Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Recipe for Punch, Chapter 86

Chapter 86
The Key

"Miss Lennie,"  Maudie whispered,  "I...I mean, Your Ladyship..."

"Maude," Lennie said gently, "given that we're sneaking around the estate together, I think you may call me 'Miss Lennie.'"

"I can't help but think that His Grace is gonna be most..."

"Displeased?"  Lennie suggested.

"That."  Maude nodded.  "When he discovers we've gone."

"Oh, I think His Grace and His Lordship will have much to say to me when we return."  Lennie sighed.  "However, if we return with my aunt and George and William, that will soften the blow.  And, lest you worry, I will make sure that neither you, nor Ethel nor Violet are blamed for this.  I'll make it quite clear that this was my idea."

"You fret too much, Maude."  Violet snapped.

"Maudie is just being cautious."  Lennie replied.  She looked to Ethel as they walked.  "You've been awfully quiet, Ethel."

"Don't mean t' be."  Ethel answered softly.

"She's thinkin' o' our Jenny."  Violet whispered.

Lennie nodded.  "I understand."  She took Ethel by the hand.  "Know that I will keep all of you safe."

"I said the same to Jenny when we went out that night.  I promised her I'd keep her safe, that nothin'd happen.  Only...only I came back that night."  Ethel replied.

"Maybe we oughta turn back, Miss Lennie."  Maudie said quickly.

"Don't ya want to find George and Miss Morgana?"  Violet asked sternly.  "And, even that William?"

"I do.  But, His Grace and His Lordship have already got the men on the estate lookin', and, they're 'bout to go to the vicarage to question the Land Agent and the bailiff and the vicar."  Maude replied.

"That's all well and good."  Lennie nodded.  "And, I'm sure much will come of it.  I've a great faith in my brother and Robert.  We're not working against them.  We're trying to help them.  They and Charles and Gerard can only be in one place at a time.  Meanwhile, we know that Ivy Blessum and Jackson are loose on this estate.  Hargrave, Quick and Causer are obviously going to protect them--yes?  So, while His Grace and His Lordship question the others, we can look for Ivy and Jackson.  They're the key to all of this.  They were the ones who worshiped at the altar of my mother most fervently."

"Only we don't know the estate, Miss Lennie."  Maudie replied.  "I don't mean to argue, but His Grace knows the place.  He knows where they might be."

"We may not know the landscape and all of its many intricacies, but we know how the minds of such people work.  Don't we?  We don't have to have an in-depth knowledge of the topography of the estate to know where they might be.  We must understand the mindset of such people.  Didn't we get such insight from Ulrika Rittenhouse and..."  She shuddered...  "Orpha Polk?"

"That we did."  Violet nodded.  She paused.  "Miss..."

"What is it, Violet?"  Lennie asked.

"Over there...that's the chapel.  Isn't it?"

"Yes."  Lennie nodded.

"And, the crypt is beneath it?"

"That's what I'm told."  Lennie replied.

"I think I just saw an old man go in the chapel.  Looked to me to be Mr. Jackson."  Violet smiled.

"You see, girls?"  Lennie grinned.  "Our little expedition has already proved fruitful."

Did you miss chapters 1-85 of A Recipe for Punch?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back tomorrow for Chapter 87.

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