Mr Thornton Takes a Wife – Part Four

Chapter 4 – Gathering Clouds

John was horrified at holding Margaret in his arms, injured, bleeding, just like it had been on the day of the riots. His hand was trembling as he reached for her slender wrist. Thank God, he could feel her racing heartbeat and knew she lived. Carefully, he lifted her into his arms and carried her down the deserted street. Fortunately a hansom cab pulled up near the curb and its driver, recognizing him, stopped and jumped down from the driver’s seat.

“Lord! Mr. Thornton, is that you? Can I be of assistance, sir?”

“Yes, help me get this lady to my house! Quickly, man!”

At his house John carried his still unconscious betrothed inside, calling for his  mother. Hannah, immediately on her feet, directed him to one of the guest rooms, and John gently laid Margaret onto the bed.

“Mother, she’s still unconscious! It was a severe blow, she’s been hit by a piece of stone. Mother, she shoved me out of the way and now … Lord! What am I to do? She …”

“John!” Hannah said in her usual, commanding voice, which managed to snap John out of his panic. “Send for Dr. Donaldson. I will care for her. Please, John, be calm, compose yourself.’

“John …”Margaret’s feeble voice made him hurry by her side.

“Hush, sweet love, do not move.” His breath got stuck in his throat as John traced a trembling finger along Margaret’s alabaster cheek.

Hannah, who stood watching near the door, saw Margaret’s hand come up and caress John’s face in an almost reverent manner. In Hannah’s chest, something moved, and once again she saw how deep Margaret’s love for John was.

“I don’t need a doctor, my love,” Margaret said. “A little rest will do me fine.”

“Maybe,” John said hoarsely, “but I’m calling for Dr Donaldson all the same. That’s a nasty wound, sweetheart. Now, you must lie still, darling, whilst we wait for the doctor .”

He brushed her lips with his and stepped back, so that Hannah could clean away the blood from Margaret’s lovely face.


That done, they left Margaret to her rest and returned to the parlour.

“Mother,” John said, his voice still not returned to normal, “she has to stay here, she can’t go to Fanny. I’m not letting her out of my sight after what happened tonight. I can’t shake the feeling that there was something weird about that incident.”

“Yes, “ Hannah replied, “you’re right, she mustn’t go to Fanny’s. But I’m not sure about your assumption of some misdoing, we’ll have to look deeper into the matter. Don’t worry about the tittle-tattle, John, nobody will raise the propriety issue when they know I’m to be her chaperone.”

John smiled and took his mother into his arms. Hannah savoured the moment for a while and then briskly pulled herself free.

“Now”, she said, “what exactly happened out there? Tell me everything.”

John let himself down on the settee and rubbed a hand over his face before telling the story. He was far too pale, thought Hannah, he looked drained as if he hadn’t slept for days. Just telling the story seemed to drain him even more of his energy.

She was relieved when Jane announced the arrival of Dr Donaldson. As she left to greet the doctor, Hannah saw John leaning against the settee’s back in a gesture of pure exhaustion. It pulled at the very strings of her heart.

After the doctor had left, Hannah told her son that there was no cause for concern. Margaret’s wound was only a minor one, a graze. The doctor had given her some laudanum to make her sleep.

The sound of the doorbell suddenly startled them both and a few moments later Jane entered.

“Mrs Thornton, ma’am, here’s Mr Latimer and Miss Latimer to see you.”

Hannah rose to shake hands with the banker and his daughter. John did the same.

“Thornton, Mrs Thornton. I hope we are not causing any inconvenience by visiting at this advanced hour. My daughter and I wanted to be the first in offering our sincere congratulations, Thornton, as I understand that you are to be married?”

“Thank you,” John replied, although he was puzzled as to how the banker already knew this.

Ann Latimer, looking very smart in a dove grey pelisse over a dark blue skirt, offered her small hand to John and curtsied while she looked straight into his face with big brown doe eyes.

“Congratulations, Mr Thornton, on your upcoming marriage. If I may be so bold, I’d like to ask if Miss Hale would consider me as one of her bridesmaids? I know she hasn’t any family in Milton and I would be honoured to help.”

“Thank you, Miss Ann, that is very good of you. I’ll ask Margaret to consider your kind offer.”

She gave him a shy little smile, and John thought it extremely sweet of her to offer assistance to his beloved Margaret.

“Now, Thornton, I’d like a word with you in private if that is possible?” Latimer asked.

Wondering about what private matters the banker could possibly have to discuss with him, John showed him into his study. When they were seated, Latimer cleared his throat.

“Thornton, what’s this rumour about you starting up the Mill again?”

“It is more than a rumour,” John answered, unable to conceal the pride in his voice. “I’m absolutely determined to make the machines work again on Monday next week.”

“Have you found new funds then? It will take quite a lot of money to be manufacturing again.”

“I don’t know if this is any of your business, Latimer,” John said, a ring of anger in his voice and a steel glint in his eyes.

“Well, I’m sure I meant no offence, Thornton,’” Latimer replied in a conciliatory tone, “but would you allow me to offer my services, should you be in need of them? After all, we did conduct some fair business in the past, did we not?”

John was now livid. He had been forced to look for another banker recently, because this man had so much as thrown him out of his offices when Marlborough Mills went bankrupt. The cheek to be asking for his business again.

“Mr. Latimer,” he bit off in a voice that could have frozen lava, “should I be in need of your services, I will inform you. For now all my needs have been met with. I bid you good day, sir, my time is precious!”

He preceded Latimer into the parlour where the man collected his startled daughter, and the two of them were shown out by Jane.

“Mother”, mused John, “I wonder what those two were up to. She wants to be Margaret’s bridesmaid and he wants to be my banker again!”

No, he was not entirely sure as to what the real purpose of this visit had been.







Armie Hammer will be Maxim de Winter

 If you liked last year’s My Cousin Rachel, you will be happy to hear that another of Daphne du Maurier‘s classic novels is getting a big screen adaptation to be led by Armie Hammer! Her gothic thriller REBECCA will be adapted by Ben Wheatley for Netflix! Lily James will play a newly married young woman who, on arriving at her husband’s imposing family estate on a bleak English coast, finds herself battling the shadow of his dead first wife, the mysterious Rebecca, whose legacy continues to haunt the house. The 1940 Alfred Hitchcock adaptation starring Joan Fontaine and  Laurence Olivier won an Oscar for Best Film that year and also 11 nominations. Armie Hammer will play brooding Maxim de Winter who brings his second wife, and the narrator of the story, into his house.

Admin Favorite

This story has always been a favorite of mine.  I have both versions listed above and watch one or the other almost twice a month.

Rebecca 2019

Rebecca 1997
Rebecca 1940

The book will be adapted into series over at CW

Speaking of Gothic things, CW will adapt Theodora Goss‘ fantasy novel THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST DAUGHTER  into a TV series. The story is set in Victorian London where two radically different young women – one the daughter of Dr. Jekyll; the other, Mr. Hyde – discover they’re half sisters when a series of gruesome murders appear connected to their deceased father. They unite with other unsung but remarkable daughters of famous literary figures to rise above societal norms and unearth the mystery of their origins. Part of The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series, the 2017 book was followed by European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman this year.

Mrs. Wilson

Novermber 27th BBC  –  PBS at a later time   (series)

BBC has released today a trailer for their upcoming new period set mini-series MRS. WILSON which sees actress Ruth Wilson playing her own grandmother in the real-life story about a woman who did not know her husband had multiple wives! BBC One will start airing the series November 27th, and PBS will air it later on in the USA.

Alison Wilson who thinks she is a normal, happily married woman. But when her husband Alec (Iain Glen) suddenly dies, a woman turns up on her  doorstep, claiming that she is the real Mrs. Wilson. Alison is determined to prove the validity of her own marriage – and Alec’s love for her – but is instead led into a world of dark and troubling secrets. Alec was a British spy and a best-selling novelist and Alison is pushed to the very brink to find out the truth. Our dearest Keeley Hawes also stars in the drama.

Another Life 2001

A scandalous murder case that was the talk of England in the 1920s is brought to the screen in this period drama based on fact. In 1913, Edith Graydon (Natasha Little) was a young woman living with her family — good-natured father (Michael Bertenshaw), emotionally distant mother (Imelda Staunton), and shy younger sister (Rachael Stirling) — in a fading middle-class neighborhood in London. While not especially bright or ambitious, Edith wanted more out of life than her family’s situation would provide, and with this in mind she accepted the marriage proposal of her boyfriend Percy Thompson (Nick Moran). While Percy was a bit better off than Edith’s family, he was not an especially interesting or exciting partner, and after several years Edith began to grow restless with their marriage. Long regarded as something of a flirt, in 1921 Edith renewed her friendship with Freddy Bywaters (Ioan Gruffudd), a good-looking and worldly former beau who had just returned to England after serving in the Queen’s Navy. Edith and Freddy were not destined to remain just friends for long, and as they began to enter into a passionate affair, Edith began writing a series of letters to her lover in which she confided her ardor for Freddy, her fatigue with Percy — and her belief that murdering her husband would solve a great many problems. Shot in 1999, Another Life did not receive a theatrical release until 2001, when it arrived in British theaters and earned enthusiastic reviews for Natasha Little‘s performance as Edith. 
~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Based on Facts

(more) AQUAMAN


Aquaman is coming December 21st

You know your trusted spy doesn’t do superheroes, but we do believe DC has always been profoundly superior to Marvel and this one certainly looks brilliantly entertaining and visually majestic. Today you can feast your eyes on the royal portraits of Atlantean nobles fromAQUAMAN which is ready to swim into cinemas December 21st! The $160 million underwater adventure (two thirds of the film take place in the ocean) was directed by James Wan who wanted to make the movie less dark adding to it tons of romantic adventure and humour as well!

The movie was directed by James Wan
Following the events of DC’s previous all star hit movie Justice League, Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), the reluctant ruler of the vast underwater kingdom of Atlantis, is suddenly caught in a fierce  battle between surface dwellers, that threaten his oceans, and his own people, who are ready to lash out and invade the surface.

Arthur Curry is played again by Jason Momoa for the third time, he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis who must step forward to lead his people and to be a hero to the world just as his brother, Orm seeks to unite the

Aquaman’s Atlantis consists of seven different underwater kingdoms!

seven kingdoms against the surface world. He has the ability to manipulate the tides of the ocean, communicate with other aquatic life, swim at supersonic speeds, and possesses superhuman strength. Kaan Guldur portrays a 9 year old Arthur Curry, and Otis Dhanji portrays a 13 year old Arthur.


Mera,  a warrior and daughter of the king of the Atlantean tribe of Xebel, is played by gorgeous Amber Heard. She was raised by Queen Atlanna and

Amber Heard is Mera, princess of Xebel, who can control water

groomed to become queen. Mera possesses hydrokinetic and telepathic powers that allow her to control her aquatic environment and communicate with other Atlanteans.


Orm, also known as Ocean Master is played by America’s best thespian Patrick Wilson.  Aquaman’s Atlantean half-brother and ruler of Atlantis

Patrick Wilson is Orm, Ocean Master, Aquaman’s brother

seeks to unite the seven underwater kingdoms to declare war on the surface world out of belief humanity polluted the seas!

The movie also includes  Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko, Atlantis’ counsellor and Aquaman’s mentor, Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus: The

Nicole Kidman’s Queen Atlanna is actually dead in the movie!

king of the Atlantean tribe of Xebel and Mera’s father. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as David Kane also known as Black Manta: A ruthless treasure hunter and a high-seas mercenary with a flair for creating deadly technological

The warriors of Atlantis ride battle sharks and also sea dragons!

innovations. Nicole Kidman is Queen Atlanna: The Queen of Atlantis, mother of Arthur Curry and Orm. Ludi Lin portrays Murk, the Captain of the

Dolph Lundgren is King Nereus!

Men-of-War, the frontline army of Atlantis, while Temuera Morrison portrays Thomas Curry: Arthur Curry’s father and a lighthouse keeper!Djimon Hounsou, Natalia Safran, and Sophia Forrest play the

Willem Dafoe is Vulko, Aquaman’s mentor

Fisherman King, Fisherman Queen, and the Fisherman Princess whom Orm creates alliance with as part of his plan to unite the seven kingdoms!


Mr Thornton Takes a Wife – Part Three

Chapter 3 – Renewing old acquaintances

Meanwhile at the Thornton house, a much needed cup of tea had been served.

Now that his mind was at rest about his mother’s attitude towards Margaret, John raised an important issue.

“You cannot stay in this house, Margaret. I’m sure, Mother, that you agree with me in this?”

Hannah nodded, her stern face more concerned than Margaret had ever known.

“Yes, Margaret, John is right. It would not do for you to stay in John’s house while the two of you are still unmarried. You also have no relatives in Milton. Perhaps it would be a good idea to stay in a hotel until the wedding?”

“No!” John exclaimed. “No, mother, it would be far better if Margaret could stay with the Watsons until our wedding day. That way all proprieties are met with.”

Margaret said nothing to that although she was sure Fanny Watson would not welcome her wholeheartedly into her home. She had never been able to build up a friendship with the flighty Fanny, who did nothing to hide her dislike of Margaret. John was right, though, and it warmed her heart that he was taking such good care of her.

The two of them set off for Fanny’s house which was located at the outskirts of Milton in a new and pleasant residential area. Fanny Watson received them in her parlour. Margaret noticed that the walls were covered in light shaded papers which made the room pleasant and cosy.

”So, John”, Fanny all but smirked. “What brings you here? I didn’t know you were back from your trip. And Miss Hale, accompanying you, no less! Why are you in Milton when you have the good fortune of living in London, unlike some of us?”

John eyed his sister in a way that betrayed his irritation on her sneering tone of voice. Yet, he kept his own voice unruffled and cool.

“Miss Hale has agreed to become my wife, Fanny. We’re hoping to be wed in a fortnight and Margaret cannot properly stay that long in our house without being married to me. That is why I wanted to ask you if she could stay here for the duration of our betrothal.”

Immediately, Margaret, on seeing Fanny’s face, understood that she’d already known about her brother’s wedding. Yet, Fanny’s words belied that impression.

“Oh, my goodness! Well, this is a surprise, I’m sure. Congratulations, Miss Hale, you’ve achieved what you wished for since the first day you came to Milton! Mama always said you’d set your cap for John.”

This time John couldn’t contain himself. “Fanny, have you no shame! Apologize to Miss Hale at once. I will not tolerate any rudeness towards my future wife.”

He emphasised his words by drawing Margaret close, an act that caused Fanny to gasp with surprise.

Margaret ‘s heart surged with joy at John’s affectionate embrace and she suddenly felt extremely happy. It dawned to her that John must love her fervently to show his feelings so openly for Fanny to see. That realization made her feel warm and a bit confused at what she was feeling. Never had she experienced this.

John’s sister finally agreed to take Margaret in, and the couple left to run their other, most urgent errands.


They visited the town hall next and asked for a marriage license to be issued. Any marriage had to be officially announced for two weeks before it could be sealed. Next they went to the chapel where the Thornton family usually attended mass and asked the vicar to publish the banns for their wedding on Saturday three weeks from then.

From there they headed for the office of Mr. Matthew Fairbanks, John’s solicitor.

Margaret had decided that the half of her money was to be reserved for the restart of Marlborough Mills. John was impatient to get the factory operative again so that as less time as possible was wasted. Too many families depended upon the successful running of the Mill.

A marriage contract was also drawn up, stipulating that Margaret would still be in control of the other half of her fortune after their marriage. This was a very unusual stipulation, for a husband took automatic and legal control of his wife’s money as soon as the marriage was celebrated.

Nevertheless, John wished it so because there was still the possibility of the Mill going bankrupt again and then Margaret’s money would have vanished. Margaret was grateful for her betrothal’s good sense and deep affection towards her.

Dusk had settled in when they left the solicitor’s office and set out for their last visit of the day, the Higgins’s house. Nicholas and his daughter Mary were overjoyed and very surprised to see them. They were stunned when they heard about the impending marriage.

“Oh Miss!’ Mary exclaimed. “I am so happy for you! Marrying Mr. Thornton, it is like a dream come true!”

“Mary, please, call me Margaret. After all this time surely we’ve become friends, haven’t we? I have several plans for social improvement I want to carry out and I hope you’ll help me with them?”

“Yes, of course, Margaret. Tell me what you want me to do and I’ll be ready for it.”

Then, however, Margaret was being taken into Nicholas’s huge embrace.

“Margaret, dear Margaret, I’m so happy that you’ve come back to Milton and to stay also. That is very good news, indeed.”

He released her and, with a mischievous smile on his rugged face, stated. “Mind you, you’re going to have a though job with this fellow here. He’s as hard as they come, although his bark is worse than his bite”’

John burst out laughing so suddenly and so full of mirth that Margaret once again felt a surge of sheer happiness. It was such a rare thing to see John laughing so spontaneously. God knew he’d had his share of misfortune in life. She made herself a solemn vow, then and there to try and make her John happy for the rest of his life.

The two men agreed on seeing each other the next day to begin with the preparations for the Mill’s upstart.

John and Margaret left and started to climb the steep alley from where Nicholas’s house sat towards the broader street at the top. It was now completely dark, and they had to feel their way for there were no street lights in these poor areas of town. As they emerged from the alley, a noise caused Margaret to look upwards. Her heart stopped! A huge piece of stone came crashing down and it was all she could do to push John out of its way. For Margaret, it was too late … some smaller piece grazed her head.

John, who had been thrown onto the pavement, scrambled on hands and knees to his beloved Margaret.

“Margaret! Oh God! Margaret, talk to me, please! Love, sweet love, please, say something!”

Margaret, however, lay still and without response in his trembling embrace, bleeding from a gash at the side of her head.