Monday, November 18, 2013
A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 15
Mr. Punch started as the door to his former rooms growled open. He was sure that Jackson had hunted him down and would resume his traditional position of mockery disguised behind unctuous obsequiousness.
Stiffening his back, Punch sat up in the familiar aubergine velvet chair and braced himself for battle with the butler, clenching his jaw in preparation for his imitation of Julian's manner of speaking.
He was surprised, quite happily--albeit confused--to see Gamilla's pretty and pleasant face emerge through the darkness.
"Your Grace." Gamilla said quickly.
"Oh, Gamilla." Punch answered with relief. "Is somethin' wrong with Colin?"
"No, no. The young master is enjoyin' his supper. Sittin' with Ethel who just brought it up to 'im. Got Dog Toby at his feet, eatin' what falls, and, sure there's a lot of it. Ain't a thing wrong with him."
"Are you all right?" Punch asked.
"It's Your Grace what ain't." Gamilla answered.
"You must come with me." Gamilla said.
"I don't understand." Punch shook his head. "Did somethin' 'appen?"
"Well, that rough footman was...as you'd say 'cheeky' with Ethel and rude to Georgie." Gamilla nodded.
"That's his name." Gamilla replied.
"Always been a problem." Punch sighed. "I'll speak with 'im."
"No, Your Grace. That ain't why I'm here." Gamilla said.
"Is Ethel hurt?"
"Ethel can handle herself just fine, Your Grace. She gave it right back to him."
"I'm sure she did, I am." Punch smiled. "Did Gregory put 'is hands on Georgie?"
"Now, Your Grace, don't you go worryin' 'bout that jus' now. You gotta leave these rooms. Tha's why I'm here." Gamilla said. "You gotta come with me."
"However did ya find me, Gamilla?"
"I don't know, Your Grace." Gamilla shook her head. "For true, I don't."
"Did you look for me in the suite I'm sharin' with Baron Colinshire?"
"No, Your Grace." Gamilla replied. "I came right here. I knew you was here."
"But, how could ya 'ave?"
Gamilla looked down.
"Go on," Punch smiled. "You can tell me. Gamilla, after all we been through together, ain't nothin' you could say what I'd find strange."
"I heard a voice tell me."
"What kind o' voice?" Punch asked.
"A girl." Gamilla answered softly. "Sounded like our Jenny."
"Ah." Punch nodded. "Our Jenny. We do miss her." He sighed, remembering their beloved kitchen maid who had been murdered only months before. "What did Jenny tell ya?"
"Said you was here and something bad...a bad lady was watchin' ya and was comin' for ya and I was to come and get ya and take ya to another part o' the house. Said there was wickedness here and to take ya from it." Gamilla replied. She winced and placed her hand over her stomach.
"Gamilla?" Punch squinted. "Is the baby kickin'?"
"No, Your Grace." Gamilla chuckled. "It's a bit too soon for kickin'."
"Oh, I don't know 'bout these things."
"I just feel a little upset in my belly is all." Gamilla said. "Please do come with me, Your Grace."
"Yes, I will." Mr. Punch replied.
"And, though it ain't my place to tell ya what to do, I think if I was you, I'd go and be at His Lordship's side when he wakes from his nap." Gamilla continued. "Gerard and Charles will be down to dress you both for dinner in half an hour."
"I want to talk with you more 'bout this. 'Bout what you heard. 'Bout how long you heard these things. What else you might..."
"We will, Your Grace. I promise. But, right now, it's best you be with His Lordship. If you don't mind."
"I never mind that." Punch smiled.
"Yes, Your Grace."
"Thank you, Gamilla." Punch took Gamilla's hands.
"Thank you for listenin'." Gamilla replied.
Did you miss Chapters 1-14 of A Recipe for Punch? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 16.