I catch snippets of conversation where ever my travels take me and it amazes me the personal way in which characters of Downton Abbey are discussed.
“Will Lady Mary remarry?”
“Will Tom move to America?”
“Will the estate survive the report those two visitors to Downton are studying?
So I wonder; what would it have been like to live in the early 1900s? If I were Lady Mary could I get used to lying in my bed every morning and be served breakfast by my servant? And could I feel as free as Lady Cora to discuss personal matters with my husband in front of a person who is my servant?
And wouldn’t it feel strange for a maid to dress me every day? Would I not feel embarrassed to be waited on as if I were a child unable to manage her own needs?
Ugh; with no indoor plumbing at that time wouldn’t it be humiliating to expect another human to empty my chamber pots?
As I think about life back then it occurs to me that I am assuming that I would be one of members of the upper class. I am considering their class of society life as it might effect me. But what if I had the misfortune to be born into a lower class family. How well would I be able to accept that life as an underling is one I never would have the opportunity to leave. I would be the one trained to serve “my betters.” My life would always be about caring for the whims of someone above me in society. There would be little opportunity to rise from my station and leave the low status into which I was born.
So, while Downton Abbey is entertaining, the dress of the day glamorous and manners exacting, I’ll bet that if I were born at that time I’d be a daughter of a shopkeeper and his hard working wife. And the characters I admire and look up to would be “my betters.”
That idea does not appeal to me at all. This century, with it’s unique problems, scandals and texting, is exactly where I belong.