Downtown Abbey returned here in the States on Sunday, so I thought it would be great to take a look at a class that I for one love writing about: those who work below stairs.
“I told him that, Miss Quinton, but it seems he will not listen to me. I assured him no one would get the better of Miss Eleanora Quinton, but he did not take that to reason either.”
“Very well, I shall speak with him myself.”
Sophia looked quickly behind her, turning back to Nora with a look of worry.
“But you cannot, miss. Mr. Hawkins is below stairs. You cannot leave the ballroom. What will happen?”
She smiled with affection now for the young woman, remembering when she had been such a novice.
“Fear not, Sophia. The ballroom shall still be here when I return.”
Sophia nodded, the worry sliding from her face.
“If Miss Quinton says it is so, then it is.”
The maid nodded once and slipped into the crowd.
Eleanora turned back to the ballroom, taking in the couples still dancing, the women still gossiping, and the debutantes still preening.
Item 8: Assuring Hawkins that nothing would go wrong.
She turned her back on the dancing couples and moved into the crowd.
Several things are happening here, many of which disgruntled reviewers have pointed out on various websites, so I thought this would be a great passage to talk about on #TBT. First, Miss Eleanora Quinton. In reality, she would have been referred to as Mrs. Quinton. That’s it. But how boring is that? Miss Eleanora Quinton defied society in nearly every way possible, so I couldn’t call her Mrs. Quinton. Sorry, disgruntled reviewers. Sometimes you forsake history for a more interesting character.
Next, let’s talk about Mr. Hawkins. Mr. Hawkins is a terrible butler. The butler and housekeeper acted as a team in 19th century London, and Mr. Hawkins relies overmuch on Nora’s ability as a housekeeper. So while technically historically accurate, Mr. Hawkins is just crappy at his job.