Thursday, March 20, 2014
A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 79
"Near cut me to shreds, she did." Causer barked as he entered the vicarage. "Those claws o' hers'll slice through ya like a blade."
"You didn't harm her, did you?" Ivy pressed her hands together.
"I'm standin' 'ere with blood all over me face and you ask me if I harmed her. Did ya stop to wonder if she hurt me, then?"
"You'll heal, Simeon Causer." Ivy frowned. "I'm surprised she managed to draw blood from ya, made of leather as you are."
"Better leather than tissue over a stone heart what oughta be a woman." Causer, the bailiff for the estate agent, muttered.
"What's that?" Ivy asked.
"Nothin', Miss Blessum. Nothin 't-all."
"You've not answered my question, Simeon. Did you harm Morgana?"
"Christ, woman! No, I did no' harm her. She got a few good swipes at me though, if you'd manage to look."
"But...you didn't hit her?"
"No, o' course I didn't. Dunno what she is, but she's a feminine o' whatever it is. I may be dodgy, but I ain't never hit a woman even if it is a monster. That's for Mr. Hargrave, but not for me. Only what's it matter if she been hit? I known you to hit her many a time before. And, now, ain't we just gonna cut off her bleedin' head tonight? The body is rubbish."
"We can't have her beautiful face register any signs of pain. We must make her comfortable." Ivy replied.
"She ain't comfortable, and odds, she ain't gonna be comfortable any time soon, Ivy." The bailiff sat down and ran his wide, rough hands through his greasy curls.
"We must make her so." Ivy insisted. She took Causer by the arm of his dirty, olive-green coat, and turned him so she could look directly into his eyes.
Causer looked away. "Come now, Ivy. There ain't much more I can do." He touched his scratched face and winced.
"Oh, Simeon, don't worry, your beauty isn't ruined. You never had any to begin with."
"Here, I know I ain't much to look at, but it don't mean I deserve to bleed for it." He scratched the bulbous nose which jutted out over his thin lips.
"Well, Morgana is a beauty, and she doesn't deserve any pain."
"Beauty? The woman's a hulkin' slab o' mismatched meats--like a grocer's shop gone wrong. All she's got is the face, and that's all we want her for. Once her head is off, it ain't like that face is gonna look any different from any other dead face."
"When we give it to Her Grace, it will have to be perfect."
"Wish I understood what you lot were about." Causer grunted.
"By now, you don't understand?" Ivy laughed. "You really are an idiot. What have we been trying to do for a year?"
"I know 'bout all that, but how's it gonna work, then?"
"It isn't our place to know that. That is Mr. Quick's contribution." Ivy snapped. "Now, I'm going to go tend to Morgana. She should have awakened by now."
"Ivy..." Causer began.
"No more questions." Ivy spat.
"Listen a mo'. I know we got the lads for their skin and Mr. Quick's gotten the first boy...what's his name? George...all ready to begin. I...well, I gave William that drink what Mr. Quick give me." Causer shrugged. "But, what good is skin from two lads gonna do? Her Grace was a lady."
"Don't you worry about that." Ivy smiled. "We have everything we need. Thanks to Gregory." Her smile faded. "Now, I must go see about Morgana. There's much preparation ahead!"
"What ought I do?" Causer asked.
"Go to the crypt! Put your broad back to work. It isn't fair that Mr. Quick and Mr. Jackson should have to carry her on their own. Where is Hargrave? He should be helping, too. At least the two of you fools provide some physical strength."
"Mr. Hargrave's gone to the 'ouse."
"What?" Ivy growled.
"Mr. Hargrave has gone to the great house. His Grace summoned 'im. I 'magine it's because he's found the lads and his 'Auntie' missing."
"Why didn't you tell me this at once?" Ivy roared.
"You were goin' on, askin' me if I hurt the beast." Causer wrinkled his oily brow.
Ivy leveled her gaze at Causer. "Go to the Hall at once and see what the Duke is asking of Hargrave."
"Shall I just walk in, tip me hat and say, 'Pardon Your Grace only I wanted to listen to your conversation'?"
"Yes!" Ivy screamed. She paused and inhaled. "Just go and get him, then go to the crypt."
"Cor! You've always been a sow, but you're really a bit o' awful these days. You'd best settle yourself lest you die of apoplexy."
"When all is restored, Simeon, we shall see who is apoplectic." Ivy hissed.
Did you miss Chapters 1-78 of A Recipe for Punch? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 80.