Constance's maid; new to service
Mary has been taken on by Lady Constance as a lady's maid, despite having no experience, due to Constance's cheapness. She is a bright, quiet girl, who stomachs the Countess's snobbery without comment. She quickly strikes up friendships at Gosford with the head housemaid, Elsie, and Raymond Stockbridge's valet, Robert Parks. Mary is at first over-awed by the presence of matinee idol Ivor Novello, and is shocked to learn Ivor is treated like a jester by Constance's family.
When Henry Denton asks how many of the Gosford servants and visiting servants had parents in service, Mary raises her hand, but offers no facts as to which of her parents, and what jobs they had. However, her mother has told her that Constance should call Mary "MacEachran" now that she's a lady's maid, but since Constance cannot pronounce it, she simply calls her "Mary" despite her rank.
Mary is the only one of the servants to know the whole truth of the circumstances of William McCordle's murder.
Parks keeps himself to himself, and takes great care in the performance of his duties. He appears to have little or no relationship with Lady Stockbridge's maid Renee, and when not working, he is shown in his room or in the servants' hall, reading. He strikes up a friendship with Mary, as neither of them have been to Gosford Park before. Parks teases her, and is attracted to her—advances she tentitively returns.
Parks volunteers to valet for Ivor Novello after Henry Denton's charade is revealed, and is not starstuck in the slightest. When he inadvertently reveals more than he should to Ivor, Novello's interest is piqued, but Parks appears unperturbed.
Parks has been a valet for seven years. Before that, he worked as a footman. Parks has only been working for Lord Stockbridge as a valet for a brief time. He tells Henry Denton previously, he worked for the Earl of Flintshire. Mary makes the assumption that he took the position with Stockbridge solely to get close to McCordle, and Parks neither confirms nor denies it.
Parks was raised in an orphanage in Isleworth. Before leaving, he broken into the warden's office and found his birth certificate, and a photograph of a woman he presumes is his deceased mother. On his admission form, it stated he was two days old and delivered there by William McCordle. He was told his mother died just after he was born.
Parks does not know the full truth of his parentage.
Morris Weissman's valet
Henry Denton is an actor from Los Angeles, masquerading as a Scottish valet in order to do research hopefully leading to a part in Morris' new Charlie Chan picture. The other servants immediately find him suspect. Mary recognises his accent as phony, and Parks resents Henry's attempts to be mates, but treats henry as little more than a child and an annoyance. Parks interrupts Henry's attempt rape of Mary Maceachran, and remains cool towards Henry until his deception is revealed in the wake of Sir William's murder.
Henry has a sexual relationship with Morris Weissman, however neither are under any illusion that there is any affection between them. They are simply using one another, and take pleasure in small humiliations. Henry accepts Sylvia's attentions, but is confused and angry when she rejects him after he confesses to being an actor and not a servant. Likewise, he attempts to charm Elsie, but she is having none of him.
Renee is a quiet, plain woman who parrots her mistress' snobbery without thinking, looking down on Mabel Nesbitt for not having her own maid. Renee engages in gossip about their employers with the rest of the house servants and visiting servants in the ironing and sewing room, but falls quiet when Mrs Wilson appears. At dinner belowstairs, she takes a seat next to Mr Jennings at what she believes to be her rightful place, due to her ladyship's position. However Jennings reminds her that, as the maid of a baroness, she is outranked by the countesses' lady's maid, Mary. Her pride stung, she moves down the table. She is a fan of Ivor Novello's films, having seen The Lodger in the cinema, and joins the rest of the staff in eavesdropping outside the drawing room while Ivor plays the piano and sings.
Barnes is openly scornful of Commander Meredith. He takes any opportunity to mock him and tell anyone who is listening how much he despises him. However, when he is questioned by the police, he is very worried what he tells them may get back to the Merediths. Both his parents were factory hands, and Barnes believes they were better off. He believes that in another twenty years, servants like him will have vanished like the dodo.
She gossips with Renee about Mabel Nesbitt, repeating her employer's believe that a woman who travels with no maid has lost her self-respect and has "given in". She is also scornful of Countess of Trentham, referring to her as "Old Mother Trentham" and references her angling for an increased allowence from WIlliam as "getting her begging bowl out".
Sarah flirts with Constable Dexter.
Merriman prompts Mary on how to handle Lady Constance several times on the morning they drove to Gosford with good-natured gruffness. Mrs Wilson puts him in the stable block, with the grooms. That night it's cold and Mary brings him a hot cup of tea as he's working on the car's engine out behind the kitchen.
Links of Interest