Friday, October 4, 2013
Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 393
Many quiet days had passed--peaceful, yet, busy, as the household prepared for the impending trip to Yorkshire. Speaight coached Hulda and Dolly as to their duties while the masters and the rest of the staff were away. A temporary cook, just a simple cook, was employed to feed those who remained in the house during Mrs. Pepper's upcoming absence, and the new scullery maid--a pouty, but pleasant-enough, lass settled into her spot at the basin.
Upstairs, Charles and Georgie were dragging the trunks from the storage room in the attic and sorting through Robert's and Punch's clothes. Violet tended to Lennie who was nervously packing for her first family trip.
While Mr. Punch labored over finishing the jewels which he'd promised Prince Albert for the new South Kensington Museum, Robert perused medical tome after tome to decide which ones he wished to take with him in order to have the research materials he needed for his book.
A letter arrived each day from Fern who made a show of saying how she was enjoying her time at school, but Punch could see through the bright and happy words, and deeply felt the girl's sense of desperation and loneliness.
Those days passed without interruption from wicked forces, and they were as close to perfection as anything which they'd known since the earliest days of settling into No. 65.
Mr. Punch was reluctant to speak of the journey to Fallbridge Hall, coyly changing the subject whenever Robert or Lennie mentioned it. Still, they both knew that when he was ready, he'd talk. Despite her sense of Punch's nervousness regarding the trip, Lennie was excited about it. Her time with Matthew was spent planning picnics and walks along the countryside. These intimate chats brought them closer together.
The only obvious gloom which truly hung over the handsome house was the absence of Gamilla and Gerard. Though they'd sent cards and letters from their various stops throughout Europe, the residents of No. 65, both above and below stairs, missed them keenly.
Finally, the day of their return from their wedding trip arrived.
Punch set aside his diamonds and emeralds, Robert his books and Lennie her lace collars and bonnets so that they could be downstairs with the staff to welcome the newlyweds home.
The cheer which arose in the servants' hall when the pair entered, hand-in-hand, must have been heard throughout the square.
A barrage of happy questions greeted Gamilla and Gerard who blushed and laughed as they tried to answer each.
Finally, Mr. Punch stepped forward--beaming. He looked Gamilla squarely in the eyes and nodded.
Gamilla looked away shyly, finally returning his look and nod.
"She's got life inside her." Punch said proudly.
"I believe that I do, Your Grace." Gamilla smiled. "I am quite sure of it."
Come back on Monday for Chapter 394 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square.