From Downton Abbey.

In Downton Cottage Hospital:

Dr Clarkson: 'It is kind of you to take an interest'.

Isobel Crawley: 'I am afraid it is a case of the war horse in the drought. You know my late husband was a doctor'.

I think she means that more than taking an interest she is used to treating patients due to her familiar setting and nursing studies, but I am not sure.

  • Do you have a link to a video in which the expression occurs? And when in the video it occurs? Commented May 25, 2018 at 16:28
  • 1
    I have watched that part of the scene five times and I am not sure what the character says; I thought about deleting my answer, but perhaps by leaving it up, it will stimulate someone else to try to answer your question. Commented May 26, 2018 at 1:02

1 Answer 1


I have listened to this part of the episode (S01E02, about 11:30) five times and the sound is not that great; and I cannnot tell what the character says (war horse and the drought??, war house and the drum??), so I have to "retract" my conclusion; however I am leaving this answer here, undeleted, in the hope that it will stimulate someone else to attemt to answer the question or provide input as to what the character actually says in the video (not in a written transcript, the likes of which conflict with each other)....

EDIT: online transcripts contradict each other, and I cannot hear what the character actually says in the video, so the following is based on the online transript that I found, which conflicts with this one.

Apparently the actual lines are

It's kind of you to take an interest.
I'm afraid it's a case of the warhorse and the drum. You know my late husband was a doctor.

Read more: Springfield TV Episode Scripts

See the explanation at italki:

It means, "A warhorse will always answer to the war drum for the rest of his/her life."

Mrs. Crawley wants to say that as a doctor's wife she is and always will be interested in patients and hospitals.

I assume that this is because a (war)drum calls a warhouse into battle, or something like that.

But apparently you weren't the first person to mishear the phrase.

Of course, I have no idea if the script excerpt found at the Springfield website is correct. Perhaps you could provide a link to a video, denoting the time in which the expression occurs...


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