Friday, June 28, 2013
Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 347
After the Fete
Punch plopped into bed next to Robert and sighed. "Think, Chum, our Lennie's gone and gotten 'erself engaged to an earl."
"It's not a huge surprise. Now, is it?" Robert smiled.
"No." Punch chuckled. "Only, well, I thought maybe it'd take a little longer than it did for 'im to work up the nerve."
"I thought he was about to have an apoplectic fit when she initially refused him." Robert laughed.
"Glad she changed 'er mind. I think he'll be good to 'er." Punch nodded. "Only, it'll be odd, it will, to not have 'er 'round the house."
"They've not even decided when the wedding is to take place." Robert replied. "Lennie will be with us for quite some time to come, I'm sure."
"Good." Punch smiled.
"The servants were so delighted to join in the celebration." Robert began. "Gamilla and Gerard especially. I thought it sweet how Gamilla wept with joy and said she was glad for Lennie. I suspect Gamilla's emotions are high since she herself will be a bride in...well, the day after tomorrow."
"She and Lennie've become very close of late, too." Punch responded. "I know they have many a private chat, they do."
"Dear Punch, did you notice that while everyone else was quite caught up in the spirit of revelry, that Charles seemed a bit reserved?"
"I did, sure. Him and Violet."
"I wonder why." Robert asked.
"Ain't it obvious?"
"Not especially, but you know how thick I can be when it comes to such observations." Robert grinned.
"Vi is worried that when Lennie marries, she's gonna have to leave here and go with her mistress to Cleaversworth House."
"Oh, I hadn't considered that." Robert squinted.
"It's usual for a lady to take her maid when she marries."
"I suppose it is." Robert nodded. "Violet should be pleased to know she's wanted and will continue to remain employed."
"Not when it means leavin' her friends here. And, one friend in particular." Punch answered.
"Chum..." Punch shook his head.
"Well, then, you win the prize, my Robert."
"I didn't know that Charles and Violet are..." He trailed off.
"I don't know that they are. But, I think Gerard and Gamilla 'ave worked enough of their meddling that the idea is there, it is." Punch laughed. "And, just when they're gettin' used to the idea, this changes things."
"Oh dear." Robert sighed.
"Let's not worry on it right now. These things 'ave a way o' sortin' themselves out, they do. Tonight, let's just rest. Our Lennie's got a fiance, our Gamilla and Gerard are to be wed, Colin is safe, the house is quiet, and here we are together with our Dog Toby. For a change, ain't no trouble--well, new trouble."
"Indeed." Robert nodded. He chuckled.
"I was just thinking of Matthew. He looked a little overwhelmed when we invited the servants up to join in the celebration."
"I forget that our household is unlike most. Matthew'll get used to it." Punch grinned. "If he didn't think he could, he'd not have put that yellow diamond on our Lennie's finger."
"Very true." Robert agreed. "Let's get some sleep, then, shall we?"
"Let's." Punch nodded. "Before anything interrupts us."
"Not tonight. Nothing will."
Meanwhile, downstairs, a soft knock on the area door caught Charles' attention. He walked through the hall to peer through the window and saw, on the other side, Johnny Donnan.
Quietly, Charles opened the door. "Mr. Donnan, has something happened?"
"No, no." Johnny replied.
"You know you're not supposed to be seen here."
"I been sent by Miss Rittenhouse."
"Oh?" Charles narrowed his eyes.
Johnny presented an envelope which rattled with coins.
"Miss Rittenhouse wanted to pay for the doctor's services. She said she dont' want no debt to the man even if all he said was wrong. Them's her words, not mine. I got nothin' but respect for the doctor."
"I'll pass this on the Lord Colinshire." Charles said.
"Aye, I forgot he was called that now." Johnny nodded. "I can give it to 'im me-self if he's afoot."
"His Lordship and His Grace have retired for the evening. In fact, the household has all gone to sleep."
"A bit early for 'em."
"Yes, but, we had a bit of a celebration tonight and..." Charles stopped himself.
"Celebration?" Johnny asked.
"Yes." Charles answered. "Good night, Mr. Donnan."
"I suppose it were for the African girl and the Australian man. Their weddin' is nigh, yes?"
"Is there more to celebrate?"
"It doesn't really concern you, Mr. Donnan. I know that you're really trying to improve your life, and I know His Grace appreciate what you're doing for them, but..."
"It's about Her Ladyship, then? Otherwise, you'd tell me." Johnny interrupted.
"You know where you stand." Charles shook his head.
"Just tell me, lad."
Charles inhaled. "Her Ladyship has accepted the marriage proposal of the Earl of Cleaversworth."
Tears rose in Johnny's eyes. "Is that so?"
"Now, good night, Mr. Donnan." Charles concluded.
"Good night to ya." Johnny nodded.
Charles closed the door.
As Johnny climbed the area stairs to the street, he glanced up at the house. "My little girl's to be a bride." He shook his head. "She'll need the kind words of her pa just now. It's only right..."
Did you miss Chapters 1-346 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 348.