Punch's Cousin, Chapter 240

Monday, May 9, 2011


Here, what do you mean that they’re safe?” Mr. Punch said, rushing over to Cecil.

“Look!” Cecil thrust the note into Mr. Punch’s hands.

“Coo, it’s from me chum.” Mr. Punch exclaimed as he began to read. A smile crossed his lips. “Honestly, what would we do without Marjani?” He folded the letter neatly. “Once again, she’s come to our rescue.”

“So, they’re safe and I know that Edward wouldn’t think to look for them in a small flat over a dress shop in the French Quarter.” Cecil sighed contentedly. “Now, we just need to find a way to reunite you with Robert and return the two of you and the boy to England.”

“We’ll figure somethin’ out, I’m sure of it.” Mr. Punch patted Cecil on the back as they headed back toward the parlor.

They paused when they heard a sound behind them. At first, they thought it was the thunder which had brought a nasty storm over their house, but they quickly realized it was a rapid pounding on the back door. Cecil and Punch turned to see Meridian scurry to open the door.

As the door groaned open, they heard a gasp and a scream. “Julian!”

Mr. Punch hurried to help Charles pick up Barbara Allen who had crumpled to a heap outside the door.

“Let’s carry her in,” Mr. Punch said quickly.

“Your Grace,” Charles stammered. “You…you’re alive.”

“Yes.” Mr. Punch smiled. “Very much. Both me and me master.”

“What about the baby?” Charles asked as he lifted Barbara.

“We’re all alive.” Mr. Punch nodded.

“Bring her into the kitchen.” Cecil grunted. “Meridian, can you make some tea?”

“Sure can, Mr. Halifax.” Meridian hurried off.

“What are the two of you doing here?” Cecil asked as Punch and Charles carried Barbara into the kitchen.

“We came to pay our respects to you, Sir.” Charles said. “To you and your missus. Barbara was insistent. She said she didn’t care if she was caught by Mr. Cage. She wanted to apologize to you and offer her condolences. We never suspected that…”

“Quite right.” Cecil muttered.

After she was settled into a wooden chair at the kitchen table, Punch patted Barbara’s face. Her eyes fluttered open and she wept. “Are you a spirit?”

“No.” Punch shook his head. “I’m quite real.”

“How?” Barbara asked.

“Not to worry ‘bout that. Just know that Robert, I and your little Colin are all safe and well.”

“I swear…” Barbara gasped. “I swear I will not squander this second chance.”

Meanwhile behind Edward Cage’s house, Ulrika and Arthur huddled under a tree to shield themselves from the rain as Gerard stood nearby, getting soaked to the bone.

“Come on, then,” Arthur grinned. “You’re glad to see me, aren’t ya?”

“I’m surprised.” Ulrika said.

“I come back to ya.” Arthur winked.

“Don’t you mean you’ve come back to Barbara Allen?”

“No.” Arthur smiled. “It’s you I want.”

“Is it?” Ulrika nodded slowly.

“Maybe it were the funny-smelling root you made me chew, maybe it were your beauty or your wit or your cunning, but you’re the one what was always on my mind,” Arthur lied. “You bewitched me.”

“Have I, really?” Ulrika cooed.

“You know you must have done.” Arthur responded. “Now, I returned to you.”

“I can’t say I’m not glad.” Ulrika laughed. “I intend to put you to good use.”

Did you miss Chapters 1-239? If so, you can read them here. ads

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