Tuesday Musings–Grati Reinterprets the TH3BOFA All Character International Movie Poster, October 28, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #652)

I loved the new international poster for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” shared by TheHobbitMovie.com folks!

But then, I cast a more critical eye to the poster and felt there were some aspects of it that could be enhanced:

1) Bilbo’s head was too big for the poster, let alone, his body. His head was out of proportion to his arm and hand. And the sword Sting was too long and out of proportion as well.

2)  Thorin appears too small. When you consider that it is Thorin’s angst, conflict, etc. that drives the plot, his character image should be larger and more prominent. And I’m not THTBOTFA--ComicCon2014MoviePoster_Jul2314SirPJFB-viaServsuggesting this merely because I am a fan of the oh so talented British actor Richard Armitage who portrays Thorin Oakenshield

3)  Smaug looks scrawny and not fierce at all–like a sickly Dementer from the Harry Potter series. His eyes and teeth do not show–as if he is hanging there dead. And he doesn’t have any shiny golden scales or fire breathing out of him to give his image some dynamism. The first poster that came out with Smaug and Bard front & center was fierce. (right)


So on a lark, I set about to reinterpret the international TH3BOFA poster–keeping in mind that I have no talent for drawing. But I do have a basic working knowledge of Photoshop.

So the image at the bottom left is the original international poster image (note my critique of it above). And to the right of it is my reinterpreted TH3BOFA poster–addressing the issues I raised above. In my poster reinterpretation, Bilbo’s head is smaller and in proportion with the rest of him, Thorin’s image is larger, though not overpowering. And I gave Smaug open eyes–he looks somewhat creepier that way.  Ha!

TH3BOFA--IntlPoster-allchar_Oct2714TheHobbitMovie   TH3BOFA--IntlPoster-allchar_Oct2714TheHobbitMovie-Gratiana-sized--Bilboheadsmaller-ThorinBigger-BilboHairfixed-SmaugEyes-watermark

Original                                           Grati’s reinterpretation

In my international TH3BOFA poster reinterpretation (above, right), Bilbo still retains prominence by having the largest head on the poster and him leaning slightly forward. Whereas Thorin’s image is larger and his head is higher than Bilbo’s head–befitting his importance to the plot–and yet, he is behind Bilbo.

Now, how did I do it?
1) First, I made a copy (via lasso tool) of just Bilbo’s head (right). Then I filled in the poster where Bilbo’s head is with gray sky. Then I placed the Bilbo head onto the neck and zoomed in smaller with the size handles until I liked the proportions. And it took me several tries to get his curly hair right in the masked version of him. I also shortened his sword. If it was supposed to be Sting, the sword was too long. So I shortened it.

2) Then I tackled Thorin by copying him (via lasso tool). Then I sized him bigger and placed him on the image–trial & error there until I liked the size proportion. Thorin was rather easier to work on since his long hair was straight.

3) I sampled some of Smaug’s breast to cover up some areas where the bigger Bilbo head’s hair had been. Then I brightened Smaug’s eyes by making two white slits. Smaug really needs a new version of him for this poster, but someone more talented than I will have to do that.


It would be nice to see more of the other Dwarves in the poster as well. But space is at a premium. Ha!

Thanks for visiting! Cheers!   Grati ;>

Posted in Battle of the Five Armies, Creativity, Graphic, Middle Earth, movies, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Something About Love, The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit, Thorin | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Shameless Plug for Grati’s Stories Entered in the #Wattys2014 Awards, October 26, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #651)

As readers of my stories know, I post my stories simultaneously here on my blog and also TheWattys2014-logo_Oct2614Wattpadon my Wattpad site (www.wattpad.com/user/GratianaLovelace ).

And after writing and posting my stories for three years here and two years on Wattpad, I felt that I was ready to test the waters by entering two of my completed stories into the #Wattys2014 (right) , Wattpad’s annual writing contest:


“Thorin’s Dream of Love”                                   “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”

by Gratiana Lovelace                                                    By Gratiana Lovelace
aaThorinsDreamofLove-story-logoOct0813GratianaLovelace-256x249                         aaaN&SJohnThorntonLoveLessonsFanFicCoverDec2913GratianaLovelace-256x401

To be considered to be nominated for the Wattys 2014 Awards, stories must be started being serialized on Wattpad on or after September 1, 2013, and completed being serialized by December 15, 2014. However, voting for the nominated stories ends November 15, 2014.

And voting is done on Twitter or Facebook by using the #Wattys2014 hashtag, such as:

I vote for “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” by Gratiana Lovelace, #Wattys2014


I vote for “Thorin’s Dream of Love” by Gratiana Lovelace, #Wattys2014

Voting is that simple. And I would be greatly appreciative of your votes for my stories entered into the #Wattys2014. One vote each story is sufficient, I don’t think it is allowed–nor would I want–multiple vote bombing for my stories. Ha!

I don’t expect to win anything. But I hope that by being nominated for the #Wattys2014, my stories entered and my other stories might gain some more readers for me to share my stories with. I was very pleased with how readers embraced my recently completed fan fic “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”–with it garnering over 55,300 reading views, 482 stars/likes, and 633 comments on Wattpad, alone. And at over 581 pages, my multi-generational N&SJTLL story is my longest story to date–true novel length.

But other of my stories that I am also personally fond of–because I basically write what I would like to read, Ha!–have less readership and just need to find their audience. For example, my other #Wattys2014 nominated short story, “Thorin’s Dream of Love” has 2,495 reading views, 72 votes, and 122 comments. This short story is only 70 pages long–so it is very easy to read in an afternoon.

I wish I would have known more about the Wattys2013 last year, because I would have entered my now second longest multi-generational original fiction “Love is a Choice”. Its serialization timeframe made it ineligible to be considered for this year’s Wattys2014. And “Love is a Choice” is another of my personal favorites. When I write my stories, I become attached to the characters and the lives that I create for them. And I am thrilled when readers like them as well!

Finally, I want to extend my grateful thanks to @Charlotte1194 (Charlotte Hawkins) on Wattpad for also kindly nominating my two stories. Her nominated story “The Tempest Revisited”–which I love, that I have voted for, and which I encourage you to vote for in the #Wattys2014 as well. Her story is an enhancement of the first book in her Gisborne series. I loved it! And as I often joke to Charlotte, I am usually reading one of her Gisborne tales monthly–right now, it is the second book in the series, “My Lady Gisborne”. And you can also find Charlotte Hawkins’ books published for Kindle on Amazon. Here is her #Wattys2014 nominated story’s Wattpad link:

“The Tempest, Revisited”

by Charlotte1194


But whether you vote for my or any stories in the #Wattys2014, I hope that you might find something interesting to read that resonates with you.

Thanks & Cheers!   Grati ;->

P.S. I am still trying to decide which of my in progress contemporary stories that I will begin serializing next in both places–here on my blog and on my Wattpad site. So in the meantime, I am serializing in revised for Wattpad version of my original love story “Lost & Found” , that I first serialized here on my blog in 2011–the year before I joined Wattpad. So my story had never been posted there. And each time I revisit a story, I tweak it. Ha!

So I am enhancing the story by expanding chapters and expanding sections into separate chapters. I am elaborating on aspects of the story that I may have glossed over as exposition in its first publication by creating dialogue interactions for scenes where there was no dialogue, and enhancing character motivation descriptions for some characters where my thoughts about them did not fully make it onto the page. Here is the link for my original story “Lost & Found” that I am revising and serializing on my Wattpad site if you would like to read the enhanced story version:

Lost & Found

by Gratiana Lovelace





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

Tuesday Musings: Richard Armitage’s Characters Join Twitter, October 21, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #650)

After I was flabbergasted that Richard Armitage finally joined Twitter–and he is taking to it effortlessly, like a “duck to water”–I wondered how RA’s characters’ alter egos might fare in Twitterland?  So what follows is an impromptu RA Character discussion story in 140 character tweets each.  ***Facetious Alert***

Grati@GratianaL:   The scene is a dark and smoky local pub & grill–the Beer Tweet Garden, where men can talk without feminine interruption, somewhat.


Rich@RCArmitage: I don’t tweet often. & when I do, I am usually quirky. The ladies like my humor–the pork especially–except for my “leg count” comment.

JohnT@MasteroftheMills: You had no thought for your reputation!?! And pork should not be wasted on one’s chins. Such a foolish passion.

TheImpressionistseip1_036RichardArmitageasClaudeMonetJan0713ranet-smlClaude@TheImpressionist: Mon Dieu! Mes cheveux sont atroces. Bien que ma moustache ne attirer les dames. Et je préfère mes repas sur une plaque, pas mon menton.

Translation : My god! My hair is atrocious. Though my moustache does attract the ladies. And I prefer my meals on a plate, not my chin.


JohnS@IDon’tNameMyFood: I’ll just have the sausage. *I grab two from the platter* Shall we … follow each other, then?

Grati@GratianaL: If only the parsimonious @Idon’tNameMyFood could bequeath his unused 44 tweet characters to others in need, such as moi.

JohnP@GunforHire: Excuse me all over the place  if I find your tweet char limit concerns ill timed. Come on, I’m a very good boy. Cut me down and we can …

Spooks - Series 9

LucasJohn@ConfusedSpy: Never mind him @GratianaL. Close your eyes. *whispers as he draws her close* What are you best at, real or faking it?

Grati@GratianaL: *Grati indignantly slaps his face hard, leaving her tiny palm print* That depends @Confused Spy. I remember. But do you?


GuyG@GisborneStallion: Please let me in to your heart, @GratianaL Let me look after you, protect you. *looks around, & whispers* Where do you want me to sleep ?


ThorinII@KingUnderMtn: *Trips tall leather man* I will have you @GratianaL or If this will end in fire … *leaps in front of the brazier grill flames*


Grati@GratianaL:   But my heart can only truly be won by a character of good izu10vodepi1-355RichardArmitageasHarryaskingDawnFrenchasGerrytoMarryhimJun1012ranetcrpbrtcharacter, with true intentions, & love for me in his heart. *I turn to see him*

HarryK@BeTheSpreadsheet: First, I’ll have some wine for liquid courage. Then because I must follow my heart, I say, I’m asking you to marry me, @Gratiana L.

Grati@GratianaL:   Oh @BeTheSpreadsheet! Yes, yes, a 1,000 times yes! Sorry, this isn’t that 2005 P&P period romance. *THUD* I’m a puddle of womanly essence.


Nota Bene : Richard Armitage character images (with my edits)–and RANet sound files page quotes (in italics)–are courtesy of www.RichardArmitageNet.com , or images are my caps.

Posted in "Lucas North, Creative Writing, Fangurling, Graphic, Harry Kennedy, Humor, John Porter, John Standring, John Thornton, Love, Multi-Character RA, North & South, Portraits, Richard Armitage, Sir Guy of Gisborne, Something About Love, Sparkhouse, Spooks, The Hobbit, Thorin, Vicar of Dibley | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Sexy SatuRdAy! “Richard Armitage Kisses”, October 18, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #649)

The exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage sure can kiss! Sighhhh!

“Richard Armitage- Passionate Kisses”, a video by colinfever


I wonder if Mr. Armitage’s sleep researcher character Dr. Scott White gets any kissing time during his new film in production now, Sleepwalker? Perhaps he is wondering, too:


Those blue eyes of RA’s are so mesmerizing–“twin sapphire pools of  desire” (Jasmina V and Gratiana L).


And ladies, when you zoom in (and I know you will) on the screen shot above (Thanks KittyMW) of Richard Armitage’s tweeted selfie from this week, remember to use clear lip gloss. Lipstick is so difficult to remove from these LCD screens. *shakes head sheepishly* *wink*

Have a great weekend!



Posted in Beauty, Fangurling, Graphic, movies, Richard Armitage, Romance, Sleepwalker, Something About Love, The Anglophile Channel, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 89 (PG-13): Epilogue/End–Twenty Years later, Love Lessons Learned, October 12, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #648)

“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 89 (PG-13): Epilogue/End–Twenty Years later, Love Lessons Learned, October 12, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #648)

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, Helena Bonham Carter as Brigid Gordon, and Steven Waddington as Major Reginald Monckton, 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: Lord Jamie Ogilvy was on the mend from his Christmas Day 1860 sledding accident saving John Thornton and his young son Douglas from sledding into the river and he was starting to walk again the following Spring. Also in Spring John and Margaret welcomed their fourth child, a son they named James Richard Thornton in honor of Lord Jamie. Though John worried throughout Margaret’s pregnancy–since she had such difficulty in giving birth to their first child Audrey Grace nearly ten years prior that they they had adopted their now seven year old daughter Caty and her infant brother the now five year old Douglas five years ago–baby Jamie came a little early and swiftly, his slightly smaller size being a blessing for Margaret. With their children around them greeting the new baby, John and Margaret could not be happier than they were at that moment. But, the best is yet to come.


“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 89 (PG-13): End/Epilogue–Twenty Years Later, Love Lessons Learned

With their four children’s ages spread over a ten year gap, it seems that John and Margaret were continually with little ones about. And they would have had it no other way. The older children, Audrey Grace, Caty, and Douglas were and are close friends with each other–the girls more so with each other, them being girls and only two years apart in age. And though Douglas is five years older than his younger brother Jamie, once they were at Eton together when Jamie was eight and Douglas was thirteen, they really bonded. Being older, Douglas had been taken in to see the workings of Marlborough Mills much earlier than has Jamie. That was really best, since Jamie’s sensibilities tended toward helping people who were ill and he wanted to grow up and be a doctor–like his Grandpa Cameron Ogilvy Lord Airlie.

But as often happens when boys get together at private school, they compare their circumstances and their potential inheritances. And with Douglas being one of only a handful of sons who were adopted who are being educated at Eton, the distinction between Douglas being his parents’ real child versus being their adopted child–the rights of a first born son–weigh heavily upon Douglas’ shoulders. It is during the Summer break of Douglas’ sixteenth year in 1871, when the other boys had talked about London Seasons and hoping to secure a bride with a handsome dowery in exchange for them bestowing a title or their own wealth in the future, that Douglas begins to feel uncertain about his place in the world and in his future. These feelings might be natural for any adolescent young man on the cusp of manhood. But for Douglas Thornton, as the adopted son of John and Margaret Thornton, his concerns are greater.

And John notices his son Douglas’ unusually quiet demeanor as they review the payroll one early June Saturday morning in John’s Thornton Manor study where he sometimes prefers working in hours beyond the regular mill work day. They sit at adjoining desks, with Douglas at sixteen years looking and acting so much like his father with his straight dark hair and determined set to his jaw. While silver hairs becomingly streak the fifty four year old John’s black hair, time has not diminished his handsomeness. Were anyone to guess in gazing upon these two men, they would definitely say that they are father and son by blood, as well as by name.   And John has has relaxed somewhat in his demeanor over the years, his growing confidence in his personal and professional lives helping him to be less overbearing than he was in his younger years.

John: “Douglas, you have been staring at that same column of payroll figures for ten John-isRichardArmitage-inNorth&South-22h46m08s1-Dec2813GratianaLovelaceCap-crop-manip-sized-brt-clrminutes. Do you find an error in the calculation? Are we underpaying or overpaying anyone?” John [(2) right] waits patiently for a reply.

Douglas: Startled since his mind had wandered, Douglas sits up straighter at his smaller desk situated next to his Papa’s larger desk. “Oh! No! I am sorry Papa. I was distracted by …” Douglas looks out the window in hope of an idea of a plausible distraction to give his father to disguise his real concern. “…by the prospect of rain.” He shakes his head almost immediately at the lame excuse he gives his father.

John: “Oh! Well, if it does rain, it will stop before your afternoon garden birthday party today. Your Mama will be seriously displeased to have the weather threaten her party plans.” John smiles and claps his son on his right shoulder.

Douglas: “Ha ha ha! Yes, Papa. The sky would not dare to contradict Mama’s plans.”

John: “And we need nothing more to upset your Mama at this time, when she is set to launch your sister Caty onto unsuspecting eligible bachelors for her first London Season.”

Douglas: Douglas nods his head. “Several of the fellows at school had talked about the London season quite a lot. Many of them have sisters who will make their debut this Summer.”

Douglas’ sister Catriona Caty Thornton is just eighteen years with silky auburn hair, wide expressive eyes, an appropriately small nose set between two high cheekbones, a bow shaped mouth, and a healthy constitution with a well proportioned figure. Douglas supposes that she is even pretty. But he can’t quite yet imagine her being married as their twenty year old sister Audrey Grace is engaged to be at the end of Summer.

John: “Ah me! Though I will enjoy seeing Edith and Maxwell Lennox again when we stay with them for a month, the prospect of staying in London for an extended time during the social whirl of the Summer Season is not really my idea of a hoiday.” John shakes his head and rolls his eyes.

Douglas: Douglas asks delicately. “Papa? Will Caty have the same … arrangements for her dowery considerations as Audrey Grace has?”

John: “Yes, of course. The girls will each have a 5,000 pound dowry for their wedding settlements that will be paid out to they and their husbands over five years, plus modest annuities after that. And upon my death, they will each receive annually a one tenth share of the Mills’ profits–with you and your brother Jamie sharing the other eighty percent and co ownership and management of the mills.” John looks at his son quizzically. “Why do you ask?”

Douglas: “It’s just that … well…”

John: “Douglas! You are not usually so tongue tied. Unlike Jamie who could benefit socially from being a bit more like his usually loquacious elder brother.” John smiles broadly at his elder son.

Douglas: “Thank you, Papa.” Douglas smiles wanly. “But the fellows talk about what they will inherit, and sometimes who will not inherit.” Douglas says a bit vaguely.

John:   “And whom do they say will not inherit?” John begins to have suspicions about Douglas’ concerns.

Douglas: “Well, girls, naturally, cannot inherit fortunes or titles entailed to the male line.” Douglas shrugs his shoulders.

John: “Do not say that to your Mama. She would see those laws repealed and revoked.” Douglas nods. “And?”

Douglas: “And second sons typically do not inherit fortunes or titles.”

John: “It is true that the aristocracy have some antiquated views and traditions about passing down their legacies. But in our family, you and Jamie will share equally, with your sisters also being included as inheritors.”

Douglas: “Yes.” Douglas says slowly. “But Papa, though I am the eldest son… Jamie is your … true son. I am adopted. Does not that alter matters?” Douglas looks away from his father in pain. His schoolmates had unintentionally caused Douglas to doubt himself, to doubt his parents’ love.

John: “Oh Douglas!” John sighs in distress as his face falls in recognition of his son’s torment. “Douglas! Look at me!”

Douglas: “Hhh!” Douglas sighs almost inaudibly as he slowly turns his head to look at his father, willing himself to be stoic and to not be emotional, though his heart is breaking at thinking that he is less than his father’s true son.

John: “Douglas, you are my true son, our true son–your Mama’s and mine.” John says in earnest as he gazes searchingly into his son’s eyes.

Douglas: “Of course, Papa.” Douglas nods politely. He adores his Papa, looks up to him as if he were a god. His Papa is everything he hopes and wants to be some day–if he is allowed to have that dream by society’s rules.

Realizing that he needs to do some convincing, John stands and walks around his desk to Douglas and lifts him to a standing position. Though an inch taller than John, Douglas at sixteen years old is still a boy at times–never more so than at this moment when John pulls his son into his embrace.

John: “You are our first born son–your Mama’s and mine. You came to us in the first month of your birth when you were so little, I was afraid to hold you if you might break. I rocked you to sleep at night when you were fussy, and I changed your disgustingly poopy wrappers a time or two.” John wrinkles up his face in remembrance–even though he didn’t have to do that very often.

Douglas: “Oh Papa.” Douglas whines embarrassedly.

John: “Hush, I’m telling our story.” John tousels his son’s hair and grins at his son’s face as he continues to hold him but looking him directly in his eyes–so his son can see the honesty of his words . “Now where was I?   Oh yes. You crawled on the floor to me first and I held your hands as you took your first steps when you were little. Your first baby tooth has pride of place in my dress cufflinks box–with the diamond studs. You said Pa before you said Ma. And you would slap my face so hard sometimes when you were giddy as a toddler that I almost lost my own teeth. Ha ha ha! I watched over you through the night when you had a terribly high fever when you were four. And I sledded down that Scottish hill in sheer terror with you when you were five because I wanted to make you happy. And there are so many more memories that I hold dear. You will complete your schooling at Eton and then you will go on to university, as I was not able to do because of circumstances.” Those circumstances being his father’s death.

Douglas: “Papa.” Douglas sighs with unshed tears in his eyes.

John: “Douglas, Your flesh might not be of my body, but you forever reside in my heart as my first born son. No father of a son could be prouder of you than I am. You are mine! Do you hear me? You are mine!” John fervently cries out and crushes his son to his breast and strokes his back as his son’s tears fall.

Douglas: “Papa! I’ve only ever wanted to be your son.” Douglas Thornton lets his anguished boyish tears fall as he tightly embraces his Papa, John Thornton.

Father and son stay embracing for several moments. Eventually, they compose themselves and pull back from each other, with a greater understanding and love shared between them. Then they step back from each other.

John: “Are you alright, Douglas?”

Douglas: “I am, … now. Thank you for being my Papa.”

John: “It is my greatest privilege and honor to be your father, Douglas. Thank you for being my son.” The two men embrace briefly again. “Now! We should really get back to work if we ever have hope of finishing in time for luncheon and to get to your birthday party this afternoon.”

Douglas: Smiling, Douglas nods. “Yes, Papa.”

John: “Oh and Douglas, perhaps we should keep something just to ourselves.” John suggests sheepishly. Douglas looks at his father quizzically. “Don’t ever tell your Mama that your first word was Pa, because I told her it was Ma–since she so wanted you to say her name first.” John shrugs his shoulders impishly.

Douglas: “Your secret is safe with me, Papa.” Douglas smiles.

Douglas goes on to have a lovely sixteenth birthday garden party with family and friends–no rain dared fall. Everyone survives Caty Thornton’s London debut this Summer Season as she conquers many hearts, but holds her own in check for now. And Audrey Grace and her wedding that August are beautiful, though it is difficult for John and Margaret to have their eldest child leave their home to make a new home with her new husband.


The following ten years see more changes in the Thornton family–with each of their daughters Audrey Grace and Caty are now married and with children of their own, their son Jamie is in medical school in Scotland and staying with his elderly grandparents Hannah Lady Airlie and Cameron Lord Airlie, and their Cambridge graduate son Douglas manages the Mills and is living at home in Thornton Manor.

Margaret and John lie sleeping comfortably in their Thornton Manor bedchamber this fine Monday morning of April 1881. They have lived and loved each other for nearly thirty one years and they are the parents and grandparents of their loving family. Margaret’s sleepy eyes flutter open and she smiles gazing at her handsome husband. The years have brought much silver now to John’s sixty three year old hair, a few wrinkles, and some stiffness in his joints, but she feels that he looks distinguished and regal–an elder statesman. And though he is in his twilight years, John is still engaged in Marlborough Mills operations as a consultant to their eldest son Douglas Thornton who took over the reins completely three years ago at the young age of twenty-three–the age that John was when he became Master of Marlborough Mills. Margaret brushes a lock of John’s silvered hair from his eyes.

John: Without opening his eyes, John smiles and says in a whispered huskily deep voice. “Ah! Sleeping Beauty finally awakens.”

Margaret: “You are awake? You faker!” Margaret playfully swats her husband’s bare shoulder as she lies back down snuggling against him.

John: “Yes, I am awake–for the second time this morning.” John smiles broadly and opens his eyes to gaze upon his beautiful wife with loving adoration. For he and Margaret had shared a lovely early morning romantic tryst.

Margaret: Blushing, Margaret brings the sheet to cover her breasts. “Oh you! It seems that time has only cemented your wickedness. Am I not a grandmother four times over? The lines on my face are evidence of that.” At fifty-four years, Margaret is four years older than Hannah Thornton was when Margaret became Mrs. John Thornton. It was a lifetime ago, their lifetime ago. But the years have, indeed, been kind to Margaret Thornton.

John:   “That you are, My Love. You are a wonderful Mother and Grandmother.” John tenderly caresses her face. “But you are always my ever beautiful bride. And time has only made me love you more.” John brings her face to his and he brushes his lips against her lips in slow seduction, then he kisses her firmly as she responds to him. John sees Margaret’s silvery highlights in her burnished auburn hair as serving to illuminate her timeless beauty. And the few wrinkles he notices in the corner of her expressive eyes or framing her rosebud mouth only serve to remind him of the joy she has brought to his life with her kindness, her compassion, her laughter, and with her love.

Margaret: “Hmmm.” Margaret sighs in contentment with her husband John’s loving attentions.

John: “My Margaret.” John whispers to her between kisses. Then he caresses her bare back and cradles her round hips in his hands, drawing her ever closer to him, if that is possible, as he rolls her onto her back.

Margaret: “I love you, John.” She smiles up at him as he settles himself over her again. “You will be late to the Mill again.” She teases.

John: “Being late–or even, choosing to take a day off–is a prerogative of my senior position as a part time management consultant. Douglas is in charge now–and he will hardly miss me.” John leans down and he nibbles Margaret’s lovely neck.

Margaret: “Hhhhh! Now John, you know that is not true. Douglas appreciates your guidance and expertise in managing Thornton Mills business matters.”

For John had bought up several other Milton Mills over the years–in addition to retaining one quarter ownership of the Ogilvy-Thornton Scottish Mills in Angus, Scotland–making John a business magnate of the cotton mill industry in Northern England.

John: “And he will have both when he asks it of me. I should have turned over the reigns to the Mills to Douglas much sooner. Then, I could have enjoyed even more mornings like this one with my wife.”

Then the desire in both of their hearts consumes them as John and Margaret make love again. Scandalous!


Later that same day–with John, indeed, taking the day off from Marlborough Mills–John and Margaret decide to go on a picnic lunch since it is so fine out.   They find their favorite tree for shade–the one they had sat under so many years ago when John first courted Margaret. They had ridden to this spot in the small gig carriage, just the two of them–no chaperones are needed for this long married couple. They lay out their blanket upon the ground and open up their picnic basket. John gingerly sits down against the tree, stretching out his long legs before him. Amusingly for Margaret, her husband still sits down rather awkwardly–when it is she who has the more restrictive clothing, by virtue of her wearing a corset.

Removing their food items from the basket, Margaret notices a brown paper bag that she had not packed and she lifts it out.

Margaret: “What’s this?” She asks him with a bemused smile.

John: “Oh that?” John replies slyly. “That is my contribution to our picnic. Open it.” He smiles knowingly.

Margaret opens the bag and peers inside, smiling instantly at its contents and pulling them out.

Margaret: “Grapes! You remembered!” She sighs.

John: “How could I forget the device by which you and I came to think kindly of each other as we began our courtship?”

Margaret pulls off a grape and holds it up. John smiles and nods. Then she tosses the grape and he lunges forward and catches the grape in his mouth, chews it and swallows it.

Margaret: “Ha ha ha ha ha! You haven’t lost your grape catching skills, John Dear.”

John: “Ha ha ha ha ha! Nor you, your aim, My Love. My turn.” John holds out his hand and Margaret passes the grape bag to him. John holds up a grape and Margaret smiles and nods. Then he tosses the grape and it lands in her bodice–as planned, this time.

Margaret: “Ha ha ha ha ha! She giggles whilst fishing the grape out of her bodice and popping it into her mouth. Then Margaret asks her husband John coyly as a change of subject. “What do you think about Mr. Tinker’s daughter, Anne?”

John: “Think about her?” He shrugs his shoulders. “She seems to be a decent girl, respectful and prayerful when we see her at church each Sunday. And her father’s invention for knitting cotton into a stretchable fabric called Jersey [(3)] will be a new product line to have for the mill’s fabrics.”

Margaret: “I fear that Douglas would suggest otherwise about Miss Tinker.” She smiles impishly.

John: “How so? He has not mentioned her to me.”

Margaret: Margaret rolls her eyes and sighs. “Oh John! Have you not seen the way Douglas looks at her at church when he thinks no one is watching him?” John shakes his head no. “Apart from your assessment of her, I find that Anne seems to be rather feisty. And our very serious and sober Douglas needs to warm up a bit if he is to be able to court her.”

John: John startles. “To court her!?! When did this all happen? The family only arrived last month with the new jersey fabric knitting looms Tinker invented.”

Margaret: “Well it hasn’t happened yet. Douglas met her formally when he dined at her parents’ home last week. And he remarked to me about her chin being always thrust out in determination.”

John: “Her chin? Douglas noticed her chin?” John shakes his head. “That doesn’t seem to portend romance to me.”

Margaret: “No?   Well, why don’t you ask him.” She points to a tall figure walking toward them. “Here comes Douglas now.”

John: “Douglas! We can’t all play hooky from the Mills today.” John teases.

Douglas: “No Papa.” He nods soberly at the man he admires and loves. Then Douglas leans down and kisses his mother on her cheek.   “Mama! You look fresh as a daisy settled amongst nature. The flowers are obviously jealous of your beauty.”

Margaret: Blushing profusely, Margaret pats her son’s cheek. “Flatterer. Douglas, You have a way with words.”

Douglas sits between his parents on the picnic blanket and he picks up a chicken leg and starts eating it. John raises a bemused eyebrow with his eldest son stealing his lunch.

John: John looks at his son with growing curiosity.  “Yes you do have a way with words. Perhaps you can try them out on Miss Tinker when her family comes to dinner tomorrow evening.”

Douglas: “Kkkhhh Kkkhhh!” Douglas coughs several times–nearly choking on the chicken he is eating. And his mother pats his back and offers him some lemonade–which he gulps down.

Margaret: Marvling at her husband’s alacrity in nurturing along their son’s budding relationship with Miss Tinker by proposing a dinner, she adds. “Yes, we have been remiss in not inviting them sooner.”

Douglas: “Mama?” Douglas narrows his eyes.

Margaret: “What?” She replies innocently.

Douglas:   “No match making, please, Mama. If and when I decide to marry, I will find a sensible girl who wants to create a loving home for me and any children we might welcome.”

John: “A sensible girl?” John queries.

Douglas: “Yes! And if she has half of Mama’s beauty, I will be well pleased.”

Margaret blushes again.

Margaret; “Miss Tinker is quite pretty. Don’t you think, Douglas?” John listens for his son’s response.

Douglas: “I suppose.” He replies grudgingly. “But as soon as she opens her mouth, her opinions on everything come out. The woman does not have a thought that she does not express. It exhausts a person.” He slumps forward.

John: “I agree.” John nods smiling lovingly at his wife Margaret. Margaret swats at him with a smile.

Douglas: “Pardon me, Mama. I did not mean to imply that your own thoughts and opinions are unwelcome. Far from it.”

Margaret: “But Miss Tinker’s thoughts are unwelcome, Douglas?”

Douglas: “Well, not unwelcome. Simply impractical. Who ever heard of women voting? Or running businesses? Or becoming doctors?”

John: “Careful there, Douglas. Your cousin Lady Blythe would box your ears to hear you speak so about women.” Margaret nods in concurrence.

Douglas: “Well, I’m not against women voting, per se–as long as they are informed about the issues before casting their votes, and using common sense–and not making their choice based on feminine biases.”

Margaret: Muttering, Margaret suggests while rolling her eyes. “Would that common sense were required of men to vote.”

John: “Kkhh!” John clears his throat and bemusedly chides Margaret for maligning his sex.   “Is it something else, Douglas? Or perhaps, someone else? Do you prefer another lady to consider courting?”

Douglas: “Papa!   How did we get from Miss Tinker and her parents having dinner with us tomorrow night, to me courting her?”

John: “Son? There are worse things in this life than a Northern gentleman wooing and marrying a Southern lady.” John smiles at Douglas then at his wife, before lifting Margaret’s hand to his lips and kissing it.

Douglas:   “Well you two are the exception. If I could have half of your happiness with each other and with life, I would be well pleased.”

Margaret: “But?” She smiles caringly at her son.

Douglas:   Douglas hangs his head in his hands. “She hates me! Miss Tinker always straightens her back when I approach her at church or on the street–as if disdaining my presence. And when I had dinner with her family last week, we practically got into a shouting match about the role of women and men in society.”

Margaret: “Oh dear!” Margaret fans her face in alarm.

John: Beadily eyeing his son, John squeezes his wife Margaret’s hand. “I trust that you apologized to both Miss Tinker and her parents for so agregiously offending them when you were a guest in their home?”

Douglas: “Well, I …” He gulps. “Not exactly.” Douglas squirms for his breach of civility. “We agreed to disagree. Then after dinner, Mr. Tinker pulled me aside while the ladies went into the Sitting Room first and he apologized to me for his daughter’s forthrightness. He told me that at twenty two years old, he feared that no man will want her for a wife.”

Margaret: “And is that your assessment about Miss Tinker’s disposition, Douglas?” Margaret tilts her head to one side and raises her eyebrow. And John listens intently for his son’s response.

Douglas: “I don’t know her well enough to say.” Douglas shakes his head.

John: “Ah!   A light in the darkness.” John smiles cheekily. “Perhaps tomorrow evening’s dinner will allow you and Miss Tinker to become better acquainted with each other. Douglas, love is too precious to waste with hesitation. We may not get a second chance.” John gazes at Margaret gratefully. “It is when life gives us such opportunities for our lives to change direction that we must reach for those opportunities without hesitation.”

Douglas: “As you and Mama did in finding and loving each other, Papa?” Douglas looks back and forth between his parents.John-isRichardArmitage-andMargaret-isDanielaDenby-Ashe-inNorth&South-epi4-340-Jan0114ranet-sized-brt-crop2brt

John and Margaret: “Yes.” John and Margaret speak simultaneously and lean forward for  a kiss [(4) right].

John and Margaret Thornton have shared–and will continue to share–a lifetime of love and happiness together. Family, friends, and others have all come into their sphere–impacting them, and in turn, being impacted by them.  John & Margaret’s love opened doors for Hannah & Cameron, Baird and Fanny/Fiona, Nicholas & Brigid, and others to love.

Life has had its joys and sorrows for these two heartfelt lovers, John and Margaret Thornton. But when shared, their joys are multiplied and their burdens are lessened.   And the passage of time has only ever increased their passions for each other. For John and Margaret share a timeless transcendant love that began when a Northern gentleman opened his eyes and his heart to a Southern lady, who opened her heart to him to find the kind and compassionate man within him.

And though John Thornton’s Mill worker initiatives do have a basis in improving worker productivity–and thus a practical business application–they also illustrate a humane and compassionate approach to the workers who drive the engine of industry. For John firmly believes that it is love, family, and a sense of purpose in bettering our society, is what impels us forward. And in the future, the next generation of the extended Thornton and Ogilvy families will discover that what had been an industrial revolution in their parents’ era will now become a societal revolution in their own time–as men and women forge new destinies for themselves and for each other.

The End (?)


October 12, 2014

Dear Friends,

Thank you for sharing my journey in creating my new fan fic story about John Thornton and Margaret Hale. It has taken 365 days to tell this story. And I have enjoyed every minute of it.  I hope you have, too.

As I have mentioned earlier, I am considering writing a pre-quel of sorts that will focus more specifically upon my original character of Dr. Cameron Ogilvy’s early years, called “N&S: The Scotsman”–and bringing him up to the time of him wooing Hannah Thornton.

But I am also now actively entertaining the idea of writing a sequel to “N&S: JTLL” that I am tentatively calling “N&S: Generations” for the moment.   The sequel will focus upon the next generation of Thornton’s and Ogilvy’s, and that will include more of their growing up years merely alluded to here–the teen and early married years as well. So it will involve John and Margaret, and Hannah and Cameron, too–as well as some of the other couples and their children from “N&S: JTLL”.

So as I begin to write these new N&S related stories in the background, I will serialize other of my more written or mostly completed stories.  I like to have a good chunk of a story written before I begin serializing it. Though, “N&S: JTLL” started out life as a “ficlet” that mushroomed into a full blown novel of 581 pages (single spaced). Ha!

So thank you again for reading, commenting, and voting/liking/starring my original fan fic “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”.

Cheers!   Grati ;->

Gratiana Lovelace, Something About Love (blog)


“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 89 References, October 12, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #648)

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 was portrayed by Richard Armitage in the 2004 BBC period Drama North & South, epi4 (22h46m08s1) Dec2813 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-crop-manip-sized-brt-clr

3) “[Cotton] Jersey (also called single knit) is the simplest plain knit fabric, with two distinct sides. The face has vertical ribs while the reverse has horizontal rows. … It gets its name from its history of being made on the island of Jersey, in the Channel Islands off the English coast, and traditionally used for fishermen’s garb. Uses: Wide range from socks, underwear and sleepwear, to day wear and sportswear, to evening gowns” info found at http://vintagefashionguild.org/fabric-resource/jersey ;   for more information, visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton

4) John Thornton is portrayed by Richard Armitage and Margaret Hale is portrayed by Daniela Denby-Ashe in the BBC’s 2004 drama North & South found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode4/ns4-340.jpg

Link to Previous Ch. 88

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“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 88 (PG-13): My Family, My Heart, October 10, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #647)

“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 88 (PG-13): My Family, My Heart, October 10, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #647)

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, Helena Bonham Carter as Brigid Gordon, and Steven Waddington as Major Reginald Monckton, 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: As John Thornton was bonding with his then five year old son Douglas on Christmas morn 1860 through an extended family sledding adventure at Airlie Castle Estates, the unthinkable happened. John’s and Douglas’ careened out of control, heading for the Melgund River at the base of the hill. They were stopped by Lord Jamie Ogilvy using his body to block their path. But Jamie was flipped and landed hard on his back. And he has sustained injuries that will take him a while to recover from. John and Margaret also have an upcoming health concern–Margaret’s delivery of their fourth child, her second pregnancy after Audrey Grace’s difficult birth nine years ago.


“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 88 (PG-13): My Family, My Heart

Lord Jamie Ogilvy’s recuperation from being flipped and landing hard onto his back in the snow with his Christmas Day 1860 sledding accident at Airlie Castle is slow as the new year begins and Jamie and his family remain at Airlie Castle for a few weeks during his early recovery period. But once Dr. Cameron Ogilvy Lord Airlie releases Jamie from his daily care to return to his own manor in late January 1861 to return home to continue his convalescence–with Cameron visiting and checking up on him every few days–Lord Jamie and his daughter Lady Blythe bond over their leg weakness issues, and their matching father and daughter walking sticks.

Not inconsequently, Lady Blythe also gets to practice her burgeoning nursing skills by tending to her father. Father and daughter are exercising in a repurposed section of Lord Jamie and Lady Thistle’s master bedchamber this morning–the sitting area made way for an exercise area. And though Lord Jamie is not yet allowed to resume his husbandly attentions to his lovely wife Lady Thistle, they lie tenderly and lovingly in each other’s arms as they slumber each night–even this small intimacy they were required to forgo until Cameron was certain Jamie’s back was not fractured, however slightly. The Ogilvy Manor footmen help transfer Lord Jamie from his bed to a wing chair, then they depart to give him his privacy for his exercises.

Blythe: “Stand up from yourrr chairrr as I showed ye, Papa. Use yourrr arrrms to push up.” The fourteen year old Lady Blythe demonstrates again for her father in a chair that she has positioned opposite him.

Jamie: He struggles to stand, but sits back down again in the chair. “Ach!   Blythe!   I neverrr knew how difficult a time ye must have had when ye werrre a wee child and ye were doing yourrr own leg excerrrcises.” “I fearrr I may neverrr walk again.” He whines dejectedly.

Blythe: Lady Blythe nods and looks at her father encouragingly with a knowing smile [(2) Blythe-is-a-paintingbyPaulEmileChabas-portrait-of-a-young-girl_Apr2214oceansbridgecom--sized-brtright]. “Tis true, it was na easy, Papa.” Then she turns philosophical. “But then, ye ken that the things we need to do the most are rrrarrely easy. Would me having Mama join us in herrr nightgown give ye inspirrration?” Lady Blythe smiles impishly at her father as she tries to make his physical exercise session fun.

Jamie: “Ha ha ha! Possibly!” Lord Jamie shakes his head blushingly. He and his wife Lady Thistle are a loving couple–and by extension, serve as an example of warm and tender spousal affection that their children aspire to having themselves one day in their own future marriages. Then Jamie makes one more valiant effort to stand, and he is almost there. But the only thing holding him up are his arms pressing down on his chair. His legs are still very weak.

Blythe: “Ye arrrre standing, Papa!” Blythe claps her hands together excitedly.

Jamie: “Hhhh!” Jamie plops himself down into his chair again, exhausted from the effort. “I have to be able to stand beforrre I can walk.” He frets.

Going to her father and kneeling at his feet, she massages his lower legs.

Blythe: “Now Papa, we just need to warrrm up yourrr muscles, then ye can trrry again.” Blythe spends several minutes massaging her father’s legs as they talk. “How do they feel now with me rrrubbing on them?”

Jamie: “Hhhh! Betterrr. Ye have a gift for nurrrrsing, Blythe.” He sighs gratefully.

Blythe: “Thank ye, Papa!” Blythe smiles joyfully at his praise. “Have ye and mama thought any morrre about me wish to enrrroll in the London Nurrrses College when I turn fifteen soon? Cousin Angharrad invited me to stay with them in London durrring the Summerrr season. The College has a short Summerrr terrrm for new students that I would like to attend. But I must make my application now and wait to see if I am accepted.”

Jamie: “Yourrr Mama and I have discussed it.” He replies cagily. “But with Hamish beginning his univerrrsity studies in the Fall, your Mama wants him to enjoy attending his first London Season this Summerrr to meet the ladies whom he might wish to get to know betterrr in the coming yearrrs–with an eye to courrrtship.”

Blythe: “Why not simply betrrrothe Hamish to ourrr distant cousin Audrrrey Grrrace Thorrrnton and be done with it?” She asks cheekily. “Though Hamish initially liked me best frrriend Lissa, she has formed an attachment with another boy while Hamish was away at school.”

Jamie: “Oh? I did na think that Audrrrey Grace liked Hamish. I thought she liked … Oh, I see. Ye want to keep Andrrrew MacIntosh all to yourrrself?”

Blythe: “I do not!   Andrrrew is just me frrriend. And we arrre cousins!” Lady Blythe blushes a charming shade of pink.

Jamie: “Ye and he arrre too distant as cousins to cause any alarrrm, Blythe. If ye like Andrrrew well enough to court him, yourrr Mama and I will not object–when the time comes. He is a fine boy, and he seems to dote on you, from what I can tell the past few weeks.”

Walking into Lord Jamie’s bedchamber with a tonic that his cousin Lady Thistle prepared for her husband, Andrew MacIntosh asks.

Andrew: “What do ye na object to cousin Jamie?” Andrew smiles warmly.

Blythe: “Drrrew!” She looks up at Andrew with a start.

Andrew: “Good morrrning Lord Jamie, Lady Blythe. Your Mama bade me brrrring this tonic to yourrr fatherrr.” He holds out the steaming cup of something.

Jamie: “Good morrrning, Andrew.” Jamie’s mouth curls into a smile as he looks from his daughter to their cousin–Cameron Lord Airlie’s grandson Andrew MacIntosh by his daughter Angharad Ogilvy MacIntosh. “We werrre discussing Blythe’s hope to starrrt with a London Nurrrses College courrrse this Summerrr.”

Blythe: “Hhhh!” Blythe sighs in relief that her father did not embarrass her about Andrew as she continues to massage her father’s lower legs.

Jamie: Taking the offered mug from Andrew, Jamie sips the liquid and feels a little buzz. “Hmmm. Not unpleasant. What is in it?”

Andrew: “Lady Thistle did na say.” Andrew shrugs his shoulders. “Do you know the recipe, Blythe?” Andrew turns to Blythe and smiles.

Blythe: “I believe it contains some brewed tree bark, tea … and a drop orrr two of whiskey.” She smiles at her father, then she takes the mug from his hands and sets it on a nearby table.

Jamie: “I was still drrrinking that.” Jamie pouts as his arms reach out cutely forlornly to grasp thin air where the whiskey laden medical brew had just been snatched away from him. Lady Thistle has rationed her husband’s whiskey intake since his accident. Never much of a drinking man anyway, Lord Jamie still misses what he cannot have–such as his wife’s comfort until he is well

Blythe: “Ye have had enough drrrink to help forrrtify ye for the moment, Papa.   Now Drrrew, might you please help Papa to stand up forrr me?”

Andrew: “Oh! Of … of course, Lady Blythe.”  Andrew is so smitten with and shy around his distant cousin but close relation Lady Blythe that he tends to use formal forms of address with her. But he really thinks of her as his Blythe. And Andrew smiles at her cordially.

Andrew and Blythe stand on either side of her father Lord Jamie as he pushes up to stand and they steady him–with the strapping Andrew doing most of the work. Jamie hesitantly puts some weight onto his legs and they do not buckle.

Blythe: “Ye did it, Papa!”

Jamie: “I’m standing.” Lord Jamie says in a hushed whisper.

Andrew: “You’ll be walking soon, Lord Jamie!” Andrew smiles warmly at him and then at Lady Blythe. “Ye are a wonderful nurse, Lady Blythe.”

Blythe: “Thank you, Drrrew.” She blushes further.

Andrew carefully helps Lord Jamie to sit again and Lady Blythe caringly massages her Papa’s lower legs some more as well as doing other sitting exercises with him. Lord Jamie Ogilvy will eventually walk again. However, Lord Jamie’s injuries will not likely allow him to compete in this year’s Highland Games when the Spring comes–with Cameron urging him not to strain his back any further.

Andrew MacIntosh makes several weekend visits from school to Scotland to see his extended family–staying with his Uncle Lord Baird and Aunt Lady Fiona. Andrew’s real reason in coming so frequently is to also support Lady Blythe, with whom he has formed at attachment. Yet however much Lady Blythe is growing fonder of her distant cousin Andrew MacIntosh, she is very focused on helping her father get well again.


It is now the end of February 1861–deep into the waning days of Winter storms in the North of England.   So Margaret stays at home for the last month of her pregnancy as she begins her confinement. She spends her time now sewing baby clothes, visiting with Carlotta Watson or Brigid Higgins when they come to call, and corresponding with their far flung family in Scotland and in London. John comes home to Thornton Manor to eat lunch as he does most work days now–John is nervous about the coming child’s birth because Margaret had such a difficult time giving birth to their daughter Audrey Grace nine years ago. When he walks into the small cozy and warm sitting room that Margaret is fond of, she waves a letter at him.

Margaret: “I have news from Lady Thistle!” Margaret smiles cheerfully.

John: “Oh?” John tries to sound blasé, but he is eager to hear whether Jamie has been able to resume his formerly vigorous life and activities, or if he is still convalescing. John still blames himself for the sledding accident, though Lord Jamie and Lady Thistle both have tried to dissuade him of that notion. If the situation had been reversed, and John had tried to stop Jamie’s sled from going into the river, he woul have been the one flipped onto his back, instead of Jamie.

Margaret: “Lord Jamie has made astounding progress! And you will never guess.” She teases him gleefully.

John: “Is he walking unassisted?”   John asks hopefully.

Margaret: “No, not yet. He and Lady Blythe have matching walking sticks now.” It is just that Lord Jamie’s walking stick is longer and sturdier. “But no one can doubt Lord Jamie’s recovery now–least of all, Lady Thistle.” Margaret looks as if she will burst with the news.

John: “I don’t understand.” John replies quizzically.

Margaret: “Lady Thistle is pregnant again!” Margaret gushes.

John: “Oh, that is nice.” John remarks politely. Margaret stares at her husband for a minute or two–as if trying to telepathically convey the underlying implication of the pregnancy. “Oh!” John startles as he looks from his wife Margaret’s face to her own pregnant belly–caused by him, well, them together. “Ohhh!” John smiles broadly in relief–thinking that if Jamie is well enough to sire a new child, then he is well on his way to being fully recovered.

Margaret: “Lady Thistle says that Lord Jamie is beyond excited and completely content with sitting out this year’s Highland Games as a competitor with the promise of holding another baby of theirs in his arms by next Christmas.” Margaret almost prances about the Sitting Room in delight–despite the girth of her eight months pregnant condition slowing her down.John-isRichardArmitage-inN&S2004-epi1-032Nov2913ranet

John: “How many children do they have now?” John asks quizzically [(3) right].

Margaret: “Five or six. I’ve lost count.” Margaret impishly shrugs her shoulders. The only baby she has been focused on is the one whom she will deliver next month.

John: “Well, I will be happy with our four children when you have our new baby.”

Margaret: Margaret flinches. “Oh no!” Then she looks down and sees a puddle off water at her feet.

John: “Margaret?” John looks at his wife with growing alarm.
Margaret: “John! The baby is coming now!” Margaret cries fearfully.

John: John rushes to Margaret’s side and helps her sit down and pulls the bell chord for a servant. “Margaret! We must send for the doctor. Then I will take you upstairs.”

Margaret; “But John, it is too soon! I was very careful in my counting this time around.” She gazes up at him worriedly.

John: “There there, Margaret. We’ll let Dr. Houghton be the judge of that.”

John has a servant fetch Dr. Miles Houghton to Thornton Manor, even as John carries Margaret upstairs and a maid helps her change into her night gown and she gets into bed to wait for the doctor with John by her side, holding her hand. Margaret is not looking forward to the pain that she knows will come when she gives birth. The pain of giving birth to Audrey Grace nearly ten years ago is but a distant memory, but one that is seared upon her brain. She hopes this birth will be easier–and that the baby will be alright since it is coming a month early.

Thirty minutes later, Dr. Miles Houghton arrives at Thornton Manor ready to assess Margaret Thornton’s readiness to give birth. But upon his arrival, Dr. Miles finds Margaret pushing–with John nervously supporting her back as she leans forward in their bed. Seeing Dr. Miles, John exclaims.

John: “Thank god you’re here! All of a sudden Margaret felt she had to push and I was afraid that you wouldn’t arrive in time.”

Dr. Miles: Cleansing his hands in a nearby bowl for that purpose. He examines her womb. “You should have called me sooner, the baby’s head is crowning!”

John: “What does that mean? Margaret only felt a pain and then her water broke thirty minutes ago.”

Margaret: Lying back after the urge to push leaves her, she sighs. “The baby is coming too soon, Dr. Miles. Will it be alright?” Margaret asks worriedly.

Dr. Miles: “I can see the baby’s head already. So he or she wants to come out now. We will help them do that. Now let’s get you perched over the side of the bed and let gravity help you a little bit.”

Dr. Miles and John do that. Then Dr. Miles sits at Margaret’s feet with a towel over his crossed legs and a towel in his hands as he gets ready to catch the baby.

Margaret: “AAaaaaaaah!” Margaret screams in searing pain.

John: “Oh Margaret!” He kisses her perspiring forehead and firmly supports her back.

Dr. Miles: “The head is out!   One more big push, Mrs. Thornton and then we will have the shoulders. The baby should come quickly after that.”

Margaret:   “Oh! Here it comes!   Aaaaaaaaaahh!” She screams loud enough to rattle the windows.

Margaret’s birthing cry even wakes the children up from their naps and they come running to their parents bedchamber. But their Nanny holds them back from entering the room’s closed door. Inside, John lays Margaret back down intheir bed whilst Dr. Miles tends to the baby.

Baby: “Waaa! Waaa! Waaa!” Baby Thornton’s healthy cry makes both John and Margaret smile in relief. As of yet, they do not know if the baby is a boy or a girl.

Then Dr. Miles hands the now cleaned and swaddled baby to John so he can tend to Margaret.

Dr. Miles: “You have a fine son, Mr. and Mrs. Thornton.” Dr. Miles smiles. Though he had little to do with the proceedings.

John: “I have a son.” John says in hushed reverence. And he and Margaret exchange a loving gaze.

Margaret:   “We have a second son.” She reminds him. For though their eldest boy Douglas Thornton was adopted as a baby, he is very much their son.

Then Dr. Miles tends to Margaret medically for a few moments. Finally, a maid standing nearby helps give Mrs. Thornton a sponge bath and into a fresh nightgown while the men turn their backs. And another maid puts fresh linens on the bed. Once Margaret is settled back into bed, John hands her their new baby boy and then tenderly kisses her on theMargaretManipHolding-herBabyMay2112gratiRev2shrp-Oct0914Crop lips.

Margaret: “Is the baby alright, Dr.Miles? He is a little small, but he looks perfect!” Margaret smiles hopefully [(4) right].

Dr. Miles: “That is my assessment as well, Mrs. Thornton. He should gain weight rather quickly. So he won’t be small for long.” Then Dr. Miles shakes John’s hand. “Congratulations, Mr. Thornton!”

John: “Thank you, Dr. Miles! May we let our children in to see the baby now?” John motions to one of the maids to open the door as he sits down next to Margaret on their bed, placing his arm around her.

Margaret: “Wait!” The maid halts. Margaret turns to face her husband. “John, we haven’t named him yet!” She realizes.

John: “Well, I still like the first name that we had chosen for a boy, James Richard Thornton. He will be our Jamie–named after Lord Jamie. And Richard for your late father, Margaret.”

Margaret: With tears brimming in her eyes, Margaret nods. “I like it, too. Thank you for giving him to me, John.”

John: Kissing her forehead, John smiles. “Thank you for giving him to me.”

John nods and waves his hand to the maid, who opens the door and their children come running inside to see the new addition to their family. Almost ten year old Audrey Grace, the eldest, reaches her Mama’s bed side first.

Audrey: “What is it, Mama? Am I a brother or a sister?” She misspeaks in her excitement.

John and Margaret: “Ha ha ha ha ha!”

Catriona: Seven year old Caty corrects her. “You are a sister, Audrey Grace, as am I. We just need to know what it is.” She cutely points to the baby. Audrey Grace rolls her eyes. She knows what she meant–even if she didn’t say it correctly.

Five year old Douglas nods in agreement, as he looks hopefully, shyly at his father, John. John motions for Douglas to join him on his side of the bed and John cuddles his eldest son close.

John: “Douglas, Audrey Grace, Caty, you have a little brother.”

Children: “Ooooh!” They coo.

Margaret: “And he is named after our brave cousin Lord Jamie Ogilvy and named after my father, your grandfather Richard Hale who died before you could know him.” Margaret tears up.

John: Taking his new baby son into his arms and Margaret leans over his arm, her protectively touching the baby, John shares. “His name is James Richard Thornton.”

The children gather round as they clamber up on the bed and they wonderingly get to touch their new baby brother’s hands and feet. Baby Jamie moves his shoulders and yawns, then he moves his lips–Margaret will feed him in a few minutes after the children leave the room.

Seeing the smiling faces of their children sitting around them and their newborn son, John and Margaret smile at each other and kiss sweetly. Their lives are happy and content–bearing full measures of love and family. These are joys which John had always hoped for, but only received when his Margaret came into his life. And then they were blessed again with his mother’s and then sister’s marriages to Ogilvy men–expanding their family beyond the borders of nations and locations. John and Margaret and their children, and their nieces and nephews, cousins, and in-laws–and the people their families who work for them in their mills–have bright futures ahead of them. But most of all, John and Margaret Thornton have the love of family, which is at the heart of all true happiness–and their greatest blessing. Or as John often thinks, my family, my heart.

To be continued with Chapter 89 End/Epilogue


Author’s Note, 10/09/14:
Dear Friends,

I am finally bringing my North & South fan fic story “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” (N&S: JTLL) to a close this weekend with posts on Friday (Ch. 88) and Sunday (Ch. 89 End/Epilogue)–one day before the anniversary of date that I began telling the tale one year ago. The chapters are written but for some word smith tweaking.

My N&S: JTLL story is about 580 pages single spaced in MS Word, and contains over thirty characters–over half of them new ones. As of this post, my story has garnered over 52, 579 reads and 474 votes for the 87 chapters posted thus far–my blog version of the story adds several thousand more reads as well.

I am truly overwhelmed with the positive response my N&S fan fic story has received.   One of my commenters on Wattpad claimed recently that my N&S: JTLL story was “epic”.   Well, my N&S: JTLL fan fic is a big multi-generational tale–that started out as a ficlet I wrote, that I then kept expanding upon. Ha! And I have loved every minute of telling John’s and Margaret’s and their extended family’s tale.

The warm response to my N&S: JTLL fan fic is also a testament to the enduring love that people have for Elizabeth Gaskell’s tale of two very different people in John Thornton and Margaret Hale, meeting and falling in love–and for Richard Armitage portraying John Thornton in the 2004 BBC version of it.

So thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has taken this North & South journey with me! Hugs! Cheers! And Love! Grati ;->

P.S. And just to keep you on edge of your seats, the Ch. 89 End/Epilogue on Sunday will have something of a surprise in store for readers. But, no spoilers. Ha!


“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 88 References, October 10, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #647)

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)   Blythe Ogilvy image is a Portrait of a Young Girl by Paul Emile Chabas found at http://www.oceansbridge.com/oil-paintings/product/89623/portraitofayounggirl

3)   John Thornton (portrayed by Richard Armitage) was found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode1/ns1-032.jpg

4)   Manip of Margaret holding baby James Richard is a composite of two images:  a flipped and cropped head shot of Margaret Hale at  the Masters’ Dinner (image cropped, brightened and more red added) in the 2004 BBC Production of North & South Episode 2 (pix 213) was found at http://www.richardarmitageonline.com/north-and-south/north-south-pictures-episode2.html ; and an image of a mother holding her twins was found at http://www.corbisimages.com/stock-photo/royalty-free/RF4473506/mother-holding-her-newborn-twins

Link to Previous Ch. 87

Posted in "N&S: John Thornton Love Lessons", Creative Writing, Fan Fiction, John Thornton, Love and Relationships, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Romance, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Thorin Thursday: Obscura is Planning a Windy City (Chicago) RA Fans Gathering to See The Battle of the Five Armies film, October 09, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #646)

HobbitBOTFA-tapestry-CloseUp2--Thorin-Kili-Fili-Azog_Oct0814ranet-sizedThe final The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (BOFA) BOFA-logo_Oct0814TORNwill premiere in just two months. We will say farewell to beloved characters such as Thorin Oakenshield (spoilers in link) (image left,www.RichardArmitageNet.com) portrayed by the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage and many other Tolkien characters and their actors portraying them as this trilogy of Hobbit films concludes.

And though this third film is slated to be shorter–I saw a 198 minutes running time somewhere, so maybe by six minutes–BOFA will be huge!   (BOFA Tapestry image below via www.RichardArmitageNet.com)


So are you ready for the epic battle of good and evil? And we are talking about a time in Middle Earth when evil really meant something–and not just that a Hobbit was annoyed that you ate his food, or that a Wizard kept going off and leaving you but coming back in the nick of time to work his magic, or you having to be covered in stinky fish while hiding in barrels, or even you desperately seeking to find the jewel that acknowledges your “right to rule” and planning revenge on your naysayers, etc.  Evil as in your survival not being assured because that Sauron dude is up to his old tricks in inciting death and destruction.

One way to commemorate this historic BOFA film event is to share it with friends–especially RA Fan Friends.

Delightfully, Obscura (of the Ancient Armitage blog)–with an anonymous helper–is kindly taking the lead on planning a Windy City (Chicago) RA Fans gathering for sometime opening weekend of December 19-20th, or beyond:

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Chicago Fan Event…round 1 by Obscura, October 7, 2014

Obscura has a poll that you can take and also make comments as her event planning commences. I’m excited and hope that whatever date the Chicago gathering ends up being on, that I can attend. I am so looking forward to meeting up with old and new RA Fan Friends–as well as seeing the film with them. So please visit Obscura’s post link hyperlinked above this paragraph to get started.

P.S. Comments over there, please. Thanks!




Purposely non-hyperlinked (to save bandwidth):

1) Closeup of BOFA tapestry showing Thorin, Kili, Fili, and Azog for the image shared above:

2) BOFA tapestry URL for the image shared above: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Hobbit/HobbitStills/album/HobbitBOTFA-tapestry-15Sep14.jpg

3) “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Official Teaser Trailer #1 (2014) – Peter Jackson Movie HD” video shared by Movie Clips Trailers:


Nota Bene: And just for fun, here is that BOFA Trailer again:


Posted in Battle of the Five Armies, Fangurling, Friendship, Graphic, Middle Earth, movies, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Something About Love, The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit, Thorin, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment