Monday, August 19, 2013
Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 369
"Fern, why would you think that those roses aren't for you?" Robert asked.
"Because...I..." She frowned. "No one likes me."
"That's not true." Punch shook his head. "Coo! Maybe we don't like some of the things what you done, but we like you. Otherwise, you'd not be here, you wouldn't."
"But, when Miss Rittenhouse got me, I...I waited so long."
"We didn't know how to get you out of that house, Fern." Robert explained. "We didn't want to just rush in and put you in further danger."
"Do ya understand?" Punch asked.
"I think so." Fern nodded. "Well..." She paused. "Thank you for the flowers. When do I leave for school?"
"After you've had a chance to rest and feel stronger." Robert answered.
"You can stay here for a bit. We ain't sendin' you to school as punishment, we're doin' it because it's what a girl your age should be doin'. We're startin' anew, we are. Provided you don't do anythin'...like what you done before...we can all get on just fine."
"Is that so?" Fern asked.
"It is," Punch continued. "It's up to you."
"Miss Fern," Ethel spoke up. "I thought tomorrow, maybe, you might help me in here with gettin' Master Colin's things in order. I asked His Grace and His Lordship and they said they approved."
"Oh?" Fern's eyes widened.
"Provided that you remember that Ethel is the authority in Gamilla's absence and that Colin is treated gently and with affection." Robert responded.
"Oh, yes, Uncle Robert." Fern answered. "Could we start today?"
"Not today?" Gamilla shook her head. "Ethel will be at my wedding. So will Colin."
"Oh." Fern sighed.
"As will you." Gamilla continued.
"Of course, chil'." Gamilla smiled.
"You want me to come to your wedding?"
"Why do ya think I left those roses for ya?" Gamilla asked. "I thought they'd look fine pinned to your lilac dress."
"But...you don't want me. Not after what I did to you. Not after I ruined your gown and..."
"That's all done with, Miss Fern. I got a new gown and it's even made, in part, with the silk my dear friend done give me. So, ain't too much harm done. Besides, the whole household's gotta be there. Ain't good to have any part of the family not present. Bad enough we gotta leave Mr. Speaight behind to look after the hired folk who're bringing the food and flowers and such for the breakfast and reception. I'd hate to think you wouldn't be there, too." Gamilla smiled.
"Does Mr. Gurney know this?" Fern asked. "He doesn't like me."
"He does know. And, he wants ya there. He said so." Gamilla replied. "Now, you better go and get yourself dressed! Vi said when she finished with my hair and Miss Lennie's she'd come in and help ya put yours up. We even got a little wreath of blooms for ya to wear in your hair."
"You do?" Fern's hands began to shake.
"If you want it." Gamilla answered.
"Oh, I do!" Fern exclaimed.
"Come with us, Fern." Robert smiled. "Uncle Punch and I will tell you what you'll be doing at the wedding."
"Yes, Gamilla thought you might like to walk ahead of the bridal party and toss rose petals on the aisle."
"I?" Fern gasped. "I couldn't."
"I think you could." Punch nodded. "Now, come on, let's go get your dress and we can talk 'bout it."
"Yes." Fern nodded.
She turned and looked at Gamilla. "Thank you."
"It's my pleasure, Miss Fern." Gamilla grinned.
"Gamilla, we must finish dressing you." Lennie spoke up. "We don't have the luxury of time which we thought we'd have."
"Yes, Your Ladyship." Gamilla grinned.
As Fern followed Punch and Robert out of the nursery, Fern smiled. Punch thought, perhaps, it was the first time he'd seen her do that out of actual happiness.
"Are you glad to be home?" Punch asked.
"Oh, yes, Sir, I am." Fern answered honestly.
Did you miss Chapters 1-368 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 370.