Change of Tidings
Speaight was ready to open the door as Punch, Robert and Lennie returned home from the palace.
“Hullo, Speaight,” Punch nodded cheerfully. “Would you gather the staff here in the front hall in about ten minutes, please? We have some glad tidings to share, we do.”
“Sir?” Speaight began.
“Very glad tiding.” Punch chirped. “Concerning Lord Colinshire and Lady Fallbridge.”
“I don’t understand, Your Grace.”
“Lord Colinshire…” Punch pointed to Robert. “And, Lady Fallbridge.” He gestured toward Lennie.
“Oh!” Speaight’s eyes widened with delight and pride. “Many congratulations, Your Lordship. And, to you, Your Ladyship. I am so pleased to hear this.”
“Thank you, Speaight,” Robert replied.
“And, I thank you as well.” Lennie replied. “I think His Lordship and I are still rather shocked.”
“I shall instruct the staff on the proper way to address Lord Colinshire and Lady Fallbridge.” Mr. Speaight smiled.
“I don’t see that they’ll have any trouble with it.” Robert answered. “Gamilla knew His Grace while he was still only Lord Fallbridge. Charles and Gerard are well versed in terms of address. Furthermore, I see no need to change anything. Do you, Lennie?”
“Not at all. I rather like being ‘Miss Lennie.’”
“And I have been quite content being ‘Dr. Halifax’ for the last fifteen years.”
“Of course, Your Lordship.” Speaight nodded. “However, this honor is great, and much deserved on both your parts. It would not be fitting to address you as anything less.”
“We’ll decide all that as we go, then.” Punch interrupted. “Only for now, we thought, ‘specially given all the trouble what we’ve had lately, we’d gather everyone up here so I might share our glad news.”
“Yes, Your Grace.” Speaight replied. “However, first, I must…”
“Oh, no.” Punch’s face fell.
“I’m afraid so, Your Grace.” Speaight shook his head.
“Which one came and caused a kerfuffle. Orpha? The American woman? Charles’ brother?” Punch asked cautiously.
“Miss Fern, Your Grace.” Speaight answered.
“Fern?” Lennie stepped forward.
“Yes, my lady.” Speight nodded. “She’s just down in the servants’ hall now.”
“However did she get in?” Robert scowled.
“A better question is how she got out of Hamish House.” Lennie sighed.
“I can answer the former,” Speaight began. “She knocked on the area door and Georgie opened it. Before he knew what had happened, Miss Fern rushed past him. She was distraught. In fact, she threatened to take her own life. I’m afraid she broke a vase. However, we’re fortunate in that Ethel and Maudie were able to get the girl under control before anything else happened.”
“Which vase?” Robert asked dryly.
“The medium blue Bristol.” Speaight replied.
“Oh. I rather liked that one.” Robert sighed.
“Chum.” Punch shook his head.
“My apologies, dear Punch.” Robert answered sincerely. “I am sorry to hear the girl remains troubled. However…”
“I know.” Punch nodded. He inhaled deeply. “Well, we almost had an hour of joy, we did.” He looked to Speaight. “You say she’s in the servants’ hall?”
“Ethel, Maude and Georgie have her surrounded.”
“She’s not been to the nursery?” Lennie asked.
“Oh, no, my lady.”
“Good.” Lennie nodded.
“Would you tell them that we’ll be down in a few minutes, please.” Robert asked.
“Yes, Your Lordship.” Speaight nodded, exiting.
“Let’s we three adjourn to the Morning Room.” Robert suggested to Punch and Lennie. “We’ll decide there what to do with her.”
“There’s no need.” Punch shook his head. “Already made up me mind.”
Did you miss Chapters 1-323 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 325.