Anna is with Bates, alone, with a warder watching.
Anna: Mr Murray’s gone to London with the lawyers and he;s going to see -
He smiles at her, much less unhappy than she is.
Bates (CONT’D): Will you stay on at Downton?
Anna: Who says they’ll let me?
Bates: They’ll let you. And you’ll have some money. Mr Murray thinks you can keep it, or most of it.
She will not comment. She just shakes her head.
Bates (CONT’D): I want you to thank his lordship for trying to help me -
Anna: Yes, but what he said -
Bates: He didn’t want to say it. And I won’t blame him for not lying.
Anna: He regrets not lying. I heard him say it.
Bates: Give him my best wishes for the future. And wish all of them well. I don’t want you to hold it against Mrs Hughes or Miss O’Brien -
Anna: If you think I can ever -
Bates: Even Miss O’Brien. We’ve not been friends, but she doesn’t want me here. Please forgive them. I do.*
Anna: I’m not sorry, you know…not a bit. I would marry you now, if I wasn’t already your wife. I would!
Bates: God knows I’m not sorry, either. Maybe I should be, but no man can regret loving as I have loved you.
She can’t speak, but reaches for his hand across the table.
Warder: No touching!
Bates: For God’s sake, man. You know where I am bound. How dangerous can this be?
The warder looks for a moment, then nods and turns his back. Bates stands and draws Anna to him.
Bates (CONT’D): One kiss. To take with me.
He kisses her. There is the sound of a guard outside the door and they are apart by the time the door is thrown open…1
*Needless to say, Bates forgives Robert and generally forgives everyone, which Anna finds much harder to do than he does. But I never feel he is too much Saint Bates to be true. There is darkness underneath. That is the strength of Brendan Coyle’s wonderful performance.
1It was a different system then and visits of this sort were supervised by a single warder, as prison officers were called. This one has a reasonably kind heart and allows them a kiss. Hopefully, as a result, eyes were streaming among the show’s followers.