Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 388
"There you are, Fern." Punch smiled. "Mrs. Pepper has made all of your favorites, she has. And, Maude has a very special pudding for you."
"That's nice. I shall make a point to go downstairs and thank them after dinner." Fern nodded.
"I'm sure they'd like that, Fern." Robert nodded. "Come join us. Dinner won't be for another half an hour or so. Your Auntie Lennie was just telling us all about the shopping expedition she and Violet made today. I think you'll be most interested in hearing what they were about."
"You may sit next to me, if you'd like." Lennie patted the settee next to her.
"Yes, please." Fern nodded. She clutched a ratty rag doll close to her body, and, as she walked, carefully gripped the doll as if she was holding a piece of delicate glass.
"I say, Young Fern. I think you'll be pleased to hear what your Auntie has to tell you." Matthew grinned.
"Well, it's not as exciting as the gentlemen make it out," Lennie chuckled. "However, Violet and I took with us the list from your new school and we purchased all of the items which you'll be needing for your journey tomorrow."
"It wasn't just that, was it, Lennie?" Punch teased.
"Well, no." Lennie said cheerfully. "We also bought yards and yards of silk. Oh, Fern...such beautiful silks. All of your favorite colors. And, we're going to have four gorgeous dresses made to you. My dressmaker still has your measurements on hand from making your uniforms for school and we selected some beautiful styles for party dresses. No doubt you'll grow while you're away, but not so much that they can't be altered to fit you when you return on holiday. That way, you won't have to worry about having dresses for holiday parties."
"Are we having a party for Christmas, Uncle Punch?" Fern asked.
"Oh, I'm sure we are. Uncle Robert and I are due a Christmas party, we are. And, by then, with you coming home from school, I'm sure we'll have much to celebrate, we will." Punch nodded.
"But, not just here, Fern." Lennie continued. "I'm sure you'll be making many friends at school and, no doubt, your friends will wish to invite you to parties at their homes. Now, this way, you'll be prepared."
"Wasn't that kind of your Auntie?" Robert asked.
"Oh, yes." Fern nodded.
"Well, then, Fern, you don't seem as excited as I'd thought a young lady would." Matthew joked. "I know your auntie was excited to pick out the dresses for you."
"Oh, I am excited. I just don't think anyone will be inviting me to any parties." Fern shook her head.
"Don't be silly, Fern. You're a smart, pretty, charming girl. You will be wanted to attend many events." Lennie protested.
"That's right," Punch nodded.
"No one will want me." Fern sighed.
"You can't say that, Fern." Punch said gently. "Why...I once thought no one would want me, and now look. I gotta great big family. A...a Robert, and a son and a fine sister, and...you. Not to mention all of our friends downstairs. We all like you and many other people will, too."
"No one will ever like me, Uncle Punch. Oh, I believe you do. And, Auntie Lennie, and even Uncle Robert a little."
"I like you, too, Fern." Matthew said sweetly.
"But, all of you have to because you...you have no choice. You've taken on the care of me and it's easier to like me than not. Why would anyone else want to?"
"That's just not so. It isn't." Punch shook his head.
"Oh, I don't mind. I have my dolly." Fern smiled.
"Dolly? The new maid?" Robert asked.
"No. My dolly. Myra." Fern held up the doll.
Punch and his family gasped at the sight of the rag doll. Where once the doll had one head, they could see that Fern had sewn the head from another doll onto the doll's left shoulder.
"Myra loves me." Fern smiled.
Did you miss Chapters 1-387 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 389.