“N&S: Nurturing Love, Ch. 59-67: Healing, 4/27/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #173)
Author’s Story Recap from the previous posting: Sadly, John and Margaret are grieving the loss of their first child two months into Margaret’s pregnancy. John stays home to tenderly care for Margaret during her first week of recuperation since she is on complete bed rest. 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 the loss of their first child in the early months of the pregnancy was deeply sorrowful to John and Margaret. And Margaret and John rekindle their romance and I have rated that chapter accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with these ratings, then please do not read these chapters. This is my disclaimer.
“N&S: Nurturing Love”, Ch. 59: Monday morning around 7:30am in John’s and Margaret’s Bedroom
John and Margaret sleep through most of the night Sunday night after the miscarriage of their baby two months into Margaret’s pregnancy. The loss of what would have been their first child is devastating to them and they are plunged into deep sorrow. But they cling to each other for strength. And with Margaret also having to physically recover from the miscarriage, John is especially tender and caring with her. He is essentially nursing her back to health–by tending to her personal needs and showing her love and tenderness. In the early morning hours John gets Margaret a freshly cold ice pillow from the icebox for her comfort before joining her back in bed to sleep–he is exhausted emotionally from their ordeal.
Yet, when John and Margaret awaken in the morning, they are greeted with the lovely scent of flowers in their bedroom. John and Margaret look around the room and see literally dozens of small bundles of wild flowers on tables and nightstands everywhere. There is a note on Margaret’s nightstand from Thompson.
Thompson’s note: “Dear Sir and Madam, As I came into the house early this morning, several of the mill workers stopped and asked me to give you these flowers and to let you know that they were sorry for your loss. I also put a basket on the front step in case there are more flowers left for you and I will bring that up to you at 8:00am with your breakfasts. Thompson”
Margaret: Sleepily and weakly, Margaret looks about their bedroom filled with the flowers from everyone’s kindness to them. “John, these flowers are so wonderful.”
John: John nods slowly. “They are, Margaret Darling. It was very kind of them.”
John and Margaret are stunned and touched by the thoughtfulness and compassion of the mill workers in their time of sorrow. They are grateful for the many small kindnesses shown to them at this sad time. Everyone has been kind and caring and they appreciate that.
John: “Margaret Darling, …” He kisses her forehead. “How are you feeling this morning?”
Margaret: “I’m still cramping and in pain, but not as much as yesterday. John Dearest, could you help me to the bathroom?”
John: “Of course my love.”
John feels that though he may not be able to take away Margaret’s physical pain from the miscarriage, he will do whatever is in his power for her comfort. John stands up out of bed and goes around to Margaret’s side of the bed and he gently lifts her into his arms and carries her into the bathroom. Margaret is not to try walking on her own until Wednesday–and then only with assistance. Margaret is thankfully only spotting a little but not when she is just lying down- indicating that her body is beginning to heal. So, they hope that her recovery will continue this week. Margaret washes her face and neck, brushes her teeth and such. The cool water on her face feels refreshing to her. Normally, her morning toilette would include brushing her long hair and pinning her curls and braid up with stylish combs. And it might cheer her somewhat to have her hair done up as usual. But Margaret does not have the strength–and she will be lying in bed anyway–so leaves her hair plaited in the loose braid that John had done for her last night before they went to sleep. However, Margaret asks John to find her a pink ribbon from her dresser drawer in her closet and she ties a bow on the end of her braided hair. Pink is Margaret’s favorite color. John and Margaret smile knowingly at each other–their love will get them through this sorrow. Then John lifts Margaret up into his arms, kisses her gently on her lips, and then he carries her back into their bedroom—leaving her sitting up in the bed so that she can eat her breakfast when it arrives.
Then John returns to the bathroom for himself and he also washes his face, and brushes his teeth, shaves, and such. John finds comfort in continuing at least some of his morning routine. Though he will not be going to work this week–he plans to stay by Margaret’s side–he does not want his scratchy beard to irritate her soft skin when they cuddle and nap. However uncharacteristically, John decides to stay in his pajamas during the morning as he and Margaret lay in bed together. This departure from his more formal attire is perhaps a concession to John’s own emotional state, and the grief that he is experiencing. For John must heal emotionally just as much as Margaret. However this afternoon, John will dress in casual clothes for when the doctor and their family members visit.
John: As John sits with Margaret in their bed, he asks. “Is there anything I can bring you for your comfort Margaret Darling?”
Margaret: “Well, it would be nice to have another cold ice pillow, John Dearest.”
John: “Of course, I’ll take the one you have now and exchange it for a cold one from the ice box.”
John gently gets out of bed so as not to move too much–since motion in the bed of any kind still causes Margaret twinges of pain. Silently, John hands Margaret one of the nosegays of flowers and she breathes in its lovely scent and gives a small smile as she closes her eyes and dozes. John smiles, too. Then he puts on his robe and bounds downstairs to the kitchen. He returns quickly to Margaret in a few minutes and helps her place the cold ice pillow comfortably for her.
Margaret: “Thank you John Dearest.” John is standing at her bedside and he leans over and kisses her lips softly as his hand caresses her cheek.
John: “Margaret Darling, I think you’re getting some more color in your cheeks.” He says a bit optimistically as he caresses her cheek and she smiles at him weakly. “Thompson will be up in a few minutes with our breakfasts. Do you feel up to taking some more broth? Or maybe even some eggs, Margaret Darling?”
Margaret: “I think I’ll just have broth this morning. But maybe, I’ll try some eggs at lunchtime, John Dearest.” She smiles weakly. Though Margaret was able to sleep soundly, her body has still suffered a great shock with the miscarriage. And, it will take some time for her to regain her strength completely.
Thompson knocks at their bedroom door.
Thompson: “I have your breakfasts. May I come in?”
John: “Yes, please come in Thompson.”
Thompson walks in with their breakfast food on a tray as well as a carrying a basket with more flower bundles in it.
Thompson: “Good morning Sir and Madam.” She says cordially and caringly. Thompson sets the food tray on the table near the sitting area. Then she brings the basket of flowers to Margaret’s bedside and hands it to John who is standing there.
John: Showing Margaret what is inside the basket he says. “These are lovely Margaret my love. Would you like me to put them any place special?”
Margaret: “Maybe set the flowers on the fireplace mantel where we can see them?” John nods and does so. “Thank you Thompson.” John then gives the empty basket back to Thompson who heads back to the kitchen.
John: “Let me bring you your broth.” He pulls a chair up to her bedside.
Margaret: “John Dear, let me see if I can hold the bowl and sip it myself. Then you can eat your breakfast while it’s hot.” Margaret takes some sips from the spoon, but the bowl is too heavy in her arms. So, John helps her finish her broth by spoon feeding her.
John: “Here you go my love. You’re still gaining your strength back.” Then he eats his own food—some eggs and toast and jam with tea.
Margaret: “Are you eating enough, John Dearest? You’re a tall man and I know how you need plenty of food.” She says with a little twinkle in her eyes. John’s capacity for food intake–and that he still stays trim and muscular–is always a humorous notion for Margaret.
John: He laughs, glad that Margaret is getting some of her lightheartedness back. “I’m fine Margaret Darling. But, thank you for your concern. Shall we cuddle some more while we rest after breakfast?”
Margaret nods her head. John removes their breakfast dishes to the sitting area. Then, he gently lifts Margaret up to change her from a sitting position to lying down. John removes his robe and slides gingerly into bed next to Margaret–so that the bed movement doesn’t cause her pain–and he cradles her in his arms. Nestled into her husband’s left side, Margaret drifts off to sleep almost immediately. Though John is not sleepy, he lovingly watches Margaret sleep peacefully in his arms—kissing her forehead and caressing her face frequently. Eventually, he falls asleep as well.
To be continued with Chapter 60
“N&S: Nurturing Love”, Ch. 60: The doctor and family visit Monday Afternoon
After a restful morning, and having a little bit of egg for lunch, Margaret seems to be getting her color back even more–indicating that her body is beginning to heal, though she is still very weak. John dresses in casual clothes–and open collared shirt with full sleeves over trousers–to await the doctor and family. While they are waiting, he writes a short note of thanks to his mill workers for their lovely flowers that greeted them upon awakening this morning and has Thompson take it to his Mother to post at the Mill for him. There is a separate note for his Mother, giving her an update since he knows that he won’t see her until the end of the day since she will be at the mill all day in his stead. As Thompson is leaving the house, the doctor arrives to check on Margaret. Thompson lets him in and motions for him to go upstairs. The doctor knocks at John’s and Margaret’s bedroom door.
Doctor: “It is just me coming to check on Mrs. Thornton.”
John: “Yes, please come in. Oh, doctor, thank you for coming.”
Doctor: “Well, how is our patient today?” He asks of Margaret, but also looking at John.
Margaret: “A little better I think.”
John: Of course, John gives the doctor a detailed description of Margaret’s actual condition. “She’s still very weak, but she did have an egg for lunch. And though she only seems to be spotting when she’s sitting up, she says that her abdomen still hurts and is cramping.”
Doctor: “Yes, Mrs. Thornton, I’m afraid it may be a day or two more before the cramping lessens significantly. In the meantime, the cold ice pillows and a smaller meals should help. You might try waiting to eat more solid foods—as you feel up to it—on Thursday.”
Margaret: “Thank you doctor.” She weakly smiles at him gratefully.
Doctor: “Now, I do want to examine you again to make sure that everything is alright? Is your servant Thompson around somewhere?”
John: “No, doctor, I sent her to the Mill on an errand. She said she would let us know when she returns.”
Doctor: “Well, then Mr. Thornton, you’ll be my nurse assistant for the time being.”
John’s eyes widen a bit not knowing what to expect. But wanting to see to his wife, Margaret’s, comfort and health he nods his head. John is sitting on his side of the bed, holding Margaret’s right hand. First, the doctor takes her pulse on her left wrist. Then being satisfied, the doctor peels back the sheet and blanket and removes the cold ice pillow from her abdomen. The doctor sits on a chair next to her bedside and takes a long tube out of his doctor’s bag and gently lays it on her nightgown over abdomen listening.
John: After a few moments, John’s curiosity and impatience get the better of him. “Doctor is everything alright?” John asks, not really knowing what the doctor is doing?
Doctor: “I am listening for sounds of blood circulation and such. And it sounds normal.”
Just then, Thompson knocks on the door—having returned from the Mill—and asks.
Thompson: “Will you be wanting anything, Mr. Thornton, Sir?”
Doctor: “Yes, please bring up a pitcher of warm water, a wash basin, and towels.” And she goes to do that. Then he says to Margaret. “Mrs. Thornton your rest this week and next will help your body recover.” She nods and John does also. “But, I want to stress to both of you that the sadness you feel at this loss is normal. Though it may be hard to think of it now, in time, your lives will get back to normal and you may begin to think about children again.” Margaret starts to tear up. The doctor caringly takes her hand in his again and continues. “There, there, my dear. But, as I told Mr. Thornton yesterday, to make sure that your body has healed completely, you should wait to lie together as husband and wife for at least three to four weeks. Although, kissing and caressing is fine. I tell you this, Mrs. Thornton, so that you don’t think that your husband is purposely staying away from you—he is only doing what I have told him is best for your health. And, I can see from his tender care of you so far that you are a sweet and loving couple.”
Margaret smiles weakly at the doctor. Then she looks tenderly at John. John kisses Margaret’s cheek. He is grateful for the doctor’s explanation to Margaret. Though he knows that once Margaret is feeling better, it might be difficult for the two of them to wait four weeks to make love with each other. John’s and Margaret’s loving bond is so strong–and their romantic inclinations so in synchrony with each other–that their bodies’ unions give them a joy beyond their premarital hopeful dreams. Yet, until they have healed emotionally–and Margaret healed physically as well–the physical side of their relationship will have to lie unfulfilled for the time being.
John: “Thank you doctor. We will do whatever is needed for Margaret’s full recovery.” John squeezes Margaret’s hand and kisses her forehead.
Then Thompson knocks on the bedroom door and returns with the warm water and towels.
Doctor: “Oh good, Thompson. Come in.” Then turning to Margaret he says. “Mrs. Thornton, we are going to gently wash your womb again for you today to make sure that you don’t have any infection starting. Then tomorrow morning, with your husband’s help, you can try taking a warm bath—which you also might find soothing as well for the cramping.”
John: “Doctor, should I leave the room?” He wonders thoughtfully to give his wife her privacy during this procedure. But Margaret nestles into him further, not wanting him to leave her.
Doctor: “Mr. Thornton, your wife might be comforted by your presence during this procedure.”
So John lies down on the bed holding Margaret in his arms—distracting her with words of comfort and tender kisses–while the doctor finishes his examination and his cleansing of Margaret’s womb. There is indeed, more blood that comes out in a few clots, but at least the flow has stopped. Afterward, the doctor and Thompson put fresh towels under Margaret, the cold ice pillow on her abdomen, and the doctor gently lays the sheet and blanket over her again. Margaret sighs in relief that the doctor’s cleansing of her is over and John kisses her forehead. Thompson takes the cleansing items away as the doctor prepares to leave.
Doctor: “Now, Mrs. Thornton, I want you to rest as much as possible until I see you tomorrow afternoon.” She nods sleepily. “Mr. Thornton, might you walk me out?”
John nods and he gingerly gets up from the bed so as not to jostle Margaret who is dozing. Once he and the doctor are in the hallway, John asks.
John: “How is Margaret doing really, Doctor?”
Doctor: “Physically, I think she’s coming along fine. But, emotionally,… that will take some time—for both of you. Just continue your tender care of her and that will do more for her than I can.”
John: “Thank you doctor.” John nods as the doctor leaves. Then John goes back to Margaret in their bedroom determined to continue to help Margaret in her recovery–even if it takes all of his strength to do so. Margaret is John’s loving wife and soulmate and he endeavors to be her loving husband and soulmate as well.
To be continued with Chapter 61
“N&S: Nurturing Love”, Ch. 61: John comforting Margaret after the doctor leaves Monday
Margaret wakes up a bit when John gets back in bed with her—after removing his shirt and trousers.
John: Kissing her forehead as he puts his arms around her, he says. “There you are, Margaret my love.”
Margaret: “John Dear, what did the doctor say to you? Am I alright?” She asks worriedly.
John: “You’re fine Margaret Darling. The doctor said that you’re coming along nicely and your health will continue to improve in the coming weeks.”
Margaret: “But, …” She starts tearing up. “… will we really be able to have children someday?”
John: Kissing her cheek and then her lips and caressing her face he says. “Yes, my Darling, we will. We just have to wait until you’re feeling better, Margaret my love.”
Margaret: “ John Dear, I know that Mother said that she and Father had me after they had experienced this loss, but I will still be scared the whole time worrying that …” Margaret cannot finish her sentence and she starts to cry.
John: “I know Margaret Darling. And, I’ll be worried for you, too.” He continues gently kissing and caressing her as he comforts her saying. “We will just have to rely on each other and the love that we have to give us hope. I know that you’ll make a wonderful mother some day. However, right now, our loss is too new for us to think about the future. But, we do have a family in our future, my love.” John has tears in his eyes.
Margaret: “I’m just so weepy. Thank you for being so understanding, John Dearest. “
John: “Of course, Margaret Darling. Let’s nap for a few hours. You need rest for your recovery. Your parents won’t visit us until around 4:00pm today for tea.” He kisses her on her lips.
Margaret nods and gratefully and comfortingly falls asleep in her loving husband’s arms.
To be continued with Chapter 62
“N&S: Nurturing Love”, Ch. 62: Mr. and Mrs. Hale visit Margaret Monday Afternoon
Thompson welcomes the Hale’s into Rose Cottage and then lets Mr. Thornton know that they’ve arrived. John dresses and then goes downstairs to greet them. John carries Mrs. Hale upstairs with Mr. Hale following them into his and Margaret’s bedroom. Margaret is propped up in bed, with a shawl around her shoulders since she is still wearing the sleeveless nightgown she put on yesterday. Margaret has her plaited braid lying over her shoulder in front, with her pretty pink bow tied at the end of it. John thinks that Margaret looks so small and fragile as she still weakly greets her parents.
Mrs. Hale: “Oh, Margaret my dear, you’re looking like you have a bit more color today.” Mrs. Hale says kissing Margaret’s cheek and then sitting in the chair next to Margaret’s bedside.
Margaret: Margaret nods and tries to put a brave face on it for everyone and says. “Yes, thank you Mother, Father. I’m glad that you could come and visit me today.” Mr. Hale stands behind his wife and looks sympathetically at his daughter–he remembers the sadness they had before Margaret was born to them.
John: John gingerly moves back to his usual place of lying next to Margaret in their bed–but on top of the covers fully clothed in front of her parents. John takes Margaret’s right hand in his and kisses it, then she lays back against his left arm cradling her. “Yes, thank you for coming.” John realizes that him holding Margaret in his arms in their bed while her parents are visiting her is bit more publicly affectionate than perhaps appropriate. But, he hasn’t left Margaret’s side for any length of time since she fell ill–and he is not going to start now.
Mr. Hale: “Margaret my dear. You’ve been in our thoughts and prayers.” He says tearing up–unusual for him as a man and as a former clergy. But he has already lost one child–his son Frederick who had to flee the country–and he couldn’t have born the thought of losing Margaret, too. “We’re just so glad that you’re going to be alright.”
Margaret: “Thank you Father. I’m feeling a little better today.” Margaret smiles weakly, because she really isn’t feeling better yet. But she wants to reassure her parents—especially, her very ill mother.
Mrs. Hale: “Margaret Dear, you’ll actually start to feel better in a few days after you rest and get your strength back.” Mrs. Hale says knowingly, having gone through this experience herself. “Are you using cold ice pillows?” Margaret nods. “That and warm baths in a day or two should help you physically feel better.”
John: “That is what the doctor said today when he visited Margaret earlier this afternoon. Margaret is going to try a warm bath tomorrow morning.” John and Margaret each feel comforted with having Mrs. Hale confirm the doctor’s treatment suggestions.
Mrs. Hale: “That sounds good. Now, I know you must be getting tired, Margaret Dear. So, we’ll leave you now and take tea at home.” Margaret nods. “But, we’ll check in on you again on Wednesday. Hmmm?”
Margaret: “Thank you, Mother.” Margaret sighs.
Mr. Hale: “Oh and Dixon also wanted us to let you know that she’s thinking of you, dear.”
John: “Mr. and Mrs. Hale, thank you so much for coming today. But, I think you’re right, Margaret is getting tired and we need to change her ice pillow.” John kisses Margaret’s forehead and she closes her eyes and begins to doze off again. Then John whispers. “So, let me walk you out.”
Her parents nod and then each of them kisses the now sleeping Margaret on her forehead. John carries Mrs. Hale downstairs and then grabs a cold ice pillow for Margaret before heading back upstairs.
To be continued with Chapter 63
“N&S: Nurturing Love”, Ch. 63: John and Margaret late Monday Afternoon
It is now about 4:30pm as John returns to his and Margaret’s bedroom with a freshly cold ice pillow—after arranging with Thompson for her to bring up a light dinner in 20 minutes. He changes into his pajama pants and shirt since he’ll be spending the rest of the evening in bed with Margaret and asks her.
John: “Margaret Dear, would you like me to help you into the bathroom before you have some dinner?”
Margaret nods and he does–carrying her in there. Then returning to their bedroom, he lays Margaret sitting up in bed so that she can have some broth with tea and cinnamon toast in a few minutes. John gently places the cold ice pillow on her abdomen and he walks around to his side of the bed and gingerly slides into bed next to her putting his arms around her.
John: “Here, is that better Margaret Darling?”
Margaret: “A little. Thank you John Dearest.”
Margaret leans back comfortingly into the crook of his arm. She feels so small and so frail to John and his heart aches to make her well. But, John knows that Margaret’s healing will take time and patience and love.
Thompson: Thompson knocks at their bedroom door with their dinners. “Sir and Madam, I have your dinners for you.”
John: “Please come in, Thompson.” He has Thompson place the tray of food on his nightstand so he can feed Margaret first.
Dixon: “Goodnight Madam and Sir. I’ll see you in the morning.” John nods at her then Thompson leaves for the evening.
John: “Margaret Darling, what would you like first? Broth? Tea? Or cinnamon toast?”
Margaret: “Maybe a little tea and toast.” She says weakly. John offers her the plate with the toast and she takes a bite of toast. Then she takes the tea cup and has a sip of tea.
John: “There you go my love. Does that taste good?” Margaret nods. “I know that you might not have an appetite, but even if you can eat a little, that will help you get your strength back.”
Margaret: “Thank you, John Dearest.” She takes a few more bites of toast and a few more sips of tea—leaving half of each. Maybe, I’ll try a bit of broth now.” John holds the bowl in front of her and she lifts the spoon to her mouth for a couple of spoonfuls of broth—leaving half of the bowl.
John: “I’ll just set this over here on the nightstand in case you want more a bit later. Hmmm?” Margaret nods and lays back against the pillows dozing. “I’ll just have a bite of sandwich myself.”
John quickly eats about half of his sandwich and leaves the rest on his plate. Margaret is still dozing and he just watches her sleep. She stirs about 30 minutes later—feeling pain from cramping.
John: “Margaret Darling, can I get you anything? More tea or food? A new ice pillow? Or would you like to visit the bathroom?”
Margaret: “Maybe another sip of tea, then bathroom, then ice pillow, John Dearest?”
John helps Margaret sip some more tea, then he helps her into the bathroom and returns her to bed—lying down this time.
John: “Margaret my love, I’ll just take the food down to the icebox and larder and bring up a fresh ice pillow for you. I’ll also bring us up some fresh ice water for drinking.”
Margaret nods sleepily and John dashes downstairs and then returns to her with the ice pillow and water. Then he dashes into the bathroom for himself and returns to her, taking off his pajama shirt and then he slides into bed next to her.
Margaret: Stirring a bit, she says sleepily. “John Dearest?”
John: “I’m here Margaret Darling.” He slides his left arm underneath her neck and she nestles into his arms.
Margaret: “I love you so.” She sighs gratefully.
John: “I love you so, Margaret Darling.” He gently kisses her forehead, her eyes, her cheek, and her lips softly and sweetly. “Sleep my love.” And she does, comfortingly in her loving husband’s arms.
To be continued with Chapter 64
“N&S: Nurturing Love”, Ch. 64: Margaret’s Recovery Continues and They Reawaken as Lovers (R-rated)
After a few days of complete bed rest and eating light foods, Margaret is indeed feeling better physically. The doctor is also pleased with her progress and says that she can walk around her bedroom a bit. But, she still needs someone with her so that she doesn’t weaken and fall. John is still with Margaret all day and night. They have never spent so much alone time together in their short marriage–except for their honeymoon. Thursday morning, they each take another bath in the morning between breakfast and lunch—as they had on Tuesday morning. After lunch, they each dress in casual clothes for their parents’ brief visit, then they change back into their night clothes. Mother Thornton had also been over to visit on Tuesday and let John know that the mill was running fine and that she had given the workers their thanks for the flowers on Monday. And since Margaret is more awake, she and John play cards and he reads books to her to pass the time when she is not napping.
The weekend is a time when Margaret and John are together most of the time anyway. But they realize on Sunday—one week after the miscarriage—that John will be going back to work on Monday and Margaret will be more on her own the second week of her recovery. John knows that although Margaret’s health is improving physically, emotionally they are both still healing from their loss. They have been inseparable the past week and it will be a wrench for John not to be with Margaret come Monday morning. They chat on their bedroom sitting area sette, cuddling in each others’ arms.
John: “Margaret Darling, I hate to leave you to go to work tomorrow morning.” He kisses her forehead and she snuggles next to him. “But, I’ll be home at lunchtime to check in on you.”
Margaret: “I know John Dearest. I’ve been lucky to have you here with me this past week. Thank you for taking such good care of me, my love.” Margaret looks up at John and he kisses her on her lips. “I’ll be fine. Thompson will be here.”
John: “Now, you still shouldn’t try to walk downstairs, Margaret Darling. So, just have Thompson or me bring things to you—or, I will carry you up and down the stairs. “
Margaret: “I will, I promise.” She nods.
As Margaret’s recovery progresses, she has more energy and is able to move around her home more as she goes into the fourth week of her recovery—even making it down the stairs once a day with help. John has long since returned to work at the Mill, but he continues to come home for lunch and ends his work days earlier—around 6:00pm–to get home to Margaret. Margaret’s physical health is back to normal. Starting her fourth week of recovery, Margaret no longer needs the ice pillows and she is not in pain. But, Margaret is still a bit weepy emotionally. John is understanding and comforting to her. The strength of their love is, indeed, carrying them through this difficult time.
However, Margaret and John kiss and cuddle at night, but no more per the doctor’s suggestion to wait at least three to four weeks until they lay together as husband and wife. In truth, both John and Margaret are hesitant to resume their lovemaking—John because he is afraid that Margaret is still healing and he does not want to hurt her; and Margaret because her womanly confidence is shaken by the miscarriage. This weekend, Margaret is going to venture out of the house with John for the first time since the miscarriage–visiting her parents for tea on Saturday, tomorrow afternoon. But, tonight, John and Margaret have a quiet dinner at home alone after a long Friday workday for John—it is their third month anniversary, August 18th. And, Margaret is waiting at their front door for John to come home from work and she greets him warmly.
Margaret: “Hello John Dearest. I’ve missed you.’ She says kissing him warmly.
John: “Hello, Margaret my love. I missed you.” John brushes Margaret’s soft curls away from her face and kisses her again tenderly.
They walk arm in arm back to their kitchen to have dinner in the breakfast nook in the small sitting room. Thompson has prepared a light meal of hot potato soup and sandwiches for them. John eats his food ravenously as Margaret smilingly watches him. She also has some soup and a small sandwich. Then, they put the leftover food away and the dishes to soak in the sink and walk upstairs to their bedroom.
Once in their bedroom, they decide to change into their nightclothes in their dressing rooms. However, since Margaret is fully dressed tonight, she will need help getting out of her corset. Margaret realizes that she feels shy about asking John to unlace her corset for her tonight.
Margaret: “John Dearest, I’m in my corset. Will you help unlace it for me, please?”
John: John has helped Margaret with all of her personal care needs for the past several weeks. So, he responds to her request practically—rather than enjoying the prospect of unlacing his wife’s corset, undressing her, as a husband and lover might. “Certainly Margaret Darling.”
John follows Margaret into her dressing room as they have done so many times before in the early months of their marriage and he sits on the cushioned seat waiting for her to back up to him. Margaret takes off her dress and stiff petticoat and puts them away. Now Margaret stands before John dressed only in her under petticoat and corset with its under blouse. Margaret, instinctively holds her pink satin robe in front of her. She feels almost as if she is a new bride—but a bride who does not expect her husband to make love with her tonight. This thought makes her a little sad. Though she and John have continued to kiss and cuddle lovingly during her recovery, she feels that they have lost touch with the romantic spark that was so strong during their early newlywed months.
For John’s part, he has been so concerned with Margaret’s health and her recovery that he has not allowed himself think about being romantic with Margaret. Each of them is hesitant to make the first romantic overture–though they each yearn to feel again the joys of loving each other completely.
John looks up, realizing that Margaret has not turned around for him to unlace her corset. Margaret caresses John’s face and runs her fingers through his hair and says.
Margaret: “Thank you for being so wonderful to me as I recovered, John Dearest.” She kisses him sweetly. “I could have not asked for a better nor a more loving husband.” Margaret continues to gaze lovingly into John’s eyes as she caresses his face. Margaret realizes that she wants to make love with John tonight, but she is not sure if he wants to make love with her yet.
John: John looks at Margaret adoringly and lovingly and says. “I’ve been so worried about your health Margaret Darling. I just want you to be well again.” John’s arms gently encircle her waist and he pulls her closer to him in a soft embrace. John wants to hold Margaret in his lover’s embrace again, but he does not know if she is ready to make love with him again.
Margaret: “I am feeling much better, John Dearest.” Margaret looks lovingly and adoringly into her husband, John’s, eyes. And she realizes that he is holding back from loving her completely because he is afraid that she is still not well enough to… So, she shyly, demurely, and sweetly asks him in a small voice as she whispers in his ear. “Will you make love with me tonight?”
John: Kissing Margaret affectionately on her lips, John asks her. “Are you sure, my love? Are you feeling well enough, Margaret Darling?”
Margaret leans in even closer to John and passionately responds to his kisses. John has his answer and he passionately kisses Margaret back. As they kiss, John begins to unlace Margaret’s corset by feel, row by row. When her corset is completely unlaced, Margaret leans back from him and removes the corset—and her pink satin robe that she has been holding in front of her. All that remains, is the sheer filmy under blouse covering her breasts. John kisses Margaret’s breasts through the sheer fabric and he removes her under petticoat. John realizes that he wants Margaret, his beautiful wife, in his bed so much tonight that it would be physically painful not to do so.
Margaret steps back and begins to unbutton John’s shirt and then he lifts it over his head. John stands and Margaret unbuttons his trousers that then fall to the floor. All that remains are Margaret’s filmy under blouse and under pants and John’s underpants. John removes his underpants, and then kneeling, he pulls Margaret’s underpants down and off of her legs. He kisses her abdomen above her womb and then he stands and lifts Margaret’s under blouse off if her body. She sighs. Margaret and John are both naked together and desiring each other. John picks Margaret up and carries her into their bedroom and lays her down on the sheets of their bed and pulls the covers over her. He walks around to his side of the bed and slides into bed next to her. They kiss and caress as they intertwine their bodies as they lay facing each other. But, John is still worried about Margaret’s health and he says.
John: “Margaret my love, are you sure? I don’t want to hurt you.
Margaret: “John Dearest, you won’t hurt me.” She kisses him passionately.
Margaret lies down on her back and she takes John’s right hand and places it on her left breast. Then she moves her caresses of him down his body, to caress him. She continues to stroke him again and again and again and again–and John moans with pleasure. Then John’s hand moves to caress her womb again and again as his mouth and tongue linger over her breasts. Now, Margaret moans with pleasure. Their lovemaking continues for several minutes. And when neither John nor Margaret can wait any longer for their love’s fulfillment, they join their bodies as one as Margaret opens herself to John as he moves on top of her. Their bodies move together in loving harmony again, and again, and again, and again. John and Margaret kiss and caress each other with loving abandon as their sensuous pleasures increase. Then John and Margaret’s bodies tremble rapturously and joyfully and blissfully together in mutual ecstasy and deep love. … Then spent from their lovemaking, Margaret and John cuddle on their sides facing each other—their bodies still intertwined—as they lovingly and adoringly fall asleep in each other’s arms. Though neither of them had mentioned their third month anniversary to the other, their love feels like it has a new beginning to each of them.
To be continued with Chapter 65
“N&S: Nurturing Love”, Ch. 65: Early Saturday Morning in John and Margaret’s Bedroom (R rated)
John and Margaret sleep peacefully throughout the night–nestled happily into their lovers’ embrace of their intertwined naked bodies. It is now dawn as the soft early light filters through their bedroom windows and the birds are chirping. John awakens first and watches his beautiful Margaret still sleeping naked in his arms. He remembers their loving romantic interlude last night and he cuddles closer to her and gently kisses her lips. Margaret stirs awake and she instinctively cuddles closer to John and then she turns her head to look up at him.
Margaret: “Hello my husband.” She kisses his lips affectionately.
John: “Hello my wife. “ He kisses her adoringly. Then in a concerned tone, he asks. “How are you feeling this morning, my Darling?”
Margaret: Margaret gazes lovingly into John’s eyes as she caresses his face and speaks her heart’s truth. “Loved.”
John: “Oh Margaret Darling, I love you with all of my heart.”
Margaret: “And I love you, John Dearest, with all of my heart.”
Since their servants are not due to arrive until closer to lunchtime this Saturday morning, as usual, John and Margaret have their home to themselves. They each rise to complete their morning waking routines in the bathroom—brushing their teeth, shaving in John’s case, and such. Then, they return to their bed to cuddle and kiss.
John: “Pulling her close to him as she slides into bed, he asks. “Did you sleep well, my Darling?”
Margaret: “Yes, my love.” Then blushing, she says. “I didn’t realize how much I missed our lovemaking, until we made love last night. I slept peacefully… after we…”
John: Nuzzling her neck, he growls. “Hmmm.”
John’s hands caress Margaret’s lovely face. She runs her fingers through his hair. Now it is John who takes the lead and he kisses and caresses Margaret all over her body. Margaret responds to John lovingly and with the desire of her love for John as she kisses and caresses him. Then they join their bodies together lovingly, adoringly, and passionately as they make love–with Margaret laying on top of her husband as she wraps herself around him and they move together in their lovers’ dance. John’s and Margaret’s pleasures intensify as their bodies experience their sensual blissful release of their perfect love, and they tremble sweetly in each others’ arms. And, though, they do not know it now, their renewed lovemaking joy also creates new life in Margaret’s womb.
To be continued with Chapter 66
“N&S: Nurturing Love”, Ch. 66: Margaret and John go to Tea at the Hale’s Saturday Afternoon
After a lovely morning of cuddling after their romantic interlude, John and Margaret put on their nightclothes and robes and have lunch in their breakfast nook. Then, they nap in their bedroom—just cuddling—before dressing to visit the Hale’s at 4:00pm. This afternoon’s tea at her parents’ home will be Margaret’s first venturing from the confines of their home after recuperating from the miscarriage for the past three weeks. Her strength and energy has mostly returned, but she is a little pale from not having been outside to take what had been her daily walks. John helps Margaret into their open carriage, as they leave from their home a little early so that they can enjoy the country scenery before returning to the village to go to the Hale’s for tea. Margaret appreciates being out of the house and relishes the time she spends with John and her family. As their carriage pulls up to the Hale’s home, they see another carriage already in front of it—the doctor’s. John hurriedly gets out of the carriage and he lifts Margaret out and they quickly walk into her parents’ home. They are greeted by her father, Mr. Hale.
Mr. Hale: “I’m sorry that Maria, my wife, is not feeling well today.” But, then, she does not feel well any day. “So, we have the doctor looking at her now. But she is so looking forward to seeing you, Margaret Dear, and hopes that you will go up to visit her before the three of us have tea.”
Margaret: “But Father…” She starts to protest about even having tea, given her Mother’s poor health.
Mr. Hale: “Your Mother absolutely insists that we continue to have our tea today. But, you go up and see her my dear.”
Margaret nods, then looks at John with her fear and worry about her Mother’s health showing on her face. She goes up to her Mother. Mr. Hale motions for John to sit opposite him at the fireplace.
John: “Sir, how is Mrs. Hale, really?”
Mr. Hale: “She’s not well at all, I’m afraid. It is only a matter of time before …” His thoughts drift away, not wanting to contemplate life without his wife, his life’s partner, his love.
John: “Sir, if there is anything that Margaret or I can do, we will be happy to help in any way.”
Mr. Hale: “Thank you John. Maria and I know that we can rely on you if we need you. It is a great comfort for both Maria and I to know that you will always take care of our Margaret and that you and she have a love for each other that will help sustain you throughout your lives.” Though Mr. Hale was not intending to do so, he is unconsciously indicating to John that, he also, might not live long after Mrs. Hale passes.
John nods and they continue in a comfortable conversation with each other waiting for Margaret to return for tea.
Margaret reaches her Mother’s room just as the doctor is leaving. He gives Margaret a solemn look, such that she knows that her Mother’s fragile health will soon be at an end. But, she strives to put on a cheerful face as she enters her Mother’s bedroom.
Margaret: “Mother! I am so glad to see you today!”
Margaret crosses the room to her Mother’s bedside and gives her a warm embrace. They linger in that embrace for sometime—as Margaret had done in embracing her mother when she was a little girl.
Mrs. Hale: “Margaret, my dear. You look wonderful. I’m glad to see you looking so well.” She motions for Margaret to sit in the chair at her bedside. “I’m sorry that I’m too tired to come down to tea today, but I want to make sure that you and John have your tea with your Father.”
Margaret: Then tearing up, she says. “But, it won’t be the same without you joining us.” Margaret doesn’t want to think of the time when her mother will never be able to join them for tea again, but she can’t help herself.
Mrs. Hale: “I know, I know.” Then turning contemplative, Mrs. Hale tries to guide Margaret through what she knows will be hard for her to bear—her passing. “Margaret dear, as you told me once before, I will always be with you. I love you more than words can say.” She touches Margaret’s cheek as she says this. “All I want to know is that you and John are happy and finding your way again as husband and wife, nurturing the love that you have for each other.” She looks at her daughter expectantly.
Margaret: “Yes, Mother, I love you so, too.” Then wanting to put her Mother’s mind at ease about she and John, Margaret shares a confidence with her Mother. “John has been so kind and so caring and so patient during my recovery. I could not have asked for a better husband than John.” Then Margaret continues, blushingly and says. “And, John and I, we, well, we have begun to love each other again.” Mrs. Hale smiles, understanding what Margaret is telling her. “And, we do hope to have children some day.”
Mrs. Hale: “I’m glad my dear. You will always have each other—as your father and I have each other. … You know Margaret Dear, I’m feeling a little better. I think I would like to come down for tea with you all.”
Margaret: She starts to protest. “But Mother …”
Mrs. Hale: She shushes her. “Margaret, shush my dear. I want to be with you as much as I can.” Margaret nods. “Now, if you will help me get dressed—and then ask John to carry me downstairs—we can have a nice tea all together.”
Mrs. Hale knows that this may be one of the last times that she gets to share with her family, and she does not want to miss out on it. After helping her mother dress, Margaret goes downstairs and brings John up to carry her mother back downstairs to tea. Though her father is a little worried about Maria trying to do too much, Margaret explains that it is her mother’s wish. So he acquiesces and John carries Mrs. Hale to the parlor.
To be continued with Chapter 67
“N&S: Nurturing Love”, Ch. 67: Margaret and John take Tea in the Hale’s Parlor
As John carries the frail Mrs. Hale into the parlor and sets her in the chair by the fireplace, Mr. Hale goes to her to see if she needs anything.
Mrs. Hale: “Thank you John.” John nods.
Mr. Hale: “Maria my dear, are you alright? You mustn’t over tire yourself.”
Mrs. Hale: “Richard, shush. This is Margaret’s first outing after…” She does not finish the sentence as Margaret lowers her head remembering her loss—though it is never far from Margaret’s thoughts without her Mother having to remind her of it. And I want to spend it with you all.” Everyone nods their heads. Margaret, will you pour?
Margaret: “Yes, Mother dear.” She smiles and nods her head at her mother. Margaret begins to pour tea for everyone with John helping her pass out the cups and saucers–very domestic, were he here to say it.
Mrs. Hale: “Oh, and John, I had Dixon make some lemon cakes, too, from your mother’s recipe. So, you’ll have to tell us if they turned out as you remember them.”
John: “Thank you Mrs. Hale. That is very thoughtful of you.” John then sits and takes a bit of lemon cake that he washes down with some tea. “Hmmm. Very tasty. Thank you.” He eats more cake and sandwiches as Margaret watches him smilingly thinking, John and his stomach. John smiles back at Margaret.
Mr. Hale: “Well, with the Fall coming on, I expect that you’ll be opening the school soon.”
John: “Yes sir. Margaret and I are hoping that you might meet with us and some of the teacher’s we’ve lined up to finalize the curriculum.” Mr. Hale beams.
Margaret: “This last week I’ve had more energy…” She smiles at John knowingly. “… so, I have been thinking about the school more. We’ve been trying to come up with a schedule of classes that might meet the needs of two groups of children each day—a morning session and then an afternoon session—in hopes of the school being open when our pupils are available.” John beams at Margaret for renewing her interest in the school. It betokens Margaret moving forward again in John’s estimation.
Mr. Hale: “Having two sessions each day is a good idea. Each session could be four hours, broken down into reading and writing together, arithmetic, history, and rotating music/arts/science/playtime each day. Do you have children signed up yet?”
John: “We hope to do that this week. And, the children of the Marlborough Mill families who do attend the school will also receive breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner—depending upon which session they attend—as a way to help ease the burden on our mill families. Since Higgins, his daughter Mary and I started the Mill lunch café for the mill workers, production is up and absenteeism is down.”
Margaret: “The children’s classes will range from 5 year olds to 12 year olds. And, we were thinking about also having a mother’s nursery–for families with younger children when both parents need to work.” Then, she continues somewhat tentatively. “… And, I thought I might help out with these little ones—until we have our own children.” John smiles at Margaret knowing that she is trying to move on after the miscarriage. “Father, we also wanted to start a parent literacy class—but maybe just twice a week. So, we were wondering if you might be available to help teach these classes? They would be later afternoon, but before dinner.”
Mr. Hale: “Of course, my dears. I will be happy to.” Then he turns solemn and says. “It’s too bad that Mr. Bell did not live to see you bring the Bell Grammar School of Marlborough Mills into being—but at least, he knew of your intention to establish it. I can tell you that he spoke of your kindly naming the school in his honor with genuine gratitude and affection.”
Mrs. Hale has been sitting quietly sipping her tea and listening to the conversation, but not participating in it. And now, all of them can tell that she is getting even more tired.
Margaret: “Mother Dear, are you getting tired? Would you like John to carry you back up to your room and I’ll help you get back into bed?”
Mrs. Hale: “Yes, thank you dears.” Then she says to John. “John, my dear, I appreciate your help in ferrying me to and fro today so that I could join you all.” Mrs. Hale sets down her cup and saucer, then she waits for John to pick her up.
John: “Certainly, Mrs. Hale. And we are so glad that you were able to join us for tea after all.” John moves to pick up Mrs. Hale. For some reason, he does not feel shy about carrying Mrs. Hale now or when she had visited Margaret just after the miscarriage. Though he could never envision carrying his own mother thusly, both John and Mrs. Hale both realize the practicality of her needing to be carried if she is to participate in family gatherings. Margaret follows behind them and stays to help her mother get back into bed after helping her change back into her nightclothes, while John returns to the parlor and Mr. Hale.
Mr. Hale: “John my boy, there you are. Thank you again for helping Maria join us today for tea. She so appreciated being able to do so. I’m afraid my days of being able to carry her around are long over.” Mr. Hale smiles a little remembering the long ago days when he could carry his wife around.
John: “Of course, sir. Both Margaret and I are happy to help in any way we can.”
Mr. Hale: “So, it sounds from Margaret talking about helping out with the little ones at the mill, that you are she are starting to think again about having children yourselves.”
Though Mr. Hale is not asking the question as directly as Mrs. Hale did of Margaret—as to whether Margaret and John are lying together again as husband and wife—it is somewhat implied. But, of course, John would not be comfortable in sharing such personal and intimate news with his father-in-law, so John simply says.
John: “Yes sir. Margaret and I do hope to be parents someday.” John nods his head and gives a small smile to Mr. Hale. Then Margaret reenters the parlor, crossing to John and they put their arms around each other.
Margaret: “Father, Mother asked that we finish our tea before you go up to her. She is sleeping comfortably again.”
Mr. Hale: “That’s good my dears. Thank you. Well, we should get a warm up on our tea and have a bit more cake and sandwiches.”
John: “Here, here.” He says eagerly reaching for some cake.
Margaret: Margaret pokes John’s stomach teasingly and laughingly says. “Oh, you and your stomach.”
John smilingly looks down at Margaret as she is smilingly looking up at him. And, then they kiss each other sweetly and demurely—since they are in the presence of her father. Mr. Hale smiles, glad to know that his beloved daughter Margaret and her husband John are finding their way to happiness again.
To be continued with Chapter 68
(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
Previous Story Links for “North and South: Nurturing Love” are found at