March 1939: A fresh international crisis looms as Hitler prepares to invade Czechoslovakia and dismantle the country. Distracted by this prospect, Hallam is ill-prepared for the disasters that descend on 165 Eaton Place.
For one, Hallam’s Aunt Blanche has just reunited with her former lesbian lover, Lady Portia Alresford. The two are discreet enough—except that Portia has just published a novel about their torrid affair, in which the names have been changed but the same-sex couple is easily identifiable as a prominent female Egyptologist (Blanche) and a respectable titled lady (Portia). The British tabloids are soon all over the story, and society invitations to Hallam and Agnes dry up.
Kept more successfully under wraps is another scandal: Persie is pregnant by her Nazi lover. Hallam is the only person Persie tells, hinting that she wants an abortion. He refuses to break the law and tries to convince his sister-in-law to go into seclusion at the seaside until the baby is born—the typical recourse for upper class women under these circumstances.
Sent to Germany on a last-minute mission to defuse the Czech crisis, Hallam arranges a meeting with Persie’s lover, who won’t own up to being the father, citing Persie’s notorious promiscuity.
Back in London, Persie has tracked down an abortion service and has the unwitting Harry drive her to the appointment and then to a hotel. Recognizing that Persie (his own former lover) is not well, Harry brings the newly returned Hallam to her hideaway. Dismayed but compassionate, Hallam helps her through her recovery, cementing a secret bond between them.
Meanwhile, Agnes is in trouble of a different kind. Oblivious to her duties as an employer, she has been running Beryl and Eunice ragged, capriciously switching their assignments and asking them to use their time off to join her at the Women's League of Health and Beauty, a fashionable fitness regimen with the dual ideals of exercise and equality.
At wit’s end, Beryl files a complaint with the Girls’ Friendly Society, a social organization that looks out for working-class girls. Miss Poulson from the society makes a surprise inspection at 165 Eaton Place and shames Agnes into improving working conditions, including getting Beryl and Eunice their own beds (they had been sharing a double). “There has been speculation about this household in recent popular publications!” says Miss Poulson, alluding to another bed-sharing arrangement, namely Blanche and Portia’s. In the aftermath, Agnes visits Rose at the sanatorium, where the convalescing head housekeeper has been blissfully shielded from all the domestic turmoil.
By the close of this episode, the servants are happy, Persie has recuperated, Blanche and Portia have put their relationship back on ice, and the Women's League of Health and Beauty is giving a smart torchlight rally. Lastly, the Czechoslovak Republic is no more.