We have been rewatching Season 4 of Downton Abbey, as a refresh in preparation for Season 5, which (YIPPEE!) starts on January 4th. It’s been almost a year since we’ve hung out with the Crawleys and, as we powered through the season, one or the other of us kept interjecting things like…

Man, I love how respectfully they address one another.

They take such pride in their positions and work.

See how he started to complain about his life, then stopped and apologized, calling it vulgar and self-important? Why don’t we do that more often?

And on and on.

During the last episode, Cousin Rose is presented to London society before the king and queen. Lady Crawley’s mother, brother, and his valet come over from America for the occasion. Running through the story line are the vast differences between the Americans and their British counterparts. While they look and dress the part (though the fashions differ slightly, continent to continent), the Americans’ “modern” approach to speech and salutations, plus their lack of social boundaries, is shocking against the backdrop of deep seated British traditions. One encounter between Mrs. Levinson (Lady Crawley’s mother) and the Dowager Duchess of Grantham (her mother-in-law) finds Mrs. Levinson saying this…

My world is coming nearer and your world is slipping further and further away.

Certainly, she was right.

But you know what? That makes me a little sad. Not because I would want to get dressed to the nines for breakfast everyday, or that I wish we could all have servants that dress us and put us to bed (okay, that last part might not be that bad), but I do wish some practices were still common.

Like addressing each other as Mr. or Mrs. or Miss, for instance, until we knew one another well enough to be on a first-name basis. I wish it would not be regarded as snooty, but, rather, respectful.

Like caring about our appearance enough to not wear pajama pants to the grocery store. I realize that yoga pants or sweats (both of which I am guilty) is not much of a step up, but I wonder how far down we will go?

Like being so accustomed to hearing vile language around us every day (coming from the mouths of both sexes, from 4 to 94), that we hardly even notice it anymore. Why are we no longer shocked?

Manners are becoming a lost art. Speaking properly, with appropriate diction and grammar, seems to be going by the wayside. The intricacies of courting have been replaced by meeting somewhere for a drink and a quick hook-up a la “what was your name, again?”

If our “world coming nearer” finds us sinking further and further down, what in heaven’s name will the future for us hold? Drowning in a cesspool?

If all this is modern, then call me old-fashioned, because the Dowager Duchess and I?

We’d get along just fine.


Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. ~ Romans 12:9-10 ESV