Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 328

Chapter 328 

Coo,” Punch sighed, leaning back onto the settee in the drawing room. “That Matthew can eat!”

“Almost as well as you do, dear Punch.” Robert nodded.

“What did you both think of him?” Lennie asked.

“I thought him most delightful.” Robert answered.

“Me, too!” Punch agreed. “You must marry him!”

“Oh…” Lennie waved a hand at her brother.

“I’m mean it, I do. He’s a nice, honest bloke what clearly is smitten with ya. And, he likes breakfast!”

“All very fine qualities,” Robert chuckled.

“An affection for breakfast is not really suitable grounds for a marriage.” Lennie smiled.

“It ain’t just that.” Punch shook his head. “It’s the way he looks at ya. And, the way he speaks to ya. All gentle-like. Like he…well, like he values ya, like he respects ya. You heard him ask you, all them times, what ya think. Most men don’t wanna know what a lady thinks. But, Matthew, well, he does. What you say matters to him. How you feel is important to him.”

“Dear Punch is correct.” Robert nodded. “He’s quite taken, Lennie. He hung on your every breath.”

“So, what we’re sayin’ is that we approve.” Punch continued.

“Don’t you think you might be counting our chickens before they’ve hatched?” Lennie asked.

“Mmmm…” Punch sighed. “Chickens.”

“I think Lennie means that one can’t say how many chicks will come from a basket of eggs until they’ve hatched.” Robert explained.

“A basket of eggs…” Punch smiled.

“We’re getting ahead of ourselves.” Lennie chuckled. “I’ve only spoken with the man twice, and he’s sent me flowers. I don’t know that he has any intention of asking me to marry him.”

“Oh, he does.” Punch said firmly.

“I don’t know that.” Lennie shook her head.

“I agree with Punch.” Robert said. “I’m certain that he will.”

“And, when he does, you’ll say that you will.” Punch added.

“Will I?” Lennie grinned.

“Won’t ya?”

“I don’t know.” She shrugged.

“Why?” Punch leaned forward. “Don’t ya like him?”

“I like him.” Lennie answered. “However, there’s much to think about.”

“Such as?” Punch asked.

“To begin with, he’s older than I.” Lennie responded.

“Not much older.” Robert said. “That’s not too much of a consideration. After all, Punch is ol…”

“Don’t start.” Punch snapped playfully. “It’s only four years and it ain’t worth mentionin’.”

“What else, Lennie?” Robert winked.

“I’m not sure. Perhaps we wouldn’t be compatible.”

“You seemed compatible today.” Punch raised his eyebrows.

“At tea, brother dear. That doesn’t indicate a lifetime of compatability.”

“Well, I think you should marry ‘im.” Punch snorted, sitting back again.

“Are you so eager to see me leave?” Lennie asked playfully.

“No!” Punch answered. “I’d like it if you stayed with us forever. I just want you to be happy. Besides, Matthew lives just across the square. Ain’t as if we wouldn’t see ya whenever we liked.”

“Let’s just see what happens, shall we?” Lennie laughed.

“I already know.” Punch answered. “But, sure, we’ll do it as you say.” He sighed. “When’s dinner?”

“We’ve only just finished tea.” Robert laughed. “We’ve four hours before dinner.”

“Oh.” Punch frowned. “Well, I’m gonna go up and see Colin and Dog Toby.”

“I’ll join you.” Robert replied.

“May I come?” Lennie asked.

“Of course, it’ll be good practice for when you have babies of your own.” Punch said seriously.

Lennie rolled her eyes.

As they exited the drawing room, they were met by an out-of-breath Speaight.

“Your Grace,” Speaight panted.

“What is it?” Punch asked.

“There’s a man in the front hall to see you.”

“Who?” Punch narrowed his eyes.

“Lum Ruskin.” Speaight replied.

“Ruskin? The bloke what took Fern to the rooming house?”

“Yes. He says that the house was overtaken by an Italian man and an American woman. They took Miss Fern, and, in the melee which followed, Mr. Barrett escaped.”

“Roger!” Lennie exclaimed.

“Oh, bother.” Punch sighed. “Tell him we’ll be right down.”

Did you miss Chapters 1-327 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back on Monday for Chapter 329. 

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