Jane Austen’s Unfinished Novel Sanditon Is Heading to TV

Masterpiece PBS is co-producing the author’s final work, so you know it’ll be good.

Sanditon

COURTESY OF MASTERPIECE PBS

Jane Austen’s final, unfinished novel Sanditon is being adapted for the small screen. Written just months before the author died in 1817, the story centers around Charlotte Heywood, her unexpected trip to a posh coastal resort town, and her relationship with a handsome young man named Sidney Parker. Austen only finished eleven chapters of the story, but her original text has been extended into an eight-part miniseries

Here’s what we know about the project so far:

ROSE WILLIAMS AND THEO JAMES WILL STAR IN THE SERIES.

Other members of the cast include Anne Reid and Kris Marshall.

THE FIRST PHOTOS FROM THE MINISERIES ARE FINALLY HERE.

See a sneak peek right here:

Sanditon PBS

THEO JAMES AS SIDNEY PARKER.

COURTESY OF MASTERPIECE PBS
Sanditon

ROSE WILLIAMS AND THEO JAMES STAR IN THE UPCOMING ADAPTATION OF JANE AUSTEN’S FINAL UNFINISHED WORK.

COURTESY OF MASTERPIECE PBS

THE TEXT IS BEING ADAPTED BY SCREENWRITER ANDREW DAVIES.

You may not know Davies’s name, but you certainly know his work. He’s written a number of television programs and movies including House of Cards and Bridget Jones’s Diary, but we like to think of him as the man responsible for the much-beloved 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. Basically, Austen’s last work is in good hands.

“Jane Austen managed to write only a fragment of her last novel before she died – but what a fragment!” Davies said in a statement announcing the project.

Sanditon tells the story of the transformation of a sleepy fishing village into a fashionable seaside resort, with a spirited young heroine, a couple of entrepreneurial brothers, some dodgy financial dealings, a West Indian heiress, and quite a bit of nude bathing. It’s been a privilege and a thrill for me to develop Sanditon into a TV drama for a modern audience.”

THE SERIES WILL RUN ON ITV IN THE U.K. AND ON MASTERPIECE, PBS IN THE STATES.

In the U.S., it will premiere in 2020.

The Last Kingdom – S4

SEASON FOUR PHOTOS ARE IN

Good news, people: Netflix has released first photos of Alexander Dreymon in the fourth season of their super popular 9th century epic series THE LAST KINGDOM which is currently in production. Bad news: it seems

Alexander Dreymon returns to the role of Uhtred, the bravest man in the kingdom

it won’t air any time soon, but sometime next year. Alexander Dreymon is again playing Lord Uhtred of Babenberg who, after the death of King Alfred of

The fourth season should be based on 2013 The Pagan Lord book

Wessex, will now have to lend his help and support to his son against his ruthless mother and her evil minions. As we’ve seen at the end of season three, she has no intention of respecting her late husband’s final wish of Uhtred becoming the new king’s right hand and the protector of the kingdom. The new ten-episode season of the historical series is being shot over in Hungary.

Finan and Uhtred will get into new mischievous adventures no doubt

If the producers will stick to the Bernard Cornwell‘s books the new season should see Uhtred’s grown up kids as well! Beside Mark Rowley, Ian Hart, Arnas Fedaravicius, Toby Regbo, Millie Brady and others in the old cast, we will also see Stefanie Martini as Eadith, Uhtred’s new love, and always lovely Jamie Blackley as Aethelred’s new right hand Eardwulf.

Large battle scenes are being shot near Budapest, Hungary.   Releasing in 2020

Midway 2019

Lionsgate released the first look at Roland Emmerich’s World War II epic Midway, with a teaser for the pic that the studio picked up in a mega deal during the last Toronto Film Festival. It’s been slated for a November 8, 2020 release — that’s Veterans Day, so a four-day opening for the action pic that will bow under the Summit label.

Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Ed Skrein, Aaron Eckhart, Luke Evans, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid, Nick Jonas, Luke Kleintank, Keean Johnson, Etsushi Toyokawa, Tadanobu Asano and Jun Kunimura lead the cast. Wes Tooke penned the script, which relates the story of the June 1942 Battle of Midway, a turning point in the Pacific theater of World War II.

The film cost a reported $100 million, and is looking at a P&A spend upwards of $35 million. The teaser today shows off the scope of the action in the film, similar in shock-and-awe value to previous Emmerich-Mark Gordon collaborations Day After Tomorrow and 2012.

Gordon’s The Mark Gordon Co. and Emmerich’s Centropolis Entertainment this one, with Emmerich and Harald Kloser producing with Gordon and MGC’s Matt Jackson. Bona Film Group came in as a co-financier when the pic launched sales at the Cannes market and has distribution rights in China.

 

Personally, can’t wait for this one.

 

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

Chapter Twenty-Six

Available at Amazon – Copyrighted

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.

 

 

Poldark last season this week – July 14

‘POLDARK’ SEASON 5
READY TO START NEXT SUNDAY!
It seems, people, that summer this year will be more eventful than we thought at least on the small screens, with next week bringing us sf series Pandora and Outpost and costume dramas Harlots and Poldark beside ITV’s Beecham

The eight episode final season returns next Sunday at BBC

House which is already airing! Rival BBC is ready with its POLDARK which returns with the final fifth season Sunday July 14th and today you can enjoy

Aidan Turner returns as the brave captain Ross Poldark!

the new photos which include some of the new characters as well! The series will air this Autumn at PBS too for American audience. This will be the first season not to directly follow the stories of Winston Graham‘s novels and

The series might get a sequel in a few years with Ross’ kids as heroes

will again follow Aidan Turner as the mine owner and a politician at the  beginning of the 1800s, instead of jumping a decade and focusing on his

Aidan Turner said the show could return in a few years

children like in the novels. Vincent Regan joins the series as Poldark’s old army friend Colonel Ned Despard, the governor of British Honduras who

Luke Norris as Doctor Dwight Enys

ended up in prison for giving the land away to slaves. It will be Ross’ mission to get him out. Meanwhile, doctor Dwight Enys (Luke Norris) will be

George Warleggan (Jack Farthing) will be a sad man in the final season

treating George Warleggan (Jack Farthing) from the trauma after the loss of his wife. The slogan of the final season is – If your country betrays you, to whom do you then owe loyalty?

THE STORY OF THE FINAL SEASON
The Poldarks look forward to life together in peace, but a plea from Ross’s old Army Colonel, Ned Despard (Vincent Regan), compels him to the capital. As Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) manages their affairs in Cornwall she

Harry Richardson as the newly wedded Drake the blacksmith

encounters disenchantment and a new opponent, Tess (Sofia Oxenham). George (Jack Farthing) meanwhile struggles to engage with the world after Elizabeth’s death and it falls to Cary (Pip Torrens) to expand the family

Tom York as Demelza’s minister brother Sam

empire – as Valentine (Woody Norman) struggles to find his place within it. Arriving in London, Ross (Aidan Turner) finds a city gripped with paranoia,

Luke Norris will be helping Jack Farthing’s George to cope with wife’s death

and is determined to save Ned from the conspiracy that imprisoned him. George enters into an alliance with the merchant behind Ned’s imprisonment,

Vincent Regan is Poldark’s old friend Ned Despard

Ralph Hanson (Peter Sullivan), whose business is in upholding the slave trade. Meanwhile, Geoffrey Charles (Freddie Wise) decides to follow in

Tom York and Harry Richardson return as Demelza’s brothers

Ross’s footsteps and enter the military – but also finds himself drawn to Cecily Hanson (Lily Dodsworth Evans), Ralph’s daughter. As George’s grief leads

Peter Sullivan and Lily Dodsworth Evans and Freddie Wise

the Warleggans into uncharted and worrying territory, Ross discovers a grave plot and is urged to heroism, while Demelza is forced into action herself back at home.

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Mr Thornton Takes a Wife – Part Thirty-Seven

Chapter Thirty-Seven – Ache and Agony

Hannah opened her eyes and immediately wished she had not. A shaft of the most piercing headache run through her head and neck. She inhaled heavily against the pain until she was able to see more clearly. It appeared that she was tied onto a chair which stood in the middle of a bare room. No windows and a crude, wooden door. A single oil lamp stood in a corner and threw a ghastly, yellow light onto brick walls, blackened with age and dirt. She was alone. What in the name of God had happened?

The last thing she remembered was her locking the gate of Marlborough Mills on – Friday evening – yes, that was it. They must have hit her over the head. Suddenly realisation dawned! Inside the mill! Who? Why? Nausea brought her stomach into her throat and she bowed her head and breathed deeply in and out. Her heart was thudding too fast …

 

Nicholas Higgins had done everything that was in his power to find Hannah Thornton. He was not taking any risks and he certainly was not leaving it to Mason and his bloody police rascals!

The spot at the mill, where she was supposed to have been abducted from, had been gone through with a fine-tooth comb, just now, by his own hands. He found one of her golden earrings; a sudden surge of emotion choked his throat as he put it away in his breast pocket. Damn! He would rip the heads off those bastards if he got his hands on the blighters.

His widely-spread network of contacts had already been interrogated thoroughly and yielded nothing. It was infuriating! Instead of handling the on-going strike and negotiate with John Thornton, he was wasting his time in a search for Thornton’s mother. At that moment the man that occupied his thoughts was just striding towards him and the scowl on Thornton’s face did not bide pleasant things.

“Ah, Higgins! Just the man I was looking for!”

“John!”

The minute Higgins heard the light, female voice, he saw Margaret hurrying towards them.

“Oh, Nicholas, you’re here!,” she said, a little breathlessly, “Come, let us go into the house. There are several things we have to discuss!”

Margaret tucked her arm through Nicholas’s and threw a pleading glance at her husband, who smiled at her. She probably thought he had been about to pick a fight with Higgins. He would not do such a thing, not with his mother gone missing. God! For the umpteenth time, the most horrible fears were flooding his brain! His mother!

 

The waiting was long. Hannah could not do a single thing as she was sitting there, bound onto the chair, in the damp room. She was growing cold, hungry and thirsty but that did not bother her much. She had been deprived from food and warmth several times before in her life and she could endure it. It was only a matter of keeping a calm and positive frame of mind.

They would, of course, be searching for her and, eventually, they would find her. John would find her, she had no doubts about that. He would tear down the whole of Milton if necessary.  Strangely enough she realised she was still in Milton and more so, somewhere at Marlborough Mills. Although she had never been in this place before, Hannah felt familiar with the bare brick walls. It must be one of the cellars beneath the cotton warehouses at the back of the courtyard. No one ever came down here for they were in a bad state, some of them had already collapsed a long time ago, bringing down as well the warehouse above them after a time. John had been planning to do something about it but had never gotten around to it.

Hannah’s shoulders were numb from having her hands tied so tightly behind her back. She wondered whether someone would come to see how she was doing. Why had she been taken in the first place? The answer sprung into her mind the moment she asked herself that question.

They would try and force John into giving in about the strike!

 

Margaret ushered the two men into John’s study and literally pushed them onto chairs, John’s was behind his desk, Nicholas’s in front of it. She placed herself in between and looked at them. Both their faces were haggard, for the same reason.

“Listen, both of you,” she said in a firm voice, “we must decide about two things. First we will discuss the strike. This is what I propose; John will agree to a raise in the wages of three shillings a week for all of our workers and you, Nicholas, will agree to keep them at work, no matter what, to catch up with the arrears on production, even if it means continuing work during the night.”

She went silent and watched the various emotions on their faces. John was the first to react.

“Margaret! That is … “

“Absolutely brilliant!”, Nicholas shouted, interrupting him.

“Yes, exactly!”, John exclaimed in the same moment.

Margaret took a deep breath of relief, realising that she had not known what the outcome would be.

“Good! Then we can concentrate on the most important issue of the two; how are we going to find your mother?”

“Ah!”, Nicholas let out with a sigh so forlorn that Margaret’s heart hurt. She covered Nicholas’s large, calloused hand with her own. He averted his face in embarrassment but she had seen his brightly shining eyes and the way he had to swallow his emotion away. She cast her husband a warning look but John nodded in understanding and cleared his throat.

“It is fairly clear that Mother must have been taken inside these walls,” John explained, “and, more so, by someone who does know a lot about us, and about the mill. It must be someone that works here. No, Higgins, I’m not saying that it is one of the workers, at least not when I have no proof of that nor an inkling as to whom it might be.”

These words blocked off any of Nicholas’s retaliation which had been on the verge of bursting out of him.

“Nor do I,” Nicholas grumbled, “but I swear I will find out! When I do, the bastard will be sorry to have ever been born!”

“Not if I can get my hands on him!”, John pointed out in a voice shaking with fury.

Margaret intervened by placing her hand on his, just like she had done with Nicholas earlier.

“We must take heed not to betray ourselves to this unknown person, John. If he is part of Marlborough Mills, he will be on his guard and he will certainly be watching us and listening in onto us.”

“Yes,” her husband agreed, “but how can we unmask him, that is what I would like to know.”

“Leave it to me, Master,” Higgins said, “I have some friends here whom I can trust unconditionally. They will be my spies.”

 

With a start Hannah sat upright! Some noise must have woken her from her uneasy slumber. She strained her ears and listened. It was a deep, low rumble, followed by a long, loud creak. Seconds after that a heavy thud made the floor shake so violently that her chair was moved without her being able to stop it. Her heart started pounding quickly when she realised what it was; somewhere farther away the ceiling was coming down!

 

Oh, sweet revenge! The Spiteful One had dealt a blow to John Thornton he would not manage that easily. She knew Hannah Thornton’s faith was as good as sealed and they would never find her! The abandoned cellars were not known to many people and nobody ever went there. Either Hannah Thornton would die of deprivation or she would be buried under tons of rubble when the ceiling collapsed. It was only a matter of time … she would only have to wait.