Downstairs, Anna once again looks despondent and before I forget, I'm kind of surprised at both her and Bates for their shaken faith in their relationship, given all the treacly sentimentality with which they've continually pledged their mutual devotion. When Anna joins everyone at the table, Carson gives her the news that as soon as they've hired a new housemaid, she'll finally get to be a proper lady's maid to Mary. Anna's enthusiasm for that isn't quite as weak as American tea, but it's close -- not that Carson notices, as he goes on that he'll also be hiring a new footman. O'Brien asks if that'll be a second footman, but Carson tells her the jury's still out on that point, and it seems only fair given that he might get a response from someone who's got more experience in the job than three episodes' worth. Thomas gets in a dig about Carson finding someone with something to him, but there's juicier talk threatening to happen, as Mrs. Hughes, sotto voce, tells Carson about the letter from Ethel, saying she wants to meet, but she won't come to Downton as she wouldn't be comfortable. You'd think Carson would be like, "Awesome!" but he instead asks why, but Mrs. Hughes won't tell him and given that Carson is probably more inclined to judge than the Archbishop, her discretion is probably wise. Mrs. Hughes declares her intention to ask Isobel if they could meet at Crawley House, and I'm not much of a betting man, but I think I could find some cash to put on "yes."
Matthew finds Mary in a room that's in a fair bit of disarray, but she explains that she's "stolen" the nursery as a sitting room for them. He looks at her askance and it comes out that she just came from the doctor, so the obvious indication is that he thought she might be pregnant. I am curious to see that happen -- Michelle Dockery is so thin that convincingly making her look pregnant won't be easy. When Mary tells Matthew she merely went to the doctor to get something for her hay fever, he asks what they'll use for a nursery should the need arise. Mary's like, thanks, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, and Matthew nods in thanks for the reminder of who wears the pants in the relationship.
Edith has come to see the Dowager Countess, who asks how she is, and Edith smiles that she supposes she's all right. After the Dowager Countess and Edith agree that what she went through was "horrid," the Dowager Countess offers that Edith must keep busy, but Edith complains that there's nothing to do and wonders if she should take up gardening. The Dowager Countess: "Well, no. You can't be as desperate as that." Hee. When Edith asks how she should occupy her time instead, the Dowager Countess replies, "Edith dear -- you're a woman with a brain and reasonable ability. Stop whining and find something to do." If anyone happens to have that last sentence as a ringtone, my email's in my bio.