His Lordship was in the study when the butler approached and coughed discreetly. “May I ask you a question, My Lord?”
“Go ahead, Carson,” said His Lordship.
“I am doing the crossword in The Times and found a word the exact meaning of which I am not too certain.”
“What word is that?” asked His Lordship.
“Aplomb,” My Lord.
“Now that’s a difficult one to explain. I would say it is self-assurance or complete composure.”
“Thank you, My Lord, but I’m still a little confused about it.”
“Let me give you an example to make it clearer. Do you remember a few months ago when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived to spend a weekend with us?”
“I remember the occasion very well, My Lord. It gave the staff and myself much pleasure to look after them.”
“Also,” continued the Earl of Grantham, “do you remember when Will plucked a rose for Kate in the rose garden?”
“I was present on that occasion, My Lord, ministering to their needs.
“While Will was plucking the rose, a thorn embedded itself in his thumb very deeply.”
“I witnessed the incident, My Lord, and saw the Duchess herself remove the thorn and bandage his thumb with her own dainty handkerchief.”
“That evening the hole the rose made in his thumb was very sore. Kate had to cut his venison for him, even though it was extremely tender.”
“Yes, My Lord, I did see everything that transpired that evening.”
“And do you remember the next morning while you were pouring coffee for Her Ladyship Kate inquired of Will in a loud voice, “Darling, is your prick still throbbing?” and you, Carson, did not spill one drop of coffee?
That, Carson is aplomb.”