Dear friends of Fly High, especially you who like me love Mrs Gaskell's North and South, are you ready for a great couple of posts? Have you ever wondered what Margaret and John's married life could be like? Maybe you can have a glimpse on their happiness. How? Today and next Wednesday November 23 I'll have the honour to publish here on my blog two very confidential pages from Margaret Hale's - well Thornton's - Secret Diary. The first page, the one you are going to read today, was written soon after her honeymoon with John. I know, I know, I too envy her a lot. What a lucky young woman! I'll leave you to her words. For our eyes only.  Oh! And by the way, 

1. There's a giveaway linked to this series of posts. Read the details below.
2. If  you've got questions for Margaret, please, leave them here in your comments. She's ready to answer.

Monday - May 28, 1852

I can hardly believe our week in Helstone has now past. The wedding was just as I have always wanted, simple but beautiful, and the days spent at the cottage were full of such bliss and harmony as I have never known.

Edith had told me that it could be pleasant to receive a husband’s attentions, and I was naturally nervous to discover that intimacy between husband and wife which seemed so mysterious. Nothing could have prepared me, however, for the astonishing power and beauty of it all – to feel so connected to another that you move and breathe as one.  John was infinitely tender with me, and I felt enveloped in his love every moment.

I know he also treasured our time together away from everything and everyone else.  I’m quite convinced he would have been happy to spend the whole of our holiday in that pleasant room upstairs!  But I saw, too, that he was fast becoming fond of the leisurely pace of life in the country. It was so wonderful to enjoy the outdoors and do just as we pleased every day.

Although he did not want to leave, I know he would not be able to abide in such a place for too long.  He belongs in Milton, where he may put to good use all his intelligence, ambition and fair principles. I am pleased, though, that he now loves Helstone as much as I. He has even suggested that we might return every year. Oh, I do hope so! But I will not place my hopes too high, as I know that he may not be able to take such a holiday every year.

And now I write here in my private sitting room as mistress of Marlborough Mills! It feels so very strange to live in this grand but austere house. Mrs. Thornton was very kind in showing me the house today. I hope we will learn to work together, as I wish so very much to make everything pleasant for John when he returns from the mill.

It does not feel like home here quite yet, but that is to be expected, as it is my first full day here. I will feel much more content when John comes home.  I’m certain I was spoiled this past week with his constant presence and am trying to patiently bear the hours we are apart. Perhaps it is just so with all newly married brides, but I feel I may be especially stricken, for I can scarcely describe how deeply I am in love with him. He is the best of men. If only father and mother could have seen how happy I am!

More from Margaret's Secret Diary  next Wednesday November 23. The author of these guesposts is Trudy Brasure who has  written and published a sequel to North and South, "A Heart for Milton".
Trudy Brasure is a hopeless romantic and a history enthusiast with a penchant for the Victorian Era. She enjoys steeping her imagination into the past to create stories that entrance the heart as well as capture the essence of the age. She writes most often in the morning, before her three children awake and homeschooling begins.
The author began her own personal romance story with a whirlwind courtship. Her married life started in a picturesque colonial town on the coast of Massachusetts. She now resides in California, where she and her family endeavor to enjoy the beauty of nature whenever possible.
Visit her website at www.aheartformilton.com

The giveaway 

You will have two chances to win Trudy's sequel to North and South, A Heart for Milton, leaving your questions for Margaret today and next Wednesday, on occasion of the posting of the second page from Margaret Thornton's Secret Diary. Think about it, what do you want to know from newlywed Margaret? Then don't forget your e-mail address if you want to be entered in this giveaway contest. It is open internationally and the winner will be announced on November 30th.


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Linda said...

I'm curious about their social life as a married couple. How do they interact with other couples in Milton? Loved the first page of the diary. Looking forward to next week's installment.

Trudy said...

We dine at Fanny Thornton's house on occasion, of course, but we are seldom called upon to visit or entertain in Milton society.

Unfortunately, I did not find many acquaintances at the MIlton Ball who were sympathetic to our interests and concerns.

The Higgins are our closest friends, but we have not invited them to dine. I hope to do so some time in the future, perhaps when Mrs. Thornton is more prepared for such company.

At present, John is kept so busy at the mill he is perfectly happy to forgo social calls and enjoy his leisure time at home. He has never had the disposition to pursue friendships with his many colleagues. I quite certain he is a private man who much prefers to stay at home - a proclivity I must admit we both share.

Mr. J. Thornton said...

I must say, Margaret, I was rather shocked to see excerpts from your private diary published here, expecting that perhaps it had been stolen and sold by some cad.

Now that I see that you are involved, I will simply ask that you do not share too many of our secrets!

Oh, and since we are asking questions here, might I enquire on what's is for dinner this evening? Ever since you took over the menu planning from mother, I find myself quite unable to remember what you tell me; you can be very distracting at times, my love.

Your ever loving husband,

John x

P.S. I am currently alone in the office, I wonder if you might spare my a moment to, uh, discuss... that thing that we were discussing this morning? The subject escapes me at the moment, love, do you recall perchance?

Trudy said...

As I am also alone in my sitting room, might I suggest you leave the mill for a moment and visit me? I'm certain it would be much more comfortable to hold our discussion here. Don't you agree, darling? (mischievous smile)

Trudy said...

And don't worry, dear, about my disclosures. This is all amongst genteel ladies of the most discriminating tastes.

Mr. J. Thornton said...

My dear Margaret, you have no idea how difficult it is to work, knowing that you are just across the courtyard.

If you are not careful, wife, the mill will go under! I wonder how well the reason of Wifely Distraction would be received in debters court? (fear not, Margaret, I am only jesting).

I am on my way, darling. J x

Felicia said...

Come on Margaret, spill the beans. I want to know what it really is like between you and Mrs. Thornton?


felicialso @gmail. com

I'm very excited about this book, best of luck to you! I would love a chance to win!

Trudy said...

If you must know, I am very wary of fulfilling my duties as mistress of the house to my mother-in-law's exacting standards. I dread tomorrow's meeting, when she promises to show me the finer points of economy detailed in her household ledger. (sigh)

We have not yet come to odds, but I feel it is only a matter of time when we shall differ markedly on some opinion. As to her glass-domed alabaster collection...it will have to go, but I will not press too many changes upon her all at once.
I have a developing plan to extricate myself from the daily tedium which I think may benefit us both.

Traxy said...

(I was going to ask "so then, what's Mr. Thornton like in bed? ;)" but that has kind of already been answered in the text.)

Dear Mrs. Margaret Thornton,

I am very fond of your friend Mr. Higgins and you seemed to have such good chemistry together. Did you ever feel anything more for him than just friendship? I realise it's a very forward question and would not want to offend or embarass you ... but you have just let us see your innermost thoughts and feelings. ;)

Kind regards,
Mrs. Thornfield

Trudy said...

Dear Mrs. Thornfield,

Since the time he rescued me from the teasing of the crowd, I recognized a kindred heart in Nicholas. Although he can appear blustery on the outside, he has a compassionate nature that is determined to forward justice. My affection and respect for him are genuine, but he is quite my senior, and my fondness for him has only ever been as a dear friend.

I have never felt my heart race in his presence as it does with one glance or word from a silken-voiced handsome mill owner.

Margaret Thornton

Gigi said...

Hey Margaret, what do you do when other women are eyeing your husband? Dirty looks, like "he's mine"?. Are you the possesive type, ot the passionate type?

P.S: What is the thing or feature you love or like, the very first time you saw in your now husband?


Trudy said...

I.noticed a fair amount of attention drawn to my husband at the Milton Ball. I can see now that he was indeed 'sought after by all the girls' as my mother-in-law once boasted.
There was one maiden in particular who smiled all too charmingly at John whilst they danced, but I took pleasure in recognizing my husband's own smile as one of placid politeness.
I'm quite secure in knowing my husband's heart.

As to what first attracted me to him? Although I'm sure I would not have admitted it at the time, the sense of power and resolution written on his face was very compelling. I'm sure no one meeting him for the first time would ever forget it.

Riv said...

Congratulations, dear Margaret, on your getting married to the man of your(our?) dreams! You definitely showed those Milton lasses by winning his heart. ;)

What I want to know is if he didn't ask for a sign the day you were leaving Milton, how long would you have waited to tell him you loved him? (Boy, were we worried...!)

rivengurl [a] gmail dot com

Trudy said...

I hate to think what would have happened had I left Milton without discovering John's regard for me. I was certain that he could no longer hold me in any fond esteem.
I imagine I should have been very miserable in London. Perhaps I would have contrived to write to Mrs. Thornton on some pretext, asking for news of the mill's progress.
I like to believe that Providence would have contrived to bring us together in some other way.

BeckyC said...

I am, of course curious how life is with Mr Thornton back to work at the mill? What kind of time does he make for you? Life seems as wonderful as I would imagine.

I am also very curious how you are getting along with Mr Thornton's mother? And Fanny....?

Sophia Rose said...

I see several have anticipated my questions as I wanted to know if you would continue to have the Higgins for friends and how you got on with your mother in law.

I guess I will add. Do you have plans to continue with reforms to make the mill workers lives better. I know there was a mention of school for the young children and hearty meals at the dinner hours. You didn't strike me as the type to remain idle.

Congratulations on this sequel. I loved the diary page and the comments from the characters. I felt like I was reading Gaskell herself.

Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

Trudy said...

Dear BeckyC,

For the first few weeks, John always came home for dinner and spent the rest of the evening with me and his mother until we retired early for bed.

Of recent, he has had to work long hours in his endeavor to keep the mill running. I have insisted that he come home for dinner at the very least, and have encouraged him to bring his ledgers home so that he might work in his room, where I have often had to use my feminine wiles to get him to come to bed at a decent hour. I will not let him work himself to the death.

Mrs. Thornton and I get along quite well now. We are both concerned that John is working overmuch, and I believe she knows now how much I cosset her son.

We visit Fanny Watson every so often. She is ever the loquacious hostess. She has many ideas of how I should set up my nursery.

Trudy said...

Dear Sophia Rose,

The workers' kitchen has indeed been continued at Marlborough Mills, despite the wary eye John's 'experiment' recieved from the other masters. Nicholas believes the kitchen has helped John win the fealty of the workers.

You are correct in assuming I would involve myself in some way with improving conditions for the laboring classes. With John's approval, I have begun a morning school for many of the workers' children, some of whom work in the mill in the afternoon.

I hope someday we may be able to expand our enterprise, but presently I am satisfied that at least these children will learn to read and write. I believe that society will progress more rapidly if the masses are educated.

Mrs. Higgins said...

I would like to know if you and John are planning to start a family soon?

Trudy said...

Surely, one doesn't plan such things! We must trust that the Lord will bless us as He deems fit.

We are happily expecting a child before our first anniversary. John said he would be pleased to welcome any such gifts from our marriage. I know he will be a darling father.

A Scattering said...

Hello Margaret, and congratulations on your marriage. I am wondering if you can describe for us the moment you saw your beloved John at the train station - did you think you were hallucinating?

Trudy said...

(Author's note: in my story, John does meet Margaret at the train station, albeit at a different point in the plot)

I think my heart stood still when I saw him at the station. I know I could not breathe when I saw how he looked at me.

I knew at once that I would soon be his wife.

Dian Supriyadi said...

(It's really the book I'm waiting for since the 1st time watched the BBC series and read N&S book).

Dear Margaret,
Will you tell your husband about Henry Lennox's proposal?
On your 1st time visited his house with your father, you wondered why they didn't dwell in the country, or even in suburb, and as you like walking, have you ever asked your husband to move from that blackened-smokey-noisy house to the more pleasant one?

Hope your happiness always,

Trudy said...

Whilst out walking on our honeymoon, I told my husband what had happened between me and Henry. Or rather, John fairly guessed so when I stutteringly began to confess it. He seemed more amused than jealous and teased me for having a habit of breaking men's hearts.

I don't mind living at Marlborough Mills at present, for my involvement with the school keeps me happily occupied. As a newlywed bride, I believe I would be happy anywhere, as long as I were with John.

But truly, if we return to Helstone each year as John suggests, I will be satisfied to enjoy my beloved countryside as a refreshing change from the city.

Vinci said...

Thanks for this amazing giveaway.
Just love these kinds of books.
Would like to know what John and Margaret
like to read. Are little ones in the future? The possibilities of this book
is so wonderful.
follow by gfc - dayleb
dayleb at telus dot net

Trudy said...

John always stays abreast of the news in the Milton Guardian. When he has time to read, he more often than not chooses the classics. I've been encouraging him to read some contemporary works. He has read Hawthorne of late and we are currently reading ''Nicholas Nickleby" together in bed most evenings.

I have not said as much to John, but I imagine we shall have several children. John seems to have a natural ease with children. Edith's son took to him very quickly.

We are expecting our first child already, and will gladly welcome as many children as Providence will bestow upon us.

Trudy said...

A gentle reminder to all readers: if you want to be included in the book giveaway, please be sure to leave your email address.

Margay Leah Justice said...

Margaret, how did John's family accept you as his wife? I know his mother can be, shall we say, difficult sometimes.



Trudy said...

I believe Mrs. Thornton was concerned that I did not rightly appreciate her son. I understand her fears, knowing how unconscionably I hurt John when I rejected him so foolishly.
I think she was able to discern a little of how much I admire and love him shortly before our wedding which has softened her to some degree.
She has been kind, but I sense some uncertainty on her part as to my suitability as John's wife. I am determined to show her my devotion is sincere and everlasting.
Fanny has bee all polite kindness. I'm sure that she is far too involved in her own affairs to give me much thought.

IdentitySeeker said...

Dear Margaret,

Have you and John had your first fight yet? If so, what do you find to be the best way of resolving the matter with minimal harm done to both parties?



Trudy said...

I believe we are too much immersed in the bliss of being newly married, do that we both make every effort to be pleasing to one another.
It seems a distant dream of some other life to remember the days when we so often argued endlessly over our perceived differences. We have come to understand each other well, I feel.
John has not pressed his will, nor bidden me to do anything I would not care to. I feel a perfect comfort as of yet to do and say as I please without reproach.
I have hope we will both strive to maintain such harmony in the coming years.

Rachel said...

I am absolutely delighted with these sequences of North and South! The possibility to read what happens in the first year after the story ends is just fantastic and is also one thing that I always dreamed about.Dear Trudy, a big, huge congratulation to you for this wonderful work! Thanks for writing what we dream! Kisses, Rachel