Speaking of which, Lord Grantham is on the phone getting what sounds like bad news and he declares his intention to come see the other party in person the next day. He hangs up just as Mary enters the room and, seeing the expression on his face, asks what the matter is. Lord Grantham is like, nothing's the matter... so much so that I'm going to leave the room without chatting with my favorite daughter and the absolute light of my life. Mary's face is like, "Great, can't wait for whatever this is to come out."
Downstairs, everyone's still sitting around the communal table when Anna and Mrs. Hughes return. Mrs. Patmore sits them down for a cup of tea, and Mrs. Hughes and Carson start talking about the wedding preparations, with Mrs. Hughes wondering how he can possibly manage without a footman. Carson is like, I was just going to suggest that you pull up a chair and tell me about it, but sighs that he hasn't the time to find one. Whereupon O'Brien -- who, in the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you is up there with my very favorites on the show -- offers the services of her nephew Alfred Nugent, who I believe she's mentioned before as having been to war. (If I remember correctly, she talked about him with poor PTSD sufferer Lang.) Carson, however, doesn't let her even finish her sentence before he tells her that, with a society wedding imminent, he can do without the help of an untrained "hobbledehoy," and as a once-gangly kid I find that a bit ungenerous, but on the other hand, I'd put hearing Carson enunciate "hobbledehoy" ahead of many pleasures in life. I don't know what answer O'Brien might have found, but Lady Cora's ring at least spares her the need to try to come up with one.
As it happens, her answer is to go right around Carson and ask Lady Cora about it, who's like, sounds great -- let me just clear it with Lord Grantham... and here he is walking into the room! I love this show, but in this episode especially you see conflicts and problems presented and solved within the space of thirty seconds; stuff is given so little time to breathe that, by the end of the episode, I'm not going to recall even half of what happened. Not a complaint, really; if anything, it gives me an excuse to rewatch (as if I'll need one). Anyway, Lord Grantham is obviously a million miles away, so when Lady Cora runs the idea by him, he's like, sure, whatever -- hire this Alphonse Newberry. Oh, and by the way, I have to go to London tomorrow. Upon hearing that he'll be returning immediately following his errand, Lady Cora asks the purpose of the trip, and Lord Grantham replies, "It's nothing to bother you with" and it's a testament to the strength of their marriage that this doesn't seem to faze her in the slightest, given that the only more suspicious thing he could have said is that he's going to London for ice cream.