“North & South: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 23: Unexpected Complications, January 25, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #506)

“North & South:  John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 23:  Unexpected Complications,   January 25, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace  (Post #506)

aaaN&SJohnThorntonLoveLessonsFanFicCoverDec2913GratianaLovelace-256x401(An original fan fiction copyrighted 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 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, John Light as Henry Lennox, and Tim Faraday as Watson, 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:  Mrs. Shaw’s farewell dinner soiree for her sister Maria and brother-in-law Richard Hale and Fanny Thornton had some exciting and tense moments.  But after Maxwell Lennox jettisoned his brother Henry and forbade him from making false attentions toward Fanny, the evening ended on a lovely musical note.  The remainder of the weekend was a whirlwind of engagements between Fanny Thornton and Baird Ogilvy–culminating in their bethrothal Sunday afternoon , the day before she is to return home to Milton with the Hales. What with their whirlwind courtship, Fanny and Baird will have to seek their families’ approval–with some unexpected complications.

“North & South:  John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 23–Unexpected Complications

After  secretly becoming engaged Sunday afternoon at his sister Angharad’s home on January 19th–they did not reveal to Anghard the change in their status–Baird Ogilvy and Fanny Thornton agreed to keep their engagement secret until both his father Dr. Cameron Ogilvy and her brother John Thornton have given their blessings and approvals.  Though Baird is twenty eight years old, his father Dr. Ogilvy needs to approve because as the current Earl of Airlie, marriages that affect the succession must receive approval from Lord Airlie, Dr. Ogilvy.  However, Baird is fairly confident that with his father encouraging him to meet Fanny Thornton while she was in London, that his father will approve.

For an entirely different reason, John Thornton needs to approve of the engagement because he is his sister Fanny’s legal guardian until she reaches twenty-five years–and she is only just twenty years now.  So she is under the age of consent to enter into a betrothal on her own.  And given that Fanny had been informally courted by another mill owner, Mr. Watson, there will need to be the inevitable breaking of the news to that gentleman–that will undoubtedly fall to John.  Fanny’s only concern is that John might think her flighty or hasty in attaching herself to Baird Ogilvy after so short an acquaintance.  John’s concern would be for Baird, not for Fanny–in terms of Baird understanding what taking Fanny on as a wife will really mean.  For John still has a older brother’s outlook about his little sister.

It has been just three weeks since Fanny and Baird became acquainted with each other–twenty one days.  And in that time, they have met on roughly a dozen occasions of differing levels of formality and intimacy.  They have had heart to heart talks with each other–revealing the depths of their feelings and their inner joys and sorrows.  And, they have enjoyed many activities together.  So they feel that they are making a wise choice for themselves in agreeing to marry.  They just have to convince their families of that.

Fanny returns home to Milton on Monday, January 20th by train with Mr. and Mrs.  Hale—-with six new dresses and all of their accessories, including hats, shoes, shawls, reticules, petticoats, and such.  Fanny has quite exceeded her traveling  trunks’ abilities to house her wardrobe–so she had to buy another trunk.   But they are not alone on their sojourn to Milton.   And Baird Ogilvy who decided hastily that he should visit his father for a few days–because he could not bear to be parted from Fanny, and because he felt that his requests to his father and to John Thornton for Fanny’s hand in marriage would be best handled in person, rather than through a letter.

Mr. Hale tries to keep the several hour train trip pleasant by engaging Fanny in relating her London exploits to them.  Fanny is never so much more agreeable than when she has a rapt audience.  Not surprisingly, Baird becomes a little tired of Fanny’s seemingly endless chatter rehashing all that they did together in London and he tries to engage her in other topics–with no success.  Baird thinks that Fanny is almost seeming to revert to the old Fanny that he first met–the spoilt woman–as they get closer to Milton.  There is some truth to that.  For when Fanny was taken out of her environment of Milton and placed in London society, she remade herself–or perhaps she let her true self shine through.  Though what Baird does not realize is that on Fanny’s trip to London, she had entertained Mr. Hale with her conversation–and she is attempting to entertain Mr. Hale again as they return to Milton.  Fanny likes Mr. Hale–because he really listens to her.  And happily, Mr. Hale enjoys Fanny’s lively conversation.

However, Baird also welcomes visiting Milton because he hasn’t seen his father in a while and he wishes to discuss th present delicate matter with him.   Baird realizes that he might be asked to court Fanny Thornton formally first, before and engagement is agreed to.  ,But Baird wonders about the long distance nature of his courting Fanny since he will have to return to London soon for his clients, while she stays in Milton.  He thinks that it would be much more agreeable for them to marry soon and he take her back to London with him.  Baird is nothing, if not, decisive.  But Baird also wonders about the propriety of him courting and become engaged to Fanny since his father’s intentions toward her mother are to marry, though nought has been solemnized yet with the wedding still looming in March.

When they arrive at Milton’s train station, Baird makes his excuses to Fanny and  the Hales for parting company with them.  And by prior arrangement with Fanny, Baird heads straight for his father’s home and medical practice–while she goes home to Thornton Manor to await him visiting her later in the day.     Fanny and Baird each hope to apprise their families today of their changed relationship–and receive approval to marry, or at least to court and set a wedding date.

Walking in the front door of Dr. Cameron Ogilvy’s medical offices–without prior warning to his father, and seeing no one abou– Baird calls out.

Baird: “Fatherrr.  I have come to see ye.” Baird notices the slight echo of his voice in the empty foyer.

Dr. Cameron Ogilvy having finished with his last scheduled patient and house calls an hour ago, he had already changed into a casual but warm knitted sweater to write up his patient records DrOgilvy-isGrahamMcTavishinInterview-Jan0514torn-sized-brtmedical notes.  And, of course, Dr. Ogilvy will change into a suit again to take tea with his betrothed  Hannah Thornton at Thornton Manor in two hours.  Upon hearing his son’s voice when Baird arrives, Dr. Ogilvy excitedly [(2) right] bounds from behind his desk toward the hallway.  Peeking his head out of his office door, Dr. Ogilvy spies his son standing in the foyer and smiles joyfully.   It has been several months since he has been with his only son and heir.

Dr. Ogilvy: “Ach!  Laddie!”  Cameron’s arms go wide and he rushes to his son and gives him a big bear hug.  “What arrre ye doing herrre?”

Baird:  “Fatherrr.”  He whines while compressed in his father’s bear hug.  “I am not six years old any morrre.”

Dr. Ogilvy: “No ye arrre not.  But ye will always be me little laddie who peed into his kilt at the highland games because he did na want to miss anything.”  He pats his son’s face aBairdOgilvy-isSimonWoods-asBingley-in2005Pride-and-Prejudice-91Dec2713reginajefferswpcom-crop-sized-drkns Baird rolls his eyes and groans.

Baird: “Fatherrr!   Please do na rrrepeat that to anyone.  I was but a wee lad then.”  Baird pleads embarrassedly [(3) right].

Dr. Ogilvy:  “Ye were twelve!  Could ye na have found a nearby trrree or shrrrub?” Dr. Ogilvy smiles mirthfully.

Baird: “I was eight, Fatherrr.”  Baird counters.  “And people kept running me on errands–and I could na get away to find a tree, or shrub.”  He pouts.

Dr. Ogilvy:  Then Dr. Ogilvy smirks. “Soiled kilts aside, to what do I owe this rrrarrre pleasurrre of having ye visit me in Milton?  Orrr, am I merrrely a collaterrral affinity?”

Baird: “Papa!”  Baird reverts to his childhood form of address for his father.  “I always want to see you.”

Dr. Ogilvy:  “Aye.  But I suspect that a cerrrtain bonnie lassie with blond rrringlet currrls might have caught yourrr fancy.”  Dr. Ogilvy grins broadly at his son.

Baird:  “Oh Papa, I am smitten with Miss Fiona.” Baird sighs and shakes his head in disbelief.  “I have neverrr felt like this beforrre.”  Though Baird had been in a few consensual relationships over the years with much older women than his twenty eight years–of thirty five years–neither relationship was going to lead to marriage–which he and the ladies in question each time knew.  “Miss Fiona has captured my hearrrt!”

Dr. Ogilvy: He blinks in confusion.  “Fiona? I thought Angharad intimated in her letterrrr that ye liked the Thorrrnton gerrril?”

Baird: “Angharrrad wrote to you?” His father nods.  “Well, Fiona is Miss Fanny’s given name–after herrr Scottish grrrandmotherrr.   She is perrrfect!”

Dr. Ogilvy:  “Perrrfect is she?”  Dr. Ogilvy thinks that assessment strains credulity–for he is aware of Fanny Thornton’s somewhat spoilt disposition.

Baird:   “Aye!   These past thrrree weeks of my getting to know herrr have been a rrrevelation!”

Dr. Ogilvy: “I see.  And how does the Lassie feel about you?”  Dr. Ogilvy bemusedly looks at his son.

Baird:  Then Baird decides to back peddle, to lead up more slowly to telling his father about his and Fiona’s engagement.   “I think she likes me.  We have sharrred some lovely moments together.”

Dr. Ogilvy: “Ach!  Ye have na comprrromised herrr, have ye?” Dr. Ogilvy looks at his son aghast.

Baird:  “Nay, Fatherrr!  Nay!  What I mean to say is that Miss Fiona and I have sharrred our deepest thoughts with each otherrr.  She is a tenderrr soul who has experrrienced much pain in herrr young life.”

Dr. Ogilvy: “So!   Fanny told ye of she and her motherrr being locked in a mill building with a madman threatening to burn them up last October?”

Baird:   Shock registers fully on Baird Ogilvy’s face.  “My god, Papa!   No, she did not!   What happened?”

Dr. Ogilvy: “It was a sacked and disgrrruntled employee who starrrted the firrres.   But due to quick thinking by John, his then fiancé Margaret, and with severrral mill workers’ help,  the fires were put out and they werrre rrrescued.” Dr. Ogilvy shivers at the thought that he might have lost his Hannah if things had turned out differently.  “But Fanny went into shock frrrom the fearrr and she withdrrrew into herrrself.  It took us a full 24 hourrrs to finally coax herrr back into inhabiting the worrrld again and back to her old cheerful self.”

Baird: “Oh me poorrr dearrr Fiona!”  Baird puts his hand to his cheek in shock.

Dr. Ogilvy: “Bairrrd, Miss Fanny is na yourrr dearrr Fiona yet.  Beforrre she went to London, one of the other mill ownerrrs named Watson had been paying his addrrresses to herrr.  One might almost say that werrre courrrting.”

Baird: “Fiona has told me of him.”  Baird nods his head.  “And that he is old enough to be her fatherrr.”  Baird shakes his head at the scandalous notion.  “Frrrom what I am given to underrrstand, Fiona only seemed to allow his attentions because no one else was suitable–and her motherrr had suggested him.”

Dr. Ogilvy: “And you believe yourrrself to be morrre suitable, me lad?”

Baird: “I do.   I love her!  She has already accepted my proposal.   And we ask for your blessing.”  Baird blurts it out.

Dr.Ogilvy:  “Ach!  Do ye now?”  He looks at his son with astonishment.  Not only has Baird never shown interest in a young lady to court nor had he considered marriage before–but Baird has often seemed a tad dispassionate about life in general to his father.  Obviously, fathers do not know all that their son’s are about.

Baird:  “I should go to herrr now!”  Baird appeals passionately.

Dr. Ogilvy: Clamping his strong hand on his son’s shoulder, Dr. Ogilvy stays his movement.  “Nay!  Give the Lasssie time to grrreet herrr motherrr and brrrotherrr and settle back into home life.  I am expected to tea at Thornton Manor later today with my betrothed, Hannah Thornton–and you may join me then.”

Baird:  “But …” Baird sputters.

Dr. Ogilvy: “Nay!  If this is love, two hourrrs will na harrrm it.”

Seeing the wisdom in his father’s counsel, Baird relents and settles into a guest room in his father’s home and freshens up.  Then he lies down for a nap and dreams of Fiona.


When Baird parted company with the Hales and Fanny Thornton at the Milton train station soon after they arrived, the Hales hired a  carriage to  first take Fanny home to Marlborough Mills.  They also want to see their daughter Margaret, whom they have not seen for nearly two weeks.  Belying her usual disdain for all things in Milton, Fanny bounds up the front steps to Thornton Manor and bursts into the second floor foyer adjacent to the parlor.

Fanny: “I’m home!”  Fanny squeals in a sing-songy voice.

Maid Sarah:  Maid Sarah curtsies and takes Miss Fanny’s coat, hat, and gloves.  “Your brother and Mrs. Margaret are in the parlor.  Your mother is upstairs in your old bedchamber with little Lissa.

Fanny: “Thank you, Sarah!”

Fanny smiles warmly to their servant and she sashays into the parlor even as the Hales Fanny-isJoJoyner-inNorth&South-epi1-11h06m00s79-Jan1214GratianaLovelaceCap-crop-manip-sized-brt-manipmake their slow ascent up the Thornton Manor steps.  Fanny is glowing [(4) right] with being a secretly engaged woman to the handsome, charming, kind, and tender Baird Ogilvy.

John:   After hearing the commotion in the foyer, John stands upon seeing his sister enter the room.  “Fanny!”  He smiles and opens his arms wide.  Fanny rushes into her brother’s arms.

Fanny: “Oh Johnny, London was wonderful!” Fanny gushes.  “But I am ever so glad to be home!” Fanny twirls around excitedly–her billowing skirts from her new frock nearly knocks over a plant stand.

John: “And we are glad to have you home.  Aren’t we Margaret?”  He smiles wryly at his wife.

Their peaceful idyll is at an end with Fanny home, but Margaret smiles serenely and stands to embrace her sister-in-law.

Margaret: “We did not expect you to stay away so long, Fanny. So you must have had a good time.” She and Fanny also kiss cheeks.

Fanny: “I did, Margaret.  I really did!”  She beams.  “I can’t wait to tell Mother all about it.  Ha ha ha!” She giggles.   Then Fanny pauses with a quizzical look on her face.  “Sarah said that Mother was upstairs in my old room with someone named Lissa?  Who is that again?” She asks curiously.  For John had not gone into detail for his reasons for returning to Milton so soon.

Margaret: “You remember, Fanny.  I wrote you about the little girl that Mother is taking care of.”

Fanny:  “Oh, that’s right.  I guess I forgot.” She shakes her head amusingly.  “I was so busy in London.”

John: “Yes Fanny.  Lissa Dillard is a four year old mill worker who was injured and broke her arm because a weaver purposely hit her with a flying shuttle.”  John frowns.

Fanny: “That is so awful.  I could not believe it when Margaret wrote to me about it.”  She sighs, covering her mouth with her hands in shock.  “Why would anyone hurt a child?  They are so dear.”  Fanny worries.

John and Margaret exchange surprised looks that Fanny would express something so caring about someone she did not know.

Margaret:  “It was terrible.  So Mother took in Lissa to care for her while she is healing.  And we also have two other Dillard children who visit during the day to keep their sister, Lissa, company.”

Fanny: “Oh my?   Is Mother running a boarding house for poor children?   Ha ha ha!”  Fanny meant to be lightly facetious, but Fanny’s brother took her literally to mean that she did not approve of the arrangement.

John:  “It is nothing to make light of, Fanny!”  John admonishes his sister a bit more sternly than perhaps he needs to.   But then, old habits do not easily fade away.  “These children are guests in our home and will be treated accordingly.

Fanny:   Chastened, Fanny apologizes immediately.  “Of course, Johnny.  I didn’t mean to disparage them.  I was just trying to be cheerful.” She pouts.

Fanny is back at home not five minutes and her brother finds fault with her.  Fanny wonders why he does so, when it was so delightful for her that no one found her wanting during her stay in London.   Margaret clasps Fanny’s hand in hers and they share a sisterly look.  Then Margaret shoots a warning glance at her husband, John–who raises his eyebrow at his wife’s solidarity with his sister, Fanny.

The Hales slowly walk into the Thornton Manor parlor.  Mr. Hale helps his wife to a chair, Mr-and-MrsHaleinBBC2004North&SouthDec2813panhistoria3-sized-brtthen sits near her [(5) right]. Margaret rushes to their sides and kisses each of them eagerly.  Fanny fades into a quiet corner and sits down on a parlor chair as she looks contritely at her clasped hands in her lap.

Margaret: “Mother, Father.  It is so good to see you again.  I hope you will stay and join us for tea later.”

Mrs. Hale:  She sighs and pats her daughter’s face.  “Thank you, Margaret Dear.  But we will have to stay for tea another time.  Or you could come to us tomorrow for tea?  It has been a long journey home today and I am very tired.  But we wanted to see you before we return home to Crampton.”

Mr. Hale:   “Your Mother insisted we stop here first, Margaret Dear.  You look well, Margaret.”  He smiles at her hopefully.  “As do you John.”  They shake hands

John:  “Thank you, Sir.”

With her mother continuing to gaze at her hopefully as well, Margaret understands their questioning hopeful glances.

Margaret:  “I am not with child, yet.”  Margaret sighs sotto voce as she shrugs her shoulders a bit defeatedly, since she feels that her counting must be off and her courses will surely come upon the morrow–proving her guess wrong.  With everyone around her seeming to have babies–Edith Lennox and Anghard MacIntosh each having six month old baby girls and toddler boys–Margaret feels left out.

Mr. Hale:  “Ah!   Well, we thought that your returning to Milton earlier than planned might have had an agreeable reason?”  He smiles.

John: “Our early return was–as I said at the time–due to there being several mill issues that needed my attention.”

John states benignly as he pulls Margaret to his side, and he places a protective arm around her as he kisses her forehead.  He is also disappointed that they have no baby news yet.  But then, they have only been married not quite three months. Fanny stands up and walks over to join them.

Fanny:  Clasping Margaret’s hand in hers, Fanny soothes.  “Do not worry, Margaret.  You will have babies soon.  I know it!  And then, I will be an aunt!”

Fanny smiles gleefully back and forth between her brother and her sister-in-law.  Of course, being a sheltered and carefully brought up young lady, Fanny has no idea to what she is referring–in terms of how the babies come into being–nor why John and Margaret both blush at her remark.

And John takes note that yet again, an intentional caring remark has slipped out of Fanny’s mouth.  John feels that maybe he was too hasty to chide Fanny about the Dillard children remark of hers earlier.  She was merely stating her surprise at the situation that they have all had several weeks to accustom themselves to.  Such compassion in Fanny was just beginning to surface in London before John and Margaret had to return home to Milton.  So, it remains to be seen if returning to her Milton environment will impact Fanny’s behavior favorably ornot.

Maid Sarah walks into the Parlor and curtsies.

Maid Sarah:  “There is a gentleman to see Miss Fanny.”

Fanny:  “Baird?”

John and Margaret exchange astonished looks about Fanny’s eagerness to see Baird Ogilvy again–especially since they have no notion that he is in town, let alone that Baird traveled home to Milton with Fanny and the Hales.  Fanny turns toward the parlor door with a hopeful smile upon her face, only to see her frequent suitor Watson walking into the parlor and standing before her.  Her face falls.

Watson:  Striding toward Fanny with a broad smile on his face, Watson takes her limp hand in his and kisses it before she can hide her shock. “Miss Fanny!   You look lovely as always–and fresh as a daisy.”

Watson is beyond cheerful, for he has indeed convinced the banker Lattimer to sell him John’s mill loan–though has yet to finalize the transaction.  And Watson feels certain that Miss Fanny will look kindly upon his interest in her brother.  However, Fanny’s demeanor is considerably less cheerful at Watson’s presence, than he is at her presence.  Fanny having enjoyed getting know Baird Ogilvy in London has quite changed her outlook on courting and marriage–and Mr. Watson has no place in her future plans any more.  But she musters her manners and replies to him courteously.

Fanny: “Thank you, Mr. Watson.”  She gracefully retrieves her hand and lowers her eyes in embarrassment for this slightly awkward situation.

Watson:  “Oh my darling girl.  No need to be formal, when we are on friendly terms already and you call me Watson.”  He is getting ahead of himself.

There is an awkward pause amongst those in the parlor because Watson is an unexpected and unhoped for caller.

Fanny:  Feeling quite uncomfortable with the situation, Fanny looks at her brother John pleadingly and he nods to her.  “If you will excuse me Watson and everyone, I will go upstairs and greet Mama.  It has been so long since I saw her.  Thank you for stopping by, Mr.  … Watson.”

Watson: “Of course.”  Watson hands Fanny a sealed letter and says in his most gallant voice.  “I would be honored if you would please read this.”

Fanny looks at Watson quizzically, but she silently takes the sealed letter from him, nods, and then she walks slowly out of the parlor and she walks upstairs to see her mother.  Margaret’s gaze trails after her sister-in-law, wondering about the drastic change in Fanny in just the few moments since she returned home–from giddy cheerfulness to a quiet and reticent demeanor when Watson entered the parlor.

Watson: “Well, that is nice. Daughters should always show their mothers respect.”  Watson says to smooth over Fanny having left the parlor without much of a farewell.  Then he turns to John.  “Thornton?  Might I have a word?”

John: “Of course, Watson.  We will leave Margaret to chat with her parents, while we go into my study.”  John smiles and nods at his wife and she nods in kind.  “Mr. and Mrs. Hale?  Margaret and I will enjoy seeing you for tea at your home tomorrow.”

Mrs. Hale:  “We look forward to it.”  She replies tiredly but cordially.


John ushers Watson into his study down the hallway and sits behind his desk while motioning for Watson to take a chair in front of him.    John always feels in command of his domain here in his private study.  However, he will soon find out otherwise.

John: “Watson, you indicated that you wanted to discuss something with me?”

Watson: “It is really to make an announcement, Thornton.”

John: “Oh?”  John looks upon Watson with concern.
Watson:   “As you may have surmised, the letter that I gave Miss Fanny contains within it my marriage proposal to her.”   For in that day, a written declaration of affection and wish to marry often preceded their in person proposal request.  Watson looks very pleased with himself [(6) right].

John:  Nodding his head to hide his displeasure, John replies benignly.  “Yes, I had guessed as much.”

Watson: “I hope that Miss Fanny will let me know her answer soon–so that we can be married yet this month, and so that I can finalize a business arrangement that I have ventured to make on her behalf.”

John: “A business arrangement on her behalf?  Fanny has no head for business that I know of.  And she can always come to me if she has a question about her dress allocation. You see, I put her on a budget when Margaret and I were married.  It did not seem fair for Margaret to have a budget, when Fanny did not.”  John shrugs his shoulders sheepishly, a little embarrassed to relate a private family concern.

Watson: “Oh!  This has nothing to do with dresses.  It has to do with your mill.”John-isRichardArmitage-inNorth&South-epi1-10h59m57s35-Jan1214GratianaLovelaceCap-crop-size-brt-2

John: “My mill?  Whatever could you have to do with my mill?”  John asks disdainfully [(7) right].  John is getting annoyed with Watson and wishes that he would just come to the point.

Watson: “Oh didn’t I say?  As a wedding present for my future bride, I thought that she might appreciate me helping you out.”

John: “Helping me out?”  John asks incredulously–becoming increasingly more perturbed with Watson’s drawing out of what he wants to say.  “And just how do you propose to do that?”  John says evenly, but with barely controlled umbrage.

Watson:  “By my buying your large bank loan from Lattimer.” John’s eyes widen and he is mute with shock.  “Lattimer said that you still owed 1,000 pounds outstanding–it being the largest non-collateralized loan that he had ever made to anyone.  So I suggested that I take the loan off of his hands.  When Fanny and I are married, I intend to forgive the debt as a wedding present to her–since we will be family then.”

John: “My god!”  John thunders and stands up from his chair behind his desk.

Watson: Watson holds up his hand. “Now now, Thornton. I realize that you are a proud man and that you might still wish to  repay the remainder of your loan.  So if you prefer to repay me over time in smaller easier to handle installments for you, that would be agreeable.  Or you can repay me in a lump sum, if you wish.”

Watson’s suggestions drip with condescension.  And of course, Watson is portraying his purchase of John’s bank loan as a completed transaction–when it is not, yet.

John:   “Watson, you have no right to meddle in my business affairs!  Nor does Lattimer have the right to change the terms of my loan–such as selling it to you–without consulting me first!”  John is livid and rightly so.

Watson:  “Oh no?  Lattimer thought it a fine idea–freed up capital for him to invest elsewhere.”  Watson is very pleased with himself at this moment.

John’s eyes narrow, realizing the thinly veiled extortion that Watson is perpetrating by purchasing his bank loan.

John:  “And you have put all this into your letter of marriage proposal to Fanny?”  John asks with a sense of foreboding.

Watson: “I have.”  Watson smiles cheerfully.  “For she will no doubt think kindly of me for it.  And I do want to please her.”

John: “And if she chooses not to marry you?”  John asks with trepidation.

Watson: Watson frowns.  “I do not think that is likely.  We have been keeping company for several months.  And she has given me every indication that she accepts my suit of her.”  Now Watson becomes agitated.

John:  “I would not count your chickens before they are hatched, Watson.”  [(8)]  John removes his suit coat to get more comfortable–his informality of dress being a symbolic slight to Watson.

Watson: “What do you mean by that?”  Watson fairly spits out the words.

John: “Only this.  Though I would not breach Fanny’s confidence, I feel that it is incumbent upon me as her elder brother to let you know that Fanny met someone in London whom she likes very much. And that gentleman also likes her.”  As of yet, John has no inkling that Baird and Fanny’s relationship has progressed to courting–let alone, an actual engagement. But John is hoping to steer Watson away from Fanny.

Watson:  Now Watson jumps up from his chair.  “No!  Miss Fanny is mine!”  He fumes.

John:  “With respect, Watson, my sister does not belong to anyone but to herself.  She is not chattle to be bargained with.”  John retorts disdainfully.  Of course John’s view of his sister, Fanny’s, rights might be said to be progressive for 1851.  But John loves his little sister and wants her to be happy.

Watson:  “Well you had better hope that Miss Fanny agrees to my marriage proposal or I will call your loan in now!  With all of your mill worker improvement expenditures …”  He says derisively.  “… I doubt that you can afford to repay the entire sum just now.”

John: “That is blackmail!   If we lived in another age, I would call you out to duel for that.”

Watson: “Oh Thornton?  Adding attempted murder to malfeasance of funds?”  Watson verbally jabs, knowing of John’s father’s tale of being swindled–and the results of that.

John:  “Get out!   Get out out of my house!”  John seethes, his fists balled at his sides to prevent him from pummeling Watson to a bloody pulp.

Watson:  Walking toward the door to the hallway, Watson turns back to John and says menacingly.  “Think carefully what you do next Thornton.  Your livelihood and your family depend upon it.”

Watson exits John’s study nearly colliding with Margaret who after saying farewell to her parents had come to see what the shouting in her husband’s study was about.

Margaret: “Oh excuse me, Mr. Watson.”  She says politely–though she dislikes Watson as much as John does.  “Good day.”

Watson: “We’ll see about that!”  He hisses.  “Good day to you, Mrs. Thornton.”

Then Watson walks quickly away from her, through the foyer, and out the Thornton Manor front door–almost before Maid Sarah could get it opened for him and return his hat to him.


Margaret rushes into John’s study to make certain that he is alright as she embraces him.

Margaret: “John?   What is wrong?  What happened?”  She looks up at him worriedly.

Silently, John gathers Margaret to him, and he holds his wife for several moments as he contemplates what to say.  She is his refuge from life’s cares.  And he would do anything not to burden her.  But their relationship is built on honesty–honesty being a characteristic he purposely adopts due to his father’s lack of honesty in not sharing his troubles with John’s mother–in good times and in bad times.  And this is a very bad time.

John: He shakes his head and sighs.  “Hhhhh!  I should never have taken out such a large loan for the worker improvements.”

Margaret: “Oh John, your heart is in the right place!”

John: “But I knew it was risky, and yet I gambled money that we don’t have to lose.  Everything must fall into place just so for it to succeed.” John’s face pales at the realization that history is repeating itself–with him now being swindled by Watson as his father was by his business associate years ago.  “The sins of the father are revisited upon his son.”

Margaret: Reaching up to take John’s face in both of her hands, Margaret calmly looks at her husband.  “John, you are not your father.”  But Margaret’s heart is racing, worried that John will feel such a crushing burden that he will fall into despair, as his father did.John-isRichardArmitage-inNorth&South-22h46m08s1-Dec2813GratianaLovelaceCap-crop-manip-sized-brt

John nods, then sits in his desk chair and absentmindedly picks up a paper on it to have something to do with his hands.  Then he adds, not bearing to look at Margaret directly because what he must tell  her is so grievous [(9) right].

John:   “But Margaret, you will not believe what Watson has done.”  John shakes his head uncomprehendingly.Margaret-isDanielaDenby-Ashe-inNorth&South-11h15m45s37-Jan1214GratianaLovelaceCap-crop-sized-brt2

Margaret:  “Tell me.”  She resolutely gazes at her husband with a calm born of her deep love for him [(10) right]–and for their child that she hopes that she might be carrying, if her monthly courses do not come next month as well.

John sits back in his desk chair and gazes longingly at his wife–trying to find the words to tell her of the predicament that he is in now.  Margaret walks forward and John takes her hand in his.  Then she impulsively sits upon John’s lap and nestles in to him, caressing his face as they hold each other.

John: “Hhhh!” John gasps for Margaret doing the one thing that he needs most, but would not ask of her–to feel her unwavering faith in him made manifest through her tender embrace of him.

John and Margaret sit in this cradling attitude of tender solicitude for several mintues as John gathers his thoughts and Margaret waits patiently for him to tell him what he must. Then with a heavy heart, John tells Margaret all about Watson buying his bank loan–John having the impression from Watson that the sale has occurred already.  Margaret is as shocked as John that the banker Lattimer would collude in such an underhanded scheme of deception.  She can only think that Lattimer was duped by Watson.  John hopes that it can somehow be undone.  Margaret urges John to stay focused and to consult with the banker Lattimer immediately.  And with Margaret’s soothing, John realizes that Watson is just a bombastic buffoon.  But Watson is a buffoon who could do much damage to John if he is not checked.  However John puts a brave face on it for Margaret–stating that he hopes that all will turn out well as they both stand up to head to the parlor again and await his mother and Fanny.

As anticipated, Watson has not taken the news well that his courtship of Fanny Thornton is likely at an end.  And he vows vengeance against Marlborough Mills–and against John Thornton–as Watson swiftly heads to speak with the banker Lattimer about moving up the loan sale legalities, so that he can take possession of the loan before John Thornton knows what hit him.   Watson’s plan is to force Thornton to sell his lease to him in order to repay the loan–thereby ending the Thornton cotton empire in Milton.

To be continued with Chapter 24

N&S:  JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 23 References, January 25, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #506)

1) “N&S:  John Thornton, Love Lessons” story logo:  Richard Armitage as 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)      Dr. Cameron Ogilvy  image is Graham McTavish in an interview with TORN’s Greendragon found at http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2014/01/04/86069-graham-mctavish-talks-exclusively-to-theonering-net/

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 Thornton is Jo Joyner in North & South epi1 (11h06m00s79) Jan1214 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-crop-manip-sized-brt-manip

5) 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

6) Watson is Tim Faraday in the 2004 BBC drama North & South, epi4 (22h57m01s143) Dec2814 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-crop-sized-brt

7) John Thornton  is Richard Armitage in North & South epi 1 (10h59m57s35) Jan1214 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-crop-size-brt-2

8) “Not counting your chickens before they’re hatched” is an old phrase meaning—don’t assume that you have everything accomplished before the task is even started.  For more information, please visit  http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/count-your-chickens.html

9) John  Thornton is Richard Armitage in North & South epi4 (22h46m08s1) Dec2813 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-crop-manip-sized-brt

10) Margaret  Thornton is Daniela Denby-Ashe in North & South (11h15m45s37) Jan1214 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-crop-sized-brt2

Link to Previous Ch. 22:


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
This entry was posted in "N&S: John Thornton Love Lessons", Creative Writing, Fan Fiction, John Thornton, Love and Relationships, North & South, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Romance and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to “North & South: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 23: Unexpected Complications, January 25, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #506)

  1. Jan. 25, 2014–Hi Crystal Chandlyre, Thanks for liking this post! WP seems to be slow in showing likes, but I received the notification. Thanks and Cheers! Grati ;->


  2. Jan.25, 2014–For those who prefer to read my stories on my Wattpad site, here is the link for Ch. 23:



  3. Kitty says:

    And the plot thickens! I love this evil twist.


    • Giggles, Kitty! Thanks for your nice note! I gotta throw a few “wrenches” into our three intertwining love stories–since real life is rarely “tidy”. Some more “wrenches” are coming up. Ha! Cheers! Grati ;->


  4. Pingback: “North & South: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 24 (PG-13): Tea for Two Becomes Fractured, January 27, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #507) | Something About Love (A)

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