“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 11 (R rated, S): I Plight Thee My Troth, December 24, 2013 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #487)
[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 Piggott-Smith for Mr. Richard Hale, Sinead Cusack for Mrs. Hannah Thornton, Jo Joyner for Fanny Thornton, Brendan Coyle for Nicholas Higgins, and Graham McTavish as Dr. Cameron Ogilvy, 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 (S)–as well as other dramatic emotions, including some violence (V)–and I will rate those chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.
Author’s Recap of the Previous Chapter: While the Scottish Dr. Cameron Ogilvy tended to Fanny’s shock Saturday evening–and he not so secretly pined for Mrs. Thornton’s heart–John and Margaret comforted each other through a private tete-a-tete dinner in the Thornton Manor dining room. But Margaret fell asleep soon after they agreed to marry the following Saturday, and John carried her upstairs to her bed chamber–chastely leaving her to her rest with a kiss on her forehead. Still wanting her goodnight kiss, Margaret breached the connecting door again and went into John’s bed chamber for a goodnight kiss. Finding him seemingly asleep in his bed, she leaned over and kissed him–and he kissed her back. Then, impulsively, she joined him in his bed.
“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 11 (R rated, S): I Plight Thee My Troth
Saturday night after the Mill incident was John and Margaret’s idyllic night of unbridled passions–unbridled since John and Margaret will not be married until the following Saturday, seven days hence. It had all begun so innocently when Margaret joined John in his bed last night for her goodnight kiss.
John: “My Love.” He sighs.
Margaret: “My Love.” She sighs.
And then, they kiss [(2) right].
John tempers his kisses to Margaret, for he knows that with Margaret lying in his arms in his bed, it requires all of his reserves of gentlemanly restraint to resist the temptation of her lusciousness. And, John has never lain with anyone before–nor was he in school long enough for the fellows to band together for any ribaldry. He is a virgin, as is Margaret. Though, there was some good natured talk amongst John’s classmates sixteen years ago when he was a lad–about what they would do with a girl were they be so fortunate to find themselves in John’s present circumstances. Yet, those vaguely defined teenaged sensual yearnings lacked informed particulars to be of any use to John now. John would only be acting upon his feelings and his instincts. That is, were John to do more than kiss Margaret. After all, kissing is just kissing.
As Margaret responds to John’s kisses, she feels happily overwhelmed with having no strictures imposed upon them as to the nature and scope of their kissing. She opens her mouth to breathe more deeply and John covers her lips with ever more urgent and open mouthed kisses of his own. Their lips are perfectly fitted to each other as they kiss again, and again, and again, and again–wanting and seeking more. Hesitantly, John traces his tongue upon his own lips, his tongue also touching Margaret’s lips lightly, before plundering her offered mouth with his deep kisses. She does not flinch at the feel of his tongue entwined with hers, but offers herself up to his loving ministrations.
John’s and Margaret’s arms and legs entangle–seemingly of their own accord–as they caress each other in shyly loving ways, gently, respectfully, tenderly. It was like this on the parlor sette but one day ago when Margaret tried to awaken the sleeping John, only to have him draw her to his side. Then he had covered her body with his, the weight of him pressing against her as a deliciously loving memory. He had begun to unbutton her nightgown before wakening and removing himself from being on top of her. Tonight holds no such restraint as John lowers the loose fitting neckline of Margaret’s nightgown bodice to reveal her creamy right shoulder, thereupon adoring it and her with his fervent kisses.
Margaret: “Hhhhh.” She sighs in pleasure. She knows that society would censure her for her willingness to lay with her fiancé this night. But with the violence on Saturday that could so easily have taken John from her, Margaret’s only thoughts are to love him completely this night. Though how that will be accomplished she does not yet know, but she trusts in John to guide her in their loving each other.
John: “Margaret, Hhhh!” He whispers huskily in her ear, the strain evident in his voice. “We are not yet wed, My Love. Though I do not wish to, we should stop.”
Though stopping is not what John’s body seems to be doing as he presses himself against her–almost from instinct, fitting himself to to her but for the fabric boundary of their night clothes. John’s arousal is nearly complete. And Margaret feels such new sensations of loving anticipation that she presses herself to John further, her wanting a greater closeness with him that she does not yet understand, but that she also does not fear.
Margaret: “Hmmm.” A soft moan escapes her lips as her hands slide down his muscular back and rest on the top of his night pants waistband. Her touch heightening John’s ardor, and sending his attempt to be noble into wavering discord.
John: “Hmmmm.” John tenderly kisses Margaret for several minutes before pulling back to gaze in awe at her.
And yet, John’s face also shows the torment of his conflicted emotions–wanting her, desiring her, but not wishing to compromise Margaret’s honor by taking her now, before they are wed.
Margaret caresses her John’s cheek, as if to say, It’s alright. Parson’s daughter she may be, but the woman loved by John Thornton is who she feels that she is at this moment. Then Margaret begins in a lovingly hushed and musical voice.
Margaret: “I, Margaret, take thee, John, to be my lawful wedded Husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.” [(3)]
John gazes in wondering joy upon his love Margaret, the woman who is to be his wife and the mother of his children–his partner and helpmate through life. Then he responds in a lovingly hushed deep voice.
John: “I, John, take thee, Margaret, to be my lawful wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth.” [(3)]
John and Margaret kiss for the first time as husband and wife in their hearts. They have pledged themselves to each other, come what may–strife, success, sorrow, and joy. They will be each others’ touchstone of love and strength throughout their lives together. Nothing will separate them but for the inevitable close of extreme old age. And then? They will have eternity together.
John reaches under the pillow under Margaret’s head and he pulls out a fresh linen hand towel that he keeps there for times when his self discipline of gentlemanly restraint fails him, for those times that he gives in to his base needs. John rolls his and Margaret’s bodies onto their sides and he places the towel behind her backside. Margaret is oblivious to John’s actions with the towel, so caught up in loving him as she is, rubbing her hands across his broad shoulders, committing every rise and cleft of his muscles to her memory. But John reasons that if they are to do what he thinks they are planning to do, then they must take precautions to not leave any evidence of it to harm her honor–him planning to burn the towel in the hearth before the morning.
Then John briefly disengages from Margaret to lie on his back and remove his night pants underneath the bed covers. Margaret closes her eyes, to further give him his privacy. Though she cannot see his naked form under the cover of sheet and blanket, she glimpses a hint of the awkward movements with which he begins to undress himself. Then a naked John returns to lying side by side with Margaret, kissing her again, and running his hand up her leg and underneath her night gown. John discovers that Margaret has no such lower covering as he had, but for the hem of her nightgown, as he tenderly caresses one side of her bare derriere as his kisses trail down her neck and thence to her nightgown covered breasts as John gently lays her onto her back.
Margaret: “Hhh! Hhhh!”
Margaret begins to breathe shallowly in her own arousal as underneath the bed covers John pulls her nightgown hem up to resting over her hips, even as his lips cover her breasts with kisses through their cotton covering. Then John boldly nudges Margaret’s nightgown’s loose fitting neckline down further with his ample Romanesque nose–since his hands are otherwise engaged in intimately caressing her below–and he kisses her luscious lovelinesses as they are revealed to him. Margaret’s breasts are the first breasts that John has ever seen–let alone, touched–and he marvels in wonder at their curving fullness and softness. Her beauty is only for his eyes, only for his touch–just as his body is only for her.
Margaret trembles with John’s loving ministrations. She feels such pleasurable feelings of love that John is giving her that she aches for something … something more … as John continues to kiss and caress her intimately for several moments more–using her sighs as encouragement for his loving attentions. And then Margaret feels waves of such ecstasy that she cannot help but sighingly cry out.
John has seen to Margaret’s pleasures first. And but for John returning to covering Margaret’s mouth with his kisses again, she might have wakened the household in her raptures as John feels her tantalizingly writhe in unabashed joy. Her pinkened face flush with her bliss. John smiles for having given her this joy, for Margaret is his heart’s true love and soul mate–and her happiness is his happiness.
Then, as Margaret’s body’s shuddering begins to subside, John positions himself more directly above her–bending her legs upwards–and he slowly joins his body with hers. Their bodies fit together with such perfection, it is as if they were made for each other.
John: “Ahhh!” John stifles his own moan of joy in finally being one with his love Margaret by kissing her again–even as he stills his movements to savor this feeling of oneness with his love, Margaret.
Margaret: “Hhh!” Margaret gasps in the slight pain of John taking her virginity, just as he is also now no longer a virgin.
But with her pleasures still undulating, her discomfort soon passes. And John and Margaret join their bodies together in rhythmic couplings again, and again, and again, and again–in loving tenderness and in molten desire–until John’s body experiences waves of raptures from their loving conjugation that John had never dreamt of, as his seed spills inside her. Then he lays across her panting for several moments, kissing her face sweetly feverishly in thanks for the great gift of her loving him as they both weep with joy.
Then John rolls them onto their sides again–to relieve her of his strong muscular weight–and they lovingly embrace again, not wanting to part their bodies yet. As they slightly pull back to gaze upon each other, they smile shyly at each other, for having loved each other well.
As the early Sunday morning dawn light begins to filter into John’s and Margaret’s honeymoon bed chamber in Thornton Manor, John sleepily smiles in exultant remembrance of their loving wedding nights–both last week and last night–with his arms still wrapped around his love, his wife, his Margaret. And unlike last Sunday–when they had mutually agreed for Margaret to spend her last few days as an unmarried woman with her parents at her parents’ home in Crampton–this Sunday they will never have to part again.
John and Margaret had married simply and with little fanfare at the church yesterday–but for Fanny’s fussing with the heavily laden lace on her new gown as Margaret’s bridesmaid. Fanny had recovered spectacularly well from her Mill incident ordeal when she discovered that a new gown was in the offing. However, everyone still treats Fanny tenderly as one who has a delicate spirit. John had teasingly quipped that several table cloths had gone wanting for lace in the making of Fanny’s bridesmaid gown. But as Fanny’s elder brother, John could not refuse her–despite the overwrought nature of Fanny’s gown.
By contrast, John believed that Margaret had been the picture of refined elegance and grace as his bride in her sparingly adorned ivory satin gown with capped sleeves and a neckline that demurely showcased her generously bountiful décolletage [(4) right]. It was a gown that was quite similar in taste to the gown she wore at Thornton’s Master’s dinner that she had accompanied her father to several weeks ago. Exquisite was the compliment that John gave to his new wife, Margaret.
John had been mesmerized by Margaret’s bridal beauty–as his adoring gaze attested to [(5) right]. He could not keep his eyes off of her for the whole of their interminably long reception at Thornton Manor. Of course, it was due to Mrs. Thornton senior–for now Margaret was also a Mrs. Thornton–who felt that they ought to have some show of their elite social standing by her having had set out the lavish table service of china, crystal, and silver for her son’s wedding breakfast.
Nor could Margaret arrest her gaze from her new husband John’s handsomeness in his formal attire with an ivory cravat and vested waistcoat that complimented her wedding gown’s color. It was only as the last of their close family and friend guests left their wedding reception–including Mr. and Mrs. Hale, Mr. Bell, the Higgins family, Dr. Ogilvy, and such–that John and Margaret could retreat from the world into their connecting bed chambers in Thornton Manor for their wedding night.
John’s and Margaret’s first night of love as an officially married couple last night had eclipsed their every sensuous dreams in ways that only true lovers in love can know–cherishing their uninterrupted time together as they languorously explored the delights of marital bliss. And when John and Margaret had each risen from John’s bed during the night out of necessity–with Margaret briefly returning to her own bed chamber–John had held his breath hoping that she wasn’t tired of his ardently loving attentions. Yet she always returned to him–and they were swept away into another romantic interlude before drifting into slumber again. And so John and Margaret find themselves drowsily lying abed naked in each others’ loving arms this Sunday morning, the first Sunday in November–they are perfectly content, and utterly spent.
To be continued with Chapter 12
JT Love Lessons, Ch. 11 References, December 24, 2013 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #487)
1) “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” story logo: Richard Armitageas 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 kissing Margaret image is Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe in North & South richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode4/ns4-372.jpg
4) Margaret image in her wedding gown (clr changed) is Daniela Denby-Ashe in the BBC’s 2004 drama North & South, epi2 (17h02m46s0-Dec2313) Gratiana Lovelace Cap-crop-brt-manip2clr
5) John is Richard Armitage in BBC’s 2004 drama North & South, epi2 (17h08m56s137Dec2213) Gratiana Lovelace Cap-Manip1-crop-brt