'What is a weekend?' The Dowager Countess' 10 best lines from 'Downton Abbey'

Downton Abbey Season 2 on MASTERPIECE Classic Part 7 - Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 9pm ET on PBS Shown: Maggie Smith as The Dowager Countess (C) Carnival Film & Television Limited 2011 for MASTERPIECE This image may be used only in the direct promotion of MASTERPIECE CLASSIC. No other rights are granted. All rights are reserved. Editorial use only. MASTERPIECE CLASSIC via PBS

Maggie Smith, who plays the delightfully sharp Dowager Countess on "Downton Abbey," has yet to sign for seasons four and five of the show -- though she'll be back for season three.

Should she not sign a new contract, her character would certainly be missed -- she's the pepper in Mrs. Patmore's stew, the blaze of sunlight through the windows of the somewhat gloomy mansion.

Here are 10 of our favorite zingers from the mother of the Earl.

1. "What is a weekend?

2. Cora: "Things are different in America."

Lady Grantham: "I know. They live in wigwams."

3. (Upon being told the swivel chair was invented by Thomas Jefferson) "Why does every day involve a fight with an American?"

4. "So that’s Mary’s replacement. Well I suppose looks aren’t everything."

5. Sir Richard: "I'm leaving in the morning. I doubt we'll meet again."

Lady Grantham: "Do you promise?"

6. Mrs Crawley: “I take that as a compliment.”

Lady Grantham: “I must have said it wrong.”

7. "I have plenty of friends I don't like."

8. "Last night! He looked so well. Of course it would happen to a foreigner. No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else's house."

9. "One can't go to pieces at the death of every foreigner. We'd all be in a constant state of collapse whenever we opened a newspaper."

10. (Struggling with the newly installed telephone) "Is this an instrument of communication, or torture?"

What's your favorite quote from or scene featuring the Dowager Countess? Tell us on Facebook.

Related content: