Back at Downton, Carson is roaming the halls upstairs when baby Sybil starts crying. I guess the nanny has stepped away, but Carson unhesitatingly and surprisingly soothingly picks her up and suggests they "have a little chat about it." Sybil calms down almost immediately. After a season with me, you know what's coming: Awwww.
The ball has begun, with some people sitting on the chairs lining the walls but most of them dancing. Mary thinks they all should join in, but Bates cites his "built-in excuse," while Matthew doesn't think he'd fare much better. Anna, for her part, is cagey about whether she'll participate, while Molesley is showing no such reticence. Susan, for her part, happily greets O'Brien and tells her that Wilkins has been doing her best to copy her teachings. O'Brien says she looks very nice, but Susan drops the smile and says it's not quite right yet before leaving them and how Wilkins thinks O'Brien is the problem here is beyond me, but when O'Brien declares her intention to find a drink, Wilkins tells her she'll fetch it, as she's the guest. And someone who's not having any trouble finding drinks is Rose, who's downing whatever's being served to her with extreme prejudice; when Cora cautions her it's rather strong, Rose replies, "I should jolly well hope so." I know a fair in Yorkshire at which Rose would have had a good time. The Dowager Countess offers that Susan isn't herself, but Rose disagrees: "She's absolutely herself. That's the problem!" I haven't been to near as many Gillies' Balls as you, Lady Grantham, but I tend to believe Rose on this one. After Rose walks away, The Dowager Countess sighs: "It's bad enough parenting a child when you like each other!" In other words, when you're not mother and daughter?
Wilkins asks the hunting teacher if she could trouble him for some whiskey from his flask, and when he expresses surprise if it's for her, she tells him no -- it's "for a guest from the south." Wilkins, you work for Susan in the Highlands and you don't drink? It's your own fault you're in such a bad mood. She pours the whiskey into a cup...
...while Carson is still dandling baby Sybil when Mrs. Hughes enters and smiles that while she has some stories to tell, "you've spent your day more productively, I see." Carson admits he was thinking about Sybil when she was a baby and Mrs. Hughes tells him all they can do now is cherish the child. "And it's lovely to watch you doing just that." He admonishes her for getting sentimental, but come on! I'm... I mean, "she's" not made of stone here!