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'Downton Abbey': 10 highlights from the new book

A new book about "Downton Abbey," released before the season 2 premiere on Jan. 8, provides insight into the show.

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2. Bells were a blessing for footmen

Julian Fellowes says in the book that while being at the beck and call of a bell is seen as demeaning to us today, it was actually a godsend for footmen. Before then, they had to sit near the family, often in the hall, on wooden chairs – without cushions, of course. When a member of the family would ask for someone, for example, the maid, the footman would have to go down to the servants' hall, find the maid, give her the message – and then to his post. "With the bell-board, they could not only simply be wherever they wanted to be but if the bell rang from, say, the mistress's bedroom, it was immediately obvious who was needed," Fellowes said.


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