Friday, December 13, 2013
A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 28
Mr. Jackson, clearly ruffled, knocked before attempting to enter the Coral Suite, finding the door locked, he announced himself. "Lady Fallbridge, it is I, Jackson. You rang for me?"
Robert opened the door, his bright blue eyes flashing with anger.
"Baron Colinshire?" Jackson looked surprised.
"Come in, at once!" Robert snapped. He closed the door behind Jackson and locked it. "Did you happen to notice His Grace in the passage as you came up?"
"No, Your Lordship." Jackson responded. "Does His Grace not know you're here? I shan't mention it to him."
"You idiot!" Robert roared. "Of course he knows I'm here! He's been here with me. We've been entertaining."
"You have?" Jackson asked weakly.
"Yes, Jackson." Robert nodded.
Lennie stepped forward. "Jackson, other than the staff, is there another resident of Fallbridge Hall which you failed to mention to us?"
"Another resident, M'Lady?" Jackson shook his head. "Many live on the estate and surrounding lands."
"In the Hall?" Lennie narrowed her eyes. "A woman...of sorts?"
"I don't know who you mean, Lady Fallbridge." Mr. Jackson inhaled.
Robert nodded calmly. "Well, that solves everything." He smiled.
"It does, Your Lordship?" Jackson looked puzzlingly at Robert.
"Oh, yes." Robert replied. He reached forward as if to pat Jackson on the shoulders, but instead, he grabbed the old man by his lapels and angrily forced him against the wall.
"Tell me the truth, you fetid sack!" Robert screamed in the man's face.
"Robert," Lennie said casually, "Don't press him too hard, he'll crumble into dust."
"Who was the woman who came in here and terrorized Lady Fallbridge?" Robert shouted.
"Her Ladyship must have been dreaming." Jackson whimpered.
"Well, then, so must have His Grace and I because when Her Ladyship's screams brought us here, we saw the creature. His Grace had a conversation with--though rather one-sided--with it. What is it? We three saw it. A deformed wretch with a face very much like that of the late Duchess. What is it?"
"I don't know what you mean?"
"Robert," Lennie sighed. "Normally, I wouldn't suggest such a thing, but, my experiences with Orpha and Ulrika have made me rather impatient with this sort of foolishness. Might I suggest that you slap the answer out of him?"
"I'm not really a slapping sort," Robert answered, not taking his hands, nor his gaze off of Jackson. "I'm a physician. Still, let's not forget that my brother and I grew up in poverty on the streets of London. I do know how to use my fists."
"Do you?" Lennie smiled.
"Once, when a man threatened my brother, Cecil," Robert replied, still pressing Jackson against the wall, "over just a crust of bread--imagine, I had no choice but to protect my brother. So, A beat the man into a thick pink paste."
"I don't think Jackson would make a pink paste." Lennie shook her head. "Too old. Gray. Like mortar."
"You're all mad! You're just as mad as Julian!" Jackson screamed.
"Oh dear," Robert shook his head. "Now, I'm going to have to tell you all of the things which were wrong with the statement you just made."
He threw Jackson to the floor.
"When you saw me for the first time this morning, Jackson, I noticed you looking me over." Robert towered over Jackson. "I knew at once what you were thinking. The Queen can call me a Baron, I can make myself a physician, but, I can wear beautiful clothes and make myself as handsome as I might, but it'll never change the fact that I'm a common street lad. You're right, I suppose. And, now, you shall see just what that means. You see--nothing matters to me more than my family and their safety. You've not only just insulted us, but you refuse to tell us what's skittering about this house, endangering my companion, our son and our sister."
Robert drew back his leg as if to kick Jackson.
"Robert, wait!" Lennie shouted.
"I want a monologue, too." Lennie smiled.
"Carry on," Robert nodded.
"You were correct about me as well, Jackson. I'm no lady. I'm common. The fine silks and diamonds which my brother has given me can't hide the fact that I've had to fight my entire life to protect myself. The only real aristocrat in this house is His Grace, and, yet, he's the one you most disparage. Oh, poor, Mr. Jackson, how wrong you are to do that. You understand. He's the one that we should all be protecting. And, that's just what my new brother and I are about to do. From you, from your staff and from that wretched monster which you've hidden away here. You had your chance. We asked you civilly. And, now...you'll see just how rough we can be."
"Well said, sister dear." Robert nodded.
"Thank you, Robert. Go ahead."
"I think I'll just stamp on his guts until he speaks." Robert raised his leg again.
"All right!" Jackson howled.
"Yes?" Lennie raised an eyebrow.
"Morgana!" Jackson screamed.
"Go on." Robert replied.
"Her name is Morgana." Jackson continued.
"What is she?" Lennie asked.
"I bought her." Jackson explained.
"From?" Robert demanded
"A traveling curiosities show." Jackson began to cry.
"Why?" Lennie asked.
"To replace your mother, you little bitch!" Jackson spat.
Did you miss chapters 1-27 of A Recipe for Punch? If so, you can read them here. Come back on Monday for Chapter 29.