Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mastery of Design: The Lady Cory Wreath Tiara, 1850

From the 1830s jewelry in a naturalistic style was the height of fashion and the preferred medium well into the 1850s was densely set diamonds.  Floral wreaths constructed of gold and diamonds were made fashionable by Queen Victoria herself and such tiaras soon became a necessary accessory at the most elegant balls and events.

Made in three units of gold, this tiara is encrusted with European and Brilliant-cut diamonds set in silver and mounted Baroque pearls.  The wreath features many varieties of floral designs.  Part of the tiara was damaged and, sometime between 1860 and 1870, a trembler of a diamond honey-suckle blossom was added to replace the damaged section.

The tiara was once part of the impressive collection of jewels belonging to Lady Cory.

Tiara of Gold with diamonds and pearls set in silver.
This and all related images from:
The Victoria & Albert Museum

The Art of Play: A Child's Chafing Dish, 1912-1918

Chafing Dish
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Teddy bears had become very popular very quickly at the beginning of the 20th century.  Not only were the actual bears themselves all the rage, but depictions of teddy bears began to appear on a variety of objects.

Of great interest to many was the idea of bears behaving like humans.  This was a popular theme for many a drawing, and such images began to adorn all sorts of items—both for adults and children. 

Here’s one such item designed for a child.

On this dish, we see images of bears performing various sporting activities including cricket, football, skating and golf. It’s a chafing dish--when filled with hot water, the metal base kept the child's food warm.  Seems like a recipe for scaling to me.  But, what do I know?  Other such dishes showed bears dressed in suits and gowns for an elegant  ball.

The dish was made in Staffordshire between 1912 and 1918 by John Aynsley & Sons Ltd.  

Painting of the Day: The Charles Conder Train, 1903

Design for the Train of a Woman's Gown
Charles Conder
Watercolor, 1903
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Charles Conder, made a name for himself in the early Twentieth Century for the elaborate decorations that he would paint on the long trains of evening gowns and ball gowns.  He would use watercolors to adorn the trains—sometimes even while the gown was being worn.

Conder created this watercolor design for a train around 1903.  We can’t be certain about the dress for which this design was created.  We do know that it was finished for one Mrs. Florence Humphrey, an enthusiastic guest of many a fancy dress ball.  At this time, Conder was at the height of his popularity and his work was very much in demand. 

The fashion of this era had moved away from the stiffly corseted dresses of the Nineteenth Century in favor of “The New Reform Dress” which was a “princess style” which hung from the shoulders without a waistline.  Long full sleeves and dramatic trains defined this new style—giving condor many a canvas for his much-desired work. 

At the Music Hall: After the Ball, 1891

Verse 1
A little maiden climbed an old man's knee,
Begged for a story – "Do, Uncle, please.
Why are you single; why live alone?
Have you no babies; have you no home?"
"I had a sweetheart years, years ago;
Where she is now pet, you will soon know.
List to the story, I'll tell it all,
I believed her faithless after the ball."

After the ball is over,
After the break of morn –
After the dancers' leaving;
After the stars are gone;
Many a heart is aching,
If you could read them all;
Many the hopes that have vanished
After the ball.

Verse 2
Bright lights were flashing in the grand ballroom,
Softly the music playing sweet tunes.
There came my sweetheart, my love, my own –
"I wish some water; leave me alone."
When I returned dear there stood a man,
Kissing my sweetheart as lovers can.
Down fell the glass pet, broken, that's all,
Just as my heart was after the ball.

Repeat refrain

Verse 3
Long years have passed child, I've never wed.
True to my lost love though she is dead.
She tried to tell me, tried to explain;
I would not listen, pleadings were vain.
One day a letter came from that man,
He was her brother – the letter ran.
That's why I'm lonely, no home at all;
I broke her heart pet, after the ball.

Repeat refrain

After the Ball was written in 1891 by Charles K. Harris and remains a popular tune to this day. A classic waltz in 3/4 time, the song tells the tale of an older man who informs his niece the reasons why he has never married. Years ago, he saw his sweetheart kissing another man at a ball, and he refused to listen to her explanation. Many years later, after the death of his former love, he discovered that the man was her brother.

One of the most successful songs of its era, After the Ball, is often employed in period pieces to convey a sense of the late Nineteenth Century.  The tale of an innocent act, misconstrued, is a theme which is eternally relatable.

I just realized that I already wrote about this song in December of 2010, but it’s worth repeating since this tune is one of those which defined the musical fashion of its day.  That, and after over four thousand articles, I’m bound to repeat myself every so often.  

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 11

Chapter 11:

Robert grinned when he heard Mr. Punch, from the other side of the door,  howl with laughter as the sound of splashing water filled the marble-tiled bathroom.  Still lying on the bed, Robert chuckled to himself.  He sat up smoothing the front of his rust-colored waistcoat as the bathroom door opened and a slightly damp Charles came into the bedroom.

“He’s splashing.”  Robert grinned.

“He always does, Sir,” Charles nodded.

“Well, then, his spirits have improved.”  Robert nodded appreciatively, standing up.

“Sir, would you like to instruct me as to which suit to lay out for him?”  Charles asked, walking to the imposing mahogany wardrobe which stood proudly against the furthest of the turquoise plaster walls of the Duke’s room.

“Black, I think.”  Robert squinted thoughtfully.

“Which black?”  Charles asked, thumbing through the hanging suits.

“The one with the looser breeches.”  Robert continued, rising and walking to the wardrobe.

“Ah, yes.”  Charles chuckled, forgetting himself for a moment.

Robert chuckled, too.  “After all, as His Grace always says of breeches, ‘Them’s the worst part, they are.’”

“I can’t disagree.”  Charles smiled.  “I think, perhaps, the velvet court suit.  Yes?”

“I concur.”  Robert nodded.  “Let’s add a bright cravat.  He’ll like that.  The lavender.  Or…yes…the crimson.”

“Yes, Sir,”  Charles replied.

Suddenly, they heard a loud, wet slap from the other room and, then, a long, delighted laugh from Mr. Punch.

Robert raised his eyebrows.  “Should we look in on him?”

“No, Sir.”  Charles shook his head.  “He’s just throwing his soap.  He’s taken to doing that lately.  He likes to sit in the tub and see if he can throw the soap hard enough to get it to stick to the wall.”

“Ah.”  Robert chortled. 

“Not to worry, Sir.”  Charles continued.  “I left several bars in the brass tray.  He’ll use some of them as soap and the rest as projectiles.”

“God love him.”  Robert sighed contentedly.

“I’m sure He does, Sir.”  Charles replied softly.  He looked up.  “Which jewels?”

“Of course his usual diamond ring.”  Robert answered, walking over to the Duke’s jewel case.  “And, the ring set with the fragment of the Molliner Blue Diamond.  Then—hmmm…  He studied the case.  The enameled gold buttons—the red ones.  And,” he looked over the wide array of stickpins.  “The pin with the rubies set into a floral head.”

“Yes, Sir.”  Charles answered absent-mindedly, squinting.

“Charles,” Robert began, “You look a little concerned.  Do you disagree with my choices?”

“Oh, not at all, Sir.”  Charles shook his head.  “Please, forgive me.”

“If there’s something on your mind…”

“Well, Sir,” Charles sighed.  “I confess I’ve been thinking about the Duke.  I know he’s worried about this visit to the palace.”

“I appreciate that you show concern for His Grace.”

“I can’t help it, Sir.”  Charles continued.  “He’s not been out in Society since we’ve returned.  Of course, I’ve seen him interact with others and done a fine job of it, but, I think…”  He stopped.  “Pardon me, it’s not my place.”

“Of course it is, Charles.”  Robert shook his head.  “Go on…”

“Well, I worry that perhaps he’s…”

“Forgotten how to be the Duke?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“He hasn’t.”  Robert smiled reassuringly.  “I know he hasn’t.  He’s more like His Grace than he lets on.  Let’s not forget, the Duke of Fallbridge is still a part of him.  While none of us really knows the mechanics of their complicated relationship, Mr. Punch seems to be able to draw on the Duke’s font of knowledge when he needs to.  I know that Mr. Punch will be able to convince the Prince Consort that nothing has changed.  If for no other reason, he’ll do it to preserve the sanctity of the family name and out position in Society.”

Charles smiled.  “I’m glad to know it, Sir.  I am terribly sorry if I spoke out of turn.”

“You did no such thing.  You should always feel free to speak your mind where our well-being is concerned.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“Here!”  Punch shouted from the bathroom.  “I’m wet and cold!”

“Oh.”  Charles’ eyes widened.  “I’d best hurry.”  He rushed into the bathroom, leaving Robert to look through the Duke’s jewels.

Meanwhile, outside the Duke’s door, Hortence leaned against the passage wall—pressing her ear against the cool, sleek wood of the door.

“What are you doing?” a voice spat causing Hortence to spin around.

“Miss Barrett!”  Hortence coughed.

“Are you eavesdropping on His Grace?”  Ellen said, truly shocked.  “How dare you do such a thing.  I shall bring this behavior to Mr. Speaight’s attention immediately!”

“Will you?”  Hortence smirked, stepping away from the door.

“I most certainly will.”  Ellen nodded firmly.

“And what will you tell him, Miss?”

“I shall say that on my way upstairs to the nursery, I spied you listening at His Grace’s door!”  Ellen replied, seething with anger.

“And, do you know what I’ll tell him?”

“No, Hortence, what will you tell him?”  Ellen snorted in contempt.

“I shall tell him the reason you left your last position.”

“Mr. Speaight knows the reason that I left.  As do the Duke and the doctor…”

“Do they?”

“Yes,”  Ellen snapped.

“I don’t think that they do.”  Hortence giggled. 

Ellen  narrowed her eyes.

“See,” Hortence continued, “I think you lied to them.”

“How could I do such a thing?”  Hortence asked.  “I presented my references.”

“Those references were written as…what’s the word…a consolation.”

“Whatever do you mean, Hortence?”

“I know a girl what works in your old place.”

“Oh?”  Ellen nodded angrily.

“Yep—Daisy.  She told me all ‘bout ya.”

“Daisy has as much of a filthy mind as you do.”

“How could she not, Miss Barrett, livin’ in such a house of scandal.”

Ellen blushed.

“I know all ‘bout ya, Miss.  I went to see Daisy yesterday on my afternoon out.  She and I had a fine time talkin’ ‘bout how you was caught in the master’s bed and how the mistress of the house ordered you out.  Only, the master didn’t want you to go.  He said it weren’t your fault and made the mistress give you a good reference.”

“Lies—that’s all lies.”  Ellen fumed.

“Is it?”

“Yes!”  Ellen hissed.

“You want to risk it?”

“What do you mean?"

“You say it’s lies, sure, but sounds pretty true to me.  I think ol’ Speaight and the masters would believe it.”

“No, they would not.”

“Let’s see if they would.”  Hortence growled.  “You go—go to Mr. Speaight and tell him what you saw.  I’ll tell him what I heard and we’ll see who comes out best.”

Ellen started as the door to the Duke’s room opened quickly.  Robert peered out, raising one eyebrow.  “What’s this?”  He asked. 

“Pardon me, Sir.”  Hortence curtsied obsequiously.

“Miss Barrett?”  Robert looked at Ellen.  “Is there a problem?”

“Shall I tell the master,” Hortence grinned.  “Or would you like to, Miss?”

Did you miss Chapters 1-10 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back on Monday, April 16, 2012 for Chapter 12.  

History's Runway: A Ball Gown, 1820

Ball Gown
Silk Satin and Silk Net with Spangles and Bobbin Lace
c. 1820, Britain
This and all related images from:
The Victoria & Albert Museum

This attractive and alarmingly small ball gown dates to 1820 and was made by an now unknown British sewer.  Most women of a certain class had at least one special ball gown.  They saved their most elaborate dresses for special occasions such as balls.  In the 1820s, these lavish gowns were embellished with gold thread or sparkling beads which glittered in the dim candlelight of the ballroom.  At this time, thin, gauzy materials were in fashion since they created a soft dreamy look, which was very feminine and ethereal.  On a more practical note, these light materials also kept the wearer from getting too hot while dancing in these, no doubt, stuffy, overcrowded spaces.  After all, no one likes a sweaty lady at a ball.

This short-sleeved ball gown is comprised of an under-dress of silk satin and an overdress of machine-made silk net which has been embroidered with metal and trimmed with blonde bobbin lace.  As was the style of the time (something I seem to be typing a lot today), the dress has a low oval neckline, puffed short sleeves, a wedge shaped front bodice panel and a medium high waist. The lining of the gown is padded at the hem with a frill of blond stitching. It fastens with a tape at the neck and hooks at the reverse.

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: Fashion Plate from La Belle Assemblée, 1828

Fashion Plate, 1828
From La Belle Assemblee
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Let’s have a ball today, shall we?  It is the weekend and Bertie does enjoy a good party.  So, let’s begin with his lovely drawing—a fashion plate, in fact.

This fashion plate was printed, in 1828, in the periodical “La Belle Assemblée” or Bell's Court and Fashionable Magazine Addressed Particularly to the Ladies.  This rather clumsily named magazine was published between 1806 and 1868. “La Belle Assemblée” was an early example of a women's magazine, and was filled with articles about celebrities and royalty, etiquette advice, beauty and cosmetic instructions and advertisements selling make-up and corsets. It also carried social information, mild gossp and information about births, marriages and deaths.

This particular plate is from the March, 1828 edition.

Fashion plates, such as this one, showed the latest dress styles, with written descriptions, detailing the hairstyle, accessories and materials used, so that the ladies at home could recreate the look.  Since people cared about how they looked in the Nineteenth Century, fashions often changed from month to month—not a lot, but just enough to make a lady feel very out of place if she didn’t keep up.  Given this, very specific information about the trends of each month was printed in order to avoid societal embarassment.

This plate shows an evening dress and a ball dress. Both outfits, of course, include gloves, elaborate hairstyles and narrow shoes. The waists of the gowns, as was the style of the time (to quote Abraham Simpson) are tiny and the skirts full.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Mastery of Design: The Dame Joan Evans Rock Crystal Pendant, 1650-75

Pendant of Enameled Silver and Foiled Crystal Pendant
The Victoria & Albert Museum

This handsome pendant from the important collection of jewels amassed by Dame Joan Evans is composed of rock crystal triplets (two layers of stone with a layer of red-colored foil material between), rock crystal and glass.  The stones are set in enameled silver.

The piece was made in Western Europe between 1650 and 1675.  I selected it since it seemed somehow Punch-like to me.

Mr. Punch's Puzzles: The Riddle of the Week

Once, again, Mr. Punch, with my help, is offering up a true Victorian riddle.  The first person to answer correctly--by posting in the comments--will receive public congratulations. 

So, here's this week's riddle.  We ask that you don't Google the answer.  Mr. Punch would not find that sporting at all.  Give it a shot and see what you can come up with.  Here we go... No cheating...

What did the cheese say to the toasting fork?


And the answer is...

"You are too pointed."

Thanks to all those who answered, and to those who hijacked the thread with talk of foodstuffs.  Come back for more wacky fun next Friday with another of Mr. Punch's Puzzles.

In the meantime, if you’d like to “Punch” up your daily routine—see what I did there?—why not visit our online store?

Friday Fun: Professor Paul Perrin's Punch & Judy, 2011

Let’s get our weekend going with this charming video of highlights from Professor Paul Perrin's Punch and Judy Show  as performed on Rottingdean Terraces on Bank Holiday Sunday, 2011. Professor Perrin comes from three generations of puppeteers. His puppets were created by Caroline Perrin. 

Antique Image of the Day: Sheet music cover for "Quadrille,"

Sheet Music Cover
circa 1880
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Here, we see another sheet music cover for “Quadrille”  by H.S. Roberts.  The chromolithograph depicts Mr. Punch, Judy and Dog Toby.  It was printed in London in the 1880s. 

This page has been preserved by being glued to a card backing.

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 10

Chapter 10:
Dressing a Duke

“I won’t do it!” Mr. Punch/the Duke of Fallbridge shouted from beneath the writing desk in his lavishly appointed bedroom suite. 

Charles, the Duke’s valet, leaned patiently against a glossy white , fluted pilaster and studied the paintings of other, past Dukes of Fallbridge which lined the turquoise walls. 

Mr. Punch peaked from beneath the table and smiled wildly.  “I said ‘I won’t do it!’”

“I know, Your Grace, I heard you.”  Charles nodded calmly.  He made eye contact with the Duke and couldn’t help but smile.  It was, partially, a game to Mr. Punch—though he genuinely did not want to take his bath nor did he wish to get dressed.

Punch, too, knew that Charles was in on the joke and burrowed deeper under the desk, his legs—lightly covered with auburn hair—sticking out from both the desk and the thin nightshirt that he refused to remove.

Charles bit his cheeks so he wouldn’t chuckle.  He wondered when the Duke had taken to hiding under furniture.  It was something which seemed to come with their return to England.  Charles suspected that it was an invention of Mr. Punch who had spied Dog Toby doing the same while they were aboard the ship and concluded that it was an enjoyable enterprise.

Charles sighed pleasantly and sat on the floor, cross-legged, facing the Duke who, like a child, peaked out from behind the legs of the writing table.  Punch’s brown eyes flickered with a combination of utter glee and resolution.

“You may wish to pull your nightshirt down a bit, Sir.”  Charles began.

“Oh!”  Mr. Punch blushed.  “Is me bum out?”

“Not quite yet, but it’s working on it.”

“That wouldn’t be good, now, would it?”

“It wouldn’t bother me, Your Grace.  After all, I share a room with Gerard.  You have no idea the things I’ve seen.  However, it’s not  behavior fitting a Duke.”

“Probably not,” His Grace replied rationally, arranging the folds of his nightshirt to ensure that his ducal posterior was not exposed.

“It’s nothing to me, of course, Sir,” Charles began, “however, I can’t imagine that the Prince Consort would be too thrilled if you arrived at Buck House in your nightshirt with your hair unwashed.”

“I don’t care.”  Mr. Punch giggled.

“Most people would be overjoyed to receive a command invitation from His Majesty Prince Albert.”

“I ain’t most people.”  Mr. Punch snorted.

Charles nodded—unable to refute the Duke’s assertion.  He was not, in fact, anything like most people.  Charles took a deep breath and recalled a time, not too long before, when such a scene would have made him terribly uncomfortable.  To be sure, he once found the Duke/Mr. Punch rather difficult to take.  However, his feelings for his employer had mellowed after the kindness that the man had shown to Charles, and, by the time they arrived in England, he had even developed a certain protective affection for His Grace—not as madly devoted as Dr. Halifax, but protective nonetheless.

“Where’s me chum?”  Mr. Punch asked, still under the table.

“Sir, as I’ve already explained, Dr. Halifax received a note that one of his patients needed him.  He promised he’d be back well before you’d need to leave for the palace.”

“Well, when he gets back, then I’ll come out, I will.”

“I wouldn’t like to think that you’d be late for your appointment with the Prince.”  Charles continued.

“Coo…”  Punch considered the thought.  “He is German, ain’t he?  They do care a great lot ‘bout punctuality.”

“That they do.”  Charles nodded. He stretched out his legs.

“It’s comfortable, the floor is.”  Mr. Punch smiled.

“Yes, it is.  The carpet is very plush.”

Punch turned around, still under the writing table, and stared at Charles for a moment.  “I ain’t entirely mad, you know.”

“I know.”  Charles nodded. 

“It’s just I don’t wanna go.”

“I can appreciate that you’d be anxious, Sir.  I know that I was nervous just delivering the letter to the palace the other day.”

“So, you understand?”

“I do, certainly.”  Charles smiled.

“Well, good.”  Punch sniffed.  “Here, I didn’t like you at first, Charles…”

“I am aware of it.”  Charles laughed.

“But, I like you now.”

“I’m glad, Your Grace.”  Charles said.  He rolled to his knees and stood. “Now, perhaps, we could start with your bath.”

“No!”  Punch shouted, somewhat playful, but nonetheless resolute.

“You like a good bath.”

“Not today I don’t!”

“You’ll feel better.”  Charles answered, coming a little closer.

“Here, if you come any nearer, I’ll…I’ll hit you with me stick.”

“You don’t do that any longer, Sir.”  Charles chuckled.  “Even if you did, there’s no stick in here with which to hit me.”

“I don’t need a stick.”  Mr. Punch pouted.  “I’ve hit folk with other things.  Oil lamps and wee bronzes.  Remember when I hit that policeman in New Orleans what tried to take Colin from me.  Got him good, right in the crown with a statue, I did.  Knocked him right out.”

“I recall very well.”  Charles couldn’t help but laugh.  “However, I’m not trying to take Colin, I’m only trying to get you to take a bath.”

“Coo, ain’t you ‘fraid o’ me at all no more?”  Punch sighed.

“No.”  Charles shook his head.  “I am not, Sir.”

“Fine,”  Mr. Punch/the Duke grumbled, crawling out from under the desk.  “I’ll take me bath only I ain’t getting’ dressed ‘til me chum comes home.”

“That’ll do.”  Charles replied.  “I’ll go ready the bath for you.”  He turned cautiously.  “You aren’t going to…”

“Run off?”  Mr. Punch grinned.  “Nah.  There’s ladies in the house.  Wouldn’t be right for me to run ‘bout in me nightshirt.”

“Very true.”  Charles replied.  “I will return presently.”  With that, he slipped into the attached, marble tiled bath chamber.

Alone in his room, Mr. Punch began to pace frantically in front of the porch.  “Damn the Prince.”  He muttered repeatedly.  “Ain’t even a nice bloke, he ain’t.  Gonna be sharp with Ol’ Red Nose.”

Mr. Punch paused in front of the long glass which stood in the corner of the room.  He studied his face.  “Only I ain’t got a red nose.  Nor no hunch even.”  He touched his face and sighed.  “I’m a man, and a Duke, too.  Bugger!”

Punch chirped nervously as the door to the room scraped open and let out a long whoop when Robert entered.

“Where ya been?”  Punch shouted.

“I had to attend to a patient.”  Robert answered, scooping Mr. Punch into a hug.  “I told Charles to tell you.”

“He did.”  Mr. Punch pouted.

“You’re not dressed,” Robert smiled releasing Punch from his embrace.

“I told Charles I wasn’t gettin’ dressed ‘til you got back.”  Punch grumbled. 

“Well, here I am.”  Robert grinned patiently.

Mr. Punch sighed.  “I don’t wanna do this.”

“But, you must.”  Robert answered affectionately.  “Dear Punch, Julian has entrusted you not only with his life, but also his business.  If you’re to properly honor his trust, you must also honor the relationships which have made him the success that he is.  Similarly, the relationships we keep  now will only help our Colin later.  His father should have a friendship with the Crown, yes?”

“I ‘spose.”  Punch sniffed.

“After all, one day Colin will not only inherit your property and title, but also your business.  And, should he wish to continue in your footsteps, an easy rapport with the Crown would be beneficial.”

“You mean that one day Colin might work with wee Prince Bertie as I do with his mum and pa?”

“He might.  Prince Albert Edward will be King one day.  He would most likely wish to employ the crown jewelers favored by Their Majesties, his parents.”

“Well, if it’s for Colin, I gotta do it.”  Punch said excitedly.

“My dear, I must say that I’m very proud of you.”

“Here, what for?”  Punch tilted his head to one side.  “I ain’t done nothin’ good.  In fact, I been hidin’ under the table.  And, as enjoyable as it was, I know it weren’t a good thing to do.”

“Are you still under the table?”

“Can’t you see I ain’t?”  Punch squinted.

“Well, yes.” Robert laughed.  “I’m being…I don’t know…I’m being coy…and adorable.”

“You usually are…”  Punch chuckled.

Robert continued, “I am proud of you because you’re no longer under the table.  You’re standing here—like a man—about to ready yourself to do business.  For that, and many other reasons, I’m very proud of you.  And, tomorrow I’ll be prouder still.”

Mr. Punch blushed, smiling.  “Thank you, chum.”

Charles returned to the Duke’s room and looked with palpable relief at the doctor. 

“Yes, I’ve returned.”

Charles nodded emphatically.

“I’m ready for me bath, Charles.”  Mr. Punch nodded, pulling his nightshirt quickly over his head and running—naked—into the other room.

Alone with Charles, Dr. Halifax sighed cheerfully.  “I hope he wasn’t too difficult.”

“No, Sir.”

“Thank you for humoring him.”  The doctor continued.

“There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for His Grace.”  Charles said firmly.  “In my life, there’s no one who—well, except for you, Sir—who has been kinder to me.”

The doctor nodded once in thanks.

“I’d best go see that he doesn’t splash too much.”  Charles said quickly, hurrying into the other room.

Robert grinned, shaking his head.  He flopped upon the bed comfortably and waited—content with his world.

Little did he know that Hortence, the under-house maid, was listening at the door.

Did you miss Chapters 1-9 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back tomorrow for Chapter 11.