In the drawling room
Lord of the Manor: In these early scenes, we must establish that we're all deeply interwoven into the lives of the townspeople and servants, so I expect you girls to get ready for church.
Mary: Oh, father . . . must we?
Lord of the Manor: Yes, Mary, for it is a matter of duty, you see. I understand that Ben Heffernink's ewe is birthing just at the moment. If we don't take notice of these things, it's almost as though they never happen, you know, and where would the animal husbandry be if these things never happened? Besides, once it's established, we'll never have to go again, unless it's for a wedding or funeral. I don't see why we should have the parson by, ever. And I don't particularly see why any of us should have close friends who ever visit more than, say, once a month. It would muck up the story line.
Mary (to Cora): Mother, must we really? I had really rather loaf about than listen to that musty parson.
Cora: Yes, your father is quite right, Mary. Run along, and tell Sybil don't be late.
Mary: Whatever. I must obey for the good of Downton. [departs]
Lord of the Manor: Also, I must establish, Cora, that although you are an American heiress with a fortune derived from the manufacture of a patent laundry washing device whom I married for money to keep the estate going, that I have fallen in love with you. And also that, because I have no male heir, there's some kind of difficulty with the succession.
Cora: Especially now that your nephew has died in a tragical accident involving trying to pass over a stile in muddy wellies.
Lord of the Manor: Especially.
Edith: Well, I have passed over stiles in muddy wellies ever so often without catastrophe.
Lord of the Manor: Have you, dear? I suppose you have. Which one are you, again?
Edith: I am Edith, your second daughter. The one whose coming out party was not a triumph, you know. Ring a bell?
Lord of the Manor: Ah. Precisely.
Cora: I do so worry about her. She's frumpy, and a bit of a bluestocking.
Lord of the Manor: Nevertheless, Cora, we must get Mary set up. She is our firstborn, and tall, and comely, and a fine equestrienne, and neurotic; and although this tragical accident has rather thrown a . . . what's that tool for turning things called?
Cora: A wrench.
Lord of the Manor: Yes, a . . . a wrench into our plans, it would be nice if she were able to stay here at Downton by virtue of a match to the eventual inheritor if we can manage it, so that our family can carry on after we are . . . what's the word?
Cora: Dead, dear.
Lord of the Manor: Yes, dead. And if that cannot be managed, it seems we must set her up with money and connections. It seems there's another fellow, a . . . a . . .
Cora: Cousin, I think.
Lord of the Manor: Just so, a cousin, who lives in the . . . city, with his mother. And they're likely dreadful, and tainted with commerce and all that. No offense, my dear. What do you think about all this, Droll Butler.
Droll Butler: Does one's lord solicit one's opinion?
Lord of the Manor: Yes. That is why I asked.
Droll Butler: Although she is neurotic, self-centered, and sometimes cruel, I am perfectly devoted to Mary, and if she were to find (for example, one's lord) a wealthy zombie barrister in Parliament, that might suit. Certain it is that without power and privilege, she will be miserable, and we must all be preoccupied with her happiness, one's lord. It is a matter of duty.
Lord of the Manor: Thanks for that, Droll Butler. Summon the brougham, please.
Droll Butler (bowing): One's lord. A telegram for you. [extends plate, exits]
Lord of the Manor: Hmmm. War Department? Germany? Archduke? Assassin? How dreadful! England is at war, and we are allied with . . . with France! How perfectly dreadful. I suppose this means that all the young male tenants and servants will be mustered! Where's that fellow that used to wait on me during the Boer business? What's his name, Cora?
Cora: Bates, I believe you called him.
Lord of the Manor: We must summon Bates! He is crippled and cannot be conscripted. Good old Bates!
Cora: In what capacity are we to employ him?
Lord of the Manor: I shall need a new manservant.
Cora: A crippled manservant? Isn't that a bit Victor Hugoesque? I mean, what about the lint? Can he . . .
Lord of the Manor: We shall just have to give it a try, my dear. It will help establish my deep-down humanity, as well.
In the kitchens
Cook: Oh, there's to be big doings with all the young bachelors comin' to take a look at Mary. I am bustling about. Scones! Daisy, fetch me some flour!
Daisy (cross-eyed): Beg pardon, mum?
Cook: Bustling! Flour, Daisy! Fetch some! Really, what's gotten into your head? Scones!
Daisy (starting, then turning back, flustered): Where will I find it?
Cook: In the pantry, Daisy! Did you swallow a brain tumor, girl? Scones! Bustle!
Evil Gay Footman: She really is an idjit, ain't she?
Cook: She's a sweet girl, Evil Gay Footman, as sweet a girl as ever lived and breathed; but she's a bit deranged, because I'm pressing her to marry that young servant who's off to war, even though she don't love him. And I'd prefer you smoked in the lavatory with that treacherous fag hag you hangs out with.
Evil Gay Footman: I'll get you for that, Cookie. Mark my words.
Droll Butler (entering abruptly): What's going on here, Evil Gay Footman? Can't you see that Cook is bustling the scones? I distinctly recall asking you to polish the knobs! Eligible young men are coming to have a look at Mary, to whom I am devoted, and here you are lounging with a smoke, when that is only permitted in the lavatory, with your treacherous fag hag. Also, there's to be a new footman and Lady Cora is pregnant.
Evil Gay Footman: For now.
Droll Butler: What do you mean, "for now," you insolent puppy?
Evil Gay Butler: Someone might just step on a bar of soap. You never know. Things like that happen all the time. I just mean . . .
Droll Butler: I recommend you polish the knobs, if you want to keep your job. I forgot to mention that England is now at war . . .
All: War? Gosh!
Droll Butler: . . . and those without jobs will soon find themselves shipped off to the front. Downton must do its duty, so I expect every one of you to keep calm and carry on. Scones.
Evil Gay Butler: I'll get you for this, Droll Butler. Mark my words. [exits]
Treacherous Fag Hag (smoking): So, here we are, smoking in the lavatory. What ho, Evil Gay Footman?
Evil Gay Footman (smoking): Lady Cora is pregnant, England is at war, and there's to be a new manservant.
Treacherous Fag Hag: If Lady Cora is pregnant, there's a chance it the child might be male, in which case the whole business about the succession would be taken care of.
Evil Gay Footman: I wanted that job, manservant. They're giving it to a cripple who served in Africa with the Lord of the Manor.
Treacherous Fag Hag: You're a blackhearted man, Evil Gay Footman. It's what I like about you. You know . . . people step on soap bars all the time. They fall and suffer miscarriages. Nobody would suspect.
Evil Gay Footman: Will you do that for me?
Treacherous Fag Hag: Not entirely for you, Evil Gay Footman. Her nibs made me re-braid her hair yesterday. But since we are the only two truly wicked people in this household, we should stick together. You'd best keep your nose clean, too, or you'll be cashiered and shipped off to the front.
Evil Gay Footman: I don't care, really. I'm so bored I don't think I would mind. At least I'd get to see lots of boys in their skivvies. That manservant job would at least have been a little exciting.
Treacherous Fag Hag: Don't talk nonsense. If someone shot at you, you'd shit yourself, because you are a cowardly weasel. Which I also like about you.
Evil Gay Footman: Flatterer.
Treacherous Fag Hag: By the way, I think Miss Manager knows you've been stealing the wine.
Evil Gay Footman: I'll get her for that. Mark my words.
Droll Butler: I regret to say, one's lord, that Bates fell down and spoiled the household reception line for all of Mary's young suitors.
Lord of the Manor: Yes, I'd heard. Is he all right?
Droll Butler: I think Bates will survive, one's lord.
Lord of the Manor: No, I mean Nicefellow. He wasn't too put out by the spectacle, was he?
Cora: Do you really think he's up to the task? If he's going to keel over in reception lines, are we doing him a favor by keeping him on? Young Sir Nicefellow brought a Turk with him. They're to go fox hunting with Mary.
Mary: Oh, mother, must I? Nicefellow is so nice, he bores me to death. And how quaint to bring a Musselman! I suppose I should be grateful he's not Irish.
Lord of the Manor: Speaking of which, Mary, I have hired a flannel-mouthed bogtrotter to drive the motorcar, and it turns out he's a socialist and a rebel! So now we have a cripple and an Irishman! Such are the shifts of war!
Cora: I hadn't realized there were any Irish not gone to America. And yes, Mary, you really must. Unless you plan to wed City Cousin, should the baby turn out to be another girl, you must entertain these well-connected suitors.
Edith: I wish I had suitors.
Sybil: You might, if you wore frocks that distracted from your nose. You mightn't look quite so horsey.
Lord of the Manor: How awkward. Well, if you'll excuse me, I have military . . . err . . .
Cora: Dispatches, dear.
Lord of the Manor: . . . yes, dispatches that I must read, as soon as I don my kilt. [exits]
On the landscape, ahorse
Mary: Oh, Nicefellow, it's awfully nice of you to come all the way from wherever to ride with me.
Nicefellow: It's wizard of you to have invited me, actually.
Mary: When can we start? Where is this Turk of yours? Wherever did you find him?
Nicefellow: His father is an ambassador, and a sheik or sultan or whatever they call them. I'm fond of him, but he spends an inordinate amount of time on his pomade. Ah, here he comes now.
[Mary does enormous double take]
Turk: Hello, my lady. Allow me to introduce myself. I am the Turkish Plot Device.
Turk: I believe Nicefellow told me we were going fox hunting. Why do you have a polo club?
Nicefellow: Fox hunting has always been performed with a polo club at Downton, Turk. I have a club that I believe will suit you, right here.
Turk: Shall we then?
Mary (spurring her steed): Heigh ho!
Mary's bedroom, a knock from without
Mary: Who is it?
Turk: It is I, my lady, the Turkish Plot Device.
Mary (opening the door): Whatever can you be doing here at this hour? I do admit, you are devilishly handsome in your swarthy way.
Turk: Thanks. Now that I am inside, you must allow me to ravish you, or I will awaken the whole house and claim that you tempted me to your quarters.
Mary (alarmed): Then I suppose I must surrender my virginity to you!
Mary: Am I not doing it right? Why are you unresponsive? Good lord, you're dead, Turk! This is a pickle!
[Mary glides silently down the hall until she encounters Faithful Servant Girl]
Faithful Servant Girl: You startled me, my lady. What are you doing up and about? I thought you were in bed!
Mary: Please, keep your voice down Faithful Servant Girl. I need your help with something.
Faithful Servant Girl: Oh, my lady! He's dead! How did he ever get in here?
Mary: It's a long story.
Faithful Servant Girl: Well, we can't get him out of here by ourselves, and he can't be discovered here for your sake. We must get Lady Cora.
Mary: Really? Must we? She will be so tiresomely put out with me.
Faithful Servant Girl: Whom else could you trust not to tell your secret? Also, we will need a hacksaw and a rug. I think I know where to find them. You must fetch your mother.
Mary: Why did this happen, Faithful Servant Girl? Was I not doing it right?
Faithful Servant Girl: You may blame your conduct for this predicament, my lady, but not for his death. This sometimes happens when people of different races attempt to make love, it is said. If he were swarthier, he might have exploded entirely.
[Mary returns with Lady Cora to find Faithful Servant Girl ready with hacksaw and rug]
Lady Cora: Oh, Mary, how could you? A Turk? Your father must never hear of this; it would kill him. But it will be a long time before I forgive you for making me help dispose of a Turkish corpse in the middle of the night. Faithful Servant Girl, please awaken the gardener and let him know that I will need a hole dug in the garden of about 3 feet by 6 feet, at least 3 feet deep, immediately, and that he must cart off the excess dirt before anyone is stirring in the morning.
Faithful Servant Girl: Yes, Lady Cora.
Lady Cora: Then return to help us lug this rug, please.
Faithful Servant Girl (hesitating): Of course, my lady.
Mary: But what are we to tell Nicefellow?
Faithful Servant Girl: On second thought, what if we simply put Turkish Plot Device back in his bed and discover him dead in the morning?
Cora: Yes, on second thought, that might be best, but this whole business is so improper.
Mary: I'm so sorry about your friend, Nicefellow.
Nicefellow: I know you are, my lady. I'm shattered about it, really. It's going to be dreadfully awkward explaining to his father that I took him fox hunting at your estate and he mysteriously died. It can't be good for my career in the foreign service, and there's liable to be gossip about you and your family, but mostly I am sad that he's so untimely dead, because I am unutterably decent.
Mary: It must be a tremendous burden.
Nicefellow: Rather. Will you be attending the funeral?
Mary: The . . . ? Oh, dear. I have to wash my hair that day. I'm sorry, what day is it?
Nicefellow: I'm sure I don't know, yet. I don't suppose it's been decided, although I am under the impression these Mohametans usually arrange their funerals rather quickly.
Mary: Nevertheless, I am certain I have to wash my hair that day.
Nicefellow: Well, I shall look in soon to see how you are taking it, if you like.
Mary: That would be ever so kind of you.
Nicefellow: Goodbye, then, and thanks for your hospitality. Thank Lady Cora and the Lord of the Manor for me, please. I wish I had not brought this trouble on you.
Mary: It's not your fault, Nicefellow. You are ever so decent. So much so, that I could never consent to marry you, but I would like to remain friends.
Nicefellow (crestfallen): As you wish, my lady. Adieu.
Edith (entering): I could fancy him.
Mary: Then by all means, do.
Edith: At least I've never had a suitor die on me.
Mary: That's because you've never had a suitor, apart from that absurd middle-aged pudgy motorcar fanatic.
Edith: He taught me to drive.
Mary (archly): I hope to learn to ride better.
Servants' dining room
Droll Butler: As some of you may have heard, Lady Cora slipped on a bar of soap and miscarried. She is clinging to life, and attended by a local physician who is quarreling with City Cousin's mother over the best course of treatment. This means that you will all have to begin being kind and solicitous to City Cousin and, I will add, his pushy medical mother once again.
All: Oh, how terrible!
Droll Butler: And Daisy's husband has been hideously injured in the war, and won't last much longer. He's being attended to here. I think it best Daisy be relieved of some of her duties, so that she can spend what time she has by his side.
Daisy: Oh, but I can't! I needs to crush the cinnamon! Who'll crush the cinnamon?
Cook: Nonsense, Daisy! I'll get the scullion to help! Bustle! Scones! Ruddy complexion!
Miss Manager: That's all right, Daisy. We'll all pitch in to help.
Daisy: But . . . I don't want to be there, by his bedside, watchin' him die! It creeps me out! I'd rather . . .
Miss Manager: Don't make me slap you, Daisy. With Droll Butler's leave, I should also like to add that Evil Gay Footman was shot through the hand at the front, apparently at very close range, and will be returning here to convalesce—now City Cousin's Mother has converted this whole place into a medical camp.
All: Boo! Hiss!
Droll Butler: That's enough of that. For the time being, we will all pretend that Evil Gay Butler isn't a scurrilous, snake-in-the-grass invert, and treat him as we would any other wounded boy from the war. Lord of the Manor is having members of the Foreign Ministry over for a dinner, and someone will have to serve the soup. Irish Rebel, can I trust you not to poison the lot of them?
Irish Rebel: I can make no promises, but I will endeavor to try my hardest not to poison the lot of them bastards.
Droll Butler: Good man. Now, let's get to work.
City Cousin: It must strike you as odd, given that we have been so much at cross-purposes, that I have asked you for this meeting.
Dowager: I must say, you surprise me a little. But when one has lived as many years as I have, one has seen almost everything.
City Cousin: Then, I must confess to you that although I recognize that Lady Mary is a self-obsessed neurotic, I have fallen in love with her, and hope to recruit you as my . . . how shall I put this?
Dowager (compressing her lips and raising her eyebrows): Ally?
City Cousin: Quite. My ally in securing her hand in marriage.
Dowager: As I'm certain you're aware, I would do almost anything to see that Mary inherits this estate, for the family continuity, you know.
City Cousin: I thought as much, or I would not have dared to approach you.
Dowager: Whatever little influence I may have in this matter, I pledge to place it in your service. Only, isn't there some way you could . . . get rid of your mother? Accidents happen all the time on large estates of this kind. People slip on bars of soap, or suddenly die of heart attacks in their prime. Or are poisoned by soup served by Irish rebels.
City Cousin: I'm afraid that's out of the question. Would it be enough to injure her slightly? I mean, what if she twisted her ankle or something? A little birdshot to the leg? She did raise me.
Dowager (sighing): You disappoint me, but a bargain's a bargain. You may shake my hat.
Mary's attiring room
Faithful Servant Girl: You seem preoccupied, my lady. If you don't mind my asking, what's on your mind.
Mary: Oh, it's nothing. It's just . . . do you think I should marry the horrible financier, just because he has oodles of money?
Faithful Servant Girl: My lady, it's not for me to say, but if there were a man whom I loved, who loved me back, I would listen to the promptings of my heart. Otherwise, you might offend the sensibilities of the audience, too.
Mary: Do you really think so? How poetical. Why . . . why are you crying, Faithful Servant Girl?
Faithful Servant Girl: It's only because, my lady, because . . . because I'm in love with Bates, and he's in love with me, but his wife won't give him a divorce. And she's a drunkard, etc.
Mary: Just to be clear, Faithful Servant Girl, this is about me. However, you were so really awfully helpful about the dead Turk that I find I do somewhat care. I don't know what I can do to help, besides tell you that I hope it works out for you.
Faithful Servant Girl: It's very kind of you to say so, my lady. I feel I might blubber as a result of this display of unexpected compassion. If none of you notices, it is almost as though things never happen.
Mary: Please refrain from doing so until I'm presentable, if you can manage.
Faithful Servant Girl: I will try, my lady. I don't want to weep on the BBC.
Mary: I can see how that might be embarrassing.
Servants' dining hall
Droll Butler: Thank you. City Cousin has proposed to Mary, and she has accepted. This means that all of us will have to continue being nice to him for the rest of our lives, I suppose.
Droll Butler: However, there is a silver lining. When they are wed, they'll be moving to the smaller manor house, which is to be refurbished and (as much as it pains me to say it) modernized. That means that those who stay here—which will be most of you—needn't be considerate to him most of the time.
Droll Butler: Also, Sybil, who is the only daughter we all liked, though I am most devoted to Mary, has eloped with the Irish Rebel.
Droll Butler: Who is Catholic.
Droll Butler: We shall never speak of this again. Until she returns. At which time I shall have to shush you all once more. Isn't that right, Miss Manager?
Miss Manager: Quite right.
Droll Butler: And to prevent your having to whisper it about, Evil Gay Footman, who, as you know, has been helping attend to the wounded, fell in love with a blinded soldier who killed himself in despair when he was going to be forced to move to another facility. We shall never speak of that again, either. Are there any questions?
Obscure Servant: Why is Bates in gaol?
Droll Butler: I can't recall. How am I supposed to remember everything?
Obscure Servant 2: Just how long is this series supposed to run? And Daisy's husband has died, finally, right?
Droll Butler: Good lord, man, what questions! Yes, he died a couple of weeks ago. As for the first question, as long as people keep watching, I would imagine. Be thankful you have a job. It's not as though there aren't loose ends that need tying up, is it?
Obscure Servant 3: How many more times are we going to jump the shark, sir? This isn't going to turn into Twin Peaks, is it?
Miss Manager: Good heavens, no!
Obscure Servant: Which of us is they gonna kill off? I mean, it helps to make plans, you know.
Droll Butler: This meeting is now adjourned.
Treacherous Fag Hag (smoking): I think they're fixing to kill you off, Evil Gay Footman.
Evil Gay Footman (smoking): I'll get them for this. Mark my words. I'm not some Turkish Plot Device.