“N&S: Nurturing Love,” Ch. 55-58: Two Months of Wedded Bliss Brings Joy and Heartache, 4/23/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #171)
Author’s Story Recap from the previous posting: John’s and Margaret’s honeymoon in Scotland and its continuation for a few days when they returned home was a blissful time for them. Their love for each other is strong and their bond grows daily and nightly. And with the loving wedding gifts of their family and friends–including the gift of the mill and manor house to them by Mr. Bell–John and Margaret make a good beginning in their marriage. However, there are some sad times ahead for John and Margaret in these chapters. But their love is strong and will guide them through their sorrow and loss.
Author’s Mature Content Note: This is a love story and it contains both the joys and sorrows that love and life can bring to us. Life is not always rosey. And what will happen to John and Margaret in these chapters is deeply sorrowful. They were hard chapters for me to write because they are so sad–and because they reflect in some way my own unfulfilled dreams and the difficulties we faced in trying and failing to make our dreams come true. Though I have not experienced this kind of profound loss, many have suffered this sorrow and my heart goes out to you. So I will label these chapters of sorrow accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to read about these sad and difficult issues, then please do not read these chapters. This is my disclaimer.
Episode/Part 3–The Marriage Begins
“N&S: Nurturing Love”, Ch. 55: The first two months of John’s and Margaret’s Newlywed Life Brings Joy (PG-13)
After John returns to work at the Mill on Wednesday after their wedding and honeymoon, his and Margaret’s week days over the next two months settle into a routine of him working at the mill all day—but coming home for lunch with Margaret—and Margaret gradually making their house Rose Cottage [(2) right] a home. They have added one more servant to help with the cleaning and laundry, a woman named Edwards. Margaret’s days are also filled with visiting and tending to her Mother, visiting Mother Thornton and her sister-in-law Fanny, and visiting her friend Bessie—or receiving their visits for tea. Finally, Margaret is also working with Mill families and local educators to begin a school for the Mill children—with accompanying parent literacy classes at the end of the day. So, Margaret’s days are full, too. Then, after Thompson prepares John and Margaret’s evening meal each night, she leaves for the carriage house servant’s quarters so that John and Margaret are in private together in their home. After Margaret and John have dinner, Margaret puts away any leftover foods and leaves the dishes soaking in the sink to be washed by the servants in the morning–very domestic. Then, John’s and Margaret’s evenings are filled with lovemaking with each other—followed by more lovemaking the following morning. Their love and tenderness toward each other grows with each romantic interlude they share
The days and weeks, and months fly by as John and Margaret enjoy their newly wedded state with each other. Their home’s furnishings are now complete—except for decorations in what will be their future children’s rooms. Weekends are a wonderful time for John and Margaret. John does not have to be at the Mill all day and he and Margaret can spend their time together. They have been married two months now. And since it is Summer in mid July they have turned their attentions for their home have also turned to making their garden lovely. But, since it is a Saturday morning, John and Margaret ‘sleep in’—having directed the servants not to arrive until 11am on Saturdays—and they enjoy their morning private time together as husband and wife, lovers, and soul mates. And this Saturday morning in mid-July turns out to be very special.
John: “Good morning Margaret Darling.” John kisses her on her forehead and then her lips as she awakens in their bed in his arms. “Are you feeling any better today?”
Margaret: “Good morning John Dearest. Not really. Excuse me for a moment.”
Margaret dashes to the bathroom to throw up. This is the third morning that she has felt ill like this. So, she doesn’t think that it is something she ate causing the problem. Margaret wonders, can it be? … She thinks that she hasn’t been paying attention to the calendar with all of the busy wedding, honeymoon, house furnishing, and school establishing details. But, she realizes that she is three weeks past when she should have had her monthly cycle. Margaret has one week to find out if she might be carrying a child—their child. Should she tell John? Margaret decides to try as she returns their bedroom after brushing her teeth and such.
John: “Ah. There you are Margaret Darling. How’s your tummy? Still upset?” She nods. “Do you think that you ate something that is causing you to feel unwell?” He checks her forehead for fever. “You don’t seem feverish, so hopefully, you don’t have the flu. But, you still might want to consult the doctor.”
Margaret: Sliding back into bed naked and cuddling next to John she says coquettishly. “Well John Dearest, I will know in about a week if it is what I think it is.”
John: Concerned for her health, John admonishes her. “Oh, Margaret. I don’t think that you should wait a week to see the doctor.”
Margaret: Smiling up at John and realizing that he’s not aware of women’s cycles she says. “John Dearest, you know that we’ve been married for seven weeks—and we’ve made love every day, and sometimes more?” She blushes.
John: “Hmmm.” He growls as he kisses and embraces her lovingly. “Yes Margaret Darling, it’s been a wonderfully romantic time.” John is completely besotted with his beautiful wife and entranced by her sweetness, her kindness, and her alluring way of enticing him to never want to leave their bed. The love they share is more than he could have ever hoped for or dreamed of. But he cherishes their love as he cherishes his wife. John buries his kisses into Margaret’s neck, nuzzling her, entreating her to make love with him again.
Margaret: Margaret smiles and responds to John’s kisses warmly. “What I mean to say, John Dearest, is that I—well, women—often have several days each month when their monthly cycle occurs. And women probably don’t make love with their husbands those few days each month.”
John: Still not understanding and giving her a quizzical look. “But Margaret Darling, we’ve made love every day …” Then smiling mischievously he adds in his deeply timberous velvety baritone voice. “… and more.”
Margaret: She smiles and also blushes. “Yes, and when a woman doesn’t have her monthly cycle—and she seems to be ill–what it can mean is that she is … going to have a baby.” Margaret smiles at him to let this sink in.
John: “Margaret Darling, …” His eyes widen in astonishment and joy. “… do you mean you think you’re having a baby? “
Margaret: She gives him a little self satisfied nod of accomplishment–though it is both of their accomplishments–and she smiles saying. “It is possible John Dearest. If I don’t have this month’s cycle either, then it is probably likely that I’m having a baby—our baby.”
John: “Oh, Margaret Darling. That will be so wonderful!”
John kisses Margaret all over with feather light kisses and she responds to him lovingly. As their embraces and kisses become more passionate, John’s need for her is aroused. But then, John becomes worried for her health.
John: “But, Margaret Darling, should we … I mean… can we … be intimate with each other without harming the baby or you?”
Margaret: Not knowing specifically, but knowing it intuitively Margaret says as she intertwines her body with her husband John’s body. “Well, if I am seven weeks pregnant, then we have been making love throughout those seven weeks. So, I can’t imagine we should have a problem now. But, I will ask the doctor when I see him next week.”
This news is music to John’s ears. As a newlywed husband, John’s ardor for Margaret is undimmed—in fact, it grows stronger each day–and each night. And, John desires Margaret even more now that they might be having a baby—their baby.
John: “Hmmm. Margaret Darling. I love you so.”
Margaret: “And John Dearest, I love you so.”
John and Margaret make love sweetly, tenderly, and gently—just in case—before collapsing blissfully in each others’ arms to cuddle.
Margaret does indeed miss her second monthly cycle and has her pregnancy confirmed upon visiting the doctor. She and John are overjoyed and invite their families for dinner to share their happy news the next Friday night. After the families have all arrived and are seated in the parlor, John stands next to Margaret with his arm around her to make the announcement.
John: “Margaret and I are especially pleased you could join us this evening. Though, we had you over for dinner last week on our two month anniversary, this night is particularly special to us.” Margaret smiles glowingly because she knows what John is about say. John lifts Margaret’s hand to his lips and kisses it. “You see, we are expecting an addition to our little party …” He pauses portentously. “… in about 7 months.”
Margaret: Placing her hands on her tummy, Margaret looks up and says happily. “We’re having a baby!”
Everyone squeals with delight. The future grandparents—the Hale’s and Mother Thornton—shower them with kisses and hugs. Fanny and her Watson give them hugs and a handshake as well. Margaret is especially pleased that her Mother is still alive to share this happy time with her. Then, they all go in for dinner discussing potential baby names—to John and Margaret’s chagrin at some of the choices. But, they have a lovely family dinner.
It has been a long Friday day and evening after their family dinner party, what with John working a full day and then he and Margaret hosting their families for dinner to share their baby news. But, John and Margaret are pleased with their families’ welcoming their baby news—despite some of the names they proposed. And John and Margaret lovingly cuddle naked in bed that evening.
John: “Margaret Darling, tonight was a wonderful family dinner. Everything looked beautiful and the food was scrumptious!” He kisses her warmly on her lips, because though they are lying naked with each other, they have yet to make love tonight—and he is eager to do so.
Margaret: Responding to John’s kisses, Margaret intertwines her legs with his legs and says. “Yes, John Dearest, it was a lovely evening.” Then she laughs. “Though we will have to give some thought as to how to gently break it to some of our family that we’re not naming our child Marlborough or Milton …”
John: Interjecting. “… or Harriet, or Heather.” Which doesn’t become a popular girl’s name for another 100 years. “But, I wouldn’t mind working your maiden name, Hale, in as a middle name somehow.”
Margaret: “Thank you John Dearest. That would be lovely. Robert Hale Thornton sounds nice—to honor your father as well.” She offers.
John: “Yes it does. But you know, we might have a little girl first. So, we do also have to think about girls’ names.”
Margaret: “Well, I’ve always favored the more traditional names for girls like Elizabeth, Emma, Jane, Anne or Anna, Sarah, Katherine, Catherine, and Rachel, etc.”
John: “How about Rachel Catherine Thornton? Since Rachel is your middle name.”
Margaret: “That sounds nice John Dearest. But, we might be getting ahead of our selves.” Margaret’s face saddens. “The doctor said that many first pregnancies end in miscarriage. I just hope that we haven’t told our families that we are having a baby only to have the heartache of losing our baby before it can be born.” Margaret starts to tear up.
John: “Oh Margaret Darling.” Kissing the tears from her cheeks as he tries to soothe her, he says. “We have to hope for the best. Whatever happens, we can get through it together.”
Margaret: “Thank you for being so understanding, John Dearest.”
John and Margaret continue to kiss and cuddle, then they sweetly make love as hopeful future parents before falling asleep adoringly in each others’ arms.
To be continued with Chapter 56
“N&S: Nurturing Love”, Ch. 56: John and Margaret Lose their Baby Two Sundays later in early August (Mature: Sorrow)
Though John had hoped that Margaret’s fears about losing their baby before it is born were unfounded, they are soon to know the depths of sadness that a miscarriage can bring. A week and a half later as John and Margaret are leaving church on Sunday morning, Margaret suddenly feels unwell–wondering if it is the late July heat.
Margaret: Feeling woozy as they are standing around outside after church, Margaret says. “John Dearest, I feel rather faint.” Then Margaret crumples to the ground as John quickly cushions her fall with his arms as he worriedly hovers over her [(3) right].
John: “Margaret Darling.” He says to her, but she is unconscious in his arms. The doctor rushes immediately to their aid.
Doctor: “Mr. Thornton, we should get her home immediately by carriage. Mine is standing by here.”
John nods appreciatively since he and Margaret had walked to church this morning—as they do many a Sunday in fine weather. As John goes to pick Margaret up in his arms, he notices that her dress feels wet underneath her and he brings his hand up to his face and he sees that it has blood on it. John is panicked now and looks at the doctor with searching eyes.
John: “Oh, Doctor, Margaret isn’t losing our baby is she?”
Doctor: “I’m afraid she might be Mr. Thornton. It depends upon how much blood she has lost. Bring her in to my carriage and I will take you both home so we can tend to her.”
John gets into the carriage, the doctor puts a blanket on John’s lap and John cradles Margaret in his arms as the blanket wraps around her to keep her warm. John had been oblivious to everyone watching around them when Margaret took ill after church. But their friends and family have guessed the sad truth. Margaret is miscarrying their baby. The Hale’s get into Mrs. Thornton’s carriage to ride with her back to John and Margaret’s home—with worry and heartache on their minds.
As the Doctor’s carriage arrives at John and Margaret’s home, John carefully gets out of the carriage with Margaret in his arms—so as not to jostle her—then he speedily carries her into their home and up to their bedroom. Thompson follows the doctor up after getting the towels and hot water that he requires. John carefully lays his unconscious Margaret on their bed and she is still wrapped in the doctor’s blanket to keep her warm. Her pale face is cold to John’s touch–as are her hands. John then helps the doctor in removing Margaret’s skirt and her bloodied petticoats—which sadly reveal the awful truth. Their baby has miscarried.
John: Oh Doctor, have we lost our baby?
Doctor: “Yes, Mr. Thornton, I’m afraid you have.” John is crestfallen, because he knows that Margaret will be as bereft as he is when she awakens. “These things happen sometimes, and there is nothing that you or she could have done to prevent it. But, we do want to make sure that your wife doesn’t lose too much blood. So, if you’ll send Thompson in with the towels and hot water, I’ll finish examining and tending to her.”
John: John nods numbed with shock and grief. But John’s concern is now for his wife Margaret’s safety. John’s mind is racing. To lose their child is a devastating sorrow beyond anything they could imagine. But if John were to lose Margaret as well? John cannot contemplate this possibility. His life only has meaning and joy because his Margaret is with him as his loving wife. He goes into the upstairs hall and ushers Thompson into their bedroom as the doctor asked. “Thompson, please go in and help the doctor with my wife.” And she does.
John looks over the second floor railing and sees their family gathered downstairs in their foyer—waiting for news about Margaret and the baby. John slowly walks down the stairs to them and tells with tears in his eyes and streaming down his cheeks.
John: “We have lost our baby. The doctor is tending to Margaret so that … so that she doesn’t lose too much blood. My only concern is for her welfare right now.”
John’s mother, Hannah Thornton, is not a warm woman but she goes to her son and puts her arms around him and he gratefully accepts her comforting hug as he bends down to her and weeps in her embrace with his worry for Margaret. The Hale’s also come up behind John and each put a hand on his shoulder. It is their daughter who is in danger right now and they know and share the depth of John’s despair. John stands up again and Mr. Hale pats his shoulder and says with tears in his eyes.
Mr. Hale: “My boy, my boy. “
Then Mrs. Hale, as frail as she is, also gives John a comforting hug that he receives warmly.
Mrs. Hale: Then she says to him as she touches his face tenderly, saying. “John, Margaret will want you with her as she recovers. Only you can give her the love and support and understanding that she’ll need right now—to know that the baby miscarrying is not her fault.”
John: “Of course it’s not her fault! I would never think that.” John spits out through his bitter tears.
Mrs. Hale: “I know, John. But, she will still have the worry that it is her fault.”
Mrs. Thornton: “Yes, John, she will. Go to her and stay by her side. I’ll put some tea on for all of us as we wait to hear how Margaret is doing.”
Both mothers look at each other knowingly and then back at John. And John realizes that each of them has experienced this loss. He nods knowingly and slowly ascends the stairs to his bedroom–not knowing how he will comfort Margaret, when he himself cannot be comforted. John only knows that he and Margaret must find a way through their grief at losing their child.
To be continued with Chapter 57
“N&S: Nurturing Love”, Ch. 57: John Returns to Margaret’s Side in their Bedroom (Mature: Sorrow)
John enters his and Margaret’s bedroom with a heavy heart to find that the doctor and Thompson have finished tending to Margaret and they have put her in her nightgown—with several layers of towels underneath her in case she has a bit more bleeding. Thompson walks out of the bedroom with Margaret’s blood stained clothes–trying to hide them from John’s view, but he still sees the reminder of their loss. Margaret has not, as of yet, regained consciousness and this concerns both John and the doctor.
Doctor: “Mr. Thornton, your wife has finished miscarrying the baby. But, there may be some spotting afterward for a few days that shouldn’t concern you. I do want to stay for a bit longer today to see if she awakens or continues to slumber as her body recovers. It is natural for a woman who has this happen to her to be very ill for the first week with fatigue and pain and then still be recovering for several weeks after that. Mrs. Thornton should stay in bed as much as possible for the next week. She will need fluids and constant care so that she doesn’t over do.” John nods his head. “Oh, and, Mr. Thornton, you should go into your bathroom and wash your face and hands and change your shirt.”
John looks at his shirt and realizes that some of the blood is on his clothing–it must have happened when he lifted Margaret up to carry her to the carriage. So, John goes to the bathroom and changes his shirt—leaving off his vest–and he washes up before returning to Margaret in their bedroom.
John: Returning to their bedroom, he sees the doctor sitting in one of the chairs by the fireplace that gives him a view of Margaret. John asks him in a hushed voice. “Is it alright if I lie beside her on the bed to comfort her?” And John also needs to cradle his wife in his arms to comfort himself that she will be well again.
Doctor: “Yes, Mr. Thornton. Your wife will probably welcome your tenderness. But be careful not to make too much movement getting into bed. I’m going to ask your servant to bring up a cold ice pillow for Mrs. Thornton’s abdomen. That should help ease some of her discomfort.
John nods at the Doctor. Then John goes to his side of the bed, he kicks off his shoes and he gently lies down on the comforter and Johns slides onto the bed next to Margaret. John kisses her cheek and holds her right hand in his as he lies next to Margaret watching her. After several minutes, Margaret starts to whimper in pain and then her eyes flutter open. She turns her head on her pillow to look at John with worry and sadness in her eyes.
Margaret: Tearing up, she asks him. “Oh John, did we …” Her voice trails away, not wanting to speak the awful possibility.
John: “Yes, Margaret Darling, we lost the baby.” John has tears in his eyes as Margaret fully comprehends what has happened and she weeps. John wants to reassure her and says. “Margaret Darling, the doctor says that you’re going to be alright. But you have to rest in bed for the next week as you recover.” He kisses her forehead and then her hand as he lays his head next to hers on the pillow.
Margaret: “But why?” She sobs. “I’ve been so careful.”
John: “Margaret, my love. This was nothing you did wrong—or we did wrong.” John kisses her tenderly as he, himself tears up again. “The doctor said that miscarriages just happen sometimes—and it is no one’s fault.”
Margaret: “But our baby is gone.” She continues sobbing into his shoulder as he holds her close to him.
John: “I know my darling. We have so looked forward to this baby.” John is holding Margaret in his arms and caressing her face gently as he says. “This is a terrible loss for us and we have to give ourselves time to grieve. But, in time, we will get through this, together. Margaret Darling, I love you with all of my heart.”
Margaret: “I love you John Dearest. I’m so sorry.” Margaret weeps disconsolately.
John: Reassuring her again, he says while tenderly kissing her forehead. “Margaret Darling, this is not your fault. This is nothing we could have prevented. My main concern is you right now. I’ve been so worried for you my darling, you’ve been unconscious for over an hour. We need to get you well and healthy again as you recover from this.”
There is a rap at their bedroom door. The Doctor opens it and brings in the cold ice pillow for Margaret’s abdomen.
Doctor: He says in a soothing voice. “Mrs. Thornton, I’m glad to see you have awakened finally. You are going to be alright, my dear. But, you will need to spend this next week recovering from the miscarriage in bed. You have to get your strength back. Then, you’ll still be recovering for a few more weeks after that. I’ve brought you a cold ice pillow for your abdomen to help ease some of the cramping that you’re experiencing.” The doctor lifts up the covers and places the ice pillow on her nightgown over her abdomen and then puts the covers over her again. “Now, I want to stress that sometimes these things just happen—especially with first babies. There was nothing you did to cause this—and nothing you could have done to prevent this. I know that it may seem like a small comfort now, but you should be able to have future babies once your body has healed.”
John: “Thank you doctor.” John nods in gratefulness for the doctor’s comforting words.
Margaret is still weeping cradled in John’s arms, too overcome with her grief to speak or even look over at the doctor.
Doctor: “Mr. Thornton, your mother and the Hale’s are still downstairs waiting to hear how Mrs. Thornton is doing.”
John: “Margaret Darling. Would you like to see your mother? I can carry her up here?”
Margaret: She nods her head and says in a small voice as she sobs into his shoulder. “Yes.”
John: Kissing her cheek he says. “I’ll be right back.”
John gently gets out of their bed, puts on his shoes, and then he bounds downstairs to bring Margaret’s mother to her. Mrs. Hale—whom he carries up the stairs and into their bedroom– sits on Margaret’s bedside and holds her hand. The doctor and John leave the room to give them their privacy.
Margaret: “Mother, I lost the baby.” Margaret sobbing and holds her arms out to her mother and her mother gently leans down to hug her—being careful not to hold her too tight.
Mrs. Hale: “Oh Margaret Dear, I’m so sorry for your and John’s loss. It is a terrible burden to bear for a husband and wife.” Then she caresses her daughter’s face and says stressing. “But, you didn’t lose the baby dear. This isn’t your fault, nor is it John’s fault.” Mrs. Hale knows that Margaret needs reassurance and she continues to caress her daughter Margaret’s hand as she speaks to her. “This happens sometimes. It happened to your father and I, and to Mrs. Thornton and her husband.”
Margaret: Still crying. “Oh Mother, I feel so sad and empty. John and I have been so looking forward to this baby and making plans.”
Mrs. Hale: “I know dear, it is a great loss. And the only way to get through this is for you and John to hold fast to each other, to love each other, and to be kind to each other. Your body will recover more quickly than your heart will. It is going to take some time, but you will feel better again. And, in time, you and John can try to have another baby.”
Margaret: “But, Mother, I’ll be so scared that we might lose it, too. I don’t know if I want to risk this sorrow again.”
Mrs. Hale: “Margaret Dear. I know that you’ll be scared. But, you have to try again—just as your father and I did … and then we had you. And you are the joy of my life, Margaret Dear.” Mrs. Hale leans down and kisses her daughter tenderly on her cheek.
Margaret: “Oh Mother, I love you so.” Margaret feels more soothed and calmed after talking with her mother.
Mrs. Hale: “I love you, my sweet child. Now you rest. I’m going to send John back in with some water for you. And later on, Thompson will bring some broth for you. You need your fluids if you are going to get better. Your father and I will check on you tomorrow after you’ve had a good night’s rest. Your father sends you his love.” Margaret nods weakly.
Then, John knocks on the door softly and enters the bedroom. He has been listening in at the doorway and is grateful for Mrs. Hale’s comforting words.
Mrs. Hale: She stands. “Ah John. I think Margaret is feeling a little better.”
John crosses the room and kneels at Margaret’s bedside, taking her hand in his and kissing her forehead, her cheek, then her lips. Margaret and John look at each other with sadness and understanding and love as he holds her left hand in his left hand and he soothingly caresses her forehead with his right hand.
John: Still kneeling next to Margaret’s bedside, John turns to look up at Mrs. Hale and says. “Thank you for your kindness to us, Mrs. Hale. I will take you to the carriage so you can go home and rest now yourself. I’ll be right back Margaret Dear. Mother is going to sit with you while I’m gone for a few moments.” John kisses Margaret tenderly on her lips.
Margaret nods and John walks Mrs. Hale into the hallway and then he carries her down the stairs and out to the carriage as his Mother steps into their bedroom.
Mother Thornton usually commands a room, but today, with Margaret, she shows a softer side as they wait for John’s return to Margaret. She sits in a chair next to Margaret’s bedside.
Mother Thornton: “Margaret Dear, I’m so sorry for your and John’s loss. It is a heartbreak—one that many of us have had to bear.” She takes Margaret’s hand in hers.
Margaret: “I know, my Mother shared with me about her own loss. I’m just overwhelmed with sadness about losing the baby.” Margaret says as the tears still flow down her cheeks from her crying.
Mother Thornton: “Of course you are, Margaret Dear. That’s natural. But, the baby miscarrying isn’t your fault or John’s fault. John’s father and I experienced this loss–before we had John, your John. You and John love each other deeply and I know that you and John will get through this together. John has been so worried for you today my dear. Your well being is all that he cares about. Never doubt his love for you, Margaret Dear. I’ve never seen my son happier than he is with you. Draw strength from your love for each other and let it guide you through this loss to a place of peace and calm.”
Margaret: Struck by the tenderness and understanding that her mother-in-law is showing her, Margaret says. “Thank you Mother Tho.. Thank you Mother.”
Mother Thornton: Mother Thornton stands and kisses Margaret’s forehead tenderly. “You rest, Margaret Dear. I’ll go get John so he can come back and join you.”
As Mother Thornton passes John in the hall, she says to him.
Mother Thornton: “John, your place is with Margaret this week. I will go in to the Mill each day. You stay with Margaret. If we have any questions, we can always come here to the house and ask you.”
John: “Thank you Mother.” He kisses her cheek and then goes into his bedroom to be with his Margaret.
To be continued with Chapter 58
“N&S: Nurturing Love”, Ch. 58: John Comforts Margaret after their Families Go Home (Mature: Sorrow)
John enters his and Margaret’s bedroom carrying a carafe of fresh ice water and a glass that he sets on Margaret’s bedside table. Then John kneels at Margaret’s bedside to her left, holding her hand and he leans in and kisses her cheek and then her lips.
John: “Margaret Darling. I love you so.” He gazes lovingly into her eyes.
Margaret: “Oh John Dearest. I love you so.” Margaret moves her left hand to caress his cheek.
John: “You should try to sip a little water.” He pours it into a glass for her and she takes a few sips before laying back on the pillows. She is still very weak. “In a little while, Thompson will bring up some broth for you. Can I get you anything for your comfort my darling?”
Margaret: “Just you. Will you lay beside me again, John Dearest?”
John: “Of course my love.”
John gets up and walks to his side of the bed. He kicks off his shoes again and starts to slide across the comforter to her. But even the small movement of the comforter causes Margaret twinges of pain. So, John gingerly stands up from the bed, he removes his trousers and his shirt and then he gently slides between the sheets toward Margaret. John lies on his side next to Margaret. Margaret lifts up her head and John gingerly slides his left arm under her neck as she nestles into the crook of John’s left arm and side. John kisses Margaret’s forehead and then her lips and then he tenderly caresses her left cheek with his right hand as she falls peacefully asleep in his arms. John watches his lady love, Margaret, sleep for sometime before he also falls asleep—from the stress of the morning’s loss and worry.
Around 2:00pm, Thompson brings up some broth for the Mrs. But finding John and Margaret both fast asleep, she does not wake them and takes the broth back to the kitchen.
Then later, around 5:00pm Sunday afternoon, the doctor returns and Thompson shows him upstairs. The doctor asks Thompson to bring up broth for Mrs. Thornton and another ice pillow for her abdomen. The doctor knocks softly and enters John and Margaret’s bedroom. He sees John and Margaret sleeping soundly in each others’ arms and smiles. Just then, John stirs awake and sees that the doctor has returned. The doctor nods at him and motions for John to stay where he is. Then the Doctor gently lifts Margaret’s hand in his and takes her pulse. Thompson knocks and steps in briefly to give the doctor the fresh ice pillow and she leaves. The doctor gently lifts the comforter and blanket and sheet off of Margaret. He gingerly lifts the now warm ice pillow off of Margaret’s nightgown over her abdomen. The doctor also sees that she hasn’t bled much more since the towels underneath her are mostly dry. He nods and smiles at John who is watching the doctor intently as he is examining his wife. Then, the doctor takes the new cold ice pillow and gingerly places it on Mrs. Thornton’s nightgown over her abdomen and lays the covers back over her. Margaret starts to stir awake a bit with the new cold pillow on her abdomen. She awakens to see John’s face hovering over her as he lies next to her in bed.
John: “There you are Margaret Darling.” He caresses her face and gives her a kiss. “How are you feeling? The doctor is just here to check on you again.”
Doctor: “Yes, Mrs. Thornton. Your pulse is good and steady. Have you had any broth to eat yet?”
Margaret: Turning to look at John she says sleepily. “I don’t think so.”
John: “No doctor. She’s been … well, we’ve been asleep all afternoon.”
Doctor: “Quite understandable. You both need plenty of rest. But, I have asked Thompson to bring some broth up to you in a few minutes. Would you like to try to visit the bathroom? Now, we’ll have Mr. Thornton carry you. I don’t want you walking.” Margaret nods her head slowly, wearily. “I’ll just go into the hallway while you do that.”
John: “Thank you doctor.”
Once the doctor leaves, John gingerly gets out of bed and puts on his pajama pants—since he was only in his underpants under the covers. Then, he opens Margaret’s dressing room door and the connecting door into the bathroom. Then John walks to Margaret’s side of the bed and gingerly peels back the covers. He also gently lifts the new cold ice pillow off of her abdomen. He kisses Margaret softly on her lips and then he gently puts his arms under her shoulders and thighs. Then, John gently lifts Margaret up into his arms. Margaret winces and gasps a little in pain, but she nods that she’s okay. John walks slowly carrying Margaret in his arms into her dressing room and then into the bathroom from its connecting door. He sets her feet down in front of the commode chair, lifts up her nightgown, and then she sits on the commode chair. John sees that the back of Margaret’s nightgown has some stains on it from her further bleeding so he says.
John: “Margaret Darling, I’m going to go into your dressing room and get you a fresh nightgown.”
Margaret: She nods wearily. “Thank you John Dearest. Could you bring me the shorter pink nightgown? It’s in the top drawer of my dresser.” He nods and goes to get it. Margaret is able to use the commode chair—but she waits for John to come back and help her up.
John: Coming back in he asks. “Margaret Darling, is this the one you want?”
She nods her head and John brings the nightgown to her. First, John lifts the soiled nightgown off of Margaret and lays it over the side of the tub—taking care to make sure that the bloody side of the nightgown is laying inside the tub where Margaret cannot see it. Then, he puts the fresh nightgown over her head and arms—this nightgown is easier for her to put on her since it does not have sleeves. Then, John helps Margaret stand up and she washes her hands and face at the sink. Finally, John gently lifts Margaret up into his arms again and carries her back into their bedroom through her dressing room.
The doctor has been waiting for them as John carries Margaret back into their bedroom. Thompson has removed the slightly soiled towels that had been under Margaret on the bed and replaced them with four layers of fresh ones. John gingerly sets Margaret down in their bed in a sitting position so that she can sip some broth in a few minutes. And he gently places the cold ice pillow on her abdomen and then he places the covers over her.
Doctor: “Mrs. Thornton, you’re looking better than when I saw you this morning. You have more color in your cheeks. But, you will need bed rest and plenty of fluids this week to get your strength back. And, then reduced activity for the next month—if you are able to stay home the full month, I would advise that. Your pulse is good and though you’ve had some more spotting, it seems to be tapering off. When you visited the bathroom just now, did you notice much bleeding?”
Margaret: “I didn’t really look.” She is still very weak and rather sleepy.
John: “No doctor. It didn’t seem so.” John is kneeling by Margaret’s bedside as they talk with the doctor.
Doctor: He nods. “And how is your cramping , my dear?” He asks solicitously.
Margaret: “I’m still in a lot of pain, but the ice pillows seem to help a little bit.”
Doctor: “Yes, the cold ice pillow will be soothing for you. You’ll want to change them every few hours. For the next few days, you might notice a little bit of spotting—and that’s normal. However, if you find that you’re bleeding a lot and feel faint, please have someone contact me right away. I will be checking in with you each day after lunch just to see how you’re doing anyway.”
John: “Thank you doctor.” John brings Margaret’s left hand up to his lips and he kisses it.
Doctor: “Mr. Thornton, toward the end of the week, Mrs. Thornton may want to go downstairs—if only for a change of scene. But I don’t want her using the stairs. So, she’ll have to be carried. Then, next week as she’s walking around more, she can try the stairs—as long as someone is with her. But I don’t want her going up and down the stairs more than once a day until the third week of her recovery—and then, not more than twice a day, but still with someone by her side at all times.
John: “Thank you doctor. I plan to be at home with Margaret during the day all this week. Mother will be at the Mill and let me know if anything requires my attention. So, I’ll be tending to my wife’s needs this week.”
Margaret: “Oh John Dearest, can you be away from the Mill so long?” She asks weakly but in a concerned voice.
John: “Of course I can, my love. My focus is on helping you get well.” John kisses her hand again and then leans over and kisses her forehead. Margaret sighs in relief to have her John beside her and his loving and tender care for her.
Doctor: “Your servant has brought this nice broth for you to sip Mrs. Thornton. So, please try to eat at least half of it tonight. Then tomorrow you can add soft foods as you tolerate them—eggs and breads, etc. But wait to eat meat or raw vegetables until later in the week.” Margaret nods. Then to John, he asks. “Walk me out Mr. Thornton?”
John nods. He stands and puts on his robe and walks with the doctor into the hallway as Margaret dozes.
Doctor: “Mr. Thornton, your wife is doing as well as can be expected. The next few days of bed rest will be critical for her recovery. Let her sleep as much as she wants. And, as I said earlier, she should wait to do much walking around in her bedroom until later in the week—around Wednesday or Thursday.”
John: “Thank you doctor. We’re very grateful.” Then, John tears up, finally but haltingly asking the question that he has been afraid to ask earlier. “Doctor, I know you told Margaret that she should be able to … But will Margaret really be able to …. will we be able to have children in the future?”
Doctor: “Yes, Mr. Thornton.” The doctor says comfortingly touching John’s shoulder. “Your wife is young and strong–and the young are resilient. But, she will be recovering for a month.” Then putting it delicately, he says. “And you and she should not lay together–as husband and wife–during that time to let her fully heal. Kisses and caresses are fine, but that is all. And, her spirits will also need time to heal. So, she will need your love and understanding. And, I think you will find as you care for your wife that will also help you heal from this loss.”
John: “Thank you Doctor.” John nods his head. “Whatever my wife needs to heal is what we will do. Her health and well being are my only concern.” Because for John, Margaret is his whole world.
Doctor: “Mr. Thornton, I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but your wife is a very lucky woman to have you as her husband. I have been with many families when this type of loss has occurred. And your actions for and your tenderness with your wife today having been the most loving I have ever seen.”
John: John nods his head in thanks. “Thank you doctor. We appreciate all of your help today. We’ll see you tomorrow. Would you please send Thompson up before you leave?” The doctor nods and leaves.
John walks back into his and Margaret’s bedroom and goes to her side to tenderly give her a soft kiss [(4) right]. Margaret has been dozing propped up on the pillow while he was in the hallway talking to the doctor and she now stirs awake again.
John: “There you are my darling. The doctor just left, but he’ll be back tomorrow afternoon to check on you. In the meantime, you’ll have me to keep you company.” Margaret nods slowly. “Now let’s see if you can sip a little broth. Hmmm?” John brings a chair over to Margaret’s bedside to sit in, he picks up the bowl and spoon, and he spoons the broth into her mouth.
Margaret: Sipping the broth slowly, she says weakly between sips. “Thank you John Dearest, for your kindness and tenderness toward me today.” Sipping. “I don’t think I could have made it through today without you.”
John: “Of course, Margaret Darling. I am your loving husband, I want to do whatever I can to help you.
Margaret: “And, I am your loving wife.” Then tearing up she says. “Even though …” John sets the bowl of broth down and kneels by his wife’s bedside gently embracing her as she cries.
John: “I know Margaret, my love.” John says kissing his wife’s tear stained cheeks as he tears up himself. “We’ve had a terrible loss today–and it will take time for us to grieve for our loss. But, we will get through it. At least you are going to be well again. And, hopefully one day, God will bless us with a child. Until then, we have each other my darling.” He kisses her softly on her lips. “We will always have each other.”
Margaret: “John, I’m so grateful that you are my loving husband.” Her hand caresses his cheek. “Your kindness and understanding are more than I could have ever hoped for. I love you so.”
John: “And I love you so Margaret my love.” They gaze into each others’ eyes with love and understanding and hope.
As John finishes spooning the broth for Margaret to sip around 6:00pm, Thompson knocks and pokes her head into their bedroom.
Thompson: “Sir, how is the Mrs.? Will you be needing anything?”
John: “Well might you ask Edwards to wash madam’s nightgown that’s laying over the tub? And my shirt?”
Margaret: “Oh and John, you should try to eat something yourself. You’ve had nothing to eat today since breakfast.”
John: “Margaret Darling, I haven’t really thought about that–I’ve been so worried for you.” He shakes his head ruefully.
Thompson: “Oh Mr. Thornton Sir, I took a chance and brought you a sandwich.” She steps into the room and hands him the plate of food and a glass of lemonade.
John: “Well, now that you mention it, this might just hit the spot. Thank you Thompson.” Then turning to Margaret he says. “Thank you Margaret, my love.”
Thompson: “And sir, I’ll come back in an hour to check on your plates and to also bring the Mrs. another cold ice pillow.”
John: “Thank you Thompson. We’d appreciate it. I’m going to spend this week at home with my wife as she’s recovering. She’s on bed rest this week. The doctor said that she could start on soft foods tomorrow if she wants. So, maybe some eggs at lunchtime after having broth again at breakfast.”
Thompson: “Right sir. I’ll be over around 7:30am tomorrow morning as usual.”
Margaret: “Thank you Thompson. Good evening in case I’m asleep when you return.” She says sleepily.
Thompson leaves taking the half empty soup bowl with her. Margaret seems to be dozing off, so John decides to grab a quick bite of the sandwich Thompson brought him. John doesn’t realize that he is hungry until he starts eating and he finishes his sandwich quickly. Then John sits by Margaret’s bedside in the chair, holding her hand while she sleeps.
Thompson does indeed come back in about an hour around 7:00pm with a fresh ice pillow for Margaret. John dashes into the bathroom while Thompson stays with his wife. Then when he returns, he gives Thompson his plate and glass and she leaves for the night. As John gingerly puts the new cold ice pillow on Margaret’s abdomen, she stirs from the coldness of it.
Margaret: “Hmmm.” Her eyes flutter awake sleepily.
John: “Margaret Darling, would you like to visit the bathroom once more before you fall asleep for the night? Then, when, you get back we can lay you down and I’ll join you in bed. Hmmm?”
Margaret: “Yes, thank you, John Dearest.”
John gently lifts the covers out of the way and gingerly removes the new cold ice pillow from her abdomen. John gently lifts Margaret into his arms and carries her into the bathroom through her dressing room. He notices that the towels under her are dry—as is her nightgown. So, she has at least stopped bleeding quite so much. After helping Margaret with her toilette—including splashing some water on her face and unpinning her hair and then braiding it for her—John returns Margaret to bed, laying her down gently so she can lay flat. He gingerly lays the cold ice pillow on her abdomen and covers her with the sheet and blanket. Then, John walks around to his side of the bed and removes his robe and gently slides into bed next to Margaret with only his pajama pants on.
John: “How are you feeling Margaret my love? Still cramping?” She lifts her head up a bit as John slides his arm underneath her so that she can rest in his arms.
Margaret: “A little John Dearest. But, the ice pillow is helping.” Then Margaret’s left hand caresses John’s right cheek and she says. “And of course your tender care of me is also helping.” John leans over and kisses Margaret affectionately on her lips.
John: “Margaret my love, you just rest and sleep tonight. We both will. Then in the morning, we’ll see how you feel.”
John kisses Margaret’s right hand that he is holding in his right hand. He has to be careful not to accidently lean on her as he sleeps, so he lays flat next to her as they drift off to sleep. It has been a long, stressful and worrying day for each of them. And though they have suffered the devastating loss of their first child today, Margaret will recover. John still has his Margaret—and that is what he focuses on as they both drift off to sleep.
To be continued with Chapter 59
(1) The “North & South: Nurturing Love” story logo is a composite of three images, with text that I added:
(a) John Thornton (as portrayed by Richard Armitage) having just kissed his love Margaret Hale (as portrayed by Daniela Denby-Ashe) and them gazing lovingly at each other in the North & South (BBC 2004), episode 4 (pix 346) train station kissing scene; the image was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode4/slides/ns4-346.html;
(b) a cropped image of the brambled tree branches in the Milton cemetery as John Thornton walks through it in North & South, episode 3 (pix 15); the image was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode3/slides/ns3-015.html;
(c) a masked image of the yellow rose John Thornton picked in Helstone in North & South, episode 4 (pix 271); the image was found at
(2) Image representing Rose Cottage, John and Margaret Thornton’s home, is a composite of two images: the home was found at
http://wac.2a97.edgecastcdn.net/802A97/verticals.news-record.com/files/imagecache/zoom_view/Images/TH_Kemp01_022612.jpg; and the roses that I masked and sampled them onto the home were from MS Office Clip Art found at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=roses&ctt=1#ai:MP900145125|mt:2|
(3) Image representing of John Thornton (as portrayed by Richard Armitage) worriedly hovering over the collapsed body of Margaret Thornton (as portrayed by Daniela Denby-Ashe) was from the 2004 BBC production of North & South, episode 2 (pix 166) was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode2/slides/ns2-166.html
(4) Image(cropped) of John Thornton’s (as portrayed by Richard Armitage) and Margaret Hale’s (as portrayed by Daniela Denby-Ashe’s followup kisses in the BBC’s 2004 production of North & South, episode 4 (Pix 340) was found at
Previous Story Links for “North and South: Nurturing Love” are found at