The Lost Northbound Train – Part Seventeen

Chapter Seventeen – Setting Things In Motion

The priest continued in the same, relaxed way, not giving them a chance to recollect themselves after the first shock John and Margaret had suffered.


“I have to dress the old-fashioned way, you know. People in this neighbourhood still feel strongly about every man that holds a position in religion; they want to know him for what he is, no more, no less. Certainly, no less. A priest must look like one. I came here in jeans and leather jacket but I soon changed into traditional garb since I was ignored, even by the few Irish that live here. Now, what can I do for you, my good people? Sit down, sit down. Sharia, my pet, won’t you ask Mrs Trundle if she can serve us some tea, there’s a good girl?”

Betty, noticing the couple’s embarrassment, took over.

“Patrick, this is John Thornton and his fiancée, Margaret Hale. They’ve been staying at my house since a couple of weeks now. They would like to be married, only, they are illegally staying in the country. I know how you dealt with cases like that in the past and I thought you might be able to help them.”

The priest showed no visible surprise or rejection.

“So, you don’t have the necessary documents to prove your identity? Well, you just have come to the right neighbourhood, then. Half the residents are in the exact same position as you are. But, forgive me for asking, Thornton looks like a real British name to me, and so does Hale. What’s happening here?”

The indomitable Betty opened her big handbag and pulled a book out of it.

“Here, Patrick. I think you should have a look at this. Go directly for the back cover.”

How am I to dress up in my finery, and go off and away to smart parties, after the sorrow I have seen today?’


When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill-workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice.

This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man

John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over treatment over his employees masks a deeper attraction.

In North and South Elizabeth Gaskell skilfully fused individual feeling with social concern, and in Margaret Hale created one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature.

John watched the priest as he was reading with sharp attention what was on the page. The absurdity of it all again hit him with considerable force. How was one to explain what had happened to him and Margaret? John wasn’t even sure he understood himself but here he was – propelled forward into time for the span of a hundred and sixty years. It was mind-blowing!

Father Patrick looked up to gaze directly at John first and then at Margaret.

“Look here,” he said slowly, “if you hadn’t come with Betty, I would have taken you for two people who are seriously confused in their minds. People who are so shaken by life that they seek relief in extreme escapism by posing as characters out of a novel. But I have known Betty for ten years now, and she is the most level-headed person I know. So I have no choice but to believe her. You two are the John and Margaret of a Gaskell novel but you have ended up here, not only real but also with knowledge of your past lives or – at least – how this novel describes them?”

“Yes, Father,” John replied in a steady voice, “we were in a train carriage somewhere between London and Milton, in 1852. The train stopped, and we discovered that the carriage, we were in was all that was left of the train. We alighted and found ourselves in the twenty-first century.

Somehow – and do not ask me how for I have no inkling – we must have gone through a time portal.”

Father Patrick nodded.

“Well,” he mused, “it’s certainly very unusual and utterly inexplicable, but there are more things between Heaven and Earth that are also inexplicable to us, mere mortals. You must have been thoroughly shaken by the experience! A time gap of a hundred and sixty years is immense. The changes that have taken place must overwhelm the two of you.”

John smiled and took Margaret’s hand in his.

“Margaret and I are in this together, Father. We draw whatever courage we can from each other’s presence and support. But you are right; we do keep being amazed – and sometimes shocked – by all the unknown new things that we’re discovering. It’s mind-boggling what people have achieved over the years.”

Father Patrick studied the couple sitting in front of his desk with interest. They were so obviously not in their right place, even though they were dressed in jeans, T-shirt and denim jacket. The girl’s hair was a rich, chocolate brown, wavy and thick, and tied in a tail in the nape of her neck but Patrick could easily picture her with her hair piled up on top of her head as was the custom in the eighteen-hundreds. The man’s bearing was full of quiet dignity and strong authority, as was befitting his status as a manufacturer from 1852. They were deeply in love; he could feel the strength of that love in every look they gave each other, in every sweet, yet very shaky smile. They were also very afraid. The force of that fear seeped through their every action and was visible in the depths of their eyes.

“What would you have me do to help you, people?” he asked quietly, folding his hands before him.

The girl spoke for the first time, directing her blue eyes at him.

“We want you to marry us, Father.”


After they had all returned to Betty’s cottage and explained to Jowan where they had been, Margaret wanted Marjorie to go and rest. The young woman’s face was very pale and she seemed exhausted. Betty and Margaret then saw to supper.

“Do you think Father Patrick can marry us, Betty?” Margaret asked.

“No, dear, since you and John are no Roman-Catholics. But he knows a lot of people, and I’m sure he can find a clergyman of The Church of England to perform the ceremony. I was surprised, though, when he said he wanted to read ‘North & South’ first.”

“I am not,” John said, matter-of-factly. “If I were in his shoes, I would have done the same thing. It is of the uttermost importance for a priest to know everything there is about the couple.”

“So you’re really going through with it, John?” Jowan asked, while he sat down and began buttering toast.

“Of course I am. Margaret and I have chosen each other for life, and we want to seal our union for life, also.” He extended a hand to Margaret who took it and smiled sweetly at him.

“I should go and bring Marjorie something to eat,” she said. “She was really tired, Jowan. She’s well up in her second trimester now, yet her nausea spells keep coming up still.”

When she entered Marjorie’s room, Margaret found her friend sitting in a chair in front of the window.

“I brought you some toast and scrambled eggs and some tea, Marjorie. You should be in bed, you know. You need a lot of rest.”

Marjorie swung round to face her, distress plainly on her face.

“I envy you, Margaret. What did John do to persuade you to marry him?”

Margaret put her tray on the dressing table and looked at her friend in astonishment.

“What do you mean ‘persuade me’? John proposed to me a long time ago, you know that from – well, from the film and the book. I was so stupid and stubborn. I did not see what a good man he was and how much he loved me. I have a lot to make up to him, Marjorie, for I must have caused him great sorrow. Yet, he did not stop loving me but kept hoping we would come together. God knows I have kept him waiting a long time, refusing to realise that I, too had started loving him. It is only natural that we should become man and wife, now that we both know we love each other.”

“Yes, but when did you realise that you loved him? What did persuade you that he was the right man for you? What had changed, so long after that first proposal?”

Margaret suddenly found herself blushing with embarrassment.

“Marjorie, I think I was attracted to John from the first time I set eyes on him, in the sorting room at Marlborough Mills. Yet, the attraction turned instantly into revulsion, when I saw him beat Stephens. I remember being troubled for days, after that. I kept seeing his angry face, and the appalling violence he used to punish a worker who was weaker than himself. From then on, I fought the attraction and focussed on the revulsion. John – time after time – confused me when one minute, he was arrogant and cruel and abrasive and, the next minute, he was compassionate and civil. And at some point, he was downright sweet. That was when he broke through my defences, so gradually that I did not see it. After Mason came to tell me John had annulled the coroner’s inquest after the death of Leonards, it suddenly dawned on me just how much he must love me. At that same moment, I realised I loved him too.”

“But he withdrew from you then, isn’t it? He was persuading himself that it would never work out between the two of you.”

“Yes!” Margaret exclaimed. “Oh, I was such a goose, Marjorie! I did not know how to deal with his newfound aloofness, which hurt me very deeply. There were times when I wanted to scream at him, to shout out loud that I loved him! But my upbringing prevented me from doing so. Thank God, we got another chance, at that train station. Now I absolutely know I will never let him go again.”

Marjorie nodded, her face very earnest.

“Maybe I should let Jowan break through my defences too, isn’t it? Maybe it’s time I accepted his proposal, now that we’re going to have a baby together.”


300: Rise of an Empire * Releases March 7, 2014


Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) assembles his troops to fend off an invading Persian army led by the immortal Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and the vindictive Persian navy commander Artemisia (Eva Green) in this sequel to 300 based on the graphic novel Xerses by Frank Miller.

mpaa rating
  • Nudity
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Situations
  • Violence
  • Action
  • Historical Epic
  • War Epic


Official Website

Play Theme Music


Download Theme

Right Click to Download Theme Music


Stalingrad 2013 – releases Feb 28th

!Stalinggrad 2013

A band of Russian soldiers fight to hold a strategic building in their devastated city against a ruthless German army, and in the process become deeply connected to two Russian women who have been living there.

Armenia Oct 10, 2013
Russia Oct 10, 2013
Georgia Oct 24, 2013
China Oct 31, 2013
Lithuania Nov 29, 2013
Poland Nov 29, 2013
Estonia Dec 6, 2013
United Kingdom Feb 21, 2014
Ireland Feb 21, 2014
United States Feb 28, 2014
Serbia Mar 3, 2014 (Belgrade Film Festival)
Serbia Mar 13, 2014

The Lost Northbound Train – Part Sixteen

Chapter Sixteen – Choices


Of course, things were not that simple. To get legally married, first and foremost, you needed an identity. One that you could prove with the required documents, to boot. There was no way John Thornton could prove himself an Englishman, even though he had lived in England all his life. Margaret was in the exact same situation. In 1852, people didn’t have passports or driver’s licences.

John and Margaret thought long and hard about it and discussed it with their friends. Jowan promised to ask around at the hospital’s legal department. These people sometimes had to deal with illegal immigrants. A situation similar to the one John and Margaret were in. The thought was bewildering!


After a few days of fretting, Margaret couldn’t stand it anymore and she went into Leicester after work to find John at “The Green Huntsman”.

There were only a few customers, she saw, and she was glad about it. John would be able to make time for her. In her quiet, sweet way, Margaret greeted Paul behind the bar.

“Hello, Paul,” she said, smiling, “where can I find John?”

Paul Burrows liked Margaret immensely. She was the kind of girl that reminded him of his own Dorothy when she had that age. Dorothy too had been shy but determined when she had something on her mind that she wanted to sort out. Oh, and he could see Margaret definitively had something to sort out! Her little, rounded chin stuck out in stubbornness and her eyes shone with resolution.

“He’ll be in the kitchen, love, discussing menus with Monsieur Robert. Shall I fetch him for you?”

“No, thank you. I will go find him myself.”

Paul watched Margaret as she disappeared through the door leading to the back of the restaurant. She was such an elegant little thing, he thought. Just look at the way she strode through the place. Margaret didn’t just walk, no, she strode, as if she were walking down the aisle of a church. Even in jeans and sneakers, Margaret managed to walk very elegantly.


Monsieur Robert and his new help Malik, a sixteen year old Pakistani boy who tried to scrape enough money to buy himself a motorbike, were busy preparing food for the evening meals. John was nowhere to be seen, and Margaret panicked just a little. She retreated to the pub again, suddenly scared as hell. John … where was he? For some unknown, absurd reason, Margaret had a sudden vision about John gone back to 1852, and she left behind in the twenty-first century. What if he had found a new portal, gone through it and was now unable to come back? The train carriage surely could not be the only way to travel between times, could it?

Like the flood of a river swollen by spring’s melted snow, Margaret felt panic overwhelm her and grab her by the throat. A life without John! She would perish from sheer sorrow! Abruptly she treaded back and bumped into the wall, her knees trembling and her heart thumping. Closing her eyes, she found her mind racing with terror. Sweat broke out all over her body, and she gave a little moan.

“Margaret! Sweetheart, what is wrong? Come here!”

John’s arms engulfed her, and her head came to rest against his hard chest, its top barely brushing his chin.

“John …” she breathed.

“Hey, hey, what has come over you, darling? You’re shaking! Have you hurt yourself? Are you unwell?”

“No … it’s nothing … I’m being silly …”

“Oh, yes? How so? Tell me.”

“I thought you had disappeared to 1852 again without taking me. I know it’s very silly but it looked so real!”

John’s heart turned into water, just at the implication of what she was saying. That he had gone, leaving her behind. Why would an absurd thing like that come into her head?

“My sweet darling little goose, would I ever do such a stupid thing? It would kill me, for sure! A life without you would mean the death of me, Margaret. Oh, you silly little adorable goose!”

He pressed her so close that she let out a small cry of protest.

“John, you will crush me if you continue in that way!”

“Oh, I’m sorry, sweetheart. You had me in a panic, you know? Now, what brings you here, all of a sudden? It is unusual for you to venture into Leicester on your own.”

“I took the bus into town after work instead of returning to the cottage.”

“You … YOU … took the bus? The bus crowded with people, and you were not scared? I’m amazed, Margaret! There was a time when you were afraid of crowds.”

“I was a little afraid at first but I conquered it. After all, people take the bus all the time in 2013. If I am to live here and now, I want to do what other people do.”

She looked up into John’s face with determined gravity.

“If we are to live here, John, I want to be like other people. I want to have a real relationship with you.”

Reluctantly, John released her to rake a hand through his hair.

“Margaret, I am doing all I can to figure out what we can do to get married but those things take time and …”

“I do not want to wait, John. The longer we stay here, the harder it will become, just to be together and not …”

The fact that she hesitated, told John that she wasn’t yet completely sure herself and, more important, that she struggled with the whole blasted situation. So did he. It was so bloody confusing, damn it!

“Margaret, I know that, believe me! Yet, I refuse to let despair overwhelm me. We will weather this, I promise you. Just give me a couple of days, please? If the situation has not become clearer then, we will …”

In sudden passion John took Margaret by the shoulders and looked deep into her eyes.

“I will make you mine, my love. Don’t you know how much I want you, you must know how much it takes me to … just hold back? I am a man, Margaret, and I am deeply in love with the most beautiful woman on earth. Living with you, day after day, under the same roof and not be allowed to love you completely, is torture beyond bearing, Margaret!”

“John …” Margaret whispered, her lovely eyes filling with tears of compassion, “I am so sorry I only made it harder for you … for us, with my whining. Please, forgive me.”

“There is nothing to forgive, my love,” John said and kissed her softly on the mouth.


“Hum!” a voice sounded and the couple leapt with surprise to see Betty standing a few yards away.

“I’m sorry, my darlings,” she said and smiled at them, “but I couldn’t help overhearing. I think I have the solution for your problem, or at least, I know someone who might help. Can you come with me now or haven’t you finished with your work here tonight, John? In that case, I could …”

“No, Betty, no. I could stop right now and come with you. Margaret has finished work already, so she can come too.”

“Splendid! Let’s go then!”

Outside the pub they found Marjorie in her car, parked in front. As soon as they’d gotten in, she drove away and took them to one of the less finer neighbourhoods of town. She stopped in front of a terraced house which must have had better days a century before but was now in a rather shabby state. In fact, the whole street was shabby but it was also alive with the hustle and bustle of people, few of them English. There were shops where women were buying their groceries, bargaining aloud with the Indian or Pakistani shopkeepers, and children were playing and chasing each other in laughter and merriment. Men sat in front of coffee shops, drinking and smoking and arguing, most of them speaking in rapid Arabic and gesticulating ardently.

Margaret was overwhelmed with the liveliness of the place which reminded her of Milton’s Princeton district. It gave her a pang of home sickness, so vivid, that tears filled her eyes. Nicholas and Mary … how she missed them …

However, Betty didn’t give her time to reminiscence much. She told them to get out so that Marjorie could go and park the car.

“Here we are!” she said briskly and banged a fist on the front door, which was badly in need of paint.

It was opened a crack by a little girl in brightly coloured Oriental trousers and tunic.

“Hello, Sharia!,” Betty greeted her. “Is Father Patrick in?”

“Yes, Mrs Betty, come in, please?”

Margaret and John followed her inside a narrow corridor, also badly in need of paint but otherwise very clean and tidy. Sharia opened a door on the left side and gestured them in, announcing them loudly.

“Mrs Betty and visitors, Father!”

“Come in! Come in! Welcome!” a deep rumbling voice in an unmistakable Irish accent boomed. The next moment John and Margaret found themselves vigorously shaking hands with a large man in the black robes of a Catholic priest.

“I’m Father Patrick, pastor of this multicoloured parish. How can I help you, folks?”



BBC Worldwide Lines Up Global Sales For ‘The Musketeers’

BBC One’s period drama The Musketeers is going global. BBC Worldwide has secured sales for the show’s ten episode first season with ADR in Germany, NRK in Norway, TV4 in Sweden, 1+1 in the Ukraine, OTE in Greece and NTV in Turkey.

The deals that BBCWW has struck for The Musketeers come shortly after BBC One renewed the series, which is a co-production with BBC America for a second season and ahead of the drama’s launch to buyers at the 38th BBC Worldwide Showcase – an annual television sales festival in which BBC Worldwide host buyers from around the world in the hopes of securing international sales for the titles on their slate.

The Musketeers is a witty, action-packed adventure series with stunning production values and universal appeal”, said Paul Dempsey, President of Global Markets for BBC Worldwide. “We are proud to be taking it to audiences around the world and the six sales ahead of the series’ launch emphasis BBC Worldwide’s standing as a leading distributor of world-class content.”

Daniel Deronda 2002

Last weeks puzzle: Visitor Jo correctly identified the frame from the Forsyte Saga

 Daniel Deronda 2002


The illegitimate son of a wealthy British aristocrat, Daniel Deronda harbors a secretive past and a ready supply of cash. But when he meets Gwendolyn, a beautiful woman in desperate need of money, things get even more complicated.

Hugh Dancy, Romola Garai, Hugh Bonneville, Barbara Hershey, Greta Scacchi, Amanda Root, David Bamber, Allan Corduner, Anna Steel, Nicholas Day, Jodhi May, Celia Imrie, Daniel Evans, Michael Attwell, Edward Fox
dd gh Daniel-Deronda-30756_11 dd9
Sorry, no trailers for this but the entire 4 episodes are on YouTube