John Thornton, Look Back at Me – part 29 (Last Chapter)

Chapter 29      On Top of the World   With all the things John had going on in his life, Nicholas and Peggy still had not had their wedding, but it seemed to now be planned for two weeks before Christmas.  Nicholas had adapted to his gentleman’s clothes and let his hair grow longer, which allowed for a more distinguished appearance that seemed to suit him rather well.  He and John had all three mills running at top performance, and life was good to both of them and their prospective brides.   On a beautiful, crisp autumn day, the town … Read more

John Thornton, Look Back at Me – pt 28

Chapter 28      The Game is Afoot   John gently rested Margaret on the couch in his sitting room.  He went to the buffet and poured them each a port.  He sensed she needed something to strengthen her consciousness. “Margaret.  What am I going to do with you?  You will have to warn me when you are about to faint because you startle me before I know it’s happening.  I’m thankful that all three times you were in my arms when it happened.”  He smiled as he handed her the wine glass. John settled next to her on the couch … Read more

John Thornton, Look Bact at Me – pt 27

     A Fainting Finale   John and Margaret entered the top floor of the courthouse.  They were attending Slickson’s retirement party that was being held in the grand ballroom. John was delighted to have Margaret on his arm, and as they milled around speaking to many of the attendees, he introduced her to his business acquaintances.  John swelled with pride as he watched all the men taking an interest in her, and knowing she was his.  He escorted Margaret to sit with the Professor, along with Nicholas and Peggy, near the front, while he joined the original mill owners on … Read more

John Thornton, Look Back at Me – pt 24

Chapter 24      I Will Kill You   The orchestra came back for their final set and had just finished their tuning up when a commotion seemed to ripple through the crowd, interrupting conversations and redirecting gazes.  It seemed to Margaret as though something was happening, and it was catching everyone’s attention.  Hearing whispers and gasps, she started to look around to see what everyone was looking at, when she noticed heads were turned toward the wide entrance. She saw him: He took her breath away.  John Thornton was standing in the doorway, radiating the pure masculine beauty that she … Read more

John Thornton, Look Back at Me – pt 22

  Chapter 22      Constable Wilson and  the Threatening Notes   It was two days before John left for Brighton.  He kept in touch with Mason daily, but nothing new had surfaced except the note had an impression from the page written before it.  The labs had determined the letters to be  _ _ U _ T   MON_ _ _    BAR _ _ _ _ _ R (something scratched over)   _ _ N E.  Mason had everyone looking at it from the labs to the bobbies, and even John tried to decipher what had been written.  Everyone seemed to be … Read more

John Thornton, Look Back at Me – pt 21

Chapter 21      John’s Alarm   The rest of the week, John and Higgins went over some serious planning for the probability of purchasing Slickson’s mill.  John needed to make some people moves for the strategic positions, and Higgins needed a replacement, as overseer.  It was determined that three overseers would be instituted, one for each mill.  The organizational format was going to have to change with having three mills and Higgins in a whole new capacity.  John wanted all the training started immediately because he was sure Slickson’s mill would be his.  He understood very well that he could … Read more

John Thornton, Look Back at Me – pt 20

Chapter 20      A Dinner and a Rose   The following week, John visited Slickson to talk about the rumors of his retirement from the cotton business. “John, I admit that I’ve been giving it some thought and somehow a rumor has spread that I’m getting ready to sell.  That part is not exactly true because I’ve not made a firm decision.  However, my wife is in a state of health that will not allow us to travel for many more years. “I’m very sorry to hear that.”  John said. “Thank you, I know that you mean that, John.  Over … Read more

John Thornton, Look Back at Me – pt 19

Warning: Adult Content, this chapter Chapter 19      More Then Joy   Finding John unwinding from the excitement of the day, lounging across the couch, Margaret curled up beside him. “Today was so wonderful.  I can’t think of any other day in my life that I have enjoyed more.  Sadly, I think I shall have to be going home tomorrow.  John, thank you for these past days; they’ve meant more than you could know.  They have been the loveliest and happiest days of my life, ever” “Do not thank me.  I need no thanks from the one I love.  I … Read more

John Thornton, Look Back at Me – pt 18

Chapter 18      The Gift   Hearing Dixon coming through the door downstairs, John and Margaret grabbed their clothes and scattered to their own rooms, laughing hilariously, like school children putting a frog in the teacher’s desk.  John quickly dressed and returned to the parlor, just as Dixon came up from the kitchen. “Hello Dixon, I didn’t think you would be back this early.  Did you have a nice time?” “Yes, I did.  Master, I don’t know if you noticed, but it’s snowing again, not nearly as hard as before, but I thought I’d better get back in case it … Read more

John Thornton, Look Back at Me – pt 17

     Christmas Eve Day and  Night   The first rays of the sun were glistening off of the re-frozen snow crust.  Christmas Eve day dawned brightly with no apologies or explanations or new edicts expected.  Coming out of her room, Margaret inhaled a wonderful pine scent, and found John standing in front of the tree.  He was looking at the cranberry strands, which now stood out as red swags, in the sunlit room.  She watched him as he leaned against the back of a chair, long legs crossed at the ankles, arms folded, looking at the tree without knowledge of … Read more

John Thornton, Look Back at Me – pt 16

Chapter 16      A Sensual Moment   Margaret woke with a start, suddenly conscious of the fact that she didn’t have a holiday gift for John.  She didn’t have anything for anyone.  She was sure it wasn’t expected of her this year, but she must talk to John to ensure he wasn’t going to purchase a gift for her. Finding him dressed for the day, already reading his paper, Margaret said, “John, I want to talk about gift exchanging.  I know there is a Thornton Proclamation, in effect, but I would have liked to have gotten you a small gift, … Read more

John Thornton, Look Back at Me – pt 15

Chapter 15      Sacrificial Altar   As the evening grew late, they both said goodnight in the parlor and went their separate ways, with John striving to treat Margaret as a guest.  Morning was much the same; a casual conversation about Margaret’s plans for the day and John being her ride and guide.  A big part of her furniture was due today, and she had promised to visit the Professor’s staff with Dixon at her side.  John was starting to realize how difficult it was going to be to step back from Margaret.   This was my idea, and I’d … Read more

John Thornton, Look Back at Me – pt 14

Chapter 14      A Gentleman’s  Agreement   Margaret strolled over and closed the door to his library, forbidding even the warmth in the room, while she read the letters.  “Why am I doing this?” she wondered.  “This would not have happened with the old Margaret,” she told herself. Sitting down, she pulled out the little pile of letters from the drawer, all addressed to her.  She noticed a mixture of dates and wondered why John had never sent them.  Two were before their London meeting on the veranda, and the rest were after that day.  None of them were finished.  … Read more

John Thornton, Look Back at Me – pt 12

Chapter 12      Welcome Home,  Margaret   The London station platform was filled with people, but at least she had missed the early surge of London workers.  Margaret had ensured that her baggage was properly stowed onto the huffing train and glanced down the long line of coaches on the track, recognizing that they led to paradise, to her destiny once left behind. Booker’s family said good-bye to her and had just left the station.  It was a sad time, for she liked them very much, and they loved her.  They promised to come visit her and asked her to … Read more

John Thornton, Look Back at Me – pt 10

Chapter 10      The Cottage   They walked arm in arm down the tree-lined street, towards the cottage that John hoped someday would be Margaret’s.  He was thrust into the feeling of incredible contentment welling up inside of him.  He didn’t care to analyze it; he just wanted to hold this tender sensation inside him forever.  John noticed  the little house several times on his courthouse days.  He was still finding it hard to believe that they were strolling toward a possible residence for Margaret’s return to Milton.  John suspected she might like it.  Its appearance seemed to be well … Read more

John Thornton, Look Back at Me – pt 9

Chapter 9      John and Margaret’s Reunion   Maxwell and Edith Lennox took Margaret to the train station to meet the Professor for their visit to Milton. “You know, Margaret,” Edith teased her, “it is quite scandalous of you to take off to Milton so early in your bereavement, but I must say that I envy your courage.  We’re very happy to see you settle into something that you really will enjoy.  You’ve been unhappy for so long.  I think you have found a very agreeable place working alongside the Professor.  I’ll miss you so when you move to Milton … Read more

John Thornton, Look Back at Me – pt 7

Chapter 7        She’s Not the Margret, We Once Knew   As the large crowd milled outside, talking, John made his way through to the chapel steps and entered the church.  He seated himself near the front, across from where Margaret was likely to be.  The organist began to play and the assembly filed inside, quickly filling the pews, until there was standing room only.  Searching through the mass of people, John finally noticed Margaret, walking down the aisle.  She was accompanied by a man and woman, who could only have been her husband’s brother and sister. John thought.  … Read more

John Thornton, Look Back at Me – pt 4

Chapter 4      Maybe Someday   It had been two years since he’d heard that soft, lovely voice, now, depressingly fading to a whisper in his heart.  Hardly believing the moment, he slowly turned around, and she was there, standing off to the side on the veranda.  Margaret was pulling all the air from his lungs. John audibly inhaled as he took in Margaret’s vision which had been captured in his mind since he first met her.  Was there any beauty on earth to match hers?  . . .  He didn’t think so.  Margaret, once his entire future, stood before … Read more

John Thornton, Look Back at Me – pt 3

  A Visit with Dixon 1853 summer Upon discovering that Margaret had married, John spent the next few weeks trying not to sink through the hole in his heart, until he could visit Dixon and discuss the content of her letter.  Still determined to understand the meaning of her statement about why Margaret married, he wrote, requesting a few moments of her time on the day he planned to be in London. In addition to losing the greatest love of his life, John now feared the loss of his mother.  She was growing weaker and more staid, appearing increasingly deficient … Read more

John Thornton, Look Back at Me – pt 2

Chapter 2      Abandoned Hope   Over the next year, John Thornton became a shell of the man he once was: a thinking human being with no central core, little constancy, adrift in his own life.  In an effort to keep his company from failing, he worked long hours, trying to lose himself in his mill.  Margaret’s words, on the day of the riot, continued to haunt him.  He recognized that consideration for the human condition of his people was the road to the mill’s salvation, but how to accomplish this remained an issue for him and all the cotton … Read more