The History Boys 2006

HistoryBoysCast2006

 

An unruly collection of clever but crass Thatcher-era English high-school students seek to earn the scores needed to enroll in Oxford and Cambridge in director Nicholas Hytner and screenwriter Alan Bennett’s screen adaptation of Bennett’s Tony-winning play. The History Boys focuses on a group of eight students, all of them deemed by their overeager headmaster (Clive Merrison) to be the best and the brightest. Though they’ve been coddled by their humanities-loving instructor, Hector (Richard Griffiths), and their acerbic history teacher, Mrs. Lintott (Frances de la Tour), the boys are deemed in need of additional tutoring; thus, the brash, young Irwin (Stephen Campbell Moore) is recruited to challenge them further. The subtle power games the boys used to their advantage with their previous tutors are of no use with Irwin, whose wit borders on the callous. Meanwhile, Irwin’s presence — and a hush-hush scandal — forces all of the faculty members to reassess their position at the school.

Starring: Richard Griffiths, Clive Merrison, Frances de la Tour, Stephen Campbell Moore, Sacha Dhawan, Samuel Anderson, Dominic Cooper, Andrew Knott, Samuel Barnett, Russell Tovey, Jamie Parker, James Corden

A Promise (2013)

A Promise (2013)In 1912 Germany, a freshly graduated engineer with modest origins, Friedrich Zeitz, becomes the right hand of aging tycoon Karl Hoffmeister. When Hoffmeister’s degrading health condition starts to confine him permanently to his house, Friedrich has to visit him at home to get briefed. Thus Friedrich makes the acquaintance of Hoffmeister’s younger wife Charlotte, a beautiful and reserved woman in her early 30s. He immediately becomes enamored with her and struggles with his growing unrequited feelings for her, not realizing they are reciprocated. Just as they disclose their mutual attraction towards one another, Friedrich has to leave the country to represent Hoffmeister overseas. The outbreak of World War I keeps him away from Germany for a long time. Only after the end of the war and many years of separation are Friedrich and Charlotte able to reunite.

John Thornton’s Unfolding Dream – 20

 

Unfolding Dream scrollJohn Thornton’s Unfolding Dream

 

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Chapter 11 

 

 

 

John waited until she was inside and then returned to his carriage.

“Very nice lady,” Branson remarked.

“Yes, she is, Branson. I hope she will be my wife someday,” John said, somewhat in a daze, not realizing that he was speaking aloud.

“Right you are, Guv.”

John removed his top hat and slid inside on the leather seat. “Branson, I know it’s late but just ride around anywhere for a while. The house will seem too lonely going back. I need to think for a bit.”

“Yes, Guv.”

 

Margaret tiptoed into Megan’s house, being quiet until she found Megan, smiling, waiting up for her. “I was hoping you wouldn’t be back tonight,” Megan giggled.

“Shame on you, Megan, for such thoughts.” Margaret could not help the smile that formed on her face.

“Um . . . maybe you did stay long enough from that smile I see.”

“Megan, it’s not quite what you think. Yes, we did have a lovely evening. Level heads prevailed, to your utter disappointment, I am sure.” Margaret smiled.

“So . . . was there some romance?”

“I told you, he wants me in his life; what do you think?” Margaret said, feeling very mature that she was not telling Megan the more intimate details. Megan could think what she liked but the past couple of hours were going to be her private sanctuary.

“I think I can see that you have come home happy. I take it there has been no understanding or suit advanced?” Megan was keen to know only that, really.

“No, there is no understanding. Honesty is triumphing, not to either one’s liking, but how else are we to begin? That must come first. John understands that there is another suitor. He knows that we do not know each other but I must admit after tonight I have progressed in that direction. I have told him little of myself and he wants me the way I am regardless of what may be in my background. There is only one thing that is shielding me from giving my whole heart to him and that has he has not said the words, ‘I love you.’ He says everything around it but those words have not been said by him. I have already declared myself but he has not. How can I give myself for a lifetime to a man who shows he loves me or, at least, lusts for me but has not said the words ‘I love you’? I do love him but I have strong feelings for Kindle, too. I do not know if I love him, though. I have most enjoyed the Milton atmosphere. The hominess in your home and John’s is relaxing. I met his best friend and his wife tonight; they are a nice and loving couple. You can feel the warmth of a hearth in theirs and your presence. It is a mellowing feeling that is most pleasurable. I have so enjoyed my short stay here and will return more often because of you and because of John.”

Megan took Margaret’s hands in hers as they sat on the small cot that served as a couch.” Margaret, you must do what your heart tells you and I know you are intelligent enough to discover what is best for you. Well . . . not best for you but what will make you the happiest. Many men have a hard time saying the words ‘I love you.’ They will know deep in their heart that it is love but cannot or are too embarrassed to say the words straight out. I have heard that many will not say it first even if they know before the lady knows that they are in love with her. Men can be emotional but rarely sentimental. They can be lustful but not altogether romantic, at least not how we would wish them to be. I would not let the fact that Mr. Thornton has not spoken those exact words weigh too heavy on your selection for a mate. If you can feel it within him, I think that is a better testament to his true attentions to you.”

“But Megan, how does one tell the difference between a lustful man and a man in love? I am sure there is a big difference. I believe a man in love will most definitely be lustful as well, but when you sense lust, how can you tell there is love behind it?”

“Margaret, I do not have a good answer for that question. All I can say is, you just know. You have two men wanting your favors and you have seen other gentlemen before these two; you should be able to feel a difference in them. I have only had one man in my life, but still, I knew.”

“The few young gentlemen that wanted to court me were very amiable. It took me little time to discover they were unsuited for my outlook on society. They were firmly entrenched in the London cultural way of life. I was not disappointed to send them away. The feeling of hot passion had never stirred within me until Kindle and John. If I give of my innocence to either one, will they turn from me sometime in the future? Right now, I feel certain that John would never turn from me. Kindle will probably seem the same way when I return. Oh, this is maddening!” Margaret got up and paced the floor, looking at the ceiling. “Maybe I am making too much of this. If John had said he loved me, I think I would have married him tomorrow. Oh . . . look what he gave me.” Margaret returned to Megan’s side and showed her the cross pendant. “John’s grandmother gave this to his mother when he was born. It was to be worn by his mother to protect her son. He gave this to me and told me that I was his protector now and I was to guard his heart.” Margaret started to cry, remembering that very solemn moment.

“Oh Margaret, that was so romantic. You are such a fool if you walk away from him. He definitely loves you.”

“I think I know that. We have been together only a couple of days. How can we be so sure?”

“Margaret, you seem to be trying to talk yourself out of loving Mr. Thornton. Why is that?”

“I may sound that way but I am not. I guess it is this whole ‘vision’ gift. He may be in love with whom he perceives I am; which he sees in his dreams. Regardless, I have fallen in love with him. I do not know what I am up against in myself that he has seen. I could disappoint him. We never talked about that and I wish I had told him more about me. How do I know if I measure up to his vision?”

“Margaret, you are frustratingly hardheaded. Do you not think that six hours on a train where you spoke your minds and hearts, plus the two intimate hours that you spent together tonight – do you not think he has a good sense about you by now?”

“You’re probably right, Megan. I am making this far more difficult than it has to be. He has written me a nice long letter that I will read on the train going home. He took a lock of my hair.”

“Margaret, he sounds like a gem of a man. He has stayed single all these years even with the ladies hounding him all the time. He is picking you, dear. That must count for something other than those three words.”

“You’re right, Megan. That does say a lot about him that he would never tell me. He is very humble. I never even asked him about his prestige here and still he has said nothing remotely heroic about his achievements even though he is desperate to advance his suit. He is playing very fair. More fair than I seem to want to be. I am feeling very selfish all of a sudden.”

“Margaret, that is just nerves from falling in love. It will pass. You have never been this close to a lifelong commitment. It is a huge step. Certainly, you want the best for your own happiness. Yes, it’s selfish but it’s all right.”

“Thank you, Megan. You have helped me tremendously to see this situation from other angles. I needed this. I think I have been trying to construct walls ever since meeting Kindle. I felt a commitment was close and I did not feel I had enough . . . what . . . courage? . . to begin to make a decision. Now my heart is full and the fear is gone. I know I will devastate one of these men and I will hate doing that because I will still have strong feelings for the one that must walk away. I will pray there is something going forward that will help me make a resolute decision, one that I am solidly sure of in my heart.”

“Margaret. I know you, remember? I know you will make the best decision for your happiness and you will be steadfast and uncompromised.”

Margaret gave Megan a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you, dearest friend. It is very late and I still have packing to finish. I think we have settled my love life as much as we can,” Margaret smiled. “I think I will find my bed.”

“Please try to get some sleep tonight. I know it has been rough on you these past few nights. I will wake you if you sleep too late tomorrow. We would not miss your train. So sleep well this evening while you are in a homey household. Put all this out of your mind for one night. You can dwell on it for six hours tomorrow on your ride home.”

“Goodnight, Megan. Thank you for everything.”

“Goodnight, Margaret.”

 

It was well past midnight before John came up the stairs to his chair. He was exhausted from the stress, the thinking, the burning desire to be holding Margaret. He walked to his bar and poured himself a scotch. John thought scotch might allow him to sleep tonight. He was going on 60 hours with only brief one and two hour sleeping times interspersed. How could anyone sleep through the most important event in their entire life and on which their future happiness weighed completely? His only peace of mind came from the fact that he had done everything he could do without overstepping his own gentlemanly rules. Loving and charming her into making love would have been momentous but in the end, it might not be perceived as having been the right and proper act to do at this point. Suppose she did have deeper feelings for her other suitor and they find their way to each other, he would be a known as the biggest mistake she had ever made. He could not live with himself if she ever saw him and his love for her as a mistake. Still not sleepy, John found one of his books he had bought and brought it back to his chair. Reading often made him drowsy.

 

Kindle was still up when Gilbert came home late that evening.

“Gilbert, that smile of yours is almost a dead give-a-way, you know? Please do not tell me differently,” Kindle laughed.

“If you were right, which you are not, I would never have been home at all tonight – or – I would have my Eve with me here. I have decided all will wait until after I talk with Father the day after tomorrow. If I did as you thought and then found disinheritance staring at me as a way of life, I would feel very ashamed. I do not think there is much that could keep us apart but should Father disown me for wanting to marry Eve, I would have nothing to offer her. I could not take care of her properly. I have my military pay but I do not know if she would be happy with that. I have a lot more confidence in her love for me than that but she would have to know our new financial situation, not to even mention the embarrassment.”

“Her family can offer nothing? I mean . . . I know that means little difference to you or me but should my uncle kick you out, could her family step in at all?”

“They would probably offer us shelter in her home until I could save for a home but I think that is about the extent of it. There may be a small dowry, but I do not want it. Since it did not matter to me, I have delved very little into that subject. My answer only comes from seeing their surroundings and where she lives. Her father is a successful merchant, I believe, and the home and furnishings are above modest but they do not look or act from a high cultural level. My only interest in her family thus far is if they like me or not. You know, Kindle, being who we are, has its drawbacks as well.”

“I do not think I understand where you’re going with this,” Kindle responded with interest.

“You do know that a lot of the lower gentry think we squander away our life playing. We are lazy, we are shallow, and you know the reputations that run rampant among the arranged marriages. For who we are as nobility, we do not often embrace the best manners and are poor role models to some extent. I am seeing our friends and us in a completely new light since meeting Eve. Moreover, damn it, she is right. So maybe you can understand a loving father not wanting his daughter to be part of our world. When I ask for her hand, I am going to have a whole lot of promising to do to persuade him she will never live like that.”

“Yes, I can see your point. I will ponder your insight. I have had those thoughts many times but have never given it much thought from a parent’s view or the lower masses. I do not like it myself and try to stay far away from the pits they fall into but we are guilty by association. I did not think the lower gentry paid any attention to us. You seem to think I am fooling myself and you could very well be right.”

“Kindle, you will probably have less worry with her aunt coming from wealthy society ergo not nobility but surely it will help to some degree.”

“That may be so with her aunt, who I would ask for her hand but my problem is getting our reputations past Margaret first. If she permits me to be close after I have told her about me, we will need some time before marrying for her to feel assured that we, that is, you and I, are not like the others. This road that you and I follow is treacherous, to say the least. Moreover, I still have Lady Carter, who will outflank me somewhere along the way. Once Margaret is aware of my family heritage, she is going to know about Lady Carter so she will know that I am working through an issue with her. Gilbert, besides my dress sword that I wear when in uniform, I have started to put a couple of knives in my boots. My guards are more heavily armed and are on alert now. They have become more than just an escort. Their fighting instincts are surfacing.”

“Good. I am glad to hear it. She was there tonight but she did not bother me about you. However, I did find a gentleman that I remember seeing her with several years ago. I wandered over and struck up a conversation with him since he was alone. He never came out and said anything definite but indicated he was glad to get out of that relationship with his money and reputation still intact.”

“Coming back to that look you came home with tonight. Are you going to tell me about it?” Kindle asked with a smarmy grin.

“No. I am not telling you anything except it was a nice evening . . . very nice . . . almost too nice. There! You weaseled that much out of me. Not another word will I say.” Gilbert could not help but sport the smile he came home with.

“All right, have it your way. I would do the same thing myself. These ladies are different and are our private lives, never to be shared with anyone but them.” Kindle yawned. “I think I will head up to bed. Finally, my Margaret will be home tomorrow and if I have to wait through a couple train stops, I am going to be there when she arrives. I will tell her family in advance, too. Probably see you at noon or a little after tomorrow. Goodnight.”

“Sleep good for a change, Kindle. Goodnight.”

(continued next week)   John startled himself awake. He was still in his chair. He checked his pocket watch and saw that he had dozed off for another hour but something was nagging him this time. He felt that another vision was trying to emerge.

Desperate Romantics 2009 – A BBC Classic

This BBC miniseries brings to life the daring work and tempestuous love lives of the Pre-Raphaelites, a group of 19th-century British artists and playboys who yearned to reinvent Western art — and seduce a few lovely lasses in the process. As John Millais (Samuel Barnett), William Holman Hunt (Rafe Spall) and Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Aidan Turner) paint for fame and fortune, they quarrel over model Lizzie Siddal (Amy Manson) and other women.

Desperate Romantics (2009) mid-Victorian

 

 

Hearts Adrift – Part Ten

Armitage_004

Chapter Ten

 

Manon’s proposition made perfect sense. Richard’s logical mind acknowledged Manon’s words, and his foolish heart welcomed them, of course. It was true that he loved her, and he knew beyond all doubt that she loved him back. Despite the fact that he knew they could never be husband and wife, Richard was overwhelmed by true, unmitigated happiness, because his Manon loved him. His Manon? Yes, it was the undeniable truth. She was Lily’s daughter, and Lily had been the light of his life. Manon, so like Lily, had come to fill the hole in his heart that had been gaping since Lily’s departure.

Richard needed to think clearly, he knew. He needed to assess the consequences of what might come if he decided to make love to Manon, something he most dearly wished. With infinite tenderness, he cupped her face in his hands and lifted it up so that she could see his eyes.

“My sweet Manon, before we decide to do this, I want to be certain that you fully understand what you are about to do. Once we have made love to each other, there will only be one option open to us. I will be forced to keep my distance from you again. We will never be allowed to express our true feelings, not by a word nor by a gesture. Not even, dearest, by a look. If people became aware of the love we harbour, we would be outcasts. We would end up in prison for incest.”

Manon saw nothing but love in those beautiful eyes, now a soft violet because of the desire she knew he must feel. She felt the same desire welling up in her heart. She focussed on communicating this glorious feeling to her darling.

She smiled, and Richard was lost. Her beckoning rosebud mouth parted to reveal her small, even white teeth. He dipped his head, but she met him halfway, touching her lips to his.

A shock, sharp and intoxicating, sparkled between them, and fire spread like lightning, head to toe. Richard’s lips were firm and warm and utterly beguiling. He tasted like spice and sweetness intermingled, like chocolate combined with cream, like genuine, uncompromising male. It was heaven! She wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her body against his, eager, desperate to feel all of him.

The movement set Richard’s senses alight with an intensity he had never felt before. She was so soft, so feminine and, he realised, so trusting in the way she gave herself over to him without fear or restraint. Conscious of the fact that Manon was still untouched, he would be tender and cautious.

But as much as he wanted her, all of her, he could not allow himself to take her chastity and leave her impure for her eventual husband. It would ruin her. Oh, why did it have to be this way? He considered the moment and acknowledged their unbridled passion, which left them teetering on the brink.  He struggled to regain a fraction of his control. There was only one possible way he could proceed. It would not be all that it could be, but it was all that it ever would be.

Gently skimming her lips with his tongue, he heard her rapt intake of breath, shallow and quick. She tensed in his arms when he slowly parted her lips, but she did not withdraw. Instead, she pressed herself even closer, a gesture that caused sparks of pleasure to run down his spine. Plundering the soft, sweet cavern of her mouth, he drank in her taste of raspberries and cream, of pure, undiluted woman.

She was unique, she was Manon, and his body knew her for what she was – his own woman.

He allowed their kiss to continue for just a few moments longer, then broke it. Gently he scooped her into his arms and carried her all the way up to her room.

 

Manon could not think of anything but Richard’s strong arms sweeping her off her feet and up the stairs. Her heart beat fast and loud. Her pulse raced. She was aware of the heat coursing through her veins, and of the eager anticipation of what was to come. She embraced it whole-heartedly. Any possible qualms were laid to rest, any objections ignored. She would be his, completely his, and she welcomed it with all her being.

Richard put her down beside the bed and slowly, reverently, as if she were some goddess to be worshipped, began to undress her. First her dressing gown was removed, and then Richard’s tender hands brushed the straps of her flimsy satin robe from her shoulders. It pooled at her feet with a faint whispering sound.

Merciful Lord! She was exquisite. She was slender, but round and curvy in all the places Richard liked a woman to be. Her breasts were gorgeous, her areolas a soft, puckered pink, and her nipples firm and red like ripe strawberries. He cupped his hands over both of them, revelling in the delighted gasp she took. When he stroked the nipples with his thumbs, she gave a small, whimpering moan. He felt it right down to his fully erected penis, his groin tightening further.

“That is … Oh, God! That feels incredible…” Manon breathed. “Please, do not stop!”

“I have no intention of stopping,” he said hoarsely, letting his hands slide to her slim waist to roam over her firm buttocks and back to her tight stomach. Her thighs … Oh, heaven! The skin was like velvet, and beneath it, her muscles were firm and soft at the same time. When his hands reached for her folds, she stopped him.

“Now it is my turn,” she said, placing his hands alongside his body. “Let me discover you, my love.”

 

A slight smile on her lips, Manon began unbuttoning Richard’s shirt, brushing the skin of his tanned chest with every button she undid. He reacted with little gasps at first, but when she placed her palms on the wide expanse of finely chiselled muscles, Richard groaned, his eyes closed in delight. Emboldened, Manon explored the surface under her hands – soft skin covering hard muscles. So enticing, so beautiful. Her fingers traced the lines of his collarbone and went down to skim his nipples, flat and hard under her touch. She followed the light dusting of coarse black hair that encircled the nipples, then let her hands slide down to where a thin line of hair disappeared beneath the rim of his breeches. Her breath now coming in short gasps, Manon undid the buttons of the flap, which proved rather difficult with the bulk of his arousal pressing against it. She had it open now.

Oh, sweet Jesus, but he was large, long, and hard! Manon had never imagined it would be like this. For a moment, she hesitated, not sure if she would be able to receive him.

Richard immediately sensed her anxiety.

“Go and lie down, my sweet,” he whispered. “I will finish undressing and come to you.”

His avid eyes followed every movement of her long legs, her round buttocks, her pert breasts, as she climbed onto the mattress to lie flat on her back, her limbs stretched out alongside her body. Richard quickly kicked off his shoes, stepped out of his breeches and peeled off his stockings. He lowered himself beside Manon and let the entire length of his naked body touch hers.

She eased closer, pressing herself against him, skin to skin.

“Now, my darling,” Richard crooned, “let me worship you.”

He turned onto his back and lifted her atop him. She was on her back, too, so that his aroused member slid between the crescents of her buttocks. With slow circling movements, Richard stroked her arms, her shoulders, her breasts, carefully pinching the nipples. He revelled in the little whimpers that escaped her and felt something akin to triumph when quite spontaneously she parted her legs further until they rested on each side of his thighs. That gesture left her fully open to his touch, and he smiled to himself.

 

She was on fire, Manon thought. It flared up wherever Richard touched her, and it grew hotter and more intense, as he worked his wicked way down her body. His fingers were everywhere at once, it seemed, never resting, never still. They brushed the sensitive skin of her inner thighs, and the air left her lungs in a low cry. How was she to bear this? It was torture – slow, wicked, exquisite torture.

Then, in one smooth caress, Richard slipped a finger into her folds. She cried out when liquid fire began warming her womanly place, and only grew hotter when another finger followed. He moved his expert fingers to draw slow, languidly exquisite circles into her folds, stroking deeper with every turn. Occasionally, he flicked her sensitive bud, and she cried out once more, not knowing how to find that coveted pleasure he seemed to spur on and on. Whispering sweet nothings in her ear, he drove her higher and higher up the slope of pleasure, and she had to draw in deep breaths just to keep up with him. Finally, he pushed her over the edge. Stars exploded behind Manon’s eyes, as warm, liquid flames consumed her from the inside out.

It was everything, it was incredible. The waves of delight rolling over her, again and again, Manon fought to catch her breath, yet all she could do was drift along that sea of pleasure and drown.

Richard turned them both onto their sides, wrapped his arms and legs about her and drew the covers up. She would be exhausted, he knew. Too many new and highly exciting experiences.

“My darling,” he crooned, “sleep, my sweet, sleep.”

 

With a small sigh, she slipped into sleep. Richard felt her lithe body relax against his, and he closed his own eyes for a brief period of respite. It was unbearably hard to keep himself from going further with Manon, but she was as his conscience was screaming at him his niece, and therefore forbidden.

He had done what she asked. He had shown her what it was to be loved, to experience pleasure. It would have to be enough. More than that he could never teach her.

 

 

THE DURRELLS

‘THE DURRELLS‘ PERIOD SERIES
CASTS KEELEY HAWES, LESLIE CARON AND ALEXIS GEORGOULIS
Earlier this year I announced that British ITV is making a television series out of MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS memoir by Gerald Durrell and THE DURRELLS now have the cast!
Our beloved Keeley Hawes will lead it alongside legendary Leslie Caron and Greek star Alexis Georgoulis.

The 1930’s six part series focuses on Louisa Durrell (Keeley Hawes), whose husband died years before and his money has almost run out. Her four children Larry (Josh O’Connor), Leslie (Callum Woodhouse), Margo (Daisy Waterstone) and Gerry (Milo Parker) are running riot and making life very difficult. Louisa decides to escape from Britain for a new adventure in Corfu, taking her family with her.

 

Alexis Georgoulis will play the dependable Spiro Halkiopoulos, while Leslie Caron will  be shrewd Countess Mavrodaki,who hires Margo as her companion.