Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 376

Chapter 376
In His Place

"Must be grand bein' married."  Ethel sighed, watching Gamilla and Gerard at the center of the long banquet table which had been erected in the drawing room of No. 65.  

"I'll wager."  Maudie nodded.

"What's so grand about it?"  George Pepper smiled.

"Look about ya, Georgie."  Ethel gestured with her hand.  "Look at all these flowers.  I'd say His Grace hired to florist to bring...well thousands of 'em."

"And all that food from the chefs His Grace hired so Mrs. P. and me'd not have to work today.  So, we could come to the party with everyone."  Maude added.

"Well, sure, I ain't sayin' the day ain't pretty.  It was a grand ceremony and Gamilla looked like a princess and all.  And, this party sure is fine.  But, that's just one day.  When it's over, what's left but havin' to clean it all up.  I'm just glad we don't have to do it."

"It ain't about the party.  It's about spendin' the rest o' your life with the person ya love."  Ethel frowned.

"Right."  Maudie nodded.  "And, that starts for 'em today.  It's just the start, it is.  They got their weddin' trip what they're leavin' for tonight after that bloke with that machine makes photographs o' em.  And, then, they'll come home and be together.  Forever."

"You girls."  Georgie laughed.

"I don't care what you say,"  Ethel snorted, turning dramatically and snatching a coral-colored rose from one of the many massive arrangements which lined the drawing room.  "We're at this fine party like we was proper ladies and gentlemen.  That's twice what His Grace and His Lordship let us attend a party with the ladies and lords, and I'm gonna enjoy me-self."

"As am I."  Maudie grinned.  "Here, Ethel, is this the kind of weddin' ya think you'll have."

"Dunno."  Ethel giggled.  "I don't gotta wealthy Duke in me family to pay for it.  So, I don't think it'd be quite as fine."

"His Grace ain't kin to Gerard and Gamilla, yet he paid for this."  Maude suggested.  "Maybe he'll give us weddin's...if...if the time comes.  Ethel, do you think you'll ever get yourself married."

"Got a better chance now I'm outta the scullery."  Ethel shrugged.  " as a cook's assistant.  There's lots of men would marry you.  But, nobody'd want a scullery."

"Ethel, don't say that, you're so pretty."  Maudie shook her head.  "And sweet."

"Well, I thank you.  But, it's true.  A scullery maid ain't the first girl a man looks at.  Now I'm a nursery maid and maybe some man will have me."  She looked quickly at Georgie and, thinking he might look back, she turned away quickly.

"Do ya think you''ll one day be a governess like Gamilla?"  Maude asked.

"Who knows?  Could be now.  Thanks to the masters."  Ethel blushed.  She turned the attention from herself.  "What 'bout you, Our George Pepper.  What sort of girl will you marry?"

"I ain't."  George shook his head.

"Sure you are."  Maude laughed.  "You gotta."

"Why?"  George teased.  "Lots of men don't.  They're called 'bachelors.'  Look at the masters."

"Uhhh..."  Ethel squeaked with amusement.  "Georgie, are you suggestin' that the Duke and His Lordship are bachelors."

Maude laughed.

"They ain't married."  George replied.

"They're married."  Ethel laughed.  "Maybe not in a church or by law.  But, they're married to one another.  Are you sayin'  you're like the masters?  Are you a bloke what fancies other blokes."

"No!"  George scowled.  "You know I ain't like that.  Fine.  The masters was a bad example.  But, I mean there's lots of blokes what fancy ladies what don't marry.  Look at Charlie."

"Oh...Charlie what's sittin' so close to Vi he might as well be in her lap?"  Maude teased.

"Maybe so.  But, I don't see no ring on 'er finger."  George pouted.

"What ya got 'gainst marriage, George?"  Ethel asked.

"Nothin'.  It's just..."  He sighed.  "Me pa died so young and I remember mum bein' so sad for so long.  I'd...well..."

"I know you and your ma miss your pa."  Ethel said softly.  "You know, she talks 'bout 'im to us, all the time."

"She does?"  George asked.  "She never says a thing to me 'bout 'im."

"Maybe she don't wanna make ya sad for missin' 'im."  Maude suggested.

"But, ya know what she told me?"  Ethel asked.  "She said it were the best thing she ever done--marryin' your pa."

"Is that so?"  George asked.

"Sure it is."  Ethel nodded.

"Well, maybe one day, I'll think of it--marryin' I mean."  George nodded.

"And, when ya do?"  Maudie asked.  "What sort o' girl will ya pick?"

George looked quickly at Ethel and glanced away.  "Dunno.  One that'll keep me in place."

Did you miss Chapters 1-375 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back tomorrow for Chapter 377.

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