The earl peers through the window graciously.

EARL OF GRANTHAM: Those little drops of water falling from the sky onto the drive: what on earth are they, Carson?

MR. CARSON: I regret to tell you, milud, but it’s … rain.

LADY MARY: And those little pools of water, Carson?

MR. CARSON: Puddles, milady.

LADY GRANTHAM: Why, Carson, that’s the most terrible news. The King and Queen will be arriving in barely three days. If Their Majesties were to get wet, it would be a tragedy.

LADY MARY: Talking of tragedies, Mama. There’s a slight stain on the blue carpet. And I have a toenail that is crying out to be cut. Furthermore, this glass of water desperately needs refilling and I haven’t the foggiest how to use a tap.

VIOLET, DOWAGER COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM: A tap? What, pray tell me, is a tap?

Enter Mrs. Patmore.

MRS. PATMORE: Beg pardon, milady, but there’s a serial killer in the kitchen. Four dead already, and the numbers are mounting.

LADY GRANTHAM: And how is the blancmange coming along, Mrs. Patmore? You know how much Their Majesties simply adore a blancmange!

MRS. PATMORE: The blancmange is thriving, milady. Beg pardon, milady, but what shall we do about that serial killer? He’s running amok!

VIOLET, DOWAGER COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM: How very tiresome! Why is it that today’s serial killers can find nothing better to do than run amok?

MR. CARSON: No more fussing, Mrs. Patmore. Their ladyships have quite enough on their plates already!

MRS. PATMORE: But he’s brandishing a knife, milady! Says his name is the Duke of Westmoreland!

EARL OF GRANTHAM: My goodness! Dear old Reggie Westmoreland! Invite him upstairs this very minute!

LADY MARY: And let him set eyes on the slight stain on the blue carpet, Papa?!!

LADY GRANTHAM: Do you want to bring shame on our household, Robert?

VIOLET, DOWAGER COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM: Reggie Westmoreland’s late mother was my dearest friend. She went down with the Titanic, poor thing. She was holidaying on an iceberg at the time.



MR. BARROW: The boiler’s on the blink! And Their Majesties are expected shortly!

WORKMAN: Blimey! Lor Luv-a-duck! Trouble at t’mill!

MRS. HUGHES: And who, may I ask, are you?

WORKMAN: Lawks amighty, missus! Innit bleedin’ obvious! Oi’m a representative of the workin’ class! Any any any old iron! Come to mend the boiler!

MR. CARSON: Did someone mention a serial killer?

DAISY: That was two minutes ago, Mr. Carson. He’s long forgotten. Best say no more about him. Not when there’s a boiler to worry about.

WORKMAN: There! It’s mended! Lubby jubbly! Good luck will rub orf when Oi shikes ’ands wiv yow!

DAISY: Eeeek! Eeeek! The boiler may be mended and the serial killer may be forgotten, but there’s a python in the blancmange!

VIOLET, DOWAGER COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM: A python in the blancmange? Heavens! These fancy foreign dishes! What ever happened to plain English cooking, that’s what I’d like to know!

DAISY: The python’s slithering its way upstairs! What’s more, I think it may be armed!

MRS. PATMORE: Now, now, Daisy. Calm down! We’ve got quite enough on our plates without having to worry about an armed python.

MRS. HUGHES: By the way, did anyone notice the tsunami? They say it’s already destroyed the village, and it’s expected at Downton come teatime!

MR. CARSON: Best be on the safe side, Mr. Bates. Place a waterproof doily over the scones and a rubber ring beside each table setting. Chop-chop!



LADY MARY: I’ll be honest with you, Anna. I’m shattered. One spends one’s entire life sitting down in one room, then moving through into quite another room, then sitting down some more. It’s really too exhausting. I’d give it up, but those of us in the top drawer have a duty to set a good example to those in the bottom drawer. Anna, would you take off my earrings for me?

ANNA: Certainly, milady. By the way, milady, I think I may be expecting.

LADY MARY: Expecting, Anna?

ANNA: A baby, milady.

LADY MARY: A baby, Anna? Why, that’s simply marvelous news! Will it be a valet or a maid?

ANNA: We’re hoping for a maid, milady.

LADY MARY: Excellent. In due course, she can set to work on that stain on the blue carpet.

ANNA: She’d be honored, milady. I’m ever so grateful.

LADY MARY: Which reminds me. I think I may be expecting, Anna.

ANNA: Expecting, milady?

LADY MARY: Stop repeating everything I say, Anna.

ANNA: Repeating everything you say, milady?

LADY MARY: One thing worries me, Anna. I have this terrible premonition that my baby will grow up to be mistaken for a royal prince and kidnapped by uncouth brigands, before being wrongly accused of cheating at blackjack and then, some years on, spurred on by these childhood traumas, he’ll make a local girl pregnant, obliging their child to be adopted by kindly villagers who will then be blackmailed by a black-sheep uncle who once enjoyed a youthful fling with the Dowager Countess of Grantham.

ANNA: That’s all we need! Incidentally, milady, I hear Her Majesty is highly partial to an artichoke.

VIOLET, DOWAGER COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM (popping her head around the door): An artichoke! And what, may one ask, is an artichoke?



MRS. PATMORE: As if things weren’t bad enough already without Mr. Barrow being falsely accused of something unmentionable!

Enter Mr. Carson.

MR. CARSON: I couldn’t help overhearing you mentioning that Mr. Barrow has been accused of something unmentionable. I’m sorry to mention it, Mrs. Patmore, but might I ask why no one has seen fit to mention it to me?

MRS. PATMORE: It’s unmentionable, Mr. Carson.

Enter Mrs. Hughes.

MRS. HUGHES: Unmentionable, Mrs. Patmore?

MR. CARSON: I’d ask you not to mention it, Mrs. Hughes.

Enter Daisy (visibly distressed).

DAISY: Beg pardon, Mr. Carson, but I’ve just come from upstairs where Their Majesties the King and Queen are being brutally savaged by a marauding wolfhound!

MRS. HUGHES: Calm yourself, Daisy. It’ll take Their Majesties’ minds off the slight stain on the blue carpet. You see, Daisy, every cloud has a silver lining.

VIOLET, DOWAGER COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM (popping her head around the door): One was always taught that the only thing more common than a silver lining is a cloud.

Craig Brown’s Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret was short-listed for the National Book Critics Circle Award