Lots of references this week!
There is a significance-packed exchange about the events in Amritsar, a horrible massacre of non-violent protestors, which took place in India in 1919, killing more than 370 people and injuring 1,200.
Lady Grantham: Tell us more about British India.
Lord Flitshire: It's a wonderful country. Bombay is a marvelous city. I'm not sure how long British India has to go.
Mrs. Crawley: We heard about that terrible Amritsar business.
Shrimpie: Amritsar was a very unfortunate incident, ordered by a foolish man.
Lord Sinderby: I can't agree. General Dyer was just doing his duty.
Shrimpie: You haven't got that quite right.
Lord Sinderby: I suppose we're entitled to our own opinion.
Lord Grantham: Are we? I hesitate to remind you that Shrimpie knows India and you don't.
Though his position in favor of General Dyer, I think, is given to add to our dislike of Lord Sinderby, much of England agreed with him. A campaign by the Morning Post newspaper raised the huge sum of £26,000 for General Dyer, who was pensioned out of the Army. The campaign was led by none other than the poet and author, Rudyard Kipling, whose literary reputation may have suffered in later years as the Empire fell, and his defense of the man some call, “The Butcher of Amritsar” was seen in a different light. Prolific poet, author, composer and painter, the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore renounced his knighthood in response to the massacre, in 1919, the year before Gandhi began his movement of “non-cooperation,” and parts of E.M. Forster’s novel, “A Passage to India,” are said to be inspired by events at Amristar, of which Forster was made aware from a friend serving in India at the time.
The restaurant Rules, where the ladies go to lunch, is open to this day. Founded in 1798, it bills itself as Britain’s oldest restaurant, and is located on Maiden Lane near Covent Garden. Pictures of the fabulous interior can be seen at their website, included in the links at the end of this article.
Miss Baxter and Mr Molesley invite Daisy to join them to see the Wallace Collection, which is famous for its paintings of Titian, Rembrandt, and others, and especially for its French art and porcelain of the 18th century. Mr. Molesley refers to it as a “small” museum. Its locale, Hertford House, was formerly the private home of Sir Richard and Lady Wallace. A quick visit to their website gives you some idea why such a place would open Daisy’s eyes for the world beyond Downton.
The Dowager Countess refers to attending a prior wedding at the Registry, namely that of the Fifth Earl of Rosebery to Hannah de Rothschild, which took place in 1878. The reference is significant, as Hannah de Rothschild was a member of the famous Jewish banking family, and so it was an interreligious marriage, like that of Rose and Atticus.
A couple of fabulous words made their way into the script this week.
Responding to Lady Flintshire’s comments about returning home and moving her “real” pictures out from storage, to replace the ones she had hung for her tenants, Tom Branson says, “what a palaver!”
talk that is not important, or meaningful.
excitement or activity caused by something that is not important.
And when discussing Lord Sinderby’s disapproval of the coming marriage, the Dowager Countess remarks wryly that perhaps “Lady Rose MacClare is a mesalliance.”
a marriage with a person thought to be unsuitable or of a lower social position.
The Countess also offered my favorite line of the week, as she so often does. When Lady Mary asks her, “Granny, do you think Lord Sinderby would try anything horrible to prevent the wedding?” She says, “He'd certainly like it stopped.” Mary replies, “But he does love Atticus.” The ever-insightful Countess rejoins:
“My dear, love is a far more dangerous motive than dislike.”
Scene of Amritsar from Gandhi: