The Lost Northbound Train – Part Twenty

Chapter Twenty – Inexorable Fate   While John was propelled into the Unknown, only one fact stood clearly in his mind; he must not let go of Margaret! In that last conscious second, he managed to sling his arms around her waist and cling tightly to her. Whatever would transpire, he would not release his hold on Margaret, even if he should die in the process! But the violence of the force with which they were thrown into the darkness was overpowering … As consciousness slowly returned, Margaret immediately felt the sting of an injury to her left shoulder and, … Read more

The Lost Northbound Train – Part Nineteen

Chapter Nineteen – Forever Bound   Margaret woke to a sound she knew must be rather common but one she never actually heard before in her life; the steady, strong breathing of a man firmly surrendered to deep sleep. In the first light that seeped through a gap in the heavy curtains, she was fascinated by what she saw. The long, lean, bare form of her husband, stretched out on his back beside her, one arm upwards to support his head, the other flung out over the edge of the bed. A stir of longing awoke deep inside her chest … Read more

The Lost Northbound Train – Part Eighteen

Chapter Eighteen – When Two Become One The cold winds announcing fall began coming in from the north when, one evening, Father Patrick visited Betty’s cottage. “I’ve good news for you, John and Margaret, but there’s also some bad news.” “Oh!” Margaret’s anguished cry startled John, and he went to put his arm around her shoulder. “For God’s sake, Father! Do tell us! You are upsetting Margaret.” “I’m sorry, my dear,” Patrick apologized, “but I’m afraid a proper civil marriage isn’t possible. The Registrar has to enter your marriage in the register, and since you have no proper address nor … Read more

The Lost Northbound Train – Part Seventeen

Chapter Seventeen – Setting Things In Motion The priest continued in the same, relaxed way, not giving them a chance to recollect themselves after the first shock John and Margaret had suffered. “I have to dress the old-fashioned way, you know. People in this neighbourhood still feel strongly about every man that holds a position in religion; they want to know him for what he is, no more, no less. Certainly, no less. A priest must look like one. I came here in jeans and leather jacket but I soon changed into traditional garb since I was ignored, even by … Read more

The Lost Northbound Train – Part Sixteen

Chapter Sixteen – Choices   Of course, things were not that simple. To get legally married, first and foremost, you needed an identity. One that you could prove with the required documents, to boot. There was no way John Thornton could prove himself an Englishman, even though he had lived in England all his life. Margaret was in the exact same situation. In 1852, people didn’t have passports or driver’s licences. John and Margaret thought long and hard about it and discussed it with their friends. Jowan promised to ask around at the hospital’s legal department. These people sometimes had … Read more

The Lost Northbound Train – Part Fifteen

Chapter Fifteen – Blending In Within three weeks John and Margaret’s situation had thoroughly changed. John was doing a hell of a job at “The Green Huntsman”. With Jowan’s help, he hired an elderly man who retired from public service the year before but who had done some pub work in his spare time to have an extra income. Paul Burrows was a short, slender man with a shock of white hair and a pair of dark brown eyes. He had kept himself fairly fit over the years by working out at a gym. A couple of years before, his … Read more

The Lost Northbound Train – Part Fourteen

Chapter Fourteen – Taking Stock   Around three in the morning, John, Margaret and Jowan finally returned to Betty’s cottage, all of them weary to the bone. Yet, all pressing and disturbing issues had been brought to a satisfactory end. Jowan’s father was recuperating from his stroke which in the end, was not that severe. The doctors had every confidence of him leaving the hospital as soon as his vitals were back to normal. Mrs Thorn was back in her home and her sister, living nearby in a Leicestershire village had come to keep her company, whilst Mr Thorn was … Read more

The Lost Northbound Train – Part Thirteen

Chapter Thirteen –  Human Sorrow Will Not Alter Over Time  Margaret watched Jowan’s mother as the older woman sat next to her in the silent waiting area at Leicester UH. Mrs Thorn was clasping her hands in worry; and her fingers kept plucking at the back of her hands. With a shock Margaret recognised that gesture; it was one that her own mother used to have whenever she was in serious concern about something. Poor Mama was forever concerned about something or other, Margaret recalled. The despair of the gesture tugged at her heart, and she covered Mrs Thorn’s hands … Read more

The Lost Northbound Train – Part Twelve

Chapter Twelve – Pitching In “Jowan, what is it?” Margaret asked. Betty got to her feet too, her plain, motherly face full of concern. “That was my mum,” Jowan stammered, “it seems that my dad has had a stroke. He’s in hospital and she’s terrified. I … I’ll have to go too, see what I can do to help.” “I am sorry, Jowan,” John’s voice sounded, “I will accompany you to the hospital and assist you.” “I am coming too,” Margaret said.   At Leicester UH, John and Margaret met with Mrs Thorn, Jowan’s mother, a rather stocky woman of … Read more

The Lost Northbound Train – Part Eleven

Chapter Eleven – Learning and Coping John finished his story at that same moment, and Dylan clapped his hands in delight. “Another one, another one!” “No, Dylan,” his big sister scolded, “John already told you three stories and …” Margaret saw how the girl’s eyes suddenly opened wide and how the boy followed his sister’s gaze. “Daddy!” Both children jumped from their seats and ran toward a man who opened his arms to gather them into his embrace. A sweet smile lit John’s face when he saw the man’s relieved happiness at seeing his children unharmed. Earlier on, the nurse … Read more

The Lost Northbound Train – Part One

Chapter One – Stepping into The Great Unknown   So it had happened. They were finally going home. Just an hour ago, home had meant Milton, and Marlborough Mills. John Thornton had never known a better home than the one his mother Hannah created for him and his sister Fanny. The many responsibilities in his busy life as a cotton manufacturer had been adequately balanced by Hannah, who reigned his household with quiet efficiency. Now – just an hour ago – John discovered that Margaret had finally come to love him, the way he had loved her for three, long, … Read more

After I Married Mr Rochester – Part Twenty

Chapter 20 – Jane, I knew you’d do me good Prayers are good for mental support but they don’t actually help you out when you are physically in trouble. So I concentrated on trying to revive my husband. I rubbed his chest as hard as I could, and I blew into his mouth, hoping to keep him alive with my own breath. How long I kept doing this I do not recall but eventually I stopped. I was exhausted, and my spirits were very low. We would die, all three of us. However, we would not be separated in death. … Read more

After I Married Mr Rochester – Part Nineteen

Chapter 19 – Our Father who art in Heaven The words of the prayer whispered through my befuddled brain, and I kept repeating them because it gave me mental strength. “Our Father … who art in Heaven … hallowed be Thy name …” I could not possibly be dead, could I? My body ached with cuts and bruises. I was cold and wet and … oh Heaven, I was able to breathe again! How wonderfull. However, it was pitch black all around me,and I was shivering. I was also still bound on hands and feet. I moaned with pain in … Read more

After I Married Mr Rochester – Part Eighteen

Chapter 18 – Burn the witch A choking smoke was rapidly filling the small low-ceilinged room of the cottage, and I knew I should try and get out. I did not move. My courage failed me for without Edward, lying dead beside me, nothing mattered to me anymore. Why? Why was he taken from me? I could not understand why we were not allowed to enjoy a happy life together. Sobs were raking my chest as I realized only one thing; Edward was dead. They had shot him through the heart, and I was left alone to die a horrible … Read more

After I Married Mr Rochester – Part Seventeen

Chapter 17 – Hell hath no fury   My heart stopped! I sank onto my knees, and with shaking hands, carefully turned Edward onto his back. A large bloodstain had spread right in the middle of his chest. I put a trembling hand on his cheek; how cold it was! This could not be true, surely not? He could not be dead, could he? His eyes were shut and his face was deadly pale but surely he was not dead? Someone grabbed me, and a sack was pulled over my head. I didn’t care, I could not think, I could … Read more

After I Married Mr Rochester – Part Sixteen

Chapter 16 – One obstacle after another     Charles Mason crossed the distance between him and Edward in three longs strides. In one smooth gesture, he hit my baffled husband in the face, so hard that the latter staggered backwards and ended on the floor with a muffled cry of pain. Something snapped in me. I drew myself up to my unfortunately inadequate height and slapped Mason’s jaw as hard as I could. “Mr. Mason!” I exclaimed angrily. “Will you kindly refrain from hitting my husband? He has barely recovered from the injuries you inflicted on him during our … Read more

After I Married Mr Rochester – Part Fifteen

Chapter 15 – An organized programme of everyday life     After all this disturbance teasing our tender marriage, Edward and I firmly banished all diversion from the truly important matters concerning our life together. We had work on our hands; we needed to get started on the restoration of Thornfield Hall, Edward’s ancestral home. The next six weeks, we were diligently working, talking to architects and craftsmen, and laying out plans for the rebuilding and refurbishment. We settled in a nice enough routine, working in pleasurable companionship by day, sweetly indulging in each other’s bodies by night. I dedicated … Read more

After I Married Mr Rochester – Part Fourteen

Chapter 14 – Rochester takes the matter at hand While we hurried towards the stables Edward asked the head groom who had come to meet us, “Ah, Norton, did you tie him up like I asked?” “Yes, sir!” the man answered, “an’ a good thing ‘t was too! He’s been trying to get away all the time since he opened his eyes!” “Edward!” I exclaimed, “Was that necessary? The man is injured, and by my hand to boot!” My husband laughed out loud but didn’t reply. Instead he grabbed my hand and pulled me with him inside the stables. How … Read more

After I Married Mr Rochester – Part Thirteen

Chapter 13 – The reckoning I was, of course, not frightened at all! Edward, for all his brooding and hot temper, would never frighten me; he was all bark and no bite. Even so, standing tall and ramrod straight, his unseeing grey-green eyes blazing with … something which was not fury.  He was an impressing sight, and just by looking at him my heart rose sky-high! “Well?” he asked, in a low voice, which made my pulse race. I did not reply but started undressing as silently as I could. In a couple of moments, I was only wearing my … Read more

After I Married Mr Rochester – Part Twelve

Chapter 12 – Hope against hope I struggled. With all my strength, with all the resolve I could muster, I drew deep into my reserves to fight the pressure of Beaver’s murdering hands. I clawed at him, I scratched his hands, his face, I kicked him in the stomach and the underbelly, but, of course, it was all to no avail. Slowly but inevitably, the breath was driven out of me. My thoughts, weakening but stubborn, seemed to float towards the one person of genuine importance in my life; Edward, my husband. Far more horrible than to die was the … Read more