“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 3 (PG-13): A Carriage Ride and Picnic in Nature’s Idyll, October 28, 2013 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #463)

“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”,  Ch. 3 (PG-13):  A Carriage Ride and Picnic in Nature’s Idyll, October 28, 2013 Gratiana Lovelace  (Post #463)

aaN&SJohnThorntonLoveLessonsFanFicOct1413GratianaLovelace-256x388Rev(An original fan fiction by Gratiana Lovelace;   All rights reserved;

Based on the Elizabeth Gaskell novel, North & South and its
2004 BBC adaptation; No copyright infringement intended)

[I will illustrate my story using my dream cast from the 2004 BBC production of “North & South”:

Richard Armitage for John Thornton,  Daniela Denby-Ashe for Margaret Hale, Lesley Manville for Mrs. Maria Hale,  Tim Piggot-Smith for Mr. Richard Hale, Sinead Cusack for Mrs. Hannah Thornton,  Jo Joyner for Fanny Thornton, and Brendan Coyle for Nicholas Higgins, etc]   [(1) story logo image]

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

Author’s Recap of the Previous Chapter:  John had been so lost in thought with his classics lesson with Mr. Hale, that he had forgotten about his invitation to Margaret for a carriage ride after church the next day.  This greatly miffed Margaret’s pride–let alone especially since the proprieties of John needing to ask her parents’ permission and arrange for a chaperon.  But just before he left the Hale home, John realized his gaffe and tried to made amends by adding a picnic lunch to their outing.  After some poutiness on Magaret’s part, she agreed–she felt something inside her urging her to accept, though she does not understand her feelings.  However, the chaperone question is still yet to be decided.

“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 3 (PG-13):  A Carriage Ride and Picnic in Nature’s Idyll

Over dinner Saturday evening, John Thornton’s small smile [(2) right] betrays his growing JohnT-SmallSmile-isRichardArmitage-inNorth&Southepi1-045Oct2713ranet-crop-hi-res-revcontentment with the progress of his acquaintanceship with Margaret Hale.  So he explains his brightened demeanor to his questioning mother and sister–particularly in the hope of securing his sister Fanny to be his chaperone with Margaret on Sunday’s planned carriage ride after church.

Mrs. Thornton:  “You were long at the Hale’s today, John.  I would imagine that it is rather tedious discussing philosophy with an old parson.’’  Mrs. Thornton gives a knowing look to her daughter Fanny who raises her upper lip in an unflattering and unladylike sneer.

John:  Setting down his fork and knife with a clatter, John looks at his mother and sister Fanny with annoyance.  “Actually, I enjoy my discussions with Mr. Hale very much, and find them intellectually stimulating.”  Belatedly realizing that he sounds like he is censuring his mother and unfavorably comparing the interactions he has at home to Mr. Hale, he softens.  “Mother, when I had to interrupt my studies years ago to deal with family … exigencies, you know that I had always hoped to return to them.  Now with Mr. Hale giving me private tutorials, I can.”  John smiles wanly. Mrs. Thornton acknowledges the verity of his statement with a small nod.Fanny-is-JoJoyner-inNorth&South2004Oct2713N&S2004com-crop-hi-res

Fanny:  “John, I don’t understand why you do not simply read on your own.  You have enough books, surely.”  She admonishes him  disdainfully [(3) right].  For her brother John’s books fill up many bookshelves that she feels could be more usefully used for displaying pretty decorative items.

John:  John sighs in frustration for the decidedly different sensibilities of his much younger–and much pampered–sister.  “Hhhhh! Fanny, books are windows to worlds of ideas.  But Mr. Hale is a true scholar and I feel privileged to study with him.”  He says sincerely.  Then he plows ahead.  “And if you have no other plans, Fanny, I would like you to accompany myself and Miss Hale on a carriage ride and picnic after church tomorrow.”  After years of being a master in business, John Thornton’s requests tend to be couched in the form of commands.  Except, his sister Fanny–for all his spoiling of her every wish–is not his employee.

Mrs. Thornton:  Now Mrs. Thornton drops her cutlery with a clang–almost chipping her fine china plate.  “John!  You cannot be serious about taking a carriage ride with Miss Hale?”   She asks with a look of horror. “People will make assumptions of your particular attention to her.”

Fanny: “That Miss Hale thinks she is too good for us when her father is a poor parson who has to take in pupils or starve.”  She sniffs.

John: “Enough!”  John waves his hand cuttingly in the air in front of him.  “Miss Hale has kindly agreed to honor me with her presence tomorrow and I will not have either of you spoil it for me!” The forceful tone in his voice not usually exhibited inside his home.

Fanny:  Continuing quietly, Fanny makes her point.  “Miss Hale has set her cap for you since you are young and rich and they are poor.  Why can you not take Miss Latimer for a carriage ride and picnic? I like Ann.”  She pouts.

John:  Sensing the impasse with his family, John reroutes his intentions.  “But I do not wish to take Miss Latimer for a carriage ride–let alone a picnic.”  Then he waves his hand dismissively.  “Fanny, you are relieved of my request.  I will find another chaperone for us.”   He stands and walks around the table toward his mother.John-isRichardArmitage-andMrsThornton-isSineadCusack-inNorth&Southepi2-048Oct2713ranet-hi-res-sized

Fanny smiles and nods her head.  Mrs. Thornton quizzically looks at her son [(4) right], wondering how she could not have foreseen and then perhaps prevented this turn of events?

Mrs.Thornton:  “John?  … Have you formed an attachment to this girl?”  John’s mother questions her son stoically.

John:  Loathe to reveal his personal feelings to his mother–let alone in the presence of his tattle tale sister Fanny–John dissembles.  “Mother, I do not know Miss Hale well enough to form an opinion of her.  But the times I have met her at her father’s home, she has impressed me with her grace and poise.  Perhaps a carriage ride will help to illuminate her character more for me.” Then he adds shyly.  “And my character for her.”

There it is, thinks Mrs. Thornton.  The one thing she has been dreading ever since her son rose to prominence as a manufacturer in Milton. That in due course, he would set about to courting and marrying–and she would be set aside in her son’s affections. But she can not stop the inevitable.  Mrs. Thornton simply hopes that he will choose wisely for his wife.  And this Hale girl is not at the top of her list of suitable prospects.


The next day, the sun shines brightly for Sunday morning services–no rain as Margaret predicted might happen to postpone their outing and mitigate the need for a chaperone.  And indeed, the question of John still needing to arrange a chaperone for his carriage ride and picnic with Miss Hale looms like a dark cloud over his head.  It consumes John’s thought throughout the worship services and he becomes more nervous that their outing will be canceled if he cannot find an appropriate chaperone.  His Mother and Fanny leave church riding in the second Thornton carriage–them bringing two carriages to church since John had not planned to return home first before his carriage ride with Miss Hale.

John hesitantly walks over to Margaret and her father– her mother having stayed home to rest.   The Hales are chatting with what looks to John are a mill working family.  He assumes they are mill workers based on their well worn and shabby attire.  He does not know these mill workers–except that he does not recognize them as ever being in his mill–nor would he have reason to associate with them in his position as Master of Marlborough Mills.

However, Margaret has no such compunction with regard to whom she associates NORTH AND SOUTHwith–and the family are named Higgins. She had met them when Nicholas Higgins [(5) right] did her the great service of rescuing her from being caught amongst the crush of mill workers heading home as a few teen aged boys tried to steal her purse.  And by chance, she had met Bessie and formed an instant friendship with the only other person near her age whom she has met thus far.  Fanny Thornton is a few years older than Margaret Hale, and not of the same temperament. Margaret had told her friend Bessie Higgins of her invitation from Mr. Thornton before church today.  So Bessie has a big grin on her face as Mr. Thornton approaches them.

John:  “Mr. Hale, Miss Hale.” John bows courteously.  Then John acknowledges the mill family–whose name he does not know–with a polite nod.  Nicholas Higgins, the father, nods back and touches his hand to the brim of his hat out of respect.MrHale-isTimPiggott-Smith-inNorth&Southepins1-042Oct2713ranet-hi-res-mask

Mr. Hale:  “John!  It is good to see you again.”  Mr. Hale smiles warmly as he glances between John and his daughter Margaret, with a twinkle in his eyes [(6) right].

Margaret:  Margaret  nods politely and smiles benignly to Mr. Thornton.  “Mr. Thornton.”  Margaret has not formed an opinion of the man yet, other than that he likes to read, and he seems a bit reserved–that is, when he isn’t being officious and ordering people about.

Mr. Hale:  Sensing the unease in Mr. Thornton with regard to their companions, Mr. Hale performs the introductions.  “Ah!  Mr. Thornton, these are Nicholas Higgins and his daughters Bessie and Mary.”

Mr. Thornton nods at the Higgins family, slightly.

Margaret:  Then not seeing Mr. Thornton’s sister, Margaret asks Mr. Thornton.  “Is Miss Thornton still in church?”

John:  “Ah!  My apologies, Miss Hale.  But Fanny will not be joining us today.”  John can’t tell Margaret the real reason for his sister’s absence from chaperone duties–when he had expressly told Margaret when he would ask Fanny to perform that function.  So he dissembles.  “I fear that Fanny’s sensibilities do not tend toward carriage rides, nor picnics.”  John says rather stiffly, fearful that Margaret will be put off their outing all together.  He has been so looking forward to seeing her today that a postponement would be most disappointing.

Margaret:  Margaret looks at Mr. Thornton in polite alarm.  “Then who will be accompanying us as my chaperone?”  Not that she worries about Mr. Thornton’s intentions, but propriety’s guidelines must be maintained–she thinks primly.

Before Mr. Thornton can sheepishly inquire about the Hale’s maid Dixon acting as chaperone, another quarter speaks up.

Bessie:  “I’ll watch over ya to make sure nothin’ happens.”  Bessie states rather boldly with a cheeky grin, then she coughs. “Kkh, Kkh Kkhh!”

Higgins: “Lass, the air is too cool.  You might catch a chill.”  Her concerned father looks at her worriedly and then apologetically at Miss Margaret.

Margaret: “Truly Bessie, it would be wonderful if you could join us.”  John smiles hopefully. “But your father is right, your health must come first.”  John’s smile fades.  “Perhaps another time.”  Margaret smiles gratefully at her friend, and then apologetically at Mr.Thornton–whose hopes are dashed.

Bessie:  Rolling her eyes at being fussed over by her Da and her friend Miss Margaret.  “Well then take my sister, Mary.  She is healthy as a horse.”  Mary says nothing, true to her meek nature as Bessie’s younger sister.

Mr. Hale:  “Would you be willing to accompany my daughter and Mr. Thornton, Miss Higgins?”  He asks formally of Mary.

Mary looks quizzically to her Da, her never having been addressed before as Miss Higgins–and certainly not aware of what her duties will be as a chaperone.

Higgins:  He nods at Mary.  “You go, Mary.  Keep Miss Margaret company.”  Higgins nods, proud for his family to be of assistance to the young Miss and her father the old parson.  And he views the Hale’s as good well meaning folk.  Mary nods her agreement.

John:  Smiling broadly now, John ushers everyone along. “Well!  That is settled then.  Ladies?”    John gestures toward the carriage.


John assists Miss Margaret and then Mary Higgins into the open carriage with them sitting on one bench and he sitting opposite them with the picnic hamper on the seat next to him.  After getting seated himself, he tips his hat to Mr. Hale and Margaret waves goodbye to her father, who waves back at her.

Mr. Hale: “Have fun and enjoy yourselves.  It is a beautifully day!”  Then he turns and walks home to Crampton.

John:  “Drive on.”  John tells the carriage driver, to whom he had previously given his direction as to their picnic destination.

The carriage takes the direct route out of Milton to the hillside above with its verdant trees and grass and abundant wildlife–far from the smoky factories below.   They find a suitable spot to stop and picnic by a small stream. Actually, there are two picnics–John and Margaret, and another picnic several yards away consisting of Mary and the grandfatherly old carriage driver.  Neither Mary nor the carriage driver are very talkative, so Margaret worries that her friend will be bored–such is the lot of chaperones, one hopes.

After John places the large picnic blanket on the ground beneath a tree for shade, he holds Margaret’s hand as she gracefully sits down upon the blanket.  Her full skirt billows out around her as it slowly deflates and settles into a perimeter of fabric suitable to maintaining the boundaries of society–with regard to the relative nearness of she and Mr. Thornton whilst sitting.

However, collapsing the very tall and long legged John Thornton onto a picnic blanket is no mean feat–his clothes not having much room to give for this unfamiliar position of bent knees.  In the end, John leans against a nearby tree with his legs spread out from him on the blanket.

Margaret:  She smiles.  “Have you never been on a picnic before, Mr. Thornton?”  She asks as she unpacks the picnic hamper he brought for them and finds out the yummy foods within.

John: “Not since I was a child, Miss Hale.” He addresses her formally as well–though he wishes to be less formal.   A small silence ensues while she sets out the plates of food and uncovers them.  Searching to find a topic that might elicit a conversation with Miss Hale, John asks. “Do you picnic often, Miss Hale?”MargaretHale-Napping-isDanielaDenby-Ashe-inNorth&SouthApr0212coolspotters-crop-hi-res

Margaret:  She nods and smiles.  “When I was younger, I did.  Helstone was so beautiful in the Summers.  I would steal away with a sandwich and a book and find a quiet corner to be lazy and read as I laid upon the ground.”  She remembers lying on the cool green grass for lazy naps [(7) right].

And the picture of Margaret Hale’s angelic beauty in repose enters John’s mind and he smiles.  But of course, she could not lie upon the ground now–however tempting that might be for her–for it would give the wrong impression of her to Mr. Thornton, of her being carefree, in more ways than one.

John:  He smiles again at picturing her in the idyll of nature–much as she is reflected now.  “I trust you find this spot suitable, given your vast pinicking experience?”

Margaret:  “It will do.”  She nods impishly.  Then surveying Mr. Thornton’s uncomfortable looking sitting position, she lets her guard down and asks an impertinent question. “You haven’t picnicked much at all, have you?”

John:  Discomfitted by her perception of his unease in this social situation, he tries to smile valiantly.  “Miss Hale, I am too busy overseeing the making of cotton fabric to be sitting upon it on the ground as I am now.”

Margaret:  Raising her delicately arched eyebrow at his rather imperious statement, Margaret wonders what he is about?  It was his idea to picnic, afterall.  “Please eat.”  She politely urges and hands him a plate of food.

John:   “Thank you.”  He smiles.   Their being in the North of England, their picnic repast reflects a more Scottish flavoring–fried versus baked chicken [(8)].   John picks up a fried chicken drum stick and bites into it.   It tastes good, very good. “Hmmm.”

Margaret:  Smiling at his obviously liking his meal–that his own cooks provided–she takes a bite of her food as well. “This is delicious!”  Coming from the South of England, Margaret has never had friend food before.  “What do you call this cooking treatment?”  She inquires.

John:  “The chicken is cooked in what is known as fried and comes from our Scottish neighbors to the North.   There is a flour and spices coating over the skin that adds to the flavor.  And the fried skin has the effect of preserving the moisture within the meat, thereby keeping it tender and tasty.”  Ever the master–and knowledgeable on a variety of subjects–John could not help himself but give her a little tutorial.

Margaret:  Her mouth is full, so she cannot reply.   But she murmurs and nods her head in appreciation.  “Hmmm.”

John smiles.  The rest of their picnic lunch is eaten mostly in silence as they chew–each sneaking furtive glances at the other.  Margaret thinks that Mr. Thornton is not as stuffy as she once thought–he just needs to take more occasions to relax.  And John thinks that Margaret is an angel amidst the beauty of nature.


It is when they arrive at their dessert of grapes that their picnic becomes most amusing and rather disconcerting.  John and Margaret each take a clutch of grapes to enjoy, they begin to pop them into their mouths–rather than merely placing them in their mouths, due to their growing comfort level with each other extending to loosening up their picnic manners.  The length of their throws extending as they continue to impishly catch the grapes in their mouths.  It is perhaps childish of them, but without society’s censure, they can let their guards down a little.

Margaret:  “You have me at a disadvantage, Mr. Thornton.”  She smiles.

John: “How so?  He grins–him having relaxed during their pleasant picnic meal.

Margaret:  “Your longer arms mean that you can be more accomplished in longer throw grape catching.”

John: “It is a skill that I feign few could or would boast.”  He raises his eyebrows in mirth John-isRichardArmitage-inNorth&Southepi2-034Oct2713ranet-crop-hi-res[(9) right].  “Fanny would even toss grapes to me when she was little–when she was four and I was sixteen–and I would catch them in my mouth as she collapsed in giggles.  Sometimes, she would barely allow me to finish chewing and swallowing one grape before she sent another grape my way.  Ha ha ha ha ha!”

Margaret likes John’s laugh.  It is full throated, hearty, and genuine.  She smiles.

Margaret: “Did she?  Ha ha ha ha ha!”  She giggles. “Shall I test your grape catching abilities, Mr.  Thornton?”  She asks a tad coquettishly with a grape poised between her fingertips.  He nods. Then she tosses a grape at him and he leans forward and catches it with his mouth, chews, & swallows.

John:  “Your turn!”    He says quickly.

And without giving Margaret time to react, John tosses a grape at her.  But his aim and her delayed lunging for the grape go afoul and the grape goes down her bodice frMargaret-isDanielaDenby-Ashe-inNorth&South-andpinkflowersApr0212wiki-crop-clr-hi-res-flipont.

Margaret:  “Oh my!”  Instantly, Margaret’s eyes widen [(10) right] in discomfort and flushed embarrassment at the grape’s location.    But she cannot fish the grape out of her bodice in front of him.

Mr. Thornton is mortified as the color drains from his face–in no small part because of where the grape landed, and his musings about its resting place causing him to feel over warm and oddly on edge in a way that he has not felt before.

John:  Rushing to apologize profusely, Mr. Thornton bungles it.  “I do beg your pardon, Miss Hale.  I was not aiming at …  I mean … I would never intend to … Oh, do let me help you …” He extends his arm toward her–intending to help her stand up.

Margaret:  “Do not touch me!”  She swats at his outstretched hand and recoils in shock–wondering if he planned to fish the errant grape out of her bodice?

John:  “Oh no!   I would never be so forward as to …  Miss Hale, you cannot think that I would …” He stiffens in a gentlemanly huff.

Having heard Miss Margaret’s sharp cry of alarm, Mary wanders over to she and Mr. Thornton.

Mary:  Shyly she asks. “Is everything alright, Miss Margaret?”

Both John and Margaret look up at Mary in utter mortification for their predicament.  Neither wishes to reveal what just transpired between them–and the grape.

John: “Miss Hale has …”  But he is interrupted.

Margaret: “Mary, might you accompany me into the woods, I seem to have dropped some food into my bodice and require your assistance.”  Margaret’s face pinkens–in no small measure for having told a falsehood about who caused the grape to be where it is.

Mary nods quizzically, then assists Miss Margaret in standing.  They walk several yards into the woods–until they cannot see Mr. Thornton and they are sure that he cannot see them as they set about their purpose–freeing the grape from its bosomy confines.

Meanwhile, Mr. Thornton hits his forehead with the palm of his hand.  Idiot!  He feels that any chance that he might have had he getting to know Miss Hale better just evaporated with his silliness of tossing the grape down her bodice.  He really didn’t intend to do that.  Did he?  He feels the strictures of his coat and cravat serving to remind him of his breach of etiquette as if they are strangling him.  So he removes them–thinking that Miss Hale could think no less of him for not being properly attired than she does now. A few minutes later, Mr. Thornton packs up the picnic foods into the hamper, then he stands to retrieve the blanket on the ground.  Hearing low voices approach, Mr. Thornton looks up to see Miss Hale and Mary walking toward him with smiles on their faces.

John stands up straight, holding the blanket in one hand and the hamper in the other.  He is charmed by the lilting smile on Margaret Hale’s face–and his unabashed admiration of her fairly glows from his countenance.  Margaret sees Mr. Thornton’s appreciative gaze and blushes. Then she whispers to Mary who nods then walks back to her picnic area to collect its remnants.

Margaret Hale walks to stand within two feet of the transfixed John Thornton.  Margaret is also transfixed–noticing now that John has removed his jacket and cravat such that she can see his rather muscular neck.  And she never quite realized how tall he is, and how broad his shoulders are.  Now she also notices his angular jaw, resolute chin, noble nose, and his piercing blue eyes.  His is a handsome face–when he is not scowling, she thinks.   Margaret does not look away from John.  She cannot–she barely remembers to blink.  For John’s part, he does not realize that his breathing has quickened.  And with Mr. Thornton’s chest heaving up and down, Margaret now realizes how fit he must truly be since his shirt tapers to his waist from his broad shoulders and chest.  Margaret’s breathing unconsciously matches John’s pace.    They are in the beautiful isolated woods–nature’s and lovers’ idyll–but with two chaperones only several yards away.  Though John’s back is to the chaperones, Margaret has full view of them.

Margaret holds out her arms to John.  His head tilts and his eye brow raises questioningly as still they gaze at each other.  Carefully and quietly, Margaret gently pries the picnic blanket from his grasp and she folds it over her arm.  He smiles.

Margaret:  “Thank you for our picnic.  It was lovely.”  She smiles at him sincerely–still mesmerized by his piercing blue eyes that are riveted upon her.  Then she sees him lick his lips.

John:  Margaret’s smile captivates John.   “Miss Hale, it was delightful for you to accompany me.   I cannot say when I have had a more relaxing and enjoyable time.”

Margaret:  “Nor I.”

John:  “Might you entertain us sharing another picnic together?   Perhaps next Sunday?”  He asks hopefully.

Margaret:  Margaret thinks for a moment, then asks him mischievously.   “As long as you do not plan to toss a grape at me next time.  Perhaps another dessert option would be wise?”  Mirth dances in Margaret’s eyes and John knows that he is forgiven.

John:  “Ha ha ha!  Yes.”  He smiles warmly at her jest.  “Strawberries?”  He asks mischievously.

Margaret: “Nooooo.”  She smiles.  “Perhaps we should refrain from fruit altogether.”  Now he smiles. “I will think of something and bring our picnic dessert next week.”

John:  He nods, delighted in her participation in planning their next picnic.  “I await your dessert choice with enthusiasm.”

Margaret smiles shyly now–casting her eyes downward with John noticing her long eye lashes fluttering against her cheeks–realizing the ease and friendliness that they seemed to have attained is pleasing to her.  Enchanted by Margaret’s sweet expression of demure acceptance upon her lovely countenance, John sets down the picnic hamper and he lifts her hand to his lips and delicately kisses the back of her hand.

Margaret:  “Hhhh!”  Margaret sighs and blushes modestly.  Hand kissing is a bit scandalous–rather cosmopolitan of him.  But she does not pull her hand away.  She quite likes the warmth of his lips upon her hand.  She would not have thought that his lips would be so gentle and tender since he seems so stern much of the time–except now.

Margaret’s skin is so soft and creamy, John feels that he could become lost in exploring her loveliness.  His thoughts have not turned toward matrimony before this moment–his time and interest up to now have been consumed with business.  John looks up from lingeringly kissing her hand and gazes upon Margaret with unmasked love and desire–for she is the only woman who has captured his heart.  Margaret sees John’s eyes focus upon hers with an intensity of feeling that causes her breathing to become quick and shallow–only serving to accentuate the loveliness of her feminine curves to him as her bosom rises and falls.  Then John risks a further intimacy as he still holds her hand.  He turns her hand over and kisses the delicate skin of the underside of her wrist. He saw that in a play once, but has never done so himself before now.  It is a petal soft kiss that sends tingles up Margaret’s arm and she trembles.

John:  “Margaret!”  He sighs.

Then John feels emboldened by her encouraging response and he kisses the palm of her hand with firmer kisses.   This has the effect of her palm then caressing his face.  Margaret does not object nor pull away from him.  She has never been kissed like this by anyone–nor had she ever dreamed such kisses could be so delightfully unsettling.  Then John pulls Margaret toward him into a loose embrace with his hands lightly resting upon her shoulders, but not venturing to surround her–to let her pull away if she wants to.  But she does not want to pull away and the folded picnic blanket over her other arm serves as a slight buffer between them.

Margaret’s hand still caresses John’s face as his other hand draws her face upward to his John-isRichardArmitage-andMargaret-isDanielaDenby-Ashe-inNorth&Soutepi4-336Oct2713ranet-hi-res-brtface and she instinctively closes her eyes. John bridges the distance between their lips as he kisses Margaret with aching tenderness [(11) right]–him not wanting to frighten her with his loving ardor since she is a lady of refinement and grace.   So he holds himself in check, but only just, as he continues to kiss her sweet lips–still tasting of grapes.  Then miracle of miracles, Margaret kisses John back–tentatively at first, this being her first kiss, then with more yearning.  And John Thornton’s heart bursts with love for this woman, Margaret Hale, as their kissing continues for several minutes.

And standing off a few  yards to the side, Mary Higgins watches the tender scene between Miss Margaret and Mr. Thornton with a small smile.  She is pleased for Miss Margaret to be so admired by such a handsome and successful man as John Thornton, Master of Marlborough Mills.  For in Mary’s untutored mind–and within her context of social understanding–kisses are not forbidden.  So John and Margaret are most fortunate in their choice of chaperone.

To be continued with Chapter 4


Ch. 3 References, October 28, 2013

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

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

3) Fanny Thornton image is portrayed by Jo Joyner in the BBC’s 2004 drama North & South  found at http://northandsouth2004.com/images/cast/FannyThornton.jpg

4) John Thornton i is portrayed by Richard Armitage and Mrs. Hannah Thornton i is portrayed by Sinead Cusack in the BBC’s 2004 drama North & South richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode2/ns2-048.jpg

5) Nicholas Higgins is portrayed by Brendan Coyle in the BBC’s 2004 drama North & South  found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/NandSPromo/album/NandSPromo-03.jpg

6) Mr. Richard Hale is portrayed by Tim Piggott-Smith in the BBC’s 2004 drama North & South  found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode1/ns1-042.jpg

7) Margaret Hale napping image is Daniela Denby-Ashe in North &  South (2004) Apr0212 found at coolspotters.

8) Fried chicken began as a dish from Scotland; for more information, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fried_chicken

9) John Thornton is portrayed by Richard Armitage in the BBC’s 2004 drama North & South  found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode2/ns2-034.jpg

10) Margaret (crop) is Daniela Denby-Ashe in North & South and pink flowers Apr0212wiki was found at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/e/eb/Margaret_Hale00.jpg/220px-Margaret_Hale00.jpg

11) John Thornton is portrayed by Richard Armitage and Margaret Hale is portrayed by Daniela Denby-Ashe in the BBC’s 2004 drama North & South  found at  richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode4/ns4-336.jpg

Link to Previous Ch. 2:
 http:// https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/ns-john-thornton-love-lessons-ch-2-negotiating-an-invitation-october-21-2013-gratiana-lovelace-post-460/

About Gratiana Lovelace

Gratiana Lovelace is my nom de plume for my creative writing and blogging. I write romantic stories in different sub genres. The stories just tumble out of me. My resurgence in creative writing occurred when I viewed the BBC miniseries of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel North & South in February 2010. The exquisitely talented British actor portraying the male lead John Thornton in North & South--Richard Crispin Armitage--became my unofficial muse. I have written over 50 script stories about love--some are fan fiction, but most are original stories--that I am just beginning to share with others on private writer sites, and here on my blog. And as you know, my blog here is also relatively new--since August 2011. But, I'm having fun and I hope you enjoy reading my blog essays and my stories. Cheers! Grati ;-> upd 12/18/11
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6 Responses to “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 3 (PG-13): A Carriage Ride and Picnic in Nature’s Idyll, October 28, 2013 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #463)

  1. Oct. 28, 2013–And here is my Wattpad link for Ch. 3 of “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, for those who prefer to read my story there:



  2. lourdes mayo says:

    As a new fan of north and south (and of RA) i was so happy to find your page (how did I ever miss out on this story and talented actor?!) I was intrigued by your story telling that while being home my phone died before i was able to reach the end. “Gaaaaaaahh!” I literally cried out my sibilings
    thought this unusual of me. Luckily i was able to read the rest and very much enjoyed it :) and looking forward to more!

    looking forward to


    • Hi Lourdes!
      Welcome! Thanks for your kind note about my story here! I’m glad that you’re enjoying it! I post new chapters of “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” on Mondays–“John Day Mondays”. Ha!
      Please note that while I do draw upon elements of the story and characters–echos, if you will–my fan fiction storytelling reflects my own thoughts about what might happen and the characters’ interactions.
      And, sorry to hear about your technology glitch–that’s never fun.
      Thanks for visiting and commenting. I look forward to hearing from you again.
      Cheers! Grati ;->

      P.S. You will also find initial links to my longer and first completed fan fiction work called “North & South: Nurturing Love” in my sidebar under “Gratiana’s Story Links”. Links to subsequent chapters appear at the bottom of each chapter–or in the comments–so that you can find and read the next chapter, since I also write essays here. And here is that link for you:


  3. Oct. 30, 2013–A Scheduling note:
    Dear Readers,
    Since my eyes have had a painful flareup the last week–making writing and prepping posts difficult–I’m delaying posting the next chapter of “Thorin’s Dream of Love” until its usual day on next Thursday, Nov. 7th. And there will still be another chapter after that on Nov. 14th. My muse kept going, so maybe it isn’t “the end” just yet. Ha!
    However, this Thursday, Oct. 31st–Halloween in the U.S.–I will share with you a Spooky tale that I had written and prepped mostly last week, before my eyes flareup.
    So, I hope that you will enjoy it.
    Cheers! Grati;->


  4. Pingback: “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 4 (PG-13): A Question of Propriety, November 2, 2013 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #465) | Something About Love (A)

  5. Pingback: “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 5: Propriety Be Damned, November 11, 2013 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #469) | Something About Love (A)

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