Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 359

Chapter 359

"You're not to be in here."  Ruthy snapped as Mrs. Pepper and Violet entered the day nursery.

"We're to be anywhere we damn well please."  Violet scowled.

"The cook shouldn't be in the nursery!"  Ruthy continued.

"I think you've got some wrong idea about your place in this household, dearie."  Mrs. Pepper replied calmly.  "You seem to have the notion that you somehow outrank us.  Should we draw a picture for you, love?  Somethin' what might show ya the order o' things here."

"I know enough of the 'order of things' to know that you're not meant to be in the nursery."

"Listen, dearie, His Grace asked me and Vi to look in on Master Colin whilst he and His Lordship went to the palace."

"The palace?"  Ruthy's eyes widened. 

"Yeah, the palace."  Violet hissed.  "What's it to you?"

"What took them there?"

"Have ya forgotten?  Gamilla's missin'.  That's why we all ain't gettin' ready for the weddin'."

"What does the Queen care if some African girl is gone missing?"  Ruthy asked.

"Some...some African girl."  Mrs. Pepper's face turned beet red.  "Now, listen, you.  That African girl happens to be your better and, I might add, the only person in this house save Mr. Speaight who reports to no one but the masters themselves.  Furthermore, she's dear to His Grace and he's dear to Her Majesty.  So, it only stands to reason Her Majesty'd be quick to 'elp.  You got some nerve, you do, dearie.  Gettin' too big for your boots, I'd say.  Don't think I won't mention it to His Grace when he and Lord Colinshire return."

"Seems to me I'm the only one doin' my job, Mrs. Pepper.  All the rest of you are moaning about Gamilla while I'm here watchin' the baby."  Ruthy replied.

"Not for long, you're not."  Violet snapped.  She walked over to the bassinet and picked up the baby.  

"What do you think you're doing?"  Ruthy roared.

"I'm taking the child to his aunty, my mistress."  Vi replied.  

"You've no authority here!"  Ruthy said.

"I've seniority!  I'm Upper House Maid as well as the Lady's Maid for Lady Fallbridge.  Maybe we do need Mrs. Pepper to draw a picture for ya!  You're just a low nursery maid.  Even Ethel and Maude got more rights here than you."

"That's enough, Vi."  Mrs. Pepper urged.  "Let's not make it worse.  Just take the baby to Her Ladyship."

"That'll be rather difficult."  Ruthy smirked.

"Oh?"  Vi chuckled.

"Lady Fallbridge left the house with Mr. Gurney not twenty minutes ago."

"How do you know?"  Vi raised an eyebrow.

"I saw them from the window."

"Oh, dear."  Mrs. Pepper shook her head.  "His Grace won't like that at all."

"Why?"  Ruthy narrowed her eyes.

"Because, they've probably gone to Hamish House.  That was precisely what His Grace was tryin' to avoid.  Ain't no place for either o' them.  That's why they went to Their Majesties for help."

"Why?"  Ruthy asked nervously.  "What's anything to do with Hamish House?"

"Well, who else do ya think took Gamilla, though how they got in this house, I'll never understand."

"What...what makes you think..."  Ruthy stuttered.  "I could....  I'm sure it's nothing to do with those women at Hamish House...  As you say, how could they..."

"You're actin' funny."  Violet interrupted.

"She is."  Mrs. Pepper said.  "Here, Ruthy, what do you know?"

"Nothing."  Ruthy shook her head.

"You're lyin'!"  Vi shouted.  "She's lyin!"  Violet turned to Mrs. Pepper.  "Mrs. P., will you stay in here with Master Colin?"

"I will, dearie."  Mrs. Pepper nodded.  "Only what do you aim to do?"

"I just want to remind Ruthy of the order of things."  Violet smiled.

Did you miss Chapters 1-358 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back tomorrow for Chapter 360.

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