( I am grateful because...Collapse )
Special thanks go out to clunkhall and frostyblossom for their awesome betaing skills and to silverducks and Lady Grantham for listening to me babble about the plot. And of course to all the lovely friends I've made through the Downton Forums! :)
This story was fully planned back in March, before most of the s2 spoilers, so it is very definitely AU. Some of the new s2 characters will be appearing, but in a different form. Also, some of our main characters (such as Mary) are still their post-s1 selves.
Without further ado…
Lord Grantham wisely chose to delay his announcement until after dinner, when the family was gathered in the drawing room with the knives out of reach and the servants dismissed to their evening meal. With a drink at hand, he needed only to wait for a lull in the debate over Sybil's proposal that they form a knitting circle to support the war effort.
"We could gather together to knit scarves and socks for the soldiers," Sybil explained.
Edith was unimpressed. "Why would they want something knitted by you? Besides, none of us even know how to knit."
"Certainly not," Violet said, looking horrified at the very thought. "We embroider, we do not knit. No lady knows how to knit."( cont'd...Collapse )
Food of Love
The clink of cup against saucer grated upon his nerves while the rich fabric of the napkin felt foreign against his skin. The perfect elegance of the tea service just added to his general annoyance.
Matthew had no idea why he was even there, sipping tea with a cousin with whom he'd barely exchanged a dozen words in the past four years. Originally he had received an invitation from cousin Cora but when he showed up, Carson (appearing strangely uncomfortable, though perhaps it was merely Matthew's imagination) informed him that Lady Grantham was called away and would Mr. Crawley mind if Lady Mary served as hostess instead? Actually, Mr. Crawley did mind, very much, but he found himself unable to say as much to the forbidding mien of the old butler.
"How are you finding the adjustment to civilian life?" Mary asked, trying to engage Matthew in conversation.( cont'd...Collapse )
A/N: I'm afraid this may be a slightly dull chapter as I try to set the stage. But I promise there’s fun in the future with inheritance issues, investments, and illicit affairs all to come!
In the days following the announcement, recruitment posters had sprung up everywhere, like colorful mushrooms sprouting after a storm. Wherever one turned, in shops, at pubs, luckily not yet in church, placards trumpeted “Your country needs YOU” and “Isn’t this worth fighting for? Enlist now!” Everywhere, the endless entreaty – enlist, enlist, enlist.
War fever ran high in the streets and it wasn’t just because of the signs. A recruiting office had quickly opened in Ripon and each day the line outside grew longer, first just past the door, but now snaking around the building and down the street, past a bookshop, a haberdasher, a small tea shop, and still further onwards it went.
Matthew was on his way to the station after work, glancing at a poster on a lamppost displaying a train overflowing with soldiers and the seemingly inaccurate statement “There’s room for YOU, Enlist TODAY,” when a voice hailed him from the line.