“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 20: Some Return Home to Milton, Some Stay in London Part 2 (to middle of January), January 17, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post # 502)
[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 Pigott-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, Holliday Grainger for Angharad Ogilvy MacIntosh, Simon Woods for Baird Ogilvy, and Emma Ashton as Mrs. Dillard, 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: Though Baird Ogilvy had been tricked into attending his sister Angharad’s tea on December30th and meeting Fanny Thornton–by his sister in collusion with their father–Baird soon relented. And when Baird discovered that Fanny is actually named Fiona for her Scottish grandmother, his interest grew. Then as he conversed with Fanny/Fiona, he became charmed by her forthright outspokenness–and her not flirting with him as so many insincere social climbing title hunting debutantes have done in the past. To Baird, Fanny/Fiona is delightful. So Baird asked and received permission from John Thornton to write to Fanny–since Baird’s current court case might not allow him much opportunity to see her again while she is in London–as Fanny and the Hales are still visiting Margaret’s Aunt Shaw and cousin Edith Lennox and their family. But Fanny’s remaining week in London stretches to two or more
“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 20: Some Return Home to Milton,
Some Stay in London Part 2 (to middle of January)
While John and Margaret returned home to Milton on Jan. 2nd to attend to mill worker conditions and such, Fanny is delighting in her extended stay in London with the Hales at the Shaw-Lennox home. As is appropriate etiquette, Fanny sent a thank you note to Angharad and Alistair MacIntosh for their kind hostessing of them to tea earlier on December 30th. And Fanny received one note from Baird Ogilvy.
Baird Ogilvy’s Note to Fanny Thornton dated January 4th, 1851 is a bit stilted but does convey his interest in her: My Dear Miss Fiona, I was delighted to make your acquaintance at my sister’s home last Monday. However, since my court case must take precedence in monopolizing my time at the moment, I fear that I will not have the pleasure of your company for several days to a week. Though, this will probably be more of a hardship to me than it is to you. But I do so hope that we will have a chance to meet again before you must depart for home in Milton. Until then, I remain your humble servant madam, Baird Ogilvy
Fanny finds Baird’s note both charming and perturbing. So she writes back to him in her characteristically breezy style–and she also liberally sprinkles some of her perfume on it for good measure. Never let it be said that Fanny is subtle when it comes to what and who she likes.
Fanny Thornton’s note to Baird Ogilvy dated Tuesday, January 7th: Dear Baird the Laird, You astonish me with your formality. Considering I made you laugh most indecorously three times (!!!) when we first we met, I would hazard a guess that we are at least considered congenial acquaintances now–hence the familiar tone of my missive here. All is formal and polite in Milton–boring!–but in London and meeting you and your sister Anghard and her family, I feel a kinship of spirit with you all that is quite delightful. My hostess Edith Shaw Lennox will be sending an invitation to luncheon on Saturday next for you and the MacIntosh’s so that Edith’s and their children may play together. I hope that you will be able to join us. I will think you very mean if you cannot spare the time even for luncheon. Besides, you must eat or you will become sickly. And a sickly red headed Scotsman will not do. What would your father the doctor say? So I look forward to seeing you again soon. Sincerely, Fanny/Fiona Thornton
And indeed, on the Saturday January 11th following–thirteen days after Fanny and Baird first met–Margaret’s cousin Edith Shaw Lennox has invited the MacIntoshes and Baird Ogilvy for Luncheon that with the children playing will extend to tea time. Dr. Ogilvy’s son Baird does manage to visit the Shaw-Lennox’s London Home for luncheon at his father’s express request and the Shaw’s invitation. However, Baird has become a bit shy about the prospect of seeing the lovely Fanny Thornton again. His emotions are in a whirlwind–fueled in part by Fanny’s scented note. For Baird thinks that she must have spilled the contents of half the bottle on the paper just to be amusing.
Angharad Ogilvy MacIntosh [(2) right] nudges her brother as they walk up the front steps of the Shaw-Lennox home for luncheon. She is carrying six month old baby Amanda, and her husband Alistair has a hold of their three year old son Andrew’s hand–and he carries the baby bag of necessities. So there is no one to take hold of Baird and steady him.
Baird’s face is ashen as they reach the top of the front steps, and he starts to turn back to retreat down the steps. In the intervening time since last he met Fanny/Fiona Thornton, Baird Ogilvy has come to wonder if he dreamt Fanny/Fiona’s goddessness of perfection in his mind. Fanny was honest to a fault, not fawning over him, sincere, and utterly charming in his mind–not to mention, exquisitely beautiful.
Baird: “My coming is a mistake. Miss Thornton was only being polite to me in frrront of her brrrotherrr and sisterrr-in-law when last we met. I do not wish to impose myself on herrr or theirrr rrrelations.” Baird shifts his eyes and turns his head looking around him–as if he were a doomed man plotting his escape [(3) right].
Alistair: Reaching for the door knocker, Alistair MacIntosh turns to his brother-in-law. “Bairrrd, it’s too late. We’rrre alrrready herrre. Just make do.”
The Shaw-Lennox butler opens the front door and ushers the Ogilvy-MacIntoshes into the front parlor where they are greeted by the family. Fanny makes the introductions.
Fanny: “Aunt Shaw, and everyone …” For as senior member of the household, Mrs. Shaw is shown respect by having the guests introduced to her first. And Fanny has adopted the familiar address of Aunt for Mrs. Shaw as her new friend and extended family member since Mrs. Shaw is Fanny’s sister-in-law Margaret’s aunt, her mother’s sister. “… these are our Milton physician, Dr. Cameron Ogilvy’s children. This is Angharad Ogilvy MacIntosh and her husband Alistair MacIntosh, and their children Amanda and Andrew.”
Angharad smiles and Alistair bows. Baird blanches at not yet being introduced, and fidgets by opening and closing his hands clasped behind his back.
Mrs. Shaw: “Mr. and Mrs. Macintosh.” Mrs. Shaw nods pleasantly. No hand shaking here in London, with Mrs. Shaw’s fine linen handkerchief in one hand and smelling salts in the other.
Fanny: “Angharad and Alistar, This is my sister-in-law Margaret’s aunt, Mrs. Shaw and her daughter Edith Shaw Lennox and her husband Captain Maxwell Lennox, their son Sholto and baby daughter Tamsin. And these are Mr. and Mrs. Hale, my sister-in-law Margaret’s parents.” Fanny smiles cordially at Margaret’s parents and Mr. Hale smiles cheerfully back at her.
Edith and Maxwell nod in greeting. Edith cradles in her arms her also six month old baby daughter Tamsin. And their now two year old son Sholto stands in front of his father, Maxwell.
Angharad: “We are delighted to make your acquaintance and enjoy luncheon with you today.” She smiles broadly.
Fanny: “Oh! I almost forgot!” Fanny winces smilingly as she gestures to Baird. “And this is Mr. Baird Ogilvy, Angharad’s brother.”
Mrs. Shaw: “Mr. Ogilvy.” She nods her head, noticing his fiery red hair. Indeed, Mr. Ogilvy’s sister and her two children are also red heads. Mrs. Shaw thinks that Scotland must be rife with rusty headed citizenry. Her own tightly coiled blond ringlets serving as a mark of distinction of her class–for they take hours to create by her ladies maid.
Baird: Baird tries to keep his voice from cracking in nervousness, but he can’t help it because he so wants to make a good impression upon Miss Fiona’s extended family relations. “Mrs. Shaw, Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell. Thank you …. Kkkkhhh! Thank you for inviting us. It is delightful to meet you Mr. & Mrs. Hale.” He bows slightly to them.
Then Maxwell’s two year old son enters the conversation.
Sholto: Pointing at Baird’s red hair, Sholto squeals. “Your hair is on fiyah! Ha ha ha ha ha!” Then he claps his hands together with glee.
Maxwell: Gently covering his son’s mouth, Maxwell apologizes. “Now now Sholto, Mr. Ogilvy simply has red hair.” Shaking Baird’s hand he says sheepishly. “My boy comes out with the most outrageous phrases sometimes. When you are a parent Mr. Ogilvy, you will understand the necessity of keeping little ones’ society limited until they have the ability to control themselves. But today, we make an exception for our two families getting together with our children.” He smiles broadly.
Baird: “Of courrrse.” Then Baird scrunches down on his haunches as his three year old red haired nephew Andrew comes over to him. “Andrrrew, this is Sholto. Sholto, this is Andrrrew.”
Andrew: “Show toes? That’s a funny name. Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Sholto: Sholto looks up at his father quizzically. “Papa?”
Maxwell: Maxwell smiles mirthfully at Baird who stands up. “Sir, I think these two boys are evenly matched in their ability to embarrass their elders. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!”
Baird: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” Baird feels a little more at ease with the cordial reception they are receiving–and the fact that he has another male ally in the person of Maxwell Lennox in addition to his brother-in-law Alistair MacIntosh and the elder Mr. Hale. The widowed Mrs. Shaw gives the ladies in attendance a one person edge with regard to numbers.
Mrs. Shaw: “Shall we?” She rolls her eyes at toddler antics. Far be it from anyone to suggest that Mrs. Shaw was once their age.
Everyone nods and they glide into the dining room where two tables are set up. A smaller table is off to one side for senior members of today’s luncheon–the Hales and Mrs. Shaw. And a larger table dominates the room for the MacIntoshes and Lennox’s–including Baird and Fanny and the children. Mrs. Shaw loves her grandchildren, but in short doses–and not at meal times. They are making an exception of having the children have their meals in the dining room today because the MacIntoshes are guests for a family play date–Edith’s idea.
In the end, it was a wise choice to have two tables, because the boys were uncertain about their foods and clattered their spoons on their plates nearly cracking the china. While the six month old baby girls were fussy about taking their bottles–really wanting their usual intimacy with their mothers breast feeding them. All the while, Baird and Fanny exchange secretive glances across the table at the children’s various antics and wondering how the parents cope.
Finally, it is time to repair to the children’s nursery for play time between the MacIntosh and Lennox children. So Mrs. Shaw and the Hales elect to take naps in their respective bed chambers, while Baird and Fanny take a meandering tour of the Shaw-Lennox home that finally ends up back in the parlor.
Fanny: “And here we are back in the parlor. Isn’t this a beautifully elegant home?” She smiles contentedly [(4) right].
Baird: “Aye. It is lovely.” He agrees with her. Then he adds boldly. “Might I say that you arrre lovely today as well, Miss Fiona?” He ventures a compliment as he boldly steps toward her.
Fanny: Fanny steps back from Baird with a mock dramatic swish of her voluminous hoop skirt. “Why Baird Ogilvy! Are you flirting with me, or teasing me like Angharad says that you like do?” She asks impishly as her blond ringlet curls bounce when she moves her head to and fro.
Baird: “Miss Fiona, …” Fanny looks at him questioningly for him using her given name. “… I wish that you would forrrget what my sisterrr told ye about me, and make up yourrr own mind about me.”
Baird frets a bit that his sister Angharad has too much insider knowledge about him that might hurt his chances with Miss Thornton. Not that Baird has anything to hide–he and his sister were brought up as a lady and a gentleman. It’s just that sisters–or siblings, in general–sometimes have a skewed view of their brothers based upon memories of childhood antics.
Fanny: “Well Baird, I don’t know.” She purses her lips as she sits on the sette. Then Fanny pats the cushioned seat beside her and Baird sits down next to her. “I might, if you answer a question for me.” Fanny smiles impishly.
Baird: Baird blanches, uncertain what question she might ask of him. “Well Miss Fiona, as an attorrrney, I am a cautious soul. I would neverrr agree to something beforrre I knew the full terrrms. What is the naturrre of yourrr question?”
Fanny: “It is of a personal nature.” She smiles teasingly while glancing at him out of the corner of her eye as she coquettishly fluffs her dramatically long lacy sleeve cuffs–nearly thwacking him in his chin with its lacey fullness. But he swerves out of the way in time.
Baird: Baird smiles bemusedly. Then he masks his amusement in mock seriousness. “A perrrsonal naturrre? Ach! That would rrrequirrre even morrre rrrestrrrictions on my divulging it.” He arches his eyebrow and smiles broadly at her.
Fanny: “Well Baird, my question is this. When everyone else calls me Fanny, why do you call me Fiona?” She tilts her head and looks at him pointedly.
Baird blinks and grimaces to be caught in using a pet name for Fanny–and in an endearing way. When they are only meeting for the second time today, such familiarity might be considered forward of him.
Baird: “I do na rrrightly know–except that it is your given name, and a Scottish name at that. And the name Fiona [(5)] fits you–for you are fair of countenance. Fiona is a beautiful name … for a beautiful lady.” His voice smoulders deeply.
Fanny: Fanny rolls her eyes impishly. “There you go again, flirting with me. You are such a tease, Baird.” She shrugs her shoulders in amusement–not taking him seriously, to his slight consternation. He is having to put forth a greater effort in trying to fascinate Fanny than he has ever before with a lady.
Baird: “And what would you say if I werrre in earrrnest?” He counters half impishly, half seriously.
Fanny: Fanny looks up at the ceiling, pondering her answer with her graceful fingers tapping her pert chin. “I guess I do not know. I don’t know you well enough to say whether I like you more than as an acquaintance. And you don’t know me. So if you’re only interested in how pretty I am,…” Fanny obviously has a healthy opinion of herself–though she is very pretty. “… I would say to you, look at Aunt Shaw. She was pretty once. That is me in thirty years. Ha ha ha ha ha!” She giggles.
Baird: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” He bursts out laughing. “Oh Miss Fiona, You should not comparrre yourrrself to Mrs. Shaw.” Then he takes her hand in his and kisses it. “Forrr you will rrremain an enigmatic beauty thrrroughout yourrr life.”
Fanny: “Oh do be serious, Baird.” She taps his shoulder lightly as if pushing him away. “So! If you want to get to know me better, then ask me out for dinner. We have extended our stay to a third week. So there will be plenty of time for you to take me to see a play or to the museums, and such. That is what Watson does.”
Baird instantly straightens up and looks at Fanny askance [(6) right]. Baird realizes that he has competition for Miss Fanny’s attention.
Baird: “Oh? And who is this Watson?” He tries to ask the question non-chalantly–as an attorney questioning a hostile witness might.
Fanny: “He is the most eligible bachelor among the Milton Mill owners. Well, now that John is married to Margaret.”
But Baird fails miserably in concealing his own interest in Fanny–and his slight jealousy.
Baird: “Why have ye not mentioned him beforre? Arrre ye serrriously attached to this man?”
Fanny: “Well, not really. He is a little grey” [(7)]. She says sotto voce, though there is no one else in the parlor. “But there is no other suitable match for me in Milton.” She pouts.
Baird: “Ah! Perrrhaps ye should expand your husband hunting terrritorrry, Miss Fiona. I am twenty-nine and not even a little grrrey.” He raises his eye brow saucily.
Fanny: “Well, I’m halfway to twenty-one. So you’re still almost nine years older than I am. When you were my age, I was only not quite eleven!” She says with wide eyes.
Baird: “Yes, but that is merely arithmetic. Ye arrre twenty yearrrs now–and no longer a child.”
Fanny: Raising her perfect little nose in the air, Fanny teases him coquettishly. “And is my not being a child now significant?”
Baird: “Perrrhaps.” He smiles warmly at her. “So! Just how old is this Watson perrrson, might I ask?” Baird is getting a little jealous, and it shows.
Fanny: “You don’t have to get huffy about it. It’s not like you’re really interested in me.” Baird stares at her incredulously. “Well if you must know, Watson is forty one, I think.”
Baird: “Forty-one?” His voice cracks. Then he repeats himself, but much louder–as if he cannot believe it. “Forty one! Miss Fiona, this Watson is old enough to be yourrr fatherrr!”
Fanny: “I suppose. But I never had a father–at least, not that I remember. I was little when he died. And then we were poor for many years until Johnny became Assistant Manager at Marlborough Mills twelve years ago and then Master ten years ago.” Fanny’s countenance becomes less cheerful and and she begins to tear up [(8) right].
For Fanny has never been told–nor will they ever tell her–the real story behind her father’s death. It was a business partner who swindled her father–and he killed himself for the shame of losing all of his money, leaving his young wife to cope with their little girl Fanny and their teen aged son John all by herself.
Baird: “I am sorry, Miss Fiona.” For Baird has heard the full story about the Thornton tragedy from his father, Dr. Ogilvy.
Fanny: “I will never be poor again.” She states stridently. “I was only four years old, but I remember being hungry and dirty and I had only rags for clothes. And Johnny had to work so hard all the time, and Mother cried and cried. Nothing I said or did comforted her.” Then she says softly. “She pushed me away. Only Johnny loved me. But he had to work such long hours to support us, that I had no one I could turn to.”
Fanny has become agitated and teary eyed. Baird has never seen this side of Fanny before–beyond the glossy beauty that she presents to everyone else. She has suffered grievously. He realizes that she has hidden depths that few give her credit for. Baird gently takes her hand in his and squeezes it gently.
Baird: “Miss Fiona, I am sorrry for the pain that you endurrred as a child. Harrrdship shapes a perrrson’s futurrre life. You eitherrr come out strongerrr as a perrrson, or you arrre bitterrr forrr yourrr whole life. I urrrge you to see that you arrre a strrrong perrrson.”
Fanny: “Thank you, Baird.” Fanny sniffles and dabs her teary eyes dry. “Mother and John never want to talk about that time in our lives. They say that it is behind us and best forgotten. They think that I don’t know what happened when father died. But I do.” Baird holds his breath. But Fanny’s truth is still lacking the full understanding about her father’s death. “We lost everything, money, position, friends, and family. No one wants you when you don’t have money. No one would take us in or help us.” She gazes at him sorrowfully, still not understanding why everyone shunned them.
Baird: “If you had been my family or my frrriend, I would have taken you in and helped you.”
Fanny: “Truly? You would do that? Befriend the friendless?”
Baird: “Aye. Forrr none of us know what may befall us. So it behooves us to help each otherrr.”
Fanny: “That is quite profound. Did a philosopher say that?”
Baird: “You could say that. It is frrrom something me own motherrr used to rrread to me when I was a boy. It is frrrom the Serrrmon on the Mount [(9)].” Then Baird adopts his uppercrust English accent with a deeply hushed tone of voice with an undercurrent of vibrating strength as Baird [(10) right] gazes tenderly at Fanny. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs will be the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the Earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful …”
Fanny: “For they will be shown mercy.” Fanny finishes the phrase softly. “Yes, my mother reads the bible out to us quite often. My mind wanders most of the time.” Fanny admits sheepishly as she shrugs her shoulders. “But those words have stuck with me as well.”
Fanny smiles wanly at Baird. It is the first time that she has really spoken about her pain to anyone. And it is the first time that anyone has truly listened to her. Baird and Fanny sit in companionable silence for several minutes– smiling at each other in friendship–neither feeling the need to say anything more because all has been said between them for now. Their acquaintanceship is growing into a relationship. They are still holding hands–with Baird gently stroking the back of Fanny’s hand with his thumb–when they are joined a few moments later by others.
With their children all napping in the Shaw-Lennox nursery under watchful nannies–and their husbands chatting in Maxwell’s study–Edith takes Angharad on a tour of her home, ending up in the parlor. Walking in the open parlor door, Edith and Angharad see Baird and Fanny sitting quietly together.
Edith: “There you two are.” She says brightly.
Baird and Fanny turn to see Edith and Angharad and out of courtesy they stand up from the sette. But Baird still gently clasps Fanny’s hand in his hand in support.
Fanny: “Yes Edith. We were waiting for you.” Fanny smiles pleasantly, putting on her mask of placid cheerfulness again.
Angharad: Noticing her brother’s calm and somewhat subdued demeanor, she asks him. “Bairrrd, are you feeling alrrright? You look a bit pale.”
Baird: Baird is loathe to breech Fanny’s confidence. “It is nothing, Angharrrad. Miss Fanny and I werrre chatting pleasantly after she kindly gave me a tourrr of this lovely home.” He replies discreetly and graciously. Fanny smiles at him.
Edith: “Thank you.” She smiles for his compliment about their home. “Mother and the Hales are awake and Mother will be down to preside over tea shortly.”
Fanny: “I … we look forward to it.” Fanny amends her comment as she loops her arm around Baird’s offered arm.
They all go on to have a lovely tea–sans children who are still napping with their nannies nearby. Ultimately, Fanny and Baird’s meeting is quite pleasant and familial with only close family present. So much so that when Aunt Shaw reminds Baird of their dinner invitation to him for next week, that he is now pleased to accept since his court case is over and successfully won. And Fanny and Baird say farewell without disappointment–because they know that they will meet again in the coming week.
To be continued with Chapter 21
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 20 References, January 17, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #502)
1) “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” story logo: Richard Armitageas John Thornton and Daniela Denby-Ashe in the 2004 BBC period drama North & South, was found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode3/ns3-110.jpg ; For more information about this wonderful 2004 BBC miniseries adaptation of Elizabeth’s Gaskell’s story North & South, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_&_South_%28TV_serial%29
2) Image representing Angharad Ogilvy MacIntosh is Holliday Grainger found at http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=56164387
3) Baird Ogilvy image (crop, sized, drkn) is Simon Woods as Charles Bingley in the 2005 film Pride and Prejudice found at reginajeffers.wordpress.com at http://reginajeffers.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/pride-and-prejudice-91.jpg
4) Fanny is Jo Joyner in the BBC’s 2004 drama North & South epi1 (11h05m20s182) Jan1114 Gratiana LovelaceCap-crop-brt
5) The Scottish name Fiona means “fair”. For more information, visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiona
6) Baird Ogilvy image (masked background, sized) is Simon Woods as Charles Bingley in the 2005 film Pride and Prejudice found at http://image.hotdog.hu/user/Angelinna/magazin/Pride-and-Prejudice-2005-pride-and-prejudice-2005-32212524-264-400.jpg
8) Fanny is Jo Joyner in the BBC’s 2004 drama North & South epi1 (11h04m01s166) Jan1214 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-crop-brt
9) The Beatitudes from the Sermon on the mount (full passage is Matthew 5: 3-12) were found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatitudes
10) Baird Ogilvy image (aspect, sized, drkn) is Simon Woods as Charles Bingley in the 2005 film Pride and Prejudice found at fanpop.com http://images5.fanpop.com/image/photos/25000000/Mr-Bingley-pride-and-prejudice-men-25086484-200-200.jpg
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