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, when she moved it, she cried out in pain. Opening her eyes, she saw John’s worried face hovering above hers.

Mill7

“Margaret, darling, lay still! I think you may have dislocated your shoulder.”

“Where are we?” Margaret asked, looking around.

“We are in the mill’s loom hall. Fortunately we seem to have landed onto a pile of cotton waste which must have cushioned the blow somewhat. Margaret, the looms are not working, so I guess we cannot be sure in what era we are.”

Margaret, firmly holding on to John’s arm, managed to sit up, though the pain in her shoulder was growing worse by the minute.

“John,” she urged, “look closely! I recognize this location very clearly. I was here just before I took the train back to London in the company of Henry Lennox. Do you recall it, John? I told you so on the station platform where our trains crossed.”

John nodded, deep in thoughts.

“I met your mother in here, that day,” Margaret continued. “She was so very bitter, John. She accused me of coming to gloat over you and the bankruptcy of Marlborough Mills. Oh, John, she was so very distressed about not knowing where you were! Just think of it! She still does not know after all these weeks that we spent in the future!”

PDVD_041[1]

“Yes, you are right, darling. We should go and find out where we are and, more important, in which era. Come, let’s get you on your feet.”

With the greatest care, John assisted his wife in getting up, yet he couldn’t prevent her having a lot of pain in her injured shoulder. Eventually, they started toward the entrance door of the hall. As they were passing one of the grimy windows, they saw the deserted courtyard stretching out beneath it.

NS2004-EP4--1529

“Oh God!” John whispered. “Is it possible that we arrived back in our own time?”

“Let’s go outside, John.”

They did indeed exited the hall into a courtyard that acutely resembled the one John had fled after the mill’s downfall and, in sore need of a distraction from all his worries, had gone on a train to Helstone, Hampshire. In unison, their glances turned to the house where John and his family had lived. Laced curtains still adorned the clean windows, and the doorstep was still meticulously swept.

Hiding behind a stack of cotton bales, John and Margaret observed the stately house. It certainly looked like John’s 1852 home!

“Listen, sweetheart, we cannot go inside the way we are dressed just now, in jeans, T-shirts and denim jackets. I will bring you back to the hall and install you somewhat more comfortably there, while I will go and see if I can get us more suitable clothing. Can you wait for me there?”

“Of course I can, John. You are so right! That is just the thing to do.”

 

Once nightfall had set in, John cautiously crept toward the house’s back door with the intention to wait until the lights went out in the pantry. That was a sure sign that Cook had gone to her bedchamber. Cook was always the last to seek her bed for the night. He had to wait for another hour before he could execute his plan of forcing his way into his own house by picking the pantry’s door lock. The house was quiet but faint little noises were audible, as if the rooms themselves were listening for intruders. John stole his way up to his bedroom by using the servant’s staircase, which lay at the back of the house and was more isolated than the main staircase. Ten minutes later, he had done his ablutions, dressed himself in clean clothes and sneaked into Fanny’s old bedroom to get a dress out of her closet. His spoilt sister had not bothered taking them all with her after her marriage to Watson.

He hurried back to the factory hall where he found Margaret dozing on the bed of cotton waste.

“My dearest, I am going to help you get into this dress. It will be painful but also necessary, for I want

to take you to Dr Donaldson. You shoulder needs to be set as soon as possible lest the muscles cramp up.”

Margaret acquiesced with lips as white as the left-over sheets of cotton on the inert looms, and John eased her into the dress. By the time he was finished, she had passed out with the pain. John was not surprised. He knew all too well how excruciating the pain must be. Carefully, he carried her to the street and hailed a conveniently passing cab.

Dr Donaldson did not so much as blink when John rang at his door that late. He knew John would not call for just a trifle illness or injury. With stoicism, he accepted John’s explanation that Margaret had taken a fall on a train platform, somewhere halfway between Milton and London. He nodded pensively at John’s going into detail about their trains crossing and he spotting her. The doctor’s thoughts were already on the task at hand.

“Help me get her onto the examination table, Mr Thornton. I will set the shoulder while you are to keep her down. Poor child, she has not had much of a respite, this last year, has she?”

“No, she has not,” John replied, emotion clouding his voice.

After the task was completed, John asked the doctor if Margaret could spend the night at his infirmary, to which Dr Donaldson agreed. John would come and get her in the morning. He left the doctor’s house to perform a task that he was even more reluctant to; he had to go and speak with his mother.

Hannah5

John had to knock hard before he was heard by a sleepy Jane whose task it was to answer the door.

“Mr Thornton!” she exclaimed, clutching the shawl hard over her nightgown for propriety’s sake.

“Thank you for letting me in, Jane. I am sorry to have woken you so late but be so good as to inform my mother I have come home. There is no need for her to rise, I will see her in the morning.”

However, by the time he had reached his bedchamber, Hannah Thornton rushed in, right out of bed, without having bothered to put on a dressing gown.

“John! Thank Heaven you have returned! I have been worried out of my wits! Where the hell have you been?”

“Mother …” He was with her in two long strides and took her into his arms, so firmly that she whimpered frm the force of his embrace.

“Mother, why were you so out of sorts? Surely, I was not gone that long?”

“John, you were gone for two whole days! That is enough to drive any mother into madness! It was not something you had ever done before, John. You always used to inform me of all you undertook.”

Closing his eyes to prevent his mother to witness his astonishment, John processed what he just heard. Two days! All those long weeks he spent with Margaret in 2013, came down on only two days in 1852! Unfathomable!

“Mother, I’m so sorry to have put you through this. It will never happen again, be sure of that.”

“You’re home safely, that’s enough! What have you been doing then?”

John gestured to one of the chairs next to his washstand and sat down himself, using the other one.

“Mother, I have something to tell you …” he said quietly, looking her in the face.

 

The End

Endeavour

ITV Sets Premiere Date For ‘Endeavour’ Season 2

By Patrick Munn – March 19th, 2014 @ 04:24 pm UTC

The second season of ITV’s Morse prequel Endeavour will premiere on Sunday March 30th at 8pm, it has been announced.

Endeavour follows a young detective Endeavour Morse and his partner Detective Inspector Fred Thursday as the investigate various crimes in the 1960′s. The series is produced by Mammoth Screen & Masterpiece and stars Shaun Evans as Morse, Roger Allam as Detective Inspector Fred Thursday, James Bradshaw as Dr Max Debryn and Abigail Thaw as Dorothea Frazil.

“1966 brings Endeavour a fresh quartet of baffling mysteries set to test his brain and body to breaking point”, said writer Russell Lewis. “Though offset by the possibility of love unlooked for, against a backdrop of growing change in Britain and the wider world, Endeavour must face a challenge that threatens to take from him all he holds dear. Family.  Friends. Colleagues. The old order changeth… but not without a fight. To the death.”

TVWise’s UK Premiere Dates page has been updated with this new information.

Noah 2014 * March 28

Official Trailer #2

Release Dates

  • Egypt Mar 26, 2014
  • Philippines Mar 26, 2014
  • United Arab Emirates Mar 27, 2014
  • Argentina Mar 27, 2014
  • Australia Mar 27, 2014
  • Chile Mar 27, 2014
  • Czech Republic Mar 27, 2014
  • Greece Mar 27, 2014
  • Hong Kong Mar 27, 2014
  • Hungary Mar 27, 2014
  • Israel Mar 27, 2014
  • South Korea Mar 27, 2014
  • Lebanon Mar 27, 2014
  • New Zealand Mar 27, 2014
  • Peru Mar 27, 2014
  • Portugal Mar 27, 2014
  • Serbia Mar 27, 2014
  • Russia Mar 27, 2014
  • Slovakia Mar 27, 2014
  • Thailand Mar 27, 2014
  • Ukraine Mar 27, 2014
  • Canada Mar 28, 2014
  • Colombia Mar 28, 2014
  • Cyprus Mar 28, 2014
  • Indonesia Mar 28, 2014
  • India Mar 28, 2014
  • Iceland Mar 28, 2014
  • Mexico Mar 28, 2014
  • Panama Mar 28, 2014
  • Poland Mar 28, 2014
  • Romania Mar 28, 2014
  • Turkey Mar 28, 2014
  • Taiwan Mar 28, 2014
  • United States Mar 28, 2014
  • Vietnam Mar 28, 2014
  • South Africa Mar 28, 2014
  • Brazil Apr 3, 2014
  • Switzerland Apr 3, 2014 (German speaking region)
  • Germany Apr 3, 2014
  • Denmark Apr 3, 2014
  • Singapore Apr 3, 2014
  • Slovenia Apr 3, 2014
  • Austria Apr 4, 2014
  • Spain Apr 4, 2014
  • Finland Apr 4, 2014
  • United Kingdom Apr 4, 2014
  • Ireland Apr 4, 2014
  • Norway Apr 4, 2014
  • Sweden Apr 4, 2014
  • Belgium Apr 9, 2014
  • Switzerland Apr 9, 2014 (French speaking region)
  • France Apr 9, 2014
  • Italy Apr 10, 2014
  • Netherlands Apr 10, 2014
  • Switzerland Apr 17, 2014 (Italian speaking region)
  • Croatia Apr 17, 2014
  • Lithuania Apr 18, 2014
  • Latvia Apr 18, 2014
  • Venezuela May 9, 2014
  • Japan Jun 13, 2014

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 and belly, while her gaze travelled over the most beautiful sight she ever beheld.

John’s handsome face was in deep repose and slightly averted so that a lock of his raven-black hair had tumbled over his brow. His finely chiselled lips were curled in a smile, as if he were dreaming about something that brought him joy. She took in the breathtaking sight of his bare muscular chest with its fine sprinkle of dark curls, trailing down over his flat stomach and narrow hips to the seat of his manhood, now inert but still incredibly beautiful.

Margaret’s trembling hand reached out to stroke the skin of his thigh, rough with a growth of fine black hair. She marvelled when it quivered slightly under her fingers. She followed the long structure of thighbone and shin down to his strong foot with its firm ankle and long toes.

All this hard strength, all this power and grace combined, it fascinated her!

This man, John Thornton, was now her husband. Her. Husband. She was Mrs John Thornton, from now on until Death did do them part.

She lay down and huddled against him, instantly loving the warmth emanating from his smooth, silken skin.  John’s arm went up to draw her close and suddenly, her bare breasts rippled over the rough patch of hair on his chest, as he pulled her on top of him. It was so incredibly arousing, and Margaret loved it!

“Hey, you …” the slightly husky voice of her husband sounded. “What is it that you want, Mrs Thornton? Tell me, or better, show me …”

 

The newlywed couple had five glorious days of enjoying each other at the hotel. They did not do anything else but be together in thrilling, joyous, infinitively satisfying lovemaking, only leaving the bed to fortify themselves with tasty bites and fine champagne.

John could not but marvel in the repeating pleasure he found in making love to Margaret. Every time he coaxed her between the sheets again, his beautiful bride found a new way of fuelling his arousal into new heights of incredible delight. Margaret would be alternatively shy or bold, languid or playful, sweet or passionate. He never knew what attitude she would adopt, and every time again, she managed to surprise him. It was immensely exhilarating and a way of showing herself to him that he could never have guessed before. She delighted him with every move and gesture she used.

Afterwards, they would lie in each other’s arms, exhausted, bruised but very replete. They would bathe together in the huge tub in the adjoining bathroom, each of them rinsing, soothing, cleansing the other, trying to ignore the nascent arousal for as long as it was bearable, when their fingers washed and caressed the intimate zones of their bodies. But, eventually, they would end up in bed again, unable to resist the pull of arousal any longer.

 

After their honeymoon, John and Margaret returned to Betty’s cottage where they found the other happy couple, Jowan and Marjorie, just come back from a short stay at Bristol. Jowan had promised Marjorie a holiday on Barbados when the baby was born. He hadn’t dared go too far away from England while Marjorie was almost eighteen weeks pregnant now.

They could still make short day trips, though, as they did regularly around the country, to show their friends all the new and unknown things that had been realized in one hundred and sixty years of progress.

John and Margaret were taken to London, a city they’d both known back in 1852, yet it hadn’t had anything familiar. Take the river, for instance. John had known the docksides pretty well, with all their grimy ugliness and their bustle and noise. Now it was all neat and tidy warehouses, riversides buildings with smart lofts, trendy disco bars. The real harbour activity was concentrated mainly at Purfleet, Thurdock, Tilbury and Coryton, further down the estuary. Canvey Island in Essex, Dartford and Northfleet in Kent, and Greenwich, Silvertown, Barking, Dagenham and Erith in Greater London were also important extensions.

Their friends took the Thorntons to see Heathrow Airport where they were stunned to see the bustle of airplanes land and lift off. The railway stations too had changed beyond recognition, as had the trains. Everywhere and always present were the motorcars and motorbikes, the busses and the cabs. London was still a city crowded with people, running and hastening about like ants. It was nearly impossible to take in.

 

One evening, after yet another busy day, the two couples and Betty were sitting in the kitchen, enjoying a light meal and a glass of wine.

“John,” Jowan asked, “do you think it possible that you might return to your own time, one day?”

“It certainly is my most fervent wish, Jowan, and I believe Margaret thinks the same.”

John’s wife nodded without speaking.

“But, how will that happen?” Marjorie asked. “Will you just disappear and we won’t know where you’ve gone to? I would hate that! It’s so horrible to know that, some day, you won’t be there anymore!”

Margaret smiled at Marjorie and laid her arm around her friend’s shoulders.

“I am sure I would hate it too, Marjorie. It’s the not knowing that is the worst. I confess I would like nothing more than to return to my own era but when I do, I will never see you again and that, I loathe.”

“I have an idea,” Betty intervened. “Let’s agree on something. Whenever you go somewhere other than to your work, you must tell us or leave us a message, so that we know where you went through the portal when you don’t return.”

“That is a splendid idea, Betty!” John exclaimed. “That is exactly what we will do!”

 

One beautiful Autumn Sunday, John and Margaret went to visit the large industrial town of Manchester, where they planned to visit several mill sites that remained from Manchester’s cotton mill days. They all had museums where one could see how the mills worked in the old days.

John attempted to find a resemblance or a familiar view from his own Milton. Maybe he would recognize a street, a building, a park, anything that would reassure him that Manchester indeed modeled for Milton in Mrs Gaskell’s novel. Yet, there was nothing familiar for him to see.

“Little wonder, darling,” Margaret tried to soothe him. “Marjorie told me most of the street scenes were taken in Edinburg instead of Manchester.”

John shook his head in bewilderment as they headed for the entrance of the Sedgewick Mill in Union Street. They paid their fee and began strolling through the sparsely visited rooms of the museum.

The walls were lined with glass cases containing a mass of small objects that were used back in the eighteen hundreds. In the middle of the room stood a large steel loom, and the sight of it lifted John’s heart. He had hundreds of such looms in his mill! Pulling his hand from Margaret’s, he strode towards it and touched the long warp beam with a longing hand.

NandSPromo11

In his mind, he could see himself in the busy hall of Marlborough Mills, overseeing his workers while they were manufacturing cotton. A longing, so fierce that it jolted through him like lightning, made him close his eyes in sudden despair of ever going back to Milton ever again. He sighed. What was he to do?

Margaret’s quiet touch on his cheek shook him out of his downcast mood. Thank God they were together!

A sign on the wall pointed toward a small set-aside construction with the name “Video of a working Manchester mill in 1852”.

“John, look! Let’s go see it!” Margaret enthused, dragging him along.

John followed her eagerly through the door. As soon as they were inside, a blinding light burned their eyes and Margaret was trusted back against John’s hard body. The pair was struck down with  a violence that robbed them of their senses, and the world went black.