July 1914. In London former suitor Evelyn Napier assures Lady Mary that it was Edith, not he,who spread gossip about her and Kemal. Mary counters by wrecking her sister’s marriage plans with Sir Anthony. Robert is reluctant to dismiss John even though O’Brien and Thomas have obtained a letter claiming that he stole from a previous employer. Anna accompanies Mrs. Patmore to London for eye tests,resulting in corrective surgery and whilst there,discovers that John took the blame for the theft for his ex-wife Vera, a fact which Robert is pleased to hear. Thomas, fed up at his failure to get John sacked,and sensing war on the way,joins the Army Medical Corps whilst Sybil finally gets Gwen her secretarial post. Cora is pregnant, a fact which puts the proposed marriage between Mary and Matthew in doubt, should the baby be a son and heir. However,thanks to O’Brien leaving a bar of soap on the floor, Cora slips and miscarries. All the staff except O’Brien cheer William on as he beats Thomas up for his unfeeling remarks on the loss. Matthew nonetheless feels that the engagement was only an act of pragmatism likely to be altered if an heir had been born and decides to leave Downton Abbey. But everybody’s news is overshadowed as they hear that,as expected,Britain is at war with Germany.
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