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North and South : Pictures (episode 4)


Richard Armitage as John Thornton in North and South
"Well sir? What do you want with me?" (John Thornton)

Higgins: I was told to ask you by a woman, who thought you had a kindness about you.  She was mistaken.  But I’m not the first to be misled by a woman.

Thornton: Tell her to mind her own business next time, and stop wasting your time and mine.
Richard Armitage as John Thornton in North and South
Richard Armitage as John Thornton in North and South
“How long had that man Higgins been waiting to speak to me?” (John Thornton)

”[Mr Thornton] had tenderness in his heart--'a soft place,' as Nicholas Higgins called it; but he had some pride in concealing it; he kept it very sacred and safe, and was jealous of every circumstance that tried to gain admission. But if he dreaded exposure of his tenderness, he was equally desirous that all men should recognise his justice; and he felt that he had been unjust, in giving so scornful a hearing to any one who had waited, with humble patience, for five hours, to speak to him. That the man had spoken saucily to him when he had the opportunity, was nothing to Mr. Thornton. He rather liked him for it; and he was conscious of his own irritability of temper at the time, which probably made them both quits. It was the five hours of waiting that struck Mr. Thornton. He had not five hours to spare himself; but one hour - two hours, of his hard penetrating intellectual, as well as bodily labour, did he give up to going about collecting evidence as to the truth of Higgins's story, the nature of his character, the tenor of his life. He tried not to be, but was convinced that all that Higgins had said was true.” (Elizabeth Gaskell, N&S Chapter 39)
“And this is a good deal from me.  Now mind you come sharp to your time.  What times we have we keep sharp.  And the first time I catch you using that brain of yours to make trouble: off you go.  Now you know where you are.”
(John Thornton)

Thornton: Was Miss Hale the woman that told you to come to me?  You might have said.
Higgins: And you’d have been a bit more civil?

“I have a better opinion of you than you do of me at the moment, I feel." (Margaret Hale)

“Night after night he took books and papers into his own private room, and sate up there long after the family were gone to bed. He thought that no one knew of this occupation of the hours he should have spent in sleep.”
(Elizabeth Gaskell, N&S Chapter 50)

Brian: … this is showing another side to Thornton’s character – his relationship with Tom … he’s keen for him to learn and read and to grow as a person into a better person and it shows a more sensitive side to his character.

Sandy: And also I think, although the business is wearing him down, he is quite interested in people.  He’s interested in Higgins.

Kate: He cares about his workers.

(N&S DVD Commentary – Episode 4)
"Even at script stage, this is the episode where my own perception of Thornton changed completely.  The roots of it were obviously sown over the previous couple of episodes but I really like the story of these two quite principled men [Thornton and Higgins] finding some common ground.” (Brian Percival, N&S DVD commentary – Episode 4)
"Mr Hale dead?" (John Thornton)

'Where she had suffered so much.' Alas! and that was the way in which this eighteen months in Milton - to him so unspeakably precious, down to its very bitterness, which was worth all the rest of life's sweetness - would be remembered. Neither loss of father, nor loss of mother, dear as she was to Mr. Thornton, could have poisoned the remembrance of the weeks, the days, the hours, when a walk of two miles, every step of which was pleasant, as it brought him nearer and nearer to her, took him to her sweet presence - every step of which was rich, as each recurring moment that bore him away from her made him recall some fresh grace in her demeanour, or pleasant pungency in her character. Yes! whatever had happened to him, external to his relation to her, he could never have spoken of that time, when he could have seen her every day - when he had her within his grasp, as it were - as a time of suffering. It had been a royal time of luxury to him, with all its stings and contumelies, compared to the poverty that crept round and clipped the anticipation of the future down to sordid fact, and life without an atmosphere of either hope or fear.” (Elizabeth Gaskell, N&S Chapter 42)
Thornton: So you are going.  And never come back?
Margaret : I wish you well Mr Thornton.

"I think the snow also adds – or echoes in a way - the bleakness of Thornton’s predicament at this moment, aside from looking attractive.  It works on a number of levels I think.” (Brian Percival, N&S DVD commentary – Episode 4)

"Look back, look back at me." (John Thornton)

"...none in his household saw Mr. Thornton again that day. He was busily engaged; or so he said.”
(Elizabeth Gaskell, N&S Chapter 43)

"We shot the master for this coming round over Richard’s shoulder because we wanted to get this feeling that we weren’t allowed to see the other side of his face and also because he never turns round and faces Fanny.  He’s drawn within himself.” (Brian Percival, N&S DVD commentary – Episode 4)
"There was nothing for it at last, but that which Mr. Thornton had dreaded for many weeks; he had to give up the business in which he had been so long engaged with so much honour and success; and look out for a subordinate situation. ” (Elizabeth Gaskell, N&S Chapter 50)
“'It was her brother,' said Mr. Thornton to himself. 'I am glad. I may never see her again; but it is a comfort - a relief - to know that much.’ … It was a little golden thread running through the dark web of his present fortunes …”
(Elizabeth Gaskell, N&S Chapter 50)

"It was considerably more than a year since she had seen him; and events had occurred to change him much in that time. His fine figure yet bore him above the common height of men; and gave him a distinguished appearance, from the ease of motion which arose out of it, and was natural to him …” (Elizabeth Gaskell, N&S Chapter51)

Thornton: You'll not guess where I've been.
Margaret: To Helstone! I thought those had all gone.
Thornton: I found it in the hedgerow. You have to look hard.

"I have a business proposition ..." (Margaret Hale)

“She closes her eyes, turns to him, lifts their clasped hands to her lips.  A gesture both chaste and erotic.”
(Script directions - N&S Episode 4)

“… some time of delicious silence …” (Elizabeth Gaskell, N&S Chapter 52)
"London train about to depart!"

"You're coming home with me?" (John Thornton)

"He clasped her close. But they both kept silence.” (Elizabeth Gaskell, N&S Chapter 52)

”THORNTON and MARGARET … a sense of them each in their own thoughts, both serious and excited, as the train slips away northbound, to their future.” (Script directions - N&S Episode 4)


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North and South : Introduction | Playing John Thornton, page 1, page 2 | Video clips
Pictures episode 1, episode 2, episode 3, episode 4 | Locations | Production details and DVDs
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