Downton Abbey: the Non-Contest Results

I could not be more pleased to announce the winner of our latest non-contest, whose name I mention in the next paragraph. Entrants were asked to render a famous author’s impressions of Downton Abbey, as portrayed in the popular television show Downton Abbey.

The following winning entry comes from author C Wallace Walker:

Jane Austen’s Visit to Downton Abbey

May 4, 1913

Dearest Cassandra,

The house has been in such a bustle, I could scarce command quiet time to compose a letter to you. The new heir, Mr. Matthew Crawley, yesterday arrived with his mother. They are lodging at Crawley House but dined with us at the big house last night.

Mrs. Crawley is a pushy sort, but not nearly the equal of old Lady Grantham. I maneuver away from her ladyship whenever possible, though do try to remain within earshot of her remarks. Her wit is not to be missed as long as it is not directed at oneself. The Lady does heartily approve of my performance at the pianoforte. She cannot tolerate ragtime and prefers the waltzes and quadrilles with which I am familiar. I had not the heart to tell her that for want of a secluded room in which to practice, I would wish to learn the contemporary pieces. The house contains an abundance of modern sheet music, but the only pianoforte sits in the library, a room nearly always occupied. In a stroke of fortune, the library also contains books enough for even me.

Mr. Crawley, aside from being bestowed with a future of both rank and fortune, seems of good character, despite having once studied the law. The Lady Mary clearly considers her station above Mr. Crawley’s, though she is neither the eldest son of a man of fortune, nor engaged to be married to a man of fortune. Lady Mary is perfunctory in her behavior toward me and the other guests, summoning a servant to attend to any of our needs but not troubling herself. She is so wholly unhappy with the threat to her position that the entailment poses. Lady Mary is the Charlotte Lucas of Downton, only in better clothes, prepared to steer her heart to the most advantageous attachment.

Quite the opposite, Lady Sybil the youngest, handsomest sister, cares nothing for rank or fortune. She is a headstrong girl, who feels a conviction to speak her mind, yet hopes to marry.

Lest you think me too severe on our sex, Lady Edith and I are similar in disposition and temperament. Like me, she takes pleasure in a good novel.

Lord Grantham is all you would expect for a man of his situation in life, a fair and kind master, neither soft nor severe. Aside from the unfortunate fact that Lady Grantham is American, one would never suspect that she is of no breeding.

In closing my dearest Cassandra, I do you wish you could see the grounds of Downton. I would sketch them for you, but my drawings are horribly unlike their subjects. With more than 50 bedrooms the house is impressive, but most majestic are the Lebanon cedars that surround the gardens. I long to walk among them with you and listen to the wind whisper in their branches.

Yours very affectionately,

JA

*****

Congratulations, C Wallace Walker, and thank you for entering!

You can reread Walker’s entry at our tumblr page right now, where we’ve also posted the work of three finalists, Jack Anderson, Michael Credico, and David Nahm, who channeled Cormac McCarthy, Lydia Smith, and W G Sebald, respectively.  We could not have been more pleased to read their work, and we hope you will wheel on over and check them out.