Episode 3 - Chapter 7
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Chapter written by genie-49
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[Frederick and Margaret arrive late at night at the train platform. Margaret is seeing him off and they are standing and talking before Fred boards. Few people are around.]
Frederick Hale: Only a few minutes more. I don't know when I'll see you again.
[As Margaret and Fred embrace, Margaret sees over Fred's shoulder that John Thornton is standing several coach-lengths away under a gaslight. Thornton is staring her way, so she knows he recognizes her. In fact, he can't seem to take his eyes off Margaret in the arms of a stranger. Fred notices his sister's reaction and looks in the same direction that has Margaret's rapt attention. John Thornton watches the pair a moment longer then moves away.]
Frederick: Who was that?
Margaret: Mr. Thornton.
Frederick: What a scowl that man has....... A very disagreeable fellow, I'm sure.
Margaret: [looking sorrowful] As with most men, something has happened to make him scowl, Fred. Don't judge him harshly.
[Fred and Margaret move toward the coach door.]
Fred: I'll write soon.
[From a short distance away a familiar voice calls to Frederick.]
[Frederick and Margaret turn around to see Leonards, intoxicated and slurring his words, come toward them.]
Leonards: It is you, isn't ? Look at you..... I thought I recognised you.
Frederick: I'm not Hale. Get off!
Leonards: What's all this, then?
[A scuffle ensues between the two men. Leonards is insisting he's Hale and Frederick is denying it. Margaret is almost caught in the middle of everything.]
Margaret: Stop [The scuffle continues.]
Leonards: Where you been hidin', Mr. Hale? Huh?
Frederick: Get off!!
[The scuffle becomes a little more violent and with an effort Frederick pushes Leonards away. Leonards steps back and loses his balance, falling halfway down the concrete platform exit stairs. In the background you can hear the call for "boarding". Frederick is watching Leonards recover from his fall and stagger further down the steps.]
Margaret: You must go now, Fred.....Go! [The guard blows the whistle to board.]
Margaret: [following Frederick to the coach door] Go!
Frederick: God bless you, Margaret. [Out of breath from the struggle Frederick kisses his sister through the open coach door window as the train starts to move and the distance between them grows.] Goodbye! [Frederick is saddened to leave Margaret this way and watches her as the train continues on. Margaret turns and leaves the station.]
[A boot lies on it's side in a rushing stream. The water is purple. Boucher stares at the water and rocks back and forth. He seems lost.]
[Inside a large church, Maria Hale's funeral is being held. Mr. Hale sits in front, leaning against the end of his pew. Margaret and Mr. Bell sit next to him and Dixon is behind.]
Margaret: [speaking softly to Mr. Bell] If we had been in Helstone chapel it would have been full ....... of Mother's friends.
Mr. Bell: [whispering] Yes, but ..... look [Mr. Bell turns towards the back of the church and encourages Margaret to see the Higgins family seated further back.]
[Margaret turns to see Nicholas and Mary in attendance. A faint expression of gratitude appears on her face. Across the aisle John Thornton has been watching Margaret and turns to see who she has been looking at. Margaret, absently, never looks in his direction.]
[The service ends, Margaret, Mr. Bell and Mr. Hale leave the chapel as a bell tolls. Mr. Bell escorts Mr. Hale who is very grief stricken and cannot function without help. Margaret takes her father's arm once they're outside and guides him herself. Mr. Bell stops just outside the doorway. All three of the Thorntons come out after Dixon and then Mary and Nicholas Higgins. Mr. Thornton stops in the doorway to speak with Mr. Bell, as the others offer their condolences to the Hales.]
Thornton: How are they? Miss Hale and her father?
Mr. Bell: As well as can be expected. Don't worry, Thornton, they have many people to look after them.
Thornton: If there's anything I can do......... [John looks solemn]
Mr. Bell: Everything's taken care of. Well... not a great turnout, to be sure. The aunt is traveling in Italy, unfortunately. I'm surprised Lennox didn't turn up, though.
[John, hearing the name Lennox, unknowingly holds his head high and assumes a very stiff, upright and assertive posture.]
Mr. Bell: Henry Lennox. Closely connected to the family. He's a lawyer. I hear he takes an interest.
[John deflates his posture and becomes downcast. This change in posture has not escaped Bell's notice]
Mr. Bell: But you can be sure I'll let you know if your help is needed.
[Mr Bell and Thornton begin to walk away from chapel. John is interrupted by someone calling his name. He stops and turns back to see who it is.]
Inspector Mason: Mr. Thornton?
Thornton: Yes? Mason, isn't it? How do you do?
Inspector Mason: Sorry to disturb you, sir, but with your being the local magistrate ......... [Hannah Thornton looks on at her son's conversation with the Inspector.]
[Inspector Mason escorts Thornton to a mortuary room, where a dead body covered by a white cloth is lying on a marble table. The room is very dim, only a few oil lamps light the room. Mason pulls back the white cloth so Thornton can see the dead man. It is Leonards]
Inspector Mason: This fellow was found along the station embankment two days ago. Died in hospital this morning. He's not from these parts. We're trying to identify him. Find out who killed him.
[Nicholas Higgins is seen standing, looking out his window. He sees Margaret and her father approaching. They enter the house.]
Mr. Hale: We thought we'd find you here around dinner time.
Higgins: You're pretty sure of finding me here any time. Please sit down, Master. [Mary is busying herself with dishes on the table.]
Mr. Hale: Thank you.
Margaret: You're out of work still, because of the strike?
Higgins: I'm out of work because I choose not to work.
Margaret: Have you asked for work at your old mill?
Higgins: Well, Hamper knows I'm a good worker. He'd take me back. But there's a new rule, we're not allowed to pay into the union. We pay into the union so we can have a strike fund so we can pay a shilling a week strike pay to those in hardship. Their thinking is, if we're not allowed, there'll be no strikes. We're not asking Masters to fund a strike. We're not that simple. But where's the crime in giving to your own out of your own wages, freely earned? I mean ...... you earn a wage don't you, Mr. Hale?
Mr. Hale: Yes... Yes, I do.
Higgins: The people who pay you don't tell you how to spend your money, do they?
Mr. Hale: No......no...they .... they certainly don't.
Margaret: Do all the mills operate this new rule? Remember Boucher saying the union was a tyrant?
Higgins: [Higgins sarcastically chuckles as he moves about the room to a chair away from the table.] Well.... sometimes the union has to force a man to see what's good for him. Boucher was always a fool. He never knew what was good for him.
Margaret: So he did the union harm?
Higgins: We had opinion on our side till he started rioting and breaking the law.
Margaret: Wouldn't it have been better to leave him alone? He did the union no good. And you drove him mad.
Mr Hale: [Mr. Hale interrupts quietly and politely] Margaret!
Higgins: No, no, no. She speaks her mind, I like that. She doesn't understand. The union is a great power. The union is our only power. I'd best not talk about it. I can't help feeling angry at Boucher because there's no end to his mischief.
Higgins: Oh, yeah. First of all he starts a riot, then he goes into hiding. Thornton doesn't prosecute, so he slinks back home, and what does he do? He goes off to Hamper's beggin' for work, even though that'd mean forsaking his union dues. To be fair to Hamper, he didn't listen to Boucher. He drove him away. Even though they say he cried like a baby. [Higgins is downcast after his last remark.]
[A bare foot and a booted one are sticking out of the covering over a body being carried down the street by policemen on a stretcher. A crowd gathers, Margaret and Mr. Hale among them, having just left Nicholas Higgins' house.]
Local Man 1: I found him in the canal beyond Ashley.
Bystander 1: Canal? [Margaret and Mr. Hale look on, gravely.]
Local Man 1: Aye. Determined to kill himself, all right.
Local Man 2: It's Boucher. He's drowned himself.
Higgins: [Hearing the commotion outside and the comment about Boucher killing himself, comes outside and walks toward the stretcher.] It can't be Boucher. He wouldn't have the nerve to drown himself.
[The policemen bring the stretcher to a stop, so that Higgins can see if it is Boucher. A policemen courteously removes his hat and pulls back the cover. Higgins sees the face of Boucher, eyes wide open, staring into nothingness. His face is stained purple from the dye in the stream where he drowned. Higgins doubles over with sorrow and disbelief. He is grief stricken. Other onlookers have stoic faces as they view the sight before them - including Boucher's young son, Tom]
Young Tom: Why's my daddy's face purple? [Margaret pulls Tommy away from the body.]
Policeman: [speaking to Mr Hale] Water from the dying vats goes into the canal.
Policeman: Higgins. You knew him. You must go and tell his wife. Do it now, man. We can't leave him 'ere.
Higgins: [weeping .... almost with an effort to whisper...] I can't ........ I just can't do it.
Margaret: [hoping her father could help at this point ... ] Father?
[Mr. Hale clearly does not feel he can cope with this, so soon after his wife's death ..... he shakes his head, no, and takes a step back.]
Margaret: I'll go. [takes Tommy with her]
[Within a short time Mrs Boucher stumbles towards her husbands' body. She is in great despair and crying.]
Mrs. Boucher: No.... No... he loved us all. [heart wrenching sobs] .... and we loved him..... [Higgins with tears running down his face] and I spoke such terrible words about him only a moment ago.......... What are we to do? [hugs the body]
[Several days later, Higgins and Mary and young Tom stand at a grave site in the cemetery which overlooks the town. Margaret stands a few feet behind them]
Margaret: [narrating] Only a few days after,.... Mrs Boucher followed her husband to heaven, leaving their six children orphans. We buried them high above the city in the fresh air, their worldly struggle and cares over forever. [Higgins is quietly saying a prayer] How much harder now for those of us who are left behind to mourn.