Iris and Peter Get Married (Eventually) [pt 8]

Chapter Eight.
(Plans gone awry, High-pitched screaming, The special snuff, and The devil in a pinafore)

Admiral Walter tried to stir up his idiot son's sense of chivalry by causing a ruckus among the maids. Sooner or later, that dunderhead had to find himself in a scene where he would have to rescue one or more of them.

But that plan rather hoped that the boy would come downstairs from his toys more than once a day. Therefore he laid in wait where the sounds of feminine screaming would surely carry to his workspaces. If one could call messing about with metal body parts "work".

No man alive could resist coming to the aid of a damsel in distress.

There came a likely trio. Two close friends and that mousy little Paddy. The one who was busy weaning that idiot boy off of his ghastly horsebread sandwiches. Miss Iris.

Admiral Walter rather liked her. For all that she was of a lower class, she embodied his best bet for a horde of grandchildren. Everyone knew those damned Paddies bred like fleas. He followed her like a thief in the night. Waiting for his chance...

Soon enough, she separated from the other two. Off in her own world as the inseparable friends went in a different direction. He crept up on the Paddy. Prepared to strike...

And she turned to face him, eyes wide and staring. Mouth busy with alien syllables and her hands in unnatural postures.

There was high-pitched screaming, after all, but it was him doing it. The Admiral fled the scene, screaming blue murder until he collided with his son and Mrs Clambridge both.

"I heard screaming," said his boy.

"You'd better not have done anything... rash," added Mrs Clambridge.

"It's that maid," he babbled, pointing back the way he'd come. "The devil's got her tongue! She's put some heathen curse on me! Or tried to! Send for the Bishop! Say all your prayers!"

Both looked thoroughly sceptical. Peter raised an eyebrow and asked, "Sir... Have you been at your 'special' snuff again? We've talked about your little indulgences..."

A small, meek voice risked, "Is everything alright?"

It was the Paddy! Acting like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth. And speaking like a much more educated woman... But that latter fact was not of import. "She's possessed, I tell you! The very devil's inside her!"

"Snuff," said Mrs Clambridge.

"Snuff," sighed the boy. "Please take him to his room and give him his sleeping draught, Mrs Cambridge. I'll see to Miss Iris."

Mrs Clambridge had an iron grip and a surgeon's insight on the vulnerabilities of the human body. Admiral Walter knew better than to struggle. Not after the last batches of bone bruises.

He still protested all the way to his bed. Even when Mrs Clambridge forced the opium syrup down his throat. Even as sleep dragged him down into its sticky embrace.

That Paddy woman was the devil in a pinafore.

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