'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.

10. No time for romance

A maid irons. Courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs

Romances between servants who worked together seem to have been scarce in real life. But having only one day a week off – or even less time off for some servants – made it hard to date anyone outside the house either. On days off, even though their time was their own, female servants still had to be back by 10 pm, a strictly enforced rule. "[It] made every date like Cinderella's ball," a real maid named Rosina Harrison wrote of this curfew. "Only you didn't lose your slipper, you could lose your job."

10 of 10

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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