Of several subplots, one involves John Bates, Lord Grantham's new valet and former Boer war batman, and Thomas Barrow, an ambitious young footman, who resents Bates for taking over the position he had desired. Bates and Thomas remain at odds as Barrow works to sabotage Bates' every move. After learning Bates had recently been released from prison, Thomas and Miss O'Brien (Lady Grantham's Lady's maid) begin a relentless pursuit that nearly ruins the Crawley family in scandal. Barrow — a homosexual man in late Edwardian England – and O'Brien create havoc for most of the staff and family. When Barrow is caught stealing, he hands in his notice to join the Royal Army Medical Corps. Matthew eventually does propose to Lady Mary, but she puts him off when Lady Grantham becomes pregnant. Cora loses the baby after O'Brien, believing she is soon to be fired, retaliates by leaving a bar of soap near the bathtub steps, causing Cora to slip while getting out of the tub, and the fall resulting in a miscarriage. The series ends just after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914.