Mr Bellamy observed Edward, with grave concern, his pale (almost grey) and sweaty face as he recounted some of the most terrible and personally terrifying events to have befell him in the trenches, his pupils fixed and dilated with fear as he relived those moments… the true horror of the stories which he told mere words to Richard Bellamy, but for those few minutes Edward was no longer residing at 165 Eaton Place, amongst friends, loved ones, and in safety, but back in those dugouts of the trenches; every sight, sound, putrid smell of no mans land, and the stench of death all around him. The Lord could only imagine what the man before him, still so young, must have gone through.
He'd lost comrades, friends, his best friend, Charlie Wallace, his best man, whilst living with the daily terror felt by every man, that he too might be next… suddenly he leapt up from his seat muttering that he needed to go and see Charlie's family, and, concerned as the young man headed for the morning room door, still apparently in a state of terror induced delirium and deep confusion he called after him, "Edward."
Upon which, after receiving no response from the young soldier he called him again, somewhat more sharply, although not unkindly, in an attempt to stir him from his distracted state, "Edward!"
The two's eyes met as Edward turned, and Richard Bellamy, frowning intensely at the young footman in his concern, resolved not to take his eyes off the young man until his pupils, previously glazed and caught up in another, terrible and terrifying place, drew focus on the room, and he suddenly seemed to remembered where he was, and in whose company.
"Sir?" He asked, tone startlingly weak, overwhelmed as he still was with the grief, fear and exhaustion, which had driven him to such a severely shell-shocked state… and Mr Bellamy was certain that what he was seeing in Edward was a very severe case.
Richard Bellamy smiled. "Go tomorrow morning. It'll be much appreciated." He assured him.
Edward slowly took in the room around him, every fine detail, and the epitome of hospitality and comfort, reassuring familiarity, before with a sniff to compose himself he finally smiled.
"Yes sir." He spoke, tone of voice a little stronger now at least than it had been before. "Oh I feel a lot better now sir. Thank you." Although Richard Bellamy didn't think that he looked to be so… a little less pale maybe.
"I think I ought to get downstairs otherwise Mr Hudson will be wondering where I am, and Daisy…" He explained however at that moment appeared to be taken by a sudden dizziness and stumbled backwards. Mr Bellamy caught him by the arm before he fell, and, taking his untouched glass of whiskey from his other hand placed it down on the drinks table.
""It's alright Edward." He reassured him.
""I'm sorry about that sir." Edward apologised. "Thank you for the whiskey… oh and sir, I am sorry, I forgot, its My Lord isn't it?"
"Not until tomorrow morning Edward." Richard Bellamy explained kindly. "Go to the party and enjoy yourself. Happy New Year."
"And to you sir." Edward smiled, and the gesture now seemed genuine enough, if somewhat tainted, as the young man left, leaving the soon to be Lord to contemplate what could possibly be done for him.
Barely a few minutes later Hudson appeared in the morning room, Mr Bellamy too disturbed and distracted by what he had just seen and heard to, as yet, follow Hazel's lead and retire to bed, to inform him that Edward had been rather suddenly 'taken ill' in the servant's quarters, and with this sudden new, and urgent development, and his new appointment of office the following morning, Richard Bellamy knew what should be done.