Cora didn't know. Robert was sure of it. He'd almost forgotten about the whole thing itself. Odd to think of a son as an almost forgotten thing. But that's how it was. One paid people to 'cover up' and life went on. Look at Edith... 'poor old Edith'... even she did that and now she's the wife of a marquis. But the truth doesn't go away. It's always there... waiting to spill out, like wine in a carafe on a table full of drunks.
The War Office knew, or certain men within it knew. John Bates knew. He was one of the first.. Bates knew everything there was to know about almost every member of the Downton household. Look, do you want to know what he was? He was 'the fixer.' All the big men had one.... that person charged with 'hiding things.' Even Bates was hidden. Being valet to Lord Robert, the earl, was only his cover. And now he had 'Lucas' to worry about....
Lady Mary was sure her new found half brother was being manipulated by unseen forces. Her father felt so too. What else could they think? Perhaps it was shared blood? Save for the light brown skin tone he looked so much like one of them. For God's sake, he WAS one of them. Official acknowledgement was remote. 'Racial' prejudice wasn't even considered a prejudice. It was just how things were. Few questioned it. Fewer even cared.
The thing is, they were re-opening Tea Pot Dome investigations in Washington. Mary heard it on the wireless. It was in all the papers. Her Uncle Harold in New York had a close call. They almost prosecuted him in the first g0-round, but Robert, supposedly a blameless, British peer of the first rank, vouched for him. Character witnesses were big back then. But what if it came out that the earl's character was... shall we say, less than sterling? What then? Everything is connected. Life is like a big Tinker Toy just waiting to fall down.
So that's how it was... a season, or at least part of a season, in London... waiting for the next shoe to fall. There were dinners and 'assemblies' (formal dances) ... trips to the theater. Mary and her new husband, Henry, saw the acclaimed, West End production of SHOWBOAT at The Haymarket Theater. She cried during most of the performance. Some parts of the plot came too close to home.
Then there was the gossip. People said a house across the square had been sold. The old owner, a Miss Hammersmith, from an ancient, august gentry family had died. Relations in Canada wanted the cash and a certain notorious newspaperman wanted the house....
Sir Richard Carlisle was coming to St. James Square.... The Merlin behind the magic, revealed...
Oh, he'd never claim credit. He couldn't ... But that doesn't mean he wouldn't stir the pot.
Old enemies never really disappear. They just plot and wait.
<more Downton next time>
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