Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 349
"Your Ladyship!" Gerard pounded on Lennie's bedroom door.
Lennie flung the door open, "Gerard! Gamillla! Hurry, please." She pointed across her bedroom to the window.
Gerard and Gamilla rushed to the window. As Lennie's room was at the rear of the house, her window overlooked the small garden behind No. 65.
"What are we lookin' for?" Gerard asked.
"Don't you see him?" Lennie cautiously approached the window. She peered over Gerard's shoulder. She sighed. "He's gone. He must have hear my scream."
"As did we," Robert hurried into the room, tying his dressing gown as he entered. He was followed by Mr. Punch.
"We heard ya from the floor above, Lennie." Punch began. "What's happened?"
"Johnny Donnan was in the garden." Lennie explained. "I saw him. I'd...I'd heard a tapping at my window as if someone was tossing pebbles at the glass, so I went to look. I thought perhaps Matthew was doing something...oh, some antiquated romantic gesture." She shook her head. "So, I went to look. I...I didn't expect to see..."
"The fool." Robert shook his head. "Could he possibly be so reckless as to be seen entering our garden? What would compel him to be so careless as to reveal his association with us?"
"Perhaps he done heard that Her Ladyship accepted the proposal of the Earl." Gamilla suggested.
"How could he have?" Robert shook his head. "It's not been announced yet."
"Maybe someone from downstairs told him." Gamilla replied. "Perhaps Ethel or Maudie were chattin' with one of the maids from a nearby house and he heard it second hand."
"I should hope they'd know better than to speak of the goings on of the household with servants from other houses." Robert clucked his tongue.
"They do, Sir." Gamilla smiled. "Only when there's happy news, it's hard to keep it quiet."
"It couldn't have been the girls." Gerard shook his head. "They went straight up to the attics from the servants' hall. We was all together until they went upstairs and they didn't go outside, not once."
"I was only thinkin' aloud, Your Grace." Gamilla said softly.
"Oh, I know, Gamilla." Punch smiled. "It was a smart suggestion, it was. If Johnny knew Lady Fallbridge was to be wed, he might want to see 'er. After all, he's made it clear he wants to somehow be a..." He trailed off.
"You can say it, brother dear. Silence won't change the fact that the man is my father." Lennie replied.
"Regardless of what he's heard, he's been warned repeatedly to stay away from you. Furthermore, he's also been warned that being seen at this house would severely jeopardize the Queen's plan to infiltrate Hamish House. No matter his reasons, to trespass in our garden is unforgivable."
"Well, he's gone now." Lennie sighed. "And, here I stand, embarrassed. I'm so sorry to have disturbed everyone so. I wasn't aware of my scream until after it had issued from my mouth. He startled me. I expected to see Matthew smiling up at me, and...well..." She shook her head. "Nevertheless, we learned one thing. I've got quite a loud voice when I want to. Not only did my brothers hear me from the floor above, but Gerard heard me from the attics."
Gerard and Gamilla exchanged glances.
"I wasn't in the attics." Gerard blushed.
Gamilla shifted her weight uncomfortably.
"Ah." Punch grinned.
"We was just talkin', Your Grace." Gerard said quickly.
"No need to explain." Robert held up his hand.
"Oh dear," Lennie muttered.
"We really was just talkin', my lady." Gamilla said.
"It's not that," Lennie giggled. "I just worried that I'd awakened Colin."
"No, no, he went right back to sleep."
"As should we all." Robert nodded. "Each in our own room." He smiled, blushing. "Well, I suppose that rather makes me a hypocrite."
They all chuckled.
Lennie glanced out of the window uncomfortably.
"Perhaps before I go up, I could bolt the garden gate?" Gerard suggested.
"You anticipated my request." Robert nodded.
"I'll go right now." Gerard answered. He looked at Gamilla and smiled. "May I visit you in the nursery before breakfast?"
Gamilla looked at Mr. Punch.
"Well, of course he can!" Punch laughed.
Gamilla nodded happily.
"Good night, all." Robert smiled. "Lennie, dear, will you be able to sleep?"
"Eventually. I'll just calm down a bit."
"Would you like me to stay with you for a spell, my lady?" Gamilla asked.
"I'd love it if you would." Lennie nodded. "As long as you think Colin will be all right.""
"Oh, he's sleepin' like an angel. Besides, Ruthy will be in at midnight to check on him." Gamilla answered.
"We'll leave you two to your chat." Robert said.
"Good night. Don't stay up too late." Punch smiled.
They closed Lennie's door behind them.
"I knew, I did," Punch shook his head. "I knew Johnny wouldn't be able to stay 'way from Lennie."
"We may need to rethink our newfound trust of him." Robert agreed.
"In the mornin'." Punch sighed. "Right now, even I'm ready for sleep." With that, Punch and Robert climbed the stairs to their room.
Meanwhile, downstairs, in the garden, Gerard made his way toward the gate to bolt it when he heard a raspy voice hiss at him. "Oy, Aussie!"
"Mr. Donnan." Gerard shook his head. "Ya know you oughn't be here."
"When I come to the hall with a delivery, your Charles told me 'bout my girl gettin' a ring from that earl fella."
"Ah." Gerard said.
"Listen, I just wanna talk to my lass." Johnny stepped out into the moonlight.
"She don't want to see ya." Gerard said firmly. "And, she ain't your lass. Now, Mr. Donnan, you 'eard this from everyone in the house from His Grace to me, and even from the lady herself. She don't want to see ya."
"It's a father's place to talk to his girl on the day she's promised to wed a man."
"Ain't gonna happen." Gerard said. "Now, you gotta get back to Hamish House. Remember, His Grace is payin' for your services. Ain't no use puttin' all that at risk. ya know you ain't to be seen here. And, like I said, ain't no way you're gonna talk to Lady Fallbridge."
"Call 'er what you want, lad, but she's still Ellen Barrett to me."
"Do ya hear yourself. Even then, she still ain't your daughter. Never in her life was she Ellen Donnan. Never did she think of you as a pa."
Johnny shook his head. "You'll understand one day, when you and your bride have a child."
Gerard sighed. "Good night, Mr. Donnan."
"Lad, will ya give 'er this?" He held up a crumpled piece of paper.
"Lady Fallbridge?" Gerard squinted.
"Sure, sure. Just give it to her. Please."
"What is it?"
"I didn't think anyone'd let me see 'er. So, I wrote this, best I could. Just...just give it to 'er, lad."
"Good night, Mr. Donnan." Gerard repeated.
"Will ya, lad?"
"Fine." Johnny grumbled, leaving the garden.
"Cor." Gerard grunted as he latched the gate.
Did you miss Chapters 1-348 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 350.