Mr Thornton Takes a Wife – Part Thirty-Nine

Chapter Nineteen  – The Edge of Reason

Margaret entered her husband’s office at the mill, carrying a tea tray. She knew all too well John would not care for food, engrossed as he was in his growing anxiety over Hannah.

“My love,” she said softly, smoothing the lock of dark hair from his brow in an attempt to drag him from his brooding. “Listen to me, please? I know what you are going through but you must eat something. It is not good exhausting yourself this way.”

John raised eyes to her so utterly forlorn  that it tugged at Margaret’s very heart.

“I don’t think anyone knows what I am going through, Margaret, not even you.”

These words were uttered in a voice so hoarse and listless it frightened Margaret. She took a deep breath, checked herself. She must be strong for John, she must take over, so that his misery would not drag him down further.

“Yes, I am sure you are right, my love, but where would we all be if you, the Master of Marlborough Mills, would succumb to despair?”

Margaret handed him the cup of strong, sweet tea she had just prepared and proffered a plate of sandwiches.

“Now, eat! After that, we will continue our search. Nicholas is letting his crew have a rest for the moment but they will soon have finished their meal.”

“I can’t …”

“Eat!”, she said and kept her voice firm. She saw him wavering between already present distress and newly rising anger but she held her gaze against his, although, all the time, she ached to enfold him into her arms.

In John’s churning memory, his mother’s voice echoed with the words she had spoken to him after Margaret had been injured at the riots. “I’m sure it’s not possible to keep such a headstrong young woman anywhere she does not care to be. She’s such a reckless young woman!”

He inadvertently smiled, both at his remembering of his mother’s unwilling admiration for his wife and at the truth Hannah’s words. Margaret was headstrong, indeed! He nodded and took one of the sandwiches from the plate. The first bite tasted like cotton waste in his parched mouth but gradually he discovered he was ravenous.

 

Nicholas Higgins found himself playing with his food while his men were busily spooning down Mary’s stew in the warm, dusky interior of the soup kitchen. He doubted he could eat anything at all under the circumstances. Things were rapidly deteriorating. He was not sure how he could have done more than he had, searching for Hannah Thornton. They had turned the mill upside down and not found her. He needed to find Hannah! It had been three days since she had disappeared and it seemed she had simply been swallowed up into some hole in the earth. He wasn’t even sure if she was being held inside the mill or not.

Then, suddenly, a thought struck him! He jumped up from the bench so forcibly the workers beside him had to steady themselves for balance.

“Thomas!”, he barked at one of them. “Go get the master and bring him to the old cotton warehouses at the back!” Then he stormed out of the kitchen.

After a moment, the workers leaped up and went after him.

 

Higgins ran straight towards the first of the warehouses that was still intact. Its neighbour on the right had collapsed the previous year and a pile of rubble blocked the entrance to its cellar, so it was unlikely there would be someone inside. The cellars were the only place where they had not searched. If Hannah was in there, he would be the one to get her out.

As he stepped into the rundown little room, that had once served as a storage area in better days, he saw that a part of its roof had caved in and was hanging precariously above his head. Damn, he thought, that was new! He had the buildings checked for further damage only last November and the roof had still been intact then. It must be the weight of the snow that had brought this on.

Looking around him, he saw a board, used for the transport of cotton bales, lying in a corner. The board was of heavy, thick wood and measured two and a half by two yards. Higgins dragged it down the rickety wooden stairs to the cellar. A closed door barred his way at the foot of it. It was locked.

Hearing several voices above, he shouted. “Someone get me a key to the cellar door and be quick about it!”

At that moment, a deafening rumble above signalled the further collapse of the roof and a great cloud of dust enveloped him.

 

When John arrived at the scene, Margaret close on his heels, one of the men shouted in fear.

“Higgins, take care! The place is falling apart!”

John saw the man was right. Not only had the roof collapsed almost completely but also a part of the floor was gone, leaving a black hole from which billowed dirt and stone grit.

When the cloud had cleared, John ducked into the hole of the staircase to find Higgins, trying to break down the door by throwing himself against it.

“Hand me a crowbar or an axe!” John barked at one of the workers at the top of the stairs. After what looked like a long time, someone gave him an axe and he shoved Higgins aside and began striking at the thick wooden door.

“Master, be careful, the floor keeps craving in rapidly!”, someone shouted.

Focussing only on the job at hand, John kept bashing the door until it cracked. Peering inside he couldn’t see a thing through the dense cloud of dust arising from another caving-in of the floor above.

“Master, take my hand! It’s giving way!”

Higgins, John saw through eyes stinging with dust, plunged forward into the dark hole, covering his head with a board. A second after, the whole of the remaining structure crashed down and hands grabbed at him, pulling him out of the staircase. John lay on his stomach, coughing and gasping  for air and heard Margaret’s anxious voice calling his name.

 

Dixon heard the two girls as soon as she stepped into the kitchen. They were in the scullery, arguing, so it seemed. She edged closer, careful not to show herself.

“Jane … please, Jane … I’m so scared! What are we going to do?”

Annie was wining and sobbing but the answer she got from Jane made Dixon freeze on the spot.

“You just shut your stupid gob, Annie Babcock! If you ever tell anyone about what we have done, I’ll kill you, do you hear me?”

“But Jane, they’re searching the warehouses right now! They will …”

A dry slap into the girl’s face silenced her. “You stupid cow! I told you to shut up and so you will!”

The box on the girl’s ear had the opposite effect and she began spilling it all out.

“I can’t! I won’t! It’s wrong, Jane! Mrs. Thornton has been very good to me and I won’t have her dead! You have gone too far! First you wanted to hurt the young missus who is such a sweet woman and then you stabbed the master! I won’t …”

A stifled little cry stopped Annie and Dixon could wait no longer! She stormed into the scullery, slammed her fist into Jane’s face, knocking her over in the process. Quickly as light, she yanked the maid’s hands on her back and bound them firmly with a piece of rope she pulled from her apron.

“Come on, you treacherous little bitch! Let’s hear what the master has to say about this!”

It was only then that she saw Annie’s body lying on the floor in a pool of her own blood.

 

The bunch of workers stood gaping at the disaster occurring before their eyes. The cellar had collapsed with an enormous crashing noise into a deep hole and Nicholas Higgins must be lying under it.

The master was frantically tugging at the pieces of wall and throwing them aside, his hands already bleeding. The young mistress was restraining Mary Higgins from hurling herself into the hole.

“Mary, no! Mary, listen to me!”

Margaret had to use all the force she could muster to keep her friend back.

“Hurry!” She shouted at the staring workers. “ Hurry, help the master! Nicholas could still be alive under there!”

She felt Mary tremble under her hands.

The men jumped into the hole and began helping John. Soon there was a space that broadened gradually as debris was removed by many eager hands. Margaret watched her husband directing the proceedings with calm, determined authority.

The two women stared at each other in horror as John dove into the blackness of the collapsed cellar. Minutes passed in which Margaret thought her heart would stop from sheer terror of what he might find. Nothing, however had prepared her for the broad form of Nicholas Higgins coming out unscathed, clutching the limp, motionless form of Hannah to his breast.

Netflix ‘Bridgerton’ Saga

Netflix has revealed the cast for their new period set costume series BRIDGERTON that your trusted spy has informed you about earlier this

Phoebe Dynevor is Daphne Bridgerton, the picture-perfect young debutante has been waiting her entire life to make her grand debut on the marriage mart. Poised to be the season of 1813’s forthcoming Incomparable, Daphne’s set to take the town by storm – but not everything goes exactly as planned for this diamond of the first water, especially after she meets a certain Duke.

summer. The small screen adaptation of Julia Quinn‘s best selling series of historical romance novels, produced by Shondaland, will star Polly Walker, 

Rege Jean Page is Simon Basset. Having newly returned to London, the Duke of Hastings finds himself the primary topic of conversation amongst marriage minded misses and ambitious mamas alike. Yet, for reasons of his own, our devastating Duke has zero interest in his title, society, or taking a wife.

Phoebe Dynevor (whom we remember from BBC series Dickensian and The Village),  Regé Jean Page beside Jonathan Bailey, Golda Rosheuvel,

Polly Walker is Lady Portia Featherington, perhaps the most ambitious mama of all, determined to make advantageous matches for each of her daughters – and is forever pushing them on some rather disinterested parties. Cunning and ruthless, Lady Featherington hustles to get what she wants, no matter the cost.

Luke Newton, Claudia Jessie, Nicola Coughlan, Ruby Barker, Sabrina Bartlett, Ruth Gemmell and Adjoa Andoh! In the eight episode drama Julie 

Luke Newton will be dashin Colin Bridgerton, used to disarming his fellow society members with good natured jokes, though a serious sense of adventure lurks behind those swoon-worthy eyes. Colin takes a liking to the newest young lady in town — but it’s this infatuation that winds up giving him more than he may have bargained for.

Andrews will be Lady Whistledown, the narrator of the story. The series will shoot this year in London for 2020 airing at Netflix!

 

THE STORY OF BRIDGERTON IS
set in the sexy, lavish and competitive world of Regency London high society. From the glittering ballrooms of Mayfair to the aristocratic palaces of Park Lane and beyond, the series unveils a seductive, sumptuous world replete with

Jonathan Bailey will be Anthony Bridgerton, quintessential English nobleman, the eldest Bridgerton sibling and dutiful head of the family since assuming his late father’s title of Viscount. Endlessly handsome, charming and rich, he’s quite the catch on this year’s marriage mart. But if he has any hope of fulfilling his oftentimes overwhelming duty of marrying and producing an heir, Anthony must first learn to temper his pursuit of pleasure.

intricate rules and dramatic power struggles, where no one is truly ever on steady ground. At the heart of the show is the powerful Bridgerton family.

Golda Rosheuvel will be Queen Charlotte. The veritable tastemaker of London society, Queen Charlotte finds herself living for the sordid gossip that Lady Whistledown prints, though she’d swear she’s above such mundane musings. It’s only when the ton’s newest gossip writer takes aim at the palace that Queen Charlotte knows she must do something about it.

Comprised of eight close-knit siblings, this funny, witty, daring and clever group must navigate the upper ten thousand’s marriage mart in search of romance, adventure and love.

Brotherly Love – A North and South Novel with John Thornton – C27

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Available at Amazon – Copyrighted

Fred and Bessie had a slow ride home. Their evening had been extraordinary in learning about each other. It had brought them closer, still. Fred pulled the buggy up the small drive and turned to Bessie.

“I hope we can see each other again, soon. Perhaps a picnic before the weather turns too cold. Do you think your parents would allow that?”

“You may have to come to dinner one evening. I feel fairly well about my father’s thoughts of you and he’s the boss. But I would like my stepmother to be on our side, too.”

“Whatever you want me to do.”

“Thank you for understanding.”

“May I kiss you, goodnight?”

Fred couldn’t tell in the light, but he felt she was blushing.

“I think I would like that very much.” Bessie smiled.

Fred turned to her and then faced her in front of him. He held her upper arms and pulled her towards him. She easily yielded to his lips that were waiting. Bessie felt his arms slide around her, pulling her further towards him. She reciprocated with her, now, free arms. It only lasted a moment, but both had their hearts hammering.

“You did very well, Bessie, for a beginner,” Fred laughed. Bessie laughed, too.

Fred hopped out of the buggy and walked Bessie to her front door where they said goodnight. He thought he really might be falling in love.

 

Dixon had gone to bed by the time Fred arrived home. He let Adam know he was home but went to check on his sister first. Seeing she was fast asleep, no doubt from the medication, he returned to the parlor.

“I hope you and Miss Higgins had a nice evening.”

“One of the nicest I’ve spent. What happened to my sister?”

Adam told Fred about the whole evening as he had seen it. When he talked about the tear, he admitted he wasn’t sure if it was from physical or emotional pain. His guess would be the latter.

“What a horrid woman!” Fred insisted. “No doubt, that ruined my sister. I know her feelings for Thornton, which is unknown to all except this family and maybe Bessie. She is obsessed with the man. Why are women so different than men?”

“Are we really so different Fred? Wouldn’t you do anything for the one you loved? What would you do if you fell in love with a woman that hardly knew you? She didn’t even notice you.”

“Well, that’s why I think they’re different. I’m not sure we do that. I don’t think we fall so deeply as Margaret has without some sign of interest. Our interest just lays on top like a physical desire until we get to know them. I know that’s not how my sister feels.”

“I’m not so sure you’re right about either statement, but let’s not quibble over that.”

“Wait. Hold on. Are you saying that Margaret may have desires for Thornton? I mean, physical desires?”

“I mean exactly that, although she doesn’t know it. She is well and truly old enough to be moved by a man, but she is proper enough to hold them at bay unconsciously, or she feels embarrassed about them.”

“Exactly what was your major in university?”

“Oh, I have a professorship in many subjects. Psychology, being one of them. Your Bessie is most likely as Margaret, but her feelings are being responded to. She has a sense of worth.  Far different with your sister.”

“Are you saying this as a fact or a perhaps?”

“At their ages, I would use the word ‘probable.’”

“Let’s get passed that for a moment.” Fred shook his head, hardly believing Adam’s words. “Margaret has fallen in love with a man much sought after. You think as of tonight, she felt defeated in her effort to win his attention and is giving up?”

“I do.”

“I am not sure how to guide her in this. I will have to think it over and put myself in John’s position if I can.”

“Being a man, you would face the issue and speak your words to your woman, so you knew exactly where you stood. A woman will rarely do that, especially if there has been no interest shown beforehand. Basically, Margaret has to suffer the loss. She may think it’s the end of her world, but it isn’t. However, it will erode her confidence as a woman. That will all be in her mind, mind you. Some don’t ever recover from the lack of self-worth. You know what pressure they are under from birth.”

“What if I talk to Thornton?”

“And say what? Do you want to lose your sister forever? She would never forgive you.”

“There has to be something that can be done. How about an anonymous letter to him?”

“Fred! She and he would know it came from you or me.”

Fred paced the floor. “I will think of something.”

“For now, at least for the next few days, keep an eye on her and don’t do anything to alienate her. We’ll both be giving this a lot of thought.”

“I know. I could say something to Bessie, who confides in her father, hoping he will talk with Thornton.”

“Fred, I think you’re thinking of a child’s game.” Adam laughed. “Besides, if Thornton turns his attentions to her, and she knows you meddled, she can never trust him. Don’t you see that? Any interest shown has to come from the other totally unhindered by words or rumors. It has to be real. And we can’t force Thornton to love her even if all your ideas were worth trying. He is his own man. No one talks Thornton into anything.”

“I guess you’re right. That would make a difference; it would matter to me. I don’t want anyone to love me out of pity.”

“Exactly.”

“She will be sedentary for the next few days. It will give us some time to work on her. Who knows, she may wake up with an attitude that she can rise above it.”

“She’ll be lying to herself. She’ll show cheerfulness as to put us off any sympathy or knowledge of her despondency. It’s like a death in her soul. Yes, one day she will recover but at what cost.” Fred insisted.

“We shall ponder this on the morrow. I am going back to the hotel. Goodnight, Fred.”

“Until then.”

Adam found his own way to the door.

 

“My God, John. What happened to you and Lenore? I have never seen you act so ungentlemanly, ever. I didn’t know you. Grabbing a woman by the arm and thrusting her in front of you; one might have thought you were making an arrest.”

“Mother, I am not sure I can talk about it now or ever. If she hadn’t been a woman, I would have beaten her.”

“John you can’t act like that for the first time in your life and tell me nothing. Do you know how I will worry forever that you could do this again?”

“Mother, I will tell you this and no more. She embarrassed me, beyond words, to Miss Hale.”

“Miss Hale?”

“Or to any woman who was sitting beside her. It just tears me apart that she said those things to Margaret. I would like to choke her. You and I felt something might happen and it did.”

“I think I can assume part of the rest. Remembering that you once had a fondness for her when you were a very young man, leaves little doubt about the subject.”

John didn’t respond. He walked to the window that overlooked the yard and stared out of it.

“I take it that the den conversation was a reprimand.”

Still nothing from John. “Mother you can think whatever you like, but I have said all I am going to say. And even that little stays with us.”

“Of course, John. But is it over?”

John walked to his bedchamber, not even saying goodnight. He slammed the door shut.

 

John paced his room for an hour still fuming. He didn’t know where to start with his anger. Where did it hurt the most? Was it embarrassment? Was it his private life being exposed? Did Miss Hale figure heavily into his anger or was she just the recipient? John wasn’t even sure he could or should do anything about it.

John began to undress. Margaret had been consistently on his mind through his imagining of the incident. He laid down on the bed, semi-dressed and began to identify his feelings for Margaret. Over and over his mother’s words came back to him.

That woman has a smart and independent spirit. How many young ladies have you met that became educated to support themselves, rather than be a ‘Lady of the Manor’?”

 

“She will need to find a man that will challenge her. And easy living does not seem to be her future, by choice. We had a nice conversation about how she turned away from the society life that she could have had because she did not care for those people.

 

Other brief memories drifted in the lessons and the mill walk with Higgins, the bravery she showed through that entire ordeal, the courage to commit to a job and promise results, her selflessness in not asking to leave early and, of course, the pain she endured to be here tonight. John laughed at remembering her staring at him, and the disappointment in her voice when he left her with his mother while her brother visited Branson. He remembered the ball and how he embarrassed her. Her ingenious effort to put him at ease by showing indifference to him. Who was she? She was beautiful, and she had been in front of him for several weeks, but he never really saw her until tonight. It struck him that if she did have any meaningful feelings for him, that she had to watch him through Adeline and Lenore. Going back to the dinner tonight, even with his disinterest in the game going on between Lenore and Anne, he remembered Margaret closing her eyes and Adam dabbing a tear from her face. At the time, he thought it might be the pain, but he didn’t believe that now.

“She must think she is losing favor with me,” John said quietly to himself. He felt the unconscious smile make itself known. He was confused. “How could I have the first serious stirrings of affections for her without knowing it?”

Tomorrow, John would begin to unravel this mystery, this ricochet of emotions. It was like nothing he knew or had heard of. He dwelt on those thoughts all night.

 

John woke early from his brief respite with renewed hope for his life. “Could Margaret Hale be the woman he had been waiting on?” She had been indefatigable until last night. He didn’t know the answer to that. He may have her thoughts of him absolutely wrong, but his own were becoming solid. Today, he would see her.

 

Dixon knocked quietly. Margaret had to clear her throat before inviting her in.

“Oh, Miss Margaret, you’ve been crying again. Is it the pain?”

Margaret had been awake for several hours, and although the pain was worse, she knew the tears were for a lost love.

“I will get Master Fred. He wanted to know when you woke.”

Dixon left the room. Any minute the Inquisitor would appear. She was wrong. Her father entered first.

“Margaret, my dear, how is the pain. I expect it to be worse, is it?”

“Yes, father a bit more. Even if I don’t try to turn my head, my neck is very stiff with a constant ache.”

“When was the last time you had medication?”

“I believe it was before the dinner last night.”

“Oh, me. I am sure Fred is taking care of that right now. I don’t think you should get out of bed today at all.”

“I know I shall be bored if I stay here all day. Perhaps later in the afternoon, I will try to sit in the parlor. I will not dress, beyond my housecoat for that.”

“Well, we shall see when the time comes. I hear your brother coming. Here is a small bell that can be heard downstairs. Ring if you need any one of us.”

“Thank you, father. I remember Mother using it.”

“Good morning, puppet,” Fred merrily said as he came through the door.

“Puppet?”

“Margaret I will be back later.”

“Thank you, father.”

“Puppet? Why do you call me that?”

“Because we have to hold your head up with a string.” He laughed.

“Don’t make me laugh. It hurts, Margaret smiled.

“I am going to hold you up while you take this powder in this water.” Fred walked around the bed to hold her. “Ready?”

“Yes.”

Margaret took her powdered water without too much fuss.

“I see you’ve been crying not so long ago. Your face is puffy, and your eyes are still red.”

“I think I’m catching a cold.”

“I think not, puppet. Adam filled me in on what he knew about your evening. Now, I want to hear it from you. Something has to be done.”

“Nothing has to be done. I mean that. Yes, what that woman said was hurtful, but I know it shouldn’t be. Doesn’t that sound like a young man’s behavior? I can’t see where he did anything wrong. What bothered me most was her boastful attitude and what embarrassment she could bring to John.”

“Margaret, what have I told you? Thornton will suffer no embarrassment in front of his peers because they are men. I don’t think he’s done anything wrong, either, unless he was unfaithful to another. I also know, or Adam and I feel that you may have given up on the man after seeing two women trying to impress him.”

“Fred, I cannot compete with those women. I have thrown myself in his path, like many other women and he doesn’t see me. I can live with that. There were others interested in me at the ball. I don’t feel entirely worthless. I have attributes to recommend me.”

“I hear you saying the words, but I don’t think you believe them. You’re trying to talk your way out of a broken heart. I think it’s a bit too early to surrender. You would never make a naval man,” Fred smiled.

“I think I can be grateful for that.”

“You have only temporarily lost confidence in yourself. If you can’t take a little more of his indifference, then you have given up too easily. What has it been – two, three weeks? I don’t believe your regard for him is as much as you pretend. Until he is forced to say something like, ‘Margaret, I don’t see you the way you wish,’ then there’s still a chance. You are expecting far too much too soon.”

“Fred, do you really think so?”

“Think what exactly? Think that you have a chance? I do. There are no known answers except that you have not been turned away.”

“I’m not sure I don’t want to get my hopes up again and then watch them destroyed in front of me.”

“You’re a whiney sniveling child. You know that? I expect you to stamp your foot as you once did when you didn’t get your way.”

“Fred, that’s mean talk.”

“Puppet, it’s straight talk.”

“It sounds like man talk. Women aren’t as hardy as men. You know we are emotional. We can’t take a lot of rejection.”

“But that’s my point; you haven’t been rejected. Men are rejected all the time. It seems you could hold out until you get your first one.”

“Well, I have all day to lie here. I will consider what you have said.”

“Good. Dixon is making you something to eat. I’ll be back later.”

“Thank you, brother.”

Margaret had to turn on her side. She had laid on her back all night. Finding the side of the bed, she pulled herself over to her side and pushed more pillow under her head.

She had hardly made it over, and Dixon came around and sat in front of her. “Alright, Miss Magaret here is some tea and creamed oats. I put a little maple syrup in it.”

“I see you have mother’s sick cup. I guess that has the tea in it.”

“Yes, miss. I’m glad you are on your side so you can’t choke.” Dixon placed a linen under her mouth and began feeding her.”

“That tastes good, Dixon. I didn’t eat much yesterday.”

“Yes, miss, I know.”

“Before you leave can you help me with the chamber pot?”

“I’ll certainly try. If I can’t, I’ll get Master Fred.”

“If you can’t, I will find a way through the pain. My brother’s attentions stop there.”

Dixon moved the food tray to the vanity. She pulled the chair close to the side of the bed, sitting the chamber pot on top of it.

“Here we go. I am going to cradle you in my arm until you are sitting up. I think you should be able to stand.”

“Yes, I believe I can do that.”

The process of getting Margaret up and emptied was accomplished. “I should be able to do that tomorrow. This neck ache should start going away today or by then.”

Dixon took the chamber pot away first and then returned for the tray.

Margaret felt comfortable and began to give thoughts to what her brother spoke about. He was right, she hadn’t been rejected. Not being seen wasn’t the same as a rejection.

It seemed only a few moments later when Adam knocked softly on her door.

“Come in, Adam.”

“How is the patient this morning?”

“I’m not sure I am ready for another ball, but I believe I am on schedule according to the doctor. This medication is helping nicely at the moment. Before you get comfortable, my brother has talked my ear off. I don’t believe I need any more instructions on my love life.”

“That means you haven’t given up?”

“I haven’t decided, yet.”

“Then you need more instructions, puppet. Actually, while Dixon was in here, we had another talk.”

“Another one?”

“I know you are suffering from an injury so I will not add to your misery at this time. However, I do have one question?”

“That will be your allowance for the day,” Margaret quipped.

“Why did you make such a difficult effort to be there last night?”

“To see Mrs. Thornton. I like her.”

“And that’s the only Thornton you were interested in seeing?”

“That’s another question.”

“I don’t believe you completely answered my first one.”

“You know why, Adam. I had to see him.”

“As I thought. Would you like me to read to you?”

“No, I think I want to close my eyes for a bit.”

“Then I shall leave you. I will stay here, though.”

“Thank you.”

 

A half hour later, there was a knock on the door.

Dixon answered it. “Good day, Mr. Thornton.”

 

 

The Invisible Man – approx March 2020

‘The Invisible Man’ Will Make ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ Star Oliver Jackson-Cohen Disappear

invisible man cast

Oliver Jackson-Cohen is about to get transparent for The Invisible Man. The Haunting of Hill House star has landed the titular role in Blumhouse’s horror reboot, which also stars Elisabeth Moss. Leigh Whannel is directing this new take on the tale, which subverts the original story about a mad scientist who ends up turning himself invisible.

THR says Oliver Jackson-Cohen, who played the troubled Luke on Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, is the new Invisible Man. Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Harriet Dyer, and Storm Reid also star. And while Jackson-Cohen is the one turning invisible, he’s not the lead character here. Instead, the film is told from the perspective of Moss’s Cecilia, “who receives the news of her abusive ex-boyfriend’s suicide. She begins to rebuild her life for the better, but her sense of reality is put into question when she begins to suspect her deceased lover is not actually dead.”

Jackson-Cohen is playing that ex-boyfriend, and as that synopsis suggests, rumors of his death are greatly exaggerated, and he’s still lurking about…unseen. “Part of the reason why I wanted to do it is I actually felt like it was a really feminist story of female empowerment and a victim kind of overcoming something,” Elisabeth Moss said in a previous interview. “I don’t even know what I’m allowed to say about it! I’m not The Invisible Man, but there is an Invisible Man — if that makes any sense.”

While The Invisible Man is being distributed by Universal, it’s not part of their disastrous Dark Universe franchise, which planned to reboot a bunch of classic Universal Monsters for the modern era. That plan instantly fell apart with The Mummy, a movie absolutely no one liked. At first, it looked like Universal might try to soldier on with Bride of Frankenstein, but pre-production on that film was shut down, and the Dark Universe is dead. Now, Universal will try something different, focusing on individual films rather than big connected universes – and honestly, that’s the best way to go.

Director Leigh Whannel wrote scripts for Saw, Insidious and more, and directed the kick-ass horror/sci-fi flick Upgrade. I’m excited to see what he does with this material and have no doubt we’re in for something special.

Mr Thornton Takes a Wife – Part Thirty-Eight

Chapter Thirty-Eight – Joining forces

Dixon’s eyes narrowed when she came out of the master bedroom and found Jane standing at the study door, her ear pressed against it in an all too well-known posture of eavesdropping. The wretched girl was at it again! Dixon hastily withdrew and softly closed the door. She would not make the same mistake as in the past but keep the maid under surveillance. Her instinct had warned Dixon for some time now, that Jane was up to something. The maid’s conduct of lately had been highly unusual and her work – which had never been very good – had been lacking to a degree that Dixon wanted to complain to old Mrs. Thornton about it. How closely Jane’s recent behaviour resembled that of the previous autumn, when she had been in league with Ann Latimer. Dixon had not approved of her mistress’s forgiving nature then and, if it had been up to her, Jane would have been on the streets without a reference right away. So she would keep a very close eye on the maid in order to know if the little goose was planning on mischief again.

 

Two days after Hannah’s disappearance, a kind of war council was being held in John’s office. Apart from his wife and Nicholas Higgins, Inspector Mason was present, along with Overseer Williams and Mary Higgins.

“I want the mill searched from top to bottom,” John stated and looked around the small circle of people before unrolling a large sheet of paper on top of his desk.

“To do so more effectively, I have sent for the plans of the buildings as they were given into the custody of the Milton Town Registry Office by my father twenty years ago.”

All came closer to examine the document and John went on:

“Mr. Williams, you were here before I was. Can you tell me if something has changed on this floor plan?”

The overseer studied the sheet of paper for a while.

“Not that much, Master. This building here has been enlarged under your management, as you well know, and is now being used as our best cotton warehouse. Before that it was a wooden outbuilding to these smaller warehouses at the back of the courtyard. Some of them don’t exist anymore, you’ll remember, sir, that one of them collapsed the winter before this one.”

“Yes,” Higgins chimed in, “and the others should also be torn down. They are on the verge of collapsing, especially as they are now buried under a yard of snow. You really should secure these premises, Master. It is not safe to go there.”

John nodded. He knew this but he had not found the time to do something about it.

Mason, his honest face rather sceptical, said, “It is going to take us quite a while, sir, to search all of this. I want some of your workers to assist my men so that nothing is overlooked.”

“Take as much men as you need, Inspector. Higgins will coordinate the whole business.”

Margaret had kept silent until now.  “We need to find Mrs. Thornton as quickly as possible, gentlemen. It is been two days now and she could be hurt,” she said gravely.

They all nodded gravely in quiet agreement. John’s eyes met hers and the same anxiety was reflected in them.

 

Hannah realised she must have fallen into a slumber many times now, on and off. She had lost all notion of time. The oil lamp had ceased burning long ago. What day was it? Was this the second or the third day she was held here? Her head had stopped aching but now she was feeling weird, very light-headed, as if her body was not connected anymore with her head. Weakness from the lack of food and water, of course. Would this be the end? Would she die here, in this place? Would she die alone and far from her loved ones? She felt cold to her very bones.

Footsteps! Immediately Hannah sat straighter! One must never show one’s weakness, not under any circumstances.

A key turned in the lock and a figure appeared in the doorway. It was wrapped head to toe in a heavy, black cloak, so long that it covered every inch of a slender figure. A hood over the figure’s head effectively hid the face. It might be a woman, so Hannah tried to catch a glimpse of it, but to no avail. She could not even make out if it was a man or a woman, although she opted for a man as the person was tall and upright.

“Could I ask you for some water?”

Hannah’s voice sounded inhuman to her own ears, hoarse and without strength. The figure did not answer nor move.

“Please? I am very thirsty.”

The hooded figure shrugged, turned and left. Hannah’s spirits sank as she realised she was being left there to die. Fighting hard not to give in to despair, she brooded over what just happened. The way that person had shrugged … it reminded her of someone she knew. But who? Remembrance was at the edge of her memory yet she couldn’t quite put her finger on it.

She felt weaker every minute and her nausea became worse. Her heart was pounding as if it were trying to leap out of her chest. A dull pain burned in her chest and she felt very lightheaded. Recalling the symptoms of the heart attack she had last year, Hannah tried to breathe properly and slowly. It helped a little.

 

“              Jane? Where are you? Come and help me with the sheets!” Dixon called out but she got no answer. Instead of Jane, Molly came hurrying into the scullery

“I will give you a hand, Miss Dixon!”

“Hmpf!”, Dixon grumbled  but accepted the girl’s help. They had just finished with the laundry when Jane came in, her cloak and bonnet still on her.

“And where have you been, missie? What is this nonsense? Sneaking out of the house without asking permission, are you?”

“I am so sorry, Miss Dixon! My little sister was here an hour ago, my mother is ill and she wanted me to come home to go fetch some medicines. I hope you will not be angry with me for bringing her a food basket?”

“Hmpf!”

Dixon studied the girl with a critical eye. In the end she sent her off to her duties, with the stern admonition to ask for permission the next time. Fair enough, she thought, if Jane went to help when her mother was ill. Yet later that day, she asked Molly, the scullery maid, if Jane’s little sister had indeed come to the house.

“Oh, yes, Miss Dixon, I saw little Dottie around six this afternoon and Jane went out with her.”

 

The ceiling above Hannah’s head was definitively creaking! A crack appeared in the corner right before her, slowly slithering along the old bricks of the vault, to stop at the first iron beam it encountered. Hannah shivered in sheer apprehension.

Jane Austen’s Unfinished Novel Sanditon Is Heading to TV

Masterpiece PBS is co-producing the author’s final work, so you know it’ll be good.

Sanditon

COURTESY OF MASTERPIECE PBS

Jane Austen’s final, unfinished novel Sanditon is being adapted for the small screen. Written just months before the author died in 1817, the story centers around Charlotte Heywood, her unexpected trip to a posh coastal resort town, and her relationship with a handsome young man named Sidney Parker. Austen only finished eleven chapters of the story, but her original text has been extended into an eight-part miniseries

Here’s what we know about the project so far:

ROSE WILLIAMS AND THEO JAMES WILL STAR IN THE SERIES.

Other members of the cast include Anne Reid and Kris Marshall.

THE FIRST PHOTOS FROM THE MINISERIES ARE FINALLY HERE.

See a sneak peek right here:

Sanditon PBS

THEO JAMES AS SIDNEY PARKER.

COURTESY OF MASTERPIECE PBS
Sanditon

ROSE WILLIAMS AND THEO JAMES STAR IN THE UPCOMING ADAPTATION OF JANE AUSTEN’S FINAL UNFINISHED WORK.

COURTESY OF MASTERPIECE PBS

THE TEXT IS BEING ADAPTED BY SCREENWRITER ANDREW DAVIES.

You may not know Davies’s name, but you certainly know his work. He’s written a number of television programs and movies including House of Cards and Bridget Jones’s Diary, but we like to think of him as the man responsible for the much-beloved 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. Basically, Austen’s last work is in good hands.

“Jane Austen managed to write only a fragment of her last novel before she died – but what a fragment!” Davies said in a statement announcing the project.

Sanditon tells the story of the transformation of a sleepy fishing village into a fashionable seaside resort, with a spirited young heroine, a couple of entrepreneurial brothers, some dodgy financial dealings, a West Indian heiress, and quite a bit of nude bathing. It’s been a privilege and a thrill for me to develop Sanditon into a TV drama for a modern audience.”

THE SERIES WILL RUN ON ITV IN THE U.K. AND ON MASTERPIECE, PBS IN THE STATES.

In the U.S., it will premiere in 2020.