Downton Abbey: A woman of letters

(Series 3, Ep.4)  This week’s history lesson was provided by Lady Edith, who informed us that women were still not properly entitled to vote – at least, not unless they were over 30 and/or a householder. That was the gist, anyway, and Lady Edith thought it was dashed unfair and she was going to write to The Times about it. Everyone went pale. A lady, writing to The Times? “They’ll never print it,” pronounced her father, confidently. As we saw from the preview of next week’s episode, he’s wrong about that, as he is about so many things, bless him.

It must be hard for him to discover he’s reared a set of militants, what with Lady Sybil spending most of the episode on the run from Irish officials who weren’t best pleased at Tom’s involvement with the burning of the homes of Irish aristocrats. It didn’t go down awfully well with the family at Downton, either: “They’re people like us!” But even worse was Tom leaving the pregnant Sybil behind to make her own way back home. She seemed to manage it fairly easily, but all the same that’s enough adventure for one pregnancy and now it’s been decided that she must stay at Downton till the baby is delivered.  

With all this political involvement going on,  Lord Grantham must heave a huge sigh of relief for Lady Mary, who at least knows how to behave like a proper lady. This mainly consists of keeping Matthew in check using only the power of her eyebrows. It was a fairly easy week for her now that Downton has been saved by an infusion of Poor Lavinia’s Father’s money: Matthew hardly had to be kept in check at all. This may change next week, as he’s apparently found some problems with the way the estate is being managed and he’s going to start ruffling some feathers.

Downstairs, Thomas has started smoking again. He seemed to have given it up last week, but he was back to his evil smoking ways again. He’s had his (beautiful) nose put out of joint by the arrival of tall ginger footman Alfred, but he was much more pleased by the arrival this week of another new footman (with Poor Lavinia’s Father’s money, Downton is hiring again), Jimmy Kent. Or James, as Mr Carson insists we call him. Carson had a choice of a competent footman or a cute footman. Lady Mary told him to go for the cute one, to give the kitchen maids something to look at. Probably a diplomatic move, as Daisy and the new girl are already fighting over Alfred.

Anna had other things on her mind apart from ogling new staff members, as she hadn’t had a letter from Bates for ages. I don’t know about you, but every time the action shifts from Downton to HM Prison Wherever, I die a little inside. I’m not really interested in seeing Mr Bates and his itchy prison blankets. If he’s going to go back to Downton, get him back and let’s get on with the real business of gorgeous frocks, sarcastic eyebrows and snobby servants (yes, you, Mr Carson).

Posted by PLA     (other Downton-related blog posts here)

1 Comment

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One response to “Downton Abbey: A woman of letters

  1. Tara and Liffey

    Aha, we read all your Holby and Casualty blogs but I saw Downton Abbey on the little box-y thing (does that make sense?) on the side and got so excited! I LOVE DOWNTON ABBEY! Just had to express my feelings there… Anyway, I love your review of it and I must agree; Mr Bates in prison is rather boring- but on the preview for two weeks time (bit of an addict) it says Anna’s perseverence is rewarded so hopefully (fingers crossed!) he’ll be out of prison in a few weeks!

    Jimmy or ‘James’ seems like a funny new addition, certainly from Thomas’ point of view anyway and I know we haven’t seen much of the new kitchen maid but she SEEMS nice… not that that really means anything much, everyone seemed nice to a certain extent at the beginning.

    Tara and Liffey

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