“North & South: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 25 (PG-13): Watson Gets More than He Bargained For, January 31, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #509)
[I will illustrate my story using my dream cast from the 2004 BBC production of “North & South” and other actors for additional characters: 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, Tim Faraday as Watson, and Gillian Anderson at Carlotta Quint, 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: What with Watson trying to blackmail John Thornton by bluffing about purchasing John’s bank loan in hopes of making John force Fanny to marry him, it has been a busy Monday afternoon on January 20th for all concerned. However, John would not be moved by Watson’s blackmail. And Watson stormed out of Thornton Manor vowing revenge. However, Watson will find that today will be more his undoing, than John’s undoing. And Watson will finally be forced to keep his promises.
“North & South: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 25 (PG-13): Watson Gets More than he Bargained For
After Watson hurriedly left Thornton Manor in a vengeful huff on the early afternoon of Monday January 20th, 1851 after John Thornton rebuffed Watson’s thinly veiled blackmail about him marrying Fanny or calling Thornton’s loan–which Watson intimated that he already had procured from their shared banker Lattimer–Watson heads straight for Lattimer’s bank office to finalize the loan transfer transaction. But not finding Lattimer there as usual–the bank staff not being helpful as to Mr. Lattimer’s whereabouts–Watson proceeds to go on what ends up being a very wild goose chase in search of Lattimer to all of his usual haunts. Lattimer is not at the Financial Institution Council Association (FICA), nor at the cottage on the outskirts of town in the arms of his mistress, nor even at his home. But that should be a clue, because none of the Lattimer family are at home either. Where can that man be?
Watson is frustrated, stressed, and physically exhausted–not a good thing for a man of Watson’s age and girth. So needing some soothing, coddling, and pampering, Watson decides to finally visit his mistress after a long absence. Watson has situated his mistress in the nearby small town of Milton Woods–nestled in forested woods with a river running through it, and it is but five miles west of Milton. And this visit will prove to be Watson’s undoing–or perhaps the making of him.
Watson had moved the widowed Carlotta Quint from London to Milton Woods after their 9 month old baby girl Clementina, nicknamed Tina, was born–to be able to provide for them and to see his mistress and his child on a regular weekly basis. However Watson’s visits had lessened over the last four months as his courting of Fanny Thornton had increased–and he has not been in contact with his mistress for two months.
Initially, Carlotta suspected that she had a rival for Clarence Watson’s affections and interests–women have an intuition about such things. But she did not complain since he always provided for she and their daughter–if sometimes, as now, his support was delayed. And despite her Clarence’s seemingly waning attentiveness, Carlotta still holds out a small hope that Watson will marry her one day. Though Watson likes Carlotta well enough and is actually fond of her, she is not as socially connected a lady as he would like for his wife–though she is genteel, in terms of her breeding and her deportment. Carlotta was brought up a lady, and has only been brought down to her current penurious and marginally friendless state by her association with Watson
And with Carlotta at now thirty years to his forty one years, Watson feels that Carlotta is not as fresh and lively as she once was when he had met her at a London soiree three years ago when she was the recently widowed cousin of his hostess. Carlotta’s beauty and vivacity as a twenty seven year old then had attracted Watson’s eye. And after one year of secret courting, he finally won his prize–getting into her bed by promising her marriage, which never happened. It was only the inevitable 18 months ago when Clementina was conceived that spurred Carlotta to press her Clarence for more of a commitment.
So Watson moved Carlotta and their baby to the nearby village of Milton Woods nine months ago–establishing her story as a distant widowed cousin. Though several in the small town looked upon them knowingly, especially after seeing the adorable chubby cheeked baby Clementina side by side with her Uncle Watson and his chubby cheeks the few times that they might stroll together with her in the park. However, Mrs. Carlotta Quint’s lady like demeanor [(2) right] and kind heart caused her neighbors–for in a town of under 500 people, everyone knows everyone else–to behave themselves with regard to refraining from gossipping about her.
Hearing someone pounding at her small cottage door at midafternoon around 3 o’clock on Monday, January 20th, Carlotta Quint races to open it with a frown on her face.
Carlotta: “Be quiet! My baby is sleeping!” She pleads in a hushed voice as she opens the door. But upon seeing her love Clarence Watson at her door, Carlotta’s face brightens and her voice softens in delight. “Oh! It’s you Clarence. You have come back to us!” She gushes, her joy can not be contained . Then she graciously welcomes him. “Please come in. It has been so long since you last visited us!” She has been at her wits end with loneliness for him and worry that her credit with the grocer’s was becoming onerous.
Watson: “I know, Carlotta. My coming to visit you has been long delayed. I have had much to occupy my time.” He sighs as she takes his overcoat, hat, and suit coat and ushers him to sit in his large wing chair by the warm hearth in her small sitting room.
Carlotta: Sitting on his lap and embracing him, Carlotta begins to cry [(3) right]. Her resolve not to burden him with her troubles right away crumbles as she nestles her face into his neck seeking his solace and comfort. “It has been two months since you last visited us! I have been so worried that we would never see you again.”
Watson: “How much do you need?” He sighs as he reaches into his breast pocket for his wallet.
Carlotta: “My distress is not solely about money! I know that you will provide for us and bring our accounts current with the grocer and others so that we may purchase for our needs again.”
Watson: He looks at her wincingly–now noticing that she seems to have lost some weight. “Is it as bad as all that? Have they not let you buy food and supplies?” He asks her pointedly.
Carlotta: She says in a hushed voice. “No, they have let me buy some things, in a limited way–because I have the baby, and they know that you are always good about paying up our account.”
Watson looks about the small sitting room and notices that it looks to be missing some of the fine furniture that he had bought for Carlotta. She had had to sell it to gain some funds.
Watson: “But you had to sell the small dining table and four chairs set that I bought you?”
Carlotta does not look him in the eye when she replies to him, because she does not want him to see her distress.
Carlotta: She nods her head in mortification. “And last week, I had to give the grocer the lovely gold heart locket necklace that you gave me for my birthday until you pay him back–in order to buy some food stuffs.” Carlotta touches her bare neck where the small gold heart locket on a gold chain always resided with a lock of Watson’s hair in it. Then it all comes out. “And the only reason we have milk for the baby and wood for the fire for warmth and for cooking is that my neighbor Mrs. Pelican sends her boy over to chop wood for me now and then with a bottle of milk from their cow for Clementina–and I do some sewing for her.” Carlotta’s voice echoes the desperation that she feels.
Carlotta doesn’t want to take charity. But she swallows her pride to keep her daughter safe, and warm, and fed–despite her going without food sometimes, now that she is past nursing baby Clementina when Carlotta’s nourishment directly affected the baby’s.
Watson: “I’m sorry, Carlotta. I should have taken better care of the both of you.” Watson hangs his head in shame [(4) right]. For all his money and the power it gives him, Watson is just a man–and a very flawed man at that.
Carlotta: She lovingly caresses his face. “It is no matter, Clarence. You are here with us now and you will help us.” She smiles through her tears. “And you will be amazed what Clementina can do now when she awakens from her nap. She crawls in a straight line and she has several more teeth.”
Carlotta voices their daughter’s achievements proudly. For Carlotta, baby Clementina is her whole world–since Clarence has not visited them often of late. But she would so much like to have her Clarence be more a part of their lives–and they be more a part of his life.
Watson: “That’s nice.” He says woodenly.
But for him courting the most eligible Fanny Thornton–the Pearl of Milton–Watson might have been very happy with Carlotta as his wife. However, Watson feels that he has a position to uphold–and Carlotta has no dowry nor social position to give him. But with respect, Carlotta’s dowry had gone to her first husband–and her social position and any connections that she had disintegrated when she became Watson’s mistress.
Carlotta: Anxious to please him in the hope that he will one day make her his wife–thereby cementing his commitment to she and their child–Carlotta stands up from Watson’s lap and says shyly. “Clarence, please come see our daughter, Tina. She is sleeping in my bedroom.”
Carlotta gently pulls upon Watson’s arm and he stands and follows her into her bedroom. He knows what she is doing. It is their dance. For all of their sensual intimacies over the last three years, Carlotta always gives herself to him shyly–as the lady she was before Watson compromised her–as if he has swept her off her feet in a whirl of romance. Of course, Watson quite likes their little dance since it puffs up his ego to think that he is a romantic swain. So much so, it had given him the hubris to try for Fanny Thornton.
Watson stands with his arms around Carlotta at Clementina’s crib. And as proud parents, they gaze upon their sleeping baby daughter. Clementina has her mouth slightly open in sleep as her little hands clutch her soft blankie to her. And Clementina’s light reddish brown hair frames her face in wisps of straight strands that tickle her forehead, her cheeks, her ears, and her neck. Clementina’s rosie cheeks and happy face in sleep betoken a much loved and cherished daughter by Carlotta.
Watson: Then Watson says tenderly–in a fatherly way. “Tina is a darling little girl.”
Carlotta’s heart soars in hope that Watson will someday claim them as family and make her his wife and Clementina his real daughter. Watson smiles at Carlotta, then he leans down and kisses her gently. Carlotta clings lightly but needfully to her Clarence–as if he gives air to her lungs. One can only hope that Watson appreciates the devotion to him to which Carlotta has remained steadfast. They smile warmly at each other. Then Carlotta slowly helps Watson out of his vest and shirt and shoes and trousers down to his under garments, and she lovingly tucks him into her bed. She feels so wifely when she tends to him this way, it gives her heart joy.
Then Carlotta moves behind a standing screen and she discreetly removes her outer clothes until she is only wearing her once fine but now slightly worn linen slip, before she joins him in her bed. At first, they just cuddle together–her caressing his face, him stroking her hair, as they gaze lovingly at each other. They are a bit shy with each other, not having lain together for two months. But Watson’s professional business acumen is only exceeded by his personal appetites. And grateful for the crumbs of affection that he bestows upon her, Carlotta responds to her Clarence’s kisses as he becomes amorous–and they make love.
Sometime afterward–in the glow of feeling loved once more–Carlotta reveals her secret.
Carlotta: “Clarence, are you awake?” She asks as she plays with his few chests hairs peeking out of his undershirt as she snuggles up to him, her head lying upon his shoulder.
Watson: “Hmmm, barely.” He sighs and kisses her forehead, still with his eyes closed.
Carlotta: “I have something to tell you. I am happy, and I hope that you will also be happy.” Carlotta’s joy is more than their shared loving with each other.
Watson: “Happy? What about Carlotta?” Still he does not open his eyes more than half. Watson thinks that he might yet be able to go to sleep for an hour or two after his exertions before he must head back to Milton.
Carlotta: Leaning up on her elbow and gazing down at Watson, Carlotta guides his face to look at her and he fully opens his eyes. “Clarence, I am with child again. Dr. Ogilvy confirmed it last week.” She smiles joyfully.
Watson: “What?” He sits up jerkily in alarm. “You saw Ogilvy? Does he know about me?”
Dr. Ogilvy alternates visiting some of the small area villages each week, to see patients who are not able to travel to Milton to see him–including, visiting Milton Woods.
Carlotta: Carlotta’s face saddening for her Clarence not focusing on her happy baby news, Carlotta lies back down again and almost whispers her reply. “No. Dr. Ogilvy knows only that I have, that I have … someone … someone who cares for me.” Carlotta diverts her eyes, blushing for her out of wedlock pregnant condition–for she was a lady once, before she fell in love with Watson and he compromised her.
Watson: “That’s good he does not know!” He sighs in relief. “For his knowing would make my life impossible.”
Of course, Watson does not stop to think that Carlotta’s life is already impossible.
Carlotta: “Clarence, I love you. I want to give you a son. Are you not happy about the new baby?” She asks him earnestly.
Watson: “I am.” He smiles at her warmly. Then he looks distracted. “But this alters the situation.” Watson says vaguely looking past Carlotta–in reference to his unrevealed plans for taking control of Marlborough Mills and expanding his cotton manufacturing empire. But he is getting ahead of himself.
Carlotta: “Dr. Ogilvy says that I am only two months along at most. It must have been when we were together upon your last visit.” She blushes. “So if you and I marry right away, we can say that I delivered our baby boy early and he will have your name.” Carlotta has become quite pleading as she speaks to Watson–her situation is desperate, and she knows it. And she does not breathe while she awaits his response.
Watson looks at Carlotta as he thinks. She is still lovely with her large blue eyes, her long chestnut colored brown hair, and her still shapely womanly curves. He could do worse. And then he chides himself immediately, for he knows that he can do no better than the sweet and loving Carlotta Quint. For no other lady–including Fanny Thornton–has attached her heart so completely to Watson as Carlotta has. And afterall, Watson is very fond of Carlotta.
Watson: “I have been thwarted this day–and I might yet seek a recompense.” Carlotta looks at him with alarm. Then his face breaks into a broad reassuring smile. Caressing her face, he says warmly. “Not by you, Carlotta Dear. You have only brought me joy. Why you love me, I do not know.” He lies down onto his side facing her, putting his large arm around her and drawing her near.
Carlotta: “I love you, Clarence, because you are good and kind to us.” She sweetly kisses him on his lips.
The world is a cruel place for a woman without the protection of a man. And when her husband Rupert Quint died, there were many who tried to impose themselves upon Carlotta for their mere pleasure. But Clarence Watson wooed Carlotta Quint–and he charmed her with his slightly awkward and sometimes bombastic ways. For only Carlotta could love her Clarence.
Watson: “Then, I guess that we had best make you my wife.” Watson shakes his head and smiles ruefully. For though Carlotta Quint was not the wife whom Clarence Watson had in mind this day, he thinks that he will not mind being married at last.
Carlotta: “Oh Clarence!” She squeals with happiness as she wraps her arms around him and they kiss again and again for several minutes. “May we go to the parson Mr. House now, and ask for a special license for him to marry us?”
Watson: “What? Today? You want to marry me today?” He asks in stupefaction.
Carlotta: “Have I not waited long enough?” She asks him plaintively.
For Carlotta does not want to let Watson out of her sight again without their marriage being finalized. Her two months without him have taught her the lesson of patience no longer being a virtue when her children’s lives and future happinesses are at stake.
Watson raises his left eyebrow. He is caught. But caught within a pretty web that will be pleasing, he thinks.
Watson: “Well why not? Come Carlotta, let us get dressed then–if we are to find this parson and be married.”
And thus, Clarence Watson speedily marries Carlotta Quint on Monday, January 20th at 5 o’clock in the afternoon.
Watson and his new wife, Carlotta, spend their wedding night in her cottage at Milton Woods–it being too late to pack and transport her meager belongings and their baby Clementina the five miles to Milton. Then the next day, Tuesday January 21st, after paying the merchants in Milton Woods and retrieving Carlotta’s gold locket necklace, they pack and travel back to Milton where Watson settles his new wife Carlotta and their daughter Clementina–whom he must pretend is not his child until he adopts her later–into his mansion.
Carlotta is astounded at the grandeur of size of her new home in Milton, her not having any inkling about the vastness of her Clarence’s wealth until now. But as Carlotta surveys the mostly empty mansion [(5) right] that Watson bought just last year–with Watson using only a combined parlor and dining room, a study, and his bed chamber when there are twenty more rooms including a ballroom wanting someone to give them life–she feels that the mansion lacks a woman’s touch. And with much needed decoration and furnishings, Carlotta plans to make this large and drafty mansion truly a home. Happily for Watson, his pockets are deep, for it will take a fortune to accomplish what Carlotta’s sophisticated tastes envision. Carlotta is a lady of breeding groomed from birth to manage a fine establishment–and her skills have lain dormant for too long.
It seems that the actual and relative lack of warmth emanating from the Watson home, is also felt keenly by the youngest member of the expanded household. Not surprisingly, baby Clementina is a little fussy about her new and unfamiliar surroundings, even though Carlotta insists that Tina’s crib stay in her and Watson’s shared bed chamber for now–so that Carlotta can be near her child–with Carlotta’s adjoining bed chamber serving as a sitting and dressing room for her. The cavernous rooms having such high ceilings do not bespeak any level of coziness for Clementina–much unlike the small but inviting cottage which had been she and her mother Carlotta’s home for the past nine months. However Tina finally settles down contentedly for her nap late Tuesday morning after Carlotta feeds her and sings her to sleep. This allows time for Carlotta to unpack their meager possessions.
And then after lunch while a kindly maid watches the baby with Watson’s urging, he takes Carlotta to visit a local dress maker’s shop for her to be outfitted with new clothes acknowledging her new station as his wife. They purchase some ready made garments and accessories and order several finer dresses and gowns to be made for her–with Carlotta insisting that her husband use restraint in making his purchases. Carlotta’s custom of economy during her years of reduced circumstances is difficult to set aside–though she looks forward to the day when she truly feels settled and does not worry about the future. However Carlotta does allow her new husband to purchase several new clothes, necessities, and toys for their daughter, Clementina.
They pass several people as they window shop and Watson introduces her as his new wife–putting forth the distant widowed cousin background story to all. Everyone they meet as they shop is cordial to Carlotta Watson, because Mr. Watson is an important man in Milton–its wealthiest businessman. Though Carlotta had no idea of the depth of Watson’s wealth until this day. In truth, Watson’s holdings lie well beyond Milton in investments at home and abroad.
Of course, Watson’s servants are cagily suspicious about this new wife and step daughter instantly materializing–considering Watson had been almost courting Fanny Thornton for the last four months. And servant gossip is always the best. So when the dress shop girls and others take notice of the new Mrs. Watson, the town becomes abuzz with the news of Watson’s marriage through informal channels. And Watson places the requisite notice of his marriage to Carlotta Quint in the Milton Gazette Offices Tuesday afternoon–which causes John Thornton to cough up his breakfast tea upon reading it in Wednesday morning’s paper. And Margaret has to stroke John’s back as he recovers his senses as he cleans up his mess.
And although one would expect the other mill owners and their wives to call upon the newly married Watson and his wife as a matter of etiquette, none do so. It seems that Watson has burned his bridges with more than John Thornton. And Watson will suffer the consequences for it–and by extension, so will his new wife Carlotta and their child Clementina. But Carlotta is so busy acclimating herself to the new house and reigning in its staff to be under her jurisdiction, that she does not notice the absence of callers–but Watson does.
On Wednesday, Watson returns to his mill empire–stewing about how to deal with the Thornton matter and the other Mill owners. It is only when Watson receives a note on Thursday afternoon from the banker Lattimer relating that his transaction to purchase Thornton’s loan was halted and that the loan is no longer in the banks’ hands–though he did not say that Dr. Ogilvy was now the loan holder–that Watson crumples up the note in frustration and leaves his office early to head home to his new wife and child for some solace. But what he finds at home is not at all comforting.
Carlotta: Looking up as Watson enters their bed chamber, she despairs. “Clarence! I am so glad that you’re home. Tina has a terribly high fever. I can not get her cooled down. We must call for Doctor Ogilvy to attend to her!” She wails worriedly as she clutches her hands together in prayer for her child to be spared [(6) right].
There has been an epidemic of scarlet fever in Milton and the children are the ones most severely affected. Several children throughout the city have fallen ill–and sadly, a few children have died.
Watson looks down at his red faced daughter crying in her crib.
Clementina: “Waaa waaa waaa waaa waaa waaa.” [(7) right]
Clementina feels very hot and achey–she doesn’t feel good at all. Even at nine months old and not being able to speak much yet, she is trying with all her might to let her Mama and her Papa know they need to make her feel good again. At the very least, she needs comforting. But with Carlotta being with child again, she does not know if what Clementina is suffering from might cause her unborn child to get sick as well.
Watson is loathe to seek Dr. Ogilvy’s help–since Dr. Ogilvy knows about Carlotta being with child and he might guess that Tina is also Watson’s child. Yet Mother and child are both distressed.
Carlotta: “Clarence, Tina has never had such a high fever, nor been in such anguish. Do you have no feeling for Tina that you would see her suffer so? She must be seen by the doctor!” Carlotta stridentliy advocates for her child’s care.
And with Carlotta’s pleading, Watson relents.
Watson: “Very well, Carlotta. I will ask the butler to send for Ogilvy.” He sighs and nods in defeat.
Married not two days and Watson gives in to his wife–not a good precedent, he thinks. But this is a battle that Watson was never going to win. When it comes to her child–or children–Carlotta will ensure their safety and their health, no matter what it costs her in her relationship with her new husband, Clarence.
So Dr. Ogilvy is called away from his daily tea with his betrothed Hannah Thornton to examine little 9 month old Clementina Quint. Her parents wait anxiously at her crib side with Carlotta applying cold compresses to Tina’s face and body to try to bring her fever down–even as the room’s fireplace is ablaze to warm the room from winter’s chill. A half hour later, Dr. Ogilvy strides into the Watson bedchamber as directed by the butler. Dr. Ogilvy takes charge of the situation.
Dr. Ogilvy: “Ach! What do we have herrre, Mr. and Mrs. Watson?” Dr. Ogilvy [(8) right] sets his medical bag on a nearby table and gives a curt nod to Watson, who curtly nods back.
Dr. Ogilvy is as loathe to be in Watson’s presence as Watson is to be in his. But Dr. Ogilvy’s calling is to heal the sick–and little Clementina is sick.
Carlotta: Rushing forward with her appreciation, she guides Dr. Ogilvy to her daughter. “Thank you for coming, Dr. Ogilvy. It is Clementina. I cannot get her fever down. I’m worried that it is the scarlet fever.”
Dr. Ogilvy: “Let’s not worrrry unnecessarrrrily.” Dr. Ogilvy pulls out his listening tube [(9)] and listens at baby Tina’s heart, lungs, and abdomen.
Both Watson and Carlotta hover nervously at the end of baby Clementina’s crib as Dr. Ogilvy examines her.
Watson: “Well, doctor?” Watson asks expectantly. This is the first time that Watson has been around his daughter when she was ill. So he has no idea how one makes a child well again.
Dr. Ogilvy: “Not scarrrlett feverrr–she does na have the rrred cheeks but pale mouth and nose that we tend to see with it.” [(10)]
Carlotta: “Thank goodness!” Carlotta sighs. “Then may I pick her up?”
Carlotta reaches for her baby, but Dr. Ogilvy stays her hands.
Dr. Ogilvy: “Nay! Not just yet.” Then he looks around the bedchamber and seeing that no one else is in it and the door is closed, he says in a hushed voice. “In your delicate condition, Madam …” Meaning her pregnancy. “… we can na rrrisk you becoming ill by Clementina should herrr condition prrrove to be more serrrious than I believe it to be.” Then he looks at Watson with a twinkle in his eyes, then points to him. “You will tend to your baby.”
Watson: “Me? I know nothing about babies! Tina has always been well when I’ve visited her before. I’m likely to drop her.” Watson replies sputteringly without noticing that Dr. Ogilvy identified him as Clementina’s father–and Watson has tacitly acknowledged that through the nature of his response to the doctor.
Dr. Ogilvy: “I will help ye. But we must brrreak her feverrr tonight. The little gerrril will need plenty of fluids and food.” Then he adds–as he usually does. “And since it will be a long night, could ye also have a trrray of food brrrought up forrr us, madam?” Dr. Ogilvy is healthy as a horse himself–and he never misses a meal if he can help it.
Carlotta: “Of course. I will ask cook to prepare something for Clementina and for all of us if you’re staying, Dr. Ogilvy. Shall I have sandwiches made and ale brought up for you?” She asks hesitantly to ascertain their wishes–for she is still getting accustomed to the household, and they to her, as its new mistress. And Carlotta is uncertain if ale is stocked in the larder. Watson nods and she leaves to give her staff her requests.
Thursday night was indeed a very long night of tending to Baby Clementina for all three adults. But with more fluids, cooling compresses, and some medicine mixed in her milk, baby Clementina’s fever breaks in the early morning hours of Friday. And she is once again a happy baby. Both Carlotta and Clarence Watson gratefully thank the doctor for his tender care of Clementina.
Dr. Ogilvy: With Dr. Ogilvy stating matter of factly to Watson. “I will send ye an invoice forrr me serrrvices.” Watson nods. Dr. Ogilvy turns to the hopeful Carlotta with a smile. “Clementina’s fever is brrroken. You may pick herrr up now, Mrrrs. Watson.”
Carlotta: “Thank you, Dr. Ogilvy.” She sighs gratefully as she picks up and rocks her now peacefully sleeping baby in her arms.
Then Dr. Ogilvy goes home to sleep for a few hours before opening his practice for his Friday morning patients. Watson also goes back to bed–and sleeps most of the day, missing going to his office on Friday altogether. And Carlotta dozes off and on while she sits in a chair beside her daughter Clementina’s crib–to wake and tend to her when her baby has a further need. The bond of mother and daughter is strong and loving. And with his forced care of his daughter this night, Watson also begins to forge a fatherly bond with Clementina. And Watson slowly realizes that though he is a selfish being–as anyone would attest–that he now has two, and soon to be three, persons for whom he must set aside his self-centeredness. And Carlotta–having won the security for herself and her children of becoming Clarence Watson’s wife–will not let her husband backslide.
By the weekend, all of Milton is agog with news of Watson’s new bride and her child. Of course, Dr. Ogilvy is bound by doctor patient confidences and he does not reveal the full truth about what he knows about the new Mrs. Watson to the Thornton’s when he sees them for dinner Friday evening–nor to anyone else. However, Dr. Ogilvy does squelch the Thornton’s servants overheard gossipping about the new Mrs. Watson’s character being suspect–if only for her choice in husband. Dr. Ogilvy relates loudly–since the servants are within earshot–that he finds the new Mrs. Watson to be a quiet genteel lady who is a kindly mothering influence to her child–a widowed distant cousin whom Watson had taken under his wing. Though the implication being spread by gossips that Watson had married his new wife in rebound to his rebuff from Fanny Thornton is partially true, it is of lesser consequence than were Mrs. Watson to have been revealed to be Watson’s former mistress.
Being told by Dr. Ogilvy that fresh air is good for baby Clementina’s continuing recovery, Watson and Carlotta elect to take her to church with them on Sunday, January 26th. It is only then that Watson, his wife Carlotta, and their now recovering baby Clementina face the gauntlet of Milton society in full force. Watson girds himself for the reception they might receive. He has always viewed his fellow mill owners as competitors, rather than as colleagues. Whereas Carlotta has no notion about the possible censure to them in the offing due to her husband’s actions, so she looks forward to meeting and making new friends in Milton now that her enforced solitude as Watson’s mistress is at an end.
Church worship services are a stratified affair, with the wealthier members of society sitting in front in sponsored pew boxes [(11)] that their church donations pay for. Watson’s pew box is up front on the right–whereas, the Thornton’s pew box is up front on the left. So although everyone can see Watson and his instant family, Clarence and Carlotta Watson cannot see the sidelong glances and whispered communications of those sitting or standing behind them. But Watson knows such activity is occurring as surely as he knows that the minister will give an interminably long sermon.
After church, everyone files out and the wealthier residents of Milton stand around waiting for their carriages to return to collect them. The new Watson family stand a little apart from everyone–with no one looking in their direction on purpose. The Thornton’s have rather a large contingent gathered with Dr. Ogilvy and his son Baird who has Fanny on his arm, and the Hales also comprising their party. And then there is a third contingent involving banker Lattimer and his family–glad to have smoothed over the Thornton loan business, but disappointed that his daughter Ann did not get a chance at becoming the wealthy Watson’s wife.
Carlotta is dressed conservatively as always–wearing her new deep blue wool gown and matching warm coat [(12) right]. And Carlotta carries baby Clementina wrapped up in a cozily warm new cashmere blanket and her wearing new store bought knitted sweater, mittens, booties, and cap. Though now that Carlotta has the resources to purchase yarn, she will also lovingly knit her baby some items. Watson stands woodenly by Carlotta’s side. No one has greeted them yet today, nor in the days leading up to it–nor even called at their home to leave cards since they returned to Milton. Watson feels the intentional slight, but he is more worried about Carlotta’s tender nature being hurt by the snubs. But Carlotta is a little shy–especially due to her being a past mistress–and she is glad that people are not thronging to them and overwhelming her with questions.
Margaret: Glancing surreptiously over at the Watson’s, Margaret whispers to her husband [(13) right]. “John, I believe that I know Watson’s wife. She looks familiar to me.”
John: “Let us leave it, Margaret. We are done with Watson.” John says with great finality, his jaw set firmly.
Margaret: “Yes, John, Dearest.” Margaret smiles sweetly up at her husband. Then she looks resolute. “But I am not done with his wife. A friend is always a friend–no matter whom she marries.” Margaret says pertly.
Margaret disengages herself from her husband as she releases her hold on John’s arm and begins to traverse the expanse of church courtyard separating the Thornton’s and the Watson’s. But John feels that it would not do for his wife to make her way unescorted–even for the mere fifteen foot distance. So John gently tugs at his wife’s elbow, sighs, then offers her his arm. Then they both walk over to where the Watson’s are standing.
Margaret: “Good day to you Mr. and Mrs. Watson.” Margaret offers pleasantly.
Watson: “Good day.” Watson says warily.
John: “Good day.” John says stiffly, with a polite nod to Mrs.Watson.
Watson: “May I present my wife, Carlotta Watson. Carlotta, this is Mr. and Mrs. Thornton, John and Margaret.” Watson eyes them warily, wondering why they of all people have walked over to greet them?
Carlotta: “Good day. It is lovely to meet you. This is my daughter, Clementina, whom I call Tina.”
Carlotta shows Margaret the baby and waves Tina’s hand at her. Margaret lets baby Clementina grasp her gloved finger through the baby’s mittens.
Margaret: “Clementina is so dear. But Mrs. Watson, I believe that I am acquainted with you. Before I was married last November, I was Margaret Hale. I grew up in London with my cousin Edith Shaw before her marriage to Captain Lennox. Are you not, Carlotta Shafer? Martha Ann Shafer’s older sister?”
Carlotta: Carlotta’s eyes widen in fear of discovery, but she recovers quickly and smoothly. In her three years as Watson’s mistress, Carlotta has learned to appear unruffled by questions that discomfit her. “Yes, I married Rupert Quint several years ago, but he died before Clementina was born.” Carlotta fibs slightly for the benefit of her and Watson’s child who was conceived and born out of wedlock.
Margaret: “You have my sympathy. But at least you have his child to remember him by.” Margaret smiles caringly. For she can do math as well as anyone and guesses the truth, but Margaret’s heart is always in a caring place as she helps to fortify Carlotta’s background story.
Carlotta: “Thank you. It is a comfort.” Carlotta nods. “And my husband Clarence is a distant cousin who has kindly looked after me, and then us when Clementina was born, since then.”
John: “Did he?” John bristles–guessing what kind of looking after Watson did. John gives silent thanks that his sister Fanny is well rid of Watson, if Watson had this other woman on the side–genteel and ladylike though she may be.
Margaret: “John, Carlotta did me a great service at Edith’s coming out ball seven years ago.” For Edith Lennox is two years older than the now 23 year old Margaret Thornton. “A gentleman had stepped on and torn loose the lace edging of my gown hem. The ladies maids at the reception hall were so unhelpful at repairing it that I thought that I would have to leave then and there. But Carlotta came to my rescue and she deftly sewed the lace back onto the hem of my dress and my evening was saved.” Margaret smiles broadly.
Carlotta: Carlotta’s face reflects the memory that Margaret has reminded her of. “Of course, I remember now. My sister Martha Ann and Edith Shaw were acquainted with each other. And they literally pulled me away from dancing with my first husband, the late Mr. Quint.” She smiles fondly remembering her late husband. “He was not amused to have our dancing interrupted–the poor dear. Ha ha ha.” She softly laughs.
Margaret: “Ha ha ha. Husbands do have to bear with us.” Margaret smiles and tilts her head toward her husband. “I am no longer acquainted with anyone in London, but for my cousin Edith and her family–and now Dr. Ogilvy’s children …” Margaret gestures toward their extended family group watching them from across the church courtyard. “… but it is lovely to become reacquainted with someone from my childhood–even though we did not know each other very well at the time.”
Carlotta: “Yes, it is lovely to see you again.” Carlotta smiles as she mirrors Margaret’s sentiments.
For Carlotta has been cut off from all whom she knew–even from her family–when she took up with Watson. It has been a lonely time for her.
Margaret: Seeing how wan Carlotta looks and guessing that she has not had an easy life, a thought occurs to Margaret and she smiles warmly at Carlotta. “Mr. and Mrs. Watson, might you join us for a light luncheon at our home today? It is just family and close friends.”
The husbands having been studiously looking in opposite directions while their ladies chatted, now come to full attention. John jerks his head and scowlingly looks at his wife–wondering what she is about. He had vowed never to have Watson darken his door ever again. John tugs at Margaret’s elbow like a small boy, trying to get her attention as he pouts. Watson also frowns–for he is still smarting from Fanny Thornton’s rejection of him and John Thornton’s refusal of him for his sister Fanny’s hand–even though Watson is now a very married man. And then, of course, there is the whole Thornton mill loan debacle.
Watson: “You are too kind, Mrs. Thornton.” Watson says through clenched teeth.
John: “Yes, she is.” He also says with forced civility.
Not being informed about any disagreement between the two husbands–nor noticing the men’s particularly frosty exchange since men are usually taciturn–Carlotta focuses on Margaret.
Carlotta: “You are very thoughtful, Mrs. Thornton. But I fear that we must regret your kind invitation today. Clementina needs her rest since she is only recently recovering from a bout of fever and I do not want her to become unwell again. Today is just a little outing for the fresh air at Dr. Ogilvy’s recommendation.” Carlotta nods her head in thanks in Dr. Ogilvy’s direction–and he bows his head to her in acknowledgement.
Both Watson and John Thornton sigh in relief for the suitable excuse for the Watson’s to decline Margaret’s luncheon invitation.
Margaret: “Oh, that is too bad. Perhaps another time. I hope that Clementina will be completely well soon.” Margaret caresses the baby’s knitted cap covered head.
Carlotta: “Thank you for understanding.” Carlotta smiles warmly at Margaret. “I plan to remain at home with Clementina for a few more days just to be certain of her recovery.”
Margaret: “Well then. May I call upon you tomorrow morning at your home, Carlotta? I should so enjoy renewing our acquaintance. And I know how it is, being new to Milton.” Margaret rolls her eyes in amusement remembering her own early times in town.
Carlotta: “That will be lovely, Margaret. Shall we say ten o’clock?” Carlotta beams a grateful smile at Margaret and then at her new husband Clarence. Watson forces a smile to his new wife since she looks so happy at renewing and expanding her acquaintance with Margaret Thornton.
Margaret: “Ten o’clock.” Margaret smiles as she nods her head. Then Margaret kisses cheeks with Carlotta before she and John return to their family and their carriages to head home to Thornton Manor for their luncheon.
John: After they have walked a suitable distance away from the Watson’s, John leans down and whispers in Margaret’s ear. “Margaret, am I given to understand that you are going to befriend Mrs. Watson?” He asks her incredulously.
Margaret: Margaret gazes lovingly up at her husband and whispers back to him. “I am, John. Everyone deserves a second chance. And as Watson’s wife, Carlotta will need all the friends and help that she can get.”
Margaret smiles impishly up at her husband who rolls his eyes and shakes his head–marveling at his wife’s unswerving compassion for others.
However, John resolves to still keep Watson at a distance–professionally and personally. And John and the other Milton mill owners [(14) right] under the auspices of their Milton Mill Owners’ Business Association (MMOBA) plan to serve Watson with an ultimatum. Either Watson install wheels in his mills to catch excess fluff before it enters his mill workers’ lungs, or they plan to lay bare to the London gutter press–and thereby, the Crown for any legal ramifications–Watson’s attempts at fraud and other nefarious deeds and business practices. And Watson has a litany of offenses: trying to purchase John’s bank loan, by poaching Henderson’s best weavers (a minor kerfuffle), and by having engineers reroute the course of a stream running through his property and creating a small lake–rather than allowing that stream to furnish the mill workers of Milton with a fresh and unwavering water supply as it always had. And Watson had better hope it rains buckets to keep his man made lake filled, because he will also be forced to pay to have the stream returned to its natural course–providing fresh water for Milton mill workers again. Oh yes, there will be payback against Clarence Watson–thereby leveling Milton’s business playing field in the long run, to the satisfaction of all of the other Milton Mill owners, but especially for John Thornton.
However, the charming Mrs. Carlotta Watson is an entirely different matter. And thus, with the tacit acceptance by and the kind offices of Margaret Hale Thornton [(15) right], Carlotta Shafer Quint Watson and her baby daughter Clementina begin their social reclamation with their introduction to and inclusion in Milton society.
Now all that remains is for the other Thornton women to be wed and wooed–while Margaret continues to await confirmation of some very special news.
To be continued with Chapter 26
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 25 References, January 31, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #509)
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) Carlotta image is Gillian Anderson as Lady Dedlock in the 2005 BBC drama Bleak House found at http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Nxzwr85Zlf0/T1i3tlPTWXI/AAAAAAAAB84/z3e4CZyQ-LU/s1600/gillian%2Banderson%2Bbleak%2Bhouse%2Blady%2Bdedlock.jpg at http://janeaustenfilmclub.blogspot.com/2012/03/gillian-anderson-actor-of-week.html
3) Carlotta image is Gillian Anderson as Lady Dedlock in the 2005 BBC drama Bleak House found at Just Joanna Tumblr at http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lv1o0iTU791qd8vzto1_500.jpg
4) Watson is Tim Faraday in North & South epi1 (14h50m54s78) Jan2714 Gratiana LovelaceCap-crop-sized
5) Carlotta image is Gillian Anderson as Lady Dedlock in the 2005 BBC drama Bleak House found at Boston Globe at http://cache.boston.com/bonzai-fba/Third_Party_Photo/2007/07/11/1184157778_5703.jpg
6) Carlotta image is Gillian Anderson as Lady Dedlock in the 2005 BBC drama Bleak House found at http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01168/arts-graphics-2006_1168515a.jpg
7) Clementina crying image is a stock photo from MS Ofice Clip Art Jan2714.
8) 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
9) Listening tubes were an early form of medical stethoscope; for more information, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stethoscope
10) “Scarlet fever (also called scarlatina in older literature) is an infectious disease which most commonly affects 4–8-year-old children. Symptoms include sore throat, fever and a characteristic red rash. Scarlet fever is usually spread by inhalation.” For more information, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlet_fever
11) It was a common practice in the 19th century for wealthy families to purchase and maintain church pews for their particular use during church worship services. For more information, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pew
12) Carlotta image is Gillian Anderson as Lady Dedlock in the 2005 BBC drama Bleak House found at Pinterest at http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/7d/f5/e6/7df5e63722c66209791874a7998a8dc0.jpg
13) Composite image of Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret Hale onto the background with Richard Armitage as John Thornton is: richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode4/slides/ns4-180.html ; and richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode3/slides/ns3-065.html
14) John Thornton is Richard Armitage & Mr. Henderson is Shaun Hennessy in the 2004 BBC drama North & South epi1 (15h19m19s170) Jan2714 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-crop-sized
15) Margaret is Daniela Denby-Ashe in the 2004 BBC drama North & South epi1(14h52m44s152) Jan2714 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-Crop-sized-brt