It was late one cold and damp winter's evening when Angus Hudson finally retired into his Butler's Pantry, with the intention of spending a few precious moments to himself. Most of the staff – as well as the family upstairs – had already retired to bed; the newly appointed Edward and Daisy had retired several hours since, and only Rose and Mrs. Bridges remained.
As Hudson carefully and quietly closed the door behind him however he turned to observe a small, slightly discoloured envelope resting upon his desk as he approached. It was creased at the corners, and with a curious frown etched into his forehead he recognised his name, composed in a familiar scrawl:
Sitting down at the desk he reached for his spectacles, before extracting the thin sheath of paper from its envelope – momentarily fingering the parchment as he cast a brief glance over the same familiar scrawl, before beginning to read.
Dear Mr. Hudson,
I know that you said that there were some things which are better left unsaid, but I just wanted to apologise for all of the hurtful things which I said to you the other evening, and which I know to be untrue. I am deeply grateful to you for both the kindness and generosity you have shown to both Daisy and myself throughout our years of service in this house, and I know that you played your part most honourably for the war effort, and as far as you were able to do so. I am aware of the sacrifices you all made. I just thought that after the war, after all that we'd been through, we all deserved something better, but I have come to realise that the complete independence which myself and Daisy dreamed of is reserved only for those born into it, and perhaps there is nothing left out there in society for the likes of us. I couldn't stand the thought of what I'd done to us, to Daisy, the guilt that if we hadn't left this house she would never have lost our baby. It was my fault you see, but I had no right to take it out on you. I want to thank you for getting us our positions back here, Daisy thinks that it was Mrs Bridges, but I know that you're the only one with the authority and the influence to have made such a suggestion to His Lordship. I am by no means a begrudging or vindictive man and I feel deeply ashamed by my behaviour. I can only hope that I will make a better friend – if I may use that term – to you than I have been over the past few months, and apologise deeply for my behaviour.
"Mr Hudson?" A familiar voice called to him and Angus looked up, deeply moved by the letter – although he would never admit as much. There came a gentle knock upon the pantry room door and Mrs Bridges entered. "Are you alright Angus?" The old cook asked as she observed the Butler's distant expression.
"Yes, thank you Kate." Mr Hudson smiled. "Just a little tired."
"I was just about to put the kettle on if you care to join me?" She asked with a smile. "Rose has just gone to bed."
Mr Hudson considered this for a moment. "Thank you Kate." He responded evenly after a moment. "I'll be out in a moment."
With this Mrs Bridges observed the other mans softening features as he stared at the sheet of parchment still clasped loosely between his fingers – slightly crumpled where the one edge of the discoloured paper had been pinched within the ageing lines of his palm. The envelope clearly addressed to Mr Hudson was still lying discarded upon the small table, and she realised that she'd disturbed her oldest and most trusted of friends in the middle of what had obviously been a rare private moment, and dismissed herself discreetly from the room.
It didn't take Angus Hudson long to follow however – he wasn't really a sentimental soul, although he had his moments – and although he appreciated the gesture behind the letter he quickly replaced it in its envelope before depositing it in the top draw of his desk… knowing that the aforementioned incident would never be spoken about between himself and Edward again… there would simply be no longer need!