Letters from Downton

SPOILER ALERT: This post contains made up things that allude to real plot details of Downton Abbey. May I suggest that you have your butler read it first so you don’t see anything that might upset you?

I was recently re-watching (yes, I admit to plundering the internet) season three of Downton Abbey, and in the first few episodes, Anna and Mr. Bates send A LOT of letters to each other. Piles of letters. In the tiniest, most delicate envelopes. And they sit there, reading the letters in their beds, tears seeping out their eyes, and I just want to know WHAT DO THOSE LETTERS SAY?!

Bates Reads A Letter
Since they never read them out loud, here is my made up correspondence.

16 September, 1919
Dear Mr. Bates,

Today was an ordinary day.

Mrs. Patmore accidentally burned some crumpets that were meant to go upstairs for tea, so we each got one for lunch. I dipped mine in hot water, and I could almost imagine how it would taste un-blackened. I wished deeply that the crumby water was flavourful or colourful, and that you were at the table with me, sipping your tea with that adorable limp of yours. I never stop dreaming.

The Dowager Countess visited today and mentioned that she will soon be starting a business with Ethel. Remember Ethel? The other redhead? Edith asked if she could help, but the countess said no, she is too ugly for this kind of business. Of course, Lady Edith has been sobbing like a moose since. The drama never ends, does it?

Meanwhile, Branson and Lady Sybil are planning a trip to Downton. Branson requested that they stay in the barn, away from the “offensive” finery of the house. Lord Crawley boasted at dinner that there hasn’t been a barn on the property since the 1700’s, but the “chauffeur” is more than welcome to stay with Isis in her doghouse. I am a little envious, as Isis lives in quite a nice cottage.

It is time for me to help Lady Mary change for bed. Hopefully, Matthew will be slinking around in his dashing silk robe. I know how you must miss him and that robe. And, of course, the natural waves of his hair.

I will write again soon. Don’t drop the soap!

(I’m not sure what that means, exactly. Thomas told me it was a way that soldiers wished each other luck if imprisoned during the War. I don’t trust Thomas, but I do wish you luck.)

Love Eternal From Your Young, Hot Wife,

20 September 1919
My Dear Anna,

Prison is boring.

When we are not walking in circles, we are sewing. Sewing what? I’m not sure. They hand us pieces of burlap, needles, and thread, and for three hours a day, we sew. I would much prefer to be buffing Lord Grantham’s shoes as the cobblers do in France: with my tongue.

I don’t mean to worry you. My time here has not been all bad. Yesterday, I broke my personal record and slept for fifteen hours straight. A nice man down the hall also offered to give me a tattoo, free of charge. I may use the picture that you sent me and get your beautiful face inked onto my palm. This will make it less awkward when I make out with my hand at night. I miss you so.

I miss everything, really. I miss downstairs. I miss my dress clothes, and the silver, and the servants’ bells (do I hear them now?). I miss Daisy’s weird accent, and I miss Mrs. Hughes, and I even miss O’Brien’s little forehead curls. Sometimes, to amuse myself in the drawn out, wasted hours of the afternoon, I imagine O’Brien as a child with that same upsetting hair do. I hope you get a laugh out of that, my darling, and recall that image the next time she kicks you under the table during lunch break.

How awful. I am running out of room. I wish I didn’t have to write on the back of this toilet paper.

My heart is in a prison of your love,


Matthew Robe
21 September, 1919

Just double checking: you said Matthew was wearing a silk robe?

Your Bates

P.S. Lord Grantham sent me the most peculiar photograph in the mail …

Free Bates

68 thoughts on “Letters from Downton

  1. Having just watched all the episodes this weekend I will tell you that
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    2. I’m fairly certain that is an accurate account of their letters.
    3. I love you

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