"Daisy, what is the meaning of this? Are you quite alright my girl?" Mr Richard Bellamy exclaimed as the young maid suddenly burst through the door of the morning room where the small family had been partaking of the left over tea, and small amounts of brandy and soda water to steady their nerves – the young girl's expression quite alarmed – without even bothering knock.
"I'm sorry sir, me lady…" She apologized, promptly motioning towards Hazel as well as the master of the house in turn. The young girl was in quite a state – any half decent employer worth their position and title could see that, her cheeks were flushed, and eyes wide with fear and surprise Mr Richard Bellamy observed with concern – and yet the regulations of polite society still had to be observed and upheld.
"I didn't mean to intrude…" The young Daisy continued breathlessly. "But I was told to come and fetch you prompt like."
"Daisy is everything alright?" Hazel frowned, she too now noticing the young girl's distress, and getting to her feet.
"Eddie… I mean Edward…" She faltered, addressing her master as she struggled to compose herself, "told me to come and get you my Lord… It's Mr Hudson, I'm afraid he's been hurt."
"Hudson? Is he alright?" Mr Bellamy frowned. "What happened?"
"I don't know sir…" Daisy sobbed, struggling to control her anguish with this as the tears began to flow. "He seemed very quiet when he arrived home a few minutes ago, and then when we went to rouse him for his tea we couldn't wake him… and there was blood… lots of blood…"
Hazel approached the young girl to put her arms around her shoulders in a gesture of comfort.
"Alright Daisy, I'm coming." Richard Bellamy did his best to reassure the young girl also, his tone urgent but soft and comforting, like a rich velvet melody, as a father might attempt to reassure his frightened child. "Georgina you'd better come too." He added, turning to his niece. "We might need your assistance."
The pretty young nurse nodded, and followed as with this her uncle set off, heading towards the servants quarters below.
When the small group made it downstairs Mr Hudson had already began to come round, Edward was doing his best to reassure him, Ruby was looking on in bewildered dismay, and Rose was trying to ply a by now sobbing Mrs Bridges with cups of hot sweet tea for shock.
There was a rather large patch of bold crimson staining against Mr Hudson's starch shirt which was already beginning to grow – like bleeding ink against blotting paper – just above his right rib, and Edward was doing his best to keep the older man still and calm as he struggled to keep the pressure on the oozing wound.
As Mr Bellamy entered however Hudson appeared quite alarmed by his master's presence. He muttered something weakly and quite inaudible to the rest of the room as the kindly master of the house put up a reassuring hand to calm him, and Hazel wrapped her arms around Mrs Bridges shivering shoulders to calm her sobs.
"It's alright Hudson." Mr Bellamy smiled.
"Sir…" Edward faltered – the young man's complexion clammy and pale, as it became clear he was still suffering badly from the trauma of his own experiences of the war.
"It's alright Edward." The master smiled kindly however, as the young man rubbed at his forehead and temples painfully, "We'll take it from here." as Daisy wrapped her slender arms gently around the waist of her husband, and led him quietly into the kitchen for another cup of tea.
Once the small group of servants had finally dispersed from the parlour and Mr Bellamy and Georgina had space enough to take a look at Hudson's wounds the pretty young nurse knelt down at the butler's side, gently prying open his crimson, blood stained shirt to take a look at the lacerated flesh below.
It was deep, and jagged and looked as though it had been made by a sharp, uneven edge – possibly by a piece of flying shrapnel, but most certainly by an object with a sharp edge of metal.
"How is he?" Richard Bellamy asked his niece as he bent down beside her, smiling at Hudson, and taking a closer look at the wounds.
The blood was still flowing freely from between the layers of lacerated tissue, but appeared to have at least slowed now that Georgina had the right amount of pressure applied to stem the rate of the bleeding.
"Oh, I think he'll mend." She smiled kindly. "If someone could just fetch me the first aid kit we used to mend the young lady's scratches earlier. I can bind these wounds… but I really do think we ought to think about getting him to the hospital, just to be on the safe side."
"Oh, now, really, I don't think there is quite the need for all this fuss." Mr Hudson protested however. "I am quite alright now, really." But Richard Bellamy put up a warm hand to kindly stifle his pleadings.
!I would let Georgina be the judge of that." He advised. "We mustn't forget, she is the expert now after all."
"No sir, of course not." He faltered in his broad, rich Scottish accent. "But…"
"You've lost a lot of blood." Georgina explained, "and you can never be too careful. There's the possibility of shock, and gangrene, septicaemia and other infection, and it looks like you're going to require stitches, which I'm not qualified to give."
"Edward, would you ruing for an ambulance please?" Richard Bellamy instructed as the young man crept cautiously back into the threshold of the room, and Daisy hurried away to get the first aid kit.
Richard Bellamy smiled- Hudson may still have been wounded but he was beginning to come around now and Georgina was taking good care of him – he was in the best possible hands. What he really needed now more than anything was rest, and he was much more likely to get that at the hospital right now rather than here – there was still the clean up of the house to organise, and that was no small task.
When he really stopped to think about this blessed war, the whole world being torn apart by violence, sons, husbands, and fathers lost in the prime of life, people's whole lives being destroyed every single day, he thanked God that their lives had so far survived relatively unscathed – their little family was still intact. Things could have been a lot worse.