Chapter Two – You Do Not Seem Worthy to Me
“Mother!” choked John, his voice giving way with shock.
Margaret witnessed the acute distress on John’s pale face and felt deeply sorry for him. It was imperative for their future relationship’s sake that she and Mrs. Thornton would go on well together. John needed a home where he could be at ease after the long day’s work at the factory.
Hence she stepped forward and took Mrs. Thornton’s hands in hers.
Hannah startled but did not pull away as she was all too aware of her son’s avid gaze on her.
“Mrs. Thornton,” Margaret pleaded, in a soft subdued voice, “I know I am not the woman you had in mind for John, but I’m asking you for your blessing upon our union. I have long befooled myself in my feelings for him but now I cannot deny any longer that I love him dearly, Mrs. Thornton. I love him with all my heart, and he loves me. Please, Mrs. Thornton, allow me to be your ally in making John happy as he fully deserves after all he has been through.”
Something shifted in Hannah’s heart and mind. Suddenly she realized that Margaret had spoken the truth. Margaret deeply loved her beloved son, it was in her eyes. Hannah looked at John and saw the sorrow on his face. No, she thought, she would not add another one to it. She looked Miss Hale straight into the face and spoke quietly.
“I promised your dying mother I would guide you, although it was against my nature to do so. You did not take it lightly, when I tried to warn you about your conduct at the train station.”
Margaret couldn’t help herself and vehemently reacted. “I have apologized to you for that!”
“Yes, you have!” Hannah continued in a more friendly voice. “However, the fact is that we do not go on well together and never have. We are too similar in character and temperament. But, Margaret, for John’s sake we will join forces and get to know each other better. You have my blessing, child, make my son happy, that is all I wish for.”
John gasped with relief. He gathered both Margaret and his mother into his arms, embarrassing them but then, he didn’t care, he was too happy.
Fanny Watson’s fury exploded in that one word, frightening Jane by the vehemence of it.
Jane had left the Thornton’s house after she heard what had been said in the parlour. She hurried to Miss Fanny’s house as quickly as she could to inform her of Mr. Thornton’s impending marriage to Miss Hale.
“Yes, Miss Fanny, it is true! I’ve heard it all, and your Mama has given her blessing to their union.”
Fanny gave an unladylike snort.
“Ha! She would, wouldn’t she? She always preferred John over me and she condones everything he ever does!”
Her cornflower blue eyes narrowed while she was playing with the big diamond ring on her finger, a sure sign that she was brooding over something.
After a while she smiled a wicked little smile and took Jane’s limp hand in hers.
“Jane, you have done well. You must continue as you do now and tell me everything that’s going on in the house. I will reward you well. For now, I want you to do something for me.”
She went to the pretty little French escritoire in the parlour corner and sat down. Swiftly she scribbled down a few lines on a piece of paper, folded and sealed it. She gave it to Jane and said in an urgent voice.
“Take this to the house of Mr. Latimer, the banker, but make sure you give it to Miss Latimer in person. She must give her answer in return and you have to bring it to me right away.”