Friday, February 7, 2014

A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 55

Chapter 55

"Lady Fallbridge,"  Violet began gently, "I know you don't want to think of it right at the moment, but, you'd best be thinkin' 'bout what you want to wear for when the earl arrives."

"I know."  Lennie replied, biting down on the nail of her right thumb.  "I...I know."  She shook her head.  "The air in here is so terribly close, isn't it, Violet?"

"Yes, M'Lady."  Violet nodded.  "Shall I open a window?"

"They don't open."  Lennie shook her head.  "None of the windows in these rooms open.  I've tried them all."

"I saw one in the passage was open earlier."  Violet smiled.  "Maybe we should step out."

"It's no use, Violet."  Lennie replied.  "No matter where I go here, it seems that closeness--that oppressive feeling--follows me.  Ever since, ever since this morning."

"I know what you mean, M'Lady."  Violet answered.

"Before I dress, perhaps I should look in on Pun...His Grace, His Lordship and my Aunt Morgana."  Lennie suggested.

"The last I saw Miss Morgana, M'Lady, she was with Gamilla."  Violet said.  "His Grace was in the nursery, and, know what His Lordship was about with Charles and Gerard."

"Yes,"  Lennie responded quietly.  "Surely Lord Colinshire's returned by now.  I should like to know that was resolved."

"How about this, M'Lady, I've got to go fetch the water for your ablutions.  I shall go and see if His Lordship has returned and look in on Miss Morgana and on the nursery for you.  I'll ask His Grace to visit you here while you decide which gown you'd like to wear."

"You're too good to me."  Lennie smiled for the first time in hours.

"Not at all, Miss Lennie."  Violet said.  "Now, you take your time, M'Lady, and look through your gowns and I'll be back as fast as I can."

Violet hurried to the door and rushed out into the passage, leaving Lennie in the room alone.

Lennie sighed.

The last thing thing she really wanted was to pick out a gown.  Furthermore, the idea of Matthew's arrival, though she did miss her fiance, was not one which filled her with excitement--given the earlier events of the day.  How would she explain what had transpired?  He was sure to sense something was amiss.

"Oh, we just happened to find the remains of the mother I never knew in a cupboard in the butler's pantry."  Lennie said aloud.  "How was your journey, Matthew?"

No.  That would not work.

And, how to explain Morgana?  Poor, sweet Morgana.  Matthew was a sensible man with a generous nature, but he tended to be rather staid.  Certainly he accepted Punch's--eccentricities, and he accepted Robert and Punch as a family when most in Society sniggered, and most outside of the upper-classes would see them hanged in a heartbeat.  However, would he wish to be linked to a family with a...

She felt ashamed of herself.  Nonetheless it was the truth.  Morgana was a sideshow curiosity.  Morgana herself knew it.  Still, it felt rather cruel to think it.

"By the way, Matthew, dear.  It seems we have an Auntie.  Here she is.  Her name is Morgana and she's a Lobster Woman."  Lennie said to the room.  "She's been locked in the attics for some reason of which we're not particularly sure at the moment.  Oh, look it's time for tea."

Lennie glanced down at her engagement ring and chuckled a bit.  However Matthew responded would be for the best.  She wasn't really sure if she was ready to be wed anyway.

Coughing, Lennie was reminded of the strong odor in the pantry.  Her rooms were suffocating.  

Recalling that Violet had said that a window in the passage had been opened, she decided to venture out an take in some fresh air--just for a moment.

At first, the cold handle of the door seemed to stick as if locked from the other side, sending a shock of panic through Lennie's hand, but, then, it suddenly, gave way in her hand and the door flung open as though it had been pushed.

"Dreadful place."  Lennie thought to herself as she walked into the passage.

"Ellen..."  A voice seemed to call to her.

She shivered at the sound.  She never liked being called by her given name--for a variety of complicated reasons.  Who would call her "Ellen"?  Neither Punch nor Robert would.  None of the staff would dare.  Furthermore, it was a woman's voice.

Was it Morgana?  

Had Lennie intriduced herself as "Ellen" or "Lennie" at first?  She couldn't remember.  Either way, she would have been sure to make a point of saying she preferred being called "Lennie."

Curious, Lennie followed the sound, certain she'd heard the name called again.

Did you miss Chapters 1-54 of A Recipe for Punch?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back on Monday for Chapter 56.

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