North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell - chapter breakdown

 

Chapter I: Haste to the Wedding

After 10 years of living with her Aunt Shaw and cousin Edith, Margaret Hale, is to return to her parents parsonage and Edith is to marry Captain Lennox and move to Corfu.

Edith falls asleep on the drawing room sofa and Margaret models some Indian shawls. Henry Lennox, Captain Lennox’s brother, is announced and Edith enters the room. Henry sits next to Margaret and asks her about Helstone and what she will do there. Margaret enthuses about how beautiful it is and talks about her parents’ simple lifestyle.

 

Chapter 2: Roses and Thorns

Margaret, heavy hearted to be leaving her cousin and aunt, is travelling home to Helstone with Mr Hale, her father after the wedding. Her mother gave a variety of half-reasons for not coming to the wedding but actually it was because her husband couldn’t afford to buy her a new dress.  Mrs Hale married for love, her sister Mrs Shaw married for security and both envied the other.

Margaret visits local people. At home, her mother is discontented; complaining about the trees being bad for their health and wishing Mr Hale had a bigger parish and a better living.

In the autumn, Margaret continues to walk outside during the day. But in the evenings, Mr. Hale spends his evenings in his library and there are few books for Margaret to read. She wonders about asking more about Frederick and the mutiny he was involved in.

Margaret notices her father is absent minded and overly sensitive, visiting his parishioners less and spending more time alone in his study. Margaret occupies herself with drawing and is preparing her board one morning, when Henry Lennox is announced.

 

Chapter III: The More Haste the Worse Speed

Mrs. Hale worries dinner won’t be good enough (cold meat) and tells Margaret that Mr Hale is in low spirits. Margaret and Henry go out with sketching equipment and Henry sneakily sketches Margaret and a local old man.

At the parsonage, Mr Hale compliments Margaret and Henry’s pictures. After dinner, they move into the garden to eat fresh pears. Henry and Margaret stroll round the garden and Henry suddenly tells her he loves her. She wishes he hadn’t said this and tells him she only considers him a friend. Henry becomes cold and sarcastic but still loves her.

 

Chapter IV: Doubts and Difficulties

That evening, Mr. Hale tells Margaret the family must leave Helstone because he is struggling with his vocation and having doubts about certain doctrines. They are to move to Milton-northern, an industrial town, where an old friend from Oxford, Mr Bell, could get him work as a tutor. Margret is distressed and doubts manufacturers would be interested in classics and literature but she agrees to break the news to her mother.

 

Chapter V: Decision

The next day, Mr Hale goes out to visit his parishioners and Margaret tells her mother, her father is to leave the church and they will all move to Milton.  Mrs Hale is upset and annoyed and initially doesn’t believe Margaret and then worries about the smoky air in Milton, associating with trades people and how to move the furniture.

Mrs Hale is overcome by everything and goes to bed ill, leaving the task of preparing to move to Margaret and Dixon (the maid, who has been with Mrs Hale since before she was married and is an outspoken critic of Mr Hale). 

It’s arranged that Mrs hale and Dixon will stay at Heston, a nearby coastal town, while Margaret and Mr Hall find somewhere to live.

 

Chapter VI: Farewell

Everything is packed up and Margret attempts to hide unhappy she is to be leaving. The family travel to London to stay the night, with Mrs Hale crying and distressed.

 

Chapter VII: New Scenes and Faces

Margaret feels restful, for a brief time, at Heston but notices how the town looks greyer and more “purposelike”.  Margaret and Mr Hale go on to Milton and begin looking for somewhere to live but struggle to find somewhere suitable. Eventually, they find somewhere where he rooms can be organised to fit their requirements and Margaret hopes they will be able to redecorate it.

Returning to their hotel, Mr Hale leaves again to speak to the landlord of the property and Margaret find Mr Thornton (master of Marlborough Mills and Mr Bell’s tenant, who is interested in being tutored by Mr Hale) has called on them. Margaret explains her father will return soon.

Mr. Hale joins them and tells Margaret the landlord has refused to change the wallpaper. When the family move into the house and find the wallpaper has been changed, they are not informed it was after a sharp word from Mr Thornton to the landlord.

 

Chapter VIII: Homesickness

The Hales struggle with the fog and the smoky air in Milton. Mr Hale finds more pupils and Margaret tries to find someone to help Dixon. Margaret befriends a local girl called Bessy, who is very ill, and her father Nicholas Higgins

 

Chapter IX: Dressing for Tea

Mr Thornton’s mother is disdainful when Mr Thornton returns home after work to dress for tea at the Hale’s and warns him against, getting attached to the penniless  Margaret. Mr. Thornton assures her that Margaret views him with contempt and that there that there is no danger of her viewing him in that way.

 

Chapter X: Wrought Iron and Gold

That evening, Mr Thornton says he prefers working hard and suffering, even if unsuccessful, in the north than leading an easier ‘dull prosperous life’ in the south. Margaret retorts that there may be less excitement but also less suffering in the south and he doesn’t understand it. Mr. Thornton points out that she perhaps doesn’t understand the north.

They move onto politics and Mr Thornton talks about parliamentary powers interfering with industry and about men raising themselves to be masters, (managers of the mills). He reveals how his father died when he was young and he was taken out of school to earn a living and trained by his mother to put aside three shillings a week, to save which helped towards his later success and dismissed the suffering of some in Milton as resulting from their self-indulgence.

As he is leaving Mr. Thornton offers his hand to shake Margaret’s and is offended when she doesn’t take it, not realising it is a common custom in the north.

 

Chapter XI: First Impressions

Mr. Hale explains to Margaret that Mr Thornton’s father killed himself having speculated unsuccessful and lost all his money (dodgy investments) and leaving debts, which Mr Thornton repaid when he was able to.

Another day Margaret meets Bessy in the street and finds out she is unwell. The two walk to the home of the Nicholas family, where Margaret meets a younger girl, Bessy’s sister. Bessy talks of the struggles of life and Margaret is interrupted in her comments about God when Nicholas arrives home.

 

Chapter XII: Morning Calls

Mrs Thornton and Mr Thornton’s sister Fanny, reluctantly, visit the Hales. It’s an awkward meeting, with slightly stilted conversation and Mrs Hale offends Mrs Thornton by saying she isn’t very interested in factories.

 

Chapter XIII: A Soft breeze in a Sultry Place

Margaret visits Bessy and they talk about Helstone and Bessy tells Margaret the cotton fluff in the mill creates a dust which gets into the lungs and this has made her ill and that the masters were reluctant to install am expensive wheel that would help disperse the dust.

Mrs Hale is becoming more unwell but Margaret’s worries about her are dismissed by her father but overhears him pacing his room at night.

 

Chapter XIV: The Mutiny

Mrs. Hale and Margaret become closer and one night and Margaret is allowed to read Frederick’s letters. She discovers that Frederick sailed with a commanding officer called Captain Reid, who was cruel and ill tempered. There was a mutiny and Captain Reid and some of the other officers were cast off in a little boat.  Frederick’s name wasn’t on the list, meaning he would have been among the mutineers. If he were to return home, he would most likely be hung. Mrs Hale wonders if she will see him again before she dies.

 

Chapter XV: Masters and Men

Mr Hale and Margaret call on the Thornton’s. Mrs Thornton talks about the classics her son is studying being irrelevant, especially since he had reached such a good position and his name was well known. She mentions a possible strike, supposedly for better wages, but Mrs Thornton believes it is really because the workers want to topple the masters and take charge themselves.

Later Mr. Thornton brings a note to the Hales’, with the name of a doctor for Mrs Hale.  Mr Hale and Margaret talk about the division and animosity between the masters and the workers and their interdependence, specifically about how the men behave outside of the factories. Mr Thornton responds that a master’s role is to be honest and efficient, not to interfere in the workers’ lives.

 

Chapter XVI: The Shadow of Death

Dr Donaldson visits Mrs Hale and Margaret discovers she is very ill and is jealous and annoyed that Dixon knew this but it was kept from her for so long.

 

Chapter XVII: What is a Strike?

Margaret visits Bessy and talks to Nicholas about a strike. He explains they were striking because several of the masters were refusing to pay the workers higher wages despite getting richer themselves. Bessy is against a strike and worried about the effect on her father if the strike failed.

 

Chapter XVIII: Likes and Dislikes

The Hales are invited to a dinner by Mrs Thornton, to which Mrs Hale cannot go but she encourages the others to.

Mr. Thornton discusses the dinner with Mrs Thornton and Fanny and it’s mentioned Mrs Hale cannot attend. Fanny and Mrs Thornton are disparaging of Mrs Hales’ supposed frailty, believing it to be exaggerated. And Mr Thornton tells his mother he wishes she would like Miss Hale. Mrs. Thornton asks if there is something between them and Mr Thornton responds that Margaret would not have him.

They talk about a possible strike and Mr Thornton describes the influx of cheap American goods and British good needing to be less expensive in order to compete and he resolves to hire workers from Ireland if the strike lasted.

 

Chapter XIX: Angel Visits

Mr Hale talks to the workers and goes back to Mr Thornton with questions about how the factories ran and the economics of trade and Margaret, overhearing these conversations finds it difficult to reconcile Mr Thornton’s generosity in bringing things for her mother, and his hard- nosed, pitiless attitude towards the workers. 

A few days later, while at Nicholas and Bessy’s house, their neighbour Mr Boucher came in, distressed that his family were starving because of the strike. Nicholas urges him to carry on and offers to help if he can. Margaret leaves some money with Bessy for Boucher’s family.

 

Chapter XX: Men and Gentlemen

Mr Hale takes a basket of food to the Boucher family.

Mr. Hale and Margaret are the first to arrive at the Thorntons’ party, where there is an abundance of food. Mr. Thornton and Margaret shake hands, although she doesn’t notice and he admires her beauty.

The guests enjoy themselves and avoid talking about the strike, although Margaret overhears Mr Thornton say something about arrangements and not being afraid of violence. Margaret is surprised by how much she enjoys the evening and several people inquire about who she is.

 

Chapter XXI: The Dark Night

Mr Hale and Margaret arrive home to find that Mrs Hale is worse. Dr Donaldson tells them there’s no hope of a full recovery.

The next morning, Margaret goes to the Thornton’s to borrow a water-bed for her mother. She’s too preoccupied to notice the crowds of people and a mood of restlessness and irritation.

 

Chapter XXII: A Blow and its Consequences

Fanny joins Margaret in the drawing room and explains that Mr Thornton has hired workers from Ireland, angering the workmen on strike, who are now threatening the Irish, and causing the Irish workers to hide in the mill.

Mrs Thornton comes in and shortly after, goes to the window to see a crowd of angry people. Mr Thornton comes in, defiant and determined, and says that the soldiers would be there soon. Fanny faints and Margaret sees Boucher in the crowd and tells Mr Thornton to go down and talk to them. He leaves and Margaret watches the crowd get angrier and rowdier when they see him, picking things up to throw at him.

Margaret rushes down and stands beside Mr Thornton. She implores the crowd to go home before the soldiers arrive.  Someone throws a rock at Mr Thornton but it hits Margaret and she falls to the ground. Mr Thornton shouts at the crowd, who retreat a little.  

Mr Thornton confesses, to himself, that he is in love with Margaret. She is carried inside and Mrs Thornton attends to her, while Mr Thornton wonders why she stepped in front of him, and goes to find a doctor. She returns with a surgeon to find Margaret has woken up and insists on walking home.

 

Chapter XXIII: Mistakes

Mr Thornton comes back in to find Margaret has gone. Mrs Thornton implies she must be in love with him to have acted the way she did and Mr Thornton has a very mixed reaction. He tells her that the crowd has dispersed and says he is going to check on Margaret, but is convinced by his mother to go tomorrow.

Later Mr Thornton tells his mother he is going to propose to Margaret, although he can’t let himself believe she is in love with him. His mother thinks she does, perhaps, and is just proud.

When Margaret arrives home, Mr Hale notices she looks unwell but doesn’t pressure her into explaining. She goes to her room and thinks about the day, and is embarrassed that people who saw what happened would now think she was in love with Mr Thornton but she is convinced she would have done the same for any man.

 

Chapter XXIV: Mistakes Cleared Up

Mr Thornton calls on Margaret and, when he starts to speak of gratitude for her actions, she informs him she had done what any women would have. He continues that he owes his life to her and then confesses he loves her.

Margaret is surprised and cold, saying his manner offends her and that her actions might be mistaken for love but that a gentleman would realise anyone else would have done the same. Mr Thornton is angry and leaves saying he will continue to love her. The pain in his face softens her reaction slightly, as she feels guilty for causing him pain.

 

Chapter XXV: Frederick

Margaret goes to visit Bessy, who is getting worse and worries about her father now that the strike has been broken by the actions of the crowd at the mill.

Margaret returns home and talks to her mother about Frederick. Mrs Hale is desperate to see Frederick before she dies and she asks Margaret to arrange this. Margaret writes a letter to him, without her father knowing, although when he finds out he believes it was the right thing to do.

 

Chapter XXVI: Mother and Son

Mr. Thornton struggles with the pain of rejection, while Mrs Thornton is jealous of Margaret becoming the object of her son’s affection and mistress of their home. He arrives home and says to his mother ‘No one loves me, no one cares for me, but you, mother.’ Mrs Thornton admits she hates Margaret and Mr Thornton asks her not to and not to speak of it again. They talk about the strike instead.

 

Chapter XXVII: Fruit-Piece

Mr Thornton focuses on his work, to distract him, and on the case against Boucher and the other men in the mob. He meets Dr Donaldson in the street and finds out Mrs Hale is worse and doesn’t have long to live. When he asks what he can do for her, Dr Donaldson tells him Mrs Hale loves pears so he buys some, takes them to the house, and presents them to Mrs Hale, all the time, not speaking to Margaret but conscious of her.

Later on, Dixon tells Margaret that Bessy has died and that Mary, her sister, is waiting downstairs to speak to her. Margaret reluctantly goes with Mary to see Bessy’s body, and Mary tells her that Bessy died that morning while their father was out.

 

Chapter XXVIII: Comfort in Sorrow

Margaret and Mary arrive and see Bessy is at peace. Nicholas comes in and weeps for his daughter, while Margaret holds Mary's hand. Margaret persuades Nicholas not drown his sorrows in drink. He says he was as a committee meeting all day and he’s angry with Boucher and the others who’ve ruined the strike.

Margaret invites Nicholas to come and talk to her father. She leaves Nicholas (having accidentally described him as a ‘drunken weaver’ to talk to her father and goes to sit with her mother, who is worried about Frederick coming back and being in danger.

Margaret finds Nicholas and Mr Hale having an enthusiastic but polite discussion about religion and Bessy's passing and the strike. He explains that the workers had expected too much of each other in holding out in the strike and hadn’t expected the Irish workers to take their jobs. And, with the strike ruined by the mob’s violence, he wouldn’t be able to get work again. When Mr Thornton’s name is mentioned, Nicholas critics him for hiring the Irishmen so quickly and he explains how the Union will cold shoulder men who weren’t part of it, which prompts Margaret to say they’re as bad as the masters.

 

Chapter XXIX: A Ray of Sunshine

Margaret receives a letter from her cousin Edith, all about her child , her husband and her happy life and asking Margaret and her mother to visit. She is reading the letter to her mother when Mr Thornton arrives with more pears. Again, he ignores Margaret.

When he’s left, Margaret and Mrs Hale agree to send Martha, the housemaid away and hire Mary Higgins, while Frederick is with them.

 

Chapter XXX: Home at Last

The following day Mrs Thornton visits Mrs Hale and warms to her when she realises Mrs Hale is genuinely ill. Mrs Hale asks her to look after Margaret, after she’s gone. Mrs Thornton promised to be a friend, even if she cannot be affectionate.

Later on, Frederick arrives at the house and is greeted by Margaret, who takes comfort in his being there and realises how much she’s had to cope with alone. They are joined by Mr Hale but it’s decided Frederick will see his mother tomorrow.

Frederick sits with Mrs Hale the following day and feels a little better. He tells everyone stories to cheer them up and keeps busy.

The next day, Mrs Hale dies. Margaret is strong and comforts her father and brother, Frederick breaks down and sobs and Mr Hale silently strokes his wife’s face.

 

Chapter XXXI: Should Auld Acquaintance be Forgot?

Margaret arranges the funeral and tries to hide her grief while Mr Hale seems to be in shock. He asks Margaret to contact his school friend Mr Bell.

Later, Dixon tells Margaret she met a man called Leonards in Milton, who had been in the Navy with Frederick, and had joked that if she would help him, he would share the reward for Frederick’s capture with her.

Frederick admits that Leonards is dangerous and he should leave. When Frederick dismisses Mr Thornton, who called earlier, as a manufacturer, Margaret is annoyed and Mr Hale states he is a friend of the family. Frederick expresses regret that he cannot thank those who are kind to the family and wishes they could meet the women he loves, Dolores. Margaret suggests trying to prove Frederick’s innocence and wonders, if he could find a witness and if Henry Lennox, as a lawyer, could help. Frederick agrees and Margret writes him a letter.

 

Chapter XXXII: Mischances

Margaret and Frederick are at the station, when Mr Thornton passes by, and then a drunken man approaches them and asks Frederick if his name is Hale. He grabs Frederick, who pushes him away, and he falls down near the side of the railway. Margaret realises it must be Leonards and Frederick, encouraged my Margaret, gets on to the train, which has just arrived.

 

Chapter XXXIII: Peace

Margaret is upset that Mr Hale has asked Mr Thornton to accompany him to the funeral and is more distressed when Mrs Thornton sends their carriage to take them, she breaks down and is overcome by the grief she’s been trying to ignore.

Margaret, Mr Hale and Dixon attend Mrs Hale’s funeral and are joined by Nicholas and Mary and Mr Thornton, although the Hales don’t notice Mr Thornton’s presence. He asks Dixon how they are doing and is haunted by the memory of Margaret sitting close to the young man at the station.

 

Chapter XXXIV: False and Truth

While Mr Thornton is talking with Mr Hale at the Hales’ home, Margaret is visited by a policeman, who tells her a man has died at the infirmary after a fall at the railway station and it is believed, although the man had been drinking, that the fall had caused his death. A witness had seen a woman, they believed to be Margaret, with a young man who pushed the victim. Margaret denies she was there and the policeman says he may need to return.

 

Chapter XXXV: Expiation

As he is leaving the house, Mr Thornton meets the policemen, who he knows. Mr Thornton is a magistrate and saw Leonards’ body, so the policeman asks his advice regarding Margaret’s denial and Thornton tells him to come by the factory in an hour.

Later, Mr Thornton writes a note to the policemen, saying there won’t be an inquest because there wasn’t sufficient medical evidence and that he would take the responsibility. The policemen is relieved and goes back to pass this onto Margaret. She reads the note and is glad but guilty and aware she must have gone down in Mr Thornton’s estimation. She is grateful to Mr Thornton and notices her opinion of him has altered.

Frederick writes to say he has met with Henry Lennox, who believed there was a chance of success, if witnesses could be found, and indicating he was safely back in Spain.

 

Chapter XXXVI: Union Not Always Strength

Margaret and Mr Hale visit Nicholas, who cannot find work. When Margaret criticises the Union, he responds that it is better than nothing and was their only way of fighting for their rights. He says that Boucher has gone into hiding.

As they talk, a group of men come down the street, carrying a body on a door. It’s revealed to be Boucher, who’s drowned, and Nicholas is told to go and tell Boucher’s wife. When he refuses, Margaret goes instead to the Boucher’s house to break the news that he had killed himself.

 

Chapter XXXVII: Looking South

Mr Hale and Margaret visit Mrs. Boucher and notice how self absorbed she is.

After talking about Frederick’s visit with her father, Margaret feels guilty about her lying to the policemen and wants to find out what Mr Thornton now thinks of her.

Mr Thornton misses his next meeting with Mr Hale. And Nicholas comes to see them and tells them he plans to look after Mrs Boucher and her children. He wonders about moving south to look for work but Margaret discourages him, saying he would find the weather bad and the work dull. Margaret and Mr Hale persuade Nicholas to ask Mr Thornton for work.

 

Chapter XXXVIII: Promises Fulfilled

Mrs Thornton tells her son that one of their servants was Leonards’ lover and that she had been told by another man that Miss Hale was at the station, with a young man, the night Leonards fell and was injured. When Mr Thornton repeatedly denies this, Mrs becomes convinced, just as he had, that the man must be Margaret’s lover.

Mrs Thornton visits Margaret and, keeping her promise to Mrs Hale, starts to point out the wrong she has done in being seen with a young man. Margaret refuses to listen to her accusations and says that Mr Thornton must have been wrong in what he thought he saw. Mrs Thornton replies that her son hadn’t said anything on the sort. Margaret becomes upset and leaves the room.

Later, Nicholas asks Mr Thornton for work, as he leaves the factory. Nicholas explains he needs work to support Boucher’s family and promises to warn the master of any problems in advance (rather than striking).

Mr Thornton dismisses his words and refuses but then finds out from an employee that Nicholas had been waiting for hours to see him.

 

Chapter XXXIX: Making Friends

Margaret is distressed after her conversation with Mrs Thornton. She visits Mrs Boucher and finds she is dying. She plays with the children until Nicholas arrives and tells her Mr Thornton refused to give him work and Margaret apologies for suggesting it.

Just then Mr Thornton arrives and Margaret gets up to leave. Having found out more about Nicholas and been impressed by his patience, Mr Thornton offers Nicholas work. He also sees the children Nicholas had talked about and apologises for his earlier words. After a pause, Nicholas agrees.

Mr Thornton catches up with Margaret and tells her he has given Nicholas a job and Margaret replies that she is glad. When it comes up in the conversation, Margaret says she cannot explain about the man at the station without doing harm. Mr Thornton assures her he is no longer in love with her.

 

Chapter XL: Out of Tune

Mr Bell comes to visit and Margaret likes him enormously. Mr Thornton joins them at the Hale’s house and, when a letter from Henry Lennox is mentioned, he wonders if that is the name of Margaret’s lover.

The group talk about Oxford and Milton and Mr Thornton and Mr Bell disagree and misinterpret the others’ words and Mr Thornton becomes increasingly agitated, eventually making a comment about Margaret’s truthfulness.

After Mr Thornton has left, Mr Bell suggest to Mr Hale that there might be something between Mr Thornton and Margaret and Mr Hale replies that, if there is, it would all be on Mr Thornton’s side and Margaret dislikes him.

Margaret visits the Boucher family and Mary, who now live in the same house. And Mr Thornton stops coming to see Mr Hale very often. Mr Hale is sad about this and eventually asks Margaret is she had any reason to believe Mr Thornton had feelings for her. Margaret admits this was the case and they discuss the possibility of Edith and Captain Lennox moving back to London.

 

Chapter XLI: The Journey’s End

Mr Hale is having some problems breathing. He goes to Oxford to see Mr Bell. Margaret feels more carefree with him gone and with no one dependent on her. She finds out that Fanny is to marry a wealthy businessman.

In Oxford, Mr. Hale is recovering but worrying what will happen to Margaret if he dies. Mr Bell assures him that he will look after and provide for Margaret, if that happens.

That night Mr Hale dies and is found the next morning. Shocked and saddened, Mr Bell catches a train back to Milton and meets Mr Thornton on the train. Mr Bell tells him about Mr Hale’s death and explains who the Lennoxes are that Margaret may go and live with. Mr Thornton tells Mr Bell he’s been in Havre, finding out why the price of cotton has risen.

When Margaret sees Mr Bell approach the house, she guesses what’s happened.

 

Chapter XLII: Alone! Alone!

In her grief, Margaret becomes unresponsive and won’t eat. Mr Bell writes to Mrs Shaw, telling her to come to Milton. At the sight of her aunt, Margaret begins to cry. Mr Thornton visits the house and invites Mr Bell to stay with them.

Mrs Thornton welcomes Mr Bell as her guest. He talks about Margaret leaving Milton to stay with the Lennoxes and says it wouldn’t be the case if Frederick were in the country. Mr Thornton asks who Frederick is and Mr Bells explains about the mutiny. Mr Thornton asks if he was in Milton when Mrs Hale was dying and mentions the man at the station. Mr Bell replies it couldn’t have been Frederick and assumes it must have been Henry Lennox.

Mr Thornton tells Mr Bell he is building a dining room for his workmen, a scheme Nicholas Higgins approves of.

 

Chapter XLIII: Margaret’s Flittin’

Mr Bell writes to Margaret to apologise for returning to Oxford on business and tells her he is leaving all his money and possessions to her, as the daughter of his close friend and his goddaughter.

Margaret, accompanied by her aunt Shaw, visits Mary to say goodbye (Nicholas wasn’t there) and then the Thornton’s. Margaret apologies to Mrs Thornton for how she spoke at their last meeting and, softened, Mrs Thornton says they won’t speak of it again. Mr Thornton and Margaret say goodbye.

Later, Nicholas visits to say goodbye and Margaret gives him her father’s Bible and money for the Boucher children.

 

Chapter XLIV: Ease not Peace

Margaret settles in to an easier, quieter life at her aunt’s house but often thinks about Milton and she struggles, not doing anything significant.

One day Mr Bell is announced. He has just been on a train with Henry Lennox, and when Margaret asks what he thinks of Henry, he wonders why she doesn’t ask about Mr Thornton. Henry Lennox arrives and he and Margaret talk about Frederick. Mr Bell overhears and is surprised to discover Frederick was in the country, something he’d told Mr Thornton could not have been the case.

 

Chapter XLV: Not All a Dream

Henry tells Margaret they can’t do anything for Frederick. Margaret agrees to go to Helstone with Mr Bell.

 

Chapter XLVI: Once and Now

Margaret and Mr Bell go to Helstone and Margaret recognises familiar places and people and to hear news of the village and about the new Parson and his wife and children. They visit the local school and then the parsonage and find it was much altered.

Later, Margaret tells Mr Bell about Frederick’s visit and about Leonards dying, her lie to the policemen and that Mr Thornton knew she had lied. Mr Bell agrees to tell Mr Thornton the truth when he next sees him.

 

Chapter XLVII: Something Wanting

Dixon joins Margaret in London and reports the news from Milton. Fanny is married and Mr Thornton bought a lot of things being sold from the Hale’s house.

Margaret waits for Mr Bell to visit Milton and explain everything to Mr Thornton. She spends time looking after Edith’s son starts to be on better terms once more with Henry.

 

Chapter XLVIII: Ne’er to be Found Again

Dinner parties in Harley Street resumed but Margaret still found her life unsatisfying and the people around her superficial.

Margaret receives a letter from Mr Bell saying he is coming to London. When he doesn’t appear, Margaret receives another letter from his servant telling her Mr Bell is very ill. Margaret takes a train to Oxford, and arrives to find Mr Bell died during the night.

 

Chapter XLIX: Breathing Tranquillity

Margaret inherits Mr Bell’s money and Henry Lennox helps her manage it. Henry hopes this relationship might develop into something more, a hope shared by Mrs Shaw and Edith

 

Chapter L: Changes at Milton

Mr Thornton is struggling financially, having spent a lot of money on new machinery and cotton, he was then affected by the strike and owed for some orders but struggling to fulfil others. His struggles are noticed by his workers.

One day Higgins mentions to Mr Thornton that Frederick was in the country when Mrs Hale was dying.

Eventually, Mr Thornton admits how bad the situation is to his mother, especially since he wouldn’t take part in a speculation. He is forced to abandon the business and the speculation opportunity her turned down (set up by Fanny’s husband) turns out to be successful.

 

Chapter LI: Meeting Again

Edith tells Margaret that Mr Thornton, who, had been invited to dine with them.

Margaret meets Mr Thornton for the first time in over a year, when he is was in London on business, and invited to dine at her Aunt Shaw’s house. She observes how tired and ore careworn he looks and overhears him talking about looking for a new occupation, in which he could have a stronger relationship with the workers. He tells Margaret that Nicholas Higgins and the other workers had said they would readily work for him again.

As Henry Lennox leaves that evening, Margaret asks to speak to him privately the following day and he hopes this might be a good opportunity to renew his offer of marriage.

 

Chapter LII: Pack Clouds Away

The next day, when Edith sees Henry leaving his meeting with Margaret and alludes to their relationship, he abruptly tells her to stop talking thinking about it, as Margaret will not have him and he won’t ask her.

Mr Thornton arrives to see Margaret and she explains her proposals, put together with Henry’s help, for to use her money and invest it in Marlborough Mills. He becomes emotional and asks her to send her away if he must go. He kneels next to her and she leans her head on his shoulder. She says she isn’t good enough for him and he says he feels unworthy of her. He gives her a dried flower from Helstone where he recently visited. They sit in silence for a while and then laugh about how, when they’re told of their engagement, Mrs Thornton will say ‘that woman’ and Aunt Shaw will say, ‘that man’!