Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dowager Lady Grantham's Special Message for Roads to the Great War Readers

Our oldest and best-known recurring publication at is our free monthly newsletter the St. Mihiel Trip-Wire. Every month we provide a portal to a vast amount of information on the Great War. Our February issue features our usual  collection of articles, links, imagery, and the special message below:

To view the full issue just click on:

A Message from Violet 

Dowager Countess of Grantham

The Official Favorite Downton Abbey Character of

Dear Roads to the Great War Readers, 

No doubt you will regard this as rather unorthodox, my pushing my way into an electronic publication. First electricity, then telephones, now the Internet. Sometimes I feel as if I’m living in an H.G. Wells novel. But life is a game, where sometimes the player must appear ridiculous. While there can be too much truth in any relationship there is a time for forthrightness. I must say that I find this fascination in our former colonies with my family's story a bit puzzling, and — forgive me for saying this — utterly middle class. Especially so, since before Downton Abbey there was Abingdon Pryory and the Greville Family Saga, which I'm amused to say were brilliantly chronicled by that American from Hollywood, California, the late Mr. Philip Rock. (Why does every day involve the intrusion of an American?) If you would like to discover the source from which Downton Abbey's producers borrow their plot and some of my dialogue, you might consider reading this wonderful trilogy that was reissued recently. 

By the way, the first volume of the Abingdon Pryory Trilogy — The Passing Bells — covers the Great War, the second the postwar period, and the last the run up to the Second World War. I'm certain readers of Roads will recognize the provenance of the first volume's title: 

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle: Can patter out their hasty orisons. . . 

Dowager Lady Grantham


  1. M'Lady, I should love to sit down with you and a nice cup of tea and discuss the poems of Wilfred Owen with you. Had we enough time we might even chat about Sassoon too.
    Your most obedient servant, Dave the Knave.

  2. Actually I am partial to Isis, the pooch; saddened by her biting the dust, though. And why are the Bates' continually in trouble with the law? That recurring theme is getting old don't you think? I agree, Granny is a great character. Illya Kuryakin