Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 65

Chapter 65
A Cup of Tea

"Come to me," a familiar voice rang to Ivy Blessum as the shackles which held her to the wall sprung open and the door to the attic cell groaned wide, "come into my light."

"M'Lady." Ivy moaned.  "I knew you would come for me.  I knew it."

"You have been true to me, Ivy."  The specter intoned through its immobile mask.  

"Always, M'Lady.  Always."  Miss Blessum fell to her knees.  "That madman, your son, he dishonors Your Grace's memory.  He has made your home a den of sin.  He must be destroyed."

"He shall be."  The shade replied. 

"You must live again, Your Grace."

"I shall."  The phantom answered.  "With your help."

"I will do anything M'Lady wishes."  Ivy nodded.

"Bring Morgana to the parsonage.  Do whatever you must to get her there.  Jackson and Quick will know what to do.  Hargrave and Causer will assist you if needed.  Just do not harm her face, and do not kill her.  By no means tell Gregory what you're about.  He is not to be trusted now."

"Yes, Your Grace."  Ivy answered obediently.

"Now, rise."  The spirit commanded.  "Be fast, Ivy."

Ivy bowed.  "I will, Your Grace."

When she looked up again, the vision had vanished.

Grasping her heart, Ivy hurried from the attics.

Meanwhile, in the library, Robert, Punch and Matthew rose and Lennie entered the room.

"I say,"  Matthew stammered.  "You look lovely.  I...I've never seen you look lovelier."

"Thank you Matthew."  Lennie smiled.

"I have felt your absence most keenly."  Matthew continued.  "I say, I have been beside myself with missing you."

"Oh, Matthew, we've only been apart for four days."  Lennie nodded.

"Well, yes, but..."  Matthew trailed off.

"Yet, I've missed you, as well."  Lennie added quickly.

Matthew brightened.  "Well, then."  He looked to Punch and Robert.  "Pardon all the sentimental rot, old chaps."

"Never mind."  Robert shook his head.

"I'm sorry to be so long in coming downstairs."  Lennie sat.

The gentlemen sat as well.

"You see, I very much wanted to show Auntie Morgana my new gown."  Lennie continued.

"You've taken to this new aunt very quickly, then."  Matthew nodded.

"We all have,"  Punch spoke up.  "It's as if she's always been with us, it is.  She's fitted right in with us."

"Indeed she has."  Robert agreed.  "In many ways, she's become the maternal figure which has been sorely...lacking in our lives."

"Quite true."  Punch nodded.  "We had our fair share of motherly advice from downstairs in the form of our Mrs. Pepper, only it's nice to have Auntie Morgana with us upstairs."

"A maternal figure?"  Matthew raised her eyebrows. 

"You seem dubious."  Lennie frowned slightly.

"It's my understanding that this is a woman who has been living amongst...well, I say, how do I put it?  Carnival people.  What sort of advice could she offer?"

Punch scowled.

Matthew didn't seem to notice.  "Now that I think of it, I recall visiting one of those Curiosity Shows once.  Yes, yes--I saw a woman with hands--well, now, they weren't hands.  They called her, 'The Lobster Girl!'  What a sight!  Oh, I was quite taken aback!  Do you think it could have been your..."

"Stop at once!"  Punch insisted.

"Oh dear."  Matthew shuddered.  "I've gone and put my foot in it."

"I should say you have."  Lennie rose.  "Do you know something?  Whilst we waited for you to arrive, I worried about how we would explain Aunt Morgana to you.  I should have been more concerned about how we would explain you to Aunt Morgana."

"Quite right."  Matthew hung his head.

"My aunt cannot help what she is."  Punch said firmly.  "You, sir, can help how you behave."

"I apologize most sincerely."  Matthew replied softly.  

"We've made quite a fuss about how accepting you've been of our 'peculiar' family."  Lennie continued.  "Yes, yes, my brother is quite different from most men.  His mind is divided in ways others are not.  And, yes, he and Robert have made a life together where most men would take a wife.  My circumstances are different, all of our circumstances are different.  Yes, yes, we're all aware of it.  However, we've never made a study of your circumstances nor how accepting we've been of you."

Matthew looked away nervously.  "I know that I'm not necessarily the best match for you, Lennie.  I'm too old.  While comfortable, my family is no match to the Fallbridge's vast power with its many holdings and ties to the Crown.  I realize that I'm quite dull and..."

"Matthew, please."  Robert interrupted.  "We're all quite tired and, I think, it's best we say no more lest we say something we'd regret."

"I only wish to add that I meant no harm.  I am sure that your Aunt Morgana is a lovely woman.  Your devotion to her is testament enough to that.  If I offended you, I am most terribly sorry."

"Let's say no more about it."  Punch answered stiffly.

Lennie nodded.

"Tea, I think will revive us all."  Robert smiled uncomfortably.

"I'll ring."  Punch suggested, cheering a little at the thought of a meal.

"A cup of tea solves everything."  Matthew nodded.

"Yes."  Lennie muttered, settling back into her chair.  'Everything."

Did you miss Chapters 1-64 of A Recipe for Punch?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back tomorrow for Chapter 66.

No comments: