Brotherly Love – A North and South Novel with John Thornton – C2

Brotherly Love - Kindle Edition 3.99
Brotherly Love – Kindle Edition 3.99

Chapter Two

 

Margaret walked into the kitchen to speak with Dixon, asking how long before dinner. She felt her father would want to spread these papers which will become charts, on the table.

“Miss Margaret. Your father has asked me to serve us here in the kitchen. I can’t believe that. Your mother would never have stood for that. But he seems to have work that will take up the entire dining room table.”

“Very well, Dixon. I will be helping father if you need me.”

“Yes, miss.”

As Margaret walked through the hall towards the dining room, she saw that a letter had arrived and it was still resting on the buffet. She went to retrieve it and saw that it was from Mr. Bell. She carried it to her father.

Richard Hale was busy shifting large and small pieces of parchment paper around. He would check his notes and move them again.

“Father is this to be a puzzle of some sort?” she asked, walking up beside him.

“I didn’t think so, but it’s looming to be a much larger project than I anticipated. We will be studying this over several sessions and these charts will constantly change.”

“I see.” Peeking at his notes, Margaret hoped he knew what he was doing.

“Father here is a letter from Mr. Bell.”

“Yes, I saw it out there. I shall read it later. I have been expecting him to visit Milton in the near future. I would assume that is news to that effect.”

“Do you wish me to open and read it to you?”

“No, dear. Not at this time. I am concentrating on this layout of papers.”

“But they’re all blank, still.”

Richard Hale laughed. “Yes, they are. But I want to line up the sizes. The smaller pieces will be magnified areas of a part of the larger ones.”

“Do you have them drawn out on small paper?”

“Not all. I haven’t completed the formulas yet. I am not clear as to how to present it. This was a subject they requested to learn, and I am learning it as I go.”

“Father, I did much of this in school.”

“I doubt what you learned is as advanced as they want to learn. Many of these men are educated, too. From the conversation at the next lecture, I will get a more precise sense of the scale of their interest.”

“I am quite good, father,” Margaret replied, trying to impress on her father that she could help.

“Thank you, Margaret. As I go along, I may have a question or two. But it will be an enormous help if you could just draw many lines, like a graph. You will have to find a straight edge of some sort.”

“I will father.” Margaret walked away to find a straight edge. She feared her father was in over his head. He was an intelligent man, but his education was based mostly on the Bible. Margaret decided to look over his books he’d acquired and be ready. Perhaps Mr. Bell would be here soon enough to guide him.

 

Nicholas Higgins had left for home over an hour ago. John Thornton felt he had seen to a few loose ends that remained from the day. John was a tall, slender, well-built male with dark hair and blue eyes. He had become a self-made man. He started working at an early age, and through diligence, perseverance, and some education had risen to the peak of a new age for mankind. Machines. Born with natural intelligence, he rose quickly in the admiration of his peers. He was a leader; and one who shied away from flattery and the adulation that he rightly deserved. Hard worker, good looks, and humility had made him into one of Milton’s most sought after bachelors. He was 28 years old.

 

John entered his home situated on the mill property which stood as a testament to his success.

“Good evening, mother. What has you so occupied over there?” John asked as he hung up his coat. “Never mind. It’s your yearly dinner, is it not?”

“Yes, John it is,” Hannah Thornton replied with a note of exhaustion in her voice. “It’s not that far away, and I have only had a few replies. Mr. Bell, of course, and he’s asking to bring a lady friend. Surely your Miss Adeline will be attending?”

“Yes, mother. Of course, she will. Has Latimer answered yet?”

“Yes, he and his daughter, again, will be here. I think he’s still hoping you will see his daughter the way he thinks you should see her. She is a quiet and polite woman.”

“Is that what you like about Anne Latimer … that she is quiet and polite?” John asked smiling.

“Well, she has been reared very well with graceful manners.”

“Mother that is more of the point of why I do not find interest in her.  We have been out several times, and I find her dull if you must know. She knows about Adeline and me. So, she may not attend, after all. I think she would feel foolish sitting there with her father.”

“It may well happen as you say. But Mr. Latimer coming on his own may tempt her to keep him company.”

“Do you have any more matchmaking efforts that you haven’t told me about?”

“No, John. Just you.”

“You really do like Adeline?”

“Yes, John. You have had many nice ladies that I found a befitting wife for you. She is in that group. I cannot ever know why you turn away from some and others are a bit more of interest to you – and yet, I can see no difference.”

“Mother, you should see no difference. Many do not act as you know them when there are more private circumstances. I am sure you do not want to delve into a conversation in that area.”

“But, John, you are still a gentleman?” Hannah asked with some trepidation.

“I cannot believe you would ask me that.”

“But you’re twenty-eight years old?”

“Meaning what, exactly?” By now, John had poured his evening scotch and was seated in his comfortable chair,  which overlooked the mill yard.

“Well … I … I don’t want to get into your personal affairs, but…”

“But … you need not butt into my personal affairs. If you have heard any bad rumors about me, I am sure I would have heard about it. So, being a big boy now, I think I am handling things rather maturely. The job of Mother can only go so far with her son.”

“I just want to make sure you are happy. You did not have a father to speak with while you grew into an adult man. I guess somewhere in the back of my mind, I wonder if you’ve been taught all you should know.”

John started laughing. “Mother, I shall bring you along next time. You can point out the error of my ways.” He gushed from laughing so hard. “Tonight I will sit on your lap, and you can tell all about the ways of a man.”

“John! Don’t say such disgusting things.”

“I find it quite far from disgusting. Shall we be done with my maturing phase?”

“Alright. We are done with you. But the women who …”

“On no account will you or anyone know about any woman I have been with.  And you can take that any way you like. I am done here.” John left to go to his bedchamber, just to ensure the conversation had ended. He was glad of their talk because he’d always wondered how his mother may have worried about not having a father around. He hoped he had settled all of her apprehensions. It didn’t matter. This subject was closed.

John removed his cravat and waistcoat before returning to the sitting room.

Hesitantly, Hannah started to speak. “John …”

“Mother!”

“I only want to know why you feel Adeline may be the one that you marry. Have you spoken the words?”

“There have been no words specifically. I believe there may be an expectation on her part. I am not even sure that she would accept me.”

“But what is it about her … that particular woman that separates her from the others. I would like to know. I would like to see and feel what you do. Perhaps, I would like her more than I do.”

John picked up his empty glass before sitting back down. “Brandy, mother?”

“No, not just yet. You go ahead.”

“Thank you. I think I will.” He smiled to himself. John poured his glass and returned to his chair. “Mother, I am not sure I can answer you. It’s not that I chose not to, but I cannot find the words to express the feelings that I have in her company. She is gay and light-hearted. She doesn’t begrudge me not spending every moment with her. Adeline has her own interests. She has her own money so that worry is not one which you usually dwell upon. I believe her words and emotions are true to herself and not a show for me. I think we could have a nice life together.”

“John! Is that what it’s come down to … someone you can have a nice life with? How about someone you love and loves you? Isn’t that the most important part of a marriage partner?”

“Mother that is a road, unknown to you, that I have traveled in my life. I lost a piece of myself. I cannot go through another difficult time like that ever again.”

“What happened?”

“Let’s just say, I spent a lot my emotional self on her and she was false. That’s about all I will tell you.”

“Does anyone else know about this woman?”

“Only Higgins. We discussed it once.”

“You are such a private man that I did not see that happening to you.”

“I was very young then, and I am more the better for it. God only knows what advice you would have given me. You would have been as miserable as I was. It’s over. The lady has left Milton with her family, many years ago. I do not think of her except in the fact that I could have made a terrible mistake.”

“Well, I shall pray for a woman to find you that loves you and you can love. Settling for someone is a desperate act.”

“Mother, I don’t feel I am settling, as you say. Adeline and I have been seeing each other for many months now. I believe we both feel what a married life to each other would be like.”

“Have you discussed any desires to raise a family?”

“I know that she likes children. We have not spoken of a family in regards to us.”

“You don’t feel because of your age that you are rushed to find a suitable mate, do you?”

“Mother, sometimes I wonder if you really raised me. Suitable mate, indeed. I do not feel old or rushed because of my age. I live my life as I wish it to be. Men have a much longer biological clock if that is what you are referring to. Now, what is for dinner? I beginning to lose my appetite.”

“Your sister will be here with Master Watson. Have you heard from any other masters?”

“No. But you know, Slickson will never let one of your meals go by.  Ah… dinner is being served. Shall we, Mother?”

 

Dinner was over. Margaret and her father were quietly busy at the dining room table. Richard Hale was thumbing pages back and forth … first one book and then the other. Margaret had found her ivory ruler, given to her for school by her wealthy aunt, Mrs. Shaw. Being her mother’s sister, Aunt Shaw was still active among London’s society set and had taken it upon herself to see that Margaret was educated. Margaret’s mother, now passed, had married a clergyman for love and not for position, title, or land holdings – which many had done in her youth. Visiting with her Aunt many summers, Margaret became well acquainted with that level of living, and although the amenities were welcomed, it wasn’t worth the smugness of the people who would be part of her life.

“Have you read your letter father?”

“Yes, I was correct. Adam shall be here in another week or sooner. He’ll stay at the Milton Grand Hotel, as usual. I don’t know what business brings him here this time, but he may be with us for a month or more.”

“I take it that your first lecture to the Masters will happen before he arrives?”

“Yes. That is correct. Something seems to be bothering you about my giving these series of lectures to the Masters.”

“I am only questioning teaching this particular subject. Your knowledge is limited to a subject that is their whole way of looking at their livelihood. I fear you may overlook something important. How old are those books you are studying from?”

“Margaret, please stop your worrying. Accounting is fairly basic.”

“If you say so, father. I was learning advanced skills in accounting when I went to school. Retail math. Have you heard the phrase?”

“These men are not retailers. They do not have shops that cater to the customer off of the street. Please, let me get on with my research. If you wish to continue to help me, just do as I ask and do not worry about me. One would think that you wish to teach the class.”

Margaret remembered a case study her class had dissected and why it failed. She thought how easy that was going to be, but it was like a garden that kept growing. Eventually, weeds sprang up, and before the owner could make adjustments, the weeds had snuffed out his profit. It wasn’t the basic accounting of which she was sure her father understood and the masters, too. It was the anticipation of growth and what to do to about it. If you are not prepared for the volume of work in the next season, how could you increase your business?

 

“Peggy, how are you feeling this evening? Still, have a fever?” Asked Bessie of her mother.

“Yes, I am afraid so. Little I can eat will stay down. Dr. Donaldson says it’s a virus, not a cold and I may be out of sorts for two weeks.”

“Oh dear, how hateful that will be. Well, you know Mary and I can handle the household while you rest.”

“Yes. Knowing that allows me to rest and not worry. Although, there is one thing,” Peggy lowered her voice. “It’s the Master’s Ball. Your father has been looking forward to that. I am sure I will be too weak to attend. Would you be his guest? It isn’t just for husband and wives. It’s for the masters and a guest.”

“Does father dance?”

“He may think he can, and I have told him no different. I doubt he will do much of that with you or even me if I could go. He likes talking to the others.”

“You don’t think he would mind me going in your place?”

“Of course not. He would be proud to have you there.”

“Would it be asking too much to bring a friend?”

“A friend? What friend? A young man?” Bessie’s stepmother brightened.

Bessie laughed. “That would be nice, but no. It’s a new friend I was telling father about. She’s a young lady I met today at the park. I think we’re going to get along very nicely.”

“Is she a working woman?”

“No. She’s from a proper gentleman’s family, but they are not prosperous now. Her mother passed away within the past year, and her father is teaching the masters at the lyceum. I think she said he is teaching willing workers to read and write. Margaret, that’s her name, said she would be willing to teach me if father approves. He shall meet her very soon.”

“Having a new friend all sounds so wonderful. I know how lonely you have been. As for the Master’s Ball, you will ask your father.”

“Does he have any idea that you may not be able to go?”

“We haven’t discussed it. He should know that I can’t and must be holding back any conversation so he will not have to disappointment me.”

“Disappoint you?”

“He knows I will feel bad that I cannot attend with him and he doesn’t want to bring it up while I’m not feeling like myself,” Peggy smiled.

“I’ll talk to him after dinner. Are you ready to have your soup brought up?”

“Yes. Please ask Cook for a cool glass of water.”

 

Dinner was over, and both housekeeper Jane and Cook had left for the evening. John heard a knock on the door and went to answer it.

“Slickson, come in. What brings you to my home at this time of the evening?”

“Thornton, I was passing your mill and decided to stop and extend my thank you and acceptance to Mrs. Thornton’s dinner party.”

“Very good. Can you stay and have a drink?”

“Yes. Not too long, though. Do you have bourbon?”

“I do. Please come up to the sitting room.”

Arriving in the sitting room, Master Slickson walked over and spoke with Mrs. Thornton, while John poured their drinks.

Slickson returned to a chair across from where John sat and took the glass that was offered.

“This will be a nice month for some of us. First the Ball and then your mother’s dinner party. Are you to attend with Miss Waverly?”

“Yes. She is looking forward to it. And you?”

“I know it’s getting close, but I have asked no one as yet. I did tell your mother that I will hope to bring someone to her dinner, and as for the ball, I hope not to go alone there, too.”

“I was quite sorry about the loss of your wife. It’s been two years. How are you coping with that if you don’t mind my asking? I feel it must be a very long time to recover.”

“John. You never recover. It becomes easier as the day’s pass, easier to go on alone, I should say, but you never recover. I can talk about it now. The mill has become my entire life.”

“I’ve heard about some of your improvements.”

“Many of those were wishes of my wife. I now have the wheel to filter the air, as you have probably heard.”

“I have,” John smiled. He saw Slickson pull on his glass and look off into a distant place as if remembering something.

“Oh, I just remembered something I wanted to ask you. Didn’t you take out a Miss Lenore Smithers?”

John felt stunned. That was a name out of his past. She was the woman who broke his heart and then moved away. “Yes, I took her out quite a long time ago. Why do you ask?”

“It seems she is coming back. Whether for a visit or to stay, I don’t know. Her sister is married to my foreman. He asked me if he could have a day off so he and his wife could bring her home from London. I thought you might be interested to know that. You look disturbed.”

John was very disturbed. Was Slickson making him uncomfortable on purpose for some reason or just alerting him to the fact of her pending arrival?

“I know you’ve been seeing Miss Waverly for a while. Figured you would want to know about an old flame coming back to Milton.”

“I appreciate knowing, but there is nothing there. Nothing to concern me with, but thank you, all the same.”

 

 

‘SOLAR ECLIPSE’ GHANDI MOVIE DEPTHS OF DARKNESS

The movie is titled The Gandhi Murder in USA

 

Out yesterday in cinemas around India, Saudi Arabia and United States is historical drama SOLAR ECLIPSE: DEPTH OF DARKNESS, starring ourdear Luke Pasqualino, Stephen Lang, Om Puri and Vinnie Jones. It is a conspiracy theory period movie based on true events, that led to the eventual assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. The movie demonstrates a violent India, at the backdrop of a non violent Gandhi, and hard line fanatic mindsets beginning to grow roots in an India divided on the basis of religion. The feature is a story of three police officers in different parts of India, who, well aware of the intelligence that Gandhi’s life in under threat, must take key decisions that would eventually either save the Mahatma, or the country.

Reminiscence 2019

HUGH JACKMAN TO FALL FOR REBECCA FERGUSON AGAIN!
As Deadline reports today, it seems that Australian superstar Hugh Jackman and White Queen star Rebecca Ferguson will work together

The movie is to start shooting this Autumn

again after The Greatest ShowmanWestworld executive producer Lisa Joy apparently wants to make her directorial debut out of science fiction adventure REMINISCENCE that she has scripted herself.

 

In the futuristic movie, Hugh Jackman will play a private detective and a psychologist who deals in recapturing vivid cherished memories for clients. When a mysterious new female client (Rebecca Ferguson) arrives seeking his help it becomes the beginning of an epic romance but when she suddenly disappears he finds himself lost without her and has to unravel her past layer by layer in order to

Rebecca Ferguson will play the mysterious lady Hugh falls for.

find her. The story is set slightly in the future in a Miami that has been changed by global warming, with much of the city submerged underwater. The project will be offered to major studios next week in Berlin.

Brotherly Love – A North and South Novel with John Thornton – C1

Chapter One

 

Mr. Richard Hale, formerly a clergyman from the southern part of England was beginning to settle into what would seem to be the rest of his life.

Giving up his vocation after a struggle with ecclesiastical doubts, he was persuaded by his friend, Adam Bell, to move to a new location and begin anew. Although, not in harmony with this wife and daughter, he took his friend’s advice and moved the family to a burgeoning industrial city in the north called Milton. He and Adam, a very close alumni and family friend, knew that his strength lay in teaching. Preaching the gospel wasn’t a far cry to teaching from a textbook.

It had been nearly ten months since his wife passed away, shortly after arriving in Milton, when he began to put his heart into his new profession. He was currently teaching poverty-stricken laborers to read and write, in two classes a week, but his income came from higher education sessions which the Cotton Mill Masters seemed to find of interest.

As he walked outside into the crisp night from the Lyceum where he taught, he took a deep breath being exhilarated from his past month’s interest and participation in his work. His lectures were finding great interest and his student body was growing. He offered private lessons and consultations to men who seemed dedicated or interested in one particular area.

Tonight had been a good night. There were twenty mill masters in attendance with lively participation by all. The comraderies of these men surprised him. Although, each a competitor to the other, there seemed to be an “us against the world” brotherhood amongst them. Richard Hale soon learned what both the masters and the laborers were up against in this new machine age and it was difficult times for all.

John Thornton, talking to another master, walked down the steps behind Richard. They both tipped their hats and continued on down engrossed in conversation about the current labor force. Richard Hale thought about the rumor he had heard recently that John Thornton was now betrothed. Being a handsome, successful master, gave pause to Richard in thinking – why has it taken him so long to marry. He might talk with Adam Bell about it someday. Adam was good friends with John even though he wasn’t in the business. However, Adam did have investment interests all through the cotton industry in Milton, even to the point of buying land years ahead of the anticipated expansion. Coming from a very high academic background, Adam Bell was no innocent in the world of shrewd finances.

As Richard Hale walked home, he thought how his daughter would be waiting. With only their housekeeper, Dixon, to talk with, Margaret was living a very dull life for such a young woman. Not growing up in this part of the country she had no friends and there was no one who could recommend her to eligible young men of good character. Richard decided to include some lectures in the future where he could ask her to accompany him and assist in some way. All the men that he had met in his class seemed amiable enough. He did not know who was married and who wasn’t, but she would start to be seen. Richard Hale knew that as pious as he had once been and as lonely as he would be, he had to think of her future now.

 

Margaret, a young woman of twenty-two, sat home waiting for her father. She had pulled out her needlework, which she never really enjoyed as a pastime, but that was all she seemed to have . . . time. No longer having to care for her mother and even her father during her mother’s illness, life was now spent listening to the clock on the mantel. Occasionally, she would go to the library and spend time there reading, as being home every minute suffocated her. Only a year away she had returned home from an extensive, although forward thinking, woman’s school. It was a college and part finishing school to truly round out the industrious and independent woman. Margaret was independent, if anything. Daily, her father, would correspond with friends, read the paper, and prepare lessons. Dixon, the housekeeper, puttered around, complaining under her breath about something or other. It seemed every day brought a new mumbled criticism about Milton or the north end of England . . . the sun never showed itself . . . no friends came or went from the house. Margaret was tired of hearing it all even though she, too, had her own gripes. She had to find something to do, and that be the end of it. Perhaps she could volunteer at the library or was there a bookstore owner who needed help. She heard her father come home when he closed the front door.

“How was your class, father? You seem cheerful.”

“Tonight was a good night. I quite enjoyed myself. It was with the masters, as you may know.”

“No, I don’t believe, I do, father. Are you speaking of the men who own those cotton mills on the other side of town?”

“Yes, those men who are managing wonders with new machines. They bring great fame to the city. Many are educated men, too. They have a head full of knowledge. Not thinking there would be much interest, I placed a small writing in the paper about lectures on various subjects which I thought might benefit or interest a working educated man.”

“And you received interest?”

“Yes, tonight there were twenty paying masters and one or two other businessmen from the railroad.”

“That is wonderful, father. I am happy when you enlighten the masses.”

“Margaret, it sounds like you are under-estimating the intelligence in this city. These are smart men that are steering a new generation, cutting in-roads in machinery that will lead the world forward. Nowhere on earth is there a town of this size doing what they do. Their products outsell every other type of export that Britain has, by a large percentage. Adam foresaw this. Even though he is not in the business, he had the sense to see what it was going to become and invested in land and business property. He is a wealthy man or soon will be.”

Richard removed his coat and kept talking. “Margaret, I know you have had very little knowledge of where we have moved. With your mother growing sick when we moved, you’ve been busy with both she and I. You had the sense to run the family issues as they came up when I could only think of her. I would imagine you haven’t met anyone who you would wish to be friends. Have you?”

“I met a woman about my age and her brother as they walked home from work in the mills. We eventually began to speak with each other rather easily as I followed them near their home. Her name is Wanda, and her younger brother is Samuel. She said they had once lived in the poor section of town, but that doesn’t preclude me from being friendly, does it? I haven’t seen any what I would call class barriers here.”

“And you won’t Margaret. Yes, there is poverty versus the masters, but they do not distance themselves from each other if passing on the street. The industry they are bringing to the world is low pay. The masters don’t make all that much either. They are not getting very rich. They would be considered a well-heeled merchant, but there is nothing like a society or nobility anywhere here. The whole town works for a living. These masters are in their mills every hour of the day. They do not sit home while others do their work. That’s what I find so amazing about these men I taught tonight. One of the masters was leaving to go visit an injured worker of his, just to be courteous but genuinely interested in the man’s wellbeing. Margaret, these people are like none we have ever known. The poor are very poor. And the others are not snobbish or boastful. Which reminds me . . .  I have a lesson coming up next week, and I wish to engage your help.”

“My help?” What can I do for you . . . erase your slate board?” Margaret laughed.”

“With teaching the masters, they absorb what I say, so fast, that even erasing the slate board would help me. But that’s not what I had in mind. I will be spending the week drawing some simple illustrations . . . charts, if you will, on financing for their future workloads and how to spot the trends. Adam has spoken about this often and left me with two textbooks, which I will use. While I am talking, it would help if you could pass the illustrations among the gentlemen there. Or perhaps, if I can make them large enough, you could hold them up in front of the class while I go over them.”

“If you wish me to help, I will, father. I barely have anything to do. Perhaps I could help you draw?”

“Perhaps you can, at that. I will get supplies tomorrow, and we can begin. If you draw, I will be able to put more time into studying. I will look forward to your help.”

“And I shall, too.”

 

The following day, while Margaret waited for her father and his supplies, she took her daily walk, carrying her book, to the closest park. There were a few mothers with their perambulators and one young woman, Margaret thought her to be about her own age. She was sitting on a bench under one of the shade trees, and it appeared to Margaret that she was doing needlework. Margaret decided to sit beside her.

“Miss? Would it be an imposition to sit on this bench while you are doing you handwork?”

“I would very much like the company. Quite honestly, I do not like this hand-sewing that seems all the women must learn to do. I wish I could read; I would love to carry a book here as you do.”

“You find me taken aback. You are a neat and finely dressed young lady. I can see that someone has done your hair this morning, so you must come from a well-established family. You never had the chance for an education? Before you answer that, let me apologize. It is really none of my business. I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“I am not afraid to say that this fine lady learning is new to me.  My father, sister and I have recently come from the mill floors. My father, having a good head on shoulders, impressed a mill master. The master elevated my father to a position of authority and as of last year, made him a partner in one of the mills. Most of our life, we didn’t know where our next meal would come from, but now I am living in this fancy world. I can cook, clean and iron, but I cannot sew, pick out bonnets or fabrics for frocks. I’m sorry, but there it is. This is the person you have had the misfortune to sit next to.”

Margaret laughed heartily. “What a strange but welcoming situation this is for me. My name is Margaret Hale. Please call me Margaret, m’lady.” She giggled.

“It’s nice to be amusing to someone. My name is Bessie Higgins. I used to know many women, some were friends, but now with father’s new position, they’ve all deserted me. I am lonelier with money than without. Why is it that you laugh at me?”

“It’s not you, personally. It’s our situations. My father is a gentleman, my mother was a real society lady that married below her class, and I am educated. But now, we live in reduced circumstances. I have no friends either. We moved to Milton from Helstone, which is in the southern part of England. But since returning from school, I have been engaged in helping father to assist my mother in leaving this world. I am just now getting out of the house. Most of my neighborhood are tradesmen. It’s just nice to see someone my age with a nice frock on,” she laughed.

“This seems like a fortunate meeting for both of us. So is it just you and your father?”

“And a housekeeper. She has been with us all of my life and we could never let her go no matter our situation in life. Father was a clergyman, but he is teaching to workers and masters now. The classes are gauged to their interest and advancement. I could teach you to read.”

“Oh, could you? Really? You would not mind? My father is planning on sending me away, and I do not want to go.”

“I would be quite delighted to teach you. I need something to do. And I can help you with frocks. I do not particularly care for needlework myself. I want to broaden my knowledge of Milton, too.”

“Yes, I know what you mean. Needling is beautiful, but I feel it is just to keep us busy. I know of women that go to finishing schools to learn to be hostesses and to run a household, but how many of them are really educated. Men will stand back if an educated woman speaks her mind. They don’t know whether to admire her or lock her in the cellar,” Bessie smiled.

Margaret laughed along with her. Margaret could feel a friendship beginning to bond. It was like she had taken a deep breath of clean air in this sooty city. “Perhaps we can visit at each other’s homes?” Margaret asked.

“Oh, I do hope so.”

“I know I can find the time and I do not have to ask permission. However, we do not have a carriage. My father has just asked me to help him with his lectures at the Lyceum every once in a while. I know I’ll have to go sometime this week. He is going to teach the masters about financial forecasting. I will be holding charts,” she smiled.

“I know that class. My father and Mr. Thornton, his partner, are attending that. I do believe that’s true. Perhaps, I will attend with my father and introduce you to him.”

“I’ve never done this before. Now I will be nervous knowing someone knows me.”

Both girls laughed.

“Margaret, it has been a very great pleasure meeting you. I have been here for two hours and must be home soon, as I had promised to be. I will see you in a few days at the Lyceum. This has been such a delightful afternoon. Can we give you a lift anywhere?”

“Thank you, Bessie, but no. I love my walks, and I have only just come out today. I hope to see you at the lecture. Goodbye, Bessie.”

Bessie’s driver walked towards her to carry her basket, but Bessie took the time to turn back and wave. Margaret felt a tear wanting to form as she waved back. This was a joyous day. Maybe she would have a life beyond caring for her father and Dixon with a true friend as she aged.

 

Nicholas sat at the dining room table with his wife and children. Mary and Bessie were his own, his wife was Peggy, who he married years after his first wife died. The four other children he had taken in when both parents had committed suicide over their impoverished conditions. Although, Nicholas, once in poverty as they had been, was still in a position to see both sides of the unrest between the workers and the masters and their wages, which was now a benefit where he worked.

“Father, you attended a lecture a few nights ago, did you not?”

“Yes, did you wish to come with me?” Nicholas joked.

“Yes, I would actually. Today I met a young woman of my age, who I believe shall be a good friend to me. She is educated. She comes from a gentleman’s family, who are now living below the life she has always known. Her spirits are high, though. She has offered to teach me to read and help me select frocks and bonnets.”

“And I am to rejoice that someone is taking you under their wing and teaching you how to spend money?” He smiled.

“Oh, father. I think when you meet her, you will see that it not be needed for me to be sent away.”

“And what has that to do with the lecture?”

“Apparently, her father, who must be Mr. Hale, is your lecturer. He has asked her to assist him in his class this next time. I want to introduce her to you.”

“I will always want to meet a friend you are making, but wouldn’t you be bored once the introduction has taken place?”

“Hearing her today, I think she could use a friend in the room.”

“I guess that would be fine. I am sure Mr. Hale would welcome a friend of his daughter’s. You may want to sit away from us as the men will want to be speaking amongst each other. They may not feel comfortable speaking across a woman in their midst.”

“Yes, of course. Women seem relegated to the far ends of everything, but we are not destined to stay that way.” Bessie smiled.

“And just what does that mean?” Nicholas laughed.

“I have no idea, but today was so enjoyable … to actually find a true friend, at least, I hope she will be.”

“With her father being the lecturer, and you say she’s educated, I will make a final decision in regards to sending you away after I get to know her.”

“Agreed.”

 

“Ah…Margaret. I see that you are back. How was your walk?”

“Exceptionally fine today. I think I have met a friend. She is a woman about my age. Her name is Bessie Higgins. Her whole family once worked in the mills, but her father has been taken in as a partner in Marlborough Mills.”

“That’s one of John Thornton’s mills. You’ve met him. Do you remember?”

“I am afraid not. I have met so few people. I am taken surprised that I have forgotten someone.”

“Well, according to you, your unexpected meeting did not go well. When we first arrived and were looking for a place to stay, you questioned one of the flat managers about something. He sent you to Mr. Thornton at the mill.”

“Oh. That man?”

“Do you remember him now?”

“I remember the man. I’m not sure I bothered to remember the name after what I saw in his mill.”

“He’s been here a few times. I guess you were never here to greet him or you were hiding. He’s actually a very nice man. Well respected in this town. Smart, growing wealthy, popular with the ladies and he has quite a high level of intelligence. Don’t judge him too harshly just yet. Adam can tell you more. Enough of Mr. Thornton. You say your new friend’s father is a partner in Thornton’s mill?”

Margaret spoke to her father regarding the little she had learned of Bessie. She mentioned that Bessie may be permitted to come to the lecture with her father so they could meet.

“That will be fine, Margaret. She will be bored as you will be, but you will be busy. Does she know that?”

“Yes. Yes, she does. It was such a grand day. I am really hoping that she will be a friend to me.”

“Margaret, anyone that knows you would be your friend. You just haven’t had the opportunities to meet new people. I know very few myself which has been unfortunate that I cannot introduce you to nice eligible gentlemen. Perhaps this Bessie knows the way of the ladies in this town.”

“I am sure she does not. This wealth came upon them quickly. She went from the milling machine to the park bench in a relatively short time. However, her father should know just about everyone. Are you trying to marry me off, father?” Margaret smiled.

“Furthest thing from my mind, my dear. I would like to see you taken care of with love and protection before I meet your mother. Are you ready to draw?”

 

Kindle Edition  $3.99  US

‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’

 

 

 

 

 

The REAL Ted Bundy

 

 

COURTESY OF HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Zac Efron plays serial killer Ted Bundy and Lily Collins a single Seattle mother he seduces in Joe Berlinger’s film.

Not to say that Zac Efron was born to play Ted Bundy, but the former High School Musical teen heartthrob is more than a bit convincing as the seductive, prolific and diabolical serial killer of young women in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. Venerated documentary stalwart Joe Berlinger, who just happens to also have a four-part Netflix docuseries on the same subject, Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, currently on view, does a cogent, propulsive job putting the appallingly prolific murderer’s story onscreen, and such material customarily finds an interested public.

Largely avoiding the opportunity to exploit the violence of Bundy’s extensive criminal career, during which he killed at least 30 women and probably more in the 1970s, Michael Werwie’s fine, smartly structured screenplay centers instead on his relationship with a young Seattle woman, Liz Kloepfer (Lily Collins), whom he never harmed.

So handsome and charming was this young law student that he didn’t have to seduce women, they came after him, and it made no difference to Ted that Liz had a young daughter. He knew how to treat ladies well, or so it seemed; as it happens, there was an unusual spike in killings of young women in the Seattle area, 1970-74.

With Efron playing him, it’s very easy to believe in Ted’s ability to insinuate himself into the lives of innumerable women. Why he grew so attached to Liz — and why he didn’t eventually kill her — remains unclear. But he did develop a bad habit of getting pulled over at night by the cops, which perplexed him. Worse than that, when he and Liz visited a dog pound to possibly choose one, a very intuitive hound began growling at the young man intensely. It didn’t find a home that day.

Suspicions of something amiss were soon aroused in humans as well. In Utah he was accused and eventually sentenced to prison for aggravated assault in 1976, by which time homicide investigators took an interest in him. Thus triggers a particularly engaging stretch of the film, as the French prison escape novel Papillon becomes Ted’s bible and he eventually busts out of not just one but two jails.

Perhaps Ted’s biggest mistake is ending up in Florida, where authorities revered the death penalty and weren’t about to let the now famous outlaw escape again. “I’m gong to fry you,” a local sheriff promises after Bundy is hit with two charges of first degree murder.

Berlinger attacks the story in a rough-and-ready style only somewhat more refined than what he employs in documentaries, and the approach feels entirely appropriate. It also displays the versatility of cinematographer Brandon Trost, who most recently shot the more classically composed Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Up to this point, Efron’s Bundy been smooth, resourceful and unflappably confident. But in the climactic act, the character and the actor raise their games considerably as the murder trial commences. Far from contrite, he is madly confident and has entirely won over the blind support and love of an old friend, Carole Anne Boone (Kay Scodelario), with whom he manages to find ways to engage in passionate congress within courthouse walls, to the point of impregnating her.

The trial is a dynamite affair, which Bundy takes over after firing his attorney. The trial judge, played with and for great amusement by John Malkovich, fancies himself as a sage and wit. Efron flies higher than ever here, investing his character with an illusory confidence that’s entertaining even when the character and legal charges fully live up to the film’s title.

All along, Bundy has tried to maintain contact with his seemingly genuine love, Liz (whose kid mysteriously disappears from the narrative in the later-going). Where many other women fell for Bundy in the worst way, Liz was able to survive, for reasons that are never explored. Indeed, the psychological aspect of the killer’s prolific career is simply not addressed.

Still, it’s quite a story, which Berlinger moves along with unrelenting energy. He also gets good marks across the board for his work with the actors, an uncertain issue when it comes to documentary makers trying to cross over to the dramatic sphere. The director’s only previous dramatic feature, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, was a creative fiasco, one that put him off fictional stories for two decades. He’s done more than a little better this time.

Venue: Sundance Film Festival (Premieres)

Production: Cota Films, Voltage Pictures

Cast: Zac Efron, Lily Collins, Kay Scodelario, Jeffrey Donovan, Angela Sarafyan, Dylan Baker, Brian Geraghty, Jim Parsons, John Malkovich, Haley Joel Osment

Director: Joe Berlinger

Screenwriter: Michael Werwie, based on the book The Phanton Prince: My Life With Ted Bundy by Elizabeth Kendall

Producers: Michael Costigan, Nicolas Chartier, Ara Kershishian, Michael Simkin

Executive producers: Zac Efron, Michael Werwie, Jonathan, Deckter, Jason Barrett

Director of photography: Brandon Trost

Production designer: Brandon Tonner-Connolly

Costume designer: Megan Stark Evans

Editor: Josh Schaeffer

Music: Marco Beltrami, Dennis Smith

Casting: Neely Eisenstein

Running time: 108 minutes

Knightfall S2

KNIGHTFALL EPIC SERIES SECOND SEASON TEASER PUTS A SWORD BETWEEN TOM CULLEN AND MARK HAMILL!

Although the airing time ain’t any time soon (June, 2019) History has revealed the first teaser for the second season of their KNIGHTFALL epic series showing us Tom Cullen as Landry, the leader of the Templars, and

The new season should start this June on History Channel worldwide
Mark Hamill as a battle hardened Knight Templar veteran of the Crusades who survived a decade of captivity in the Holy Land and is tasked with training the new initiates to the Order. He probably won’t agree morally with

New season will have Spartacus: War of the Damned Aaron Helbing as the brand new show runner and executive producer
Landry who impregnated the French queen, even though she was the wife of his best friend the king, and then watched her getting killed by her husband for her treachery and adultery. The sword in the teaser obviously announces a divide within the order.

THE SECOND SEASON WILL
explore this dark time in history from the Templar perspective, embracing an authentically grittier, darker, and more brutal Medieval period than has ever been seen before. Tom Forbes joins the cast as Prince Louis of France, Clementine Nicholson as his wife Princess of Burgundy, Genevieve Gaunt is his sister princess Isabella of France.