“Texas Rising” will detail the Texas Revolution against Mexico and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers. Bill Paxton will play Sam Houston, the father of Texas. He is joined by Brendan Fraser as Billy Anderson, a Texas Ranger with Comanche Indian ties; Ray Liotta as Lorca, an Alamo survivor seeking brutal revenge; Jeffrey Dean Morgan as “Deaf” Smith, a deaf and grizzled veteran Texas Ranger with an advanced case of consumption; Thomas Jane as James Wykoff, a homesteader who finds himself living in the middle of hostile Indian territory; Olivier Martinez as President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the tyrant dictator of Mexico; Chad Michael Murray as Mirabeau Lamar, a spirited Texas soldier who helps win the battle of San Jacinto; Michael Rapaport as Sgt. Ephraim Knowles, a would-be deserter and coward turned hero; and Max Thieriot as Jack Hays, a volunteer freedom fighter who becomes the youngest Texas Ranger. (Source: Deadline.com)
At Watcombe Manor we were immediately greeted by Mother, who came out of the drawing room with her arms full of cloth samples.
“Margaret, for Heaven’s sake, where have you been? Marianne’s seamstress is here to see to your wedding gown! God knows we have only so scarce a time to have it finished for the day after tomorrow!”
“But Mama, that is impossible! How can poor Madame Grenier finish it so quickly? No, come with me. I will show you what I had in mind for my gown.”
I took the two of them up to the bedchamber which would be mine and Douglas’ after our wedding. The previous night, I had not been able to find sleep and decided to investigate the contents of the large dressing room cupboards. To my great surprise, I found them filled with gowns and accessories. A closer examination revealed an old- fashioned cut and fabric. The richness of the cloth, and the excessive fine taste of the finishing touches of the dresses, told me they must have belonged to Phoebe, Douglas’ mother. Appalled as I was, realizing that Sir Matthew must have kept his wife’s personal wardrobe for all these long years, I nevertheless could not help myself from extracting a few of them out of the closet for closer inspection. Stunned with unmitigated appreciation, I eventually chose one of them for my wedding gown.
The gown that I now tried on brought forth gasps of beatific surprise from Mama and Madame Grenier told me I had chosen well. The fabric was rough silk, shimmering with every step I made, and its pale blue colour reminding me of forget-me-nots, enhanced the blue of my eyes to perfection.
“Hm …,” the seamstress remarked. “We will have to remove the crinoline, I suppose. The gown will still be too full, so I guess I will have to close the skirt front. We do not want to see the underskirt. It is no longer in fashion. The neckline is very fetching though, and if I remove the lace rushes of the sleeves, which will allow the fabric to reach beyond your elbows, I believe I can make puffed sleeves out of them. Oh, Mon Dieu, just touch that silk! It is exquisite!” The seamstress could not hide her enthusiasm.
So it was. Measurements were taken and Madame and her girls went to work. I escaped and decided to check on our unfortunate guest, Douglas’ half-sister Amata. I had lodged her in a set of rooms on the third floor where the guest rooms were located. That way the maid she would eventually come to employ, would be sleeping in the dressing room. For the moment, Amata could not bear human company. She howled at every person WHO entered her room and hurled objects at them, especially my Douglas, which gave me great sorrow. At first, I was the only one who was allowed to approach her but my impending wedding took too much of my time and I felt chagrined by it. I liked Amata and wanted her to become a full member of society again.
Upon entering her room, I found Amata sound asleep in her bed. Elinor sat beside her in a chair, doing her mending. My sister motioned me outside. We withdrew to the downstairs drawing room.
“How is she, Elinor? She has not been given any laudanum, I hope. The poor creature has been drugged long enough, at least in my opinion.”
“No, Margaret,” my sister emphasized, “ she is sleeping in a normal way. Amata passed a quiet night and ate a good breakfast. She still needs a great deal of rest so I read to her from one of Mrs Radcliffe’s novels, which she seems to like. It kept her peaceful and she went back to sleep.”
“Oh, Elinor, what am I going to do with her? She seems to resent Douglas extensively. It hurts him because he wants to do her right. It is all such a befuddled, confounded mess!”
Elinor put her arms around me and hugged me for a while, which made me feel better just a little. Then she spoke softly. “Meggie, just give me a chance to talk with Edward. He is a very good listener and he will know what to do.” “Yes,” I replied. “Yes, that is just the thing, Elinor. Talk to Edward.”
The day seemed to wear on interminably and I busied myself with wedding preparations, all the time longing to see Douglas at dinner. He was away from the manor all afternoon on estate business but sent for me around five. I hastened to the library where I found him in the presence of his business man and of Mama.
“Ah, Margaret, your betrothed and I have been discussing the wedding arrangements. You will be pleased to know that His Lordship has settled a yearly allowance for you of 7500 pounds. You will now be able to keep up a proper standard of living.”
I turned to Douglas in astonishment, my eyes widened.
“Money, Douglas? There is money to settle on me? How is that possible? I thought your cousin had squandered it all away!”
“Meg, with all that has been happening during the last days, I have not had the chance to tell you about the cache of stocks my father had kept. Jack and I have been searching for them after I found his diary. That is also how I knew where to go look for you. He wrote down the story of his relationship with Mrs Bernard but kept hidden Amata’s existence. He settled a small allowance for her in a will that postdates the one that favoured Wilkinson. So I would have inherited the title and estate after all. He just omitted to inform his lawyers of this later will. Meggie, we are not rich but we have a little nest egg to get us started re-establishing Watcombe Manor.”
I just could not fathom what I just learned. All this dreadful business had just been for nought? Douglas had had no need to be married before he turned thirty after all? I must have looked confused for Douglas came to me with concern.
“Meggie, my heart, what is it? Are you unwell?”
“No, no, it is only that I am stunned, baffled, and in need of air! What a development of affairs this is! Mother, we will now be able to surround you with all possible comfort and …”
But Mama interrupted me and what she said baffled me even more.
“No, my darling, I am not planning on living at Watcombe Manor. Marianne needs me more, especially when the baby arrives so I am taking up quarters at Delaford, Meg. A newlywed couple has no need for a mother-in-law to living with them.”
Sleep eluded me, yet I again lay tossing and turning in my bed that night. On the other hand, Becky was sleeping like a baby on a nearby cot. Her snoring made it hard for me to find my own sleep. I rose and donned my nightgown. Maybe a glass of milk would restore me. The house was deathly quiet when I stepped into the corridor and directed my footsteps toward the stairs. A thin, faint line of light glowed from under Douglas’ bedroom door. He must be wide awake too, I mused. In an impulse I laid my hand on the door handle and pushed it down. The door opened soundlessly and I sneaked through it. In a chair by a fireless hearth sat my rake, clad only in a pair of loose cotton drawers. The sight of his bare chest – with the candlelight dancing over the smooth expanse of muscle – wreaked havoc with my already precarious self-control.
“Margaret!” His soft outcry was followed by a gasp as he swiftly rose from his chair. Two long strides brought him to me and I threw myself into his arms, aching with a sudden and overwhelming need to touch him, feel him and lose myself in him!
“Meggie, oh, my sweetest girl! What are you doing here? Darling Meggie, you have to go! Seeing you in your adorable nightgown is too much for me, my sweetling. Oh, the feel of you …” He gasped his words, his hands were roaming over my body, starting flames wherever they went. I made my decision then and there – tonight, I would become his!
I pushed my trembling body against his hard and demanding physique. Douglas groaned and buried his face in the soft mass of my long, curling hair. I let my hands wander downwards to touch the rim of his trousers, only to revel even more in the silken smoothness of the skin beneath it, as my trembling fingers pushed down the fabric. Douglas gasped when I bared him, my own breath catching at the feel of his hard length – steel and silk in one. Irresistibly, my eyes were drawn from his narrow hips and flat stomach to the ebony nest of curls beneath from where his proud manhood lifted proudly. The swift pulse of his life’s blood raced against the palm of my hands when I cupped him. I looked up to meet the darkened blue of his eyes. They glistened with unmitigated desire.
“Prove to me that you love me, Douglas. Take me to bed, here and now, and make me your own.”
… there was this.
Ever since, I have been in love.
Ever since, Mr Thornton and the wonderful actor who portrays him have been a constant source of inspiration and joy.
Thank you, BBC. Thank you, Richard Armitage.
From the bottom of my heart.
*Admin note: Consistently voted #1 Period Drama by the users of this site”
The White Queen is a British television drama series in ten parts, based on Philippa Gregory‘s historical novel series The Cousins’ War (The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker’s Daughter). The first episode was premiered on BBC One on 16 June 2013 in the United Kingdom. It was first broadcast in the United States on Starz on 9 August 2013.
Set against the backdrop of the Wars of the Roses, the series is the story of the women caught up in the protracted conflict for the throne of England. It starts in 1464—the nation has been at war for nine years fighting over who is the rightful King of England, as two sides of the same family, the House of York and the House of Lancaster, are in violent conflict over the throne. The story focuses on three women in their quest for power, as they manipulate behind the scenes of history.
I have just watched this for the second time and can’t get enough of it.
To paraphrase Aunt Pol, you don’t mess with the Peaky Blinders. Good news then, that they’re returning for a third series…
“We can confirm that Peaky Blinders will return for a third series”. So said the show’s official Twitter account as the credits rolled on the Birmingham gangster drama’s superlative series two finale. We’re informed by the site’s Midlands contingent that there’s only one possible response to that news, and it’s “that’s bostin”. Did we get that right?
Series two of Steven Knight’s bloody period drama welcomed exciting new cast members Tom Hardy and Noah Taylor to an already exemplary group of actors including Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill and the terrific Helen McCrory. That, combined with the work of new director Colm McCarthy, elevated series two even higher than the first.
We can expect to see the Shelbys return to BBC Two next autumn. More news as it arrives.
My poor Douglas sounded so bitter that my heart ached in sympathy. He was right. Sir Matthew, who begot at least one illegitimate child, surely had no right to cast off his only son over one misstep. While being held prisoner at the Bernards’ house, I discovered the result of Sir Matthew’s own misstep, Amata, the daughter he had with Mrs Bernard before her marriage. We had taken in Douglas’ half-sister at Watcombe Manor after the fire destroyed Nicholas Bernard’s house. The poor creature was in no state to be left on her own after thirty-six years of imprisonment. Indeed, for that was the length of time in which Amata Bernard had been locked up in a dismal, almost cell-like room, she with no education at all with only in the company of a nurse, who was more of a jailer to her than a companion.
“What are you going to do about Amata?” was my next and obvious question.
Douglas turned to me with sad eyes. “What is there to do for me but to care for her as best as I can, Meg? She is – to say the least – emotionally disabled and with little wonder, after the way she has been treated, locked up like an animal. I must confess I have no idea as to how we are to deal with her. She refused the help of the nurse she had for all those years. As you well know, she threw a chair at her when the woman tried to come into her room. And she definitively abhors me, does she not? She cannot abide looking at me or being in the same room with me, even though she never set eyes on me before the day of the fire.” Douglas, I knew, hoped for an answer to the problem Amata caused. His compassionate nature could not bear the distress she was in.
“Yes, I do know. I reckon it has something to do with the Spencer name. Amata has been persuaded of thinking that name to be the personification of evil. It is a good thing, though, that Elinor took matters in hand and managed to sit with her for a few hours, yesterday.”
“Oh, if anyone can help poor Amata, it is your sensible eldest sister. Of that, I have no doubts at all.” He paused and gave me an odd little look before he shrugged his shoulders.“Meg, I have been such a fool. I thought my father was an honest and righteous man with firm principles. I have been cursing myself for hurting him so badly by what transpired with Christina and I considered myself no less than his murderer when he died before I could beg for his forgiveness. Now it seems that he was just a fake and a liar and no better than me.”
I had no comment to that, knowing full well that Douglas was still in shock over what he learned these past few days. Not for the first time did I become aware of the awe in which he had held Sir Matthew until recently. I recognized the feeling for it was one I myself had experienced at my own father’s demise. How I had loved and respected Father, only to learn that he had left us to my half-brother’s mercy for our survival!
“Douglas, what about Bernard and his mother? Does anyone know about their whereabouts?” My betrothed shook his head. “No, they seem to have fled after the fire. I do not care where they are, Meggie. People like that should be severely punished but I am afraid the authorities would have no charge to lay upon them, should they be found.” I could see anger in my love’s eyes.
“What do you mean, they cannot be charged?” I enquired. “They abducted me and they held poor Amata a prisoner for years!”
“Meg, use your head!” he said, looking quickly at me. “You are very well aware that a female relative, living in the house of her half-brother, has no rights to speak of. Amata cannot sue Bernard and his mother for treating her like a recluse and you cannot prove that you were taken by force. It is Bernard’s word against yours, my love, and he was, up until now, a respected member of Torquay society for generations past.”
“Bah!” I exclaimed. “How unfair!”
Douglas laughed and lay his arm around my shoulder. “Rest assured, my darling, when I get my hands on that rascal, I will give him a good piece of my mind! I ache to give him a good, old-fashioned thrashing, to say the least!”
Then, all of a sudden, he pushed me down onto the soft, mossy bank. In the blink of an eye, his long, lean body covered mine completely and the blue fire of his gorgeous eyes burned into mine.
“My dearest, loveliest Meg … have you not noticed that we are completely alone in this quiet and remote spot of the woods? I have a mind to do some wicked things to you, my love.” His mouth captured mine in a kiss that spoke of his ardent love for me and I answered him, fire being kindled in my belly, when I felt the proof of his arousal pressing against my most womanly place.
I tugged at his cravat and shirt, aching to touch his naked skin, the warmth of him already burning through both our clothes. My hands revelled and quivered when they found the heat of his torso beneath his clothes and I let them roam all over the smooth, satin muscles of his back. Douglas groaned when I unfastened his breeches, never releasing my mouth and inserting his hand into my bodice to cup one of my breasts. Oh, God! Pleasure began curling upwards from low in my stomach upward in a slow, hot spiral of desire. My fingers found his sleek, silken hardness and caressed it in rapt exuberance until Douglas moaned in pleasure!
“Meggie, please, stop! If you continue in that way, I swear I will not be able to hold back!” Douglas growled through clenched teeth. Clasping me to his chest with one arm, he fumbled with the front of his breeches. “Douglas, no! I want you, Douglas, I want you so much!” I was weeping with frustration and need but Douglas sat up and restored my clothing with trembling fingers.
“Meggie, I want you too but not like this, my sweetling. I want our first lovemaking to be sheltered in the closeness of our room, our bed, but not here, where anyone could happen upon us.”
With gentle gestures, he put back my stockings and boots before donning his own. “Tell me you understand, my love? Tell me you know I do this out of love?” His pleading was clear in his eyes.
I lay my hand against his cheek. “I do know, my darling, and you are right, of course. This would not do at all.” But it was the hardest thing I had ever done in my whole life. I vowed myself I would put an end to this nonsense, once and for all!