Friday, November 22, 2013

A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 19

Chapter 19:

"Charlie, you ain't serious."  Violet whispered, taking Charles' hand as they hurried through the service passages.

"I certainly am."  Charles nodded. 

He stopped, and pressed Violet against the wall. Blushing, Violet looked away.

"What?"  Charles smiled.  "You think I'm gonna kiss you?"

"Are you?"

"I might."  Charles winked.  "But, not just now."

"Charles Iantosca..."  Violet began.

"Don't start howling at me just yet."  Charles put a finger to her lips.

Violet sighed.

"You got me all at sixes and sevens."  Violet muttered, jerking her head away again.  "What business 'ave we got goin' into Mr. Jackson's pantry?  Furthermore, what makes ya think that we can even get in there without bein' seen?"

"Which question do you want answered first?"

"Your choice."  Violet shook her head.

"I think we ought to be looking around because as you said upstairs, there's something odd going on here.  We've heard the way the natives here speak of His Grace and how they talk about the late Duchess.  You didn't know the woman.  I did, and I can tell you, she was a real witch.  Not worthy of the reverence these people give her, unless they're just as debauched as she was.  Everyone we've met here, except William, has shown behavior that's exceptionally strange and, as we can see, their leader is Jackson.  What's it all about?  It's our jobs to look after The Duke and Lady Fallbridge.  Gerry's is to look after His Lordship, but, he's also got a wife and a child on the way to think of.  So, it falls on you and me to make sure that our masters ain't in harm's way.  Not just because we're in their employ, but because...because we love 'em."

"That we do."  Violet replied sincerely.  "And, little Colin, and that sweet little Dog Toby."

"So, isn't it worth a look around Mr. Jackson's lair just to see that there's not something more than just poor attitudes going on here?  Something William said earlier bothered me--about how Jackson and the Land Agent and Parson all went away after the Duchess was killed.  I have a bad feeling."

"Well, Charlie, I trust you.  You know I do.  And, you know I'd do anything to make sure the family was safe.  Only, ya didn't answer me other question."

"Didn't I?"

"How are we gonna get in there without bein' seen?"

"Oh, that."  Charles smiled.  "Well, as soon as dinner is served, Jackson will be in the dining room watching like a hawk whilst William and Gregory serve.  The Second Footmen and Under Footmen have their duties and will be in other parts of the house.  I heard their orders earlier.  Also, the housemaids will be carrying out their end-of-day chores.  The grooms and coachmen have already been fed.  The only people in the servants' hall will be Georgie, Maudie and Mrs. Pepper, and they're on our side.  In, fact, they'll keep watch for us."

"Very well,"  Violet nodded.  "I'll do it."

"I knew you would."

A commotion further down the passage startled both of them, causing Charles to protectively lean forward.

"It's just the natives getting into their places.  I imagine upstairs dinner is being served."  Charles whispered.

"Must be."  Violet said softly.


"Now, what?"

Charles gently kissed Violet.

"Oh."  Violet smiled.

Did you miss Chapters 1-18 of A Recipe for Punch?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back on Monday for Chapter 20.

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