#6
WELCOME TO BLACKWELL – PART 2

◄♦♦♦►

BLACKWELL GRANGE – CONNECTICUT – JUNE 1926

Miss Vivienne Scarlet sits on the sofa with Mr. Edward Clay . He rests his hand on her leg, feeling the smooth fabric of her nylons  Fivel Dove and Madame Rose sit on the other sofa. Miss Brenda Dove , Professor Peter Plum , and John Boddy all talk amongst each other in their own little ‘family group’ by the window seat. Colonel Mustard and Mr. Green talk discreetly by the piano. They are looking in the direction of Mrs. Peacock . She sits at the bridge table with Lord Gray , Sgt. Gray , and Nurse Silver . Yvette and Mr. Ash tend to empty glasses as they wait for Dr. Black’s arrival.

At the card table, Mrs. Peacock is trying her best to be upbeat, despite her recent emotional outburst.

“I see you decided not to wait in the Dining Room?” Mrs. Peacock chuckles

“I do wish our host would hurry along and present himself.” Lord Gray says, “I’m getting tired of waiting.”

“I’ll go look for him.” Sgt. Gray says, “I don’t know this mansion well, but I know the ground floor.”

Sgt. Gray exits the Lounge, attracting the attention of Mrs. White and Madame Rose as he leaves.

“How is your knee?” Mrs. Peacock notices Lord Gray rubbing his knee in pain. She also takes notice of the expensive walking cane.

“My son says if I keep walking on my bad knee with only the help of a cane I’ll likely need a wheelchair soon.” Lord Gray frowns

“It’s true.” Nurse Silver says, “When is the last time anyone has looked at your knee.”

“I don’t believe in doctors.” Lord Gray says

“Yet you are friends with Dr. Black?” Mrs. Peacock

“He’s a different kind of doctor.” Lord Gray says, “Dr. Black once told me that we are either killed young or live till we’re nothing but bony skeletons.”

“I’d like to die young, but I want to accomplish more before I die.” Mrs. Peacock says

“You must be at least in your mid-fifties by now.” Lord Gray points out

Mrs. Peacock touches her face sadly, “I’m forty-eight.”

“You look old.” Lord Gray says

It is true. Mrs. Peacock’s beauty has faded throughout the years. The wrinkles around her eyes are only masked by the makeup she wears.

“There is no shame in being a faded rose.” Lord Gray notices Mrs. Peacock’s sadness.

At the sofas, Madame Rose and Fivel sit on one sofa, while Miss Scarlet and Mr. Clay sit on the other. Miss Scarlet sips her third glass of champagne and watches as Madame Rose intently reads her palm.

“I always thought I would grow up to be a famous actress or singer.” Miss Scarlet says, “I’ve been singing since I was a child. My stepmother paid for all these expensive classes –”

“I’m sorry, I don’t see any of that.” Madame Rose’s brow furrows, “That’s not the future I’m picking up here.”

“What’s her future going to be?” Fivel asks

Madame Rose stares at Miss Scarlet’s hand and focuses her eyes.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have had any champagne.” Madame Rose says, “You’ll have to come see me after dinner and I can give you a more accurate reading.”

Madame Rose stands up and walks away. Miss Scarlet shrugs in disappointment. Mr. Clay kisses her gently on the cheek.

“Don’t be upset.” Mr. Clay smiles, “You don’t actually believe in that stuff, do you?”

“It could be real. You never know.” Miss Scarlet shrugs

“When do you suppose Dr. Black is going to make his grand appearance? I’m not sure what to expect. He is the man who put together all of this.”

Mr. Clay emphasizes the perfect reception Lounge around them.

“He didn’t put all of this together.” Miss Scarlet says, “He is the result of the family who put all of this together.”

The Lounge doors open and Dr. Black enters with Miss Peach beside him. Sgt. Gray enters behind him. Professor Plum and John Boddy both look up from where they are talking. Miss Dove steps forward, setting her empty champagne glass on the bridge table as she passes by.

“Darling, I was wondering when you’d be back.” Miss Dove smiles, greeting her fiancée

Dr. Black takes Miss Dove by the hand and kisses her passionately in front of everyone. Miss Dove does not pull away or react much at all. Mrs. Peacock’s eye twitches.

“Are you going to introduce us to your mystery guest?” Miss Dove crosses her arms, glancing at Yvette

“Everyone, if I may have your attention, please? I’d like to introduce my daughter, Emily Peach.” Dr. Black says quickly

◄♦♦♦►

Mrs. Patricia Peacock rushes into the Ballroom, visibly shaken and upset. Her hands are trembling and her head is racing. She collapses onto the red ottoman. Dr. Hugh Black chases after her. He is out of breath.

“Please, Patricia, wait!” Dr. Black closes the Ballroom doors

“How dare you ask me to come back into your life after all these years?” Mrs. Peacock weeps into her hands

“Patricia, I did not intend for the announcement to affect you that way.” Dr. Black scratches the back of his head

“When was she born?” Mrs. Peacock turns away from Dr. Black

“She was conceived after we had already gone separate ways. I did not have the affair while we were together.” Dr. Black explains

“She’s just twenty-years-old.” Mrs. Peacock utters in disbelief, “Your daughter is twenty.”

“Nineteen.” Dr. Black corrects

“You abandoned me when I lost our child. Mrs. White told me the truth – that your father would disinherit you if you didn’t provide an heir. You just tossed me to the side and knocked up someone else.” Mrs. Peacock’s hands become shaky as speaks

“No, that’s not true. When I found out about Emily, I arranged for her to be adopted by a brother and sister in Alabama. They had a farm and could provide for her.” Dr. Black explains, “I wanted to keep her away from Blackwell Grange while my father was running it.”

“But now you get to be a father.” Mrs. Peacock says “It’s what you’ve always wanted. You have your little fiancée and the child she comes with.”

“Don’t talk about them that way.” Dr. Black tightens his fist

Mrs. Peacock stands up from the ottoman.

“You invited me here to humiliate me.” Mrs. Peacock grinds her teeth, “You wanted me to see Miss Dove and watch her live the life I almost lived with you. The way you kissed her in the Lounge, you did that just to spite me. If it’s not hard enough to deal with watching her live my life, you introduce us all to your daughter. Who is Emily’s mother?”

“It’s not important.” Dr. Black says

“I know her, don’t I?” Mrs. Peacock walks towards Dr. Black

“Let’s not do this right now. Please?” Dr. Black

“Can I at least know how long you waited after I left?” Mrs. Peacock hesitates

“It was about four months after you moved out of Blackwell Grange.” Dr. Black sighs, “Patricia, you need to let those feelings go. Let’s start over again. We can be great friends. You and Brenda might even get along.”

”Do you think I want that?” Mrs. Peacock laughs sarcastically

“It doesn’t have to be that way.” Dr. Black says

“I’m sorry, I thought I was ready to be friends, but now everything is flooding back.” Mrs. Peacock says, “I can’t really give you an explanation because I can’t even come up with one. You are the worst person I’ve ever met. You hurt me more than anyone else ever has – and yet I loved you for so many wasted years. I suffered and couldn’t move on. Tell me, what did you suffer?”

“Twenty years of guilt and depression.” Dr. Black says, “Do you know how many patients died under my hand because I was too drunk or too distracted? You took my fragile emotions and shook them up. I made a mistake in my grief and left you after the miscarriage. But then you smeared that guilt and shame all over me. I think a part of me wanted to love you. But the other part of me had evolved beyond the point of needing or relying on love. My life’s goal was never about finding the love of my life. But I was willing to explore it with you. You were special. I didn’t look to find it, but we found it.”

“And now you’ve found it with Miss Dove.” Mrs. Peacock states

“Patricia, I was really looking forward to everything to be back to normal again.” Dr. Black steps closer to Mrs. Peacock, “I understand that it can’t be, but I wish we could be able to find a way to just be friends. I’ll always be here for you, Patricia.”

“And I’ll be here for you too.” Miss Dove enters the Ballroom, an air of smugness as she walks to Dr. Black’s side, “Patricia, we are here for you. We want you to move on and be happy. I’m sure we can all talk about this over the weekend. I’m so happy you two had a chance to get caught up and hash things out, but we have guests in the Lounge and they are beginning to talk about what you two are doing during all this time. Hugh, let’s go.”

“Brenda, can you give Patricia and I a minute alone?” Dr. Black closes his eyes with a grimace

“I’m afraid not.” Miss Dove shakes her head, taking Dr. Black by the arm, “Mrs. Peacock made an ugly scene when she dashed out of the room. We need to hurry back and let everyone know that it’s all okay.”

Miss Dove leads Dr. Black out of the Ballroom. Dr. Black says nothing, neither looking back at Mrs. Peacock, who stands holding her stomach sadly.

◄♦♦♦►

Mrs. White helps Yvette with the tray of soup.

“Are you sure you can manage it without the cart?” asks Mrs. White

“I did not know zee cart was an option.” Yvette’s eyes widen

Mrs. White sighs and rolls the serving cart over to Yvette. She sets down the tray containing the soup. At the sink, Fraulein Olga Bloom washes her hands and arms. Mr. Ash meticulously places small silver forks atop the fifteen lobster’s steaming bodies.

“The corn on the cob and the coleslaw are on the counter.” Fraulein Bloom walks towards the back door.

“Where are you going?” asks Mrs. White

“I’m going out for my cigarette break.” Fraulein Bloom says, “The food is finished. The presentation is up to you and Mr. Ash.”

Mrs. White sighs and rolls up her sleeves.

◄♦♦♦►

In the Dining Room, Dr. Black sits at the head of the table across from Lord Gray. Down one side of the table – Miss Dove, Professor Plum, Madame Rose, Mr. Clay, Miss Scarlet, and Colonel Mustard. Down the other – Fivel, Nurse Silver, Mr. Green, Sgt. Gray, Mrs. Peacock, and John Boddy.

Mrs. Peacock glances across the table at Miss Dove and then to Dr. Black.

“Well, what’s all this about,” Mr. Boddy takes a drink of his red wine, “This dinner party?”

“Ours not to reason why. Ours but to do and die.” Dr. Black quotes

“Die?” Fivel raises his eyebrows in concern

“Merely quoting, from Alfred Lord Tennyson.” Dr. Black chuckles

“Are you familiar with ‘Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers’?” Professor Plum asks

Eerie harp and cello music plays from the gramophone near the windows. Yvette pushes open the door adjacent to the Kitchen with a rolling cart. It contains bowls of soup.

“Shark’s fin soup!” Yvette announces with excitement in her voice

“I’ll take some.” Miss Dove smiles

Yvette serves Miss Dove while Mr. Ash begins to pour the wine around the table. Nurse Silver admires the expensive dinnerware.

“What a lovely display.” Nurse Silver looks at the three crystal glasses

“Shouldn’t she be in the Kitchen?” Lord Gray stares sharply at Nurse Silver

“Nurse Silver is much more than just a nanny.” Dr. Black speaks up

“Everyone knows what she is.” Lord Gray grinds his teeth, “She’s a harlot who left her baby on the doorstep of a church.”

Nurse Silver’s face goes pale. Fivel stares up at her with shock and horror.

“You left a baby alone?” Fivel’s eyes water up with tears

“She sure did.” Miss Dove speaks up, “It’s apparently quite common for the poor to do.”

“Come now, you were civil in the Lounge. Please don’t be rude.” Mrs. Peacock says defensively glancing down her side of the table to Nurse Silver.

Lord Gray and Miss Dove look down on Mrs. Peacock with disgust.

“It’s no lie. Yes, I gave up my child.” Nurse Silver looks down at her lap. Fivel grabs her arm tightly.

Miss Dove stands up and comes around the table to Fivel. She removes him from Nurse Silver’s side and seats his chair between herself and Dr. Black. Nurse Silver closes her eyes and lets a tear fall down her cheek.

“Emily,” Dr. Black clears his throat, “This isn’t how we usually do dinner.”

“It’s true.” Mr. Ash speaks sarcastically, “They don’t usually announce a new family member until after the dessert.”

Dr. Black stares harshly at Mr. Ash.

Professor Plum clears his throat and stands up with his empty wine glass. Mr. Ash comes and fills it instantly. Yvette is still making her way around the table with the soup ladles.

“Need we go through our dirty laundry over dinner?” Professor Plum takes off his glasses, sniffing his wine, “I figured we’d provoke each other after a few drinks and a few games at the billiard table. Ash, fill everyone’s cups. I’d like to propose a toast.”

Mr. Ash quickly rushes around the table filling wine glasses.

“To Emily – we welcome you to Blackwell Grange and to our family. To Hugh and Brenda – may their marriage be strong and everlasting. To Rose – may you live long and thrive where ever life may take you. To our guests – enjoy Blackwell Grange, enjoy our company, enjoy our endless supply of liquor, thanks to Mr. Green.”

“Oh,” Mr. Green smiles, “You flatter me. But it’s Dr. Black’s deep pockets I’d like to thank.”

“Nothing is too much for my guests.” Dr. Black sighs, annoyed by his half-brother’s unexpected ovation.

“Here, here!” Miss Scarlet holds her glass high

Everyone takes a sip of wine. There is a silent moment in which the party feels civil and worthwhile. This silence is abruptly interrupted by Lord Gray coughing and spitting out his wine.

“Bloody hell!” Lord Gray drops his wine glass to the floor

“Father!” Sgt. Gray stands up

“Bah! What year is this wine?” Lord Gray wipes his lips, “Bitter, sour, and metallic.”

“It’s twelve years old.” Mr. Ash reads the bottle.

“Some wines aren’t meant to age.” Lord Gray grimaces

“It tastes fine to me.” Sgt. Gray says, tasting the wine
Mr. Ash knocks on the Pantry door and Mrs. White comes into the Dining Room. Mr. Ash points to the broken glass and spilled wine. Mrs. White instantly begins to tend to it.

“Ash, bring me one of those brandies from Dr. Black’s Study. We all know he keeps the good stuff in there.” Lord Gray demands

Colonel Mustard chuckles heartily as Lord Gray orders Mr. Ash about. Yvette pours soup from a ladle into Mr. Green bowl. Her bosom is at the level of his eyes.

“I’ll have another brandy as well.” Colonel Mustard says, “I finished the one I had when I first arrived rather quickly.”

“You’ve already offered the Colonel a brandy already and I’ve yet to get as much as a decent glass of wine?” Lord Gray bangs his fists on the table in offense, “Our host refused to greet us properly, dropped a shocking announcement onto us, disappeared with his former lover, and how bloody long is it going to take for this little maid to dish out all the soup?”

Yvette has only passed out nine of the fourteen bowls. Mr. Ash quietly leaves the Dining Room to fetch the brandy from the Study.

Lord Gray looks down at Mrs. White beside him, cleaning the wine stain on the rug. Even though Lord Gray has been married to her sister for many years, Mrs. White and Lord Gray have always had a tension between them. Lord Gray personally loves to look at her as only a housekeeper. Mrs. White, on the other hand, sees him a person of equal class to her. She sees his lordship to be as fragile as the façade he walks around with.

“You used to teach in Boston, right?” Mr. Green turns to face Professor Plum, breaking the silence that fills the Dining Room

Professor Plum takes his glasses off again with fidgeting fingers.

“Ah, yes, I used to.” Professor Plum’s voice is quick and shaky, “But I’ve since then devoted my life to science and medicine. Archeology and teaching are both behind me. Chemistry is the future. Electricity is the future. Digging around in the sand only brought me disappointment and unrealistic deadlines. One can’t gather information on lost African civilizations in only a month’s time.”

Colonel Mustard’s ears twitch, “Lost Civilizations?”

“I can’t believe I didn’t recognize you before.” Mr. Clay says, looking over Professor Plum’s face, “I’m actually more surprised that you didn’t recognize me.”

“Edward, you know him?” Miss Scarlet asks, sipping her wine

“I took one of his philosophy classes.” Mr. Clay says

“Ah, Eddie. Of course, I remember you. I knew there was something familiar about you. I just could place my finger on it.” Professor Plum can’t take his eyes off of the young tennis coach, “You worked closely with my partner, Dr. Webb.”

“Dr. Webb was one of the voices of reason that got me out of the classroom and onto the tennis court.” Mr. Clay says, “He always told me that life was too short to be stuck doing what your parents expect of you.”

Dr. Black, Professor Plum, and Madame Rose all let out a collective sigh. Dr. Black is the prime example of who Mr. Clay would have become if he had become a Doctor. Hugh Black’s father, Sir Benedict Black IV, always strived to make their family successful in absolutely everything they did. In truth, Professor Plum gave up archeology and his teaching because of his newly found birth father, Sir Benedict IV, offered him an easier life during the trials and accusations endangering his career. Madame Rose, the eldest daughter, was sent away by her father, Sir Benedict Black IV. He thought her fortune telling and prophecies would just hinder their glory and honor.

“You never mentioned this Dr. Webb?” Miss Scarlet says to Mr. Clay

“I figured you’d be disappointed in me.” Mr. Clay says, “My parents were ready to pay for medical school and I dropped out to chase a yellow ball around the green pavement.”

“But tennis makes you happy.” Miss Scarlet smiles

“Dr. Webb always had a free spirit.” Professor Plum smiles fondly

“Professor,” Mr. Green speaks up slowly, “We’ll have to chat sometime this weekend over billiards.”

“Yes, of course.” Professor Plum sarcastically turns away to adjust his napkin on his lap.

“I find it odd that we didn’t know you knew someone from Blackwell Grange.” Mrs. Peacock tries to reignite the topic.

“Don’t let it both you, Patricia.” Miss Dove speaks calmly and slowly, “I didn’t know at first that you were Hugh’s ex-lover. But I’ve moved past it.”

“Have you?” Mrs. Peacock asks, “I just said I thought it was odd. I wasn’t making a big deal over it.”

“Did you learn before or after she dashed out of the Lounge?” Colonel Mustard looks over at Miss Dove

“I think I realized as soon as I saw her in the Lounge.” Miss Dove says

“That’s nonsense.” Mrs. Peacock laughs, shaking her head

“People can sense things.” Madame Rose says

“And where exactly have you been?” Mrs. Peacock tosses her napkin into her soup, standing up from her seat.

Yvette quickly takes the soup away. John Boddy takes a long sip of wine.

“Should that boy be drinking?” Lord Gray stares at John with anger

Mrs. Peacock and Madame Rose stare at one other ready to attack. Lord Gray and John Boddy speak over them.

“Wine is good for clear thinking.” John chuckles to himself, “You should try it sometime – the wine not the clear thinking. It’s far too late for you to even try using that portion of your brain.”

“Is that supposed to be a joke?” Lord Gray tightens his fist   

“Well, I thought it was rather funny. But I highly don’t you have much of a sense of humor.” John Boddy stares at the old man defiantly.

Lord Gray reaches over and bashes his cane into John Boddy’s face. The hard, bronze cane topper thumps roughly against John’s left cheekbone. The enraged seventeen-year-old stands up, spilling Mrs. Peacock’s wine. Mrs. Peacock gasps in devastation as the wine spills over her feather-laden dress.

“Uncle! Lord Gray has disrespected me!” John Boddy points a flailing arm in Lord Gray’s direction as he comes around the table to Dr. Black.

Dr. Black has his head in his hands.

“That’s quite enough. Sit back down, John.” Dr. Black looks up at Lord Gray from across the table, “We are trying to show Emily a good time. She is so nervous to be here.”

“I – I really am. I didn’t want to make anyone upset.” Miss Peach stirs her soup around

“It’s nothing personal,” Mrs. Peacock says, “Your father just doesn’t know the proper way to announce things or manage a weekend retreat.”

“Is too much of me to ask for my guests to keep their comments and opinions to ourselves?” Dr. Black asks

“Thank you!” John Boddy crosses his arms

“I’m sorry,” Mr. Green holds up his hands, “I didn’t mean to embarrass you, Professor. Earlier when I brought up Boston.”

“Oh, I don’t get embarrassed.” Professor Plum replies, “You must have misread my tone.”

“In light of my daughter’s arrival into our lives,” Dr. Black stands up, “I think this is the perfect opportunity for Emily to learn who all her relatives are. John is your cousin. He has been in my care for seven years. He’s only home from boarding school for two more weeks. I hope you two get to know each other well.”

John Boddy nods in her direction with a pleasant smile

“My sister, Rose,” Dr. Black continues, “And my half-brother, Peter – or Professor Plum if you want to be formal.”

Madame Rose continues to eat her soup, only glancing at Miss Peach for a moment. Professor Plum clears his throat before speaking.”

“Uncle Professor would be the acceptable title for you to call me.” Professor Plum explains to her, “I’ve never imagined I’d have a niece. I suppose it’ll be interesting.”

“Well – uh,” Miss Peach glances around the table, “Thank you Uncle Professor.”

“It doesn’t matter what you call me.” Madame Rose says, “I’ll know if you need me, and something tells me you won’t need me.”

“Well, I’m sure you and I will exchange some fun stories sometime.” Miss Peach says

“I doubt it.” Madame Rose turns back to her soup.

“That’s everyone in the family.” Dr. Black says, “My father passed away about five or six years ago. He would have loved to meet you.”

“Sir Benedict Black was a great man.” Mr. Ash says from the side of the room.

“I’ve been wondering?” asks Colonel Mustard, “If Dr. Black is the father then who is the mother?”

“She was only given her father’s name.” Dr. Black explains, “She was adopted by a pair of siblings who own a farm in Mississippi.”

“Well, how many women could it possibly be?” Miss Scarlet chuckles, “Dr. Black does strike me as that type of man.”

The bell clangs loudly from the Hall.

Mr. Ash looks at Dr. Black with a puzzled look on his face. Mr. Ash exits the room to answer the front door.

“I’m not sure who that is.” Dr. Black says, “Lady Lavender said she wouldn’t be able to get to the mansion until next week.”

Thunder rolls loudly outside the large windows. Miss Scarlet is startled by the sudden noise outside. Mr. Clay chuckles at her jumpiness.

Mrs. Peacock stands up from the table and walks towards Dr. Black when a jolly woman with red hair bursts into the room. She is Jane Meadow-Brook . Mr. Ash follows closely behind her with a look of concern over his wrinkled brow.

“Oh my gosh!” Mrs. Meadow-Brook looks over at Miss Peach, “Is that really her? Is that our precious baby girl? Hugh, she is so perfect.”

Dr. Black’s forehead becomes tense.

Mrs. Meadow-Brook makes her way over to Miss Peach and begins to examine the young girl more closely.

“Look at you!” Mrs. Meadow-Brook runs her fingers through Miss Peach’s wavy red hair, “We even have the same hair!”

Mrs. Meadow-Brook embraces Miss Peach tightly and kisses the top of her head. Mrs. Peacock is frozen in place. Miss Dove grips her fists tightly on the table cloth as the scene unfolds.

“She just came in. I couldn’t stop her.” Mr. Ash whispers to Dr. Black, “Mr. Meadow-Brook came with and he is very upset.” Mr. Ash pulls Dr. Black to the side of the room away from everyone else and glances over at Miss Dove, “It would appear that your fiancée is quite unhappy too.”

“I’m going to talk with Mr. Meadow-Brook in the Study, keep everyone here. Make sure dinner runs smoothly. Pull up an extra chair for Jane.” Dr. Black says

“Did you know?” Mr. Ash asks

Dr. Black doesn’t respond.

“Be honest with me, even if you have to lie to everyone else.” Mr. Ash asks

“Of course I knew Jane was her mother.” Dr. Black says, “I’ve gotten three women pregnant. That’s all. Mrs. White, Mrs. Meadow-Brook, and Nurse Silver.”

Miss Dove stands up and walks over to where Dr. Black and Mr. Ash talk.

“Excuse me,” Miss Dove taps Dr. Black on the elbow, “We need to talk.”

“Please, Brenda, stay here and finish dinner with everyone else. I need to settle things with Miles.” Dr. Black tries to dismiss her, but she grabs his arm and turns him towards her.

“Just exactly what kind of party are you throwing?” Miss Dove looks at Dr. Black in a way that one looks at a new person whom they’ve never met before, “I don’t know what to expect with you anymore.”

“Please, not here.” Dr. Black takes Brenda’s hands, squeezing them tightly, “I’ll answer any questions you have. But first I need to deal with Mr. Meadow-Brook.”

“You knew, didn’t you?” Miss Dove says

“Brenda, stop.” Dr. Black quickly dismisses himself and leaves the Dining Room.

Miss Dove furiously watches the Dining Room door slowly shut. She closes her eyes and tries to chase away the sadness and anger. She walks over to Fivel and holds him close to her chest. His soft, curly blonde hair presses against her cheek.

“Everyone,” Mr. Ash tries to settle the anxious room, “The main entrée with be served shortly. I’m sure you will all be delighted with the work Fraulein Bloom put into the meal.”

“It smells like seafood.” Lord Gray grumbles, “I am not fond of seafood.”

Lord Gray tastes his soup and spits it out immediately. The dignified older gentleman wipes his mouth with his napkin and stands up.

“This is outrageous.” Lord Gray tosses his napkin onto to the table, “Didn’t the cook consider that some of us might not like seafood? I was reading about an Austrian physician who found that many people are allergic to seafood.”

“I’m terribly sorry, Lord Gray.” Mr. Ash takes the soup away from the angry Lord, “Perhaps we can make a quick broth for you.”

“Bring me a thick cut of beef – burned to a crisp. I want a garden salad and a good bottle of wine. We all know the bloody prohibition hasn’t bothered the wealthy and noble.”

“I’m afraid Fraulein Bloom isn’t acting as a short order cook.” Mr. Ash says, “A broth substitute and side dishes are all I believe we can provide.”

“Mr. Ash, bring Lord Gray the dried jerky from the hunt.” Miss Dove insists, composing herself, “We need to treat our guests with respect and offer them the finest selections from our pantries.”

“I thought we were saving the jerky for the garden party.” Mr. Ash says

“We’ll purchase more. Chop fresh lettuce and tomatoes from the garden and make Lord Gray his salad.” Miss Dove demands

Mr. Ash stands there uncertain of what to do. He looks around by finds that Miss Dove is the only one paying attention.

“Lord Gray is hungry, Mr. Ash. Don’t stand there dawdling.” Miss Dove points to the Pantry door.

Lord Gray smiles at Miss Dove’s determination.

“Enjoy being the lady of the house.” Mr. Ash mocks her

TO BE CONTINUED