Friday, January 10, 2014
A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 38
With Violet safely returned to her room where she was being tended to by Mrs. Pepper and Maudie and cautiously watched over by a most-concerned (and annoyed) Charles and Georgie, and with Gerard back at his wife's side in the nursery along with Ethel and Dog Toby, Punch, Robert and Lennie guided Morgana to the Drawing Room.
"Come and sit with us, Auntie." Lennie said with a politeness she hoped didn't sound forced.
"You...want...me...?" Morgana croaked.
"Certainly, we do." Mr. Punch smiled. "Shortly, we'll ring for some hot chocolate or something to eat, but for now, I think we should just chat and let the staff get some rest."
"I didn't mean to hurt...the...pretty...girl." Morgana continued.
"Oh, we know." Punch said.
"I had a good look at Violet," Robert continued. "You didn't hurt her."
"Our Violet is a sturdy little thing. She may look delicate, but, she's a very strong young lady." Lennie nodded.
"My...claws..." Morgana shook her head. "Are sharp and strong."
"I'm sure they are." Punch inhaled.
Lennie, Punch and Robert sat by the fire. Morgana stood and watched them.
"You may sit, Morgana." Robert indicated to a chair near them.
"I'm not...allowed. Not in the nice...rooms."
"You are." Punch said firmly. "You are. This is my house, it is. And, you're allowed to sit wherever it pleases ya to sit. We'll get ya a fine room o' your own, too, we will."
"You're speaking different." Morgana leaned in.
"Oh, I know." Punch sighed. "This is the way I speak. Remember, I told you, I'm different. Just like you, only, my differences don't show on the outside like yours do. All of us in this room are different from other folk. We're all...how's it said, Chum?"
"Kindred spirits, I think." Robert nodded.
"So, I may...sit?"
"Please." Lennie nodded.
"What if Mr. Jackson or..." Morgana asked.
"Mr. Jackson has been dismissed." Robert continued. "I've no idea where he's gone. Frankly, I don't much feel like looking for him at this hour. Though they don't know it yet, Gregory and Miss Blessum will be dismissed in the morning."
"Perhaps more." Punch muttered. "Though who'll run the house is beyond me. We only brought 'nough folk from London to look after the few o' us. Still, there's folk on the estate, and plenty in the village who'd welcome a change to come work in the 'all, I 'spect."
"Not knowin' I'm here." Morgana shook her head.
"Nor knowin' I'm here." Punch winked. "None o' us may be for long. We only gotta wait until Lennie's fiance arrives. Wouldn't seem right for us to leave before he comes, it wouldn't."
"You're gonna send me 'way?" Morgana began to stand.
"No!" Punch stood, and helped Morgana back into her chair. "I was rather thinkin' we'd take you home with us. Home to London. We don't wanna stay here, Robert, Lennie and me. We don't want our little boy to stay here. We got a lovely home in London what we consider our main home, and another estate in Scotland. We'd take you with us--as long as we all remember our bargain."
Lennie and Robert exchanged uncomfortable glances without Punch's notice.
"Me...you'd take me?" Morgana asked.
"Why not?" Punch shrugged.
"I'm a beast."
"Ain't we all?" Punch sighed. "Now, tell me somethin'. How come you by those pincers o' yours? Was ya born with 'em? Hope you don't mind me askin'?"
"I was." Morgana nodded.
"And, the leg, then?"
"That grew...over time, as my back hunched."
"Poor dear." Lennie said.
"You must suffer much pain." Robert began. "I may be able to help you a bit."
"You're the physician." Morgana frowned.
"I don't...like...trust...physicians. They harm and hurt..."
"Not my Robert." Punch shook his head.
"Oh?" Morgana raised her eyebrows.
"No. He's helped me many a time when I was sick or burned, or even shot. I've seen him heal a man who was stabbed with a knife. Our man Gerard--the blond fella you seen earlier. He woulda died had it not been for our Robert. But, you saw him. Strong and healthy with a lovely wide and a babe on the way.."
"Hmmm." Morgana muttered.
"Morgana," Robert said, "I make no claim that I can give you hands and straighten your back nor give you a leg like everyone else's, but I think I might take some of your pain away and help make your movement easier. That alone might make your life happier."
"I...am...already...so much happier." Morgana smiled.
"That alone gives us much joy." Lennie smiled sincerely.
They sat in content silence for a few moments unaware that from the shadows they were being watched by a discontented party--Ivy Blessum.
"Think they can be rid of me," she thought to herself. "Morgana is mine to care for, and mine, she shall stay."
Did you miss Chapters 1-37 of A Recipe for Punch? If so, you can read them here. Come back on Monday for Chapter 39.