Tuesday, March 8, 2016

LETTERS FROM DOWNTON ABBEY part II . .the London Season .. 3/8/16

It was quiet. Downton felt empty. A cold, gray chill settled over the place. Tom came back, but only for a few says to get the children packed up. Then he bundled them off to London. He, Mary and Tony decided to stay in town for part of 'the season.' They opened the  Crawley Townhouse, a Regency mansion in Bellgravia, but didn't send for any of the country servants, preferring to rough it and make do with the skeleton crew on hand.

Cora missed the children. Robert did too. 'Donk' was all alone and he pined for the wee ones. Isobel, who often came by for luncheon said - Why don't you join them? This is the perfect time of year to take the little ones to the Royal Zoo and I'm sure George would love the armoury display at The Tower. What little boy wouldn't? And, Cora, imagine the high teas you could have with Sybil and Marigold at The Connaught. They'd remember it all their lives.

Cora smiled and said - You make it sound so wonderful..... It is wonderful - said the soon to be baroness. And what keeps you here? Bates and Anna can play 'mother and father' to the place. A perfect quiet time for the new baby. Take Baxter and one of the footman, if you must, but I'm sure the town staff can manage. Rosamund could always lend you someone. Go! What are you staying here for?...... My work. The hospital - went Cora..... Don't even think about that. Write up some instructions. Give them to me. We'll be fine..... Cora looked at Robert. Robert looked at her. He said - What about Mama? You know how she detests sudden surprises?.... Cora sighed and nodded..... Cousin Isobel smiled and said - That won't be a problem..... Why - he asked. Are you planning to drug her?... Nothing so drastic - she said. Your mother has her own plans..... What, pray tell? - asked Cora..... She intends to start a salon, a place where people of her generation can come together to record memoirs and recollections of days gone by. There's to be a luncheon, a reception of sorts. You should see how it's animated her. Frankly, I think she's needed this for a long time. Sir Robert, from Pennington's already signed on and, of course she has me. Who knows? We may have a nice, little anthology before summer.

Mama, 'literary' - said Robert. Will wonders never cease? What brought this on?.... Everything - said Isobel. All the marriages. All the changes. The hospital. My own happy situation. She feels alone and unneeded. She'd never say it. You know how she is, but she does. Let her have this. It's not a bad thing. I'm sure of it. And bring me back something nice from Selfrige's. And something for your mother too. Now go. Pack. Go.....

So they did.

But two days after they left, a certain tall man with an unmistakable military bearing and a patch over his left eye walked up the drive toward the house, crunching the new fallen snow.

Bates met him half way. They stopped, nodded and went on, going passed the front entrance to the kitchen door toward the back.

Mrs. Patmore put out tea and left them to it. Apparently there was much they had to say...



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