Wednesday, October 30, 2013
A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 3
"These are beautiful rooms, dear Punch." Robert smiled when he and his companion were finally alone. "In fact, the whole estate is stunning."
"I'll show ya 'round, Chum, once Lennie gets herself washed up and I see that Colin's comfortable and that our staff from home 'as been properly taken care of."
"There's no hurry, my dear." Robert said. "Also, know I'll be at your side the whole time, though, clearly you don't need my assistance. You handled Jackson's horrid attitude and disrespectful tone quite brilliantly. I'm very proud."
"I ain't." Punch sighed, sitting down in one of the sumptuous chairs which were elegantly placed throughout the glittering suite. "Shouldn't 'ave 'ad to do it. The man was sent I dunno how many letters with very clear instructions. You read 'em all before I sent 'em out, Chum."
"I know." Robert nodded. "Frankly, I can't see how he could have misunderstood anything which you'd written."
"Oh...he didn't. See, Jackson was always Mother's pet. She adored him and he worshipped her. For as long as I can recall--well, for as long as I existed--I know he was told to disregard anything I...errr...Julian...ever said. Even though she's dead, he's still stickin' to 'er ways, and, I don't think it's likely to change."
"Then, you'll have to dismiss him as you said you would."
"I think I may, I do. Only, it ain't easy as all that. Jackson were complicit in all what went on 'ere and he's most loved downstairs. They 'old 'im in most high regard, they do. I'd 'oped time would 'ave softened it."
"Perhaps it has."
"I doubt it. No doubt he's down there tellin' 'em that wee Julian's come back madder than ever, and an open mandrake to add insult to injury." Punch sighed. "If he really ever heard how I talk, he'd 'ave more fuel for the fire. If I dismiss 'im, the others'll revolt, they will. So, I'm stuck, Chum. "Fraid it's true."
"We'll make the best of it, my love." Robert replied.
"I know. We always do. Besides, we gotta make this a fine trip for our Lennie. Did ya see 'er face when she saw her rooms? It'll give 'er a sense of how our mum was. Dunno if that's good or bad, but..." Punch shrugged. "Oh, Chum, this IS an ordeal. Dunno how much longer I can keep up the imitation o' what's 'xpected o' Julian. I know I'll slip up sooner than later."
"Dear Punch," Robert rubbed Punch's shoulders. "I have seen you battle everyone from Marie Laveau herself to a one-handed monster with a two-headed baby. You have survived ordeals which would have destroyed other men. Even today, you stood your ground with Jackson and reminded me why you're Mr. Punch and why you needed to grow within Julian in the first place. Perhaps Jackson is adored downstairs, but upstairs, you are the center of our world. I adore you. Lennie loves you. Our son, Dog Toby...and our staff from London, all of them, think you are the most wonderful gentleman. We shall take this each moment at a time, look after one another, after our child, our sister and our friends, and the others be damned."
Punch grinned. "I like that."
"Now, Gerard and Charles will be in shortly to dress us. Let's just rest for now."
"I wanna check on Colin first." Punch stood up, pausing to pick up Dog Toby. "And see that Gamilla and Gerry been put in the right place."
"You are remarkable." Robert laughed.
"I doubt that." Punch shook his head.
"You musn't argue with me. I'm the one person against whom you'll never win."
"That, I believe." Punch laughed.
Return tomorrow for A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 4.