. “I’ve gotta get up to the nursery, but, Gerry, honey, come and tell me what the masters say, please.”

Gerard nodded. “’Course, Love.”

Gamilla and Gerard helped Charles up the service stairs to the hidden entrance to the library.

“It’s gonna be all right, my friend.” Gamilla patted Charles’ arm. “We’ll see to it. His Grace and Dr. Halifax’ll know what to do.”

“I’m gonna stay with ‘im, Love.” Gerard said softly. “But, I’ll come up in a bit.”

Gamilla nodded and made her way up the next flight of stairs to the nursery floor. She could hear the men in her chamber talking about the best way to enlarge the room into the cloak room and storage area on the other side, so, she decided it best to go into the day nursery in order not to interrupt them.

Entering the day nursery, Gamilla dropped the stack of linens which she had tucked under her arm.

“What are you doing?” Gamilla shrieked. “Miss Fern! Put him down!”

Did you miss Chapters 1-278 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 280. 

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