Monday, March 31, 2014

A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 84

Chapter 84
Their Own Power

"Help her, Dr. Halifax!  Please!" Gerard pleaded, tears streaming down his cheeks.  "Oh, I mean...Your Lordship.  Oh."

"Now ain't the time to worry 'bout titles, Gerry."  Mr. Punch gently patted the man's shoulder.  "Now, step over here with me so Robert can look Gamilla over.  Come on, Gerry."

Gerard nodded.  "Your Grace," he gulped, "is she... I mean...will she be..." He began to sob.

"Oh, now..."  Punch put an arm around Gerard's shoulders.  "I known Gamilla a long time.  Longer than you even.  And, I know she's a strong lady, your wife is.  Just let Robert look her over.  She'd not want you to fret, she wouldn't."  He led gerard toward the nursery fire.  "Come over here and sit by Dog Toby 'n' me.  We'll talk to young Colin whilst Robert helps Gamilla."

"I don't wanna leave her."  Gerard shook his head.  

Robert looked up from where he knelt by the chair in which Gamilla had slumped.  "Gerard, my good man, she's going to be fine.  Her heart is strong and her breathing is good and steady.  She's got no fever.  I think she's just exhausted and, as you described, she was overwhelmed by the...visions she was having.  As soon as Charles gets back here with Ethel and, and His Grace and I will help her to your room and Violet can tend to her.  All Gamilla needs is some cold compresses and a good bit of massaging to her legs."

"Are you sure?"  Gerard panted.

"Quite."  Robert nodded.  

"What of the baby?"  Gerard asked emotionally.

"It's rather the baby's doing that Gamilla has taken a bit of a 'rest.'"  Robert replied.  "Gamilla's body has gone into a temporary mode of, shall we order to protect the child growing within.  Both mother and child are well."

"Sir?"  Gerard began.  "I..."

"Mmmm..."  Gamilla began to murmur.

"There now,"  Robert smiled, patting Gamilla's hand.  "Your wife agrees with me."

"Gerry?"  Gamilla mumbled.

"I'm right here, Love!"  Gerard rushed forward.

"They're under the earth..."  Gamilla whispered.

Robert and Punch exchanged glances.

"Gerry,"  Gamilla continued weakly.  "Did you tell the masters?"

"I did."  Gerard nodded.

"I saw 'em...clear.  Miss Morgana and Georgie and William.  Deep under the earth."

"Gamilla,"  Punch stepped forward.  "For now, just let's get you to your room."  He looked to Robert.  "Maybe you and Gerard can take her.  I'll stay with Colin until Charles comes back with Ethel and..."  He paused as Charles came into the room.

"Ah, there you are."  Robert said with relief.  He looked behind Charles.  "Where are Violet and Ethel?"

Charles took a deep breath.  "I don't know, Your Lordship."

Robert raised his eyebrows.

"I went down to the kitchens, as instructed, Sir."  Charles continued.  "Neither Maude nor Ethel were anywhere to be found.  Not in the kitchens.  Not in the servants' hall.  Not in the courtyard.  No one had seen them--not that any of those Yorkshire fools would have said so if they had.  I thought perhaps they'd gone to speak with Violet and Her Ladyship, so, knowing I had to fetch Violet as well, I went straight to Her Ladyship's rooms.  I could not find Violet either.  I've been all over the Hall, Sir."

"Does Her Ladyship know where Violet is?"  Punch asked.

"That's just it, Your Grace."  Charles answered.  "I cannot find Her Ladyship either.  I came across Lord Cleaversworth.  He, too, was looking for Lady Fallbridge."

"Dammit!"  Punch shouted, alarming Colin and causing Dog Toby to bark.  "I...I'm sorry, little chums," he said quickly.

Robert put his hand to his forehead and rubbed his temples.  "Charles, will you help Gerard carry Gamilla to their room, please?"

"Yes, Lord Colinshire."  Charles replied.

"I don't need to..."  Gamilla began to protest, but seeing the look in her husband's eyes she stopped quickly.

Robert hurried to Punch's side as the two other men helped Gamilla from the room.  "Dear Punch, you don't suppose that whomever has carried off Morgana, has also..."

"No."  Punch shook his head.  "This ain't abduction nor even ghostly interference.  This is them headstrong women.  My sister and her maid.  Neither o' them could sit still, they couldn't.  Ya know Lennie's been dyin' a bit inside wantin' to go look for Auntie Morgana and Georgie.  And, ya know how Ethel and Maudie care for George.  I'm sure they've all gone off to try to  help."

"I'm surprised at Ethel--given what happened the last time she went off on a mission such as this.  You know...with Jenny."

"I know."  Punch sighed.  "Bugger!"  He hissed.  "I pleaded with Lennie not to do nothin' rash.  A house divided and such..."  He bit his thumb nervously.

"None of it makes sense, my dear."  Robert shook his head.  "Lennie is rash, yes, but, she wouldn't endanger Violet.  And...given what had happened with Jenny, as headstrong and impetuous as Ethel is, I don't think she'd risk Maudie's life."

Punch's shoulders sagged.  "I want to think they've gone off on their own power, Chum."

"I know."  Robert agreed.

"They could have, ya know."  Punch continued.

"They could."  Robert replied.  "But, dear Punch, I don't think that they did."

Did you miss Chapters 1-83 of A Recipe for Punch?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back tomorrow for Chapter 85.

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