Wednesday, January 8, 2014
A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 36
"Well, then," Punch said cautiously as he, Robert and Lennie approached Violet and Morgana. "There you two are."
Gregory and Gerard followed behind, carrying the "Jar of Heads." Ivy trailed behind them.
"Morgana!" Ivy shrieked.
"Quiet!" Lennie snapped.
"I knew if we kept looking," Punch continued, "we'd find you two. And, glad we are to find you both. Been having a chat, have you?"
Punch was finding it difficult to keep up his aristocratic manner for the sake of Gregory and Miss Blessum, given the trying cirumstances, and alternated a bit between his preferred manner of speech and his impersonation of Julian. Fortunately, neither Gregory not Ivy seemed to notice.
"Yes, Your Grace, we have." Violet replied as calmly as she could. "It seems we 'ave a new friend right 'ere in the 'all. She's called Morgana."
"I know." Mr. Punch nodded. "I've been told that Morgana is my mother's sister. That makes us relations. Is this so, Morgana?"
Morgana nodded. "This is what...they tell me."
"How wonderful." Punch forced a smile. "I keep finding relations. It's not been too long ago that I found my sister. And, now an auntie." He paused. "Shall I reintroduce myself?"
"I am the Duke of Fallbridge. My friends and relations call me by the affectionate name of 'Mr. Punch' or just 'Punch.'"
"Like...the...puppet...?" Morgana rasped.
"Yes." Punch nodded. "Only I don't slap people. Anymore." He put his hand on Robert's shoulder. "This is the Baron Colinshire. I call him Robert. I'm sure he'd like for you to do the same."
"I would." Robert smiled.
"And, this lady," Punch continued, "is my sister, Lady Fallbridge. We call her 'Lennie,' an affectionate name for 'Ellen.' You may call her the same, if you like."
"You see, Morgana," Violet whispered, "I told ya they was nice, and gentle, and kind. They'd not hurt ya. They'd not hurt nobody. You needn't be frightened."
"I...I've killed people." Morgana croaked.
"Oh, I know." Punch nodded.
"Don't speak of it!" Ivy moaned.
"Shut your gob, Miss Blessum." Gregory hissed.
"Have...you...ever...killed someone?" Morgana continued.
"Well..." Punch thought for a moment. "Not...not exactly. I've come nigh on it."
"And you?" Morgana pointed to Robert.
"Not intentionally." He answered.
"Lennie?" Morgana asked.
"No. However, I've considered it." Lennie answered honestly.
"Our adopted daughter has killed two people." Punch nodded. "At least. She's called Fern. She's a wonderfully strange little thing. You'd like her, I think. And, I've no doubt she'd adore you."
"You've...a daughter?" Morgana asked.
"Away at school, she is." Punch nodded. "We also have a baby. Robert and I. He's much younger, though we had 'im first. He's called Colin, after my father."
"How...how do..." Morgana raised her pincers.
"We adopted him as well." Robert explained.
"Say, those are pretty. They're not hands. What do you call them?" He pointed to her claws.
"Pretty?" Morgana scowled.
"Yes." Punch smiled. "Very unusual. Look quite strong. Nice and red. I like red things. I think it's quite grand to be different. Maybe I don't look so different, but I'm very different--in here." He thumped his head. "And here," he thumped his chest. "Robert is, too." He smiled. "We all are, in one way or another. You just carry yours on the outside. It's quite interesting. I should like to know more about you."
"You would?" Morgana asked.
"Certainly." Punch nodded. "Provided, of course, that we have an understanding."
Morgana narrowed her eyes.
"We won't hurt you." Punch said. "And you won't hurt us." He smiled. "No more chains, no more locked doors or darkness. No more sadness. Right? No more hurt. If we can promise that, no one has to be afraid. See, you don't have to carry off people. We can all know each other. And, there won't be people in the house to hurt you. I'll see to that. I'll make each and every one that ever made you suffer leave at once. I swear it. Only good people will stay. You won't have to be afraid. So, if you won't, we won't. Seems to make sense, yes?"
"But, I'm to hate you." Morgana shook her head.
"Who says?" Lennie shook her head.
"Does anything Mr. Jackson says make sense?" Robert asked.
"Besides, he's been sacked." Punch added. "Furthermore, do you hate me?"
"No." Morgana replied.
"Well, then, what do you say?" Punch continued. "This passage is getting a tad cold."
Did you miss Chapters 1-35 of A Recipe for Punch? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 37.