Silly Saturday: Joining in on the Fun with #OneBeardToBringThemAll, September 20, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #638)

I joined in the silly fun of getting my bearded lady portrait done today–by my hubby, of course–for the #OneBeardToBringThemAll RA Fans challenge initiated by Lily and Claudia here. Thanks to Servetus for pointing me to the site!

Here was my bearded lady submission:

If  only I had known a few days ago, I would have planned ahead–and not waxed. Ha!  And I had really wanted ringlets for my beard–but alas, my hair in front is not that long.

 

For more RA Fans bearded ladies in the #OneBeardToBringThemAll challenge, please visit here.

Enjoy!

 

Posted in Fangurling, Graphic, Humor, Middle Earth, Richard Armitage, Something About Love, The Hobbit | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 83 (PG-13): On Bended Knee, September 19, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #637)

“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 83 (PG-13): On Bended Knee, September 19, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #637)

aaaN&SJohnThorntonLoveLessonsFanFicCoverDec2913GratianaLovelace-256x401(An original fan fiction copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace;   All rights reserved; Based on the Elizabeth Gaskell novel, North & South and its 2004 BBC adaptation; No copyright infringement intended)

 

[I will illustrate my story using my dream cast from the 2004 BBC production of “North & South” and other actors for additional characters:   Richard Armitage for John Thornton, Daniela Denby-Ashe for Margaret Hale, Lesley Manville for Mrs. Maria Hale, Tim Pigott-Smith for Mr. Richard Hale, Sinead Cusack for Mrs. Hannah Thornton Ogilvy, Jo Joyner for Fiona/Fanny Thornton Ogilvy, Brendan Coyle for Nicholas Higgins, Graham McTavish as Dr. Cameron Ogilvy, Holliday Grainger for Angharad Ogilvy MacIntosh, Simon Woods for Baird Ogilvy, Emma Ashton as Mrs. Dillard, John Light as Henry Lennox, Tim Faraday as Watson, Gillian Anderson at Carlotta Quint Watson, Jeremy Northam as Dr. Miles Houghton, Gerard Butler as Lord Jamie Ogilvy, Juliette Lewis as Lady Thistle Ogilvy, and Helena Bonham Carter as Brigid Gordon, etc.] [(1) story logo]

Author’s Mature Content Note: “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” is a story with mature themes of love and relationships set within a period drama of the 1850’s. As such there will be heartfelt moments of love and sensuality (S)–as well as other dramatic emotions (D), including some violence (V)–and I will rate those chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.

Author’s Recap from the previous chapter: With John and Margaret Thornton playing matchmakers, the weekend following Audrey Grace Thornton’s fourth birthday, Nicholas Higgins begins his courtship of Nanny Brigid Gordon with a picnic after giving her and the Thornton’s a tour of his overseer cottage home on Saturday, June 28th, 1855. And Brigid and Nicholas share their first kiss, chastely, on her cheek and they hold hands. A good beginning.

 

“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 83 (PG-13): On Bended Knee

What began as shy courtship on Nicholas Higgins and Brigid Gordon’s parts in late June 1855, develops into a blossoming friendship over the July and August Summer months with picnics and concerts and other outings–most including Brigid’s baby boy Arthur. Now a strapping eleven month old, Arthur has quite taken to Nicholas–as Nicholas has taken to Arthur as the son he never had, but now Nicholas has the chance to parent when he and Brigid are married. Marriage is the goal of courtship. Nicholas just has to work up the courage to ask Brigid for her hand in marriage.

John Thornton sits reviewing some figures in his Marlborough Mills office [(2) right] this John-atMillOfficeDesk-isRichardArmitage-inNorth&South-epi4-216_Mar1614ranetblustery and overcast midday of Saturday, August 30, 1855 after everyone has left for the half work day. Nicholas Higgins approaches Thornton’s Mill open office door, twisting his cap in his hand. Nicholas pauses at the doorway.

John: Without looking up to see who approaches him–the footfalls on the wooden floor timbers gave Higgins away–and John observes. “Nicholas, if you twist your cap once more it might disintegrate in your hands.” John smiles and looks up to see a sheepish Nicholas still his hands.

Nicholas: “Well, John.”

Nicholas still feels foreign in addressing the Master of Marlborough Mills by his Christian name. But when they are alone–as they are now–John has requested that they address one another familiarly, as friends do.

John: Leaning back in his chair and observing his friend and Overseer, he prods with a small smile. “Yes?”

Nicholas: “You might have guessed what I wish to ask of you?”

John: A smile creeps further across John’s face. “Perhaps. But I thought that you might never get around to it. Sit.” John gestures to the chair in front of his desk and Nicholas sits.

John does not reveal that he and Margaret have a little side bet going as to whether or not Nicholas would propose to Brigid Gordon before or after her three months of serving as baby Douglas’ wet nurse are up. John thought after, Margaret the opposite.

Nicholas: “I will ask Brigid to marry me. And, I want yo to know that if she accepts me, we will wait to get married until Miss Margaret feels that baby Douglas no longer has need of Mrs. Gordon for his ….” But like John, Nicholas cannot quite finish his thought of Nanny Brigid being wet nurse to the baby.

John: “Quite.” John raises his eyebrows in amusement. “Of course, Mrs. Gordon being of age and a widow, she has the right to command her own future.   But as her employer, I do feel a certain obligation to act on her behalf, in her parents’ stead, as it were.”

Nicholas: “That is right proper and fitting of you, John.” Nicholas winces and asks nervously. “Do you think that she will accept me?”

John: Shaking his head, John shrugs his shoulders. “Mrs. Gordon has not taken me into her confidence about the matter.” Nicholas looks at John plaintively. “And if she has said anything to Margaret, Margaret is not divulging it to me.”

Nicholas:   “Hhhhh!” Nicholas sighs nervously. “I had hoped to have some small insight into her inclination.”

John: “Nicholas, you’re going to have to take the direct approach.” John intones as he stands and walks around his desk. Nicholas also stands out of courtesy.

Nicholas: “And what is that?”

Clapping Nicholas on his back, propelling him forward through his office door, John smiles broadly.

John: “Come, come, man. You will have to pose your question to Mrs. Gordon yourself–perhaps during a garden stroll.” John gazes out of the Mill Office window and rethinks his suggestion.   “And you had best do it before much longer this afternoon, or I fear that the skies will open their flood gates and you will not have a private garden strolling opportunity again until tomorrow.”

Nicholas nods and quickly heads toward Thornton Manor, whilst John closes his ledgers, dons his coat and heads home.

***

Nicholas is ushered into Thornton Manor by their footman who asks him to wait in the small parlor. The size of the room is by no means an indicator of Higgins lesser station than that Thornton’s. It is quite the opposite. This smaller parlor is used for family and close friends. And Higgins as a regular weekly guest of Thornton Manor when he courts Nanny Brigid Gordon, is very familiar with this room as their usual meeting place before walking outside in the garden.

After being informed that Mr. Higgins awaits her in the small parlor–when today was not arranged for them to meet since Brigid is to go into town with Margaret Thornton this afternoon–Brigid is uncertain why Nicholas Higgins has come to call. Brigid smoothes her hair, checking her hairpins as she gracefully walks down the main Thornton Manor staircase. Brigid pauses at the closed small parlor door before turning the door knob and entering the room. Nicholas turns toward the opening door with a hopeful expression upon his face, then smiles when he sees his lovely Brigid.

Brigid: “Nicholas! I was not expecting you today.” She smiles, letting him know that though his visit is unexpected, it is still welcome.

Nicholas: “Hello, Brigid.” He smiles, but does not move toward her. Nicholas is trying to work up his courage for what he hopes to ask of her. The moments tick by as they gaze at each other.

Brigid: Then she ponders. “Is everything alright?”

Nicholas: “Yes. At least, I hope so. You will have to tell me.” Nicholas says a bit confusingly as he takes a step closer to her.

Well, it is confusing to Brigid, at first. Then a thought comes to her mind.

Brigid: “And what is it that you wish me to tell you?” She asks with a small knowing smile Brigid-isHelena-Bonham-Carter_2703004b_Sept1814telegraphcouk-sized[(3) right]. Or at least, Brigid thinks she knows.

But there is a quick double knock at the open parlor door and Maid Sarah pops her head in.

Maid Sarah: “Begging your pardon, Nanny Brigid. Mrs. Thornton asks if you will be ready to go with her into Milton at 2 o’clock?   Or should she delay ordering the carriage?”

Both Nicholas and Brigid look to the mantel place clock. It is now a half past one o’clock. That does not give Nicholas much time.

Brigid: “I don’t know…”

Nicholas: “She’ll be ready.”   He nods at the maid.

***

Then Nicholas unceremoniously clasps Brigid’s hand in his and leads her out of the Thornton Manor–to the astonishment of both Brigid and Maid Sarah–and into the lovely Thornton garden behind the manor. But the clouds look even more ominous as it starts to sprinkle.

Brigid: “Oh no!” She exclaims as the first droplets dampen her dress.

Nicholas: “Let’s make a dash for the gazebo out yonder there.”  The gazebo will afford he and Brigid some privacy for their interactions.

And Nicholas starts running, still holding Brigid’s hand. So the only thing she can do is to run as well. The small Thornton Manor gazebo is about ten yards beyond the Thornton Manor fountain now made into a raised garden of flower plantings out of safety concerns for the children at the Manor–ever since little Caty Thornton fell into the then water fountain and was fished out by Nicholas.

However, the rain clouds burst forth and deluge both Nicholas and Brigid only moments before they reach the dry environs of the gazebo. Once inside the lattice sided gazebo–that allows air flow while insuring some privacy–they assess the damage to their clothing.

Brigid: “I will have to change dresses now beforrre the Mrrrs. and I can go to town.” She smiles wryly at him. “Was there a reason that ye saw fit to have me rrrained upon today?” Brigid tries to reign in her annoyance as she wipes the rainwater from her face.

For his part, Nicholas removes his soaked outer coat and tie and stands in his rolled up shirt sleeves. He is worried that he might have botched his planned proposal even before he is half begun. Then again, there is no time like the present.

Nicholas: “I’m sorry, Brigid.” Nicholas winces at her apologetically, then he drops to his knee to her amazement. “But … I want to marry you!”   He blurts out, jumps up again, and takes her into his arms, gazing at her with an adoring smile. “Please say yes.”

Brigid: “Oh!” Brigid startles at his sudden vehemence and his impromptu proposal and now his embracing closeness. Her arms are not pushing him away, but neither is she embracing him–with her hands resting on his forearms.

Nicholas: “Well?” He asks eagerly towering over her.

Brigid: “May I ask ye why ye wish to marrry me?” Nicholas’ lack of preamble to his proposal has caught her off guard.

Nicholas: “Why?”

Nicholas looks at Brigid in confusion, him taking a firm posture and stance with his shirt Higgins-brendan-coyle-mickey-in-mojo-at-the-harold-pinter-theatre-photo-credit-simon-annand_Sept1714babyskins--mask-sizedcollar open and his hair mussed that has the effect of making him appear–at least to Brigid–quite smouldering [(4) right]. So Brigid continues delicately, and feeling a heightend sense of Nicholas’ manly presence before her.

Brigid: “Yes. Though we have been enjoying garrrden strrrolls and having picnics and such togetherrr weekly, ye have not seemed to … favorrr me in any parrrticularr way.”

Brigid feels that if she has to tell him what she wants to hear from him, she doesn’t feel that he will express those sentiments genuinely to her. She doesn’t feel that she should have to prompt him. Their outings thus far have been proper and chaste–frustratingly so–to each of them.

Nicholas: He blinks. “But I have spent all of my free time with you and little Arthur.” Nicholas pouts, looking hurt.

Brigid: “Yes, and that has been lovely. But …   Hhhhh!” Brigid looks away from him. “Nicholas, Though ye arrre a good man–and Arrrthurrr adorrres ye–I had hoped that you and I might develop some tenderrr feelings forrr each otherrr overrr time.”

Nicholas: “But I do feel tenderly toward you! I love you!” He finally asserts, drawing her into his embrace–but no more. Nicholas is so afraid of doing the wrong thing, that he is failing to do the right thing.

Brigid: “Well then?”

Brigid looks up sheepishly into Nicholas’s eyes as she bats her eyelashes at him with a small smile. He just stares at her–albeit adoringly. Brigid thinks that Nicholas can be so infuriatingly dense sometimes. She wonders if that is because he is a man or because he is English. She thinks that the answer is probably yes. So Brigid moves her arms from lying lightly upon Nicholas’ partially exposed muscular forearms to around his neck and shoulders. The next move is his.

Nicholas: Nicholas smiles broadly and sighs. “Oh Brigid!”

Then Nicholas Higgins leans down and kisses Brigid Gordon on her mouth for the first time. It is a tentative kiss at first–their lips just lightly grazing each other. Nicholas has not kissed anyone in over ten years–and his shyness is quite evident in his hesitation. But Brigid finds Nicholas’ shyness charming and she helps him out by pressing her little rosebud mouth to his lips and she kisses him back. It has been nearly twenty months since she has kissed anyone–since Arthur’s father refused to acknowledge his coming child and abandoned her. And by kissing Nicholas, Brigid hopes to banish her hurtful past forever.

Nicholas pulls Brigid flush against him as he thoroughly encompasses her in his arms’ embrace. His hands do not stray indecorously, but they firmly hold her around her hips and Brigid lets her fingers run through the hair at the back of Nicholas’s head. With encouragement such as this, Nicholas feels emboldened to tear his lips away from hers and begin a slow adoring descent of kisses down her creamy neck.

Brigid: “Hhhhh!” Brigid gasps at this seduction.

Nicholas: “Marry me, my sweet adorable Brigid?”

Brigid thinks upon that for only a millisecond. For there are few men who would countenance the feisty Brigid Gordon–let alone, think her forthrightness is sweet.

Brigid: “Yes.”

Nicholas lifts Brigid up on the air and swings her around with joy in his heart. Then Nicholas returns to her lips and covers her mouth with his in jubilant exultation–entangling their tongues for several heated moments, and then for a few moments more.

***

Meanwhile, John Thornton stealthily walks up behind his wife Margaret on the second floor landing of their bed chamber hallway looking out at their back garden through the rain splattered second floor window, as he wraps his arms around her and kisses her cheek.

Margaret: “John!” She sighs welcomingly.

John: “Margaret, My Love.” He kisses her on her lips most heartily, then he returns to have her snuggling into him. Then looking out the window at the rain, John has to ask with a knowing smile. “Are we looking for something?”

Margaret: “Our probably engaged friends, Nicholas and Brigid.” She smiles up at him cheerfully, feeling very smug about her matchmaking skills.

John: “If they’re out in this rain, they will get soaked!” John looks aghast.

Margaret: “My guess is that they are in the gazebo.”

John: “Ah! Rather drafty that gazebo. And the benches are not at all comfortable.”

Margaret: Margaret playfully swats at her husband John. “They will not be using the benches.” She states primly.

John:   “Ow! I confess that I had not thought of that. But you certainly did.” He teases. “Well, well, Nicholas actually plucked up the courage to ask for Brigid’s hand.” Then John gazes out at the rain again. “Margaret, if this rain doesn’t let up, maybe I should take an umbrella out to the gazebo and lead Brigid and Nicholas back into the warm and dry manor.”

Margaret: “You will do no such thing, John Thornton. They will return to the manor in their own good time.”

John: “Well anything more than ten more minutes and we must insist that they marry upon the morrow.”

Margaret: “Oh no! Brigid and I must arrange for her wedding clothes and trousseau and we will need several weeks for that.”

John: “Woman! Hhhh! Is there no end to your compassionate expressions for others?”

Margaret: “No!” She smiles cheekily.

John: “At least temper the expression of how deeply you incur said compassionate expenses.” Though John admonishes his wife Margaret with a jovial smile, he knows that she will be prudent in her spending for Nanny Brigid’s wedding clothes and trousseau.

Margaret: “Oh look! Nicholas and Brigid are emerging from the gazebo!” Margaret points out the window as she sees Nicholas and Brigid hurrying toward Thornton Manor hand in hand.

John: “Excellent! Now let us arrange for them to be warmed, dryed, and plied with some tea to fortify them.”

Margaret: “Some how, I think they are already warm.” She smiles cheekily.
NandSepi4-370RichardArmitageasJTandDanielaDenbyAsheasMHkissMar2512granetbrtcrop
John: “Indeed.” He returns her cheeky smile and deposits a tender kiss upon her lips [(5) right].

Margaret and John congratulated the happily engaged couple of Nicholas Higgins and Brigid Gordon that Saturday. However, the rain prevented Margaret and Brigid going in to town to begin wedding clothing shopping. So that excursion will be delayed until the following week. But Nicholas and Brigid at least convey their intention to marry to the parson on Sunday and the first of three banns are read to everyone’s delight. Nicholas and Brigid are a very happy pair contemplating their wedding to take place in the coming weeks at the conclusion of her serving as wet nurse to baby Douglas Thornton.

But just as the rain deluged Nicholas’ and Brigid’s engagement proposal, a development will arise to cloud their hoped for happiness.

To be continued with Chapter 84

 

“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 83 References, September 19, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #637)

1)  “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” story logo: Richard Armitage as John Thornton and Daniela Denby-Ashe in the 2004 BBC period drama North & South, was found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode3/ns3-110.jpg ; For more information about this wonderful 2004 BBC miniseries adaptation of Elizabeth’s Gaskell’s story North & South, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_&_South_%28TV_serial%29

2)  John Thornton sitting at his mill office desk is portrayed by Richard Armitage in the 2004 BBC drama North & South, epi4, pix 216 found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode4/ns4-216.jpg

3)  Brigid Gordon image is Helena Bonham Carter found at
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02703/Helena-Bonham-Cart_2703004b.jpg

4)  Higgins image is Brendan Coyle in a Pinter Play found at http://babyskins.wordpress.com/tag/brandon-coyle/#jp-carousel-1013

5)   John is Richard Armitage and Margaret is Daniela Denby-Ashe in North & South- Epi4 _17h54m34s7_Nov1013 Gratiana Lovelace cap.

 

Link to Previous Ch. 82
http://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/ns-john-thornton-love-lessons-ch-82-pg-13-wooing-september-14-2014-gratiana-lovelace-aaari-post-635/

 

Posted in "N&S: John Thornton Love Lessons", Creative Writing, Fan Fiction, John Thornton, Love and Relationships, North & South, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Romance, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies Tapestry Scroll, Grati’s Thorin Poster Edit, and WB Video Trailer, September 16, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #636)

I love the graphics that The Hobbit films design team–aka marketers–have shared with fans along the way for each of the three films! The wallpaper generator and other special graphics with the first film was delightful!

And now we have a new tapestry scroll designed for the third film, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Thanks to the Virna Pachon for sharing the link to the hi res image at Digital Spy!):

a-movies-the-hobbit-the-battle-of-the-five-armies-tapestry-artwork_Sept1514DigitalSpy_Sized2000x371Grati

 

Hopefully, the next tapestry version will share some images of the rest of the Dwarves as EmpireAwards2014--RichardArmitageSept1514RichardArmitageFrance-sizedGratiwell. But in the meantime, I couldn’t resist a little Thorin poster edit of my own (below) of the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage (right at the Empire 2014 Awards courtesy of RAFrance) portraying Thorin Oakenshield):

aa-movies-the-hobbit-the-battle-of-the-five-armies-tapestry-artwork_Sept1514DigitalSpy--ThorinPosterCropGratianaLovelace800x1680Rev

 

And to further entice us into full Hobbit BOFA anticipation, here is the official trailer again (as shared by Warner Bros. Pictures, Thanks!):

And finally, just a reminder as to who we have to look forward to seeing in this film:

THBOFA-credits-billingblock_Sept1514TheHobbitCom-sized

Posted in Creativity, Middle Earth, movies, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit, Thorin, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 82 (PG-13): Wooing, September 14, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #635)

“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 82 (PG-13): Wooing, September 14, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #635)

aaaN&SJohnThorntonLoveLessonsFanFicCoverDec2913GratianaLovelace-256x401(An original fan fiction copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace;   All rights reserved; Based on the Elizabeth Gaskell novel, North & South and its 2004 BBC adaptation; No copyright infringement intended)

[I will illustrate my story using my dream cast from the 2004 BBC production of “North & South” and other actors for additional characters:   Richard Armitage for John Thornton, Daniela Denby-Ashe for Margaret Hale, Lesley Manville for Mrs. Maria Hale, Tim Pigott-Smith for Mr. Richard Hale, Sinead Cusack for Mrs. Hannah Thornton Ogilvy, Jo Joyner for Fiona/Fanny Thornton Ogilvy, Brendan Coyle for Nicholas Higgins, Graham McTavish as Dr. Cameron Ogilvy, Holliday Grainger for Angharad Ogilvy MacIntosh, Simon Woods for Baird Ogilvy, Emma Ashton as Mrs. Dillard, John Light as Henry Lennox, Tim Faraday as Watson, Gillian Anderson at Carlotta Quint Watson, Jeremy Northam as Dr. Miles Houghton, Gerard Butler as Lord Jamie Ogilvy, Juliette Lewis as Lady Thistle Ogilvy, and Helena Bonham Carter as Brigid Gordon, etc.] [(1) story logo]

Author’s Mature Content Note: “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” is a story with mature themes of love and relationships set within a period drama of the 1850’s. As such there will be heartfelt moments of love and sensuality (S)–as well as other dramatic emotions (D), including some violence (V)–and I will rate those chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.

Author’s Recap from the previous chapter: During Audrey Grace Thornton’s fourth birthday party weekend, Nicholas Higgins had his first courting opportunity with Nanny Brigid Gordon in the form of lawn bowling with John and Margaret after luncheon. However, it has been over twenty years since Nicholas courted a lady–his late wife Sharon, God rest her soul. And Nicholas will need some help to woo the lady of his choice now–Brigid Gordon. But with John Thornton’s wooing skills tempered by his now wife Margaret’s help during their courtship five years ago–the grape incident almost derailed John and Margaret at the start, but for Margaret’s sense of humor–Nicholas Higgins may need more than John Thornton’s advice to woo and wed the feisty Brigid Gordon.

 

“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 82 (PG-13): Wooing

The week passed not quickly enough for Nicholas Higgins, despite being consumed with Marlborough Mills finishing a large cotton fabric order and sending it off on the Saturday morning train of June 28th. Nicholas looks forward to seeing Mrs. Gordon again this coming Sunday afternoon on the morrow, though he has not planned an activity yet–more than taking a stroll about the Thornton Manor garden. But Nicholas will soon discover that John and Margaret have taken each other into their confidences and joined forces in matchmaking for their friend Nicholas Higgins and their Nanny Brigid Gordon.

To that end–matchmaking–Margaret has arranged to take the children to meet her husband John, their father, at the Thornton Village Park for a family picnic and feeding the ducks Saturday afternoon. And afterward, they plan to tour the latest of the recently completed housing hubs of eight homes in the last of their mill worker housing development project. These homes will be filled by other tenants who had been previously sharing a home in Thornton Village while awaiting their home being built–rather than them continuing to live in the squalor of the Princeton District.

John had invited Nicholas to join them for the picnic since he lives in Thornton Village. So each man dashes from the Mill to his respective home to freshen up before John Thornton and his family collect Nicholas Higgins at his Thornton Village cottage. The open Thornton carriage stops in front of the small two story three bedroom stone overseer’s cottage that is Nicholas Higgin’s home. There is green grass and a flower garden in front–Nicholas’ daughter Mary’s doing–and a plot of land behind for a kitchen garden and such.   Nanny Brigid holding her son Arthur and carrying the baby necessities for he and baby Douglas in a bag, smiles approvingly at the cottage.

John: “Audrey Grace, Come with me and we will collect Mr. Higgins.” John smiles and Margaret nods knowingly while cradling their baby son Douglas in her arms and with their younger daughter Caty snuggled into her side sucking her thumb.

So, John alights from the carriage and lifts Audrey Grace out.

Audrey Grace: “I love picnics, Papa! Sitting on the ground to eat is so much fun!” Audrey Grace says gleefully.

John: “Yes.” John agrees, but hopes that they can find a tree for him to lean against for support of his tall frame. “And be sure to sit on the blanket so that you don’t get grass stains on your play dress.” Audrey Grace nods.

John knocks at Nicholas Higgins front door. And inside, Nicholas bounds up from a nearby chair and opens it for him.

Nicholas: “Mast … John!” Nicholas catches himself and shakes John hands warmly. “Please come in for a moment while I collect my food contributions for our picnic.”

John: “You don’t have to bring anything.” John smiles indulgently.

Nicholas: “But I want to.” Nicholas smiles and walks back to his small kitchen and dining area beyond the sitting room. Nicholas is no charity case. A man has his pride. Nicholas makes a good wage at Thornton’s Marlborough Mills and he can afford to contribute to their picnic with some bread and seasonal fruit, etc. Fruit. Hmmm.

John motions back to Margaret sitting in the carriage that he and Audrey Grace are going inside of the cottage as they walk inside–which Margaret takes to mean that John wants her to follow him. So she and Nanny Brigid and the children exit the carriage and walk toward and then into Nicholas Higgins cottage.

Nanny Brigid looks around the sparsely furnished cottage’s sitting room, liking what she sees. There is a sette facing the fireplace hearth, with two large chairs on either side of the mantel. The sitting room has a slightly masculine feel to in it–in the sense that it is not cozy yet and needs a bit of color in the window hangings and perhaps some fresh flowers on the sofa table to give it the homey touch of a woman’s influence.

Being so wrapped up in her appraisal of Nicholas’ sitting room, Brigid does not realize that Nicholas has turned around from packing up his picnic basket to see that she and Margaret and the children are all standing in his home. Nicholas is frozen, wondering whether Mrs. Gordon thinks that his home is suitable for a family–were she to grant him the boon of becoming his wife.

Margaret:   Breaking the awkward silence, Margaret warmly suggests. “Nicholas, your home looks lovely. Might we have a tour?” Nicholas knows that Margaret has been here several times, the tour is obviously for Nanny Brigid’s benefit.

John: “Ha ha ha!   Margaret, I don’t know if we should surprise Nicholas seeking a tour without any warning.” John offers sympathetically. Margaret pouts.   She is only hoping to give Brigid more reasons to like Nicholas.

Nicholas: “Nay, it is alright. With the children gone to live with Mary and I am all alone, it is not so difficult to keep the place tidy.” Nicholas smiles sheepishly, then he sneaks a glance at Nanny Brigid Gordon.

But he has said the wrong thing, as her cool facial expression reveals.

Nanny Brigid: “Childrrren often have play toys orrr clothes strrrewn about, but they can also be taught to pick up afterrr themselves.” She challenges–wondering if Mr. Higgins does not want more children brought into his life. She has her baby son Arthur, and any man whom she considers to marry must welcome him wholeheartedly.

Nicholas: “I beg your pardon.” Nicholas back peddles, realizing that he has given offense.   “Children’s messes are a delightful reminder of their joyful presence in our lives.” Nicholas smiles broadly at Nanny Gordon. “Let me give you a tour.” Margaret smiles. “The down stairs you see here, except for a pantry and cold storage larder off of the kitchen.”   He points to the right of the wood stove along the back wall.

Everyone nods approvingly as they walk back to the open kitchen area.

Catriona: Tugging on her Mama Margaret’s dress, little Caty looks up at her Mama’s face. “Potty?”

Brigid: “I’ll help her, Mrs.” Then Brigid looks at Nicholas Higgins. “And is there an indoor convenience, or is it outside?” She asks curiously.

John: “Oh no! All of the cottages have a small bathing chamber.” John states pridefully for the modern means of sanitation that Thornton Village provides its resident–but having clean water distribution and waste water removal. “And Thornton Village has never had an outbreak of disease since its founding.

Nicholas: “Aye! The bathing chamber is to the left of the stove–if you would care to take Caty.”

Brigid shifts her nine month old baby son Arthur in her arms and takes Caty’s hand with her free hand.

Brigid: “Come Caty.” She smiles at the two year old toddler.

Nicholas: Reaching out his arms, Nicholas offers. “Here, let me help you.   I will hold baby Arthur while you help Caty.”

Margaret’s eyebrows rise and she smiles–thinking that Nicholas is making a good impression. John also shrugs his encouragement to Nicholas.

Brigid: Becoming instantly tense, Brigid replies. “I do na know if he will take to you. Only Mrs. has held him.” Brigid refers to Margaret.

Margaret: “Oh Nicholas has held many a child and baby in arms before. But if you prefer, I will let him hold baby Douglas and I will hold Arthur.”

Margaret makes this shift in babies so that Brigid can see all is well. Now Margaret holds baby Arthur who playfully swats at her cheek. Nicholas smiles down at baby Douglas, rocking him in his arms.

Nicholas: “You have a fine son, John.”

John: “Thank you, we think so.” John beams and places his arms around Margaret’s shoulders.

Audrey Grace: “How can you tell?   Baby Douglas is so little. And he doesn’t do much but sleep and eat and stink up his diapers.” She wrinkles up her cute little button nose.

The adults all laugh: “Ha ha ha ha ha!”

Margaret: “Just as you did when you were little.” Margaret remarks wryly.

Caty: “Potty?” She tugs on Nanny Brigid’s hand holding hers.

Brigid: Jolted out of her reverie of observing Nicholas Higgins holding baby Douglas, Brigid refocuses and returns her attention to the matter at hand. “The wee one and I will be back in a moment.”

John takes baby Douglas into his arms now as Nicholas reluctantly relinquishes the baby.

Nicholas: “May I?” Nicholas reaches for baby Arthur again.Brigid-isHelena+Bonham+Carter+helena_Aug2414lastfm-sized-sepia-crop

Brigid: “Verrry well.” Brigid [(2) right] nods and holds her breath as her son goes to Nicholas–and without Arthur fussing. Brigid nods and takes Caty into the bathing chamber, but not before hearing her son cooing in Nicholas Higgins’ arms.

Arthur: “Ha ha ha!” Baby Arthur laughs at the friendly big man with a large grin holding him and making faces at him.

Nicholas:   “Lord!   He’s a big lad. You’ll be a strong one when you grow up, Arthur!”

Brigid and Caty are back in no time from the bathing chamber–with Nicholas then giving them a tour of the upstairs of his hime, while still carrying baby Arthur in his arms. Brigid likes what she sees. Oh the cottage is alright–it needs a woman’s touch. But she likes how her son seems quite taken with Nicholas Higgins.

***

They all go on to have a pleasant picnic in the park with grapes no where in evidence–only apples. John and Margaret Thornton and their children sit and eat on one blanket under the large oak tree giving them much needed shade from the bright sun.   While some ten yards away and behind a bush, Nicholas Higgins and Brigid Gordon and her baby son Arthur sit on another blanket under another large tree shading them. The distance allows each couple to have some privacy while still enjoying their picnic together.

Removing the cloth covering the picnic basket that Nicholas had packed, Brigid is surprised at what she finds–baked chicken legs and thighs, bread, cheese, apples, and a small 4 ounce jug of milk.

Brigid: “Arrre ye fond of milk, Mr. Higgins?” She asks with a smile as she sets baby Arthur sitting up on the blanket.

Nicholas: “Nay. But I thought your little one, might like it. It has been a while since I have been around one so small. And I forgot what they eat.” Nicholas shrugs his shoulders while admitting this failing.

Brigid: “I thank ye. He will. Though he has some teeth, he is still not eating much solid food. I mash cooked vegetables and fruit for him.” She smiles while taking a small covered jar out of her own picnic basket and opens it. Then she holds the jar out to Nicholas.

Nicholas: Nicholas leans over and takes a whiff of the baby food concoction. “Hmmm. Smells good–like stew.”

Brigid: “Just so, this has mashed carrots in beef brrroth.” Baby Arthur waves his arms to get his Mama’s attention. Arthur is hungry and she begins to slowly spoon fee him–with the baby managing to keep most of the food in his mouth and swallowing it.

Nicholas: “I’d say the little fellow is hungry.”

Nicholas unplugs the milk jug and offers it to baby Arthur, him carefully holding onto the jug so that the baby doesn’t pour it all over himself. Brigid watches Nicholas carefully and smiles as he dabs a napkin at the baby’s chin to catch the milk gurgling over his lips. Baby Arthur at nine months old is still learning how to drink fluids that do not come from his mother’s breast. And Brigid thinks that Nicholas will do as a father for her baby boy Arthur. They begin to eat their own picnic meals as baby Arthur takes a nap in his Mama’s lap.

With the gentle breeze, Nicholas [(3) right] notices small wisps of Brigid’s hair become Nicholas-isBrendanCoyle-asJohnBates-and-anna_zpsef78673f_inDowntonAbbeySep0414games-crop-sized2untucked from her upswept hair and frame her face in soft tendril curls. She has a pert little face, heart shaped and comely. Nicholas likes her womanly figure as well. But it has been so long since he and his late wife had lain together as husband and wife–more than ten years now–let alone when he had dated twenty years ago, that Nicholas is uncertain how to proceed in courting Brigid Gordon.

And with Brigid seeming so reserved and ladylike, Nicholas is uncertain if she will welcome any romantic attentions on his part–even if to only kiss her hand. He knows that he would like to kiss her on her lips as he watches her eat–her mouth moving as she delicately chews her chicken.   He is itching to find out how soft the lips on her rosebud mouth might be. But being in a public park, and in broad daylight, is also a deterrent for Nicholas’ amorous thoughts.

However, the plucky Brigid senses Nicholas’ reserve, but she also wishes to settle the matter of what it might be like to kiss him. For though Brigid does not currently feel a grand passion for Nicholas as she did for the father of her son–her being swept off her feet by the dashing young soldier whose muscled virility and handsomeness quite overwhelmed her–Brigid is not averse to developing a fondness for the man who might become her husband. And pleasant affections between the two of them would be received agreeably by her–once they are married. So Brigid breaks through Nicholas’ mesmerized silence.

Brigid: “Mr. Higgins?”

Nicholas: Startled, Nicholas flinches. “Is my late father here? For I am just Nicholas, if you please, Mrs. Gordon?” He smiles at her teasingly.

Brigid: She nods her head. “Verrry well, Nicholas. You werrre deep in thought just now. Might I ask what so entranced you?”

Nicholas: Nicholas’s face blushes. “Well, I …” He stops, too embarrassed to admit where his thoughts had wandered.

Brigid: Feeling playful, she asks most enticingly. “Shall I guess?”

Nicholas:   His breath catching in his throat, Nicholas croaks with a wavering tone in his voice. “Alright.”

Brigid sets down her plate, wipes the corners of her mouth with her napkin, and sets it aside. Nicholas’ eyes widen. He also sets down his plate and brushes the napkin across his mouth.

Brigid: “Well, if we arrre to get to know each otherrr–with marriage being our intended outcome?” Nicholas nods his head without speaking. “Then perrrhaps we should see if we might develop …” Nicholas leans toward her. “… tenderrr feelings forrr each otherrr.”

Nicholas: “Though I am no gentleman with a fine manner or grace, I am not a brute. My late wife Sharon and I had a tender feeling for each other.”

Brigid: “Ye werrre a love match?”

Nicholas; “We were. Just sixteen we were when we wed as childhood sweethearts–we could not wait any longer.” He smiles sheepishly. “We quickly had two daughters–my Mary who is now married was the younger. Our oldest daughter Bessie died from a lung ailment several years ago–but she was a great friend of Miss Margaret’s until the end.” He states proudly.

Brigid: “I am sorry for your loss. But ye did na think to remarry to secure a mother for your daughters?”

Nicholas:   “I couldn’t.” Nicholas shakes his head mournfully. “Right after when Sharon died, I couldn’t imagine loving anyone ever again. So I was both mother and father to my girls. And we had plenty of other mothers living nearby who could help me with my girls’ womanly issues.”

Brigid: “I see.” She nods acknowledging the difficult time that Nicholas had had in those early years after his wife died.

Nicholas: “And then as my girls grew up, my work with the union became my mistress. I did not have time to think about myself and my wishes.” Or manly needs he thinks, but does not state due to propriety. “But when I took in the six orphaned Boucher children a few years ago, having young ones around again reminded me of the days when Sharon and I had our two little daughters growing up. And I slowly came to feel an ache to share my life again with someone.”

Brigid: “And now, you wish to sharrre yourrr life with me?” She smiles shyly at him.

Nicholas slowly reaches out his hand and gently clasps her hand in his. She does not pull away, but allows him to continue holding her hand. Nicholas’ thumb slowly rubs the back of her hand as he smiles caringly at her.

Nicholas: “I do. And how do you feel? Your being so recently widowed yourself, do you feel ready to … love again?”

Brigid’s breath catches in her throat. She cannot reveal her non-widow status to him, because it would also reveal her non-married status–and that her son was born out of wed lock. She will not be taken advantage of again, her son’s future depends upon her cautious actions now.

Brigid: “I wish Arrrthurrr to grrrow up with a fatherrr. So I must marrry.” She states simply, but with a small smile to him.

Nicholas: Nicholas thinks about her statement, that she wants a father for her son. “You seem to be a puzzle to me Mrs. Gordon.” He looks at her quizzically as he unclasps his hand from her hand.

Brigid:   “Oh?” She asks with slight dread as she retracts her hand to her lap–her not wanting to leave it looking forlorn at being unclasped.

Nicholas: “One moment, you seem bold and forthright. But just now, you seem very shy.” Then a thought occurs to him as he leans back from her. “Or is it that you have decided already that you do not wish me to court you afterall? Is there someone else?” Nicholas feels a bit jealous, though he realizes that he has no right to.

Brigid: “Therrre is no one else.” Brigid shakes her head no. Nicholas gazes at her pointedly about the other matter. She continues “Mrrr. Hig …” Nicholas raises his left eyebrow. “Nicholas, I am agreeable to consider marrying you at a future time.” She smiles pleasantly.

Now Nicholas feels emboldened by her not outright rejecting him. Maybe there is a chance for the two of them.

Nicholas: “I would like to kiss your cheek.   May I?” Nicholas’ eyes twinkle in hopeful longing.

Lowering her eyes demurely, Brigid’s breathing deepens. She is not certain if it is proper for a man to kiss her cheek so early in their courtship. Afterall, she has let him hold her hand. Yet she also is still thinking about possibly feeling what being kissed by him might be like. If she cannot have a grand passion–such as what everyone can see is shared by John and Margaret Thornton in their tender and caring gazes at one another–Brigid would like to at least know a caring tenderness and feel a sense of security.

Brigid: Surprising herself, taking a leap of faith that this man will not use her and cast her aside, Brigid relents. “You may.” However, she keeps her eyes gazing down toward her hands clasping and unclasping together.

Nicholas leans over toward Brigid. But her ladylike posture has her sitting upright.

Nicholas: Whispering, Nicholas requests. “Brigid, might you please lean a little toward me so that I may reach you to kiss your cheek?” Nicholas does not want to move his whole body toward her lest she feel he is being too forward in his demeanor.

Silently, Brigid complies and leans toward him slightly. Their eyes lock and the merriment in Nicholas’ eyes and grin are very apparent. However, Brigid looks quite uncertain–as if she is being kissed for the first time. Nicholas leans further toward her and Brigid can feel his breath on her face.

Brigid: “Hhh!” She gasps in nervousness, wondering if he will take more liberties and kiss her on her lips.

Brigid has not been kissed on her lips by a man–her kissing her baby son does not count–since before Arthur was born and his father refused to acknowledge the coming baby as his child. The man had even hinted that if Brigid had lain with him and they were unmarried, that she had probably lain with other men. Brigid was so hurt by his accusations that she resolved to never again put herself in a position to be compromised by a man.

Nicholas: Whispering still, Nicholas leans in to kiss Brigid and he cannot help gushing. “You are so beautiful and sweet.”

Brigid closes her eyes, smiling with his kind compliment. Nicholas bestows his kiss below her cheekbone, half way to her mouth, in the soft hollow of her cheek. He finds her skin soft and supple as his lips linger there. He would like nothing better than to kiss her jaw and then her lips, before proceeding to bestow soft kisses upon her creamy neck. Brigid does not move away from him. She finds Nicholas’ lips upon her cheek pleasing for a few moments more, before he pulls back–as he knows that he must as an honorable man. Brigid opens her eyes and smiles shyly at Nicholas. He smiles shyly back at her.

Nicholas Higgins and Brigid Gordon are reaching a turning point in their acquaintanceship.

To be continued with Chapter 83

 

“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 82 References, September 14, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #635)

1) “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” story logo: Richard Armitage as John Thornton and Daniela Denby-Ashe in the 2004 BBC period drama North & South, was found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode3/ns3-110.jpg ; For more information about this wonderful 2004 BBC miniseries adaptation of Elizabeth’s Gaskell’s story North & South, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_&_South_%28TV_serial%29

2)  Image representing the Scottish Brigid Gordon is that of actress Helena Bonham Carter found at http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/500/34779527/Helena+Bonham+Carter+helena.jpg

3)     Image of Nicholas Higgins is that of Brendan Coyle in his role of John Bates in Downton Abbey and was found at : http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m23/mrbateslegal/DA1/bates-and-anna_zpsef78673f.jpg

 

Link to Previous Ch. 81
http://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/ns-john-thornton-love-lessons-ch-81-pg-13-courting-permission-september-9-2014-gratiana-lovelace-post-633/

Posted in "N&S: John Thornton Love Lessons", Creative Writing, Family, Fan Fiction, Fathers, John Thornton, Love and Relationships, North & South, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Romance, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

#AskArmitage via The Old Vic–Grati’s Caps of a Wonderful Revealing Insightful Richard Armitage Twitterview about his Role of John Proctor in The Crucible, September 12, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #634)

I came, I saw, I capped. It might not be every question and RA response–but it is darn close.  The exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage was wonderfully engaging and forthcoming about every question he was asked.  Enjoy!

AskArmitage01--opening_Sep1214GratianaLovelaceCap

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AskArmitage10--Most-connected-to-audience-the-silence-andJohnandElizabeths-final-scene_Sep1214GratianaLovelaceCap

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AskArmitage19--what-he-enjoyed-playing-proctor-full-throttle-uninhibited-because-it-is-my-name-speech_Sep1214GratianaLovelaceCap

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For more about Richard Armitage’s career, visit: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/career.html  or a variety of links in my sidebar.

 

 

 

 

Posted in #AskArmitage, Creativity, Drama, Graphic, Interview, John Proctor, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Social Justice, Something About Love, The Crucible, The Old Vic Theatre, Theatre | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 81 (PG-13): Courting Permission September 9, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #633)

“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 81 (PG-13): Courting Permission September 9, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #633)

aaaN&SJohnThorntonLoveLessonsFanFicCoverDec2913GratianaLovelace-256x401(An original fan fiction copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace;   All rights reserved; Based on the Elizabeth Gaskell novel, North & South and its 2004 BBC adaptation; No copyright infringement intended)

[I will illustrate my story using my dream cast from the 2004 BBC production of “North & South” and other actors for additional characters:   Richard Armitage for John Thornton, Daniela Denby-Ashe for Margaret Hale, Lesley Manville for Mrs. Maria Hale, Tim Pigott-Smith for Mr. Richard Hale, Sinead Cusack for Mrs. Hannah Thornton Ogilvy, Jo Joyner for Fiona/Fanny Thornton Ogilvy, Brendan Coyle for Nicholas Higgins, Graham McTavish as Dr. Cameron Ogilvy, Holliday Grainger for Angharad Ogilvy MacIntosh, Simon Woods for Baird Ogilvy, Emma Ashton as Mrs. Dillard, John Light as Henry Lennox, Tim Faraday as Watson, Gillian Anderson at Carlotta Quint Watson, Jeremy Northam as Dr. Miles Houghton, Gerard Butler as Lord Jamie Ogilvy, Juliette Lewis as Lady Thistle Ogilvy, and Helena Bonham Carter as Brigid Gordon, etc.] [(1) story logo]

Author’s Mature Content Note: “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” is a story with mature themes of love and relationships set within a period drama of the 1850’s. As such there will be heartfelt moments of love and sensuality (S)–as well as other dramatic emotions (D), including some violence (V)–and I will rate those chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.

Author’s Recap from the previous chapter: If Audrey Grace Thornton turning four years old wasn’t excitement enough–she had two parties, one at the Mill School and one in the Thornton Manor gardens–her littletwo year old sister Caty fell into the water fountain during the treasure hunt. But Nicholas Higgins quick thinking and quick reflexes pulled her out of the fountain, coughing up water, her top half drenched in water, but happily not permanently harmed. John and Margaret were beyond grateful to Nicholas as they moved everyone to the chocolate desserts. However, Nicholas delayed joining them to shyly speak to Nanny Brigid Gordon. And she surprised him by guessing is interest in her and laying down her terms for their acquaintanceship–if they were both agreeable after a suitable chaperoned courting period, it would be matrimony or nothing. And Nicholas agreed.

 

“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 81 (PG-13): Courting Permission

The June 20th Friday evening of the now four year old Audrey Grace Thornton’s birthday party, a tired and sleepy household prepares to retire for the night at Thornton Manor. Little Caty seems none the worse for wear after her falling into the water fountain. Yet John and Margaret kept her by one of their sides the rest of the day. And true to his word to Margaret, John has already had the gardeners drain the fountain and flowers will be planted in it the following day.

John and Margaret have read Audrey Grace and her two year old sister little Catriona a bed time story and kiss them good night as Margaret places a sleeping Caty in bed and John carries the almost asleep Audrey Grace to her bed.

John: “My little treasure!” John carries his daughter Audrey Grace into his arms.   “Did AudreyGrace-almost-four-image-is-Tête_d'Etude_l'Oiseau_(1867)-byWilliam-Adolphe_Bouguereau_(1825-1905)_Jul2614wiki-crop2you enjoy your birthday today, sweetheart?”

Audrey Grace: Audrey Grace [(2) right] smiles in looking up at her father. “I did, Papa. It was the bestest birthday I have ever had.” Audrey Grace kisses her Papa’s cheek then she hugs him tightly around his neck.

Then John places her in bed next to her sister, Caty–and the girls instantly embrace, with Caty still asleep

Audrey Grace: Lying hugging her sleeping sister Caty in their shared bed, a sleepy Audrey Grace holds out her free hand to her parents. “Thank you for my parties and presents, Mama and Papa.”

John and Margaret clasp her hand in theirs and they both smile lovingly at their daughter who is growing up so fast before their eyes.

Margaret: “You’re welcome, My Sweetheart.”

John: “We’re glad that you enjoyed yourself.”

Audrey Grace: “Uh huh.” Audrey Grace sighs and is fast asleep.

John and Margaret rise and walk toward the bedchamber’s door to the hallway.Margaret-isDanielaDenby-Ashe-inNorth&South-Epi417h49m20s188_Nov1013GratianaLovelaceCap-crop2

Margaret: Margaret whispers [(3) right]. “John, let me just check on baby Douglas and I will join you in our bed chamber.”

John: John kisses his wife Margaret’s forehead. “Alright My Love. Don’t be long.” His voice deepens into a husky timbre with his love for his beautiful wife.

Margaret nods with a knowing smile. Then she walks to the door to the adjoining baby nursery, knocks softly, then enters–while John heads back to his own room.

Margaret: “Nanny Brigid?” Margaret whispers in the darkened room, while she lets her eyes adjust to the darkness that is broken by the warm glow of firelight in the fireplace.

Nanny Brigid: “Yes Mrrrs.?” Brigid sits up in her bed, then stands to see what is wanted.

Margaret: “Oh! I’m so sorry, Nanny Brigid. I didn’t realize that you had gone to bed already. Please don’t let me disturb you.” Margaret starts to back out of the room.

Nanny Brigid: “Tis no disturrrbance.” Brigid stands up and wraps a shawl around her shoulders. “Ye have come to kiss baby Douglas goodnight then?” Brigid smiles–for she kisses goodnight her own son Arthur every night.

Margaret: “Yes.” Margaret sighs sheepishly as she goes to his crib and sees her son sleeping soundly.   Margaret kisses two of her fingers, then she lovingly places her fingers on her son’s cheek as she gazes wondrously at her miracle, giving a son to John when they adopted baby Douglas and his sister Catriona.

Baby Douglas: “Hhhhh!” Baby Douglas sighs in his sleep with his mother’s touch, but he does not awaken.

Margaret: “Well, I should leave you to your rest.” Margaret starts to turn toward the hallway door to let herself out.

Nanny Brigid hesitates–biting her lower lip. Then she purposely walks toward MargBrigid-isHelena+Bonham+Carter+helena_Aug2414lastfm-sized-sepia-croparet and whispers.

Nanny Brigid: “May I ask ye something, Mrrrs?” Nanny Brigid feels suddenly shy [(4)  right] at the prospect of informing her employer, what she is about to inform her of.

Margaret: Margaret turns back to Nanny Brigid. “Of course.” She whispers.

Nanny Brigid: “While I am yet wet nurrrrse to baby Douglas, would ye object to Mrrr. Higgins and I becoming acquainted?” Brigid waits patiently for Margaret’s answer.

Margaret’s eyebrows rise. She guessed that her friend Nicholas Higgins had an interest in her children’s nanny, but not that it had progressed to the point of their possibly developing an acquaintanceship.

Margaret: “Oh!” Margaret smiles indulgently. “Has Nicholas asked you ….?”

Nanny Brigid: “He has, Mrrrs.” Though if truth be told, it was Brigid who urged him along by her forthrightness.

Margaret: “Well, as long as the children’s needes are tended to, I have no objection to you using your Sunday afternoon off as you wish.”   Then Margaret adds protectively. “Though my regard for Mr. Higgins is unwavering, I would not like unseemly talk to develop by idle persons about your interactions.”

Nanny Brigid: “Norrr would I, Mrrrs. With that in mind, might Mr. Higgins courrrt me here at Thorrrrnton Manorrrr? He is herrre often enough alrrrready not to arrrouse interrrest.” Brigid smiles impishly.

Margaret: “Courrrt you?” Margaret blanches, her not suspecting that Nicholas and her Nanny had progressed that far. Then she regroups.   “I suppose that would be ideal. Let me think upon that–before we address the topic with Mr. Thornton.”

Nanny Brigid: “Yess, Mrrrs. Thank ye.” Brigid nods with a smile. “Good evening.”

Margaret: “Good evening.”

Margaret nods and heads to her own bed chamber. Margaret was going to try to figure out a way to broach the topic of Brigid and Nicholas courting with her husband John when she entered their shared bed chamber Friday night. But John’s loving attentions quite sweep her off her feet–literally–and she is otherwise more pleasantly engaged before sleep claims her this night.

***

The Sunday June 22nd–two days following Audrey Grace’s fourth birthday parties–finds Nicholas Higgins invited for luncheon at Thornton Manor after church at Margaret’s behest–since she is now quite enamored of the notion of playing matchmaker for her friend Nicholas and her Nanny Brigid Gordon. John Thornton has yet to be apprised of the situation. So Margaret must tread delicately.

And John’s business partner in the Ogilvy-Thornton Scottish Mills venture, Mr. Bell is still with them. So Mr. Bell adds another layer of complication to the matter.   Mr. Bell had earlier in his visit attended the lively birthday garden party and he is also their house guest for a few days on his way from Oxford, England to tour the Scottish Mills. The food is delicious and the after luncheon conversation among them is lively before Margaret repairs to the garden with Nanny Brigid and the children.

Mr. Bell: “Well, Thornton! I leave you not six months ago with you and my god daughter Margaret having only one child, and now I come visit and find you with three children! I knew you were industrious, but my word! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!” The mischievous Mr. Bell is in rare form tonight.

John, Margaret, and Higgins: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha!”

Higgins: “Thornton and Miss Margaret are right good people to be adopting those two little ones.” He grins, then looks wistfully at the dining room door, wondering what Brigid Gordon is doing at this moment. He has only glimpsed her twice since Audrey Grace’s birthday party last Friday–on Saturday morning when he brought John a bill of lading to sign, and then again at church this morning.

Margaret: “Thank you Mr. Bell, and Nicholas. Well Nicholas, it was your good example of taking in the six Boucher children that helped confirm our own thoughts about adoption. Didn’t it, John?” She smiles at her husband.JohnT-SmallSmile-isRichardArmitage-inNorth&Southepi1-045Oct2713ranet-crop-hi-res-rev2-flip

John: “Yes, that and I kept Margaret to adopting only two children–and not six–to ease us into our growing family.” John smiles contentedly [(5) right] as he gazes adoringly at his lovely wife Margaret.

Margaret: Playfully swatting at her husband, she mock admonishes him. “Oh you!”

Higgins smiles wanly and his mind ponders many things. John and Margaret Thornton’s love and loving family are gifts that he has not had for some time now–since his dear wife died ten years ago. And Nicholas finding out off handedly the other day from Margaret Mrs. Gordon’s age of twenty-five–meaning that he is 12 years older than she–makes him realize that he is probably too old for Mrs. Gordon to consider him as a suitor. Nicholas is still a man in his prime of thirty seven–just about John Thornton’s age. Nicholas was a teen when he first married and raised his family–so he wonders if he should be greedy to seek another. So Nicholas is wavering about his wish to seek out Mrs. Gordon to court her now. Though Higgins and Nanny Gordon are yet to be acquainted with each other about their personal habits and interests, Nicholas feels more than a desire for companionship with her the several times that he has glimpsed her on her walks with the children, or when he has come by the Manor to talk with John about something that he conveniently forgot to ask him at the Mill. And her declaration to him of her terms for him courting her at the birthday party has quite unsettled him.

Mr. Bell: Leaning over to John Thornton, Mr. Bell states in a clear voice. “I say, Thornton. Your overseer seems to be a contemplative fellow–so lost in thought is he, I doubt that a thunder bolt could rouse him.”

Margaret: Patting Nicholas’ arm, Margaret smiles at him when he looks up at her. “Nicholas? Did you wish to join us for a stroll in the garden while the children have their naps?” Margaret knows that Nanny Brigid will be there also, by design–with another manor staff member watching over the children during Nanny Brigid’s afternoon off.

Higgins: Startled, Nicholas jerks his head toward Margaret. “No! Miss Margaret, I would be pleased to join you. I would like to wish them well in their rest. I miss having little ones around me now that Mary has the children with her.”

John: “Well then, let us not keep the children waiting.” John rises from his chair and everyone follows suit.

***

As they make their way to the second floor bed chamber hallway, Margaret puts her finger to her lips.

Margaret: “Just let me see if the girls are still awake.”

Margaret taps lightly on Audrey Grace’s and Catriona’s shared bed chamber. The little girls look up from their place sitting on the rug by the glowingly warm fireplace hearth, playing with their dollies as she enters. Audrey Grace had let her new little sister pick out several of her dollies to have until more can be bought for her. And little Catriona is also wearing some of Audrey Grace’s night clothes clothes from when she was a two year old.

Audrey Grace: “Mama!” She hops up and runs over to Margaret.

Catriona:   “Mama?” Catriona stands up a bit slower on her toddler legs and toddles over to Margaret

Margaret: “My girls!” She hugs and kisses each of them. “We have a treat this afternoon. Both Mr. Bell and Nicholas Higgins would like to wish you a lovely nap.”

Audrey Grace: “ Yes please!” Audrey Grace claps her hands together. She likes Mr. Bell because he smiles a lot.

Catriona: “Potty, Mama, please?” Catriona does not speak in complicated sentences, but she still manages to make herself understood.

Margaret: “Of course, Caty, Dear. Audrey Grace go let your father and our friends into your bedchamber while I help Caty.”

Audrey Grace: “Yes, Mama.” Audrey Grace nods and goes to open the door. “Papa!”

John lifts his daughter up into his arms and caringly rocks Audrey Grace. Then looking around the bed chamber and not seeing his wife Margaret, he asks.

John: “Where are your Mama and sister?”

Audrey Grace: She cups her hand to her mouth and whispers into her papa’s ear. “Papa, Caty had to potty. But I didn’t.” She smiles brightly.

Mr. Bell: “Where is this second daughter? Are you certain that you have another little girl, Thornton?” Mr. Bell teases John, for he had met Caty already at the garden party.

John: “Margaret and Caty will be along directly. Let us go see if baby Douglas is asleep.”

John raps his knuckles three times on the nursery room door adjoining Audrey Grace’s and Catriona’s bed chamber. Then John leads the men walking into the baby Douglas’ nursery–where Nanny Brigid and her baby son Arthur also sleep so that she can tend to the children in the night as needed.

Nanny Brigid has just finished nursing baby Douglas and is patting his back as she holds him over her shoulder–hoping to burp him before laying him down to sleep. Though it is almost her afternoon off, baby Douglas still needed his feeding. Brigid’s feet have sleeping stockings on them to keep off the chill and she is in her nightgown and robe–before changing back into a day dress for walking in the garden. And unbeknownst to her, the top button on her nightgown is still undone–after she had quickly buttoned up after nursing the baby.

Audrey Grace: Audrey Grace asks with her guileless face. “Did my baby brother eat a good lunch, Nanny Brigid?”

Baby Douglas: “Errrp!” A very loud burp issues forth from the three months and one week old baby’s mouth, then he falls asleep.

John: “I would say so. Ha ha ha ha ha!” John is accustomed to being around servants in his home when either they or he and his family are in their nightclothes, since essentially, they all live together.

Brigid: “Aye! He is eagerrr forrr his milk, the wee little one.” Brigid smiles at Audrey Grace and her father John.

Then as the the other two men enter the nursery–that is also Brigid’s bed chamber– Brigid freezes for seeing Nicholas Higgins and Mr. Bell with her being so indecorously dressed in her nightgown and robe and they are in dressy day wear attire.

Mr. Bell: Seeing Nanny Brigid’s discomfiture, Mr. Bell tries to allay her embarrassment with humor. “Not to worry, Nanny Brigid. We are all men who have or have had wives or sisters or mothers whom we saw in their nightgowns.” Mr. Bell clarifies it thus because as a never married academic, it would be impolitic for him to admit that he has seen a lady not related to him in her nightgown.

Out of politeness and courtesy, Nicholas sheepishly looks down at his shoes [(6) right], his Nicholas-isBrendanCoyle-asJohnBates-inDowntonAbbey_Sep0814enchanted-serenity-crop2grinning face crimson at glimpsing the lovely sight of Mrs. Gordon in her nightgown. He is most embarrassed to be so intruding upon her private space so soon after she has agreed to let him court her. And he worries that she will think he is being to forward with his presence in her bed chamber now.

Margaret having surmised where everyone went when she and Caty returned from the bathing chamber, she and little Catriona walk into the nursery hand in hand. Catriona instantly walks over to Brigid and raises her hand to touch her baby brother.

Catriona:   “My brother, Duggles.” She states with a small smile.

John and Margaret exchange a loving look. They know that it was the right thing to adopt both baby Douglas and little Catriona together as brother and sister.

Audrey Grace: Walking over to little Catriona, Audrey Grace caringly embraces her. “That’s right, Caty. Douglas is our baby brother. Can you say his name? Douglas.”

Catriona: Catriona looks up at her new sister, Audrey Grace. “Duggles…?”

Audrey Grace: “Douglassss.”  Audrey Grace repeats slowly.

Catriona: “Dulass?”

Audrey Grace: “Mama?” Audrey Grace looks a bit frustrated at her Mama. She has tried to teach her new little sister their new brother’s name, but Catriona still doesn’t get it quite right.

Margaret: “That’s close enough for now, girls.” Margaret stands between them and hugs their shoulders as they lean into her. The little girls are quite tuckered out after the excitement of Audrey Grace’s two birthday parties on Friday, more playtime on Saturday and having to sit still during Sunday church.

John: “Time for naps everyone. May I have Douglas, please, Nanny Brigid?” John holds out his arms for his baby son and Brigid deposits baby Douglas into them with a smile as she quickly holds her robe more closed in front of the gentlemen.

Then Brigid picks up her own son Arthur to cuddle and to rock to sleep for his nap with a tender smile on her face. She has found a new home here at Thornton Manor and she and her son are acclimating well. Brigid is standing turned away from the adjoining doorway to the girls’ bed chamber so she does not see Nicholas Higgins smiling at the loving scene of mother and child that she represents before he follows the Thorntons backinto the girls’ bed chamber.

John smiles at Margaret as they walk the girls back into their bed chamber to sleep for their naps–with Margaret holding each of her daughter’s hands. Mr. Bell and Nicholas wish the girls pleasant dreams and leave Margaret to tuck them in as John ushers the men out of the room.

***

The seventy five year old Mr. Bell decides to take a nap as well and bids adieu to both John and Nicholas and enters his guest bedchamber in Thornton Manor. John and Nicholas continue down the stairs for John to walk Nicholas out to the garden for some lawn bowling [(7)] while they await Margaret. Margaret’s brother Frederick living in Spain had sent them a set of lawn bowling balls one year.

But Nicholas has something on his mind. And he blurts it out before he can stop himself.

Higgins: “Thornton? Before we join Margaret in the garden, might I speak to you about something?”

John: “Related to the mill?” John queries.

Higgins: “No. It is a personal matter.” Higgins says sheepishly.

John: “Then let us repair to my study for some sherry to discuss it.”

As they walk down the hallway to his study, John has no clue what Nicholas might want to speak to him about. He told John and Margaret earlier that his children were all well. John frowns quizzically as he opens his study door, wondering what this is about.

Higgins: “Thank yo for your time, Thornton.”

John: “Of course. Come man, sit. And by now Nicholas, …” As he poors their sherries, John purposely uses the familiar mode of address when he had formerly and formally only addressed his Senior Overseer as Higgins. “… I think you should call me John when we are in private. Of any man of my friendly acquaintance–who is not family–you are around me the most.” John hands him the drink.

Higgins: “I don’t think I can do that, Master.”

John: “Hhhh! Nicholas, I count you as a friend as well as a colleague. And afterall, you saved my life and the Mill averting the riots when Stevens tried to burn the place down nearly five years ago.” John states plaintively.   “Won’t you grant me the boon of your friendship as you do with Margaret?”

Higgins:   With a twinkle in his eye, Higgins countes. “But I address her as Miss Margaret–same as from our first meeting when she became caught in the end of the work day crowds and I helped her get out of the way.” Nicholas humbly underplays the importance of his intervention for the then Margaret Hale’s benefit that day.

John: “That is what I am referring to. You have continually given your friendship to Margaret and I. We should be on a first name basis.”

Higgins: “Alright.” Nicholas grudgingly agrees.

John: “Alright what?” John teases.

Higgins: “Alright … John.” Nicholas wrinkles up his nose distastefully and looks over his shoulders–wondering what the first Mrs. Thornton, now Hannah Lady Airlie, would say about this.

John: “Progress!” John smiles broadly. “Now! What is it you wanted to discuss?” John sips his sherry.

Higgins: “I would like to court Mrs. Gordon.” Nicholas blurts out again.
John: “Kkkhhh!” John chokes on his sherry, spitting out a bit of the dark red liquid onto the carpeting. That will stain, and John thinks thank goodness that they are in his study where a carpet stain or two will not be noticed as John strategically moves a foot stool to cover the area.

Higgins: Patting Thornton on the back, Nicholas asks solicitously. “Are you alright there?   John?” Higgins grins sheepishly with Thornton’s first name so new upon his lips.

John: “Yes!   Sorry!   I wasn’t expecting that topic of conversation.” And yet, John’s study has seen many a strange topic of conversation over the years. He shakes his head.

Higgins: “So do yo object? Or may I have clear pardon to court Mrs. Gordon?”

John: “I think we need something stronger to drink. Whiskey?” John tilts his head takes the unconsumed sherry glass from Higgins’ hand. Then John swivels his body to his mini bar–fixing them tall whiskeys in man sized bar glasses. “Try this.” John hands a large round glass to Higgins.

Higgins: “Thank yo!” Higgins takes a large gulp, while Thornton merely sips. “Much better.” Nicholas grins as he tips his man sized bar glass at John Thornton. “So? Mrs. Gordon?”

John: “I did not realize that you had any acquaintanceship with Mrs. Gordon? She has only been residing with us a little over two months.”

Higgins:   “Exactly! That is why I wish to get to know her.”

John: “But you said you wish to court her. Does your interest tend to matrimony?” John has not thought of his colleague and friend Higgins, scratch that, Nicholas as a husband, since he has been widowed the whole time John has known him.

Higgins: “I am only a year older than you, John. Would you wish the years before you to be bleak without your Margaret and your family?”

John: “Certainly not!”

 

Higgins: “Well then?” Higgins opens his hands and looks at John pleadingly.

John: “Very well. But if Mrs. Gordon does not wish your attentions and interest, then you will leave her be. Understood?”

Higgins: “Fair enough.” Nicholas does not reveal that he has already had a similar conversation with Mrs. Gordon, their Nanny Brigid. For it would not do for Nicholas to seem to have preempted John’s authority over his staff.

John sets down his own unsipped whisky glass and walks Nicholas out to the hallway and they begin to walk to the back of the house to reach the garden.

John: “Now!” John rubs his hands together. “Shall we play a little lawn bowling, Nicholas.”

Higgins: “Aye!   I will give it a try, John.” Higgins nods cagily.

The two men walk out to the Thornton Manor terraced patio before the formal garden area. They walk down the four steps to grass level and John walks to a wooden lawn bench that also contains some storage in the seat compartment. John lifts out the box containing the lawn bowling items and returns to Nicholas.

John: “Here we are.” John hands two red colored balls to Nicholas.

Nicholas: “Thank you for luncheon and thank you for allowing me to court Mrs. Gordon.” He smiles as he and John set up the lawn bowling game.

John: “It was our pleasure. We hope that you can join us for luncheon again sometime.” Then John sees Margaret walking out onto the patio to join them–with Nanny Brigid. So John adds. “And as to Mrs. Gordon?”

Higgins: “Yes?” Higgins smiles, his eyes perking up to see Mrs. Gordon walking toward him with Margaret.

John: “Just don’t let Margaret find out that you want to date baby Douglas’ wet nurse.” John states mock seriously. “Our baby son Douglas won’t be weaned for another three months at least. So Nanny Brigid is needed here.” Nicholas’ face falls. “Just kidding.” John smiles broadly at his jest.

Higgins:   “Oh! Alright.” Higgins nods uncertainly.

Of course, Margaret was the one who guessed Nicholas’ affinity for Mrs. Gordon–even before Brigid talked to her. Margaret just has not had time to inform her husband John.

A stunned but happy Nicholas Higgins turns toward the two ladies walking toward he and John from the back of Thornton Manor. Margaret Thornton has a gleaming smile on her face for her husband John. Brigid Gordon smiles pleasantly, but not too eagerly–she has yet to get to know Nicholas Higgins. And Brigid Gordon will be cautious about bestowing her regard on Nicholas Higgins, or any man. Then the two couples spend a friendly and companionable hour lawn bowling before they part company with each other.

When Nicholas leaves for home after a pleasant Sunday afternoon at Thornton Manor with John and Margaret, and Brigid Gordon, he walks out of the Marlborough Mills gate with a spring in his step. The brisk late afternoon air is bracing and helps Nicholas to keep his wits about him. At the beginning of Sunday luncheon today–nay at the beginning of the weekend with Audrey Grace’s birthday party on Friday–Higgins could not have foreseen that by the end of the weekend, he would be addressing the Master of Marlborough Mills as John when they are in private, and with Nicholas being given permission to court Mrs. Gordon, by both she and her employer, John Thornton.

However, it has been over twenty years since Nicholas courted a lady–his late wife Sharon, God rest her soul. And Nicholas will need some help to woo the lady of his choice now–Brigid Gordon. But with John Thornton’s wooing skills tempered by his now wife Margaret’s help during their courtship five years ago–the grape incident almost derailed John and Margaret at the start, but for Margaret’s sense of humor–Nicholas Higgins may need more than John Thornton’s advice to woo and wed the feisty Brigid Gordon.

To be continued with Chapter 82

 

“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 81 References, September 09, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #633)

1)  “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” story logo: Richard Armitage as John Thornton and Daniela Denby-Ashe in the 2004 BBC period drama North & South, was found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode3/ns3-110.jpg ; For more information about this wonderful 2004 BBC miniseries adaptation of Elizabeth’s Gaskell’s story North & South, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_&_South_%28TV_serial%29

2)  Audrey Grace Thornton almost four year old image is Tete d’Etude l’Oiseau by William Adolphe Bouguereau found at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/William-Adolphe_Bouguereau#mediaviewer/File:William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_%281825-1905%29_-_T%C3%AAte_d%27Etude_l%27Oiseau_%281867%29.jpg

3)  Margaret is Daniela Denby-Ashe in North & South Epi4 _17h49m20s188_Nov1013 Gratiana Lovelace Cap

4)  Image representing the Scottish Brigid Gordon is that of actress Helena Bonham Carter found at http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/500/34779527/Helena+Bonham+Carter+helena.jpg

5)  John Thornton i is portrayed by Richard Armitage in the BBC’s 2004 drama North & South found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode1/ns1-045.jpg

6)  Nicholas Higgins image is Brendan Coyle as John Bates in Downton Abbey found at http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-zPQqxf3aTX8/TiD9wTGcCvI/AAAAAAAAeKI/aaiWXzdiQec/s1600/brendan%2Bcoyle.JPG via enchanted serenity period films blogspot.

7) Lawn bowling information was found at http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowls

 

Link to Previous Ch. 80
http://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/ns-john-thornton-love-lessons-ch-80-pg-13-birthday-festivities-and-then-some-september-05-2014-gratiana-lovelace-post-630/

Posted in "N&S: John Thornton Love Lessons", Creative Writing, Drama, Fan Fiction, John Thornton, Love and Relationships, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sentimental Sunday: Richard Armitage & Colleagues Begin Their Final Week of Amazing Performances of The Crucible at The Old Vic, September 7, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post#632)

Night after night, the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage gives a 150% performance as John Proctor in The Crucible at The Old Vic Theatre in London–probably leaving him emotionally and physically exhausted. Yet, each night–with extremely rare exceptions for when he must leave on a plane for another professional commitment–he graciously meets his fans at the Stage Door. Richard Armitage is a true storyteller–and that rare combination of a gentleman, a professional, and an artist.

And Richard Armitage remarked in a Saturday tweet, that the final week of the planned performances of  The Crucible is upon them:

aaTheCrucible--RichardArmitageFarewellBeginsSep0614GratianaLovelaceCap

Wishing Richard Armitage, and his cast & creatives colleagues all the best as they give their final 8 performances of The Crucible this week.

Image: Grati’s cap from RA’s twitter feed: http://twitter.com/RCArmitage

 

P.S. I was not able to experience this amazing production in person due to cost constraints. But I delightedly look forward to viewing the now planned video and cinema release of filmed performances of The Crucible, per The Old Vic Theatre (Grati’s cap below).  For more information and to get on the email list for the video release, please visit http://www.digitaltheatre.com/

TheCrucibleonScreenSep0414TheOldVic-crop-titled

Posted in Love and Relationships | 6 Comments