Quotable quotes from Downton Abbey. . .
This is the final season of Downton Abbey and I'm lapping it up just as furiously as I've been devouring Valentine's Day candy corn all week. From haughty Lady Mary's witty jabs to Carson and Mrs. Hughes' tender mating, Downton Abbey's characters always have the perfect words for any occasion. But it's Downton Abbey's matriarch, the Dowager Countess who is the best character on the show, if not the best character in television, period. Below, a compilation of Dame Maggie Smith's zingers for your enjoyment and pleasure. Remember, "No life appears rewarding if you think about it too much."
- Martha Levinson (mother of Cora) at Downton, prior to Mary and Matthew's wedding to Lady Grantham: "The war has made old women of us both." Lady Grantham's response: "Oh, not me. I always stay out of the sun."
- Every woman goes down the aisle with half the story hidden.
- There's nothing simpler than avoiding people you don't like. Avoiding one's friends, that's the real test.
- Cora: "I hope I don't hear sounds of a disagreement. Lady Grantham: "Is that what they call a discussion in New York?"
- It's the job of grandmothers to interfere.
- Principles are like prayers; noble, of course, but awkward at a party.
- An aristocrat without money is as useful as a glass hammer.
- After Mary's lover dies, "Of course, it would happen to a foreigner. No proper Englishman would dream of dying in someone else's home."
- He's a man. Men have no rights.
- Sometimes it's good to rule by fear.
- No one wants to kiss a girl in black.
- Cora: "I hate to go behind Robert's back." Lady Grantham: "That is a scruple no successful wife can afford."
- Nothing succeeds like excess.
- Cora: Are we to be friends then?" Lady Grantham: "We are allies, my dear, which can be a good deal more effective."
- Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class.
And, of course, my favorite: "What's a weekend?"
That was one of those moments that captures one's perspective of a privileged life. I have the same reaction when I go back to New Delhi and catch up with my classmates from my hoity-toity all-girls private high school. Many of them wives of industry barons in steel, textiles and high-tech, all they think about is the next social event and outfit to wear, never having to worry about working. While it's a "purposeless life" (as Lady Edith calls it) it's the kind of escapist fantasy that sustains Downton Abbey's voracious global audience. And I , for one, will miss the fantasy--the beautiful, simple days before women had to be perfect mothers, housekeepers, hostesses, sex objects and career women all at once.