Monday, September 30, 2013

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 391

Chapter 391
Bag and Baggage

"There now,"  Lennie nodded as she watched Violet fasten the strap around the last of Fern's bags, "I do believe you have everything you'll need."

"And, more."  Violet smiled.

"Not everything."  Fern shook her head.

"Not to worry."  Lennie replied patiently.  "Your Uncle Punch promised that Myra would be ready for you, and, she will be."

"The carriage will be here to take me to school any moment."  Fern shook her head.

"There's time, Fern."  Lennie answered.

"Your Ladyship, I'll have Georgie bring these down."  Violet said.

"Very good, thank you."  Lennie nodded.

"Will there be anything else?"  Violet asked.

"No, I don't think so."  Lennie shook her head.  "Thank you, Violet."

With that, Violet left Fern's room, leaving Lennie along with the girl.

"Fern,"  Lennie began.  "I'd like to..."

"Uncle Punch and Uncle Robert have already spoken with me..."  Fern interrupted.  "They've both told me to be a good girl and to follow the rules and try to make friends."

"I'm sure that they have."  Lennie nodded.  "And, I've no doubt that you'll do all of those things.  That's not what I was going to tell you."


"I was simply going to tell you that I'm proud of you."

"Proud?"  Fern raised her eyebrows.

"Yes, Fern.  I'm proud.  While I never saw the...well...the things that you have, when I was your age, my life was not simple.  No, I had troubles, too.  And, I let fear get the better of me.  You, on the other hand, have been very brave.  I think you've done splendidly.  And, I'm proud of you."

"No one has ever told me that before."  Fern whispered.

"Then, it's time that someone has.  I'm not alone in that either.  Uncle Robert and Uncle Punch are as well."

"They said so?"

"Oh, yes."  Lennie smiled.

"My goodness."  Fern sighed.

A knock on the door made Lennie's smile even wider.  "I know who that is.  Come in, Dolly."

The maid entered.  "My lady, I've brought somethin' for Miss Fern."

Fern rushed toward the maid.  "Let me see."

From behind her back, Dolly revealed a handsome doll--a figure of Mr. Punch.

"Oh!"  Fern exclaimed.

"Look, Miss."  Dolly said  gently.  "Your Myra is just inside."  Dolly turned the doll over to show that the figure of Punch had, beneath his humped back, a series of small red buttons.  "All you need to do, if you want a look at her, is unbutton these, and there she is."

"How splendid."  Lennie nodded.  "You know, your Uncle Punch went out early this morning to a fine toy shop to select this doll for you.  Then, Dolly took out the stuffing and added the buttons so that she could fit your Myra inside.  This way, you'll have your rag doll friend tucked away into a safe place and, you'll also have this Mr. Punch to remind you of home and the people who miss you."

Fern took the doll.

"I do hope you like it, Miss."  Dolly said nervously.

"I do."  Fern nodded, "I thank you for doing it, Dolly."

"My pleasure."  Dolly grinned.  "I shall look forward to seeing you during your holidays from school, Miss Fern."

"As will I."  Fern nodded.

"Thank you, Dolly."  Lennie interrupted.  "You've done a lovely job."

"Thank you, My Lady.  Farewell, Miss Fern."

"Goodbye, Dolly."  Fern answered softly.

With the maid gone, Lennie patted Fern on the shoulder.  "You're awfully quiet."

"I'm always quiet."

"Well, yes, but, you seem as if something is troubling you.  Do you not like the doll?  Uncle Punch so hoped that you would."

"Oh, I do.  Very much."  Fern replied.  "I...I just realized something."

"What's that?"

"Home.  I have a home now.  And, suddenly, I hate to leave it."

"The wonderful thing about 'home,' Fern is that you can always return."

"Auntie, I spent so much time being horrid...I wasted..."

"We are not going to dwell on any of that."  Lennie shook her head.  "We are only going to look ahead."

Fern nodded.

"Now, Uncle Punch and Uncle Robert are waiting for you in the library.  They've something for you."  Lennie walked to the door.

Fern smiled, a genuinely relieved and happy smile.  "I've something for them, too."

Did you miss Chapters 1-390?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back tomorrow for Chapter 392 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square.

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