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#1

TWoP Roxy

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Posted Sep 20, 2012 @ 11:52 AM

NO discussion of the current season (3) should be in this thread until it airs in the US. There's a UK thread for that. Feel free to discuss US media mentions, or past episodes, etc. If anyone starts spoiling, they will be banned immediately. Thanks!

#2

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Posted Sep 21, 2012 @ 11:28 AM

Random question regarding the cottages, one of which Robert promised Bates and Anna, and another which Ethel and little Charlie were living in...

I was a bit confused by this whole scenario. Are these cottages just sitting around empty, waiting for Mr. and Mrs. Bates to occupy one? How was Ethel able to live in one without anyone know she was there, presumably for a considerable length of time? I'm confused. Did I miss something?

#3

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Posted Sep 21, 2012 @ 12:38 PM

That's interesting, SnarkySheep. I personally assumed that they were a different group of cottages. I thought that Ethel was renting a small cottage in town or somewhere off the estate, but somewhere nearby or close enough to walk. I also figured that there are cottages on the estate, which may be leased or may not be that Robert could promise to the Bates. But maybe I'm mistaken.

In other news, I'm not eager for winter, but come on January, hurry up so I can see S3.

#4

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Posted Sep 21, 2012 @ 1:05 PM

Could be, but if Ethel was in such a dire state of poverty that she was begging for food -- remember, she told Mrs. Hughes she was only able to get "a bit of scrubbing," but that with Charlie anything else was pretty much impossible -- so I doubt she could rent anything. IMO it seemed pretty clear that she was on the down-low, staying in a cottage that Robert -- or whoever the owner was -- thought empty.

Then again, there apparently were neighbors. At one point, when Ethel came to the house for food using a bicycle, didn't she say "a neighbor" had lent it to her and was watching Charlie meanwhile? So there would be people near enough to see her living there, unless she was using the word neighbor in a roundabout way, as in someone who lives close by but not necessarily right next to her.

We've seen other servants scurrying about in the background -- perhaps there are outdoor workers, such as a gardeners, who have wives and thus live there? Or maybe the Crawleys simply rent to random villagers as an additional source of income? I don't know.

Another thing I've always wondered about -- where and when do the other servants eat their meals? It's clear that there ARE other servants, yet we never see anyone in the dining hall except the ones who are central characters. I could explain it away as these are the more important, higher-up servants, who eat first and then another group comes in. However, we have Daisy with the group, and she's pretty much as low as anyone, so that doesn't make sense.

#5

Milz

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Posted Sep 21, 2012 @ 1:52 PM

I was a bit confused by this whole scenario. Are these cottages just sitting around empty, waiting for Mr. and Mrs. Bates to occupy one? How was Ethel able to live in one without anyone know she was there, presumably for a considerable length of time? I'm confused. Did I miss something?


The estates at that time were vast. They often had tenant farmers who rented lands or had skilled laborers (ie: blacksmiths) or farm laborers (ie: shepherds, dairy maids) who worked on the estate but not in the estate house. These folks needed places to live within commuting distance of their workplace. Oh and the cottages served as retirement homes for servants and others who worked on the estate and didn't want to leave or didn't have family, etc.

If you can get a copy of Flora Thompson's Lark Rise trilogy books, Thomas Hardy's novel"Far From a Aaddening Crowd" or Graham Winston's Poldark books, it gives you an idea of how the hamlet-village-estate system worked. Also Mrs. Gaskell's short story "My Lady Ludlow" gives you a glimpse of it too.

Edited by Milz, Sep 21, 2012 @ 1:56 PM.


#6

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Posted Sep 21, 2012 @ 6:51 PM

Another thing I've always wondered about -- where and when do the other servants eat their meals? It's clear that there ARE other servants, yet we never see anyone in the dining hall except the ones who are central characters. I could explain it away as these are the more important, higher-up servants, who eat first and then another group comes in. However, we have Daisy with the group, and she's pretty much as low as anyone, so that doesn't make sense.


When I rewatched Seasons 1 and 2, there's a reference in Season 1 when Branson comes to Downton. O'Brien or Thomas basically complain that he's eating with them when he's the chauffeur. Something about how the chauffeur is supposed to eat in his cottage. Maybe it worked like that with the gardeners and the other outdoor workers?

#7

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Posted Sep 24, 2012 @ 9:07 AM

As a writer myself, I've long been disappointed in the one-dimensional portrayal of Vera. From the moment we learned of her, she's been 100% evil, no redeeming characteristics whatsoever, basically serving merely as a plot device to keep the saintly Anna and Bates apart. Why couldn't JF give ANY shades of gray in the character? IMO, that would complicate things, but make them both more realistic and more complex to mull over. It's very easy to hate Vera and like Anna in the way they're presented -- Vera is all but twirling a black handlebar mustache and Anna has an invisible halo overhead. Would it kill TPTB to let us know about something positive regarding Vera, or even - gasp! - something less-than-perfect in Anna's past? Likely, it wouldn't change viewers' overall opinions about both characters, but IMO it would make them much richer and improve their storylines to boot.

#8

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Posted Sep 24, 2012 @ 10:05 AM

O'Brien or Thomas basically complain that he's eating with them when he's the chauffeur. Something about how the chauffeur is supposed to eat in his cottage. Maybe it worked like that with the gardeners and the other outdoor workers?


Grooms/ostlers/stable boys morphed into chauffeurs when motorcars replaced the horse as transportation (According to Flora Thompson's account, blacksmiths became automechanics due to their knowledge of metal working and mechanics as they often made parts/repaired mechanical farm equipment!) So chauffeurs were "outdoor" workers like gardeners and had their own places to take meals, sleep, etc.

Frankly, I wouldn't mind living apart and working apart from the house-servants....too much workplace drama, imo. I'd rather leave my cottage every morning, punch in, put in my hours, punch out and go home. lol.

#9

Empressv

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Posted Sep 28, 2012 @ 10:05 AM

Thanks, TWoP, for opening a new forum for non-UK viewers. I appreciate it!

#10

TWoP Roxy

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Posted Sep 28, 2012 @ 11:09 AM

You're welcome. But please don't post unless you're discussing the show. Thanks.

#11

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Posted Oct 4, 2012 @ 4:31 AM

I don't know where to catch this show. I've only seen one epi, the Christmas one, on PBS but it wasn't called Downton Abbey. I think it was under Masterpiece Theatre or some such. Of course, I'm behind as it is unless I can catch up on the first 2 seasons. I'm guessing BBC America isn't carrying it?

Edited by Madmarsha, Oct 4, 2012 @ 4:37 AM.


#12

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Posted Oct 4, 2012 @ 5:42 AM

I don't know where to catch this show. I've only seen one epi, the Christmas one, on PBS but it wasn't called Downton Abbey. I think it was under Masterpiece Theatre or some such. Of course, I'm behind as it is unless I can catch up on the first 2 seasons. I'm guessing BBC America isn't carrying it?


I don't think it would appeal to the type of audience that BBC America seem to be marketing themselves at these days.

New episodes of Downton Abbey are normally aired on PBS as part of Masterpiece Theatre. Season 2 maybe getting repeated in the US in December: http://www.pbs.org/w...chedule/page/1/ but you will need to check local listings. The only way to catchup with season 1 would be if your local PBS station decide to run it again or to watch it on DVD or through a service like Amazon Instant Video or similar.

#13

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Posted Oct 4, 2012 @ 7:24 AM

I first got into this show because of a free trial with Netflix -- they let you watch for a whole month without having to pay anything. They had the whole first season.

After that, I think it's only $7 a month to get the basic subscription.

The second one wasn't available on Neflix when I last checked. So I ended up buying the DVD set on Amazon, and when I finished, I resold it, getting back most of my money. The few dollars I lost was basically like a rental fee, which is fine.

#14

HappyHumanist

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Posted Oct 4, 2012 @ 8:30 AM

Season 2 is on Hulu Plus--that's a paid service. But they offer a one week free subscription. That's how we watched Season 2. And then cancelled after the day it took us to run through the season!!

#15

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Posted Oct 4, 2012 @ 12:59 PM

Thanks, all!

#16

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Posted Oct 5, 2012 @ 1:12 PM

Does anyone know about the history of free legal aid? I just posted on the other thread something that touched upon this, and now I'm curious...if Bates did not have the backing of Robert Crawley financially, would he have been able to have a lawyer of any sort? Something tells me likely not.

#17

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Posted Oct 7, 2012 @ 6:46 AM

Does anyone know about the history of free legal aid? I just posted on the other thread something that touched upon this, and now I'm curious...if Bates did not have the backing of Robert Crawley financially, would he have been able to have a lawyer of any sort? Something tells me likely not.


In theory help would have been available for Bates under the Poor Prisoners Defence Act 1903 however,unlike the modern form of legal aid which dates from the Legal Aid and Advice Act 1949 he would not have been entitled to a 'free and private consultation' with a duty solicitor prior to his police interview nor subject to a 'means test' would he get legal aid to pay for a solicitor to ascertain whether he had a legal defence to the charge of murder and to speak on his behalf during his initial court appearances before a magistrate.

The earliest point at which Bates could apply for legal aid under the 1903 Act would have been at the committal hearing where he would have to disclose that he had a defence to the charge of murder which should be put to a jury 'in the interests of justice' and that he lacked the 'necessary means' with which to pay a solicitor to prepare the case for presentation in court by a barrister. However, how would Bates establish that he has a defence to murder when he lacks the necessary legal know-how,would most likely have been remanded in prison following charge and wouldn't have had the means prior to being granted legal aid to get a defence prepared by a lawyer? Not surprisingly very few poor defendants qualified for legal aid due to the impossibility of establishing a defence prior to the hearing.

Another major sticking point was that legal aid wasn't supported by the establishment who made sure that it's existence wasn't advertised, therefore, prisoners wouldn't know that they could apply for it, and few magistrates would know that they could grant it, and if they did, they were actively discouraged from advertising the fact to prisoners appearing before them. [The Act was the result of a Private Members Bill, which didn't have Home Office support, but they thought that it would look bad if they were seen to oppose it 'on principle' and were confidant that it would fail to get enough support in both Houses to become law].

Therefore, it is likely that without Robert's support Bates would have gone unrepresented since like most people he would have been unaware that legal aid was available, and even if he was,like most other poor prisoners he would have struggled to establish the necessary defence to disclose at the committal hearing in order to apply.

Prior to the 1903 Act, the only way a poor person could get representation was to either satisfy the necessary criteria to be tried 'in the manner of a pauper' or to find a benefactor like Robert. In the early 19th century the Sheriffs of London set up a fund to help such people, but few people met the criteria for their help.

#18

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Posted Nov 25, 2012 @ 8:27 AM

I can't decide whether or not to watch tonight's Downton Abbey special. The blurb on my TV guide channel says there will be behind the scenes stuff, cast interviews and previews of the new season. I don't care for the first two things because they mess with my suspension of disbelief and I fear previews because I hate to be spoiled. On the other hand -- Downton Abbey!

#19

labresq

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Posted Nov 25, 2012 @ 10:36 AM

When do we (in the US) start getting this season's episodes, and on which network?

#20

not Bridget

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Posted Nov 25, 2012 @ 11:19 AM

The 3rd series of Downton Abbey premieres January 3, 2013 on PBS. Previously part of "Masterpiece Classic"--now just "Masterpiece."

Most PBS stations will be repeating Series 2 throughout December. Check your local schedule!

#21

callietwo

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Posted Nov 25, 2012 @ 12:22 PM

I just marathoned season 1 on netflix yesterday (laid up) and am completely hooked! I couldn't sleep last night so I was grabbed my laptop and set up to watch season 2 and found it wasn't available dammit! I'm so disappointed but it looks like from the link above, Dec 2nd they start airing season 2 so I will try to be patient.

Since I haven't seen season 2 yet, I'm am surmising from above that Bates is accused of murder, would not be surprised if it was Thomas (and good riddance there)

One thing that really took me aback was when Bates said something about having worked at Downton for '2 years' in episode 4 or 5... really, it was that long? And Thomas & O'Brien were scheming shits that whole time and Mr. Carson & Mrs. Hughes hasn't been able to convince Robert & Cora to toss them out on their ears?

And are we supposed to like and feel bad for Mary that she can't inherit Downton & the $$? Because I really, really hate Mary. Having Crawley turn her down serves her right.

Edited by callietwo, Nov 25, 2012 @ 12:23 PM.


#22

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Posted Nov 25, 2012 @ 12:37 PM

And are we supposed to like and feel bad for Mary that she can't inherit Downton & the $$? Because I really, really hate Mary. Having Crawley turn her down serves her right.

I think that, since we're eighty years past the end of entails, it is definitely unfair that gender is the only thing stopping Mary from inheriting and some random stranger gets everything because he's the next male in line regardless of whether Mary herself deserves anything.

#23

Empressv

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Posted Nov 25, 2012 @ 10:25 PM

Just watched the "Downton Abbey Revisited" program on PBS, narrated by Angela Lansbury. Am I the only one who wanted her to go into Jessica Fletcher mode and solve the Bates case at that point? :)

Lots of pretty video, not much substance, but an enjoyable way to pass an hour on a Sunday evening.

#24

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Posted Nov 25, 2012 @ 11:37 PM

I think that, since we're eighty years past the end of entails, it is definitely unfair that gender is the only thing stopping Mary from inheriting and some random stranger gets everything because he's the next male in line regardless of whether Mary herself deserves anything.


Because I'm not knowledgeable of this kind of thing- when you say 'we're eighty years past the end of entails'- do you mean we as now, in 2012 or when this show is set? (I really just wasn't sure)

In the context of the time of this show, was an entail unusual at that point or the norm? Was the right of a woman to inherit a fairly new fight for them? I see from the show that Sybil is working towards rights of women to vote so my assumption was that the inheritance rules though disgusting to me as a woman in 2012, was not at all unusual for the time.

And did that give Mary the right to be such a snot to Matthew, who was thrust into the situation through no action of his own and did his best to be fair and kind towards those with whom he dealt with? In general, I really never saw what Matthew sees in Mary. I guess I just don't like Mary, I find her to be a major spoiled brat, acting as if the world "should" revolve around her, even if it didn't. The fact that neither of her sisters could inherit doesn't seem to be a bother to her at all and if she was feeling that her lack of inheritance was an injustice why not feel similarly towards her sisters (though I know only one can inherit the title but there is the rest of the estate) Mary's one redeeming act was to make sure William was able to go home in time to be with his mum when she was dying.

Based just on the season 1 I've seen, I have mixed feelings towards Edith; originally I felt sympathetic to how overlooked she always seemed to be by the family; though Mary has been a real shit towards her from the beginning, once Edith mailed that letter to the Embassy, I lost all sympathies I had for her. I hated that Mary sabotaged her engagement towards the older gentleman (can't remember his name, sorry) but Edith most certainly reaped what she sowed there. Sybil, so far is the only likable one of the three girls. I loved her having pants instead of a gown made for herself- she is a feisty one which probably doesn't bode well for her in the long run.

I think I like the show more for the interactions of the servants than the family they serve, though Robert and Cora do seem to be quite kind. And Violet turns out to have a soft heart after all (At least in regards to giving up her Blooming Cup)

My favorites as I mentioned before, Anna & Mr. Bates. Then Mrs Hughes & Mr. Carson.

I'm a bit confused as to how it's determined who gets addressed as Mr. & Mrs. and who gets addressed by first names, nor why Sara O'Brien is called "O'Brien instead of Sara or Miss/Mrs. O'Brien though. I know it's determined by a hierarchy but what is the determining factor? Mr. Bates is the valet of the head of the house (Duke?) so he gets to be addressed as Mr. but O'Brien is the Lady in Waiting, yes? So wouldn't she get the same address? And then Anna seems to have some seniority but is still called just Anna. And Mrs. Hughes is called Mrs. Hughes simply because she's the head of housekeeping, though she's never been married.

#25

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Posted Nov 26, 2012 @ 3:16 AM

Because I'm not knowledgeable of this kind of thing- when you say 'we're eighty years past the end of entails'- do you mean we as now, in 2012 or when this show is set? (I really just wasn't sure)

In the context of the time of this show, was an entail unusual at that point or the norm? Was the right of a woman to inherit a fairly new fight for them? I see from the show that Sybil is working towards rights of women to vote so my assumption was that the inheritance rules though disgusting to me as a woman in 2012, was not at all unusual for the time.

I believe that entails were legally abolished in Britain in 1926. Since the Duke from the first season who had that affair with Thomas had thought that, even with the entail, Mary would have more money and since Mary, Violet, Cora, and even Matthew all thought the entail could probably be broken it seems like entails were falling out of favor. I also think that they would have been becoming less common and desirable for them to be done away with altogether just a few years later since if people were mostly happy with entails then no one would have changed the law. I don't think not liking entails necessarily has anything to do with appreciating womens rights (although 1912 was only a decade and a half or so away from universal suffrage) but about what happens when there is a lack of male heirs (which is the only time that an entail ever becomes an issue).

I don't know what happens if there are no eligible male heirs period but it takes someone seriously gung-ho about the family name and title (like Robert who is an earl and not a duke) to prefer a distantly related stranger who might not even be upper class to inherit everything and to leave your entire family at his mercy.

and if she was feeling that her lack of inheritance was an injustice why not feel similarly towards her sisters (though I know only one can inherit the title but there is the rest of the estate)

No one ever intended to split the estate up and that's why Robert opposed breaking the entailment since that would involve dividing it and keep Downton intact was more important than any consideration for his family. That's why Edith was so bitter about it and Sybil just didn't care. It would never have affected tehm except Mary would (probably) be more inclined to let them stay at the estate after Robert died than a stranger would and if she could access the money she could give them proper dowries. With an entailment broken, they could have left the estate to Mary, Edith, or Sybil but they probably would have chosen Mary since Sybil wasn't really interested and they didn't have much hope for Edith.

Of course Matthew doesn't deserve rudeness for something he can't help (though he didn't make the best impression by lamenting that Robert was probably going to throw his daughters at him and he'd have to marry one of them while Mary was within earshot) but I think Mary's feelings are understandable. She didn't seem especially thrilled about having to marry Patrick as shown by her near-indifference to his death and she wasn't looking forward to being expected to marry this random middle-class cousin of hers who gets the estate instead of her. Still, I will concede that - no matter how understandable - being rude is never very appealing and she did not behave the best in several other circumstances.

And Mrs. Hughes is called Mrs. Hughes simply because she's the head of housekeeping, though she's never been married.

I think that's still a pretty common practice. Once women are of a certain age, people just tend to assume that they must have been married or else are trying to be respectful and so address them as Mrs.

#26

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Posted Nov 26, 2012 @ 7:49 AM

The entail at the heart of this story was unusual even for its time. Robert married Cora because her family were filthy rich Americans & the Earldom was bankrupt; this sort of marriage was hardly unique back then. The entail was written so that her fortune would become part of the estate--to provide for upkeep of the ancient pile & keep the attached property solvent. The whole estate would go to the next Earl--who would, of course, be the eldest son of Robert & Cora. Robert fell in love with her--but only daughters were born. Next in the male line were Robert's brother, then his son Patrick. So it was assumed that Mary would marry Patrick, therefore keeping the estate within the all-too-close family. Alas, Patrick & his father went down with the Titanic!

So Matthew--a more distant cousin--was located. Thus we had the main story line for two series--will Matthew & Mary get together? The details of the entail had been known all her life; Mary's shock that she could not inherit everything seemed rather sudden. No matter what happened, all three daughters would get marriage settlements--just not the riches that snotty Duke was hoping for; he, too, had an almost-bankrupt estate.

The Earldom itself could only be transmitted through the male line--specifically, legitimate, natural (not adopted) male offspring. That is still the case; Julian Fellowes changed his name to Kitchener-Fellowes as a symbol of his pissed-offness that his wife can't inherit her family's title. When Lord Kitchener was ennobled, the title was set to go to his brother--since Kitchener famously did not mess around with women. But the last male Kitchener died without male issue & the title went extinct. If Matthew had not existed (or had died in the War) & no other males of the lineage had been found, the Grantham Earldom would have gone extinct at Robert's death. However, that sad event would have rendered the entail irrelevant & Mary would have become filthy rich. Her sisters would have the same modest settlements--really, living in a smaller house with only a few servants is so dreadful!

Robert wanted Downton Abbey to continue as the seat of the Earldom. Once he got to know Matthew, he declined to fight the entail.

Edited by not Bridget, Nov 26, 2012 @ 8:27 AM.


#27

JudyObscure

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Posted Nov 26, 2012 @ 7:59 AM

Ach Callietwo you're bringing it all back for me. :) My dislike for spoiled, entitled though not entailed Mary. Then, like you, my mixed feelings for Edith.

I was so eager to root for Edith once she heard her own parents disparage her and after seeing their obvious favoritism for her sisters. What could feel worse to a young girl in her isolated position? Then we would see Mary deliberately rub it in by proving to Edith how she could take men right from under her nose. One would think that from Mary's position of greater beauty, social confidence and security in her parents love, she might have actually helped her little sister. But no.

Then came Edith's letter to the embassy, which was unforgivable and stupid, but understandable from a girl who had had the flames of jealousy fanned by parents and sisters for years. Then Mary's deliberate sabotage of Edith's proposal in retaliation -- also unforgivable

So season one ended with me hating Mary and having lost some of my sympathy for poor Edith.

Season two came along and seemed to expect me to despise Edith along with the family and root for Mary as our star crossed heroine. I never quite made the leap.

#28

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Posted Nov 28, 2012 @ 9:45 AM

not Bridget, Robert did not have a brother -- Patrick was a second cousin to Mary, the son of Robert's cousin. Then after they died, they went looking and found Matthew, who is something like a fifth cousin (rather distant, in any case, as none of the Crawleys had ever met him or Isobel til then).

I'm a bit confused as to how it's determined who gets addressed as Mr. & Mrs. and who gets addressed by first names, nor why Sara O'Brien is called "O'Brien instead of Sara or Miss/Mrs. O'Brien though. I know it's determined by a hierarchy but what is the determining factor?


callietwo, the senior servants were typically addressed as Mr. or Mrs. and the junior servants by first name only. (If the woman was unmarried, like Mrs. Hughes, she still got to be a Mrs. as a courtesy title, basically in deference to her age and experience.) However, a lady's maid, like O'Brien would typically be called by her surname. I have no idea why, only that that was the custom.

That said, I did a bit of Googling and found that it was also acceptable to call a lady's maid by her Christian name. It seems to have been up to the personal preference of the lady.

I too wondered about Anna, since she seems to have more seniority/authority than most of the other maids. I'm thinking that perhaps it's because she's still young, or else because she seems to have been around for years. If she started at as a young teen and was known as merely Anna since then, it would undoubtedly seem odd for people to suddenly start calling her Miss Smith, and so they left it as was their habit.

#29

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Posted Nov 28, 2012 @ 10:22 AM

The Onion on Downton's 4th season.

#30

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Posted Nov 28, 2012 @ 12:26 PM

not Bridget, Robert did not have a brother -- Patrick was a second cousin to Mary, the son of Robert's cousin. Then after they died, they went looking and found Matthew, who is something like a fifth cousin (rather distant, in any case, as none of the Crawleys had ever met him or Isobel til then).


Thanks for the correction; it's been a long time since I cared about this stuff. But I mostly wanted to point out that the entail was a bit unusual, even for those days. And the Earldom, like most titles in the UK, could only go through the male line--& that's still the case.