The crowd talked amongst themselves about this extraordinary woman they were meeting tonight. John patiently waited while all the speakers made their way to the side stage. Margaret was astounded at the line of people waiting to talk about her.
At the podium, she said, “Mr. Thornton, this must be some type of jest. Surely, all these people do not have something to say about me.”
“Miss Hale, I am sorry to say, but they do. Now sit.”
Head hanging in wonder, Margaret twirled on her heel and walked back to her chair.
John motioned the first person up to the podium.
“Hello. My name is Thane Bradley. I am the senior overseer at Lady Mills and have been with the mill for many years. I could write a book about my Mistress, who has dismissed me from her favors, which she never knew were there. Fortunately, my feelings for my Mistress were never realized but I am taking it pretty well. I mean, look who my competition was.” (great laughter by the Masters – John blushed again) The Lady Mill’s team was quite surprised by that statement and made it known with cat calls from the team. “I wanted to tell everyone here about Miss Hale’s apparel. Shortly after Miss Hale started walking the mill with her uncle, her frock caught in a machine and it tore the garment. I believe she thought that was a misstep on her part, but several weeks later it happened again. The second time, I was with her as her entire frock was whirled off her body. It was funny to watch her come to realize that she was standing in front of us all only in her undergarments. Her stunned face made us laugh but the best part was that she just stood there trying to understand if it had really happened. I managed to stop my staring and laughing and pulled my shirt off to cover her. I could have reacted with greater haste . . . but I didn’t. (laughter) So, today Miss Hale wears what she calls her ‘working blacks’ which consist of ladies horse riding trousers, a ladies blouse, and black sweater vest. She has purchased a boy’s frock coat. She covets the pockets in the coat and makes great use of them. (laughter) I will also warn anyone who takes her out to dine to have plenty of food because she will eat off your plate, too. (laughter) On her first arrival in Milton, she found me in the dining room and immediately confiscated my remaining portion of chicken and potatoes. (laughter). Thank you, all. We’re proud to be in Milton and part of this great industry.” Thane left the stage to the applause.
John was enjoying Margaret’s reaction to what was being said about her. He sat facing her and the podium, with his profile to the audience and Watson behind him. He knew Randall was coming on stage now, and thought he might have to add something to the story.
“Hello. My name is Randall Flannery. A lot of you know me. I am a Milton born man and carpenter by trade.” He looked over at Miss Hale and laughed to himself, but no one missed that and the audience was anxious to hear what he would have to say. “I was ‘ired by the then unknown mill name or mill owner, to bring in my crew and construct some separation walls and to make them as sound proof as I could. I met with Miss ‘ale’s crew chief or overseer, named Mark, and we discussed all that the mill needed done. It was a couple days later that it dawned on me that ‘e kept calling someone ‘is Mistress. Now, mistress ‘as always meant something else to me, so I wondered why Mark kept talking about ‘is mistress. (laughter) So’s, I finally asks ‘im about ‘is woman and come to find out she was ‘is boss. I asks if she was the owner, and was told yes. So’s, I asks who was the Master and Mark says, our Mistress’. I says, what you are saying is that, your Mistress is your Master, and ‘e said yes. I was really confused by then, but it didn’t bother who paid me. I asks if she was young and single, and was told yes, again. Now, mistress, young, and single ‘ad me very interested and my interest was really struck when I saw her come into the building that day.” (laughter)
Margaret was short of laying her head straight down on the table, especially as she heard John laughing so much.
“So, Miss ‘ale introduces ‘erself and says she is the Mistress of the mill and then proceeded to grill me over the fire, like I was a rabbit turning on a spit. (much laughter). I thinks, well she is a cotton mill owner, what can she know about carpentry. I soon found out. I climbed down off the ladder to take a closer look at the mistress single young woman. I am trying to turn on my charm for this lady and the first thing she asks me was what size nails I was using. I ‘ave to say that surprised me. Then she went on with another bunch of carpentry questions, like what grade wood and sheath thickness and even asks me about the material going in between the walls to make it quiet. I never saw ‘er much after that day and I cannot say I am sorry. All I can say is ‘Good Luck, Mr. Thornton.’“ Randall left the stage, and John could hardly get to the podium fast enough for his little addition because he was doubled over in laughing.
“I was there that day with Randall and Mark and witnessed the expression on Randall’s and his men faces go from ungentlemanly leering to complete attention to her. I told Miss Hale, I was ready to salute her myself.” (laughter spread the room)
Next on the stage was Dr. Edison, who John introduced as his brain surgeon. The doctor received a standing ovation. Margaret rose herself and clapped handily for the man. She strolled over to the podium and asked, “Are you here to talk about me or John?”
He smiled. “Both, in a way.”
“You’re not going to tell them about . . . you know?”
“What, what?” the audience rang out from around the room.
The crowd started encouraging the doctor.
“I am afraid I have to, Miss Hale. I was asked to come and tell this group something I knew about you and here I am.”
Margaret walked back to her seat and put her head down on the table, shaking it back and forth, saying over and over, “No, oh no, please, not that.”
The crowd was in an uproar over what was coming but even John didn’t have any idea. He could hardly wait, watching her reaction.
The doctor began, “I hardly know where to begin. John Thornton is very lucky to be alive and I am not sure he would be here today if it wasn’t for the effort of Miss Hale. Hours and hours and hours on end, she would keep him company by talking to him, not letting him decline further into his dark abyss. John had one of the severest head injuries I have ever seen. Quite frankly, until Miss Hale showed up, we were about to think it better if he never recovered because we feared if he did come back from his coma, he would forever have a child-like mind. But Miss Hale told me that love conquers all and now I believe her.” The audience didn’t miss John leaning over and kissing the top of her hair. (whistles)
The audience saw Margaret’s embarrassed red face.
Dr. Edison continued. “I cannot leave without telling you the funniest scene I have ever witnessed. I am going to apologize to the young ladies in here first and if you do not understand what I am going to say, ask your brothers, or fathers or husbands. He paused. The room mumbled and John sat up straight now worried about what his woman had done. Margaret kept her forehead to the tabletop. “Miss Hale was ever vigilant. She would talk with John well through the night and on many occasions we would find her seated in her chair next to him, sleeping, but with her head slumped onto John’s bedside.”
“Oh God,” the crowd heard Margaret groan. (laughter)
“By his third week, John was showing some signs of his body improving, and struggling to find its old self. It was very encouraging and I think That is why Margaret stayed so long because there was improvement and she could not stop her efforts for fear he would slide backwards. One morning, the nurse and I walked in to see John but found Margaret sleeping with her head beside John’s almost paralyzed body.” He paused. “All except one part of him was paralyzed. And I would say that most men know this morning condition and that it is very common to wake up to. (hearty male laughter)
“Oh God, here it comes.” Margaret groaned again, not being able to look at the audience. (the laughter didn’t want to die down)
“Now, being medical professionals, we know this is a common site for us all the time at one time or another but apparently not ever for Miss Hale. We called to her as we were laughing, and she mumbled something about why were we being so jolly this early in the morning. Then she opened her eyes. She had to lift her head to see us over the morning tent.”
John, now, had turned his back to the audience and placed his head in his hands which were resting on his knees. He was so red in the face and he could not believe what was being said about his own anatomy.
“Now, Miss Hale finally noticing this obstruction to her vision, almost impaled herself on the back of the chair as she flung herself away so quickly she almost fell over the chair backwards. Now, if that isn’t enough . . .”
“Oh God, that, too?” Margaret continued to groan.
“Miss Hale immediately came over to us, looking at John and swearing she had nothing to do with that. She said something like, ‘I didn’t do that, I have not even peeked, yet.” That ladies and gentlemen is your newest history making mill owner. Good night.” Dr. Edison left the stage to a loud round of applause and the laughter kept rolling.
Neither John nor Margaret could face the audience yet. Finally, Watson came to the podium and invited the next guest on stage.
Nigel walked to the podium still laughing at the previous speaker’s words. “Mistress, your innocence astounds me but I could never make fun of you and keep my job.” (audience laughter)
Margaret raised her head to see her driver. John finally sat back to the table looking sideways, shielding his profile and red face from the audience with his hand. He was slightly embarrassed for himself, but was totally amused at that story about Margaret.
“Hello. My name is Nigel and I have been recently hired by Miss Hale to be her coachman. She had rented the coach service for a week when she arrived and I happened to have been assigned to be her driver that week. We got along well and she offered me a job since her other coachman could not move to Milton. I loved the street job but I can tell you, I love working for her more. There is never a daily or dull routine. We are all off kilter with her as has been said here tonight. I am here to tell a small tale that Miss Hale knows nothing about but knows I have needed to tell her the story, because it was about her. I told her I would tell her when Mr. Thornton recovered, but by then she had forgotten.”
“You just think so,” announced Margaret. (laughter)
“In order to maintain my job, I will just say that one night Miss Hale had a secret mission to perform, wanting no one to know who she was. I carried her to the destination where she was to perform this covert act, but before she entered the building, she asked that I keep an eye on her because she was afraid of the men in there. She entered, accompanied by another woman into a very classy after dinner club. I followed, although, she didn’t know that. During the course of the evening and her information gathering, she was asked to dance by several men. One, I noticed, was a gentleman but did not act as one. He may even be in this room tonight. I could tell she was afraid of him, so I returned to my coach and donned a fake beard and a top hat. I rushed back to the bar and watched over her. I eventually asked her to dance to shield her from the leach.”
“That was you?” Margaret asked, totally surprised.
“Yes, that was me. You asked me my name that night and I told you Simmington, which it is, but you never asked me my full name when you hired me, so you never knew. I danced once more with Miss Hale, again rescuing her from the clutches of that man. Then as I saw she was getting ready to leave, I returned to the coach and removed my disguise and she was none the wiser. I have many more talents when you need them, Mistress. Thank you, That is all I have to say.”
Margaret returned to the podium, and put her hands around his neck, giving him a peck on the cheek. “Thank you, Nigel.” Before going back to her seat she noticed Beth, a worker of hers, was coming up the steps. Beth walked up to her and whispered in ear for almost a full minute. Margaret paused a moment and then nodded affirmatively. She returned to her seat.
“Hello, my name is Beth and I ‘ave been a spinner for a little over a year. What I am about to say it nothing funny but to me shows the concern that Miss ‘ale ‘as for ‘er workers. I am trying to be very brave but I think with all the Masters and overseer men ‘ere, it is a good time to say this. The Mistress called me to ‘er office about nine months into my employment, and I was scared. I didn’t know what I ‘ad done wrong but I was shaking anyway. She immediately put me at ease, telling me nothing was wrong and this conversation would be just between the two of us. She proceeded to tell me that she feels she ‘as good management in place and sees their results but does not know ‘ow they treat their female workers. I can tell you this is a problem that young women come up against a lot and worry about. She asked if any of ‘er men were putting undue pressure on me in any capacity, or playing favorites or in any way making us uncomfortable with our bosses. I was glad to tell ‘er there was no such issues at our mill and no rumors among the women. I think this is a concern because she is a woman but I think it should be a concern by every Master. Thank you, Mistress for caring ‘bout us and all of you for listening.” As Beth left the stage there was a very large applause from all in the room, which made her feel good about what she had done.
John rested his hand on Margaret’s shoulder, being proud of how she was tackling an important issue, one he had feared was happening in some mills. He was glad she raised the subject and he would follow up and told her so.
Next came Nicholas. “I am sure you all know me, even the Lady Mills folks. While Thornton and Miss Hale were comfortably resting in nice hospital beds and having meals served to them, I was getting to know Mistress Hale’s great gang back there,” Nicholas said pointing to the rear of the meeting room. “And before any rumors start getting around, Marlborough Mills has a hardworking and knowledgeable crew at our two mills. If not, I could not have left them as often as I did to assist Lady Mills, while John was sleeping away those weeks and months. I have known Miss Hale since the day she arrived in Milton when she tried to pass herself off as a man at one of our Chamber meetings. I believe she came to her first meeting not expecting to be allowed in because no one would believe a woman mill Master . . . er . . . Mistress as we see before us now. I must admit it was a funny night, and I was so sure she was neither a man nor a Master, but eventually I discovered I had only been half right that night. I was also a part of the secret mission she had which involved debunking a potential unsavory situation. Being unknown in Milton, Miss Hale became aware of a potentially slanderous situation and exposed the culprit for who this person was and the scheme being hatched. Again, she was intelligent in her thinking, conniving in her solution and saved the day. I think she needs to find a place in our police department as a consultant. To be fair to our city protectors, they knew none of what was going on. But I think my best moment with Miss Hale was when we were both visiting John in the hospital. For those that do not know it Miss Hale was also hospitalized for total exhaustion, but she was always at John’s side. Because of her determination to be with him as much as possible, and her weakening situation, Dr. Donaldson eventually admitted her as a patient and put her in the room next to John, knowing she would be there anyway. I happened to visit her just after the incident with the doctor and the nurse and her initiation into the male anatomy and its habits. I had asked her if there was anything new about John overnight. She hesitantly but delicately told me of her new experience. I told her some men called it a flag raising and that if it happened again that she should salute. (The room was now beside itself in laughter) All she could respond was she hoped John would wake up soon and teach her these things, so she would not be so surprised by the actions of men. (more laughter) As a personal note, I have never seen John Thornton smile as much as he has lately. I am very sure that these two people are made for each other. They are perfectly matched in their work ethics, their interests and their intelligence. I think there will be a tug of war for dominance in their marriage and I wish them well. Good night.” Higgins left the stage.
Two nurses approached the podium and Margaret put her head down again which now worried John. The crowd reacted when Margaret laid her head on the table. They were just short of rubbing their hands with glee, anticipating the next speakers and their story.
“Hello. I am Bonnie and this is MacKenzie. We are both assigned to Dr. Edison. When I first met Miss Hale, she was knelt down on the floor in John’s room throwing up in the bin. I had to call a doctor for her. She had just seen John for the first time and became not only nauseated but felt faint, so she smartly knelt down to the bin to empty her stomach, knowing that she would not have too far to fall if she fainted –– very astute thinking. We cleaned her up and brought her over to see John and point out all the problems that she was seeing. He was black and blue from head to toe and That is all she could see, but which wasn’t any of his real issues. The very first words out of her mouth that day, seeing him for the first time and speaking in hushed tones, she told us, ‘ I love him, you know’. Later she told me she had only known him about two weeks but it could even be counted in hours. (applause) I was quite taken aback when meeting Miss Hale and she told me of a vision, an epiphany she called it, that she just had walking that very long corridor to Mr. Thornton’s room. His room was at the end of the hall and she told me how she had just seen him rise from his bed. She called him her Phoenix –– rising from the ash. At that point in Mr. Thornton’s miraculous recovery, it was doubtful he had ever rise. But she believed it and took it to heart and never once worried he would not return. She never feared for him. As she put it, she was waiting for his return while others hoped for his return. As the weeks went on and all of us seeing her positive attitude and her struggle to make it happen, we eventually all fell in behind her thinking. She had us convinced, with every small advancement that Mr. Thornton made. Due to her strong will, we have now dedicated that long corridor to her vision and call it, John Thornton’s Epiphany Hall. (everyone clapped at this heartwarming story).
Margaret had lifted her head halfway through Bonnie’s narrative, feeling more confident in her story.
“Hello, I am MacKenzie, named after the family clan, and usually the night shift nurse. I have had many conversations with Miss Hale. We were talking one night about his ability to hear and feel.”
“Oh no . . . not that!” Came a further groan from Margaret with her head going to the tabletop. The crowd loved seeing her doing that because something juicy was about to follow. John could feel the hair on the back of his neck stand up. “What did she do this time?” he wondered.
“One night we had a good talk. It was the night before the first flag rising morning. Although she had been doing this without telling anyone, she wanted to show me Mr. Thornton’s reaction when she rubbed her hand across his chest. She showed me how he inhaled deeply every time she did that. She asked me what that meant. I told her I thought it was a normal and pleasant reaction to the sensation she was delivering – really nothing of consequence, just the body trying to return to normal. Miss Hale started fidgeting, wanting to ask what might happen if she did that elsewhere on his body without spelling it out, but I understood her meaning. I told her I would ask the doctor and then she wondered if she would have the nerve to touch him there if the doctor thought it might be useful into bringing him around – but how far around, we weren’t sure.” (laughter)
John put his head in his hands on the table. “Here we go again,” he thought, but inwardly laughing to himself over his fascinating, soon-to-be wife.
“That next morning, when she ran to us at the flag raising, telling us vehemently that ‘she didn’t do that’ pointing at Mr. Thornton. She was telling me, in a few words, that she didn’t do anything like she had asked about the previous night. The doctor, being aware of her question told her he didn’t see any harm in what she was asking to do but I do not think we ever knew the outcome of that. Miss Hale, did you ever try your experiment?” MacKenzie asked.
Still laying her head down, she answered, “Not while he was in the hospital,” was mumbled from the tabletop. (bellows of laughter –– the crowd was shocked into all out laughter)
After these testaments, John could have slid onto the floor. There seemed to be nothing sacred about their love life but he could not help finding Margaret all too amusing and very bold, even at the sake of his and her own pride. Margaret certainly was making a big hit with everyone. Everyone was choked with laughter by now and John could not get much redder, and there was nowhere to hide. He had initiated this idea of people talking about her and now he was paying for it. He could not love her more. She was a trooper, who was making it through the humiliation with not so much as a ‘huff’.
The audience watched as John’s reddened face leaned over and whispered something into Margaret’s ears. “I told you I never peeked,” she said loudly to John. The audience, by then, were in tears. John had no idea his question to her would have been voiced out loud for all to hear.
Mark was next to the last person to take the stage. “Hello. My name is Mark Bauer. I am an overseer at Lady Mills and have proudly suffered the slings and arrows hurled upon us by our previous community. I must say, it’s wonderful to be in a mill town. (applause) I just wanted to show you how our Mistress treats us and her confidence in us. At the beginning of the challenge month, she gave each member of management a gold pin.” Mark said, holding his up for all to see. “It reads #1 Mill, Lady Mills, and the bottom line says Management Team. She wears one herself, except the bottom line says Mill Mistress. She is always been a boss who knows that her manpower is her company’s strength and not just her own leadership. Thanks.” (applause)
John looked over to see if Margaret was wearing her pin, and she was; he just hadn’t noticed it.
The final person to come to the stage was Grayson, who wore his tuxedo uniform replete with its long tails.
“Hello. I am known only as Grayson. I have been part of Miss Hale’s family since before she was born. I know this lady to be a fine, upstanding, honest, caring person, and to me she is the salt of the earth. Tonight has been interesting, listening to the other speakers. Indeed, I am finding she has matured . . . ahem . . . when I wasn’t looking.” Grayson paused for the laughter to abate. “She probably thinks that I, of all people, will not tell you anything about her, but I do have one little story that pertains to Milton. Mr. Thornton was accompanying us on a return trip to Helstone, to look over Miss Hale’s huge endeavor of moving her mill. As we were riding on the train, Miss Hale sat next to Mr. Thornton, who was seated in the corner. I was across the aisle reading a newspaper. My Mistress was busy going over some of her paperwork, while Mr. Thornton looked over her shoulder. I could see from my advantage that her eyes were starting to close. Eventually, she started to tip forward and appeared to head for the coach floor. Mr. Thornton reacted quickly, catching her shoulders and drew her back against the seat. It was but moments later that the entire process was repeated and, once again, Mr. Thornton caught her but this time he slightly turned her way and held her against his chest so she would not fall again. Eventually, I took a long stroll down the train aisle to give them some privacy because I know my Mistress well enough to know that she was faking. I do not think Mr. Thornton was aware of it until after I left the coach.” Grayson turned to Margaret and John, “Am I correct?”
Margaret blushed and shook her head yes. (laughter)
Grayson continued. “Finally, I want to thank Miss Hale for granting me a wish, one I have forever wanted fulfilled. Although still her butler I have missed being a gentleman’s gentleman, and I thank her for finally providing me with a fine gentleman to work for. That is all I will say about Miss Hale, but I must inform Mr. Thornton that he will have to ask me for her hand.” Grayson walked off stage to a rousing applause.
John walked to the podium, watching Grayson leave. “Grayson, as you leave, please know I only wear black with a white shirt. And I do not like frilly cravats. (laughter) I am not sure what you can do with me, but I am willing. There will be a lot of lint to contend with. (laughter)
“I’d like to ask Mr. Latimer to make his way back to the stage, while I finish with my own little story for Margaret. First though, fearing she might not do well in the contest, I have a small private gift to give her.”
Margaret stood, wondering what John was doing giving her a private gift in front of everyone. John handed her a small box and she slowly opened it. There, nestled between the velvet coverings was a small hand-crafted gold slingshot broach. She quickly covered her face with her hands and cried. She kept looking at it and then looked at John; forgetting the audience was there. She stood on her tiptoes and kissed him, which brought another blush to both. She said no words to him and sat down. John knew she was overwhelmed with the meaning of the gift because for once, she was speechless.
“I am sorry about that, but I was hoping for that little kiss.” (laughter) John paused for a moment and let the room quiet. “Margaret, since tonight I am finding out about your little secrets while I was unconscious, I have a confession myself. Idid peek!” (much laughter)
“You what? When?” came Margaret’s puzzled voice. (laughter)
“I think I had only known you two days, if that. You had arrived on the train from Milton, unconscious, deathly ill and was taken to Dr. Donaldson’s surgery. You had a high fever, fatigue, and pneumonia. I offered to assist Dr. Donaldson overnight to take your temperature, while he caught a few hours sleep. He showed me the process of taking your temperature under your arm. You were lying between two canvas ice sheets, which were used to lower your high fever. As I started the routine the doctor had shown me, I took the thermometer in one hand and pulled back the ice sheets with the other. I didn’t expect to find you naked. Being the gentleman I am, I had you covered back up in no more than five minutes. (roaring laugher) Of course, I am kidding, it was immediate . . . almost,” John said, beaming with pride at his lovely woman.
Not only did the audience find this astounding woman to be real, but they were seeing a different Thornton. Gone, was the quiet, humble, private man he had always been. It was pleasant for all his friends to finally see him happy. John was a man of few words, stern to the point of fearsome, but tonight he was a man in love.
“Miss Hale, I must say you have been incredibly brave and good natured about all of this. You’ve allowed everyone to know you as I have come to know you. Thank you for that.” He turned to see that Mr. Latimer had arrived.
Margaret rose and walked to the podium. “Mr. Thornton, all I want to know is, did you bring the ring?” (applause)
Surprising Margaret, John stood and pulled a beautiful large diamond ring from a box, which he took from his pocket. The crowd applauded and Margaret again was speechless. She threw her hands to her cheeks, making a large “O” with her lips.
Mr. Latimer approached the podium and said, “Well, let us see what this night will ultimately bring. Here are the top three winners.” Mr. Latimer slowly opened the envelope. “John, you being the president of this chamber, I must say that Marlborough Mills did an outstanding job at 11%, but you were not in the top three, I am sorry. All right, in third place with 11.5% is Humphry’s Mills.” (applause) Mr. Latimer paused for a moment. “In second place with a huge 12.75% is Bailey’s Mill.” (applause)
John felt sorry for Margaret and was ready to hold her through her disappointment. So he thought.
“Our first place winner with an unprecedented 17% increase is . . .” Latimer paused until the room quieted, “Please cue the priest . . . Lady Mills!”
The audience went wild and the Lady Mill’s workers were about to bring down the house. The Masters smiled and looked from one member to another as they tried to acknowledge just what they had on their hands with Margaret Hale. She had bested the best.
Margaret was jumping up and down, her hands over her head in a victory pose. She ran off the stage to the back to be surrounded by her joyous workers. They lifted her on their shoulders and carried her back to the stage, all in a big group.
No one though showed greater happiness than John Thornton. He realized within moments he would be married to the most wonderful, spirited woman that God put on this earth, and just for him. He helped her regain her balance as she was hoisted back on stage then lifted her around the waist, and turned her around and around as they both smiled. As he slowed down which allowed her to slide down to find her footing, he found her mouth. He embraced her and said, “It appears, yes, you have won the challenge and wager. But I am the real winner.” John walked to the front of the stage and called for Grayson to come back.
The crowd grew quiet, wondering if a marriage would actually take place tonight.
Grayson walked slowly to the stage podium where John and Margaret stood embraced.
When he arrived, John turned towards him and beckoned him a little closer to the podium. “Grayson, since you are Miss Margaret’s only family, by her very words, I do hereby ask for your blessing and offer myself and all that I own to your charge, Margaret Hale, in a lifetime of marriage. I will protect and provide for her and most of all, love her, for the rest of our lives.”
The crowd was hushed enough to hear a pin drop.
“Mr. Thornton, Sir . . . and M’lady, I do indeed give my blessing. I am quite certain that my Mistress has found the very man worth her, and I heartily accept you as my gentleman.”
John shook Grayson’s hand with exuberance, hardly believing the moment was here.
With Grayson’s blessing, John produced the ring he had owned since his and Margaret’s wager. Unexpectedly, Margaret produced a gold pebbled ring for John. Margaret had found the perfect pebble on Marlborough Mills property and had it crafted into a thick gold band ring. He saw it and leaned down to kiss her. “God, how I love you,” John said, as his eyes started to glisten. “You cannot know how I will cherish this ring as it will always remind me of our first night together.”
The minister stepped forward, as the room rang out in cheers from everyone.