“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 75 (PG-13): Finding Our Way to Loving from the Heart, Part 2, August 16, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #621)
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, and 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, and Juliette Lewis as Lady Thistle Ogilvy, 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: Luncheon at Airlie Castle in Angus, Scotland this Thursday, April 9th, 1855 was a bit subdued–what with John Thornton longing for a son or sons like Lord Jamie Ogilvy has. And John still treads lightly about whether he and Margaret will adopt just the Douglas boy baby, or also the baby Douglas’ two year old sister Catriona. But this afternoon’s events will prove to be the deciding factors.
“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 75 (PG-13): Finding Our Way to Loving from the Heart, Part 2
Around one o’clock after luncheon at Airlie Castle in Angus, Scotland this sunny and breezy Thursday, April 9th, 1855, Lord Jamie and Lady Thistle commandeer the children of the extended Thornton-Ogilvy-Ogilvy family for a little outside play on the back garden’s extensive golf putting greens. There are 18 greens of varying difficulties and hazards–some hazards natural like undulating land, some hazards man made, as in small rows of boxwood hedges. It is a whimsical design based on a similar but less elaborate putting greens layout from his childhood that Cameron Lord Airlie created for the amusement of his son, the little three and a half year old Lord Gavin.
So Gavin takes his little but four months older neice’s Audrey Grace’s hand and they join Viscount Hamish, Lady Blythe, and little James to try out their luck–even as the older three to eight year old children of the Airlie Castle orphanage also join them in play. Gavin’s nanny Pims follows dutifully behind him, every watchful should his sniffles return and he needs to be whisked inside at the express orders of Hannah Lady Airlie. The air is cool, but not chilly. Gavin’s mother Hannah only relented to let him play outdoors because all of the other children were going–and Pims would bring him back inside if needed.
And the golf putters the children use are an L-shaped stick made out of a soft wood that can hit the lightweight tightly woven twig balls with ease–and greater safety. The game of golf is typically associated with Scotland and was made more popular throughout the British isles beginning in 1852 with their majesties Queen Victoria and Prince Albert built their home Balmoral in Scotland [(2)].
Once the children have left the dining room, Cameron and Hannah smile at John and Margaret–gesturing to guide them up to the children’s nursery to spend time with the baby boy Douglas and his sister Catriona, Caty. As John and Margaret walk up the stairs, they begin to tense up. John is worried that he won’t be able to warm to the children. Margaret is worried that John will only want the baby boy, when she also wants to adopt his two year old sister Caty. Their family would instantly almost double in size–but happily so. John’s mother Hannah is worried that John and Margaret are worrying too much about themselves when they should be more focused on the children’s needs. And Cameron? He doesn’t worry–worrying is a useless time wasting activity in Cameron’s mind. Cameron sanguinely thinks that either John and Margaret will agree to adopt both children, or they will not. It is as simple as that.
At the slightly ajar door to the nursery, John stops and stares at the door. Margaret stops and she squeezes her husband’s hand in hers and she looks up at him wonderingly, even as he gazes down at her.
Margaret: “John?” Margaret asks hesitantly.
John: “I’m nervous.” John sighs sheepishly.
Hannah blanches, then does one of her own nervous unconscious mouth tchs as she glances over at her husband Cameron.
Cameron and Hannah have seen this uncertainty in prospective parents before. And they know that time and interactions with the children are what help the right parents and children find each other.
Cameron: “Shall we?” Cameron fixes his indulgent, but impatient look at John. John looks at Cameron. Cameron rolls his eyes, then he tries to puncture John’s mood with an analogy. “Ach! Laddie, if god had taken this long to decide on Adam and Eve in the Garrrden of Eden, I darrre to say that the worrrld might not belong to men, but to the animals.”
Hannah: “Kkkhhh!” She coughs to get her husband’s attention and then fixes her gaze upon him with a raised eyebrow.
Cameron: “Well! To men and women.” Cameron tilts his head in acquiescence to his beloved wife. Hannah smiles at him and nods approvingly.
As they walk inside the large and airy nursery bedchamber, John feels that the room feels almost empty without the boisterousness of the three year olds. Though the room has homey touches of crocheted blankets, stuffed bears, dolls, and other toys, and a cheerful red, green, and yellow Ogilvy tartan color scheme.
Inside the nursery, two year old Catriona is gently patting her baby brother’s tummy as he sleeps. She smiles at him [(3) right]. He is her baby brother.
Then while standing out in the bedchamber hallway, John & Margaret and Hannah & Cameron hear a wailing cry from within the nursery.
Catriona: “Nooooo! Baby is mine, mine!” The two year old girl shrieks as the nurse attendant tries to pull her away from baby boy Douglas’ crib. Caty has lost much–her mother, her father, and her grandparents. She cannot also lose her brother if they are adopted separately.
John and Margaret rush into the nursery to see the nurse gently trying to pry Catriona’s fingers off of the crib. Hannah and Cameron also walk in, but stand back.
Nurse: “Ye must come away, Caty–and let yourrr brrrother sleep.” The nurse says softly as she pulls her away from the crib.
Catriona: “Waaaaa! Waaaa!” Caty sobs with tears running down her cheeks as she holds her arms out yearningly for her baby brother.
Margaret: Margaret rushes over to Caty and takes her into her arms as she sits in the rocking chair while John stands by. “What is wrong my little sweetheart?”
The nurse steps back to allow John and Margaret to interact with the children as she has been told by Hannah Lady Airlie earlier they wanted to do.
Catriona: Caty breathes quickly and speaks only in gasping gulps between her mewling cries and she points at her baby brother in the crib. “Baby … mine. Mama … baby mine.” Caty buries her face into Margaret’s neck again.
John: “Hhhh. Poor little thing.” John says caringly, moved by the little girl’s distress. And John tries to pat Caty’s head.
Caty’s head jerks to one side as she sees the tall and imposing John Thornton towering over her. Caty buries her face into Margaret’s neck in fright as she continues to cry.
Margaret: “John. You’re scaring Caty again. You’re too tall. Sit down, please.” Margaret shakes her head with a pleading look on her face. Margaret desperately wants this to work–she and John adopting both the baby boy Douglas and his two year old sister Catriona.
John looks around for a chair, but finds none nearby. So he sits on the end of one of the low to the floor toddler’s cot beds–thus reducing his height by half–with his knees up near his chin.
John: John mumbles under his breath. “The other children in the family aren’t afraid of me. They like me.”
Cameron: “John, They starrrted out as babies and they didn’t know any betterrr.” John looks at Cameron, clearly indicating that he feels insulted. So Cameron back peddles his remarks. “What I meant to say is that the bairrrns gradually grew up knowing ye–such that yourrr height did na frighten them.”
John: “Very well.” John gives Cameron a half hearted nod.
Hannah: “Let me give you the baby to hold, John.” Hannah’s mother suggests helpfully. She hopes that if Catriona sees the baby being soothed by John that she will be less afraid of him. Hannah picks up the baby boy Douglas from his bassinette crib and places him in her son John’s arms.
John: “Thank you, Mother.” John smiles at her, then he gazes upon the little baby boy in his arms [(4) right] as he gently rocks him to and fro.
Baby boy Douglas is napping after his feeding and diaper changing. He is quite the happy baby–no matter who is holding him–and he makes cooing sounds in his sleep.
Baby boy Douglas: “Mmm, mmm. Hhhhh!” A large yawn escapes the baby’s mouth and he moves his little arms as he yawns.
John: “He is so precious!” John sighs. “I remember when Audrey Grace was this small.” He smiles lovingly at his wife Margaret.
Margaret smiles in remembrance, too. Then Caty tugs at Margaret’s blouse and Margaret focuses her attention on the little girl.
Caty: “Mama, Baby mine. Give back. … please.” She pleads in a tiny voice. Little Caty had seen another baby leave in the two weeks she has been here–and she doesn’t want to lose her brother.
The adults look at each other, feeling that that are at an impasse, for now. Then they hear soft footsteps and turn to see both little Lord Gavin and his neice Audrey Rose walking toward them and wearing fuzzy sweaters. Gavin’s nanny Pims stands at the nursery doorway at attention.
Hannah: “Gavin, did you take a chill? Maybe you should stay inside and play today.” Hannah caresses her little son’s face. It is neither too warm with a fever, nor too cold from being outside.
Cameron: “Hhhh!” Cameron sighs while standing behind his son Gavin–with his hands on Gavin’s shoulders. Cameron is the physician, but it seems that where the health of their son is concerned, his wife Hannah overrules him most of the time with her cautiousness.
Gavin: “Nay, Mama. Me niece Audrey Grrrace was chilly.” Gavin points his thumb accusatorially. He so hopes that his Mama won’t make him stay inside and miss all the golfing fun.
Audrey Grace: “Was not!” It is just that Audrey Grace had to attend to a personal matter. And, well, she was a little chilly.
Gavin: “Yes, ye werrre!” Gavin gazes at his niece with a puzzled expression. For why did she put on a sweater if she isn’t feeling chilly?
John: “Audrey Grace? Gavin?” John says in a deeply commanding yet still soft as silk voice.” “We must not wake the baby.” John continues to rock baby boy Douglas in his arms.
Gavin: Walking over to his brother, Gavin asks. “Arrre ye adopting the baby boy, John?”
Audrey Grace walks over to her Mama, Margaret’s side. She wants that question answered, too.
John: “Um?” John blanches and looks at Margaret. Then they both look at little Caty.
Margaret: “Actually, we would like to adopt both the baby boy and his sister Caty.”
Margaret looks caringly at her young daughter, Audrey Grace–and she can see the wheels turning in her daughter’s mind.
John: “Do you like that idea, Audrey Grace?” John hesitantly asks his daughter. Though John and Margaret dearly want these two children to join their family, they must also consider their daughter Audrey Grace’s feelings.
Audrey Grace: She thinks for a minutes, then Audrey Grace responds resolutely. “I do, Papa. Thank you!”
Audrey Grace [(5) right] then leans against her Papa’s arm and smiles up at him–lays her head on his shoulder–as he holds the baby. John turns his head and places a kiss on the top of Audrey Grace’s head.
Little Catriona has been watching this exchange with widening eyes. And she makes one last attempt to stake her claim to her baby brother as she reaches out her arms to touch him. And John leans toward Catriona to allow her to do that. This is closer than she has allowed in the past. Gavin walks over to little Catriona. He has played with her from time to time during her two week stay.
Gavin: Gavin gives little Catriona a hug. “I’m glad forrr you and yourrr brrrotherrr, Caty. Me brother John is a nice boy.” Gavin pats his brother’s cheek.
Cameron: “Kkkhh!” Cameron guffaws at his little son Gavin calling his brother John a boy.
Catriona: With a spark of curiosity, Catriona quizzically asks Gavin. “Brother?” For she knows that the baby is her brother.
Gavin: “That’s right. Gavin takes Catriona’s hand and places it on the baby’s cheek. “The baby is yourrr brother.”
Catriona nods in partially understanding that the word brother means she has a connection to the baby. Then Gavin places his hand on his brother John’s check–in the same way that Catriona’s hand is on her brother’s cheek.
Gavin: “John is me brrrotherrr.” Gavin smiles up at his big brother John, who smiles right back at him.
Catriona: Catriona looks thoughtfully at Gavin. Then she looks questioningly at Margaret. “Mama?”
Margaret: “Yes, sweetheart?” Margaret inquires of little Catriona.
Catriona still can’t quite comprehend what is happening to her, to she and her baby brother–that they are about to be adopted by a family. But Audrey Grace understands–and approves, wholeheartedly.
Audrey Grace: “Yippee!” Audrey Grace squeals with delight. “Thank you Mama! Thank you Papa!” Audrey Grace hugs her parents equally. Then she hugs Caty and kisses her cheek. “I always wanted a sister and a brother. We will be sisters.”
Catriona’s face brightens with seeing the other children’s cheerfulness. Something good must be happening. A small smile threatens to appear on Caty’s face.
Having stayed silent for a little while–to let Catriona get used to him–John now speaks to his wife, then to his daughters.
John: John stands up from the cot. “Margaret, please take baby Douglas for a few minutes.” Margaret nods and she stands to receive the baby from John, then she sits on the cot next to the standing Catriona. Catriona looks at her sleeping baby brother and pats his tummy. John sits down in the rocking chair. “Audrey Grace, Please come sit on my knee.”
Audrey Grace: “Yes, Papa!” Audrey Grace eagerly complies and sits on her father’s left knee.
John: “Caty?” John opens his other arm wide.
Audrey Grace: “Come on!” Audrey Grace motions eagerly.
Gavin: “Come on Caty. I will lift ye up.” Gavin takes Catriona’s hand and walks her the few feet over to John. Then he lifts Caty up onto John’s knee. Caty sits there awkwardly at first.
Audrey Grace leans back into her Papa’s embrace as he begins to rock. Then Audrey Grace reaches across her Papa’s vest and jacket covered chest to guide Caty to lean back into her Papa’s embrace. Then Audrey Grace smiles at her new sister and continues to hold her hand as their Papa rocks them gently in the rocking chair. Both girls soon fall asleep to the steady rhythm. And John and Margaret exchange relieved gazes at each other. Gavin nods his head and his Mama and Papa guide him back to his bedroom for own his afternoon nap.
About thirty minutes later, John and Margaret decide to take all three sleeping children to their guest bed chamber. And the Airlie Castle staff help with moving the children’s crib, cot bed and belongings into the Thornton’s guest bed chamber. They want Caty to see visually that both she and her brother are being adopted by John and Margaret–they will stay together. And John and Margaret both feel like they are on the cusp of new beginnings for their family as they kiss [(6) right] in loving tenderness as they sit on the sette in their bed chamber and sweetly holding each other’s hands.
The newly expanded Thornton Family spends the next few days at Airlie Castle getting even better acquainted in familiar surroundings for Caty before they all return home to Milton. Caty is less fearful and shy around John now that she sees him interact with other children. And in partially renaming their newly adopted children, John and Margaret want a way for their baby boy and toddler daughter to retain part of their Scottish heritage, while also embracing their new family. So it is a newly expanded Thornton family that returns to Milton the following Sunday–John and Margaret, Audrey Grace, Catriona “Caty” Maria Thornton, and baby Douglas John Thornton.
To be continued with Chapter 76
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 75 References, August 16, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #621)
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) The History of Golf was found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_golf
3) Catriona Douglas image illustration is an 1860s child painting found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1860s_in_Western_fashion#mediaviewer/File:Joseph_Nitschner_Portrait_Francisca_Keban.jpg
4) Image representing 1 month old baby boy Douglas sleeping is an MS Office Clip Art stock image.
5) 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
6) John is Richard Armitage and Margaret is Daniela Denby-Ashe in North & South- Epi4 _17h54m34s7_Nov1013 Gratiana Lovelace cap.
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