Quotable Quotes from Downton Abbey Season 3

These are some of my favourite lines from Season 3. They remind me of why I enjoy Downton Abbey in the first place, the humor and subtext, and the superb cast that delivers every time.

Episode 1

The family must never be a topic of conversation. – Violet Crawley

Miss O’Brien, we are about to host a society wedding. I have no time for training young hobbledehoys. – Mr. Carson

Daisy: You’ve still kept me here with a dishonest representation.
Mrs. Patmore: Oh dear. Have you swallowed a dictionary?

Don’t worry about me. I’m an American. Have gun, will travel.  – Cora

Have gun will travel

Forgive, perhaps. Forget, never. – Violet

Come war and peace, Downton still stands and the Crawleys are still in it. – Martha Levinson

Mary, dearest Mary. Now, you tell me all of your wedding plans. I’ll see what I can do to improve them.  – Martha

Edith: There you are. I see you’ve said hello to Grandmama.
Violet: She is like a homing pigeon. She finds our underbelly every time.

I should hate to be predictable. – Mary to Matthew, at her wedding altar

Episode 2

Let me call you sweetheart...

Nothing succeeds like excess. – Violet

Are you not popular downstairs? – Robert to Thomas

Some animals adapt to new surroundings. It seems a better choice than extinction. – Martha to Robert

Well, in my opinion, to misquote Dr. Johnson, if you’re tired of style, you are tired of life. – Mr. Carson

Episode 3

At my age, one must ration one’s excitement.  – Violet

Let him go, let him go. You know he’s right. Don’t stop him doing the only sensible thing he’s come up with in months. – Violet to Edith at the altar

Being tested only makes you stronger. – Cora to Edith

If the poor don’t want it, you can bring it over to me. – Violet to Carson re. the wedding food.

Wedding gourmet for downstairs

And the food? Here it is… probably the best quote of the Episode. In answering Alfred’s remark of: Is this all we’re getting? Just these picketty bits:

These are canapés, Alfred. For your first course, some truffled egg on toast, perhaps? Some oysters a la Russe? There’s lobster rissoles in Mousseline sauce or Calvados-glazed duckling, or do you fancy a little asparagus salad with Champagne-saffron vinaigrette? – Thomas and Mrs. Patmore

Episode 4

Robert: What a harsh world you live in.
Tom: We all live in a harsh world. But at least I know I do.

Carson: But Alfred is very good, you know. He’s very willing. Even if he is Miss O’Brien’s nephew.
Matthew: Clearly, nothing worse could be said of any man.

Episode 5

Cora: Sir Philip mustn’t bully him into silence.
Robert: My dear, this is just Clarkson’s professional pride like barbers asking, “Who last cut your hair?”

A woman of my age can face reality far better than most men. – Violet

Sybil, Tom & baby

Edith: She was the only person living who always thought you and I were such nice people. Oh Mary… Do you think we might get along a little better in the future?
Mary: I doubt it. But since this is the last time we three will all be together in this life, let’s love each other now, as sisters should.

Episode 6

There hasn’t been a Catholic Crawley since the Reformation. – Robert

Anyone who has use of their limbs can make a salmon mousse. – Mrs. Patmore

You know the trouble with you lot? You’re all in love with the wrong people. Now take those upstairs! – Mrs. Patmore

Robert: I’m flabbergasted.
Cora: You’re always flabbergasted by the unconventional.

Dr. Clarkson: So you want me to lie to them and say there was no chance at all?
Violet: Lie… is so unmusical a word. I want you to review the evidence honestly and without bias.
Clarkson: Even to ease suffering, I could never justify telling an outright lie.
Violet: Have we nothing in common?

Episode 7

Bates and Anna

But in the meantime, you just rest. Stay in bed, read books. – Robert to Bates

Convince me again. – Matthew to Mary

I do think a woman’s place is eventually in the home, but I see no harm in her having some fun before she gets there. – Violet

What is The Scarlet Letter? – Violet

Robert: Second [condition], you will both admit it when you realize you were wrong.
Violet: Oh, well that is an easy caveat to accept because I’m never wrong.

What’s the matter, Robert? Are you afraid you’ll be converted while you’re not looking? – Cora

Episode 8

Cricket Match

Matthew: Bates must count himself lucky to be out of it [cricket match].
Anna: I think he’d like to walk normally, sir, even if playing cricket was the price he had to pay.

She hates London, so she’s coming to a great-aunt in Yorkshire to have a good time. How original. –Isobel to Violet re. Rose

Isobel: Of course, if you had had to sell Charlie to the butcher to be chopped up as stew to achieve the same ends, you would have done so.
Violet: Happily, it was not needed.

Episode 9 Finale

Edna: He’s nice looking, I give him that.
Mrs. Hughes: I don’t think you’re required to give him anything.

Don’t dislike him before you know him. That’s the hallmark of our parents’ generation, and I forbid it.  – Matthew to Mary, re. Gregson.

What I want is for her [Rose] to know that family can be a loving thing… Love is like riding or speaking French. If you don’t learn it young, it’s hard to get the trick of it later.  – Shrimpie

Matthew: I fall more in love with you every day that passes.
Mary: I’ll remind you of that next time I scratch the car.

Downton Abbey Christmas Special


Oh, but it’s more than just a scratch in the car. We’ll forgive, but not forget. – Arti


CLICK HERE to Quotable Quotes from Downton Abbey Season 1 and 2


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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

25 thoughts on “Quotable Quotes from Downton Abbey Season 3”

  1. You must have been taking very good notes! Every one you hit is a gem. It’s just impossible to pick a favorite. What I really admire is Julian Fellowes ability to write these for all the characters — I think every one has had a gem. I really need to re-read his novel “Snobs.” I don’t remember it being this witty. I wonder how much is the words and how much is the delivery! Don’t you wish you could come up with something like this at exactly the right moment?!


    1. Jeanie,

      I watched the whole Season on Blu-ray over and got down these quotes. There are more that I like, but don’t want to make this too long a post. Julian Fellowes’ humor and wit reminds me of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of being Earnest. BTW, the Special Features included in the Blu-rays are just wonderful.


    1. JoAnn,

      I know… DA without Matthew and Sybil can be quite a different story. But, I look forward to whatever comes… esp. with all the new characters. Nine more months to go, seems like a gestation period. 😉


  2. I love this quick tour of Downton, because it brings back so many happy memories (and some sad ones). Thanks for this! I was so down about Matthew’s death, but now I’m warming up to Mary finding someone new.
    On a different topic, I want to add this link because it’s a creative way to link writers to the big college basketball tournament that’s starting in the U.S.
    Each of the 64 universities in the tournament has its own book by an author from that university, with a link to the book.
    The book for my university, the University of Kansas is “The Chaperone.”


    1. Cathy,

      This is just wonderful: linking books to basketball. I’m also interested to see what the alma mater is for the authors, not that knowing it would affect my enjoyment of their books. Some I’ve read, so just great to know where they’re from. And… I’ve yet to read The Chaperone. Will definitely put that on my TBR list. 😉


    1. Ellen,

      Welcome back and glad to see you at the pond. And do take care of that flu. Allow me to suggest what Robert said to Bates: “In the meantime, you just rest. Stay in bed, read books.” 😉


  3. It’s like walking down memory lane with these great lines, Arti. Nine long months. I have saved six seasons of Foyle’s War to tide me over until next January 😉


    1. nikkipolani,

      That will tie you over for sure. I read somewhere that the producers are thinking of aligning the UK screening with the US. Let’s hope they’ll do it.


  4. Oh, and I finally saw Life of Pi. And dug around looking for more info on that amazing computer graphics work. Turns out the neighbor of a friend of mine worked on the fish and the meerkats and fish and a little of the tiger. I’m so very impressed with young Suraj Sharman.


    1. That’s real cool. This is such a huge project (I think 3,000 plus people involved) that we just might know people who know someone in it. My son’s friend from U. has a couple of friends who are extras in the movie when it was shot in Taiwan. Anyway, I’m glad you’ve finally seen it. Quite impressive, isn’t it? I think it well deserves the four Oscars it won, three technical but esp. to Mr. Ang Lee for Best Director.


  5. This is really, really interesting to me. As someone who hasn’t seen even a single minute of Downton Abbey (not a point of pride, just a fact) the quotations seem rather pedestrian and not at all memorable.

    I think that only proves the point you’ve made here that delivery makes a huge difference, as does having a context for such quotations. And of course, part of their power is that recalling them also recalls favorite characters, favorite scenes, and the entire emotional sweep of the series.

    I do have a tidbit for you. For a very specific reason, I began digging around into my Crowley genealogy. I discovered that Crawley is a variant spelling of the name, which is rooted in County Cork. My grandfather left me with the impression that the family came from County Down – possible, but I think it less likely than I’ve always assumed.

    The best little serendipitous tidbit is that the Crowleys/Crawleys have a remarkable link to Hushpuppy and Beasts of the Southern Wild. I mentioned it somewhere, but I’m not sure now who I even was talking to! Anyway, take a look at this Crowley family crest and this scene with Hushpuppy.

    Amazing! I keep thinking about my great-great-grandfather, whose company was charged during the Civil War with transporting prisoners through the Atchafalaya Swamp, and who spent time in and around New Orleans. There’s a story in here somewhere!


    1. As a language lover, you must realize that words are merely the vehicle to transport meanings, emotions, and experiences, a notion which is well conveyed in the first two paragraphs of your comment. By the same token, the best dialogues are those packed full of subtext, not necessarily in themselves witty or memorable. You’re right, these Downton Quotes are more for “Downtonites”, those who have seen the show, who know the backstory and all the context from which these lines are taken, for them to savour, and tie them over till Season 4 next January.

      The line: “Are you not popular downstairs?” means nothing, not even quotable, to someone who has not seen an episode of DA. But, for “Downtonites”, we can see how these five words are packed full of irony. The cast is excellent in conveying such kinds of subtext, irony, and sarcasm. That’s the wonder of DA.

      As for the connection you’ve made with The Beast of the Southern Wild, it’s just amazing, esp. when you compare the Crowley family crest with the image in the film. BTW, I’m still waiting for your first movie review to come up in your blog. 😉


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