“He’s a man. Men don’t have rights.”–The Dowager Countess
And with that, we jump headlong into this week’s complicated plot involving Violet and Rosamund finally telling Cora, but not Robert, the truth about Edith. After the steeple chase, everyone gathers to discuss Edith’s whereabouts. Everyone is concerned, except Mary, of course. The Dowager Countess wants to take a walk with Cora until Barrow brings news of a guest: Mrs. Drewe. Robert offers to take his mother for a walk, which she hilariously refuses.
Fresh from getting the bombshell from Mrs. Drewe, Cora is furious at Rosamund and Violet for keeping this whole thing from her. The Dowager Countess concludes that the confirmation of Gregson’s death was too much for Edith. Cora points out that when she was told her child would be taken away by her scheming Aunt and Grandmother, she decided to take her first.
Atticus and his family arrive and Rose tells him there’s drama (Edith missing, that is) and he’s just excited for their first secret.
Later, Cora and Rosamund go to the publishing house to confront Edith (it was Atticus’ idea to look there). Over tea, Edith tells them she contemplated going to America with Marigold and making up a dead husband. But she really wants to stay in England, so she intends to bring her back to the Abbey as her orphan godchild. She can’t bear to be seen around the village as the woman who “lost her virtue and reason”. Cora thinks they should concoct a different story; that the Drewes couldn’t take care of yet another child, and The Crawleys can easily add Marigold to the nursery. Cora figures they’ll just ask Mr. Drewe for help, which Rosamund thinks is nuts.