That Daisy is all starry eyes for Thomas, and that Thomas is the last man in the world to merit it, is common knowledge below stairs at Downton. Everyone seems to have made a silent pact to regard it with good-natured affection; never to tease, but never to warn her against it either.
This works well enough for all involved -- save for Mr. Bates.
"It's a shame," he declares in his usual way, all quiet and conviction. "A nice girl like Daisy shouldn't be mixed up with the likes of Thomas."
"Oh, I wouldn't say she's mixed up," Anna answers, smiling a bit. "Daydreaming to be, maybe."
"What a waste of a daydream," Mr. Bates scoffs, a twinkle in his eye; Anna bites back her laughter as Thomas passes them, scowling.
"I wouldn't worry," Anna continues, once it's just the two of them and the narrow hallway. "She'll get over it in time. William's been making eyes at her, and there's no one sweeter. It'll just take a bit of growing up for her to see it. That's all."
"So once she's grown up," Mr. Bates tests, "she'll be wise enough to give her heart only to men who deserve it?"
"Yes," Anna says, suddenly quite aware of just how narrow the hallway is. "I think she will be."
For a moment, he looks at her. There's not much in a moment, but there's enough to be sure. She isn't the only one who feels this. She's not Daisy, wasting her daydreams.
"I'm glad to hear it," he says then, breaking the gaze. "It seems a shame for a good woman to do anything else."
He is the best of men, John Bates, and so utterly determined to believe himself the worst of them. It's part of why she loves him so, and part of why some days she would like nothing more than to slap (or kiss) some sense right into him.