Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 288

Chapter 288 

How is our bloody Madonna?” Ulrika asked as Giovanni returned to the front parlor. "Oh!  I love the way that sounds..."

“She sleeps now.” Giovanni answered.

“It’s only fitting, I suppose.” Ulrika smiled, carelessly playing with Orpha’s severed hand which she held upon her lap on a silken cloth. “With Marduk having three hands, they even one another out, really.”

“Not a word of pain from her when I applied the bandages.” Giovanni shrugged, sitting down next to Ulrika. “Quite a strong woman.”

“You don’t prefer her to me, do you?”

“No, my beautiful beast.” Giovanni smiled.

“Oh, darling, really.” Ulrika grinned. She held up the hand. “Can you do something with this? It seems a shame to just toss it out.”

“It won’t keep.” Giovanni shrugged.

“Well, darling, you are a sculptor in addition to your myriad other skills. Can’t you bronze it or something?”

“Not well.” Giovanni answered plainly. “This I have tried before.”

“Really?” Ulrika asked. “With what?”

“Eh…things. Never looks right.” Giovanni replied vaguely.

“What a shame.” Ulrika sighed. “Darling, couldn’t you use it as a model? I’d love to see you make her a new hand. Oh…of ivory! Wouldn’t that be delicious?”

“What good is that?” Giovanni asked. “She could not use it.”

“But, really…if we fastened it to her, she wouldn’t look so lopsided.”

“I see.” Giovanni nodded. “This I can do.”

“Lovely!” Ulrika cooed. “I wonder from where I can order the ivory…”

“I’ll find it. Do not worry.”

“You think of everything, Darling.”

“Now, put that away before you spoil your gown.”

“I love when you’re commanding.” Ulrika grinned. “Where should I put it?”

“In the larder where it is cool.”

“Oh.” Ulrika pouted. “I was going to let the baby play with it.”

“Perhaps for awhile.” Giovanni nodded. “When we return.”

“Return?” Ulrika raised her eyebrows. “Where are we going? Really, darling, do you have something planned?”

“I do.” Giovanni nodded.

“Do tell.”

“We go to see the Duke of Fallbridge.”

“Again?” Ulrika sniffed. “I’ve had enough of those mandrakes for the day. They bore me.”

“They bore me, yes.” Giovanni nodded. “But, they must answer for the actions of their men.”

“One of those men is your brother, darling.”

“He was. He is no longer.” Giovanni spat.

“Oh, really?” Ulrika moaned. “I love these sorts of squabbles. Still, darling, what would you have us do? Go there and threaten to call the authorities? I think they’ve more to tell the…what do they call it here...the beadle about us than we have about them.”

“No, no.” Giovanni squinted. “We go and tell them that we expect law like the bible. They took a hand. We expect a hand. It is Gospel.”

“The one part of that dusty book of fairytales which I intend to see remains when the new order takes our rightful place. It’s too delectable to not keep! Are we going to take the Duke’s hand?” Ulrika’s eyes widened with excitement.

“Not exactly.”

“What, then? Really, you know I can’t stand vagueness, darling.”

“We take the messiah to see the Duke and say that the child has lost their mother’s…full…”


“As you say, yes. We need, then, a maid to help. Is only fair. The Madonna with one hand…she cannot care for Marduk so well just now. We need help.”

“Darling, I can hire a nursery maid without the aid of the Duke of Fallbridge.”

“For Marduk? Tell me who would stay.”

“True…” Ulrika sighed. “Still, I can look after them. He likes me so much.”

“No, no. We must have a maid.” Giovanni smiled.

“You know the puppet Duke is not just going to hand…oh, ha, how delicious…over one of his precious servants. He dotes on them as if they’re his own kin. Why that African that they brought from America is as close to the two fancy men as if she was their own sister.”

“What do I want with an African woman?” Giovanni snapped. “I want the girl.”


“Who else?”

“Ohhhh…you want them to give Fern back to us. You’re so wise, Darling. What better way to train her to be Marduk’s bride than to have her look after her future husband…husbands? Whichever.”


“He won’t do it.” Ulrika shook her head. “You know how he is.”

“He will do it.” Giovanni grinned.

“You said we’ll bring Marduk?”


“It is true. How could anyone look into his four eyes and deny him anything?” Ulrika moaned with joy. “But, really, what am I saying? Even with Marduk’s charms at work, the Duke will deny the request.”

“If he does, then, we will take a hand.”

“Vague, again, really…”

“We will insist that the blond servant gives up one of his. The one my brother thinks is a better brother to him than I.”

“Ohhhhhh…scrumptious!” Ulrika cackled. “Utterly delicious. Darling, you are a joy.” She rose, wrapping the hand in the cloth. “Let’s do bring this with us. As a demonstration! Delightful! But, oh…we shouldn’t leave Orpha all alone.”

“Why not? She sleeps.”

“If she wakes in pain…well, really, I’d hate to miss it.”

“We shan’t be long.” Giovanni shrugged.

“Very well.” Ulrika squealed. “I’ll go ready the little messiah. Oh, this is too, too glorious! I feel as if I’m at a banquet and I just don’t know where to start.”

Did you miss Chapters 1-287 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back on Monday for Chapter 289.

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