Tuesday, December 17, 2013
A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 30
"Help me, Your Grace!" Jackson moaned as Mr. Punch entered the Coral Suite.
Punch stiffened at the sight of Jackson, not so much from the sight of the violence, but rather because he knew he had to behave in a more aristocratic manner.
"I leave for just a moment, and, suddenly, you've toppled the aged butler." Mr. Punch sighed in his "Julian" voice.
Robert smiled. "Do you object?"
"Inasmuch as I was not included in the festivities." Punch replied dryly. "Have we informed our loyal servant that Her Ladyship was awakened by an intruder?"
"Yes, Brother Dear." Lennie nodded.
"And, what have we learned?" Punch asked calmly, as if this was a sight to which he was accustomed.
"We have learned that Jackson was well aware that the woman has been in the house. It seems that he brought her here." Lennie answered.
"Is that so?" Punch sniffed. He looked down at Jackson. "I cannot quite recall, but I don't think Mother would have encouraged the staff in bringing their friends into the house."
"To be fair," Robert interrupted, "he never said that the woman was his friend. He said that he 'bought her from a traveling curiosities show.'"
"Oh," Punch nodded. "Jackson, I didn't know you fancied yourself a collector. You know, there are far less messy things to collect?"
"No, no." Lennie shook her head, enjoying their continued torture of the butler. "He claims he bought her to 'replace Mother.' Then he called me a 'little bitch.'"
"Oh?" Punch's eyes flashed with anger. "To begin with," He leaned over Jackson, "No one will speak to my sister in such a manner. You may consider yourself dismissed. The moment you are released from this room, I want you out of this house. Lord Colinshire will escort you to your room to collect a few necessities. The remainder of your belongings will be sent to you once you find a place. You will receive no letter of reference."
"Lunatic!" Jackson raged.
"Silence!" Punch shouted.
"I'll never leave!" Jackson growled.
"Oh, you'll do more than leave if you don't start speaking!" Punch roared. "Explain yourself! How dare you behave this way? How dare you endanger my family!"
Shaking with anger, Punch took a step away from the quivering old man so as not to inflict harm upon him.
"Furthermore, what is this foolishness about replacing my dead mother with a woman from a sideshow?" He shouted. "Speak!"
"She's called Morgana." Robert said when Jackson was silent.
"What an oddly pretty name." Punch shook his head. "But, then, she has a pretty face. She does resemble Mother...in the face, but...but considering that the rest of her looks something like a bloated lobster mated with a tree, I can't imagine that..."
He took a deep breath and clutched his head.
"Dear Punch," Robert whispered, putting his arm around his companion.
"I'm fine, Chum." Punch said softly in his usual voice.
"You're flushed." Robert said.
"Just a little dizzy." Punch shook his head.
"I'll never leave." Jackson whimpered.
He inhaled again and stepped forward, again speaking like Julian. Leaning over Jackson, "Just what were you thinking you could do with this Morgana? You smug, horrid...and you sit in judgment of me? You call me mad? You're....what did you imagine you could accomplish?"
Jackson was silent.
"How long has this Morgana been here?" Punch continued. "What did you plan to do with her? Did you know what she was when you...bought her? Just the thought of buying another human being is...utterly sickening."
"I didn't know." Jackson said finally. "Mr. Quick helped me find her."
"The parson?" Lennie scoffed. "He's a connoisseur of freak shows?"
"Wouldn't surprise me." Robert muttered.
"We weren't looking for a freak." Jackson shouted. "We were looking for a Fallbridge."
Robert began to same something but thought better of it.
"Oh..." Punch sighed. "Don't tell me."
"Yes, Your Grace." Jackson moaned. "Morgana is your mother's half-sister, just as this woman here is yours."
Did you miss Chapters 1-29? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 31 of A Recipe for Punch.