Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 12

Chapter 12:

"Do give my brother a kiss for me, and dear little Colin, too.  We'll gather in the Drawing Room before dinner?"  Lennie asked Robert before they parted company.

"Indeed we will."  Robert nodded before opening Lennie's door for her.

"And, try to see that Punch gets some rest.  I'm sure by now he's gotten into some elaborate puppet show with Colin, but he did look so tired."  Lennie continued.

"Not to worry,"  Robert smiled.  "Gamilla and I have our ways of convincing him.  Furthermore, Dog Toby is our co-conspirator as far as a nap is concerned."

"I'm glad to hear it."  Lennie chuckled.

With that, she closed the door to her suite and looked around.  The rooms had a peculiar smell to them--a faint scent of carnations which she'd noticed when Punch had initially brought her to the Coral Suite for the first time.  The aroma was stronger just then, however, and she found it rather overwhelming.

Looking for the source of the fragrance, Lennie wandered toward the dressing room and gasped upon finding Ivy--beige of face and of hair--standing in front of the line of wardrobes hidden behind drapery and screens.

"Your Ladyship,"  Ivy said stiffly, "I didn't hear you enter."

"Yes."  Lennie nodded.  

"I was just returning one of Her Grace's gowns.  A lovely beaded gown which she wore to the Huntsman's ball in '42.  I've been working to restore all of Her Grace's gowns, Your Ladyship."

"Oh?"  Lennie squinted.  "Whatever for?  I shan't ever wear them."

"No, of course you wouldn't.  They're not for you."  Ivy snapped.  She paused.  "I mean, they would not fit you.  Your figure is much more slight than Her Grace's.  Her Grace is tall and statuesque."

"Two things of which I've never been accused."  Lennie nodded.  "Just why are you tending my late mother's dresses?"

"For posterity.  Your Mother is a famous woman."

"She was, yes."

"Yes."  Ivy frowned.  "One day, people will wish to see the gowns she wore."

"I suppose."  Lennie replied.  "Well, then, if you'll excuse me, I should like to have a rest before dinner."

"Yes, Your Ladyship."  Ivy answered cooly.

Lennie stepped aside so Ivy could pass.

Ivy grinned, reaching toward her own, sagging throat.  "Did you notice my brooch, Your Ladyship?"

"I did."  Lennie nodded.

"It's a miniature of your mother.  Painted by Mr. Bone himself on ivory."  Ivy continued.  She removed the brooch and showed Lennie the reverse.  Do you see, here, behind the crystal.  After she died, I took and braided a lock of her lovely hair and saved it here.  Every day I wear it so she might be near me--just above my heart, at my throat, so that her words my come through my mouth."

"Oh--how...loyal."  Lennie answered.

"So carefully I braided her hair, making sure not to lose a strand."

"That's very touching."  Lennie inhaled.  She narrowed her eyes.  "Wait.  How could you have?"

"Your Ladyship?"

"You said that after my mother died, you took a lock of her hair.  How could you have?  My mother died on another continent.  She was interred there.  So, how could you have taken a lock of her hair to braid?"  Lennie asked.

"From her brush, Your Ladyship."  Ivy answered.

"I see."  Lennie nodded.

"I've mourned her every day, M'Lady."  Ivy sighed.

"I see that you have."

Ivy held out her hand.  "Would you like to have this?  Would you like to, Your Ladyship?  You could wear your mother's image at your throat."

"Oh...I...that's very kind of you, however, I could not take your brooch.  It means so much to you."

"You should have it."  Ivy widened her eyes.

"I couldn't."  Lennie shook her head.  "Thank you for the thought."

"I shall let you rest, M'Lady.  Perhaps one day while you're here, I might visit you in these rooms and tell you of your mother without...His Grace about."

"Perhaps."  Lennie replied.

"I could arrange your hair as I did hers--even if yours isn't as lovely as hers was."

"We shall see."  Lennie sniffed.  

"Have a fine rest, Your Ladyship."  Ivy smiled grimly.

"Thank you."  Lennie answered as Ivy finally left the suite.

Alone, finally, Lennie exhaled.  "Well--I...I don't think I'll ever rest again."

Did you miss Chapters 1-11?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back tomorrow for Chapter 13 of A Recipe for Punch.

No comments: