Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 103

Chapter 103
Christian Names

"What do you want me to do with her?"  The woman asked Mr. Quick dryly.  "I don't think she's...gonna be the sort o' lady that a farmer wants as company at the end of a day in the fields."

"Miss Charlotte,"  Quick sighed, "You know I am not asking you to take her in permanently, nor even overnight--just until nightfall. I will leave Mr. Jackson and Miss Blessum behind to look after her, as well.  I'm simply asking that you give her a room in your establishment wherein we might keep her until the sun goes down."

"Oh, Mr.'s awful nice o' ya to call me by my right Christian name.  So many just call me 'Lottie' these days that I've just about forgotten how good it is to be called 'Charlotte.'  You've charmed me right and proper, you have.  Sure, I'll keep your monster for ya."

"Thank you, Miss Charlotte.  I assure you, she will not afford you any trouble whatsoever."  

"See that she doesn't."  The madam continued.  "My girls are tough as nails when it comes to handlin' men, but, they spook easy when it comes to...things like this."  She gestured to Morgana's body.

Morgana winced.

"What's wrong with her anyway?"  Charlotte asked.

"No one knows."  Ivy spoke up.   "She's been like this since birth, presumably."

"Don't she talk?"  Charlotte asked.

"When she wishes to."  Quick answered.  "However, we've taken care of that--for now."

"She won't be doing much talking."  Jackson smirked.

"Why is that?"  Charlotte asked.

"We've given her an elixir which deadens the throat--numbs it.  She can't really make a sound."  Quick explained.  "She's also been given a tonic to make her calmer."

"Oh, she put up a fight, she did."  Ivy nodded.  "Look at the scratches on me hands."

"Cor."  Charlotte's eyes widened.  "She won't be at that again, will she?"

"No, no."  Jackson shook his head.  "We'll see to it that she remains bound."

"And, no one knows she's here?"  Charlotte asked.  "I don't want no trouble from the 'All."

"No.  As you know, we came through the tunnel."  Quick explained.  "No one saw us approach.  When we return to the parsonage, we'll block the way to the tunnel, so even if anyone investigates the cavern, they won't find that passage.  There will be nothing to trace her to you."

"Just see that there isn't."  Charlotte smiled.  "Her Grace never minded me bein' just outside the estate, but I have a feelin' this Duke isn't gonna be so friendly 'bout it--'im not bein' o' the persuasion what likes a good romp with a lady."

"You won't have to worry about him much longer."  Quick shook his head.  "Just leave everything to me."

"To us."  Jackson corrected Quick.

"That's right."  Ivy nodded.

"Right."  Charlotte cackled.  "Now, let's get this little lobster up to her pot, then.  Come along with me, you three.  And, off you go back to whence you came, Vicar."

"I leave them in your gentle hands,"  Quick nodded.

As he walked back toward the tunnel, Quick's eyes narrowed.  He knew he had to hurry--aware that within moments George would be hurrying back with any number of people from the Hall.  He just hoped that Hargrave and Causer had done a good job hiding William's body and quieting down Fred so he'd not be discovered.

For a moment Quick wished he could simply go and hide himself.  He considered disappearing, going to the spot where they'd hidden the Duchess' remains in anticipation of the ceremony later that night.  He could lie down next to her and wait as he had done so many nights when she was alive.  But, no.  He knew he couldn't.

"Faith.  I must have faith."  He said aloud.  "Ah, Pauline.  Soon...soon, we shall be reunited!"

Did you miss Chapters 1-102 of A Recipe for Punch?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back tomorrow for Chapter 104.

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