Bates: You are a lady to me and I never knew a finer one.
Like millions of other women, I've become enraptured by Masterpiece Theater's series Downton Abbey on PBS. And like millions of women, I've become enraptured by the romance between two of the servant characters, Mr. Bates and Anna. Right now, things are looking rather dire for this star-crossed couple: at the end of Sunday night's episode, Mr. Bates was arrested for the murder of his wife, a vindictive witch who had refused to divorce him and threatened to engulf the house's name in scandal. Poor Bates and Anna had only enjoyed one night of matrimony bliss before the thugs led him off to the pokey.
There's a few reasons why I love Anna and Mr. Bates. First of all, I love Mr. Bates! Anna's stolen moments with him on the job remind me of an older guy I worked with years ago who I enjoyed a mutual crush with (he was married as well, but don't worry--nothing happened.) Aside from the fact that Bates may have offed his wife, he seems like a gentleman and nurturing towards Anna--the type of guy to rub your neck after a long day and listen to what bothers you. When Anna started to fall for him on-screen, female viewers swooned. Bates has a bad leg from the Boer War and forced himself to wear a correcting iron which looked like a torture device; when he winced in pain, we wept silent tears for him.
Secondly, I love this couple because of Anna's patience and determination. When Mr. Bates was forced under blackmail by his wife to leave Downton Abbey, Anna was able to track down the pub that he was working in and went to see him, despite Bates' advice that he had to forget about him. Anna also repeatedly told him that she was happy to be his mistress and live in sin with him. Another woman would have kicked him to the curb, but not Anna. She waited a long time to be with him and when he was arrested, she affirmed that she would never leave him ("I love you. For better for worse, for richer for poorer.")
They may be fictional characters in a romantic story, but these two are soulmates. I enjoyed watching their mutual attraction and flirtation develop into a committed relationship. It's exactly the way I picture the ideal relationship for me (sans the accusation of murder.) I actually all but plastered my Pinterest vision board with photos of them together. Let's hope Anna and Bates get the happy ending that they deserve!