Brotherly Love – A North and South Novel with John Thornton – C26

Chapter Twenty-Six

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John had finished dressing in his eveningwear and walked into the dining room to begin to set his bar. Branson came to assist him since he would be serving. It was about 7:00 p.m. when he asked his mother if she needed any help. He was prepared and ready.

“John if you would look at the table and see if you know of anything missing.”

Thirteen places he counted. Was it an omen with Lenore being the last one added.

He felt a little guilty for not offering to pick her up, but she wasn’t his lady friend, yet he had invited her. With dinner being at 8:00 p.m., people could begin arriving at any time. The crystal, silver, and china were set, flowers and candleholders in the center. He really didn’t know what to call everything on the table, but he figured if it was there, it wasn’t missing. He just knew that where there was one, there should be twelve more. The large silver serving spoons were there, but he didn’t know how many of those were needed. It would have been a crushing blow to his mother if something wasn’t set right, which gave him a sense that the table was ready for the queen.

He caught sight of the place cards and began to walk around the table to ensure there were thirteen. He started at his mother’s end, counted around to himself, where Lenore was next to him. He was anxious to see who would sit next to her. He was stunned to see Miss Margaret Hale seated next to Lenore and then there was Adam Bell. So that’s who his guest was.

His mother came into the dining room. “Mother, you didn’t tell me Miss Hale would be here.”

“I heard you tell Adam to surprise you, so I have kept quiet about it.”

“I feel terrible. I didn’t offer to let her go home early to prepare as Nicholas and I did. God, I feel awkward. I saw her injure her neck on the way home, so I doubt she will be here.”

“I don’t know, John. 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’?”

“I am sure I don’t know any,” He emphasized.

“She will need to find a man that will challenge her. An easy living does not seem to be her future, by choice.”

“I think we have had this conversation.”

“We had a nice talk about how she turned away from the social life that she could have had because she did not care for those people.”

“Is that so?” John asked softly as he stared off into the unknown thinking about his mother’s comments. The remarks felt appealing to him. Someone who preferred to be an uncommon commoner, he thought. He felt some anxiety in his chest.

Hearing his soft voice, Hannah took notice of her son. He was reacting to something. Hannah wondered if he was seeing Miss Hale differently. “John, what is it? Are you thinking of Miss Hale?”

“In a way.”

“What way would that be?”

“Time will tell.”

Hannah went about her business, smiling at her son and his thoughts. She liked Miss Hale, but her son had overlooked her, and he rarely overlooked anyone.

John slowly walked into the parlor and sat down. His mother saw he was distant, intent on some problem, it seemed.

“How did Miss Hale get injured, John?”

“I saw her brother hand her the reins. Suddenly the horse bolted, almost rearing, but didn’t move away. It could be Miss Hale doesn’t understand reinning yet. I tend to think the workers may have spooked the horse since he’s not used to a crowd. I saw her snap back into the buggy and then she fell forward, bending her upper body down on her lap. I went to them to see if I could help. She said her neck was uncomfortable, but that she was fine. I followed them home on my horse and saw her brother carry her into the house. I sent Donaldson over there.”

“Oh, that’s terrible. I’ve known that to happen to one of my friends. If she does happen to arrive, which I hope she won’t try, bring out your desk chair with the high back for her.”

“Yes, I will.”

“There’s the first knock at the door. Who do you suppose will arrive first?”

“My bet would be Fanny and Watson.”

“You may be right.”

 

It was getting late, but Margaret had on a collar which she would remove in the coach, and Dixon was gently working on her hair. She could not bend over to put on her shoes. In fact, her walk was very slow. She knew she could not get away from looking well because John had seen her in distress and even sent for a doctor.

Downstairs, Adam was worried about her. He went out to talk with his driver about a route that would be as smooth as possible. Adam would cradle her in his arms to support her neck during the drive. He asked Fred to get her a bed pillow, too.

 

Nicholas arrived first, and John was quick to ask Peggy how she was feeling. He mentioned he was sorry she had to miss the ball.

“Thank you, John. I’m still a bit weak, but a dinner here should not wear me out much. I doubt we will stay long.”

“I am glad to have you here for any time you can give us.”

 

It was after 8:00 p.m. and the evening was in full swing when Jane answered the door to the final couple, Adam, and Margaret.

Adam slowly assisted Margaret up to the stairs where they were welcomed into the room.

“Miss Hale, I really didn’t expect you, seeing you being injured today. Wait a moment while I get a different chair for you.”

Margaret was doing her best to smile. Adam had her arm through his to give her support. “How are you, Margaret?”

“I’m fine, Adam. Please bring my head home if it falls off.” Margaret began to laugh at her own joke and then frowned with a smile.

John was there with the chair and sat it in the drawing room for now.

“John, we tried to get her to stay home, but she wasn’t having any of it,” Adam explained.

“Here, Miss Hale. Sit here. I must apologize for not telling you to go home early. It wasn’t until a few moments ago that I knew you were going to be a guest.”

“Thank you, Mr. Thornton, please don’t make a fuss over me. I am fine.”

Hannah came over and sat on the edge of the couch and talked with Margaret.

John pulled Adam away and asked him if she was in much pain.

“Yes, she is. It will be worse tomorrow.”

“Did Donaldson make it over?”

“He did.”

“Didn’t he tell her to stay home?”

“He did that too; from what I understand. He’s given her some strong medication to make it through this evening. She would not be dissuaded from attending. Do you think she fears losing her job if she canceled at the last moment?”

“No, I don’t think it’s that, but I will make sure of it in the next day or so.”

Lenore appeared next to John wondering why that woman was drawing his attention away from his other guests. She didn’t feel she had any business asking about her.

John kept glancing at Margaret and watched how stiff she looked. Once in a while, he would catch a wince on her face. This was agony watching her in discomfort. Why? Why did she insist on attending in her painful condition?

“Adam, see if you can discover any information on why she felt she needed to be here. I don’t want her to fear me.”

“I will see if I can find out what you wish to know.”

 

Finally, a small bell was heard which signaled to come to the table. John went to Margaret and assisted her onto Adams’ arm and then picked up the chair.

“Mr. Thornton, you are going to too much fuss.”

“Let me be the judge of that.”

As Margaret peered around the table, she felt that the woman next to her must be John’s dinner companion. People were talking. John was paying little attention to the woman next to him if she was his guest. Margaret couldn’t turn her head but placed her hand on the lady’s arm, which brought her attention.

“How do you do? I am Margaret Hale. I had a slight injury today and am unable to turn my head. I hope you don’t mind if I converse with you this way.”

“Not at all, Miss Hale. My name is Lenore Smithers. Who is your dinner companion? He’s quite the handsome mature gentleman.”

Margaret tapped on Adams arm, who turned her way. “Adam Bell, I would you like you to meet Lenore Smithers.”

Adam reached over and politely shook her hand. “How do you do, Miss Smithers. Is it Miss or Mrs.?”

“It is Miss. Which one of you knows Mrs. Thornton or John?”

“I have known John for many years,” Adam responded. “Margaret here is a new employee of his. As of yesterday, I believe.”

“Oh, really? I knew John quite well in our formative teen years, about ten years ago. I have returned to see what care is needed for my aging father. My sister has been caring for him while I was abroad.”

“You do go back with John, perhaps longer than I. You wouldn’t have been one of his lady friends from back then?” Adam smiled.

Margaret wondered where Adam got the nerve to ask that.

“Quite so, Mr. Bell. I believe I was his first lady friend. He’s still single after all these years. I guess he’s never recovered from me stealing his virtue. I believe I may go down in the Thornton history book,” Lenore smirked.

Margaret was aghast at what she was stating. She felt Adam squeeze her hand.

Adam quickly pulled his dinner napkin and dabbed a small tear that was ready to roll down her cheek. “Margaret, did you take your medication before you left?”

“Yes, thank you, Adam.”

John turned in time to see Adam catch a tear, but he did not hear what Lenore had said. John felt her pain must be getting unbearable. He knew Adam would do what he had to do so he would not intercede.

 

Several maids appeared with platters and tureens and began serving each of the guests. Branson was standing by watching all the glasses on the table. John began talking with Lenore so he could watch Margaret at the same time.

It was a beautiful meal, Margaret thought. She wondered if Lenore would be in the battle of the finishing schools with Anne Latimer. Margaret was not going to participate. There was no more jealousy of Anne showing off, not when John had invited the first love of his life. Margaret watched on as both women ogled John through dinner.  It seemed the fight for him would be relentless. She knew she didn’t have the weapons to compete. Slowly she closed her eyes for a moment and . . . gave him up.

 

Margaret didn’t eat much and only partook of the final tea and passed on the dessert. She tried to look at other people around the table and not watch the other two women battle over the last man on earth. Anne had become alerted to the fact that Lenore must be John’s guest although most couples were not seated next to each other. Mrs. Thornton seemed to be aware of what was transpiring at her table because she casually watched over them and John’s reaction. Margaret began to think he was oblivious, further proof of his ability to disregard such advances. John was a magnificent host, she thought. No wonder he had found his way to the top of this trade quickly.

Margaret had since stopped listening to the conversation. She was glad that Adam was part of the discussion. Lenore must have been listening because she leaned over to Margaret and said, “You know John’s a Magistrate.”

“Yes, I’ve heard that,” Margaret said. She gently turned her head toward John as he was making a point to Adam. He made contact with her eyes. Once again she stared back, trapped, and then she closed her eyes and turned her head away for the last time. It hurt too much. She hoped she could go home soon. Never having been to such a private formal dinner, she did not know what was expected after the meal finished.

“Adam, when is it proper to leave such a function?”

“If you feel bad, we can leave immediately. Otherwise, the earliest would be when people start rising from the table. Can I take you home now?”

“Yes, I feel like I need to lay down.”

Adam stood to speak. “Mrs. Thornton this has been another success in your annual dinners. Miss Hale and I are grateful to have been here. However, it seems that we must leave early this time. I bid all of you enjoy this excellent evening. Please forgive us.”

Hannah and John stood to see them out, as the others wandered into the sitting room.

Adam assisted her into the hall where John was getting her wrap.

“Miss Hale, I am honored you made an attempt this evening, thank you,” responded Hannah.

“Mrs. Thornton is was truly a delightful experience for me. I wish I felt better so I could visit longer.” Turning to John, Margaret said, “I am sorry, John. The doctor is permitting me no work until Monday.”

“Margaret, take all the time you need. Do not rush your recovery. I will be by to see you tomorrow if you don’t mind.”

“Please don’t bother yourself, Mr. Thornton. I know you are busy.”

“I will see you tomorrow. Good evening.” John went ahead of them down the steps to the door. He helped settle Margaret into Adam’s waiting arm with the pillow in it.”

“Goodnight, John and thank you,” Adam bid.

John stood there and watched the coach roll away until it was out of site.

 

Upstairs, Branson was pouring brandy for the remainder, but it looked as if the Higgins’ were leaving as well. John thanked them in the hall and wished Peggy Higgins a continued good recovery.

Watson and Slickson were already in a corner discussing something, leaving their ladies to fend on their own. Latimer kept Anne company, but it seemed as if Lenore wanted to become friends with his mother. John sought out Lenore to draw her attention away.

“How has your evening been going, Lenore?”

“Very nice. The food was very good.”

“Did you get to talk with anyone?”

“Miss Hale introduced herself, and I asked to be introduced to Mr. Bell. It seems you two have been friends for a long time. I told him how far back you and I went. I think I won.”

“You spoke about us back then, did you?”

“Yes. That was a long time ago, John. Who cares what happened back that far. Since he was a long time friend, I told him I thought I was your first ladyfriend. He said I had him beat.”

“Was there anything else?” John was worried now.

“I told him I took your virtue,” Lenore laughed.

“Could I see you in my den for a moment?”

“Do you want your way with me?” She coyly asked. “John, I’ve changed. I’m not like that anymore. I’m not easy.”

John finally grasped her by the upper arm and led her from the crowd. Once inside, he pushed her into a seat.

“Hey, don’t be so rough.”

“Do you have means, Lenore?”

“Why is that your business, John?”

“Well, I am thinking I might sue you for slander. I was wondering how well I might make out. Aside from your embarrassment, which is of great value to me, maybe there is coin to be gained.”

“You can’t sue me!”

“Why can’t I? Can you prove your claim? Even bringing suit against you and losing still holds you up to public ridicule.”

“You wouldn’t do that?”

“I wouldn’t? I will suffer nothing from it. Do you know that whether your claim is true or not, you embarrassed me to a very dear friend? I have to make amends to her somehow.”

“Is that the one who was crying?”

“Which one was that?”

“The one sitting next to me.”

“She was in pain from her injury.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Then you admit you spoke to her with words slanderous to me that you cannot prove.”

“What do you want me to do, John? Apologize? Should I tell her we never spent some beautiful weeks laying naked beside each other? Is that what you want?”

“I want you out of my life. I want you to desist in spreading rumors, you think to be true, to my friends. That is not nearly as hard for me to live down as it would be to you, at least in Milton.”

“So, why aren’t you married. You have to have missed me? Missed our old times. I ruined you for anyone else, it seems.”

“My marriage status is none of your concern, but if you must know something – do know it has nothing to do with you. Do you have a coach?”

“No.”

“Then go in there and thank my mother, and I will have Branson drive you home.”

“Are you sure you don’t want a refresher course in young love?”

“Get out!

John came around his desk in a flash. Lenore scurried for the door. John hadn’t gotten his anger under control when she rushed out of the room.

John opened the door. “Branson!”

“Yes, guv?”

“Take Miss Smithers home.”

“Are you alright, boss?”

“No, I am not. Go on!”

John had never felt such anger in his life. He stormed about his room, trying to calm down until he could leave with some dignity. Of course, he called her bluff, although he could have gone through with his suit if she repeated it. It  wasn’t his virtue or the loss of it that made him angry. It was speaking such words to Miss Hale. He would see her tomorrow and explain. He pulled himself together and left the room with a smile on his face.

All eyes were on him as he exited. He began a new conversation with the closest person, and the room returned to normal, except for the look on his mother’s face.

 

Fred was just escorting Bessie to his coach when Adam and Margaret arrived. He waited and helped Adam assist her to her room. Dixon followed.

“I want to talk with you, Fred when you have time,” Adam said sternly.

“I’ll be a few minutes carrying Bessie home. Will you wait?”

“Yes. Take your time.”

“I believe I will.”

Richard Hale had gone to bed, Fred was out, so Adam helped himself to scotch. He sat on the couch collecting his thoughts.

At Margaret’s young age, Adam believed her to be in love with John Thornton. It was unreciprocated. Even though there was nothing between them more than a working relationship, Adam could see that Lenore’s words devastated her. Being a man, he understood that what Lenore said about John probably happened to most young men. There was no fault with John. It would be hard for Margaret to see it that way or any young woman in love. Adam only understood it as Margaret’s hopes had been high and then found them suddenly dashed upon the rocks. With her physical pain now compounded by her emotional pain, she had rough days ahead. Adam knew he could talk with Fred and leave Richard out of the worry.

 

 

Brotherly Love – A North and South Novel with John Thornton – C16

Chapter Sixteen

 

 

John timidly knocked on the Hale’s door early that evening. Dixon answered the door.

“Is Miss Hale at home?”

“Please come in. Would you care to wait here or in the sitting room?”

“I shall wait here.”

Sitting down with her second cup of tea in her bedroom, Dixon announced to Margaret that she had a visitor.

“Who is it, Dixon?”

“It is Master Thornton, mum.”

“Sis, do you want to see him? I can speak on your behalf.”

“Certainly not. I can speak for myself.”

Margaret smoothed her dress and then proceeded to the staircase. There was a moment that hung in the air as she spotted him, holding his hat. He was looking up at her and walked forward near the bottom step. Margaret felt warm.

“Miss Hale, please forgive me for stopping by unannounced.”

“Please do not bother yourself. We had no plans. Are you sure you wouldn’t wish to be comfortable in the sitting room?”

“What I want is for this to be private so you can make a decision without a lot of advice. Let me speak first, and then you can change where you wish to speak.”

“Would you mind sitting out front or in your coach? My brother may listen in. He’s taking me in hand.”

“I don’t understand. Yes, by all means, let’s take a ride in my coach. Would that be suitable?”

“Yes, I shall enjoy your beautiful coach.”

John opened the door for Margaret and then handed her inside the coach. He spoke with Branson for a moment and then entered the coach himself.

The coach moved, and John began. “Miss Hale before I speak of my reason for being here, let me again applaud your work on behalf of the masters. You imparted good solid information. And that will lead to another discussion with you.”

They were seated face to face in John’s two-benched coach. Margaret didn’t know where to look. It was hard looking into his eyes without staring. It was hot in there.

“Miss Hale, I find myself in a position I don’t care to be in. I am here at the behest of Captain Waverly.”

“Who? Oh yes, your lady’s brother, I think.”

“Yes. That is right. I am not here to plead his case; it is more of an introduction. He will be at the ball and hopes to have a dance with you. He felt he would like to speak with you again before that evening.”

“And he sent you to ask me for another introduction before that night?”

“Miss Hale, please understand I do not like what I am doing. Because I am someone you know in a small way, I was asked to arrange this. It should not place any bearing on your answer. I am feeling quite foolish. It’s warm in here.”

“Do go on.”

“I told him that I was hoping to speak with you soon about employment and there is no change there. It was an idea that came to me where I decided that the four of us should have dinner tomorrow evening. God, I’m making a fool of myself. It was my opinion that you may not want to spend lunch alone with him, which was his suggestion. I do not know the man, so I am giving you no recommendation for him. I wouldn’t wish to speak with you about employment in that situation as it is, but I didn’t want to push you into a situation totally unfamiliar to you. Is any of this making sense?” John heaved a sigh.

“I will agree to that if only to save you from Miss Waverly should you return unsuccessful. I’m sorry. I should not have said that.”

“Miss Hale, above all, do not think that. I care not for any reaction from her regarding this dinner. As I said, I am embarrassed for both of us. However, he is recently retired from the Navy, and I would think he is well schooled as a gentleman. You would not be alone with him, and I would feel better about that.”

“You would?” Margaret asked tentatively.

John smiled at her. “Yes, of course.”

Margaret felt the heat that Bessie mentioned.

“Thank you for thinking of my safety.”

“What did you mean by your brother was taking you in hand?”

Margaret blushed which made John’s chest heave.

“You know he is recently home and knows that I have been caring for my parents, which has left me no time to meet gentlemen. He wants to help me understand the ways of men, and gentlemen and what to expect and other things.” Margaret’s face grew redder.”

“I see. He doesn’t think you can make up your own mind?”

“May I be candid with you.?”

“Yes. I wish all women were like that, but they are not. Please, go on.”

“When we were visiting your mill about the horse, my brother chastised me for seducing you with my eyes.”

“He did, did he?” John laughed inside at her explanation.

“I do candidly admit, and you should be used to this, found you quite handsome and could not pull away from looking at you. It was simply that. He thought I had some intention in my actions and he decided I had to learn what to do and not do around men. Apparently, that was childish. I am sorry.”

John broke out laughing. “Please don’t apologize. Your frankness has been well worth it.”

“I told him I’ve been schooled in such matters and he laughed, telling me I didn’t know the half of it.”

“So you will go through life expecting to experience all your brothers tells you?”

“No. I will always make my own decisions. He hasn’t realized as he grew into a man in the navy, I grew into a woman while he was gone. He thinks me an innocent child, I think. He may give me advice on someone like Captain Waverly, but he doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know women and their emotional feelings. As he said himself, the navy hardly allows time for relationships to begin and build.”

“Miss Hale, you are quite refreshing to listen to. I hate to bring this to an end, but I must relay your answer to the Captain. Would it suit you for us to come by for you at 7:15 p.m.?

“That would be grand.”

“Will this be your first date out?”

“Is this a date?”

John smiled again. Seeing him smile at her, her breath caught.

“Since you will be out without chaperones and in the company of men, I think it could pass as your first date.” John chuckled.

“It’s not exactly the way I had envisioned it would be,” Margaret frowned and then laughed.

“No, I don’t think it will count. We would be part of a foursome. I’ll wait for the twosome to call an evening a date.”

“I think that is best. You wouldn’t want to look back on tomorrow night as a truly memorable experience.”

“I wouldn’t go that far in dismissing it. There are collateral benefits.” Margaret wished she hadn’t said that.

John laughed heartily again but wondered what she meant exactly.

Arriving at the Hale home, John walked Margaret to her door. Her brother was there to greet her.

“Good evening, Fred. Until tomorrow evening Miss Hale. Good night.”

 

Fred followed her to her bedroom asking what that was all about.

“That is my business.”

“You two were alone in the coach.”

“And Branson was driving. Leave me. I must find a frock for tomorrow night. I was invited out for dinner tomorrow night.”

“With the man himself?”

“No.” Margaret liked keeping Fred in the dark.

“Mr. Thornton drove you around in his coach to ask you out for dinner tomorrow evening but not with him.”

“Correct.” Margaret was laying out frocks on her bed.”

“Do you, at least, know this man, who didn’t have the nerve to face you and ask himself.”

“Yes. He wants an introduction.”

“I see. Will you be alone with him?”

“No. Now go.”

“Will you tell me all if I send an apology to Bessie in a note?”

“I’ll see the note first. I will hold it for posting, too.”

“Deal.” Fred left the room.

Margaret looked over all the gowns on the bed. She picked out a few of her finest and put them back in the wardrobe. She pulled out her walking and daily frocks and put them aside, too. That left about six to choose from. Nothing left on the bed was slated for the ball or the dinner. She settled on a pretty but simple frock. She definitely did not want to compete with Miss Waverly. Even though Mr. Thornton would be in attendance with her, Margaret figured John seemed to be a man who did not like airs, either. Perhaps Margaret’s understated frock would find approval by him and less interest by the Captain.”

She went looking for Fred. She found him at the dining room table writing.

“Fred, do men take a big interest in women’s fashion?”

“Sis, that depends on the man. That is an individual taste. I would think, at least for me, if I had a real interest in a woman, I would not like to see her advertising herself to other men. She may think her gentleman likes showing her off, but he doesn’t. Not in that way, anyway. That reflects poorly on the man and his choice of women.”

“Thank you.” Fred taught her nothing new there, but it was nice to hear his thinking. He wasn’t totally fooled.

That night Margaret went to bed remembering some of the conversations by the girls at school. Such tricks women could play. They all weren’t like that, but she felt sorry for the men that stepped out with them.

 

“Dad, I need to confess something,” said a bashful Bessie at the breakfast table.

“This is a first.”

“Well, I know you said you would worry about me now that I will be seeing men.”

“And you have something to confess about that?” Nicholas gave her his whole attention.

“I don’t know what to do next.”

“About what?”

Bessie began the story of her visit to Margaret and Fred working on the roof of the stable. She told her father and Peggy the statement she made about how she felt, although she left out the warm feeling part. She said she ran when she realized he had overheard her and how she felt she couldn’t show her face there anymore. Bessie caught the smiles between her father and her stepmother.

“Nicholas, Bessie and I will have a chat later.”

“Let me give you my thoughts. What you felt is natural and healthy. What you said to another female, even the sister, in confidence is also normal. Being overheard is embarrassing for you. And I will leave the rest up to Peggy. Thank you for letting me know. I will always be here for any discussions about men and women.”

 

At the Hale house, Margaret was discussing her eventful day, yesterday, and her night dinner coming up.

“Margaret, how fast things turn around,” smiled her father. “Who is this dinner with?”

Margaret told her father the whole curious story. “You understand, father, that I don’t feel this is a date.”

“Yes, I can see that. Hmm… a Captain in the Navy. Does Fred know of him?”

“I never asked. I believe he saw him at the lesson, but I don’t know if he heard his name. Where is Fred?”

“He’s gotten an early start on what is shaping into a stable. I think the horse and buggy come tomorrow.”

“Really. How exciting. Sunday, after the ball, I shall have Fred start teaching me. I’m going to go see him now. Excuse me, father.”

Margaret was full of smiles as she walked up to Fred. “Father says the horse comes tomorrow?”

“Yes, he does.”

“Does he have a name or do you rename him?”

“I don’t know if they learn their names as a dog would, but I am not changing it.”

“So, what is it?”

“It’s Max.”

“I like that. Max! Will you teach me on Sunday? I will have busy days until the ball is over.”

“About yesterday and last night …” Fred was interrupted.

“Did you write the note?”

“I did.” Fred wiped his hands on his pants and pulled the note from his pocket.

“Fred, I was going to ask if I could read it, but I am not. That is your business, and no matter what you wrote in here, that’s between you and her. So, I am going to seal it.”

“Fine. Thank you.”

“I will see Mr. Thornton tonight, along with Miss Waverly and her brother the Captain. I will hand Mr. Thornton the note to give to Mr. Higgins tomorrow.”

“I’d rather it went post today.”

“I will set it on the post tray in the hall.”

“So, the Captain is it?”

“Yes. Father asked if you knew him from the Navy.”

“What’s his name?”

“They call him Kit, but Captain Waverly is all I know.”

“Waverly?  Waverly? The name sounds familiar, but I never saw him.”

“No matter. He just may not want to see me a second time when he finds out what my brother has done,” she laughed.

“That may be truer than you think. I hope not for your sake.”

 

Adeline Waverly was bringing out her jewels and asking Kit which would look better with what she was wearing. He said they were all nice. He didn’t want to be subjected to this fashion show any longer. The one nice thing about the Navy was that you have very little to choose from. His retirement wasn’t quite official yet, and he could have worn civilian clothing, but he hadn’t bought any.

There was a knock at the door, and John Thornton was shown into the room.

“Good evening Adeline, Captain.”

Kit stood and shook his hand. “Once again, I want to thank you. I wish I had more knowledge of how introductions work. They have been rare for me.”

“I must admit; I did feel a bit uncomfortable. To be honest, I do not know you and could not recommend you personally to Miss Hale. But your rank puts most unknowns at ease.”

“I understand. Thank you for being honest.”

“Adeline, you are most beautiful this evening.”

“Thank you, John. Anything for you. I do not want Miss Hale to catch your eye this evening. I know she has your attention.”

“Yes, she does. I have decided not to speak to her about employment this evening. I wish nothing to detract from your brother’s pursuit.”

“Pursuit?”

“I think a Navy man would understand that.”

“He would, indeed,” replied Kit. “However, her manifest must be examined.” Kit laughed.

John thought that was a very rude remark, even to another man. It sounded like he was only interested in her innocence. He would most likely ensure her chastity was listed. John began roiling inside.

“Were you not astonished at her lesson the other night? Apparently, she took her education in a new direction than most women.”

“Yes, yes, a charming woman.”

“Captain, you do understand that she is a young lady.”

“What are you trying to tell me, Thornton?”

“Oh, John. It’s worthless talking to him about women and ladies. He thinks we’re all alike.”

“As in the women that might be waiting on the docks at a port?”

“Oh, come, John. Let’s not get into that in front of my sister. I will treat Miss Hale with all due respect unless she shows me differently.”

“She is quite naïve and may mislead you, unknowing of her actions,” John remembered her story of the staring.

“John, why are you demeaning my brother and defending a woman, a lady. Is there something I should know?”

“No, Adeline. I spoke with her last night which I considered our first conversation. She asked if this would be called a date as she’s never been out with a gentleman. I would want the gentleman to understand that and handle her differently than the women he usually associates with.” John stared at Kit.

“I understand you, sir. I did not need that sermon.”

“My apologies, Captain. Shall we go?”

John felt better for having said that but it would be a while before he calmed down about his manifest statement.

 

 

The English Game – 2020 on Netflix

‘THE ENGLISH GAME’
JULIAN FELLOWES FOOTBALL ORIGINS SERIES AT NETFLIX
While his fans are waiting for Julian Fellowes to finish shooting the movie version of Downton Abbey, and while we are waiting for the production on the small screen adaptation of his own Napoleonic wars set novel Belgravia to start in United Kingdom with Alice Eve as the lead, and while he is also preparing The Gilded Age epic TV saga at NBC, he has finished casting for another new period set television series of his, but this time something more for men! THE ENGLISH GAMEwill be a six part series set in the late 19th century and will describe how the world’s most popular sport of football crossed class lines and became a worldwide phenomenon despite its humble beginnings on the pitch at London’s Limes Field!
Edward Holcroft will lead The English Game
THE LADS IN THE TEAM  
To air sometime next year (2020) at Netflix, the series will have dashing Edward Holcroft (whom we watched in period set series Wolfhall, Gunpowder, Alias Grace and also as Ben Whishaw’s gay lover in London Spy) as the lead star of

Craig Parkinson, Henry Lloyd Hughes and Kevin Guthrie

the team which, back then, included both Etonians and factory workers! The cast also includes Craig Parkinson, Kevin Guthrie and Spanish Princess

Gerard Kearns, Ben Batt and Daniel Ings will also star!

herself Charlotte Hope! They will be joined by James Harkness, Jamestown’s Niamh Walsh and Ben BattGerard Kearns, Daniel Ings, Les Miserables’ star Henry Lloyd Hughes, Kate Phillips and Downton Abbey‘s Joncie Elmore.

The Luminaries

FIRST LOOK AT EVA GREEN

BBC 2 has released the first photo of Eva Green from their new six part period set series THE LUMINARIES which also stars Eve Hewson, Himesh Patel, Ewen Leslie, Marton Csokas, Erik Thomson, Benedict Hardie, Yoson An!

Network: United Kingdom BBC Two
Runtime: 60 minutes
Status: In Development
Show Type: Scripted
Genres: Adventure Mystery
Eva Green takes one of the lead roles in the new series

Set in the 1860’s years of New Zealand’s Golden Rush it follows defiant adventurer Anna Wetherell (Hewson), who has

The series is based on Eleanor Catton’s book of the same name

sailed from Britain to begin a new life. There she meets the radiant Emery Staines (Patel), an encounter that triggers a strange kind of magic that neither

The series is currently shooting over at New Zealand

can explain. As they fall in love, driven together and apart by fateful coincidence, these star-crossed lovers begin to wonder: do we make our fortunes, or do our fortunes make us?

Miss Scarlet and the Duke (series)

FIRST LADY DETECTIVE IN THE 19TH CENTURY LONDON
A+E Networks International has officially ordered new epic series MISS SCARLET AND THE DUKE in which Kate Phillips will play the first ever female detective in 19th century London! The six-part mini follows Eliza Scarlet

Network: United States A&E
Runtime: 60 minutes
Status: In Development
Show Type: Scripted
The six-part saga shoots this June in Ireland!

When her father dies, he leaves her penniless in a time where marriage is her only option for financial security. But the headstrong Eliza is determined to find another way. Luckily, she has an ace up her bonnet – her father’s business – a private detective agency. Eliza knows all the tricks of the trade but as a genteel 19th-century lady she’s never been allowed to put them into practice. To operate in this man’s world, she needs a partner. Step forward Detective Inspector William Wellington of Scotland Yard, who is also known as “TheDuke”, drinker, gambler and womanizer. Eliza and The Duke strike up a mismatched, fiery relationship that will crackle and smolder with sexual tension as they team up to solve crime in the murkiest depths of 1880’s London.

Brotherly Love – A North and South Novel with John Thornton – C5

Chapter Five

 

Bessie and Margaret were looking through her wardrobe when they heard a commotion at the door. Both ran down the stairs fearing what was going on.

“Fredrick! Margaret ran into his arms as he let go from shaking his father’s hand.

“Sis, you have become more beautiful. How are you?” He lifted her and twirled her around.

“We shall talk about that later. I would like to introduce you to Miss Bessie Higgins. She is a new friend of mine.”

Fredrick bowed, sweeping his Regimental hat to the floor.

Bessie laughed quietly, not knowing if he was serious in his manners or just happy to be home. “Very nice to meet you…I’m sorry, I don’t know your rank.”

“Just call me Fredrick, if you please. May I call you Bessie?”

“Yes, you may,” Bessie said, beaming with smiles. “I shall leave and let all of you talk. I will be in touch Margaret, hopefully before your next lecture.”

“We must talk before then. Yes, come by tomorrow if you have a coach.”

“I will try. Good day, Fredrick, Mr. Hale. I shall see you soon.”

Fredrick bowed again. Margaret was a bit taken aback seeing her brother with such manners.

“Please someone, find me a drink. I am dying of thirst,” uttered Fredrick as he entered the drawing-room with his father.

Margaret and Dixon went off to the kitchen.

Margaret saw to it that cook fixed him a plate. She knew his journey had been far with probably little to eat.

 

“Good evening, Mr. Thornton. Please come in,” said Adeline’s doorman.

John handed him his hat, walked into the drawing room and poured himself a drink. There would be a small wait. John wasn’t sure if Adeline was of the opinion that she should be late all the time as if it was some social rule written somewhere or she was a tardy woman. He had taken to fixing himself a drink, which would be finished by the time she came into the room. So, he waited.

“Good evening, John.”

John stood and walked towards her, giving her a light kiss since they were alone in the room. “You look lovely as ever, my dear,” he commented.

They sat together on the couch for a few minutes before leaving for dinner.

“I had some good news today,” Adeline announced.

“And what was that?”

“My brother, Captain Waverly is now retired from Her Majesty’s Service, at his young age, and is returning to live with us while he decides what he wants to do. He’s very well situated now. I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds interest in the mills. He shall be here early next week.”

“You seem very happy about this. I take it you two are close?”

“Yes, all of our lives. I’ve missed him these eight years. I would think he is your age or a year or two older.”

“What is his name?”

“His name is Christopher, but we call him Kit. Is it hard for a gentleman to meet young ladies in this town?”

“I met you, didn’t I?”

“Yes, but I was introduced to you at a restaurant. I have no idea where single ladies and gentlemen meet.”

“Well, I know one single woman he could meet. If he would care to come to the ball as my guest, I can introduce him to my partner’s daughter. And if I was paying half attention to him this morning, he is going to bring Miss Hale, who taught our class the other night. I have yet to tell you that story.”

“You think we could bring him with us. He may want to dance with me until he meets people. He’s still in uniform, too.”

“That will draw the lady’s attention, I shouldn’t wonder. Those naval dress uniforms are most handsome indeed. This is our annual Mill Master’s social event where proper men and women can meet without fear or expectations.”

“Are we a proper couple, John?”

John stood, pulling Adeline toward him. He placed his arms around her waist and kissed her again. “I think we are a proper couple for the time that we have seen each other.”

Adeline laughed. “So, I am proper?”

“You couldn’t be anything else. Shall we go?”

 

Dixon was invited to the family table to eat that evening. They left an empty chair in honor of Mrs. Hale. Fredrick hadn’t made it home for her service. He felt ill during dinner as the impact of her not being there took over him. Eventually, as the hours rolled on, it was just Margaret and her brother talking until midnight.

“Margaret, are you seeing a gentleman at the moment?” Fred asked.

She blushed. “I should think that is not your business,” she giggled.

“I see. Well, I will take that as a yes then. I am your older brother, and one of my duties is to protect my sister from the men that are out there. I hope he treats you well and is good for you. If he ever puts pressure on you too, well . . . you know, tell me. I’ll handle him.”

“Fredrick, I am sure I do not know what you mean,” Margaret turned away. She was playing with him.

“You have, haven’t you? He had better marry you. Who is he? I will talk with him since father probably doesn’t know.”

Margaret finally faced him laughing hysterically.

“I hope that laugh means that you were jesting. You are still virtuous … aren’t you?” Fred asked tentatively.

“Fred, you leave us for four years, and you expect nothing to have changed when you return. Are you still virtuous?” She smiled.

“Of course not. I’d be a laughing stock. But, different from you, the Navy is never in one place long enough to form close acquaintanceships. Then I was jailed for eight months. You do know that we men, all men, have far more physical needs than a woman, or so I am told. Most of the time, we have to purchase our requirements.” He chuckled.

“How old are you? Twenty-six?”

“About that.”

“And penniless, I would imagine. Has that need lessened any as you’ve matured?”

“You sure seem to be interested,” he paused. “I know. I know. I am the only one you can ask. The need has not lessened and maybe never will, but the control improves.”

“Control?”

“Do you have a gentleman or not? I should be asking you questions and then telling you what’s happening,” he smiled at his sister.

“I believe I am on the verge of meeting nice gentlemen. I have no idea what to expect or how to act. I just recently met Bessie, and she is the same as I. We’re going to begin being seen in public. Next, we are going to attend the yearly Master’s Ball. However, we are going with her father.”

“How did you get an invitation?”

“Bessie’s mother is temporarily ill at the moment, so Bessie is taking her place and has gotten permission to bring me with her to keep her company as her father walks the tables. It is an affair only for Masters, their foremen, and guests.”

“I might like to get to know this Bessie a little better. No promises and don’t go singing my praises or boast about things that are not true. I have never slain any dragons and don’t own a white horse any longer.” Fred laughed.

“If I have her over more often you won’t pressure her in any way, will you? She will make up her own mind. But remember we are novices that can be easily swept away.”

“I am still an officer and a gentleman. Any pressure as you call it will come from her and there will be a discussion beforehand. I certainly do not want to ruin her reputation.”

“I trust you, my brother. Remember when you were going to catch me as I jumped from that tree limb. You stepped back and laughed as I splatted in the mud.”

“Will I never live that down?”

“Perhaps, but I have a list of those trusting moments when my big brother was my protector. How long are you here for?”

“Indefinitely. I will return in three months to be officially pardoned and relieved of my commission. I’m here to help with the chores and may even find work until something changes my mind.”

“I guess that is a discussion for tomorrow. Father would be interested in it, too. I think it’s time for bed.”

“You go on. I want a quiet, reflective time to walk the house.”

“I understand.”

“See you for breakfast at 8:00 a.m.”

“Goodnight, sis.”

 

It was 8:00 a.m. and the three Hales were seated at a proper English breakfast. The food was laid on the buffet, and they served themselves. It wasn’t a normal routine, but because Fredrick was home, they wanted a treat.

“Father, are you still lecturing? I see all those papers piled up over there.”

“Well, I have been until your sister took over a class a few days back. But I am also teaching the poor how to read and write.”

“What’s this?” Fred turned to his sister.

Margaret started at the beginning and told him everything. She began with how she looked at father’s notes all the way to coming home unconscious.”

“And you still have another lesson to give,” Margaret was asked.

“Yes, at least one. It could be two. Like father says, those masters can go off in another direction and use all of the class time. I had just met Bessie the day before. She was such a dear to come and give me support. Her father was in the class.”

“Perhaps I could attend the next one and see my little sister brave the elements of public leadership.”

“Oh, it’s nothing like leadership. It’s teaching.”

“But you still have to stand in front of a crowd and talk about difficult things.”

“Stop it, Fred. You’re going to make me nervous again.”

“I’ll stand in the back and do things to make you laugh.”

“Father, tell Fred he cannot attend.”

Mr. Hale smiled and shifted his shoulders, which meant he was staying out of it.

“I bet you want to attend so you can sit next to Bessie.”

“Would she sit with me; do you think?”

“She will sit away from the masters, which I imagine you will, too.”

“I think I will go out today and look for a horse and small trap so we may get around this growing city. How have you managed in the past?

“We’ve rented when we had to, son. Our finances are not what they were before you left.”

“Well, I have money saved, regardless of my sister saying I am penniless.

“How about you coming with me, Margaret. I have no idea where I am in this city. Perhaps our coachman can recommend an honest tradesman for a trap and horse.”

“I shall be delighted, Frederick. Father, are you interested in going?”

“No, you two young people have your day at it. I would suggest though that you look over that old building in the back. I know it’s for a small horse and carriage, at least that’s what the landlord said. But having no use for it, I do not know if it is sound. We didn’t bother inspecting it when leasing here.”

“Very well,” said Frederick. “I shall look over the building while my sister prepares herself.”

“Do I not look prepared, brother?” Margaret feigned embarrassment.

“You look lovely as always, but do know we may be traipsing around where horses are stored. I don’t think you want that frock brushing the ground.”

“Oh!” Margaret glanced down at what she was wearing. “I see. Maybe I shall put on an older frock.”

“And don’t forget some old shoes.”

“Yes, and those, too, I would imagine.”

“What shall you do father?” Margaret asked.

“I shall have plenty to do. I believe your lecture should only take one more lesson so I believe I may get an early start on the lecture after that one.”

 

Margaret and Fred excused themselves from the table and headed toward their current chores.

Fred went out the back door and looked around. He thought to himself that Dixon was probably the only person to see this part of the property. There was an old dilapidated privy that should be torn down. Around the perimeter stood brick walls separating each dwelling from the next but open to the back road. He headed towards the apparent stable if that was what one called a building for a city horse and trap.

Meanwhile, Margaret found her old smock that she kept for such occasions. In Helstone, she wore it to work in the flower garden. She had no use for it since moving to Milton.

“Shoes, shoes, where are some old shoes,” Margaret asked herself. Most of her mother’s clothing was still in the house. “Perhaps mother had an old pair of shoes.” Looking into the wardrobe in her mother’s old room, which would now be Fred’s, she did find some lace-up lady’s boots. They were very old indeed. Margaret had never remembered seeing her mother wearing them. She thought they may be 50 years old. They would do nicely. Back to her room, she went to change.

Looking like a vendor merchant that hawked their wares in front of their apartment, Margaret descended the stairs. She thought how she must look, especially after she put on her fine bonnet. She knew her father would never say anything, so she walked to the back where Fred was still working.

“Fred,” she shouted. She didn’t see him.

“I’m up here – checking the roof. I don’t think I am taking you anywhere looking like that. I have a reputation to uphold.” He started laughing, almost dislodging himself from the roof slant he was so precariously perched upon.

“Frederick Hale! You told me to wear old clothes,” Margaret said as she stamped her foot in a mock childish manner.

“It’s that bonnet, sis.” Fred laughed even louder. “How about no bonnet at all. At least, you will complete an image that doesn’t stand out to people around you. You look like a peasant whose wealthy aunt felt sorry for her and bought her a church bonnet.” Fred slid down a ways and then jumped to the ground. Catching up with his sister, he saw she was laughing.

“Alright, brother – no bonnet. How does the shed look?”

“Shed, is it? Wasn’t sure if it was supposed to resemble a stable.”

“Well, we’ve always called it a shed. If you put a live horse in there, perhaps we can call it a stable.”

“A nail here and there should keep it from collapsing on the horse and killing it.”

Margaret, as she remembered being teased, pushed Fred away from her side. “Fred don’t talk like that. You’re not in the Navy anymore. There will be people about that don’t know you as I do.”

“Dear sis, after being in the Navy, you don’t know me at all, now, either. My soft round schoolboy edges have been chiseled into a hard fighting man.” Fred laughed at himself.

“Wasn’t there supposed to be some gentlemanly conduct taught to you?”

“Yes, but the jail quarters drains that from you.” He paused when he saw his sister’s face become saddened.

“Sis, I am only kidding with you. I have been molded as an officer with intelligence and learned the conduct of a gentleman. I just like to unburden myself to you and make you laugh. Do you know how rare that has been for me these last four years?”

“I was worried there for a moment, but now feel better. Please no more talk about killing a horse, though. Did . . . did you see death while away, I mean in the Navy.”

“Yes, I saw some – more from being at sea too long and shipmen becoming ill. There was the occasional pirate ship that had to be stopped. Now, that was scary. Luckily, my defensive skills kept me alive.”

“Defensive skills?”

“Yes, I was excellent at hiding in my bunk.”

Margaret started to push him away with a laugh, but Fred put his hands up to stave her attack. “Now, I didn’t say anything about a killing a horse.”

They both laughed and returned to the house.

 

Fred went to his father and discussed what he’d found outside while Margaret went back to her room.

She sadly put away her nice bonnet. She hadn’t worn that since coming to Milton. Finding her flat-brimmed brown straw hat, the one that reminded her of a serving platter, she popped that on her head and was ready to leave.

Fred and Margaret walked up the walkway to where rental cabs and coaches could be more readily found.

While waiting for one to pass by, Margaret asked, “Where will you ask the coachman to take us?”

“To the Horse and Buggy shop. Where else?”

“I’m not so sure I have seen such a place, but a coachman would know if there was.”

Finally, a fare was attained after many a cabby had passed them.

“You do know why it took us this long to catch a ride, don’t you, sis?”

“I was surprised. It usually doesn’t take us that long. What is wrong with this time?”

“It’s your manner of dress and that hat. They are not sure they’ll get paid.”

“Oh Fred, stop it,” Margaret said giggling.

“I’m serious this time.”

“You are not.”

“Yes, miss, I am serious. Fetching, you are not.” Fred laughed.

 

Finding little of offerings where they were driven, Fred asked to go to the next place.

The coach driver told him in all seriousness, “Sir, we just don’t have places that sell both. They are purchased, horse first and then buggy. However, I do know of a private coachman that knows every horse and buggy and what’s for sale, in this town.”

“Can you take us there?”

“I have no idea if he is out with his master, but I can take you there.”

“If you would be so kind, thank you.”

 

Before she knew it, Margaret noticed they were entering Marlborough Mills property.

 

 

Victor Hugo (series)

‘VICTOR HUGO’ MINI SERIES
ON LES MISERABLES WRITER
Victor Hugo is a four episode mini series

One of our favourite production companies Beta Film has a new historical series VICTOR HUGO! 1848, Paris under Siege: Victor Hugo (Yannick Choirat) is torn between his family, his mistresses and political turmoil – never mind finally completing his classic novel Les Miserables. Although Hugo is a confirmed Royalist, he supports the Republic and Louis Napoléon Bonaparte (Stefan Konarske), who is soon to become president, convinced that he will initiate social reforms. But when the new government is formed and Hugo is overlooked for office, he realizes that he has been used. Furious at the

The series aired last November in most of the French speaking countries

deception, he and his sons launch a daily newspaper to give the people a voice. Nor is it less chaotic on the home front, as he is juggling his love life between two mistresses and his long suffering wife and mother of his children. When

The full title of the series is Victor Hugo Enemy of the State

Napoléon seizes power and his sons are jailed for insurrection, Hugo insists that his wife and daughter leave Paris, where he remains, devoting himself wholeheartedly to the resistance. Openly denouncing repression, he is declared Enemy of the State and has to face disgrace and exile.