Friday, August 2, 2013

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 360

Chapter 360:

The sounds of Ruthy's screams sliced through the floors of the towering mansion at No. 65 Belgrave Square.  

Charles and Georgie, who'd only just come into the servants' hall after searching for Gamilla around the City of Westminster, were urged by Mrs. Pepper to go upstairs as quickly as possible.

Before the two even reached the service staircase, the door from the front hall burst open and, there, appeared Violet holding Ruthy tightly by the arm.

"Let me go!"  Ruthy screamed.

"What's going on, Vi?"  Charles asked.

"This bitch let Ulrika Rittenhouse's lover in here, the rotten blackguard.  He took Gamilla!"  Violet growled angrily.

"What?"  Charles coughed.  "My brother?"

"Oh, Charlie,"  Violet said quickly.  "I forgot he was  your..."

"Never mind that."  Charles shook his head.  "He is a blackguard and..."  he narrowed his eyes at Ruthy, "if this is true, you are a bitch."

"Is it true, then, Ruthy?"  George Pepper asked.

"Yes!"  Ruthy screamed.  "Now, let me go."

Mrs. Pepper, Ethel and Maudie gathered at the foot of the stairs.

Charles cooly turned and looked down at Mrs. Pepper.  "Where's Mr. Speaight?"

"Still out lookin' for Gamilla."  Mrs. Pepper answered.

Charles scratched his chin.  He inhaled.  "George, my lad, go with your mum.  Take the baby upstairs to the nursery and stay with your mum there."

"Charlie!"  George argued.  "I want to get me hands on this witch what gave up our sweet Gamilla."

"Why'd ya do it, Ruthy?"  Mrs. Pepper asked, tearfully.  "Gamilla's been good to ya.  When His Grace wasn't certain 'bout ya, she spoke up on your behalf."

"Oh, yes, the African girl is so bleedin' kind!"  Ruthy scoffed.  "That's why you all make such a fuss over her, is it?  She don't do a blasted thing!  No one here does!  No one but me! All you do is let the masters dote on ya like children.  You're all as simple as the God damn mandrake Duke and his fancy man."

"Shut yer gob, ya sow!"  Violet slapped the girl who yelped.

"Ya hurt me!"  Ruthy howled.

"I'll do a site worse in a moment," Violet snapped, slapping the girl again.  "Ya jealous cow!  So ya let them take Gamilla because you felt you--a maid--was overworked?  Did that satisfy your hate?"

"No, but the five sovereigns did."  Ruthy sneered.

Violet pulled back on Ruthy's arm, and, then, with one swift motion, tossed the girl down the rest of the stairs.  She landed at the feet of Mrs. Pepper, Ethel and Maudie.

"Cor!"  Ethel gasped.  "Ya killed her, Vi!"  Ethel smiled.  "I'm glad you did."

"So am I!"  Maudie replied.

"She ain't dead."  Violet shook her head, descending the stairs.  "Are ya?"

"I'm hurt!"  Ruthy wailed.

"Oh."  Maudie sighed with disappointment.

"Someone help me up."  Ruthy struggled.

Charles took George gently by the arm.  "Georgie, now listen, I need you.  As you know, Gerry's gone off with Her Ladyship and the masters are at the palace.  With Mr. Speaight gone, that leaves us the men in charge.  You gotta be the other footman.  Understand?"

"Yes, sir."  Georgie nodded.  

"Good.  Master Colin can't see nor hear what's about to happen.  Right?"


"So, your mum has gotta take him upstairs.  I want you to take them up and I want Ethel and Maudie to go, too.  You care for Ethel, yes?"

"Very much."  

"Well,  you know she's only just gotten over the horrible things she saw at Hamish House and losing Jenny.  There's no good in seeing anything upsetting.  So, help me, mate, by taking the girls upstairs.  Please."

"But, what about Ruthy?"  George asked.

"Violet and I will handle her."  Charles replied.

Did you miss Chapters 1-359 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back on Monday for Chapter 361.  No chapter tomorrow.  But, hopefully, by next week, I'll be back on schedule.

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