"Mr. Quick wants to see ya," Hargrave growled at Gregory outside the entrance to the servants' hall.
"Cor! Keep your voice low, you fool." Gregory snapped. "His Grace has his supporters in there. They'd, every one of 'em, love to go to 'im with word that I've been summoned to the parson's."
"Let them hear." Hargrave laughed. "They'll be pressed, they will, the bring word to the Duke."
"Well, odd's fish." Gregory smirked. "Why's that, then? Last I knew, he was just about the estate lookin' for the lobster woman. Now she's come to roost, what's to keep the little nancy from returnin' to his spot at the head o' the table?"
"I got' im, that's what." Hargrave grinned. "Got 'im and handed 'im over to Mr. Quick."
Gregory's eyes widened. "Whatever for? That weren't part o' the scheme."
"Maybe not at first, but none o' this has unfolded as Mr. Quick 'ad planned. Now, did it?"
Gregory shook his head.
"Why'd I go to all the trouble, then, of bringin' out the Pepper boy and that Perkins, if the vicar ain't gonna use 'em? And, what o' Charlotte? That's a waste, then. Isn't it?"
"No, no. You misunderstand. The Perkins lad can be used fine, and Charlotte, too. Ain't your fault that George Pepper got free. It's only that Mr. Quick's got the notion that..." He leaned in and whispered. "The duchess might benefit from bein' given her son's heart."
"Oh, fine." Gregory nodded. "So, seems to me that Quick's all right. What's he want me for?"
"Dunno," Hargrave shrugged. "Just sent me to fetch ya."
"I'll be 'round shortly." Gregory replied. "He's at the parsonage, then?"
"Nope." Hagrave shook his head.
"Well, then, man...where am I to go?" Gregory asked.
"That's it, Gregory, I canno' tell ya." Hargrave answered.
Gregory scowled. "Then, how am I to know how to get to Quick?"
"You'll have to come with me."
"I cannot go now. I can feel all the eyes in the servants' hall on me through the window. If I go off with ya, people will talk. Maybe the Duke's not a problem, but his maryann is about, so is the Lobster Woman, and furthermore, all 'is ever-so-loyal staff. Not to mention the sister..."
"That's enough, Gregory." Hargrave grumbled.
"I'm merely tryin' to..."
"You don't gotta come with me now. That's what I'm tryin' to tell ya."
"Oh. When, then?"
"After ya nicked something for us." Hargrave smiled. "I'll give ya an hour. When ya done it, I'll come and meet ya at the far end o' the courtyard, and, I'll take ya to Mr. Quick."
"Here, what ya want me to steal?" Gregory asked.
"The baby." Hargrave grinned.
Did you miss Chapters 1-121 of A Recipe for Punch? If so, you can read them here. Come back on Monday for Chapter 123.