“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 13: Dr. Ogilvy joins the Thornton Christmas Celebrations, December 29, 2013 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #491)
[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: After Dr. Cameron Ogilvy had made his family background in Scotland as the Earl of Airlie known to the Thornton’s through casual conversation, he felt emboldened to reveal his feelings for Hannah Thornton. She was at first incredulous, then astonished, then uncertain, and finally warmed to the idea. And Hannah invited the good doctor to spend Christmas Eve and Day with them.
“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 13: Dr. Ogilvy joins the Thornton Christmas Celebrations
Christmas at the Thornton’s this year is non-traditional to say the least– festive is the only word that does justice to describing it. Margaret had insisted on having a Christmas tree in Thornton Manor–which they all helped to decorate. And their were greens and red ribbons and mistletoe balls hanging everywhere. Then after discovering that she has a suitor in Dr. Cameron Ogilvy, the Earl of Airlie, Hannah also invited the good doctor to stay with them Christmas Eve night as well since his grown children could not get away from London and he was alone. And of course Dr. Ogilvy fancies Hannah, as he told her in his vernacular–which makes Hannah Thornton feel both unsettled and uncertain, but in a pleasing way.
Leaving Christmas Eve services at the church around 9 o’clock at night, John coordinates the carriages.
John: “Mother, Margaret and I will take the smaller carriage home. We’ll be stopping first at the Hales for some holiday time with them since Mrs. Hale does not wish to go out in the cold and risk her health since the day after Christmas we are to travel to London to her sister’s to spend some holiday time with them.”
Hannah: “We will be sorry to miss the Hales tomorrow at Thornton Manor.” She states graciously with a warm and sincere smile [(2) right]. “Please convey to them my very best wishes for the holidays. We will send over some of our Christmas luncheon for them in the morning.”
Margaret: “Thank you, Mother.” She gives her mother-in-law a hug and peck on her cheek. Then she whispers. “Shall we take Fanny in our carriage with us tonight?”
Since having the four of them plus Dr. Ogilvy necessitates using two carriage, the logistics of who gets Fanny is a delicate matter–especially since she has not heard the real reason why Dr. Ogilvy is joining them for Christmas Eve and Day, that he is courting her mother. John and Margaret had picked up Dr. Ogilvy in their carriage–along with his overnight luggage–before services. Fanny and her mother had been driven to the church later. Though Dr. Ogilvy had sat in his usual pew during the services since his association with the Thornton’s on a more personal level is so new.
John and Dr. Ogilvy walk over to Hannah Thornton and Margaret–each standing by their respective ladies and respectfully touching their elbows and offering them their arms. Fanny stands off a few yards away talking to Ann Latimer.
Dr. Ogilvy: Wearing his traditional warm Scottish wool plaid–with English trousers, Dr. Ogilvy looks quite comfortable, except for the extreme cold–something that a warm fire will cure instantly [(3) right]. “It was a lovely serrrvice. Happy Chrrristmas!” He smiles warmly at both women, but especially at Hannah Thornton.
Hannah: “Happy Christmas.” She states in a poised and pleasant way–belying the butterflies in her stomach about her talking to Dr. Ogilvy at a social occasion for the first time.
Margaret: “It really was a lovely service! Happy Christmas!” She gushes as she looks up into her husband John’s eyes. For this is her and John’s first Christmas together and all of the holiday traditions they participate are made sweeter by their union.
John: “I can unreservedly state that have never enjoyed a Christmas Eve service more. Happy Christmas!” John smiles broadly as he puts his arm around his wife Margaret’s waist. Then John leans down and kisses Margaret’s forehead.
Hannah: “John!” She whispers an admonishment for her son’s public display of affection to his wife. And she lightly detaches herself from holding on to Dr. Ogilvy’s arm to not be seeming to be guilty of what she chastises her son for.
John: “Sorry, mother.” He sighs with a little boy pout evident upon his countenance.
Fanny saunters over to her family and Dr. Ogilvy from chatting with Ann Latimer.
Fanny: “Happy Christmas, everyone.” She smiles cheerfully at her family. She regards Dr. Ogilvy with questioning eyes. “Mother, since John and Margaret are to visit the Hales for an hour or so, we should take the large carriage back.”
All eyes turn to Hannah Thornton.
John: “Cameron, I have placed your overnight bag in Mother’s carriage.”
Dr. Ogilvy: “I thank ye! I will see these two ladies safely home to Thorrrnton Manorrr for ye!” He intones enthusiastically.
John: “Thank you. Shall we, Margaret?” John gestures and guides her to their carriage and they wave the others good bye.
Dr. Ogilvy: “Ladies.” He bows and gestures and guides them to the other carriage.
Hannah and her daughter Fanny sit on one bench and Dr. Ogilvy sits opposite them on the other bench. Fanny smiles in a forced sort of way at Dr. Ogilvy. Then she looks over at her mother to see if she is similarly confused with why the doctor has joined them for the holidays. Hannah is not confused–but she is still hesitating as to her feelings about it.
John and Margaret arrive at the Hale home in Crampton to visit with her parents briefly before returning home to Thornton Manor for a light supper. Mrs. Hale is sitting up in the parlor wearing a lovely gown, along side her similarly formally attired husband Mr. Hale–both of them looking quite the picture of domestic harmony [(4) right].
Mrs. Hale: “Margaret! John! How lovely to see you.”
Margaret: “Mother!” She kisses her mother’s cheek and then her father’s cheek.
John: “I hope that you haven’t been waiting long for us. They had us sing an extra hymn.” He raises his eyebrow.
Mr. Hale: “Not at all, John. Extra hymns at special services are always enjoyed by the parishioners.” He states as a former vicar.
Margaret: “We brought our gifts for you to open tonight.” Margaret says excitedly. For this is her first Christmas as a married woman. But she is still her parents’ daughter.
John smiles at his wife’s enthusiasm. For he felt much the same way when he gave Margaret his gift to her earlier of a delicate pearl necklace and pearl drop earring set that she is wearing now.
Mrs. Hale: Turning the lightweight package over in her hands, Mrs. Hale unties the ribbon and pulls back the tissue paper to reveal her gift. “Oh my dears! This is lovely!” She exclaims as she dons the beautiful lace shawl. Mrs. Hale has not had such new finery for some time owing to her husband being a vicar–and then him giving up that position before they traveled North to Milton.
John gives Mr. Hale his package. It is rather heavier.
Mr. Hale: Mr. Hale smiles and takes the package, surmising correctly that it is a book. He removes the wrapping and discovers a fine gold embossed leather bound and gilt edged three volume set of Plato and Aristotle’s works. “Oh! This is magnificent! I won’t write in the margins of these. Ha ha ha!”
John: “Ha ha ha! Margaret and I thought that you might enjoy new personal copies of these works that you don’t loan out to students.” John smiles sheepishly–for he has Mr. Hale’s Aristotle on his bedroom bookshelf at this very moment.
Mr. Hale: “This is very kind, my dears.” Then he exchanges glances with Mrs. Hale before going to their Christmas tree and retrieving a package. “This gift is not expensive, but we hope that its legacy of heritage will continue in your own family.”
Margaret: “Thank you Father, Mother.” She smiles at him.
John and Margaret sit on the sette and unwrap the gift. It is a bible–the Beresford-Hale family bible, made of fine black tooled leather and gilt edged pages that are worn from over fifty years of faith and family history. Margaret opens the ribbon bookmark to reveal the page where her and John’s wedding date was recorded, just below her parent’s wedding date. And on the right hand side page is a list of births, ending with Margaret’s birth, twenty-one years ago–and in parentheses next to it, John’s birthdate. There are also listings of noble Beresford births and weddings in the decades earlier in the century. John and Margaret look at each other speechless for this heartfelt gift.
Mrs. Hale: “We hope that you will record your own little one’s births in here.” She offers through hopeful tears. For she knows that her health is so frail, she might not live long enough to hold a grandchild in her arms.
Mr. Hale: “And in time, their weddings and their children’s births.” He smiles through his tears.
The lovely family bible is a sweetly poignant gift because the Hales both know that they might not be alive to see their grandchildren marry and have children of their own.
John: Speaking because Margaret’s heart is too choked with emotion, John thanks them. “Mr. and Mrs. … Father, Mother, Thank you for this magnificent gift of family legacy. We will cherish it always. And when we are blessed with our own children, they will have their births and baptisms and weddings recorded in it.”
Margaret hands John the bible and rises from the sette and embraces each of her parents.
Margaret: “Thank you for this lovely gift.” She hugs her mother. “Thank you.” She hugs her father.
Mrs. Hale: She clasps Margaret’s hand in hers and looks up at her lovingly. “You have given us such joy, Margaret. Our love for you will continue … even when we are gone.” She says tiredly.
Margaret: “Mother! I love you so.” She embraces her mother and weeps.
John stands and walks to Mr. Hale and shakes his hand.
Mr. Hale: “We entrusted Margaret to your love and care when we gave her to you in marriage. We can see that she is very happy, and we bless you for it.”
John: “Thank you, Sir. I am blessed with Margaret as my wife. Thank you and Mother for giving her to me.” He smiles warmly at his in-laws.
Then after a spot of tea and cakes–to allow for everyone’s tears to dry before they take their leave–John and Margaret carefully wrap up their bible and say their fond farewells to the Hales, before returning home to Thornton Manor. And on their carriage ride home, John and Margaret share a heartfelt kiss [(5) right].
Earlier that evening, after Dr. Ogilvy and Mrs. Thornton and Fanny arrive at Thornton Manor after church–and a footman takes Dr. Ogilvy to a guest room–Fanny corners her mother in the parlor for an explanation. Fanny whispers even though no one is about and the parlor door is closed.
Fanny: “Mother! What is Dr. Ogilvy doing staying with us for the holidays?” Fanny is highly agitated at this additional change to their Christmas plans–mostly because she does not understand it.
Hannah: “Dr. Ogilvy is a guest of John and Margaret.” Hannah states somewhat truthfully–though it was she who invited him to stay.
Fanny: “I know that. But why?” Then a realization hits her. “Oh Lord!”
Hannah: “Fanny! Do not blaspheme!”
Fanny: “I’m sorry, Mother. But I hope that John isn’t thinking of matching me to Dr. Ogilvy. Is he? I know Mr. Watson has been attentive to me–and he is a little grey.” She shrugs her shoulders. “But Dr. Ogilvy is positively ancient! And he’s Scottish!” She looks at her mother in horror–for Fanny is only twenty years old to Dr. Ogilvy’s 59 years.
Hannah: “Of course not, Fanny! Your brother John has no such notion!” But, of course, both John and his mother had misinterpreted Dr. Ogilvy’s initial interest in Hannah Thornton as being for her daughter, Fanny.
The parlor door opens and Dr. Ogilvy reappears.
Dr. Ogilvy: “Ladies! Happy Christmas!” Then he walks instantly over to Hannah and her daughter, kissing each of their hands in turn. Fanny pulls her hand away as soon as he is done kissing her.
Fanny: “I will go check on our light supper.” She gives as her excuse for leaving the room. And she departs.
Dr. Ogilvy: “I do na think Miss Fanny likes me.” He says wryly. “Have I done something to offend herrr?”
Hannah: “No, no.” She shakes her head with a small smile. “Fanny is just confused by … well by …” She looks at him sheepishly.
Dr. Ogilvy: “By me presence at yourrr family gatherrring?” He raises a bushy Scottish eyebrow.
Hannah: “Well, yes.” She nods.
Dr. Ogilvy: “Hmmm. So arrre ye ashamed to tell her that I be courrrting ye, Hannah me dearrr?” He asks with hurt tinged with ire.
Hannah: “Dr. Ogilvy …” She sighs, then sees his pouting look at her using his formal title. “Cameron .. I am not ashamed. But I never thought to be in this … circumstance. And I am still accustoming myself to it.” She remarks uncomfortably.
Dr. Cameron Ogilvy: “Hannah, me dearrr. As I told ye beforrre, ye arrre a lady of consummate grrrace and beauty. I am quite surrrprrrised that ye have na had offerrrs beforrre me own.” Then he looks up and sees that they are once again standing under the mistletoe. And Cameron Ogilvy’s eyes lock on to Hannah Thornton’s widened eyes. “The fates seem to be conspirrring in our favorrr. And we arrre alone, me dearrr.” And he gently draws her into his embrace.
Hannah’s body goes rigid in Dr. Ogilvy’s arms with her dreading the thought of being kissed by him–after being a widow for so many years. And her uncertainty at the thought of being kissed by a man with a … a beard.
Hannah: “Cameron!” She sighs nervously. “Now is, perhaps, not the best time to … to …” She can’t even bring herself to say the words. For she worries that if she lets him kiss her–and they marry some day–what more might he expect of her?
Dr. Ogilvy: “To kiss, me dearrr?” He smiles at her mischievously, seductively. Then he raises his right hand from around her waist to her cheek and he gently strokes her cheek with his finger. She gazes at him a bit reticently. “I underrrstand morrre than ye know, me dearrr Hannah.” His deep purring voice sounding like velvet to her ears.
Dr. Ogilvy slowly leans down and softly kisses Hannah Thornton’s lips. Hannah closes her eyes and her breathing deepens. She finds that Cameron’s beard is only a bit scratchy and not at all bothersome. So, she reasons, that he must keep it neatly trimmed. And Hannah does not find their kiss altogether unpleasant.
But it was the briefest of kisses on purpose by Dr. Ogilvy–so as not to frighten his fair lady, Hannah. Afterall, he is a gentleman and he can restrain himself. Though were his thoughts to take control of his actions–especially regarding how he would like to kiss her creamy shoulders that are currently encased in fabric–Dr. Cameron Ogilvy would bestow upon Hannah Thornton such passionate kisses that they would have to be married forthwith to satisfy propriety. He leans back from her a bit to gauge her response to his chaste kiss, and he smiles warmly at her. She opens her eyes and looks up at him and smiles at him pleasantly–as a lady should, controlling her emotions and actions.
However Hannah Thornton’s lack of censure to him for their kiss, emboldens Dr. Ogilvy to seek another kiss–and this one not so delicate. But they are interrupted before they can begin as Fanny enters the parlor again.
Fanny: “Mother!” [(6) right]
Both Dr. Ogilvy and Hannah Thornton turn to the parlor door with red faces and stand themselves upright again–Dr. Ogilvy had been dipping her. Fanny races forward intending to defend her mother’s honor. That is, until her mother quietly slips her arm around Dr. Ogilvy’s arm and they turn to face Fanny together. Dr. Ogilvy is silent, Fanny is Hannah’s daughter and he will respect her wishes about how to deal with her.
Hannah: “Fanny, dear. Is our light supper ready?” Hannah smiles benignly as if nothing had just happened–as if Fanny had not just seen her kissing Dr. Ogilvy.
Fanny: “Yes! But Mother!” Fanny’s arms flail about gesturing to her mother and to Dr. Ogilvy.
Dr. Ogilvy: Following Hannah Thornton’s lead–in terms of ignoring the situation–he remarks. “Ach! I am quite hungrrry! Will Laddie John and Margaret be joining us for supper? Or should we go ahead and eat without them?”
John: “We’re here, Cameron! And I’m starving” He smiles jovially, not realizing why Fanny is so agitated. But agitated seems to be Fanny’s natural state, so John shakes his head in amusement with a tender expression of affection for his sister upon his face [(7) right].
Margaret: “Let us go in to supper.” She smiles at everyone and they begin to walk out of the parlor and down the hall to the dining room. With a glowering pout, Fanny trails behind the two arm-in-arm couples.
With no one clarifying for Fanny the changed nature of her mother’s and Dr. Ogilvy’s relationship, Fanny is left to make assumptions on her own. Then as Christmas day breakfast is followed by present exchanges, luncheon, and then more present exchanges, the interactions between her mother and Dr. Ogilvy crystallizes Fanny’s horrifying assumption– that her mother clearly has a suitor, when Fanny herself has no interesting prospects. Leave to Fanny to focus on herself.
To be continued with Chapter 14
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 13 References, December 29, 2013 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #491)
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) Hannah Thornton image (crop-sized-drkn-shrp-crop2sml) is Sinead Cusack in the 2004 BBC drama North & South (22h57m34s207) Dec2813 Gratiana Lovelace Cap
3) Dr. Cameron Ogilvy image is Graham McTavish in the role of Dougal MacKenzie in the Starz tv series Outlander found at http://outlander.wikia.com/wiki/Dougal_MacKenzie
4) Image of Mr. and Mrs. Hale (as portrayed by Tim Pigott-Smith and Lesley Manville) was found at http://www.panhistoria.com/Stacks/Novels/Character_Homes/homedirs/19705images/mrandmrshale.jpg
5) John kissing Margaret image is Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe in North & South richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode4/ns4-372.jpg
6) 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
7) John Thornton is portrayed by Richard Armitage in the BBC’s 2004 drama North & South found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode1/ns1-045.jpg