TOP HAT “Hotties” Poll

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Select your favorite TOP Hat in the poll below

 

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lincolnhatSide Note:

One thing we have associated with Lincoln was his affinity for top hats. At an already impressive 6’4″ (which was incredibly tall during the nineteenth century), his stature became even more impressive whenever he wore his signature top hats. The hat is the most well-known hat of his collection, one that was made by J.Y. Davis in Washington, D.C. (“Abraham Lincoln”). A unique aspect of this particular hat is the wide band (which was once black) that Lincoln had placed in remembrance of his son, Willie, who died at the White House in 1862 (“Abraham Lincoln”). He also wore this particular top hat to Ford’s Theatre on the fateful night of his assassination.

The hat was kept by the War Department, then later transferred to the Patent Office, which later transferred it to the Smithsonian Institution (“Abraham Lincoln”).

 

 

 

 

Prince Albert actor announced for Jenna Coleman’s ITV ‘Victoria’ drama

The Game Tom Hughes 2
Tom Hughes will star as Prince Albert alongside Jenna Coleman in ITV’s major new drama series Victoria.The 29-year-old British actor starred in BBC Two’s spy drama The Game earlier this year, written by Doctor Who writer Toby Whithouse.ITV’s new eight-part drama from the makers of Poldark follows the early life of Queen Victoria (Doctor Who star Jenna Coleman), from her accession to the throne at the tender age of 18 through to her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert. Victoria went on to rule for 63 years, and was our longest-serving monarch until she was overtaken by Elizabeth II in September of this year.Jenna Coleman VictoriaTom Hughes commented: “I’m delighted to be part of this project. Victoria and Albert’s story is one that not only had a lasting impact on this country’s history, but also provides a rich depth of material to create an engaging and powerful series. An historically informative, political, passionate love story. One that still feels relevant to modern life. Something that Daisy has captured perfectly with her scripts.”

Writer and executive producer, Daisy Goodwin added: “Albert was described by one contemporary as the handsomest prince in Europe.  We are very lucky to have Tom Hughes to play this complex and charismatic character, often called the greatest king we never had.”

Hughes will appear in Victoria from the third episode, in which Prince Albert immediately makes an impression on the young queen, his first cousin. Although Victoria resisted attempts to rush her into marriage initially, her partnership with Albert was a success and they would ultimately produce nine children.

The Game 6 Joe Lambe (TOM HUGHES)The cast also includes Eve Myles (Torchwood) as the Queen’s senior dresser, Alex Jennings (The Lady in the Van) as Leopold I, King of Belgium, Peter Firth (Spooks) as the Duke of Cumberland, Catherine Flemming (No Place to Go) as the Duchess of Kent, Rufus Sewell (Parade’s End) as Lord Melbourne, Paul Rhys (Being Human) as Sir John Conroy, Adrian Schiller (Suffragette) as Penge, Nichola McAuliffe (Coronation Street) as the Duchess of Cumberland, Daniela Holtz (Phoenix, Der Verdacht) as Victoria’s governess and confidante Baroness Lehzen, Nell Hudson (Outlander) as Miss Skerrett and Tommy-Lawrence Knight (The Sarah Jane Adventures) as the hall boy, Brodie.

Victoria began filming around the North of England in October and will air on ITV in 2016.

Source: Prince Albert actor announced for Jenna Coleman’s ITV ‘Victoria’ drama – CultBox

John Thornton’s Unfolding Dream – 07

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John Thornton’s Unfold Dream

 

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Margaret eagerly opened the note that Megan had sent. Megan had many pleasant pieces of news about her work at the school. She wrote how well her husband was learning his trade in the cotton mill. They were all settled in their home and Megan wanted so much for Margaret to come visit her before the winter set in. Above all, she wanted Margaret to meet her husband and see how happy she was. She knew Margaret worried about her after she left for finishing school but life was good and Margaret should see it for herself.

Before the Christmas holiday, Margaret had responded to Fredrick that she would meet him half way, in Paris, at a date of his choosing. Fredrick had a new lady in his life that he wanted to marry and Margaret could hardly wait to meet her. Margaret started to look over her coming events and figured she would visit Megan before Fredrick. Fredrick was more bound by time on shore than anyone, so he would have to set the date for that. Margaret figured she had better get her visit in to Megan as quickly as possible. Margaret went to her desk and formed a letter to Megan telling her that she would come next week for two days. She would take the morning train from London arriving at 1:00 in the afternoon on Tuesday in Milton and would leave early morning on Thursday.

 

The day finally arrived when Margaret expected Kindle to knock on the door at any moment. Edith was slipping about waiting to meet him too but trying not to look obvious. Margaret had a small case of the jitters and had no idea what you might wear while boating on the lake. She had dressed in one of her lesser full dresses in case she went into the water. Since it was to be a picnic, as well, she wanted to bring along part of the food but Kindle would not have it. He was supplying everything.

As Kindle’s coach neared Margaret’s home, he waved his guards further back as to look separate from himself.” Stop here, Williams,” his driver heard him call. Williams pulled the carriage to the roadside of the handsome Georgian home. The groomsman, who rode on the rear of the coach, was at the carriage door and Kindle thought he might have made a mistake in bringing him. He did not want to look too important and put Miss Hale immediately on her guard.

Kindle exited and walked to the front door and lifted the doorknocker.

“Hello Kindle, please come in,” Margaret said.” This is my cousin, Edith and this home belongs to her mother, Mrs. Shaw.”

Kindle took Margaret’s hand, kissed it, and bowed to Edith. “Good day to you both. You have a lovely home Miss Edith. My compliments to your mother.” Kindle was startled a little when he thought Edith saw some recognition of him but she never said anything.

“Kindle, I have never been boating on a lake, leaving me with no idea how one dresses for such an event. Do I have your approval of my costume?”

“Miss Hale, you could not have worn anything more suitable. Are you ready?” Kindle asked.

Margaret nodded.

“Miss Edith, it was lovely to meet you. I hope I have this pleasure again. Shall we go, Margaret?” he asked.

Kindle escorted Margaret to the carriage, watching her reaction to the coach itself and the groomsman on the rear. She looked surprised but not terribly so. He handed her in and sat beside her while the groomsman closed his door. He could tell that she had not noticed his guard.

“How are you today, Margaret?” he began.

“I am quite well and excited about this outing. You really have a lovely coach and I see you have a groomsman,” Margaret said with almost a question in her voice.

“Thank you, Margaret. I am a little embarrassed being caught trying to make a good first impression,” he laughed.

The laughter put Margaret at ease and she was determined to enjoy her day and get to know Kindle.

The coach made its way about a half hour ride outside of London to a nice peaceful little park. There were other people picnicking and boats were being rented to sail around the very large lake. The coach pulled under the trees and Margaret was handed out.

“How about a nice little sail upon the lake before we eat?” asked Kindle.

“Yes, I would like that very much. It looks so inviting and there are smiles on the faces of the people already out there.”

“If you will walk with me, we shall go retrieve one.”

“How is your cousin, Gilbert? I have not seen Eve this week to know how they may be getting along.”

“I do not know about the Lady Eve but Gilbert is well and I think he is quite taken with your friend. We do share the same family apartment during The Season but only seem to pass each other coming and going most days. The Season seems to dictate our evenings, keeping us out late and sleeping a lot of the day away.”

“Yes, these events do tend to keep one out late. I have wondered why I haven’t seen you among all the others when I have been out,” Margaret said, again, almost questioningly.

“Oh, here we are. Do you see a boat that you prefer? I am a fair hand at rowing and can handle anyone you like.” Kindle realized he had dodged her inquisitive statement just in time. He wondered how long he could keep this up. Surely, someone would come along and recognize him but maybe being daylight hours all the people that knew him were still abed.

Kindle and Margaret spent the next hour and a half floating along the lake and speaking of all sorts of topics. They talked about horses and books they read. She spoke about the churches and museums she had recently visited. Margaret was enjoying herself but felt a little embarrassed by the way Kindle kept staring at her. He wasn’t doing it directly but she could see him from her periphery, all too often. Those made her laugh inwardly because she caught herself doing the same thing. She was enjoying being out with this nice handsome gentleman, watching his muscled arms ripple as he pulled the oars. She felt she could stay out there all day watching just that. He was quite lean with muscled calves and arms. Being in the military must keep one in the best physical shape possible. She felt a warm wave wash over her when he wiped away one of his casual long blond hair strands that had come loose from the knotted ribbon holding it behind his head.

Kindle was going through similar thoughts of Margaret which would embarrass him if he stood up.” How can something so wonderful be such a curse at other times,” he thought to himself. He had to find control so they could return to shore and partake of their lunch. For the last half hour, he had prayed that she wouldn’t talk about it being time to lunch. He had been purposely rowing in a direction that would allow her scent to be carried on the wind to him. Kindle struggled in his own mind as to why he was getting so carried away when women hung on him all the time. What was different about her? No, he thought he should think of that later or they would be in the boat until dark. He knew this was the last time he would take her boating until he had made love to her. He worried about getting through the picnic, as she would be the only thing taking up his mind.

Margaret felt one of them should break the silence that had engulfed them. She found it hard to look at his face any longer because she had caught a glimpse of his manly situation. She could not believe her eyes had fallen in that direction but then again she had been looking at all of him. Apparently, he had been doing the same thing. She smiled to herself feeling quite complimented.

Pulling the oars harder and spinning the boat around, Kindle was determined to get them to shore.” I am sure you must be getting as hungry as I am, are you not, Margaret?”

“Yes, I am. The sights and the breeze have been very accommodating and have given me an appetite. Can I guess what you have in your picnic basket?”

“I wish you would,” Kindle said with much more enthusiasm than was necessary. That change of subject would help him get out of the boat ahead of her.” What is your guess?”

“All right. Let me think. You have a nice coach so I will assume you have a good cook but . . . you are in a temporary place that you are living so maybe the cook is not exceptional. Surely, you have a bottle of wine, maybe two with you.”

“Correct.”

“You wouldn’t bring anything that is messy like chicken that you eat with your fingers. There are going to be cucumber sandwiches and all the crust has been cut off. You probably have some fruit and pieces of cheese and some sort of pastry to finish off the pallet. How close am I?”

“Very close. There will be a selection of sandwiches; there will be fruit and cheese as well.”

“No pastry?”

“I have a special treat there and you cannot know until the time comes,” Kindle said.

They reached shore and Kindle helped Margaret out of the boat. The groomsman took the rope and tied the boat down. Margaret noticed when Kindle passed the coach and wondered where they were headed.

“Where are we going?” Margaret asked.

“Just over here. See? A blanket and tablecloth have been placed under that nice big oak tree for us. Our lunch is ready,” he said smiling into her eyes.

Margaret was a bit surprised to find that their little eating area was somewhat secluded. Kindle helped her sit down and she began to set out the food while he opened and poured the wine.

“Kindle? I am afraid I see what the dessert is and I can tell you it is one of my very favorite vices. Trifle. I wish I hadn’t seen it for now I will eat too fast so I may have it,” Margaret smiled while Kindle laughed at that.

“I love that dessert too. I am glad you like it. I guess you know that originally it was a poor man’s dessert being made from all the left over pieces of cake, jam, and other assorted sweets. I asked the cook to make it so she may have had to go out and buy the leftovers,” he laughed.

The ease with which they laughed together caused Margaret to blush. She was having a wonderful day with Kindle. She was not going to like it when the day ended. All she could think about was would he invite her out again.

Kindle was in the same mind as he caught the sweet flush to her cheeks. He wondered if she would accept another invitation. By the look on her face, he felt confident. It was rare for him to want to be with the same woman on any regular basis unless she was a bed partner, but being with Margaret was different – just as Gilbert was feeling with Eve and he was calling it love. He could feel the lust welling up inside but he could not bring himself to be that forward with her. Kindle realized it was respect. Respect for her. He could not remember the last time that word had even popped into his head when it regarded a woman. Being with Margaret today had made him feel he wanted to be a better man.

Many words had passed between them during the rest of day spending the lazy afternoon sitting on the blanket watching the activity in the park. Margaret told him of her two visits that she was planning with the first being next week to Milton. Kindle could not imagine who she could possible know anyone in a mill town like Milton. He had heard it was growing into a bustling little London but there were only two levels of society there: the merchants and the poor. He knew he would never find anyone of his ilk in Milton. It puzzled him to think here sat a beautiful little Lady, refined, educated, and yet had some tie to Milton. Would her mysteries ever cease? He dearly hoped not.

Margaret could see the sun was starting to drift toward the horizon and dusk would soon be upon them. Even though the day had been wonderful, it was time to leave for home. Kindle had been a perfect gentleman but she had noticed several times throughout the day that he wished he did not have to be. During the day, she pondered the idea that he might be her mate in life. She would dwell on those thoughts when she was home.

“I see Margaret that it is time to take you home. I hope you enjoyed the day. I certainly have.”

“I can honestly say it has been my best day ever in London. I thank you for the very pleasant launch and lunch,” she laughed.”

Laughing too, Kindle said, “That was very clever. I must be honest with you, rogue that I am,” he smiled wickedly, “and say there have been many women in my life but none where conversation was so interesting. Please do not misconstrue that to mean undesirable, when, in fact, it is quite the opposite. I think I am getting myself in trouble here. Just know that I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole day being with you and talking with you. I do not know when I have had a more pleasant day as this has been.

Margaret’s cheeks were blushing again as Kindle pulled her to her feet. When they walked back to the coach, he wrapped her arm around his.” You know, Margaret, I like the way you blush.”

Margaret did not know what to say to that. Her blush grew richer. She felt like a silly little girl. All her life she had had trouble accepting compliments. She thought it the bane of most women.

“I see you have no words to respond to that,” Kindle said, smiling.

“I . . . I . . . Me thinks you are teasing me now,” Margaret finally replied.

“That I am. But the statement stands true enough.”

Arriving at the coach, Kindle handed Margaret in, looked around for his hidden guard, and finally slipped onto the seat next to her.” Margaret, I would like to see you again. You can choose the event or I shall.”

Pausing, out of courtesy, “Yes, Kindle, I would like that, – and maybe we could attend a concert if there is one in the city,” Margaret offered. “It could not be before a fortnight, as I will be away as you know.”

“That sounds quite delicious and I shall arrange something. May I be bold and ask you what takes you to Milton, which seems the end of the world to me,” he smiled.

“I go to visit a childhood friend who is now married and settled into Milton with her new husband. We were very close all of our lives until finishing school pulled us apart. I have seen her rarely since then and hope to keep in better contact with her now that I am able.”

The conversation had become light again as the coach wound its way over the small bridge and down the cobblestone path nearing the main road where Margaret’s aunt lived. Both were somewhat saddened that the lovely day was ending.

Kindle turned towards Margaret on the seat and looked into her face.” May I kiss you,” he asked. Again, he saw the tinge of color rapidly come to Margaret’s face. Her eyes seemed to glisten and her breathing seemed suspended.

“Yes, Kindle, you may,” were the only words that she softly stuttered.

Kindle moved closer to her on the seat and leaned in brushing his lips across hers. He paused looking into the brilliance of her blue eyes and then kissed her solidly. He could feel Margaret pressing herself to him, so he took his hands and held her shoulders while he ran his tongue over her closed mouth. There was a short hesitation when Margaret felt his tongue on her lips. Kindle drew back to look into her face again. He gently swept back a damp strand of hair from her face and studied her beautiful lines up close. He looked at her from her lovely locks to her ivory neck while still holding her. Feeling no resistance, he covered her mouth with his and felt her circle his neck with her arms. She was heartily engaging in their first kiss. He pulled her close and savored her sweet innocence. The promise of fiery passion was in his arms and he ached to uncover it but it was all too clear to him that he must go slowly with her. Just as the carriage was nearing her home, he wrapped her face in his hands and asked her to part her lips slightly. She did and that was all the encouragement he needed. He kissed her hard and smoothly slipped his tongue into her mouth holding her head still so she would not back away. It was only a moment’s demurral until he could feel she was thrilling to the experience. Her body trembled as he explored her full lush mouth and swirled his tongue around hers and she pulled tighter on her grasp of him.

Margaret felt she was on the verge of a faint when the coach stopped. Kindle pulled away judging her acceptance to his kiss and found her eyes drooping. She had certainly been overwhelmed and he could not be more pleased. He really did have an innocent in his arms.” I am sorry; Kindle, if I did not handle that all too well. I have never been kissed like that; it made me go weak,” Margaret said, barely above a whisper.

“Margaret, you could have never done that any better. My question is – did you enjoy it as I did?”

“Yes,” she whispered. Margaret could not look him in the eye. Her former shyness had reared its head and she wanted to get into the house.” Thank you for such a lovely day. I would really like to go inside now,” she asked as she peeked at his expression.

Smiling very broadly to her, Kindle then nodded to the groomsman who hurried to the coach door. Kindle assisted her out and holding her arm walked her to the front door. He was very pleased to find her mildly unsteady on her feet. His response to her actions was a totally pleasant and new experience for him. He could tell her weakness and look of confusion was real unlike what he was used to seeing.

“Margaret, this has been a day that I shall treasure for a long time. I will write to you soon with arrangements for our evening at the concert and count the days until I see you again. If I am not in touch with you before you leave for Milton, please have a lovely trip.”

“Thank you, Kindle. I, too, have had an extraordinary day all because of you. I am sorry to be rather breathless and dizzy but you have only yourself to blame for that. Thank you, again,” Margaret said and disappeared through her door.

John Thornton Meets Fitzwilliam Darcy … or How Everything Is Possible in a Period Drama Christmas Story

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Milton, Lancashire – December 24th, 1850

Tomorrow was Christmas, and it should have been a merry time.

Another year was over, and Marlborough Mills had done reasonably well, despite the strike. Or should I say, it had been doing well before the strike? Ah …

Men would seek to better themselves, and strive to bring down mill masters who stood in their way.

I, John Thornton, was in their black book even more, because I brought in Irish workers to do their jobs while the strike lasted. Yet who could blame me for trying to save my business, no matter what it took?

On this icy-cold Christmas Eve, I was on my way to my banker. My workers were at home, celebrating the season as best they could, and God knew they hadn’t much to celebrate with.

I was not inclined to celebrate, either. I had my mill to keep safe and sound, so I was to learn of an investor Latimer had invited to come and meet me. As I walked the cold, deserted streets of Milton, snow crunched and ice crackled underfoot. It was one of the harshest winters I had ever known.

I hurried on, past the dark alley entrances of the Princeton district, eager to reach the larger, well-to-do streets further on. From one of these dismal openings came a keening, sobbing sound. I stopped to investigate, and froze; a woman was holding a bundle of rags close to her chest, weeping disparagingly. She seemed lost in her own, distant world of misery.

“Can I be of assistance, madam?” I asked, stunning myself in the process. What possessed me to even talk to the woman? But she looked up at me, and I was shocked to see that she was very young, and approximately the same age as Margaret. Something moved deep inside me.

“My little girl is dying, mister,” she sobbed. “She’s just three weeks old, and my milk has run dry. Oh, what am I to do? My dearest girl …”

From out of the dark, a young boy darted at me. “Leave me sister alone, you bastard!” His small fists pounded at me, but he was too short to reach higher than my thighs. I grabbed him by the shoulders and made him to look at me.

“Listen, boy,” I commanded, “here’s a tuppence coin for you if you do as I say. Go to Mr Latimer’s house and tell him Mr Thornton has been delayed. I’m taking your sister and her babe to my house at Marlborough Mills. Can you remember that?”

“Yes, sir, yes!”

“Then, go!” He disappeared into the night, while I scooped up woman and child and strode back home as quickly as I could.

 

“Mother!” I shouted, and kicked the front door close. I headed for the kitchen, Mother’s footsteps resounding behind me almost at once.

“John, what’s happened? Are you hurt? What …”

In a few words, I explained, putting the woman in a chair before the hearth, while Mrs Baxter, our cook, took the small bundle from her.

“Oh, Lord! What ‘ave we ‘ere? Oh, heavens, what a poor little mite!”

“The baby had no feedings for I know not how long,” I said, rubbing the hands of the woman, who had fainted when the warmth from the fire overwhelmed her. “Mrs Baxter, what can you use to restore her? I don’t know how long she’s been without food.”

“Leave it to me, sir. Jane? Jane, come and ‘elp me!” Our maid Jane was there in an instant, wide-eyed and aghast. Mrs Baxter laid the bundle in Jane’s arms.

“Put your little finger into the babe’s mouth and see if she suckles, while I prepare some hot milk with honey,” Mother advised.

Jane, a slender, not too bright girl, was standing there nonplussed, when Mother took over.

“Give her to me, Jane, and prepare a basin with tepid water. We need to warm her up first.”

By now, the mother had regained consciousness and was gaping at the room at large. I splashed a bit of brandy into a glass and handed it to her. “Here, sip this, but very carefully, mind! What’s your name?”

“Daisy, sir. Daisy Hardman. We live in Princess Street, next to Nicholas Higgins. Oh, Mr Thornton, what ‘ll happen to my little Margaret?”

It had to be a Margaret, for surely I would never ever be allowed to forget her. She who had so cruelly rejected me. She who I would love until my last breath. Margaret, my love …

A weak but distinctive cry came from the scullery, causing Daisy to jump up and run.

A few moments later, she returned with little Margaret clutched against her breast. Mrs Baxter and Jane, preceded by Mother, followed. Mother handed Daisy a small glass bottle which contained the milk. It was topped by what looked like a cow’s teat. I was greatly astonished; where on earth had she found such an object?

Daisy, however, took it from Mother, and after hesitating for a short time, inserted the teat into little Margaret’s mouth. The baby began to suckle, first cautiously, but then more vigorously.

“Careful!”  Mother warned, then said, “Don’t give her too much at a time. She can’t cope with too much food after she missed her nursing for a whole day.”

Mother turned to me and whispered, “Apparently she stopped having milk only since yesterday. It’s bad enough, but I don’t think it too late to save the child.” I nodded. Mother is good at these matters.

The knocker on the front door sent Jane away, and I wondered who would come calling at this hour. Jane returned soon, her face flushed.

“Master, there’s a gentleman to speak with you. I showed him into the parlour. He says he’s from Mr Latimer’s bank.”

I hastened upstairs, wondering who my visitor would be. The most extraordinary vision awaited me in the parlour.

The man was undoubtedly a gentleman, and one of the old school, to boot. He was not young, in his late sixties or early seventies, but it was obvious that he was in excellent condition. He was tall, slender and still muscular, with broad shoulders and a proud, upright posture. His clothing was of the finest broadcloth, his linen snowy white, and his overcoat was of thick, blue wool. He wore tall, shiny boots, that were of a fashion some forty years ago. I had seen my father wearing them, when I was a child. I believe they were called Hessians, and they would have been worn by gentlemen of some wealth.

This gentleman offered me his hand, saying, “Mr Thornton? My name is Darcy, and your late father was a friend of mine when we were at university. I was sorry to hear that he died, after that dreadful bankruptcy. I was one of his investors, at the time.”

“Mr Darcy of the Pemberley estate in Derbyshire? It’s an honour to meet you, sir, although I’m embarrassed that my father’s debacle caused you to lose money. If there are still some debts, I will do my utmost best to cover them.”

“Oh, no, you misunderstand me, sir. I have come to offer you my support for your business. I was most impressed by the way your lady mother paid back all that was lost in the bankruptcy.”

I was speechless. So flabbergasted was I, that I failed to hear the door open. Mother passed me and curtsied to Mr Darcy, in so an unusual but graceful manner, that I was stunned to see her do it.

“Mr Darcy, I am Mrs Thornton, and I am so very glad to finally make your acquaintance, sir. Still, I’m afraid you give me too much credit. It was not I who repaid you, but my son John, here. As a sixteen-year-old, he quit school and went to work at a draper’s shop to gather all the missing funds and pay them to everyone who had lost their money.”

Mr Darcy turned back to me, joy shining in his deep-brown eyes.

“Then, Mr Thornton, I can repay you in proposing a business deal. I want to become a partner in Marlborough Mills.”

 

Later, much later, Mr Darcy and I had agreed to the conditions of our partnership, and were enjoying a glass of brandy. I was very tired, not only because of the long day, with all its demanding events, but also because I fully realised for the first time that I would never share this with Margaret. She had cut all the ties that existed between us when she refused me.

“Forgive me, Mr Thornton, but I can see that there is something weighing on you. If I can help, I will gladly do so.”

I looked him in the eye and saw that, for some reason, that he understood me. I hesitated. Mr Darcy was a stranger, after all.

“Is it because of a woman, Mr Thornton? Oh, don’t give me that suspicious look. I know the signs all too well. I have been there myself.”

“You, sir?” I stammered.

“Oh, yes,” he replied, smiling ruefully. “My Lizzie gave me a hard time before she agreed to be mine. I deserved every ounce of it. I had treated her with disdain and misplaced pride, I’m afraid. But finally I was able to convince her of my deep and sincere feelings of love and affection.”

And so, Mr Darcy told me his story. It was incredible but beautiful. At the time he and Miss Elizabeth Bennet met, he considered her family inferior, and her siblings empty-headed geese. He especially hurt his wife by offending her mother in the most vicious way, although he had a point when thinking Mrs Bennet a bit vulgar in some ways. Small wonder that Miss Bennet had rejected him with words that even now rang bitter in his mind.

“With a few well-chosen words, she accused me of being anything but a gentleman,” Mr Darcy said. “And I, fool that I was, failed to see the hurtful tears in her fine eyes. Tears that had been caused by my foolish pride. Ah, Mr Thornton, love comes to us like a disease, unexpected and unwanted. We feel completely lost in an unknown world and are helpless to right the wrongs we might cause. Men fight love, when it overwhelms us, Mr Thornton, and are as miserable as can be, until we embrace it to the full.”

I stared at him, experiencing a feeling of unabashed comfort. This man knew what he was talking of. “But,” I said hesitantly, “all went well in the end for you and your lady?”

“It did,” Mr Darcy smiled. “I had the good fortune of being able to help my Lizzie with a most embarrassing family matter, which made her see me in a totally different light. She, of course, had come to love me, she must already have had feelings for me when I uttered my ill-mannered proposal. So after a long time, when all difficulties had been taken care of, she accepted my proposal when I asked her a second time. We have been married happily for nigh forty years. What I want to say to you, Mr Thornton, is this; do not give up. Do not lose sight of your lady, and watch over her. There might come a new opportunity to offer her your love.”

He smiled. “Ladies have their pride, too. They need to hear you declare your love in a most sincere manner. They can be offended when you do not use the right words.”

 

Long after Mr Darcy left me, his words kept turning over and over in my head. Could he be right? Was there still a possibility that Margaret might come to love me? Time would tell, but I was determined to watch and love her from afar until that moment came.

 

Dear Reader, a merry Christmas and a happy New Year from Luce. May all your wishes come true and may you and your family prosper in 2016.