Finally gathering his composure, he wiped a stray tear that’d formed from the laughter. Charlie cleared his throat and extended his hand to Janielle once more, “Well, shall we then?“
Sheepishly grinning, she placed her hand in his and nodded, “I am feeling quite hungered, especially after all that has transpired, Mr. Gablou. You really ought to finish dressing first though, Sir.” she pointed at his stained shirt and giggled softly.
He nodded and frowned slightly, having forgotten for a moment that his shirt was indeed ruined, or at the very least, temporarily stained. “Yes, I shall go to my room and put on a clean shirt. For now, I’d best finish dressing myself until such a time as I have the opportunity.” With the help of Madam Bailey and Mrs. Laikos, he got his waistcoat and jacket on.
Both turned to face Madam Bailey, who then turned and led them out of the room and into the foyer. She led them past the grand staircase that led to the bedrooms of guests. One such guest was just on their way down the stairs headed to the lounge room where they’d just been. The guest gave the company a nod and a tip of his hat to the ladies as he went by.
Charlie nodded to the chap and spoke to the ladies, “I’ll be with you ladies in a moment. Will you be at the patio?“
Madam Bailey gestured, “Yes, we’ll see you there when you’re done. If you need any help, I’m sure Mary or Harold will be able to assist.“
Charlie gave them a short farewell wave and started up the stairs towards his room. On his way to his room, he went up two flights of stairs just to reach his room. Once he got into his room, he could feel the pain in his chest pulsing from the wound. He winced slightly as he went to take off the soiled jacket, laying it across the back of the wicker chair facing the desk in his room. As he began taking off the waistcoat, he could feel the blood dripping onto the bandages that covered his chest. Frowning as he looked down, he rang the bell that was affixed to the wall by his door. Finishing removing his waistcoat, he laid it on the seat of the wicker chair. Charlie moved over towards the bed and sat on the edge, struggling to remove his button up. Just as he managed to finish unbuttoning his shirt and was half-way to getting one arm free, there was a knock on the door.
“Come in.” He replied to the knock.
As the door opened, Harold walked in and gave a short bow before inquiring, “What may I assist you with, Sir?“
Charlie finished freeing one arm, “It appears I need assistance, this blasted hole is causing me absolute misery. I fear it’s bled through the bandages.“
Harold nodded and rung the bell to summon aid as he immediately set to work in helping remove the rest of the shirt. He gingerly grasped the knot and got it undone and proceeded to unwind the bandage from around Charlie’s chest. “Yes, Sir, it does appear it has begun to bleed through, Sir.”
As Harold busied himself with unraveling the bandage, a knock sounded. “Yes?” asked Charlie.
A head peeked in the door, it was a young boy maybe about 7 years old, “‘Ello Sir, ‘ut be the bother, Sir?”
Harold glanced at the boy and pointed to Charlie’s clothes, “Boy, take those clothes to be laundered, and alert Mary that we need more salve and fresh linen strips. Be quick about it.“
The boy gave a quick nod, closed the door behind him. As he ran, his footsteps could be heard throughout the corridor. They could hear the boy yell clearly as he reached the first landing, “Mum, need more bandage and salve. ‘He ol fella is bleedin’ ‘ight through!” and still more pounding feet as he begun to descend to the first floor.
Harold shook his head as he finished unwrapping the original bandage, the areas where it had covered the wound obvious from the blood that had dripped through. He went over to the bedside table where there was a bowl of water intended for Charlie to use when he needed a light bit of water to splash his face. Dipping a clean end of the strip, he went back to his wounded charge and dabbed up the fresh blood.
Moments passed, then suddenly they heard thundering feet running up the stairs. Charlie and Harold kept quiet, listening to the sound of the young lad’s running as they heard him reach the door. Without waiting for the knock, Harold was at the door, opening it just as a small fist went to hit the door. Into the room tumbled the boy, Harold quickly seizing the fresh salve the he was clutching in his hand. He shook his head at the child, held out his hand for the linen strips. The boy bashfully lifted his hand with the bandages and released his grip, letting them drop into the butlers hands. Quickly getting up, he waved to the gentleman and disappeared back down the steps to the main floor, his footsteps echoing as he ran.
For a moment, Harold hung his head, “That boy’ll be the death of us one day.” He turned back to Charlie and nodded, “Now, Sir, let us get you right as rain, Mr. Gablou.” and he set to work on replacing the salve on and around the wound.
Charlie grimaced faintly but just barely, “Thank you, Harold. I appreciate your assistance. Who was that boy?“
As the butler finished dabbing the salve and begun wrapping the fresh strip of linen around Charlie’s chest, he said, “He is the maid’s son, Sir, my grandson.“
Blinking, he looked at Harold, “I wasn’t aware Mary was your daughter.“
Finishing with wrapping the bandage around his upper torso, Harold ensured the linen was taut and tied the ends. “Yes, she is, Sir.” He eyed the bandages and nodded, pleased with his work, “There you are, Sir, right as rain.“
I know, I know, another long one. I’m sorry, but the story just seems to escape through my fingertips! If you’re behind on the story, you can find the beginning here!