Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 41

Chapter 41

"Honey,"  Gamilla took Gerard's arm, "I just need a little air.  Can you walk Ethel back to the nursery?"

"What's wrong, Love?"  Gerard leaned in.

"Are you feelin' flutters, Gamilla?"  Ethel asked.

"Just a bit."  Gamilla smiled.  "I only wanna walk the passage and open a window for some air."

"You can do that in the nursery."  Gerard said.

"And, chill the baby?"  Gamilla shook her head.

"I'll go with ya, then, Love."  Gerard said.

"No, Honey."  Gamilla shook her head.  "I'd rather ya walk Ethel back.  After all, she's carryin' some valuable treasure."  She patted Colin's head.  "And you can warm the bed for me.  I won't be long."

"I just don't like the idea o' ya bein' alone."  Gerard began.

"Ain't no harm gonna come to me, Honey."  Gamilla smiled.

"I 'spose she would know, Gerry."  Ethel laughed.  "What with her gift an' all."

Gerard shot Ethel a warning look.

"Oh,"  Ethel teased.  "Mr. Gurney, let the missus get some air.  You heard His Grace.  Mr. Jackson ain't even in the house.  Miss Morgana's gone to bed, and she's not meant to be any harm to us, we're told.  The rest o' the staff 'ere is strange, but, I don't think they'd hurt a body."

"Very well."  Gerard nodded.  "Be quick, Love.  I don't like bein' 'way from ya, Love."

"I'll be as quick as the wind, Honey."  Gamilla nodded.

"Come, Ethel."  Gerard inhaled.  "Let's get Master Colin to his bed and see if Dog Toby's not too worried."  He turned to Gamilla.  "Do hurry, Love."

"Just want to calm my stomach, Gerry.  Won't be long."  Gamilla nodded.

With that, Gamilla walked to the end of the passage, cranking open a portion of the tall, stained glass window.  The section which opened contained a painted panel of a fool in a diamond.  Gamilla shook her head and inhaled deeply of the cool air.  Looking over her shoulder to see that Gerard and Ethel had gone into the nursery, she took another deep breath and hurried around the corner.

"Oh, this damn house."  She grumbled as she followed the angled maze of marble passages.  "Where is the Vermillion Room?  I got Malachite whatever that is, and Lapis and Topaz...damn, damn house."

Thankfully, some former Duke of Duchess of Fallbridge had thoughtfully had small bronze plaques with the name of each suite placed on the upon the ornate cornice of each entrance.  Certainly it hadn't been Pauline, she'd never have thought of something so convenient.

Gamilla followed her senses and stopped at a heavily-carved archway.  She looked up.  "The Vermillion Suite."

She took a deep breath and then exhaled, knowing that she had to see what sort of spirits surrounded the poor, deformed woman.

Knocking softly, she whispered.  "Miss Morgana."

" it?"  Morgana's frightened voice answered.

"Miss Morgana, it is I, Mrs. Gurney, the governess."

"Mrs. Gurney?"  Morgana answered.

"May I come in?"  Gamilla asked.


"I want for to meet ya."  Gamilla replied.


"Because I care for His Grace, His Lordship and Her Ladyship and I look after young Master Colin.  I known His Grace for a long time and though he's my employer, he's my friend as are his companion and his sister.  When I was married to Mr. Gurney, it was the family what gave us the wedding.  His Grace walked me down the aisle to my groom.  You're His Grace's kin and I wish to welcome ya proper."  Gamilla answered.

There was a long silence.

"Miss Morgana?"

" may come in."

Gamilla slowly entered the room.

Morgana sat in the middle of the bed, covered in crimson silk sheets and pillows.  She gasped upon seeing Gamilla.  "''re so beautiful.  Your skin...your pretty.  Like wet mud...fresh, wet mud...right after the rain."  She paused.  "I mean that to be nice."

"I know you do."  Gamilla smiled.

"There was a...there was an...African the curiosities show.  Only, only, he had no legs.  You're the first beautiful one I ever saw."  Morgana continued.  " are married?"

"I am.  To Mr. Gurney.  You met him.  He is His Lordship's valet.  He's the blond man from Australia."

"Oh, he is very nice."  Morgana nodded.  "He carried The Jar of Heads for me."

"He is very nice, thank you."

"You are so pretty."  Morgana repeated.  "Thank you for coming to see me."

"Miss Morgana, if you ever need help with anything, or have questions, you can find me in the nursery.  I hope you will come and talk with me."

"The nursery is where...where the baby is?"


"How did two men have a baby?"

"They adopted him."  Gamilla smiled.

"Oh, yes...they said that."  Morgana nodded.  "Will they let me see the baby?"

"You should ask His Grace, but I think he would say that you can.  Still, if you need me, come to the nursery and I will come out to speak with you."

"You are kind."  Morgana nodded.  She looked down.  " you know what's under the pillows?"

"Your body."

Morgana nodded.  She shuffled off the pillows and held up her pincers.

Gamilla smiled.

"  you."

"No."  Gamilla shook her head.


"Why should they?"

"You're pretty in other ways, too.  You're pretty all around you.  Inside and out.  Some people are...pretty outside, but not pretty in their heart."  Morgana smiled.

"Thank you."  Gamilla smiled.  "I can think of a woman who was like that.  A woman who was pretty on the outside, but inside was very mean and cruel."


Gamilla pointed to a portrait on the wall.  "Do you know who that is?"

"The woman with my face."  Morgana nodded.  "My sister."

"Did you know her, Miss Morgana?"

"No."  Morgana shook her head.  "Will you tell me of her?  Miss Blessum has told me of her, as has Mr. Jackson, but...but...but their tales stink of lies."

"I will tell you."  Gamilla replied.  "And, I will tell you the truth of her.  What I know if it.  Then, I will tell you something which you and I must face together--as friends."


"We are friends, Miss Morgana."  Gamilla nodded.

"I'm so glad."

"I am, too."  Gamilla smiled.

Did you miss Chapters 1-42 of A Recipe for Punch?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back tomorrow for Chapter 43.

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