Friday, September 6, 2013

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 378

Chapter 378

"Mrs. Pepper, you've outdone yourself."  Robert grinned, gesturing to the tall cake which the hired servants had carried out with much flourish.

"Oh, Your Lordship, thank you."  Mrs. Pepper blushed, looking away.  "I couldn't 'ave done it at all without Maudie.  It was her idea to make the colorful sugar flowers.  She made most o' 'em on 'er own, she did."

"I must congratulate her on a job well done,"  Robert nodded.

"Me chum's spot on, Mrs. Pepper."  Punch said, happily.  He was relaxed and relieved that the wedding went off without further complication, and, so, since he was in his own home spoke freely and in his own voice even though Matthew was nearby.  "I'll make sure to tell Maudie how pleased I am with her progress.  But, I gotta say, though she 'elped, it's clear the genius behind this beauty is all our Mrs. Pepper."

"You're too kind, Your Grace."  Mrs. Pepper replied.

"Now, the real test is in the tastin'."  Punch winked, elbowing Robert.  "When we gonna cut into it so we can offer up some more praise for the best cook in Belgravia?"

"I'm afraid that's not our decision,"  Robert chuckled, "however, I'm just as eager to have a piece.  We'll have to wait until Gerard and Gamilla have finished with the photographer."

"Coo."  Punch muttered.  "I didn't think they was doin' that 'til just before they left for their weddin' trip."

"I didn't either."  Robert shrugged.  "However, they're with him now."

"Oh, I know 'bout that,"  Mrs. Pepper said proudly.  "Just when I was talkin' to Gamilla and Gerry, right as they came back from wherever they snuck off to--to steal a kiss, no doubt--that man with the photo machine came and told Gerard he'd another appointment and asked if they could do their time with him soon."

"I see."  Punch nodded.

"Your Grace, you'll be happy to know, their first thought was of you.  Gamilla said, "Oh, I'm sure it can wait.  His Grace will want to see us cut the cake."

"Ain't that kind?"  Punch smiled.  "By the way, Mrs. Pepper, we made sure that the cake was photographed."

"Did you, Your Grace?"

Punch nodded.

"Wait until I tell Maudie!"  Mrs. Pepper exclaimed.

"There she is."  Robert gestured with his chin.  "His Grace and I must go and talk with Her Ladyship, if you'll excuse us."

"Oh, please and thank you."  Mrs. Pepper gushed.  "I 'ppreciate all them kind things you said.  Looks like Miss Lennie...I mean, Her Ladyship, could use some company, sittin' all by herself.  I'll go and tell Maudie about the phot...o...graph."  She smiled, pleased she'd said the word correctly.

"We shall see you again shortly,"  Robert nodded.

"Oh, yes, Your Lordship."  Mrs. Pepper said.

As Punch and Robert walked away, Robert looked with affection at his companion.

"You seem very happy."

"I am."  Punch nodded.  "Even with all the 'orrible folk in the world, we got the kindest ones here."

He waved to Lennie who nodded and met them in the middle of the Drawing Room.

"Hullo, sister dear."  Punch smiled.  "You seemed kinda glum over there.  Anything wrong?"

"Not exactly."  Lennie inhaled, forcing a smile.

"Where's Matthew?"  Robert asked.

"Taken his pipe into the garden."  Lennie answered.

"Oh?  He's welcome to smoke in here."   Punch shrugged.

"He wanted to be alone for awhile."  Lennie replied.

"Why?"  Punch raised an eyebrow.  "Did you two have words?"

"In a manner of speaking."  Lennie hedged.

"I don't mean to pry, I don't, only..."  Punch began.

"If something's troubling you, Lennie, I do wish you'd tell us."  Robert finished the thought.

"Nothing is troubling me at all.  I'm afraid, however, that Matthew is displeased."

"Ain't he enjoyin' the party?"  Punch asked.

"He is, brother dear.  Of course.  He's not enjoying the fact that I've told him that I'm in no hurry to set a date for our nuptials."  Lennie confessed.

Did you miss Chapters 1-377 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square?  If so, you can catch up here. Come back on Monday for Chapter 379.

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