In the early 1900’s people were so scared of electricity. They demonized it by believing that it caused more perils than comfort. The Dowager Countess in fact was shielding her eyes with a fan. I think it’s human habit, that whenever something is hard to comprehend, people always think that it is associated with the devil.
The Gay Footman
One character in the series that caught my attention was Thomas Barrow, the footman. He’s one of the bad guys of the series. And he’s strikingly handsome. And he’s gay. At the time of Edwardian England, homosexuality is a crime (while in
, it was somehow
accepted. Italians were so open-minded in the past and so Neanderthal today.) Italy
He had an affair with a duke. But the relationship was off because the duke said it was only for a season in
last long. Stupid duke. If I were rich and powerful, I wouldn’t mind hiring a
valet who would be willing to serve me in the best of my interest and pleasure,
in all ways and forms. London
|what a lovely exchange of tongues|
Anyway, Mr. Barrow is truly spiteful, and it gets nastier when he plots with his ally, Mrs. O’brien, the personal maid of Lady Cora. Everybody hates the devilish duo. There is always that duet of the most hateful persons in the workplace.
In the first scenes of episode one, Daisy, the kitchen maid, was ordered to go downstairs as soon as possible before the family see her. I had a very interesting chat one time with a Polish count (I did some odd jobs for the disgraced nobleman), and he said that there was a time in their household that his grandfather did not want to see the lowest-ranking servants roaming around in their halls and that they were to be invisible-like when the nobles were around. Only the butler and footmen, and the ladies’ maids were allowed to be seen. Kitchen maids were the lowest of them all and they were to stay downstairs. And it was indeed the case in Downton Abbey. He said that if his grandfather saw me talking to him, he would have had me whipped. But that would be nice. Bondage and masochism. Just kidding!
Dinner with nobles
I’ve never had a meal with any noble, not even with the Polish count. Of course, I wasn’t allowed to eat with him. But there’s an interesting scene where Matthew Crawley was dining with his aristocratic cousins. He’s lucky that he’s from the upper middle-class and that he’s a relative, and he can be at ease with those kind of people.
I had a teacher who taught me French and she invited me for lunch at her house. She didn’t say that her house was a large Tuscan villa, and she didn’t say that she descended from some local noble family. I felt awkward and out of place when I learned that I was to meet other members of the family. I think she does it as charity and not because I was a bright student.
I know some table manners and etiquette, luckily, and managed to get through it. Madame Teacher was pleased. But I refused the invitation to dinner for the following week. I wasn’t ready for that… yet. Hahaha! But it was a pleasant experience though.