Mr Thornton Takes a Wife – Part Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Six – No Rest For The Righteous

The Spiteful One was watching Marlborough Mills from an advantageous and concealed position.

She had to be on her guard because John Thornton was by now growing desperate. He had already turned the factory upside down three times and still he was not giving up!

She hated John Thornton almost as much as she hated his wife! How many times had she hidden her aversion for him. She had to because, if he so much as caught a glimpse in her eyes, he would immediately retaliate. She could not afford crossing Thornton openly but she could give him surreptitious blows which weakened him and made him suffer. Like she had done now by locking his precious wife into an airless closet!

 

Margaret had by now disappeared for more than thirty hours. At ten o’ clock in the evening when John finished his round in the deserted factory, he had reached the state of emotional exhaustion, brought about by anxiety over his beloved. Weird, he mused, he hadn’t busied himself with his mill in two days now and he didn’t even care. It was as if nothing was worth caring for when Margaret was not with him. If Margaret would stay missing, he … his thoughts stopped for a second but then he dared admit it; he would wish to die. Nothing was worth living for without Margaret, nothing. Not even Marlborough Mills.

He entered the small office at the back of the factory hall and saw his ledgers which were still lying open on the top of his desk. Lord! They had been there all along for all to see, to steel! Quickly he gathered them and headed for the store room and, startled, stopped in his tracks! Had he really left the key in the lock for two whole days, leaving his valuables accessible to whoever stepped into his office?

To his surprise, the door was firmly locked, when he turned the handle.

 

Distant sounds from outside reached Margaret’s ears, even through the throbbing of her own blood in them. Someone was there, outside the door! She pounded the heavy wooden door with both her fists as hard as she could. Her strength was fading rapidly and her breath came heavily with each painful, airless gasp she made. With a head swimming from the lack of oxygen she found she had not enough power. Her banging was too weak. Help! Help! Desperately she shouted the words but they came without much sound. She was about to faint when suddenly the door opened and a bright light blinded her.

“Oh merciful Lord! Margaret!”

John’s voice … his arms, his warmth … she fainted after all.

 

Unbelievable! Outrageous!

Fury raged through John as he carried Margaret towards the house. She couldn’t have locked herself into the room, so someone else had. He hadn’t closed the door himself, he remembered that much.

Besides, he was always very careful and never turned the key before he had looked inside. The air in the room rapidly turned foul, he knew that much. Oh God! Margaret! How long has she been inside?

“Jane!”, he thundered and when the maid appeared; “Fetch the doctor! Now!”

The startled girl fled to do his bidding.

“Mother, please, help me!”

He took the steps two at the time and headed for their bedchamber. His mother and Dixon were hard on his heels, and the faithful maid started undoing Margaret’s collar as soon as John laid her on the bed. Hannah bathed her face with a clean cloth drenched in scented water and soon thereafter Margaret’s eyes fluttered. She violently coughed and John eased her up allowing her to breath deeper.

“John … Mother …”

“Shhh, dearest, do not speak. It’s alright, you’re home with me.”

But Margaret couldn’t stop herself. “John, someone must have locked me in the store room …”

“Shhh, I know, sweetheart, I know …”

Relief washed over John when Margaret laid her head against his chest. She was safe, dear Lord, she was safe! For a moment he allowed himself to savour the feel of her slender body against his. He met his mother’s gaze above his wife’s head and smiled at her. Hannah smiled back, she too was relieved they found Margaret. He laid Margaret’s body to rest against the pillows and offered her a drink of water which she avidly took in.

“Tell me how this happened, Margaret,” he asked, settling himself in the chair beside the bed.

“There is not much to tell, John. I went to lock away the medicines in the store room and all of a sudden the door fell close. I could hear the key turning in the lock.”

“That key is never going to leave my pocket anymore, from now on!”, John said and took her hand in his. “Margaret, someone is determined to hurt you, someone close to us. How did they know of the store room if they are not living in a close vicinity to us? It must be someone working here! By all Saints, I’m going to discover who it is!”

Dixon chose that precise moment to brush him aside, clucking with concern and saying, “The mistress needs her rest now, Master!”

 

Later, after Dr. Donaldson examined Margaret and found her unharmed, John went to find his mother in the parlour where she was mending sheets.

“Mother,” he urged, “do you know more of what’s going on in the soup kitchen and infirmary? I can’t shake the impression that someone connected to it wants to harm Margaret.”

Hannah looked at her son in astonishment.

“John,” she asked, “what makes you think such a thing? Margaret is very much respected amongst the people she cares for. Surely, after what happened last November, all danger is now out of the way!”

“Mother,” he said in a shaking voice, “I can feel it! Something is wrong! Someone locked Margaret in that store room, knowing full well that I would not return to it soon, as I was totally absorbed in the search for her!”

John stopped, choking back his anxiety and concern but his mother mentally finished his thoughts for him; how devastated he would be if something happened to Margaret. When John left for the factory again, Hannah donned her coat and bonnet and wrapped a shawl around her shoulders to ward off the extreme cold. Christmas was approaching fast now and snow fell almost every day. Hannah got on her way to find help.

 

Nicholas Higgins had a tough time hiding his surprise when Mary opened the door of his small, dark house on Mrs. Thornton.

“Mistress! What brings you here? I’m sorry for …”

Hannah raised her hand to silence him but at the same moment she smiled at him.

“No need, Mr. Higgins. I have something I want to discuss with you if you can spare me the time?”

Nicholas bid her to sit down at the bare, clean-scrubbed table and Mary served her a cup of fragrant tea. Hannah looked about her in the shabby but spotless room and wondered not for the first time why Higgins would choose to stay and live here when he now earned a good salary as John’s manager.

She refrained from saying so, however. She knew he wanted to be near his fellow workers instead of somewhere nicer but farther away.

“Look here, Mr. Higgins, I’ll speak bluntly. No doubt you already know that my son’s wife has been found, locked into the small store room in John’s office. She is, let me hasten to say, unharmed. However, something is afoot and it does not bode well for my son and daughter-in-law. Margaret’s recent predicament clearly indicates that someone is after her again. I came here to seek yours and Mary’s help in protecting her and the baby from harm. What do you propose to be done?”

 

The Spiteful One stood lurking in the shadows of the Mill’s courtyard. Margaret Hale Thornton was unreachable for now, resting in her bed at the house under the protection of that harpy Dixon. She was afraid of Dixon’s sharp eyes and fierce temper. Best avoid the blasted woman. Old Mrs. Thornton was out tonight so Dixon would be even more on her guard.

But John Thornton was alone in his office at the back of the Mill’s hall. The workers had gone home for the night and Higgins had been the last to leave. Now was the right time to punish John Thornton.

 

 

 

 

Barkskins 2020

‘BARKSKINS’ NEW EPIC SAGA

DAVID THEWLIS TO LEAD AT NAT

Network: United States National Geographic Channel
Runtime: 60 minutes
Status: In Development
Show Type: Scripted
Genres: Drama
Created by: Elwood Reid10 episodes
The series will be based on Annie Proulx book

GEO

Another potentially very interesting period set series for us: David Thewlishas been cast as the lead star of BARKSKINS a new historical drama set to air at National Geographic’s 172 channels around the world next year!

Based on a book by Pulitzer Prize winning author  Annie Proulx, it follows a disparate group of outcasts who must navigate the brutal hardships, competing interests, and tangled loyalties at the crossroads of civilization— 1600s New France, where the war to escape their past and re-make themselves is cast against the vast and unforgiving wilds of North America. David Thewlis will be Monsieur Claude Trepagny, a wealthy landowner with grand visions for New France.

 British thespian David Thewlis will take the lead role in the new epic series

A chronicle of America’s deforestation from the “New World” arrival of Europeans into the modern era of global warming told through the stories of two immigrants who work as wood-cutters.

National Geo – No release date

Boy Called Christmas

GATHERS A HELLUVA CAST!
This will certainly be a star-studded movie! A whole bunch of well-known names has just joined the cast of BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS a Studiocanal and Netflix family movie. Jim Broadbent, Toby Jones, Sally Hawkins, Michiel Huisman, Henry Lawfull, Maggie Smith and Kristen Wiig have all been signed. Oscar-nominated Monster House director Gil Kenan is helming!

Les Miserables’ Henry Lawfull and Michiel Huisman will lead the cast
BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS
based on the first book in the five-part series written by Matt Haig, reimagines the origin story of Father Christmas, following an ordinary young boy called Nikolas who sets out on an adventure into the snowy north in search of his father who is on a quest to discover the fabled village of the elves, Elfhelm. Taking with him a headstrong reindeer called Blitzen and a loyal pet mouse, the young boy soon meets his destiny.

Acting legends Jim Broadbent and Maggie Smith also star!

Catherine the Great

IMPERIAL COURT PHOTOS ARE IN 
Sky Atlantic has released new photos which offer a few new glimpses into CATHERINE THE GREAT epic series which they’re doing with HBO to air sometime this year. The lavish 18th century series will chart the latter years of

The new series will probably hit the small screens sometime this spring or summer

Catherine’s 34 year reign, as she turns Russia, which was mostly looked down upon by the rest of Europe before her, into one of the greatest powers of Europe.

 

CATHERINE THE GREAT
Written by Elizabeth I’s Nigel Williams, the four part mini series will see Helen Mirren playing the legendary Russian monarch while Jason Clarke

Jason Clarke as Potemkin and Helen Mirren as Empress Catherine the Great. Together they’ve turned 18th century Russia into the leading power of Europe.

will play her long standing lover Russian General Grigory Potemkin. The series also stars Joseph Quinn as her son Grand Prince Paul, Georgina

Real Catherine was not a s skinny woman as Helen Mirren

Beedle as Princess Natalia, Antonia Clarke as Princess Sofia, Phil Dunster as Count Andrei Razumovsky, Adam el Hagar as Valerian Zubov, Paul Kaye as infamous rebel and impostor Emelyan Pugachev and Sam

The series was written by Nigel Williams

Palladio as Catherine’s young lover Alexander Vasilchikov. Rory Kinnear is Panin, a skilful politician, advisor and governor to Catherine’s son, Richard Roxburgh is Prince Grigory Orlov, her most famous lover who helped her

The series will also air on HBO in Northern America

come to power by overthrowing her husband, Kevin McNally is his brother Alexei Orlov, Bodyguard’s Gina McKee is her confidant and lifelong friend Countess Bruce, Clive Russell is The Fool!

Brotherly Love – A North and South Novel with John Thornton – C14

Chapter Fourteen

On the drive home, John had to wonder if he had an aversion to marriage or not. Several times women had assumed he would be proposing soon and he had to extricate himself from that thinking. He may have wished to continue seeing that lady but clearing the misconception always lead to a complete break-up. His confidence seemed to plummet every time that happened, but he held fast to his pride so it would never show. He seemed to be wanted only for what he had, not who he was inside. He’d known many men that had pursued their intended with more vigor than he had ever imagined. Could he really have a fear of marriage or had he not met the woman that would own his soul? Perhaps, he’d read too many books, and true love wasn’t as consuming as the stories told, although true history books painted the experience of falling or being in love as magnificent.

 

The Hale house was passing around the wine and scotch glasses when they arrived home. Dixon was cheerful hearing all the comments about Miss Margaret.

“Margaret, I think your visual demonstration with the coins was the most impressive,” said Adam.

Richard Hale and Fred agreed.

“I remembered that from class and the impact it made on me at the time. Many things seem to become clear once I saw the merchant do that. Math isn’t visual, there is nothing to excite the learner and some people never take to math in their entire life. But everyone seemed to understand that. I’m glad I thought about it.”

“So, Margaret, where do you go from here?”

Margaret sighed a deep breath. “I don’t know. Bessie made a list of Masters and their mill names. I suppose I should write and see if they really do want more from me.”

“You should charge for this, sis,” said Fred.

“I can’t do that. I wouldn’t do that. It was a teaching session, Fred.”

“Well . . . the biggest visual demonstration tonight was not the coins so much as the teacher. You’ve opened up the world for yourself, sis. I think that retired Captain is first in line, too.”

“Don’t be daft, Fred. There was nothing social about the lesson.”

“Think that if you will.”

“Margaret, I do feel Fred makes a good point,” replied Adam. “I believe that to be your practice ‘coming out’ event. That’s more than Milton usually offers young ladies. I had hoped that I would introduce you at the ball, which I still shall, but I imagine there are rumors circulating as we speak.” Bell smiled.

“Father, could that be true what they say?”

“I think you should prepare yourself for events in your life that you have missed for several years.”

“Sis, you know how you and I have spoken about a certain gentleman, well now, you will have many to entertain you and maybe one or two to fight off.”

“Fight off?”

“I will cover that with you when we are alone.”

“Now, you’re scaring me, Fred.”

“I mean to. This time of life looms larger in a woman’s life than in a man’s. Unfortunately, young women are not only innocent but ignorant of men and their . . .”

“Ahem,” was heard quite loudly from Richard Hale.

“. . . their ways,” Fred concluded. “I will teach you. I just hope I can do it in time.”

“Now Fred, have more confidence in Margaret then that,” proclaimed Adam.

“I do. I do. She’s just physically weak, that’s all.”

“Fred, are you talking about …eh…mm…femininity?”

“Actually, I’m talking about masculinity.”

Margaret blushed badly. Fred laughed, Richard worried, and Adam thought it was endearing.

“I’ve had schooling, Fred!” Margaret spat back.

Fred doubled over with laughter. “I am sure you never learned what I will warn you about.”

Margaret did not want to raise her eyes to three men watching her reaction. She stood and turned to the kitchen. “I have to see Dixon, who has disappeared.”

“On that fine note, I shall leave you fellows to sort out the wheat from the chaff on this adventure Margaret will be embarking on. I will return later this week, but please remind Margaret of the Saturday evening Master’s Ball, which is only four days away.”

 

The house was quiet when John returned. He removed his coat, cravat, and waistcoat. He poured himself an evening scotch, found his newspaper and sat in his chair. There was another reminder for the ball in the paper. He would have to work on some small welcoming speech, introduce the orchestra and the caterers. His mind drifted back to Kit Waverly’s statement about being interested in anyone that Adeline was stepping out with.

“I guess that was a natural reaction or comment by a brother,” he thought. “It just seemed . . . seemed heavier than that, as if she had embellished their relationship or perhaps a warning given if read between the lines.”

 

It was nearing 11:00 p.m. when Bessie tip-toed out and saw her father sitting in the darkened parlor room, staring into the fire.

“Is something troubling you, Father,” Bessie asked.

“No, not really. I always knew there would come a time when you were not my little girl anymore. I seemed quite conscious of it tonight when that horde of Masters surrounded you and Margaret. I know I have promised to take you both to the ball and I guess it is time for you to enter the arena of life and men.”

“And that bothers you? Peggy and I have had long talks about being out with men.”

Nicholas sighed. “I’m glad to hear that. I won’t have to begin at the beginning.”

“Father, Peggy was candid with me and the way it is with males of all ages, but especially the younger ones. For all their life, they will have the physical desire to . . . mate. I heard things when I worked the looms, but it wasn’t until Peggy talked with me that I believed what I had been hearing.”

“I hope she told you to save yourself for marriage.”

“No, she didn’t. But I knew that is the proper way. I also know about a woman’s heart which is more of a factor than men realize.”

“I’m not sure what that means exactly.”

“I know, Father. You are not alone. Just have faith in me that I may not be schooled, but I am intelligent enough to handle myself in situations that I feel sure will arise. I know men are not always true to their hearts when they speak of love. They may think they are at that moment in time, but the woman ultimately has to take the risk. Take Mr. Thornton and Miss Waverly. I would imagine there has been some intimacy in their relationship by now. And I can tell you that she thinks he’ll marry her, but I know he’s not going to. He is not in love with her.”

“Bessie! How can you know such a thing?”

“Because I am a woman. When I met her tonight, it would be apparent to another woman what she wants. John is no fool when all is said and done. He may think he could or is in love with her, but he isn’t and will never marry her.”

“Honestly, you cannot know that. I am close with the man every day. I know how often they see each other.”

Bessie laughed. “Do me a favor over the next couple of weeks. Take note of how many times he speaks about her other than a date of stepping out. Watch him look at her at the Ball. Watch him with her at Mrs. Thornton’s dinner. He will not look lovingly into her face as you once did with Peggy.”

“That’s understandable. A gentleman does not wear his emotions on his sleeve, especially John.”

“He would if he loved her. He would smile more in her presence for one thing. He would not be able to help it, just as you couldn’t. Time will tell, Father. You’ll see that I am right. He may not even know that he won’t marry her, regardless of what his mother might be telling him. I don’t think the poor man has ever been in real love. Every woman would or should be suspect to him, by now. He’s living a fairy-tale. He would like to slip from the castle and go where he is not known and find someone that loves him for himself and not what he can offer. The problem is, John has to run the castle and cannot get away for that to happen. I’ve worked on the mill floors for a few years, and you should have heard how the women talked about him. The man is perfect in every way as a husband.”

“I know the adoration by the females for him. And I can tell you he does not like it. He tries to stay as private as he can. He does miss the joys of life because he’s been in hiding for so long. Now this Miss Waverly seems to be making it around the bend with him.”

“If that’s true, it’s because he’s running out of new women to meet. Father, men, are so dense when it comes to women. The only excuse you have is that you are all the same. We think of it as a birth defect.” Bessie laughed.

“Now listen here, Bessie. That door swings both ways.”

“Before you start on a litany of why women do what they do, I’ll grant you some leverage there. Another time you must tell me where we are faulty. Good night, father.” Bessie smiled and went to the stairs.

 

John rose from his seat and went to collect his writing box. Situating it on his lap, he pulled out a sheaf of paper and began a note to Miss Hale.

 

Dear Miss Hale,

 

I wish to thank you for an illuminating and valued lesson that you presented at the Lyceum over the past two Tuesdays. After a rough start,  which amused me by the way, you launched into your mission with vigor and aplomb instilling in your audience a sense of importance to your words. Someday I wish to tell you about my first few public speaking engagements. It was none the easier for me.

Unfortunately, there had been unexpected guests that required my attention, impairing me from joining the other masters waiting to speak with you. I do wish to speak again soon and perhaps offer you a small employment at our mills. I will factor your salary into my wage budget. I will create a line item for “Budgeteer.”

Perhaps a light lunch at a local eatery would be convenient for you.

Again, a job well down and an apology for telling you this through  a note.

  1. Thornton

 

John sealed the note and prepared it for Branson to deliver the next morning.

 

Dawn was breaking as John was dressing for the day. His thoughts wandered back to Miss Hale and her nervous ordeal of public speaking. He started laughing when he thought of her being drunk last week. She took her embarrassment well. She seemed quite friendly. Why were all the women he saw so serious? With the exception of Higgins wife, he had no women friends. Inwardly, he was admitting to himself that he would be interested to see how she fared in public.

 

“Good morning, John. How was the lesson last night? Did Miss Hale astound the masters?”

“She was quite impressive and did open our eyes to some avenues we’ve never pursued. She had a bit of a hard start as I saw her begin to tilt on her first few words, but I brought a chair for her to sit in. After that, she took off like a shot.”

“I’ve never known a woman like that, have you?”

“How do you mean, mother?”

“It’s not like she’s a suffragette and pleading a cause. She was standing in front of men that are forerunners and history makers and telling them how they can improve. Is she the new woman of today? I don’t know where she got the backbone to do that.”

“Mother, she was trying to save her father from embarrassment. She really didn’t choose to do that.”

“But she did. The nerve had to come from somewhere. She will never be anyone’s common wife.”

“What are you saying? Stay away from her?”

“I’m not saying anything like that. Her husband won’t be telling her what to do very often.”

“Mother, I don’t think you’re very fair to her.”

“You don’t see it, do you, John? I am complementing her. It’s too bad there weren’t any women there to witness what women can do.”

“When I have time, Mother, I will reflect on your words. You are making it sound like a historical event that was hardly worthy of us men of business.” John smiled.

“Oh, stop it, John. You have Miss Waverly. Let some other man try to pull Miss Hale in line.” Hannah asked for the teapot.

John picked up his newspaper and began to scan the headers. His conversation reminded him of his note to Miss Hale. He would have Branson handle that early this morning.

 

Margaret was late coming down to breakfast. She apologized, admitting that the past evening event had been fatiguing. Her father was already in his study with some lesson plans, and she didn’t see Fred.

Settling into the kitchen area, “Dixon, where is Fred?”

“Miss, I will have your tea and breakfast in a moment. I think master Fredrick is outside working on the shed. Yes, I see him. That’s what he’s doing, Miss Margaret.”

“I’ll pop out while you serve the food. Just put it here on the kitchen work table.”

“Yes, Miss.”

Margaret almost had a skip in her step as she bid Fred a good morning. “How is it coming along, your fine stable, that is?” Margaret laughed.

“Sis, my dear, your are looking at a soon-to-be master of horses. I will have to add on to his stable to allow for a second horse, you see.” Fred continued to hammer nails into the rotting wood.

“There was so much talk about me last night, I never found out what you and Branson have accomplished.”

“We should be set with a carriage and horse by the end of the week. I want to buy a saddle today. I believe the buggy assembly has all it needs. I guess I should find out what they eat. Oh, I guess we get straw. I’ll see Branson again in a day or two. I can drive you to the ball to meet Bessie and her father or take you over there.”

“I am sure I will have a ride in Adam’s coach. I am going back inside to eat something.”

“I haven’t checked the front page of the paper to see if you made headlines,” he snickered.

“Stop it, Fred,” Margaret smiled.

 

As Margaret entered the back of the house, she passed Branson on his way out back.

“Good morning, Miss Hale. I have brought a note to you from my master. Miss Dixon has it.”

“Thank you, Branson.”

Knowing in her mind that Mr. Thornton was a taken man, she none-the-less scurried to read his words.

 

 

Middlemarch 1994 by George Eliot

This Masterpiece Theatre production, set at the cusp of the Industrial Revolution, chronicles, the life, loves, foibles and politics of the fictional English town of Middlemarch. Adapted from the George Eliot classic of the same name, the plot centers on the socially conscious, but naive Dorothea Brooke, whose disastrous match to the pedantic Rev. Edward Casaubon sets in motion a chain of events that will change the face of Middlemarch forever. The efforts of the dashing young physician, Tertius Lydgate, to modernize the medical practices at the new hospital causes quite a stir, both in the political power structure, headed by the evil Mr. Nicholas Bulstrode, and the heart of sweet Rosamund Vincey, the town beauty. Smaller plots interweave the action and lead to reconciliation, resignation, remuneration and resolution.  Rufus Sewell was 25 years younger.  Still … as handsome as ever.

Screenplay by Andrew Davies









 

 

 

 

 

Mr Thornton Takes a Wife – Part Twenty-Five

Chapter Five – Despair

How could she do this to him?

John paced the parlour in a desperate way, after his mother told him Margaret was missing, and the question kept forcing itself onto his mind. How could she put him into such anxiety when she knew how much he worried about her and their unborn child? Did she even know what she was putting him through? Did she even care? Where was she?

His burning thoughts were interrupted when Higgins burst into the room, brushing an indignant Dixon aside.

“John … she’s nowhere to be found! I’ve questioned Mary and she said Margaret left a few minutes later than she did and everything was fine and undisturbed.”

“Then where is she, damned!,” John barked loudly at Higgins, “Where. The. Bloody. Hell. Is. She?”

“John, please?,” his mother pleaded, “Anger won’t solve a thing. We must think! Sit down calmly and think. Where can Margaret have gone to?”

 

Margaret’s high spirits were soon tamped down when she realised she was trapped inside the store room. At first, she thumped and pounded the door with her fists, shouting that she was in there, but nothing happened! The door was indeed locked and the key was on the outside. There was nothing to do but to wait until someone discovered she was in here. So she settled herself with her back against the cold wall and her bottom upon the freezing cold earthen floor of the small chamber and waited.

 

“There is something very wrong, Mother! This is not at all Margaret’s way! She would have told me if she was going somewhere, wouldn’t she? She knows how I worry about her! Damned and blast!”

John was standing next to the parlour window overlooking the Mill’s courtyard, his body tensed, his muscles strained, his hands clamped together on his back. But shaking, Hannah saw, his hands were trembling in utter desperation.

It was now near dawn in the day after Margaret had disappeared and her son was reaching the end of his endurance. They had searched every nook and cranny of the Mill and its yard but Margaret was nowhere to be found.

“John?”, Hannah asked quietly, “Have you had a disagreement with her? Have you quarrelled?”

looked at his mother in sheer confusion. “Quarrelled? No, of course not, in fact, last night, we …”

He hastily swallowed back what he was going to say, reddening fiercely! And to his mother too!

Hannah smiled sweetly at him.

“You made love to each other, John? Well, I am pleased that you did. It’s a natural thing between husband and wife.”

“Mother, please, I …”

“You’re feeling embarrassed, I know. But, you know, you shouldn’t. I wasn’t always an withered, old woman, John. I know how wonderful it can be when you love each other. Your father and I, we had our good times too, you know.”

Maybe it was his anxiety about Margaret what made him weak but John sat down next to his mother, longing to hear more about this. “Tell me about you and Father,” he begged suddenly and fervently.

Hannah was surprised because it was the first time ever that he asked her about his father but she did oblige. Her eyes got a faraway look in them when she spoke.

“I wasn’t in love with Charles when we married. Our fathers were business acquaintances and between the two of them they arranged our marriage. I was scared to death when we were alone for the first time and so was he. I was nineteen and he twenty, we were like two very shy children.”

His heart was thumping like mad in his chest when John realised what she was going to tell him, yet he didn’t stop her. In fact, he was dying to hear it! There was so little he knew about his father and so much he longed to know!

“Charles and I sat next to each other on our bed and after a long time, he took my hand in his. I was shaking with fear but the touch of his hand soothed me. He asked, in a very shy and disarming way if I would allow him to kiss me. I could only nod, I was unable to speak. He kissed me. Very softly. Very shyly. On the lips but not further. I felt … well, I liked it … a lot.”

Holding his breath John stayed silent. His mother was still smiling but not at him. More like at someone in the far distance, someone she only she could see.

“I won’t embarrass you with details, John, but we did truly become man and wife, that night. Charles was sweet and gentle. So gentle that I have never, ever refused him throughout the twenty years of our marriage.”

John bowed his head when the memories of his father came rushing back to him. His mother laid her hand on his and whispered. “John, you never told me how you felt about Charles’s death. I think you should tell, if not to me than at least to Margaret.”

“No, mother!”, he snapped, “No, I won’t burden her with matters from so long ago when she has enough problems of her own to deal with! Father is long dead and buried; I won’t be the one to unearth him!”

He stalked from the room in the familiar, long strides he adopted whenever in distress.

 

“What’s with the Master leaving you alone now?”, Higgins asked in surprise, when he entered the room right after John left.

Hannah, feeling sad because of John’s reaction, suddenly turned to him. The same moment, seeing Higgins’s tall, broad, reassuring form, she felt as if a burden had fallen from her shoulders.

“Mr. Higgins!” She could hear the distress breaking her voice as she said it. He heard it too.

“Hey, hey, what is it, Mistress? Has Miss Margaret been found? She’s not hurt, is she?”

“No, no, she’s still missing. However, if this goes on for much longer, I don’t know how long my son is going to last.”

Now she could feel her eyes filling! Oh God! That only happened when John was in distress and she was powerless in mending it!

“Hannah …”  Bristling at the impertinence of him calling her by her given name, she looked up at him, a sharp rebuff on her lips. The words died before they were spoken. Nicholas Higgins was looking at her with a strange, comforting light in his eyes.

 

Margaret woke with a gasp! For a split second she was disoriented and unsure of where she was but then, with the damp, cold earthen floor beneath her, it all came back. She was locked up in the store room, in the dark. Hunger gnawed in her stomach, thirst parched her throat but there was something else that was very wrong.

The air in the tiny room was becoming oppressive and she began having trouble breathing.

 

 

Lion King – First full length Trailer

 THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT!
The Lion King opens up July 19th in USA

After a couple of gorgeous teasers, Disney has finally released the first full trailer for their live action version of THE LION KING which is currently looking to become the king of theatre jungle when it starts roaring in cinemas worldwide this July!

THE LION KING
takes us to the African savannah where a future king is born. Simba (Donald Glover) idolizes his father, King Mufasa (James Earl Jones), and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Mufasa’s brother, and former heir to the throne, has

The movie is not entirely the same as the animated version!

plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair

Simba will find many new friends throughout his journey!

of new found friends (Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon), Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.

 

Director Jon Favreau used the photo realistic CGI, which he also used in his previous movie The Jungle Book, to depict animals as realistically as

Chiwetel Ejiofor lends his voice to evil Scar, Simba’s uncle.

possible. As you can hear in the trailer, everyone’s favourite crazy duo Pumbaa and Timon, will sing everyone’s favourite song The Lion Sleep Tonight in this one as well!