- Summaries (3)
August 1918: Deserted by the baby's father, Ethel has been installed with her child in a cottage on the estate by a sympathetic Mrs. Hughes, who brings her food. Jane, a war widow, has taken Ethel's place as a maid. Vera Bates returns, having spent John's money but with no intention of sticking to their arrangement and planning to make money by selling the story of Lady Mary's indiscretion to Carlisle's newspaper. Tipped off by Anna, Mary goes to see him and explains all, thus scotching Vera's plan as the newspaper owner threatens her with libel action. Having returned to the war, both Matthew and William sustain severe injuries at the Battle of Amiens, fatally in the case of William, who marries Daisy. Mary is glad to become a hospital auxiliary to nurse Matthew, though his spinal damage will, in all probability, leave him paralysed from the waist down and impotent.
Everyone at Downton Abbey is shocked by the news that both Matthew and William have been seriously injured at the front. While Matthew is on his way to the family home home for treatment and recuperation, they are told that William cannot convalesce at the Abbey as it is for officers only. Lady Violet, the Dowager Duchess, won't stand for it, however, and uses all of her influence to have William brought to the Abbey as well. She succeeds but William will not recover from his wounds and he asks Daisy to marry him right away. Matthew's condition is such that he will never walk again and will not be able to father children, leading him to make a decision about his engagement to Lavinia. John Bates' wife Vera returns now intent on bringing down not only her husband but the Crawleys as well. Lady Mary makes a quick trip to London to seek Richard Carlisle's help. Ethel the former housemaid has now had her child but the father will have nothing to do with her.
Matthew and William return from the war - Matthew permanently paralyzed and William dying. A village war widow joins the staff, the major who fathered Ethel's trial turns his back on her, and despite taking Bates' money, Vera breaks her blackmail agreement.
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