Hello. First fan-fic for Downton. I thought it could be an interesting story line if Mary decided to go to France with the Red Cross (like Isobel did later in Season 2). Set sometime after the end of Season one. Not sure where this is going to go but review if you like and I'll post another chapter. Cheers… AM.


Prologue

It was the waiting that got to her the most. The sitting and the waiting and the making calls and taking tea while war raged on across the English Channel and young boys came home on stretchers, with limbs torn off and eyes blind from gas, or not at all. They were all doing their duty, she thought. "Are you a creature of duty?," she remembered their conversation once. She knew that she was. So if all those boys are over there doing their duty what pray, was hers. To keep the home fires burning, as Granny had put it? Even that wasn't her duty, when someone else prodded and stoked and fanned the flames. Mary scoffed. Her duty was to wait. To wait until some rich husband came along and gave her life purpose. But what use would that purpose be to simply do the same waiting again, but in another house. Hers was a life of boredom, boredom and waiting. If only she could be more like Sybil, she sighed, who knew what she wanted and didn't wait, she went out and did.

And it was on that very thought that Mary got the idea into her head to stop waiting. With a renewed vigour in her step and a passion in her heart that she had not felt since the outbreak of this damned war, she strode over to Crawley House to ask Cousin Isobel for her help.

"Well, I'm not altogether sure you'd be cut out for such work Mary…" Isobel had raised her eyebrows at the idea but Mary had persisted; "I see no reason why not! If Sybil can train as a nurse why can't I be of some other use? I've read about women who play important roles in an administration aspect, recording wounded soldiers, informing their families and organizing their move to hospitals in England and such-like. Why couldn't I do that? I am very good at organizing things, juggling tasks, and I want to be useful."

"But Mary dear it's not a holiday to France you know, it's dangerous, its dirty and it's hardly the place for a lady…" but before Isobel could even finish her sentence, Mary, with her head held at that haughty angle and in a firm voice, interrupted.

"And what about Mathew?" Her firm voice wavered suddenly as she sounded out his name for the first time in months. "He's in danger and dirt everyday doing his duty, while I am just supposed to sit here and wait. I won't. I can't. My mind is quite decided. I came here to ask whether you could contact one of your Red Cross colleagues on my behalf…"