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Romance for Carson and Mrs. Hughes?

Mrs Hughes and Mrs Patmore: A formidable combination downstairs at Downton
Carson, pensive outside Downton Abbey in season 3
Mrs Hughes, Mrs Patmore and Mr Carson in Downton village: Are the ladies eyeing Mr. Carson as a potential suitor?

Doesn't it seem a little like Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes have a "thing" from way back? Anna and Bates managed to fall in love, marry and start to live happily ever after (but we know how well that's going). So why not our two favorite lead staff? Tara Austen Weaver investigates:

I can’t be the only person who secretly hopes Carson and Mrs. Hughes are going to get together. What about him singing as he polished the silver after learning she did not have cancer? Did anyone ever imagine Carson singing? It has to be love. Or at least some deep butler-y affection.

But could they—would they be allowed—to have a relationship? In a house like Downton, is affection between a butler and housekeeper the love that dare not speak its name? (We’ll deal with you, Thomas, at another time).

Sad to say, tradition is against such a match. Even though the butler and the housekeeper preside over servant meals and seem like mom and dad below stairs (or good cop/bad cop, as the case may be), actual marriages were frowned upon. Their loyalty was to the family they served, not a family of their own.

And let’s face it: Carson is pretty much married to the Crawleys.

The truth is, they might not make the best match. Mrs. Hughes is embracing modernity (check out that fancy toaster), and we all know Carson would like to turn the clock back on some new-fangled inventions and loosening of tradition. We can only hope he’s gotten the hang of that telephone.

But the romantic in me likes to think there’s a chance for these two. Though married butlers and housekeepers were rare, the butler for the Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey was married with nine children. And somehow he still had time to keep the wine logs and preside over dinners.

The Crawleys are kind masters. If they were willing to care for Mrs. Hughes in the case of her cancer, I like to think they’d care enough to let two servants be happy together. Look at Anna and Mr. Bates!

Otherwise, there may be more singing to come from Mr. Carson:
Dashing away with a smoothing iron … dashing away with a smoothing iron … she stole my heart away …


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