Chapter Forty-Two – A Journey to London
Margaret’s heart thudded frantically as John’s expert fingers undid the buttons of her nightgown, pushing it from her shoulders and down her body. She closed her eyes in pure delight when he began kissing the soft skin of her neck and shoulders, setting it aflame as his lips trailed down to her now full breasts.
“John, we must not …”, she moaned, all the while unable to stop her body from arching into his touch when his hands cupped her aching breasts and his thumbs rubbed her taut nipples.
“Shhh, my beautiful love,” John soothed, “leave this to me. There are many ways to worship your exquisite body.”
Margaret, who was becoming fully aroused, wondered what he could mean! Many ways … oh! Oh! Oh! He was removing her gown and kissing her swollen, sensitive belly!
“John … stop, please … I …”
“Shhh, my precious, don’t fight me, just enjoy. Oh, my darling Margaret, how beautiful you are …”
His strokes became even more insistent now, invading her womanly place with long, deep … oh, God! He was kissing her … there? Yes, he was and … it was incredible! She plunged her hands into his thick sabre locks to steady herself as her arousal built up quickly to take her up, to that peak of delight.
Margaret’s senses suddenly exploded into a myriad of rippling waves of intense pleasure. The sensations rolled over her, again and again, as her tender womanly folds clenched in the heat of pleasure. It took several moments for her to recover her breath, while John stroked her stomach with soothing hands.
“My beautiful love,” he said hoarsely, “do you know how perfectly gorgeous you are? Oh, my Margaret, my sweet, my dearest, I love you so much …”
“John, I love you too … thank you for what you just did, it was magical. But … you, John, what of you?”
Margaret saw how intense her husband’s arousal was and how he was forcing himself to suppress it.
“Do not think of me, my darling, it will pass. We, men, are accustomed to suppress our needs many times over. If I did not lust after you, I would not be a proper man and if I had to gain satisfaction every time I feel the need for you, you would not be allowed to leave our bed all day.”
This made Margaret giggle in delight, for it was a huge compliment her husband just paid her.
The next day Margaret and Dixon took the 9.45 London-and-North-Western-Railway from Outward Milton Station to London Euston Station. They were bound on a five-hour journey of jostling on reasonably comfortable, plush couches with a half way stop in Leicester, so they made themselves comfortable. John returned to his mill, suppressing his distress about Margaret’s departure. The work was huge enough, what with Nicholas Higgins not present.
The events of the past winter and their consequences were yet another thorn in John’s side.
It was extremely difficult for him to accept that his mother and Higgins had taken a romantic interest in each other. He knew very well he was being unfair but still he could not begin to comprehend what the two of them saw in each other. They were so far apart in their social status and their education that John did not understand their mutual attachment. In the summer, they would marry, as soon as his mother had recovered from her ordeals brought on by the treacherous maid Jane. At present, his mother was recuperating in a sanatorium in Cornwall and Nicholas was at her side.
The union man had put all protest aside and ignored the claim of propriety on accompanying his betrothed before they were married.
“Damn it all, John!”, had been his exact words, “I’ll do as I see fit! Hannah needs me by her side and that’s the lot of it! To hell with anyone who dares object to it!”
In his heart, John knew he would have done the same, should Margaret be in similar circumstances. It left him, though, in dire conditions at Marlborough Mills, since Nicholas had proven himself almost indispensable in the running of the cotton factory. Now John was all by himself, as he had been before, were it not that the mill had grown in such a steep way that it now employed two thousand workers. That fact had forced John to build three new sheds for carding and weaving, as well as two new storehouses and a building fit for housing the large maintenance department he had installed.
Consequently, John’s working days were considerably long and hard.
Margaret and Dixon arrived at Euston Station in London at three o’clock and had scarcely alighted from their carriage on the platform when a young, feminine voice called her name. Through the throng of people, Edith came hurrying in their direction. The two young women embraced each other in a hearty welcome.
“Oh, Margaret! I have missed you so much! Let me look at you! You look absolutely radiant!”
“Edith, I missed you too! I am so happy to see you! Are you here all by yourself?”
“No, Margaret!,” the voice of Captain Lennox sounded, “I would not dare let her lose in town without me! She might bring irreparable harm to our capital!”
Margaret kissed and hugged Edith’s husband fondly. Then she saw Aunt Shaw stepping from behind her daughter.
“My dear child!”
With a pang of sorrow Margaret embraced her mother’s sister. Her aunt had grown stouter and her benign face was much more wrinkled than the last time she saw her. Her dark blond hair showed many grey streaks and her step was heavier.
“Come!”, Captain Lennox said, “let us go to the carriage and bring you home. Do not worry, Miss Dixon, John, our footman will see to your luggage!”
Half an hour later Margaret was seated in her aunt’s parlour at Harley Street with a restoring cup of tea in her hand. There was so much to tell and she knew hardly where to begin. So she recounted the events that had followed her wedding day, with the doings of Ann Latimer and later those of their maid, Jane. Unbelief was written on everyone’s faces when hearing this.
“Well!”, Aunt Shaw exclaimed, “I am extremely chagrined to hear that your husband does not take good care of you, my dear! What is he thinking, subjecting you to all this danger and mischief?”
Margaret was about to defend John when a voice came from the open door.
“Yes, Margaret, what does that big lout of a Thornton mean to do about protecting you?