Friday, April 5, 2013

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 296

Chapter 296 

What on Earth 

This is the child, then?” Lennie said.

Ulrika stared blankly at Lennie, at first not recognizing the woman she taunted in the Duke’s house.

“Oh!” Ulrika’s eyes flashed as she placed Lennie’s face. “Yes! We’ve just come from your brother’s house and found him quite rude.”

“He doesn’t like you.” Lennie replied plainly. She studied Marduk. “The wretched thing needs the attention of a physician.”

“Why do your people keep saying that to me?” Ulrika snapped.

“Please, Miss Molliner.” Matthew whispered.

Lennie ignored him. “Miss Rittenhouse, I think you should know that the child’s father is just up the street. You might wish to inform Orpha.”

“Oh, how delicious.” Ulrika cooed. “Finally! Something productive has come of this day.”

“I’ve told him all about his son.” Lennie continued.

“Oh?” Ulrika frowned. “I wish you hadn’t done that. I was so looking forward to the look on his face when he was told.”

“Don’t fret, Miss Rittenhouse. There’s much more agony upon which you might feed.”

“True, dear.” Ulrika smiled. “Thank you.” She snapped her fingers. “Giovanni. Go fetch the man, would you? There’s a lamb.”

“Which is he?”

“The one on the ground.” Lennie smiled.

“On the ground?” Ulrika’s eyes widened with delight. She looked at Gamilla. “Did you work some of your voodoo magic on him?”

“No, Miss.”

“Pity.” Ulrika sighed.

“Go get him, darling.” Ulrika snapped at Giovanni who quickly scurried off.

“Well, then.” Ulrika continued. “If the African didn’t do it, why is he on the ground? Is he ill?” She asked expectantly.

“I struck him in the jaw.” Lennie answered.

“Did you?” Ulrika’s face brightened. “You?”

“I did.”

“How delightful!” Ulrika laughed. “Perhaps you’re not as dull as your well-meaning brother and his fancy man. How delicious. You must come to tea.”

“I don’t think so.” Lennie shook her head.

“Oh, yes. You don’t care for Orpha.” Ulrika nodded. “It had to be done, you know. It was all meant to be, my dear. And, look how it worked out for you…pathetically well, I’m afraid.”

“Sorry to disappoint.” Lennie replied dryly.

“Still, you might enjoy knowing that she’s lost a hand.” Ulrika continued.

“Orpha has?”

“Oh, yes. One of the men from your brother’s house did it.”

“Oh?” Lennie’s eyes widened.

“The Australian one.” Ulrika nodded. She glanced at Gamilla. “The one you’re to marry, you Nubian delight.”


“Chopped it right off.” Ulrika chortled. “I’ve got it inside if you’d like to see it.”

“No.” Lennie answered quickly. “We’d best go.”

“Yes, yes.” Ulrika answered wildly, catching sight of Giovanni dragging the baron toward Hamish House. “Look, Marduk, there’s your daddy. Which arm do you want to use to wave at him? I think the third one is the best…”

“Miss? Could it be true what she said?” Gamilla whispered to Lennie.

“It could, I’m afraid.” Lennie replied softly.

“But, Gerry would never do…not somethin’ like that…”

“I’m afraid that Orpha can drive any man to act in ways he normally wouldn’t. Don’t fret, Gamilla. We’ll see that your Gerard is unharmed.”

“Oh, he’s fine. Sadly, he’s repentant. I just can’t stomach that sort of thing.” Ulrika moaned. “Are you sure you all wouldn’t like to stay? We’ve a wonderful reunion of father and son planned. And, there’s to be a stunning ritual.”

“No, thank you.” Lennie answered.

“You…man.” Ulrika smiled coyly. “Did you know that Marduk here is the messiah?”

“I…” Matthew began.

“We should leave you to it.” Lennie interrupted.

“I’m not one for social niceties, but, thank you for bringing the Baron to us.” Ulrika smiled.

“Miss Rittenhouse, truly, it is my pleasure.” Lennie smiled.

Without another word, Matthew hurried Gamilla and Lennie away.

“What on earth was that?” Matthew gasped once they were out of earshot.

“That was Ulrika Rittenhouse.” Lennie replied.

“Is that the woman or the…thing.”

“The woman. She’s American. My brother and his companion met her in America.”

“What a shame. She’s quite mad .”

“Indeed.” Lennie nodded.

“That creature is the offspring of the Baron Lensdown?” Matthew asked.

“It is.”

“Oh…oh, dear.” Matthew shook his head. “What is it exactly.”

“My brother’s companion says it’s an accident of nature—twins which were joined together before birth.”


“I feel sorry for it.” Lennie sighed.

“Of course.” Matthew nodded. “Is the American its mother?”

“No.” Lennie said. She paused. “She’s just an aficionado.”

“What was that foolishness about it being the messiah?”

“Sir, it would not make any more sense if I explained it.” Lennie sighed. “Ah, here we are. Thank you for escorting us home.”

“May I escort you inside?”

“Not today.” Lennie shook her head. “Gamilla…you may go inside and see to Gerard.”

“Thank you, Miss.” Gamilla replied, rushing past them to go down the area stairs to the servants’ hall.

“I am most appreciative.” Lennie continued. “I do hope you will call on us soon.”

“I should like to.” Matthew blushed again. “I hope His Grace wouldn’t mind. I know how private and shy he is.”

“Pun…” She stopped herself. “Julian? Private? Shy?” She chuckled. “I’ve never thought of him as such.”

“Well, I do hear His Grace is quite changed since returning to America.”

“Do you know my brother?”

“Not really, no. We’ve met once or twice, but I can’t say we spoke more than a few words to one another.”

“I’m sure His Grace would be thrilled to see you again. I would invite you in, it’s just that…”

“It seems there’s a great deal happening in your household today. I understand completely. Matthew replied.

“Well, then. Good afternoon, Miss Molliner.”

“And, to you, Lord Cleaversworth.”

“Do call me Matthew.” He replied. “Unless you find me impertinent.”

“Not at all.” Lennie smiled. “And, please, call me Lennie.”

“I look forward to seeing you again.” Matthew replied sincerely. “Any woman who can fell a man with one punch is one I’d like to know.”

Lennie blushed. “I’m afraid that’s the first, and, hopefully the last time.”

“That you did it at all makes you all the more fascinating.” Matthew answered.

They stood awkwardly for a few seconds, looking at one another.

“Isn’t it silly?” He asked.


“I can’t seem to make myself say goodbye.”

Lennie blushed deeper still.

“Though, since we are chaperoned, I’d best. I shall call tomorrow. Good evening, Lennie. Thank you for a most interesting walk.”

“Thank you…Matthew.”

They nodded at one another once more.

“Extraordinary.” Lennie whispered as she climbed the stairs to the front door. “Utterly extraordinary.”

Did you miss Chapters 1-295 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them
here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 297.


Darcy said...

"Utterly extraordinary " to quote Lennie herself.
The way Lennie has grown reminds me of Catherine Sloper in the "Heiress"
Great characterization , your characters just keep evolving .

Matt said...

I like that Lennie is showing an independent side and I am loving that you are giving her a love interest. Did you name him after me?

Joseph Crisalli said...

Yay for Lennie! As for the Earl's name, maybe I did.

Joseph Crisalli said...

Thank you, Darcy! That's a great compliment.