Downton Abbey RP
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Lady Grantham

Cora had once found it terribly ironic that Violet Crawley had thought Crawley House dark whilst her mother-in-law lived under its roof. For her there was no darker place, nowhere filled with more misery, than the otherwise charming little Dower House. Like Crawley House, the morbidity of the residence had had nothing to do with the décor and everything to do with the occupant.

She wasn't embarrassed to admit she had feared her mother-in-law – so many did fear the indomitable Dowager Countess – and Violet had not exactly made her transition to England easy. But she liked to think they had turned a corner in recent years, and she, god help her, even considered her mother-in-law a friend. It was still unclear whether Violet regarded her similarly, or as simply a convenient ally, but either was preferable to the abominable relationship they'd previously enjoyed. And she'd been so kind after the miscarriage that Cora would never speak poorly of her again.

The Dower House didn't seem half as cold anymore, and Cora made her way inside without trepidation, shown in by the treacherous Simmons whose marriage plans had been temporarily scuppered by the War. She offered the maid a gracious little smile; leaving Violet or not, it was still awful to have an engagement interrupted.

"Good afternoon, Lady Grantham." Cora offered her mother-in-law a much more genuine smile, reaching with her gloved hand to give Violet's a customary squeeze.

She waited until they were seated before speaking, eyes twinkling. "I have news."

(Julia: I tried to research exactly how Cora would address Violet and it seems "Lady Grantham" is the most appropriate form of address/the easiest for me to write without doing so much research my head hurts. She'd probably be allowed to call her Violet but be too intimidated to do so in person (thank you Scarlet!) so Lady Grantham is best for now)

3/4/2011 . Edited 3/4/2011 #1
ScubaKanga

Violet Crawley looked over at Cora, who was grinning like some sort of hyena. It was a slightly unsettling change from all the gloom that had descended everywhere like some miserable English cloud. Recently everyone insisted on going around looking like they were sucking a lemon. Just because there was a war on. Looking miserable would do nothing to help the war. The atmosphere was putting her, the Dowager Countess, on edge.

Of course, none of this was relevant as to why Cora Crawley was sat in front of her looking like someone who'd just stumbled across a substantial amount of money in the street.

"Well, spit it out, don't just sit there grinning," she said.

3/4/2011 #2
Lady Grantham

Cora was hardly grinning, was she? It wasn't wonderful news after all - the less people that knew about Pamuk the better - but the engagement was something of a consolation and Matthew had sworn secrecy. And though just as foolish and stupidly noble as Robert, her young cousin was nothing if not true to his word.

She paused, looking suitably indignant at Violet's tone, before pushing on.

"Mary's done the unthinkable of course, despite my recommendation, and told Matthew about Pamuk."

But then when had Mary ever done what she'd been told? From the look on Violet's face, the older woman certainly shared that sentiment.

3/4/2011 . Edited 3/4/2011 #3
ScubaKanga

Told Matthew about Pamuk? Whatever had possessed that child? That Turkish affair was all over and done with, why on earth was she going around digging up the past and disrupting what could be the only chance of marrying the heir?

"Goodness, why? What did Matthew say?"

3/4/2011 #4
Lady Grantham

"Oh, you know Mary. She has to take the hardest road possible and be honest."

The word escaped Cora's lips like a curse, and she rolled her eyes for effect. She was all for honesty, of course, and she had never lied to Robert per say. But there were simply some things that merited absolute secrecy, and Kemal Pamuk was one of them.

"Luckily for Mary – and for us – Matthew still wants to take her as his wife. So we needn't take her to Rome after all."

And thank goodness for that because, fledgling friendship or not, Cora did not relish the idea of travelling with Violet Crawley.

3/4/2011 . Edited 3/4/2011 #5
ScubaKanga

"Quite so," Violet muttered with a sigh. "But Matthew didn't mind? Well, he's an odd man. Still, it is a good thing. We couldn't have them breaking off the engagement now."

At least now she did not have to travel to Rome with Cora Crawley. That was a benefit for all of them. Mary and Matthew were still engaged. Well, Violet had had her doubts about Matthew, him being just some solicitor or something of the sort, but he was the best option.

"Robert still doesn't know?"

3/4/2011 #6
Lady Grantham

"No and he's not going to," Cora said firmly, straightening in her chair with resolve as she tugged at her gloves, folding them delicately in her lap. "Matthew has agreed to keep silent and even Mary's foolish morality would not extend so far."

She contemplated the others she knew to be aware of the plot. Anna was too loyal and likely too fearful for her position to even contemplate speaking of that night. And Violet would undoubtedly take the secret to her grave. As far as she was concerned – as far as she hoped – not a single other soul knew. They couldn't possibly.

"And I'm hardly likely to tell him, less I be shipped off back to New York. No." Cora shook her head determinedly, running a finger over the seam of one glove. "He's lost too much already. I won't deprive him of another child by allowing the ruin of her reputation."

3/4/2011 #7
ScubaKanga

"Precisely. I dread to think what would happen should Robert ever find out. He is terribly melodramatic. It is better for everyone that he does not. Enough people do already. You and I, Mary, that housemaid and Matthew."

Violet glanced around with a world-weary expression. Really, what was the world coming to? She repositioned herself on the seat self-confidently.

"I hope Matthew has the good sense not to die in France. It would be dreadfully inconvenient."

3/4/2011 #8
Lady Grantham

Cora tried not to smile, bemused, despite the seriousness of the suggestion.

"I'm not sure it amounts to good sense or convenience. I imagine it's simply a case of successfully dodging a bullet. Thank goodness Robert is safe in his little headquarters, but I'm sure Matthew will be fine."

She suddenly remembered the real reason she had come.

"Mary's insistent upon holding a little gathering this evening, with a little champagne to celebrate. Will you come? I'll send the new chauffeur to you at eight."

Cora thought it best the conceal Cousin Isobel's attendance for now.

3/4/2011 #9
ScubaKanga

"A gathering?" Violet contemplated this for a second. She was free that evening, but she couldn't be sure that everyone wouldn't just be moping like some Lady Grey. "I'll see if I can fit it in. Don't guarantee my arrival."

She sighed as if this would interrupt everything she had planned. Really, a little gathering. To celebrate. Some people will take any opportunity for champagne.

3/4/2011 #10
Lady Grantham

"I see," Cora spoke, trying to hide her smirk as she gathered her gloves together. Really, when was the last time Violet had received a visitor to the Dower House that hadn't been her or one of the children? "I wouldn't want to interrupt your busy social schedule."

Violet hardly seemed to be pleased by her presence, regardless of their recent progress, so there was little point in lingering unwanted. The thought saddened her somewhat, the notion that perhaps their relationship really had only improved because of the child, and now that he was gone they would revert back into opposition.

"Well, you know you only need to send for the car should you find space to squeeze Mary in."

3/4/2011 #11
ScubaKanga

"I'll see what I can do," said Violet, rising from her seat as Cora picked up her gloves.

She and Cora had perhaps come closer together as time went on, but there still remained a feeling that there was very little to be said. The silence was somewhat awkward, and it irritated Violet.

"I daresay you know your way to the door by now?"

3/4/2011 #12
Lady Grantham

Well, Violet couldn't have given a clear signal if she'd tried.

Cora stood, fitting her gloves back as quickly as she had taken them off. In the background Simmons looked somewhat perturbed at having prepared tea for such an ultimately brief visit, but she would manage. She would be leaving soon enough anyway.

"Of course. I know that Mary would be pleased by your presence. Please give the gathering some thought" she said finally, softening her voice somewhat. Her daughter really would be upset should her grandmother fail to show, though she would hide it well, and on such an occasion as her engagement she thought it only right her mother-in-law should show her face instead of moping in the Dower House as she so vehemently insisted she wasn't.

"Good day," she concluded, before making her way to the door and back to Downton.

3/4/2011 #13
ScubaKanga

Well, it wasn't that she wasn't going to the gathering. Obviously, it wouldn't be quite the same without Violet there. She didn't like to put herself forward, but she was really quite important in the Crawley family.

"I'll probably fit it in," she said, as Cora started to leave, "Good day."

3/4/2011 #14
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