Snapshot: 15 British (and Irish) Actors Playing Comic Book Superheroes


Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes … and nationalities when it comes to the big screen adaptations. Comic book readers take their superheroes seriously, which is understandable considering these amped-up beings are responsible for protecting the world. In preparation for National Comic Book Day tomorrow (September 25), let’s take a peek at 15 British actors as their superhero alter egos:

1. Idris Elba


2. Patrick Stewart


3. James McAvoy, young Professor Xavier; Wesley in Wanted (super skilled)


4. Ian McKellan


5. Michael Fassbender


6. Nicholas Hoult


7. Andrew Garfield


8. Felicity Jones


9. Henry Cavill

Henry Cavill stars as Clark Kent/Superman in Man of Steel. (DC Comics/Warner Bros.)

10. Christian Bale

(DC Comics/Warner Bros.)

11. Kate Beckinsale

(IDW Publishing/Lakeshore Entertainment)

12. Aaron Taylor-Johnson


13. Matt Ryan

Constantine ... (DC Comics/NBC)

14. Ioan Gruffudd


15. Jamie Bell


Bonus: Benedict Cumberbatch


Margaret with the Red Book pt 5

Margaret with the Red Book
Margaret with the Red Book

A John Thornton / Margaret Hale Fantasy Novel

Download PDF of this book for $3.00 US – Paypal

Chapter 3 continued

Beginning Chapter Four


As Margaret found the privacy in her room that night, she thought about the hospitality and lightheartedness of all the girls, even with their great misfortunes of life.  They were a hardy stock of ladies finding humor in their existence.  Margaret wondered if they knew what life could be like.  It was probably better that they did not know too much or they may live in misery forever remembering how it could have been.  She had meet all six of them.  There was Isabelle, Joy, Samantha, Luce, Adrienne and Kat, who had remained quiet most of the evening.  She would wait and see if Kat was a naturally quiet person.  What would her story unfold?

Margaret spent the week getting to know the house and girls that made their living there.  All of them could have been fine ladies if life had dealt them a different hand.  Two of the girls did seem interested in learning to read and write.  Margaret felt that they wanted to find their way out of this type of life and start over where no one knew them.  She admired them for their effort to raise themselves up.

Breakfast was a time where food was laid out for a certain length of time and it was up to each person to come and fill their own plate from the choices that were served.  Every morning Margaret made a mental note as to what was served and how much.  She also checked on what the wait staff ate from the leftovers or had to prepare new.  There was Tawl Peters, Cook, a pantry maid and a parlor maid that ate there daily.  In the evening two butlers shared different days.  The bedchamber maids came in to change the bed linens and washing towels between customers.  They, however, never took a meal there, except for a cup of tea and biscuit during the middle of the client hours.  In the future she would do this for every meal and then eventually compare her estimates to what was being spent.  There were bottles of port for the gentlemen who waited for their girl.  There was feed and hay for the two horses.  There were the various and sundry other products being used by the house from cleaning teeth to lavatories.  The girls bought their own clothes, perfumes and face paints.  In the attic Katie had a nice sewing area for the girls to make their own client requested costumes.  Margaret was startled at that idea and noted it in her diary as something to investigate later.

One evening Margaret was passing into Katie’s office where her small desk now resided, when she spotted a very handsome face coming through the door.  She scattered when she saw the man being escorted into the parlor.  He was so beautiful she felt the thrumming of her heart beats.  Out of curiosity, she checked Katie’s scheduling book to see who he would be with.  Margaret carried her small diary in her pocket, so she quickly made an entry about seeing a very handsome man who one would have thought did not need to come here.  Her little diary was filling rapidly with notes from things she saw plus many questions she would need answered if she ever did get serious with her book writing.

Katie walked in and asked how her first week was going.

“Actually fine, Katie.  Everyone here is very nice.  The wait staff are pleasant, the girls are funny and speak very highly of you.  I had not expected to feel this comfortable here so quickly, but it seems very much like a hotel most evenings.  Since you only admit gentlemen, there are no harsh scenes or language.  They seem to be courteous and mannerly.”

“So you feel like you can settle in for a while and help me?”  Katie asked.

“Oh yes, I do.  I am already looking at meals and food eaten and making calculations.  I see very little waste in the kitchen but I haven’t seen the butcher’s bill, of course.  I know you will want me to look into that later.”

“Can I ask a question about your clients?”  Margaret asked.

“Margaret, speak to me about anything, any time.  We are family, remember?”

“All right, if I will not make a pest of myself, I will feel free to pick your brain.  Just a bit ago, I saw gentleman come in.  He is a very handsome gentleman and makes me wonder why he should seek out a place such as a brothel.  Can I ask if anything has happened in his life that makes him visit here?  It would certainly seem by his looks that he could choose whoever he wanted.”

“Oh Margaret, you are amusing.  I do not discuss clients with anyone except the girl who is seeing the client, but I will with you.  I know I can trust your discretion.  That would be Mr.

Madam Katie Leeds
Madam Katie Leeds

Thornton.  No, nothing has happened to him except possibly getting more in demand.  From our initial discussion and from my discussion with Lucia, who is the only girl he has seen once, it seems he wants the physical pleasure without worrying about performance.  I seem to gather that there are so many women trying to catch him as a husband, that their sexual demands of him are their way of increasing his interest in them, which is not working.  Even though he did not say it, I have heard rumors that women might try to trap him in a parental situation.  At his age, a man’s needs are great.  I could well imagine that his worries my overcome his performance and therein lies a new problem he could be suffering.  It is probably a man’s most debilitating embarrassment when he can’t . . . well . . . you might as well hear it . . . get it up.  When that happens to a man, and he’s a young man, it is usually stress or some emotional factor holding his lust as hostage.  We see a lot of that here.  Lucia told me that he did not want her to perform or speak at all.  He just wanted a worry free sexual release without the stigma of performance or fatherhood.  I am sure he is embarrassed to be here and will probably leave us soon.  For older men with this problem, most of the time it is due to something medical or physical.  But they still come . . . “ Katie laughed at her own joke, “to buy their youth again.  Did you want to be introduced to Mr. Thornton?”

“Oh, no.  Gracious no.  No . . . never give that a thought.  I am glad to hear It is a simple as you say.  I feel sorry for him having to live that way.  It must be difficult.”  Margaret replied.

“I can tell you, the ladies are stymied about what he wants in a wife.  All the men are envious and the women are at a loss.  I have heard plenty of rumors . . . shush . . . I think he’s headed to this office.  Quick, get behind that drape to my bedroom.”

John Thornton knocked lightly on the open door while Katie pretended to be writing in her book.  “Oh, Mr. Thornton, come in.  Was everything to your satisfaction this evening?”

“Yes, Miss Leeds.  Like the last time, Lucie did nothing as I asked her not to.  All was well.  She is a very polite young lady.  I have just come to tell you that I will not be here next week and not quite sure when I will be again.  Next week I will be out of town.  After that, I will make a decision then.”

“Very well, Mr. Thornton.  As long as you are not leaving us for some problem on our end, I will say thank you and hope to see you in the future.”

“Thank you, Miss Leeds.  It has been my pleasure being here.  Good evening.”  John Thornton turned and left the room.

Margaret waited until Katie called her out from behind the drape.  “What a lovely speaking voice he has,” she said smiling.

Katie noticed there was a sparkle to Margaret’s eyes.  “As I said, he probably would not be with us very long.”


Chapter Four


The second week was much the same as the first.  Margaret continued to do as she was asked and just evaluate where her responsibilities would lie.  Even though it was not expected, she created a report for Katie listing areas that needed financial considerations immediately and other consequential discoveries.  At the same time, Margaret was making notes in her diary about the actual business which she referred to as the second floor.  Most of her day was spent behind the scenes and when the business hours began after dinner, Margaret headed for her room or the office to read.

“Margaret, I have watched you over the past two weeks and you seem very enthused about your work.  I hadn’t really expected that.  I am sure what you are discovering will verify to me that I needed someone like you.  Let us talk tomorrow about what you’ve discovered,” Katie said one evening after dinner.

“Yes, I have questions and much to discuss about what I have been seeing.  I will want to get a sense of your concern for some areas,” Margaret responded.  “If you do not have anything for me, I will say goodnight.  I think I shall like to start reading one of those passionate books that you left on the shelf in my room.  If I am ever to begin to seriously consider what I see here as a potential book, I’d better start learning the basics.  Once I begin to shed my naiveté, I will start interviewing the girls.”

“Margaret, you must know those are not the books that a lady reads, but since your situation has changed and you are not accustomed to men very much, it is a good place to start.  As you were told your first night here, those were written by men so keep that in mind.  I know you will hardly believe some of the things you read in those books, but there is even more than has been printed in any of them.  There are very few references from the woman’s point of view. There is one book called ‘Dark Desires’ — read that last.  That is a very unpleasant and unbelievable book and you will feel dirtied, almost ill.  Desires such as those are not tolerated here.  As you go through the books and do not understand the words or the actions, you have anyone of us to ask,” Katie laughed.

“Would you mind if I ask whether you have ever been as your girls are . . . a worker?”

“Margaret, I have wanted to discuss that with you and we will tomorrow after breakfast, all right?”

“That will be fine, Katie.  Goodnight.”


Margaret was about to prepare for bed.  She had put away her book, only getting through a few pages which caused some strange feelings within her.  It felt like she was peeping into other people’s lives.  Startled to hear a ruckus down the front hall, which was followed by Katie’s loud statement to her butler, ‘get him out of here’, Margaret fled to the front of the house to see if she could assist in anyway.  The action had quieted as Katie’s butler removed the drunken young man.

Once Katie’s attention was not needed, Margaret asked her, “Will you ban that gentleman?”

“No, Margaret, not this time anyway.  He will get a warning, two to be exact before he is not welcomed here for a year.  I hate to see one of the girls lose a regular customer, so I am assuaging both the girls and the client with a warning system.  I have a book for that, too.  I think I seem to have a book for everything.  I am sorry it interrupted you.”

“Oh, no. . . nothing interrupted.  I was just about to prepare for bed.  I read a few pages of one of the books and I must say, my face reddened . . . I could feel the heat rising.”

Katie laughed.  “When you feel the heat in other areas of your body, You are starting to be introduced to your sexual self.  Yes, you being innocent and still somewhat naive, these books will have quite an impact on you, I think.  I have taught you many things in life, there’s no reason it cannot continue,” Katie smiled while Margaret blushed.

“I wish I could say that I still retain my virtue but it was forcefully stolen from me one night by a drunken noble.  It is been hard to come to terms with that night, but somehow I feel this place may change my inhibitions and I can move forward with a more solid outlook.”

“Margaret, I did not know.  There is violent pain along with a physical fight with a strong man and you do not know if you will come out of it alive or sane.  You have risen above it remarkably.”

“I am not so sure, Katie, but I do think I will find out here.”


John Thornton
Mill Master John Thornton

John Thornton and his partner, Nicholas Higgins were traveling together for the annual Cotton Merchants meeting, held in London. John and Nicholas, now owners of three mills, had to stand back most of the time and let the experienced foreman’s handle most of their former work load.  With the time needed for all of the meetings with his accountants and his foremen John still found time to walk his mills and talk with his workers.  He always wanted them to know they could talk with him about anything and his office door was open to anyone.  He, nor Nicholas, would not put a man in a managerial position until they felt that he embraced the same open-door philosophy.  They both always had their hands on the pulse of his people.

John and Nicholas found themselves alone in the coach during part of their trip, inspiring John to speak of his personal matter.  John put his newspaper in his lap and looked out across the brilliant colors of spring now painting its mural across the landscape.

“I have been to Miss Leeds place recently,” John said, waiting for Nicholas’ reaction.

“I am sorry, you what?”  Nicholas remarked with some incredulity.

“I am sure you heard what I said,” John replied still admiring the view outside the window.

“But why?  I have never been there myself and know it is highly reputable as those places go, but you?”  You . . . John Thornton, premiere bachelor of Milton?  Help me understand the ‘why’ in all of this?”  Nicholas proclaimed.

“Friend, I would appreciate it if you would cease forever calling me the premier catch or bachelor.  You know that just isn’t so.  There are plenty of single men and young ones for the lady’s to choose.  I think you keep saying that because I have been single longer.  This city has grown rapidly and with it brought many new young people just starting businesses.  You are remembering the old days,” John stubbornly insisted.

“If you say so, but I know different.  You know your own great qualities that make you attractive but the unknown is what is lacking in your life?  What is it that John Thornton wants to find in a woman that he would like to spend the rest of his life with?  I am sure there are many out there, both men and women, who would like to know the answer to that — and yet, you can’t answer it yourself.  You have everything but love.  I hope you are not now trying to buy love.  All right, back to Miss Leeds, why?”  Nicholas said, returning to the original statement.

“I know there is no buying love.  And I cannot put my finger on what I do want; I just know it when it is not there.  What there is are games and sexual enticements that some women feel is what will make me more interested in them.  I cannot even tell anymore when the woman is pleasured or performing, as I feel I am doing.  I am no longer taking any chances of a paternity suit by the method I seem to be adopting lately.  And only you, Nicholas, would I tell this to, the stress . . . yes, I said stress, of the intimacy has caused an embarrassment on several occasions.  I am twenty eight, this should not be happening to me.  So . . . for the lack of any other reason, I have visited Miss Leeds place solely for the lack of stress and to ensure there is nothing medically wrong with me.  Thankfully, without the stress, that part of my worry has been resolved, but that still means going back to way things were.”

“We’ve talked about your potential wife issues before but never about this.  I will admit to having the same embarrassment, even with my wife, while I was going through the stress of you giving me that partnership.  Once things began to run smoothly, the problem disappeared.  It was bad enough, but for you, you have a reputation to protect,” Nicholas could not help inserting that little joke to lighten the air in the coach.

John just rolled his eyes and stifled a smile.

“I am sorry, John.  After hearing your reasons for Miss Leeds, I cannot fault you.  You need to find a wife and I only say that because I do not know how you can continue to handle your manly needs under such duress.”

“Nicholas, I do not know what I will do next.”

“Do you think you could be reaching too high, expecting more than the average educated female is capable of?”

“No, Nicholas, it is quite the opposite.  You do know that being a Mill Owner affords very little chance to meet nice women.  We have few social functions.  Usually the women I have seen have been brought to me and introduced by another Master or his wife.  I have met a couple nice ladies at church, when I do go, and there a few other strange or accidental meetings, but it is not as you seem to think.  I am not looking for much, I do not think.  I do know that I do not want a woman who tries to impress me with her education, her wealth, her body, or her connections.  It is all so false.  I feel like I am an actor in play, lately.  I want to be the one doing the chasing, not being the hunted and it is hard to find women to chase, the way I live and work.”

~ LW    Loyal Wynyard Books

Exodus: Gods and Kings 2014

Releases December 12, 2014



Directed by Ridley Scott
Produced by Peter Chernin
Dylan Clark
Ridley Scott
Jenno Topping
Screenplay by Steven Zaillian
Story by Bill Collage
Adam Cooper
Starring Christian Bale
Joel Edgerton
John Turturro
Aaron Paul
Ben Mendelsohn
Sigourney Weaver
Ben Kingsley
Music by Alberto Iglesias
Cinematography Dariusz Wolski
Chernin Entertainment
Scott Free Productions
Volcano Films
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • December 12, 2014 (United States)
Country United States
United Kingdom
Language English



Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Twenty-Six




Chapter Twenty-Six

Private Diary of Douglas Alexander Spencer


Watcombe Manor, August 12th 1818


Something terrible has happened. Margaret – MY Margaret – has met with something dreadful ! She  disappeared yesterday morning after she went out for a ride, apparently to see me at the Manor. Her maid Becky, thoroughly questioned by Brandon, knew almost nothing except that a note arrived at Delaford early in the morning. The note was in a hand that resembled mine but of course, I had not written it.

Brandon’s groom confirmed that Miss Dashwood had ridden out on the mare she usually takes for a ride. After Margaret disappeared from Delaford’s stable yard, she was not seen again. Her mare returned to the Delaford stables on her own, sweating and skittish.


I have searched every road and path that leads from Delaford to Watcombe Manor since, but I have not discovered a trace of my darling. The wreckage this notion is doing to me, is indescribable!

All sorts of doom schemes whirl through my weary brain and the fiercest anxiety overwhelms my heart! Where is Margaret? Has she fallen of the horse and is she lying somewhere, dead or badly injured? Has someone taken her, harmed her, killed her? God forbid!


Night has come after yet another day of searching and interrogating people as to whom might have glimpses a sight of Margaret or may know something about her. I’m sitting behind the desk in my library, unable to find sleep. If something ill should have befallen my sweet darling, I shall never survive it …


As soon as consciousness returned, I wished it had not. Nausea made me gag almost instantly and I was absolutely sure I had never had such a searing headache in my whole life! Sparks of fire raged through my head and my heart thumped so hard that my rushing blood resembled the pounding of a hammer inside my skull. Forcing myself to lie still, I endeavoured to keep my eyes closed during the first few moments of awareness.

But, of course, eventually I had to open them. My mind vaguely registered  the tilted and heavily beamed roof of an attic above my head, its decrepit beams festooned with cobwebs of years of neglect. Carefully turning my aching head, I saw I was lying on an old iron bed with a mattress so damp, I could feel the moist seep through the fabric of my riding habit. It  smelled of decay, mould and mildew. One of my legs was chained to a bedpost but otherwise I was free of bonds.

A few yards from the bed a small, very grimy window threw a sparse, diffuse light on the worn wooden floor. It seemed like dusk was settling in for I saw the nearly full moon rising in a corner of the window.

I had not an inkling of what might have befallen me. Sometime during my ride to Watcombe Manor I must have been abducted when I reacted to the summon in Douglas’ note, yet I had no memory of it. What could be the purpose of this? Who would do such a despicable thing? My sore head did not allow me to reflect on these issues further. I closed my eyes again to shut out every lurid detail of my prison.




Private Diary of Douglas Alexander Spencer


Delaford House, August 13th 1818


Still no sign of Margaret … I have moved to Brandon’s estate in order to combine efforts to find her. It is obvious to everyone now that Margaret must have been abducted but we have no idea who is responsible for that.


Brandon, Ferrars, Sir John and I have raked our brains about the reason for this and the only thing we could come up with, was that someone is trying to prevent my marriage to Margaret by removing her  from me. The logical consequence is that it was done to prevent me from gaining my title and estate, but why? Phineas Wilkinson is dead, as is all my next of kin from Liverpool. There simply is nobody between me and  the conditions of my father’s will.


I must again rummage through Father’s papers in case there is something about my past that I might have overlooked. Jack Twinkler is bringing them over today. I mean to go through the documents with a fine comb. There must be something I do not know!


Mrs Dashwood has taken to her bed with a violent headache and is in a deep depression. Even my promise that I would do everything in my power to restore Margaret to her, does not seem to alleviate her sorrow. Her daughters have the greatest difficulty, just to make her take her meals. Brandon is all keyed up about the consequences for Marianne, who is nearing the end of her pregnancy and is getting more tired every day.


As I am forever trying, over and over again, to fathom what has happened to my sweet girl, my thoughts wander to every single moment of our acquaintance. From the first moment I set eyes on Margaret Dashwood, I was lost. I have tried to understand why I fell in love with her. She was barely more than a child and therefore, inexperienced. Her upbringing, though very sheltered and refined, did not prepare her for life’s cruel surprises. Maybe that was one of the reasons I was so drawn to her …



When I opened my eyes again, it was morning and a bright, purple light was filtering through the dusty windowpane of the skylight. I felt thoroughly uncomfortable and nauseated, with my dirty riding habit clinging to my sweaty skin. The call of nature was excruciatingly urgent but there was no way I would be able to reach the rusty iron bucket in the corner of the room. The chain around my right ankle was too short.

Someone had removed my boots. With a pang of apprehension burning my throat, I realised they – whoever they were – meant to keep me securely captivated. Who were ‘they’? Why did they abducted me? Was it a chance abduction or did they know who I was and were they planning on asking a ransom for me? Was Douglas the one supposed to pay for it?

The various possible answers to these questions were endless and, to my infinite regret, I had as good as no clues. Yet, pondering over them kept me distracted from my raging thirst, gnawing hunger and painful bladder, so I stubbornly continued my train of thought. I startled violently when my prison was violently thrust open.





Private Diary of Douglas Alexander Spencer


Delaford House, August 14th 1818, morning


Day after day of continued searching now follow each other but without any result at all! It’s driving me insane with concern about my sweet angel! Somewhere there surely must be a trace of Margaret!


My father’s papers did not give me any new clue to my past but I did find his personal diary. I want to read it, especially the ones that cover 1817 and 1818. Those were the last years of his life  and I was no part of it.


Margaret … how was it possible that I, the dissipated son of my righteous father, could have been struck in the heart by a pure and innocent girl? I, who disappointed my good and loving sire with my moral depravity , therefore have robbed him of his only son and heir. I, who was used to grabbing any skirt that passed me by, ravished any girl or woman that caught my immoral eye.


Yet I could not bring myself to touch Margaret … not Margaret, no …

I did not have such qualms in my vile past, never … I just turned my roving eyes to any company of pretty women, caught sight of what I lusted after and seduced the often unwilling girl into satisfying me. My insatiable appetite made no distinction between married or not, virgin or experienced, young or mature. After Christina, nothing mattered anymore. There was only gratification to be satisfied.


But Margaret … her ‘joie de vivre’, her boundless energy, her indomitable will and her heart-wrenching innocence only compelled me to one fervent wish: to protect her from all harm and hurt. Oh, I wanted her, no doubt about it … but I also recognized her own need in wanting to give herself to me without restraint and  immensely feared it!  Margaret was not to be hurt, not to be spoiled, not to be ravished. I wanted her to stay whole for when the moment came that she would experience true love from a man that was worthy of her and that man certainly was not me!


Yet, when I was shocked into the realization that she could have been taken from me by Death, I dared ask her to become my wife and was never happier when she accepted.

Margaret, my life, my heart. Margaret, my own, exquisite darling …


Now, on the verge of our wedding, I have deserted her by allowing some miscreant to snatch her from me …


I must end for now since I have a meeting with Brandon , Ferrars and my solicitor, who has come up with an idea. We are once more to examine the contents of Father’s  will lest we have overlooked some detail about its many clauses.


Four people entered the attic room and one of them was familiar to me in the most horrid way – it was Dobson, Wilkinson’s huge and brainless henchman! He immediately came towards me and unfastened the chain around my ankle. He jerked me upright beside the bed, grabbing me by the upper arms from behind. I was unable to move one inch as his grubby hands dug into my flesh with crushing force.

“Ah, Miss Dashwood!”

The suave voice of Nicholas Bernard sounded first. He was standing next to his mother, whom he supported by one arm with endearing gentleness. Her other arm was held by a big, sturdy woman in the drab clothes, the white mobcap and apron of a maid. Bernard left his mother to the care of her servant and motioned at Dobson to bring me closer.

“Miss Margaret Dashwood, you are lovely as ever! I cannot wait to make you do what I brought you here for!”

He took hold of my chin and jerked it upward.

“You dainty little hussy, I am going to have my way with you soon. I must steal this march on Spencer. It will be the sweetest revenge!”

The direst of forebodings made me cringe inwardly but I struggled not to show it to Bernard and asked, “Revenge, Mr Bernard? For what? What harm can you have sustained from my fiancée? He has been out of the country for ten years!”

“Oh, it will dawn on you eventually, my sweet, but you do not need to know it right now. Suffice it to say that your ‘fiancée’ is the most vile rake Torquay has ever known. What do you know of Douglas Spencer, Miss Dashwood, other than what he wants you to know?”

I drew myself up as high as I could, despite Dobson’s hold on me.

“He is a good man who has been falsely accused of rakishness and who has paid for a crime he did not commit. That is all you need to hear, Mr Bernard. It is none of your business. Now you must let me go. I am sure we can hush this up as I have no need to it become the tittle-tattle of town.”

Bernard laughed sarcastically. His mother Mrs Bernard stood watching the whole exchange as motionless as a statue, her black eyes cold as obsidian.

“I am afraid things are not that simple, my hussy! You are here for a reason or, better, for two reasons. One of them is to prevent Spencer from marrying you in time. I intend to keep you here until August 22nd. In the mean time, I will take my fill of you. You will become my mistress because I have had my eye on you for quite a time. I always get what I want, my sweet, and what I now want, is you.”

He gave a sign with his hand to Dobson who then picked me up like a sack of potatoes and tossed me over his shoulder. While he carried me out of the attic, I shouted to Mrs Bernard in despair. “Mrs Bernard, Ma’am, I beg of you! Help me! You cannot let your son do this to me! Please, Mrs Bernard?”

The older woman did not reply but held up a hand to stay Dobson who obeyed instantly. Full of hope, I looked at her expectantly.

“You, my dear,” she said to me in a cold, even voice, “are nothing better than a whore. You have accepted the attentions of Spencer who is a vile bastard of a rake. Do not implore my help; you will not get it.”

“But … why, Mrs Bernard? What have I ever done to you?” I begged, fear and despair breaking my voice.

“I hate all Spencers, my dear, and everybody that has to do with them. Your fiancée is a horrible criminal, just like as his loathsome father was. It is time they paid for their crimes.”



Private Diary of Douglas Alexander Spencer


Delaford House, August 14th 1818, evening


                Jack Twinkler just brought the most distressing news: Someone stole the contents of my safe in the library at Watcombe Manor. They got away with a fair sum of money which I kept to pay the servants at the end of the week but, most of all, they took my mother’s jewellery box. Not only contained in it were the Watcombe diamonds, a tiara, a necklace, two bracelets and a pair of earrings , but also a string of black pearls and matching earbobs, which are so rare that not a price can be set upon them. On the floor of my library one of Margaret’s earrings was found. It is one of the pair of tiny dangling silver ornaments she usually wears.

                I do not comprehend. Margaret does not know I have a safe since I never told her. Moreover, why should she want to rob me when, in a fortnight, she will be mistress of all my scanty possessions? It does not make sense. But foremost, I cannot suspect my darling of such a deed. She has not a bad bone in her body, not Margaret.

Someone snatched her from me, damn and blast! They stole my valuables and left her earring to put the blame on Margaret. I will hunt them down and make them pay with their lives if it is the last thing in my life that I do!

                At this very moment I am preparing myself to return home. The magistrate has been sent for and I want to be present when his men search the Manor for further evidence.

ITV Renews ‘Endeavour’ For Third Season 2015

Endeavour (FT)
Detective Constable Morse is staying put on ITV.The commercial broadcaster has renewed their Morse prequel Endeavour for a third season, TVWise has learned. ITV has ordered four episodes for the show’s third season, which will once again be shot on location in Oxford and is expected to air in 2015.

Endeavour follows a young detective Endeavour Morse and his partner Detective Inspector Fred Thursday as the investigate various crimes in the 1960′s. The series stars Shaun Evans as Morse, Roger Allam as Detective Inspector Fred Thursday, James Bradshaw as Dr Max Debryn and Abigail Thaw as Dorothea Frazil..

Endeavour was created by Russell Lewis and was initially piloted by ITV as a one-off drama in 2012, before the strong ratings prompted the broadcaster to pull the trigger on a series order. The Mammoth Screen produced series is executive produced by Russell Lewis, Michele Buck and Damien Timmer. Novelist Colin Dexter, who created the Morse character, serves as a creative consultant.

The renewal come after the second season premiered on ITV in March with a peak audience of 7.0m and a 27% share, making it one of the broadcaster’s best performing returning drama series of 2014. The final episode of the season also ranks as ITV’s best performing drama of any type for ABC1 Men so far this year.

The third season of Endeavour, which will again be written by Russell Lewis, will be set in 1967 and will pick up from the season two finale, which saw Endeavour Morse placed in police custody, framed for a murder he didn’t commit, and DI Fred Thursday’s life hanging in the balance after being shot in the chest.

“We are delighted be working with Mammoth Screen on a third series of Endeavour”, said ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November, who commissioned the third season alongside ITV’s Head of Drama Series Jane Hudson. “Russell Lewis has created four more fantastic stories and we’re looking forward to seeing Shaun Evans reprise his role as young Morse.”

While series creator, writer and executive producer Russell Lewis added: “Endeavour ’67… Pepper – Piper – Purple Haze… As ‘Oxford’s finest’ encounter friends and foes both old and new, our next quartet of mysteries will take the audience on a psychedelic Summer of Love fairground ride, filled with twists and turns, shrieks and scares. For something wicked this way comes…”

Dr. Zhivago (2002)

Directed by     Giacomo Campiotti
Produced by     Anne Pivcevic
Hugh Warren
Written by     Andrew Davies
Starring     Hans Matheson
Keira Knightley
Sam Neill
Kris Marshall

Doctor Zhivago is trapped in a love triangle between his wife and his mistress while the Bolshevik Revolution threatens to change their lives.


Margaret with the Red Book pt 4

Margaret with the Red Book
Margaret with the Red Book

A John Thornton / Margaret Hale Fantasy Novel

Download PDF of this book for $3.00 US – Paypal

Chapter Two completing
Begin Chapter 3
(part 4)


“That sounds like it could be fun.  But be prepared to be shocked.  The sex . . . let us not kid ourselves . . . is not lovemaking, it is not what most happy women find in their marriage.  Someday, I shall school you on the why of that and what I am doing to make a difference.  If you have the nerve to pen that, you are not the child I raised.”

Their laughter spilled out into the streets.  Their eyes and smiles beamed at each other.

“If . . . and I say . . . ‘if’, you find the fortitude to entertain that idea for real, do not use any real names and that includes the town itself.”

“Oh, Katie.  I think I am just being silly.  I do like to write, but the words such as would be heard in a brothel would be probably unknown to me.”

“Yes, Margaret, they would be but you will learn.  And you know what?  I bet it would be read by every educated man, especially if you tell all you see and be damned with the language you have to pen.  You would, of course, use a different name, child.  The catch is, you would use a female name, not your own, but it would lend an air of authenticity to the book.  Let the reader think you are one of the girls.  This is sounding better every minute.”

“It is just a dream for when I am not working.  I have no money, leaving me without income for a long time, while it is researched and written.  I must find some honest work and not pin all my hopes on the success of a book.”

“Well, we’re here, Margaret.  Let us not shove that too far on the back burner just yet.  We’ll talk more about it.  Eventually, you may want to get the girls opinion on it, too.  Well, are you ready, m’lady?  Here we go.”  Katie said, as Peters opened the door to hand them out.

As Margaret’s hand was taken by Peters, it suddenly occurred to her about his name.  Surprising Katie and Peters, Margaret blurted out a rather boisterous laugh.  “I think I get it.”

“Get what, Miss?”  Peters asked.

“Your name and how it could connect humorously to this place.”  Margaret said, smiling into his smarmy face.  “I think you and I are going to be good friends, Peters.”

“I would be pleased if that were so, Miss.  As much as I am a normal male working around a place like this, which makes it hard on me, it will be nice to have a real lady among us.  I am a boy in a candy shop here but never have quite enough pennies to buy two-bits worth of candy.

As Peters was carrying Margaret’s bags up the steps with Katie in the lead, Peters leaned over and whispered to Margaret, “I have learned enough here to have a very happy girlfriend.”

“You words shall be written in my diary or book or whatever I choose to write.  You are showing me a nice side benefit for you and your lady,” Margaret laughed.

“Book?  Are you a writer?  Are you going to write a book about this place or this type of business?”  Peters had to ask.

“Would you read it if I did?  Would it be a book you would pick up at the corner book store?”

“Perhaps, if I knew no one saw me buy it.”

That brought out the gasps of laugher from both of them.

Katie stopped on the steps.  “You two have only known each other for . . . minutes and it seems you two are already plotting something.”

“Oh, Katie, your Tawl Peters, and I were just been having a bit of a laugh.  No serious plotting.”

“Well, hurry up you two.  You’ve only got a small amount of time for your rest before dinner.”


Chapter Three

Margaret heard a light knocking on the bedroom door.  “Yes?” she called out.

“Hello.  I am Joy and I have come to escort you to the dining room.”

“Oh!  Dear me.  I have overslept.  Please come in.”  Margaret immediately went to the mirrored bureau to look at her hair.  “Hello.  My name is Margaret Hale.  Did you say, Joy?”

“Yes, Joy is my work name.  It is really Emily.  I had an aunt named Emily and to keep us both from answering to Emily, I was called Joy.  I just kept it going when I came here.  Are you ready?  We’re all anxious to meet you.”

“Thank you, Joy.  Do not put me under any pressure, now, will you?”  Margaret looked at her and laughed.  She wanted to ensure that Joy knew she was jesting.

Joy smiled back, finally understanding it had been spoken in fun.  “I think you’ll like all the girls here.  We get along quite well for the most part.”  She led Margaret out of the room.  “We get into fights sometimes . . . mostly when a client switches to another girl.  We share clothing, face paint, perfumes, and what little we own.  Miss Leeds does not allow us to spend our money unwisely very often.  She’s very concerned for us in our later years.”

Joy led Margaret into the dining room where everyone was standing behind their chair.

“Welcome, Margaret.  These are the Leeds ladies.  We usually do not sit until all are present.  Everyone, please sit.  During our meal this evening, the girls have requested to hear about you.  I have only told them a little.  They know you are an educated lady and the first lady who most of them have ever spoken with.  Everyone, fill your plates and Margaret can begin, if she will.”

“I have no secrets Katie . . . or should I call you Miss Leeds?”

“Since you and I go back to the time when you were six, I think Katie will be fine for you to call me.”  Katie looked around at all the others sensing that they knew that Margaret was the only one to call her Katie.  Before Margaret arrived, they were told that she was like family.

The food vessels seemed to have finally stopped circling the table and everyone was settled with their portions.  Miss Leeds led a prayer before the evening meal every night.  Margaret bowed her head.  As she listened to the brief words she wanted to remember to write this down in her book.  It would not seem like any reverent rules would be followed in a house that so blatantly broke so many of them.  Later, she had ask Katie the why of the prayer.

Adrienne spoke first.  “Margaret, you sure are pretty enough to be one of us.”  Everyone giggled but watched Margaret’s reaction.

Margaret knew she would be under a microscope tonight and probably a whole fortnight until they knew her well.  She blushed.  “Thank you, Adrienne.  You are most kind to say that.  I have no designs on working as hard as you girls do for your money.”

“Hard work?” said Kat.  We have given new meaning to the word ‘lay-abouts’.”  Everyone laughed but again checked Margaret for her tolerance of their vocabulary.  No one wanted to insult Miss Leeds very good friend.

As Margaret started to lift the peas to her mouth they all rolled off her fork as she started to laugh at Kat’s comment.  All the girls and even Katie seemed to breathe a sigh of relief.  Katie thought she would fit in well.  The girls were already having fun with her and Margaret was taking it like a champ.

Lucia piped up and said, “Well, you can’t just keep eating with your head down.  Tell us about yourself.  What brings a lady like you to a place like this?  I think we all get asked that question almost daily.  It is nice to ask someone else for a change.”

Margaret looked at Katie wondering if she had told them of her plight.  She was very embarrassed about it, but these girls were different.  How could she feel humiliation with them?  Margaret tried scooping her peas again onto her fork as she began her tale of why she was there.  If they were interested in her early learning years, she would tell them that story at another time.  Margaret felt it was better to open up and share a commiseration of life with them as they knew it all too well themselves.  If she could identify with them in some way, such as how life had treated them, then the girls would bond with her like a sister.  She told them about her slide into misfortune.

Adrienne interrupted Margaret’s story, “Listen, Margaret, I can get about a hundred men, and we can go visit your aunt and uncle.  I think we can make them see things differently.”

Margaret’s eyes got big.  She was not entirely sure that Adrienne was joking.  All the other


girls stared at Adrienne for a moment before bursting out laughing.  Margaret giggled herself.  “Adrienne, I am going to have to learn when you are joking.  You say it with such conviction.”

Katie chimed in, “The funny thing is Margaret, she is not joking.  If you needed that, she would see that it was done.  You’ll learn about Adrienne and the types of men that request her.  She even has the nerve to turn down the passive men.  She keeps asking for rope and until I figure out what she’ll do with it, she won’t get it.”

Adrienne and everyone were having a great time.  “Margaret, my name is Isabelle.  We are all great friends here and I am sure we all feel terrible for the fall from such a height that you now must live with.  We did not fall far, most of us here.  We must be a shock to you, are we not?”

Margaret knew that this needed a serious answer.  She composed herself, set her utensils down and looked around the table.  “Being told in the carriage on the way from the train depot about what Miss Leeds was now doing as a profession,” Margaret said, looking at Katie, “Yes, I would say that ‘shock’ is an apt word.  Most of my life, I was pampered without realizing it because it was the way of things.  I have never seen this side of life.  But I will tell you that I am not judgmental of you or your way of keeping a roof over your head and food in your belly.  I once would have felt pity for you, but not so much, now.  You are young women working diligently at your professions to keep yourself together.  That is something to be proud of and not pitied.  I believe most of you would have sought other work before coming here.  Although, I am not too sure about Adrienne,” Margaret laughed.  She needed to lighten the mood.  Everyone joined in with her.  “I find myself now at the bottom of my young life and do not know what I will do in the future.  Yes, I am educated and will look in places to use what I have learned.  If any of you do not know how to read or write, I will be pleased to teach you.”


Katie cleared her throat, catching Margaret’s attention.  Margaret looked her way wondering what she was not saying until she remembered the conversation in the coach coming home.

“Katie was telling me a little bit about what to expect, like noises through the doors, and men whispering their devilish desires and I told her how it all sounded so mysterious.  I said I want to buy a diary and then jested about writing a book about dark desires and fantasies that become real here.  Katie said every man would have to buy the book.  I want to give it a lot of thought but in many ways I think it would bring out what really is underlying here.  Your hardships, even the clients have hardships . . .”

“Yes, and they have other hard things,” said Samantha interrupting.

Margaret smiled, returning to her thoughts that were springing from her mouth before she had formed them.  “Just sitting with you girls here tonight, I feel a kinship, like sisters – that was never expected.  I thought there would be grudges held over clients, anger from treatment by some men, and signs of unhappiness as if you are living a life you hate.  At least tonight, I do not see any of that.  I would like you all to think about what it would feel like to have a book in a store that told the real stories – happy and sad, that are found here.  This all came up today, so it is only an idea.”

Adrienne spoke again.  “I have read all of the books that have anything to do with what we do.  I can tell you the books have all been written by men and they’re all pretty far off the mark.”

“You know,” said Lucia, “you might have to crawl into bed to get the full effect.”  Everyone laughed and Margaret blushed.

“Since I have not had that pleasure yet, I will believe what you tell me,” was Margaret’s only response.  She saw the girls whisper and giggle amongst themselves.

“All right, ladies.  Margaret, chapter two will be tomorrow night.  It is time to get ready for work.  Come with me, Margaret.  We’re going to my office,” Katie said, leading the way.


As Margaret followed Katie into the hall she noticed a butler was opening the door to the first client of the night.  Katie stopped to see if it was someone with an appointment or a new client.  Margaret watched as he was shown into the front parlor.  He looked very much


the gentleman and for no apparent reason she felt a sense of relief.  She saw Joy coming down the steps,  having changed quickly after dinner.  Margaret stared at what all she had put on her face.  The heavy face paint made her think of a carnival and in a way she assumed it was.  Money was being exchanged for the expectation of a pleasant evening.  This was going to be similar to a show, with costume changes, partner changes with different acts to perform.  Margaret’s insatiable assessments were going to keep her busy.

“Ahem . . . Margaret?  I think you were coming with me.  You will have plenty to look at as time passes.”

“Yes, Katie.  I am sorry.  I got caught up with the first gentleman through the door.  I think my imagination will constantly carry me away until I know more.  How many will there be this evening?”  Margaret asked, almost embarrassed of her question.”

“When I get to my desk, I can tell you.  Come on in and sit yourself down.  I have had some ideas for you to think over.  This is a lovely room, isn’t it?  There’s a door behind that long drape that leads to my private bedchamber.  I rarely entertain a guest . . . a man . . . but I will not say it never happens.  Your room will be across the hall.  It was being used as a library, but I have had the furniture and most of the books moved elsewhere.  It is small.  You napped upstairs in one the girl’s rooms, but we will get you settled downstairs where quiet can be found.  Is that suitable for you, Margaret?”

“Katie, It is more than suitable.  I can’t thank you enough.”

“Margaret, I have always thought of you as the daughter I never had.  I want to see you have a good start to your life.  Tell me what you think of this idea.  I know you will never allow yourself to feel indebted to me because you are a lady.  I would really like to feel as if I am repaying you for all those wonderful years I spent at the Hale residence and the joys that you brought me.  So, I have come up with a plan to get us started but situations can change easily.  We’ll keep it all flexible.”

“What do you have in mind, Katie,” Margaret asked, glad to know she was not going to live on gratitude only.  “What can I do?”

“First, I want to lend you five pounds so you have some breathing room.  After all, you are going to need pen and paper if you do think about your book.  But, for your real work I have in mind that you can run the house for me, not the girls or the business, but the house.  You will work with the wait staff and cook, the stable and driver, plus the couple of butler-bouncer men that I employ.  I have found the past year very difficult in running a household staff efficiently.  I do not know if they are stealing me blind on food which they say is needed from the grocer and for other services.  I need you to run the household books.  I will just stay with the business books.  There may be an additional errand for you from time to time.  I guess you will be my personal secretary.  I will see how busy you actually are within the next couple weeks.  After that, you and I will negotiate a salary.  How does that sound to you?”

“I am most grateful for you finding work for me, here, in your own home.  I am terribly relieved, but am prepared to look for other outside work if I do not work out.  Please, do not let me burden you with any weaknesses that I am bound to show.  I want to do exceptional work for you; I want you to count on me.  In other words, I want to be worth my pay and not charity.  When can I start?”  Margaret was very eager to help Katie.  Some type of clerical, or accounting or teaching would have been her preferred line of work if she had to look further in the city.

“Margaret, I want you to quietly study the house as – part for your job – part for your book.  Take the next two weeks and roam and watch and listen and question.  After that, we’ll get to the books and all the questions you will have by then.  Here.  Here is a pen and some paper and a little laptop desk that I do not use.  Also, use the library.  The erotic books are still in your room on a shelf but the others have gone into the parlor for the men to peruse while they wait.  One day, you and I will sit down and I will tell you about the very darkest practices in this business that I will never subscribe too.  There is a sick side that should not be tolerated, but I will not go into that now.  You must see the whole picture if you do get serious in your writings.  Somehow, I think you are becoming interested more in the challenge of researching and writing.  You always loved to write stories.  Your bags have been brought to your little room.  Get yourself settled and then become familiar with the pattern of the evening.  Oh, you asked earlier how many clients this evening.”

Katie looked down her appointment book.  “Out of eighteen possible appointments, there are fourteen clients to be entertained.  So you might have some girls to make friends with this evening.  I plan on finding a small desk for you in my office here.  Should a client come in here for a personal conversation, you will politely leave.”

Margaret rose from the chair and walked around the desk.  She threw her arms around Katie and thanked her once again.  “You are saving my life, you know that, do not you?”  Margaret said as the tears brimmed in her lower eyelids.

“I wish I was sure, Margaret.  I do not know if I am ruining you, or you will save my life.  Regardless, we seem to work well together – we always have.  Now, gone on.  Get settled in that tiny room and see what you need.  There may not be enough lighting in there.”


~ Remembering Times Forgotten through Period Drama ~