The Remains of the Day

The owner of Darlington Hall, which has been in his family for hundreds of years, Lord Darlington is described by various characters as a true old gentleman. After fighting in World War I, Lord Darlington was inspired to get involved in politics and attempt to ease relations between Britain and Germany during the 1920s and 1930s, as the Nazis were growing in power. Over the course of the novel, it becomes clear that Darlington is at the center of the historical movement for “appeasement,” and he even welcomes collaboration with major Nazi figures. Since Lord Darlington is described through the eyes of Stevens, it’s difficult to tell just how much he bought into Nazi rhetoric; whether his anti-Semitism, for instance, was a true belief he held or, as Stevens says, something that he embraced only for a time as a result of the nefarious influence of others. The novel does seem to make clear that Lord Darlington’s status as a “gentleman,” with an earnest belief in congeniality, cooperation, and polite discussion, is more naïve than evil, but also entirely unsuited to the political requirements of the time. He finds himself as a result on the wrong side of history, as Stevens only gradually comes to admit to himself.

Lord Darlington Quotes in The Remains of the Day

The The Remains of the Day quotes below are all either spoken by Lord Darlington or refer to Lord Darlington . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Remains of the Day published in 1990.
Day Two: Morning Quotes

But now that I think further about it, I am not sure Miss Kenton spoke quite so boldly that day. […] I am not sure she could actually have gone so far as to say things like: “these errors may be trivial in themselves, but you must yourself realize their larger significance.” In fact, now that I come to think of it, I have a feeling it may have been Lord Darlington himself who made that particular remark to me that time he called me into his study some two months after that exchange with Miss Kenton outside the billiard room.

Related Characters: Mr. Stevens (speaker), Miss Kenton (Mrs. Benn), Lord Darlington
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:
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“He is an amateur and international affairs today are no longer for gentleman amateurs. The sooner you here in Europe realize that the better. All you decent, well-meaning gentlemen, let me ask you, have you any idea what sort of place the world is becoming all around you? The days when you could act out of your noble instincts are over. Except of course, you here in Europe don’t yet seem to know it.”

Related Characters: Mr. Lewis (speaker), Lord Darlington
Page Number: 102
Explanation and Analysis:
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Day Two: Afternoon Quotes

Let me say that Lord Darlington was a gentleman of great moral stature—a stature to dwarf most of the persons you will find talking this sort of nonsense about him—and I will readily vouch that he remained that to the last. Nothing could be less accurate than to suggest that I regret my association with such a gentleman. Indeed, you will appreciate that to have served his lordship at Darlington Hall during those years was to come as close to the hub of this world’s wheel as one such as I could ever have dreamt.

Related Characters: Mr. Stevens (speaker), Lord Darlington
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:
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Day Three: Morning Quotes

And then again, you will hear these same persons talking as though Lord Darlington did something unusual in receiving hospitality from the Nazis on the several trips he made to Germany during those years. […] The fact is, the most established, respected ladies and gentleman were availing themselves of the hospitality of the German leaders, and I can vouch at first hand that the great majority of these persons were returning with nothing but praise and admiration for their hosts. Anyone who implies that Lord Darlington was liaising covertly with a known enemy is just conveniently forgetting the true climate of those times.

Related Characters: Mr. Stevens (speaker), Lord Darlington
Page Number: 136-137
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Day Three: Evening Quotes

Throughout the years I served him, it was he and he alone who weighed up evidence and judged it best to proceed in the way he did, while I simply confined myself, quite properly, to affairs within my own professional realm. And as far as I am concerned, I carried out my duties to the best of my abilities, indeed to a standard which many may consider “first rate.” It is hardly my fault if his lordship’s life and work have turned out today to look, at best, a sad waste—and it is quite illogical that I should feel any regret or shame on my own account.

Related Characters: Mr. Stevens (speaker), Lord Darlington
Page Number: 201
Explanation and Analysis:
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Day Four: Afternoon Quotes

I remember this American chap, even drunker than I am now, he got up at the dinner table in front of the whole company. And he pointed at his lordship and called him an amateur. Called him a bungling amateur and said he was out of his depth. Well, I have to say, Stevens, that American chap was quite right. It’s a fact of life. Today’s world is too foul a place for fine and noble instincts.

Related Characters: Mr. Reginald Cardinal (speaker), Mr. Stevens, Lord Darlington
Page Number: 224
Explanation and Analysis:
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Day Six: Evening Quotes

“Lord Darlington wasn’t a bad man. He wasn’t a bad man at all. And at least he had the privilege of being able to say at the end of his life that he made his own mistakes. His lordship was a courageous man. He chose a certain path in life, it proved to be a misguided one, but there, he chose it, he can say that at least. As for myself, I cannot even claim that. You see, I trusted. I trusted in his lordship’s wisdom. All those years I served him, I trusted I was doing something worthwhile. I can’t even say I made my own mistakes. Really—one has to ask oneself—what dignity is there in that?”

Related Characters: Mr. Stevens (speaker), Lord Darlington
Page Number: 243
Explanation and Analysis:
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Lord Darlington Character Timeline in The Remains of the Day

The timeline below shows where the character Lord Darlington appears in The Remains of the Day. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue: July 1956
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...Farraday also planned to hold few large parties and events of the kind that Lord Darlington had often hosted. Stevens worked long and diligently on the staff plan, finally coming up... (full context)
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...fellow professionals as he used to, especially when visitors would come to stay with Lord Darlington with their staff in tow. On those occasions, the “finest professionals in England” could be... (full context)
Day Two: Morning
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...so boldly that day. Now that he thinks of it, it may have been Lord Darlington who made the point about the larger significance of trivial errors, several months later. (full context)
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Sometimes back then Lord Darlington would pretend to be engrossed in a volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica in his study... (full context)
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In this instance, Lord Darlington barely glanced up from his book to ask if Stevens’s father had made a full... (full context)
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A week earlier, Lord Darlington had been entertaining two guests in the summerhouse and had seen Stevens’s father approach across... (full context)
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...come to have fewer and fewer conversations—he was never sure why—so the task of relaying Darlington’s request was a tricky one. Finally he judged the best option to be speaking privately... (full context)
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...beyond his capacities; he’d compromised the household’s smooth running, and thus the approaching international gathering. His lordship asked that he not wait at table, with or without guests. His father responded calmly... (full context)
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The conference was the result of several years of Lord Darlington’s friendship with Herr Karl-Heinz Bremann, a former German officer, who returned many times to Darlington... (full context)
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On one winter’s night, Darlington was dining with only one guest—for some reason, they dined in the vast banquet hall,... (full context)
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...was learned that Herr Bremann had shot and killed himself. In the following weeks, Lord Darlington, distraught, began to devote a great deal of time to the crisis in Germany, inviting... (full context)
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Over the years, Darlington and his friend Sir David Cardinal gathered a group of people convinced that the situation... (full context)
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Darlington once confided in Stevens that it was the Frenchmen who proved most intransigent, but that... (full context)
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During these preliminaries, Stevens recalls, Darlington entrusted him with a particularly unusual task. Calling him over, engrossed in a Who’s Who... (full context)
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...group that Dupont hates Germans with a depth they’d find it hard to understand. While Darlington said that the English also fought the Germans long and hard, Lewis added that the... (full context)
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...costume reserved for gentlemen on holiday; indeed, he’d maintain the appearance of having come to Darlington Hall for pleasure. He was in a foul mood, but cheered up upon seeing Mr.... (full context)
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...a mere social event. Stevens had to enter and exit frequently, but he recalls Lord Darlington’s opening speech emphasizing the great suffering undergone by Germany, and calling for a freezing of... (full context)
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At the end of dinner Darlington rose to speak, expressing his gratitude for the spirit of friendship and unity he’d seen.... (full context)
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...was resuming, M. Dupont rose to his feet, and gave a toast to their host, Darlington. He went on to say that there had been much criticism of his country’s foreign... (full context)
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...dreamers” who would be charming if they didn’t insist on meddling in world affairs. Lord Darlington is only an amateur, he said, and politics today is no place for amateurs. They’re... (full context)
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After a stunned silence, Lord Darlington responded by saying that what the American calls amateurism, he thinks of as honor. He... (full context)
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...Stevens in conversation, though he had to ask Stevens several times if he was alright. Darlington, then, said it seemed like Stevens had been crying. Stevens laughed and wiped his face... (full context)
Day Two: Afternoon
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...moved quickly between employers at first, before being rewarded by being able to serve Lord Darlington. (full context)
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...almost like a gentleman, and had a beautiful car. When Stevens said he worked at Darlington Hall, the man became curious, asking what Lord Darlington was like. But Stevens brushed him... (full context)
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...to reflect on why he gave the impression that he’d never been employed by Lord Darlington. The incident, he admits, has some affinity with one from a few years earlier, when... (full context)
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...asked Stevens if it only looked 17th century, but if it was actually from Lord Darlington’s time. He wasn’t sure. She then asked him what Lord Darlington was like. Stevens said... (full context)
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...can better be explained from a reluctance not to hear any more “nonsense” about Lord Darlington, a man of great moral stature to whom Stevens could not be more grateful. (full context)
Day Three: Morning
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Stevens is pleased to recall guests at Darlington Hall marveling at the silver. He recalls in particular Lord Halifax, who began to come... (full context)
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...people talk today as if they were never taken in by Ribbentrop, as if Lord Darlington had been alone. The hypocrisy of these people would be clear if one saw their... (full context)
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Stevens also finds it hypocritical that people talk as if Lord Darlington were unusual in receiving hospitality from the Nazis in those years; the most respectable ladies... (full context)
Day Three: Evening
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...return to the question of anti-Semitism, which has become so sensitive today, especially regarding Lord Darlington’s purported ban of Jewish staff—something that Stevens can refute entirely. There were many Jewish people... (full context)
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...Barnet had a reputation for formidable intelligence; in the summer of 1932 she and Lord Darlington often spent hours in political conversation, and she would lead him through guided tours of... (full context)
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It was then that, Stevens recalls, he once overheard Lord Darlington refer to a certain newspaper as a “Jewish propaganda sheet,” and instruct Stevens to stop... (full context)
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...a complicated place, he said, and he and she could not understand it like Lord Darlington could. The next morning, he met with Ruth and Sarah briefly before they left; they... (full context)
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...was serving tea one afternoon, long after Mrs. Barnet ceased to visit the house and Darlington cut ties with the “blackshirts,” when Lord Darlington asked Stevens whatever happened to the Jewish... (full context)
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...ashamed, but she couldn’t leave. She paused, so Stevens decided to tell her what Lord Darlington had said, concluding that it was a comfort to hear how distressed the man was. (full context)
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...finally he said that his vocation would never be fulfilled until he could see Lord Darlington through all the tasks Darlington set for him. Miss Kenton’s mood seemed to change, and... (full context)
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...thinks of an incident that illustrates that point, from an evening in 1935 when Lord Darlington was entertaining three gentlemen. He entered the drawing room and Darlington said that Mr. Spencer... (full context)
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...butler might be expected to encounter. He’d nearly forgotten it by the next morning when Darlington went to apologize to him. He noticed how tired and bedraggled the lordship looked, as... (full context)
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...even unappealing, but he thinks there is an important element of truth to what Lord Darlington said. A butler’s duty is to provide good service, not to meddle in the great... (full context)
Day Four: Afternoon
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...a name for himself as a witty columnist—writing columns that were rarely pleasing to Lord Darlington. Still, he continued to treat the man like the godson he was. But this was... (full context)
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Upstairs, Mr. Cardinal was eager to hear about Lord Darlington’s guests, but Darlington said it was quite confidential, and that Mr. Cardinal couldn’t join them.... (full context)
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...asked Stevens to tell him if the Prime Minister was in the other room. Lord Darlington, he told Stevens, was in “deep water.” Over in the other room—he wouldn’t need Stevens... (full context)
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...to be expected, as Stevens wasn’t curious, never thinking to look at things more closely. Darlington is a true gentleman, Mr. Cardinal said, but the other men have used and manipulated... (full context)
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...watch his lordship go off a cliff; Stevens said he didn’t understand. Cardinal replied that Darlington has been the single most useful pawn of Hitler, establishing links between Berlin and the... (full context)
Day Six: Evening
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Stevens attempted, in turn, to describe to Miss Kenton how Darlington Hall had changed: she seemed to become visibly more cheerful when turning to old memories... (full context)
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...the butler of a nearby house. He was impressed to hear that Stevens worked at Darlington Hall, and given his enthusiasm, Stevens shared some of his tricks of the trade. After... (full context)
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...him one; Stevens apologized, saying the traveling must have tired him. He said that Lord Darlington wasn’t a bad man; he chose a path, and though it proved misguided, at least... (full context)