“North & South: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 27 (R-rated, S): John’s and Margaret’s Loving Evening and Such, February 5, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #512)
[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 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 from the previous chapter: Having smoothed over the hurdle of Fanny’s objections to Hannah’s wedding attendant dresses in the Ogilvy tartan colors of red, emerald green, or yellow on Monday–including Fanny’s own as a bridesmaid–Margaret feels faint. Dr. Ogilvy is called to examine her and he confirms what she has suspected–that she is with child. Now it remains for Margaret to tell John–and then everyone else.
“North & South: John’s Thornton, Love Lessons”: Ch. 27 (R-rated, S)–John and Margaret’s Loving Evening and Such
It is only when Baird Ogilvy visits Fanny Thornton in Milton to court her–or when Fanny visits London and also sees Baird–that wedding planning mercifully ceases thinks both John and Cameron. With Hannah and Cameron’s wedding not quite a fortnight away, everyone needs to take a breather from planning. And it is one such quiet and peaceful Fannyless mid week night a few days after their final bridal attendant gown fabric selection in early February–and after having seen Fanny packed off on a train to London with the Captain Lennox who had come to collect her for her weeklong visit to their home–that John and Margaret, and Hannah and Cameron can return their focus to their respective romantic partnerships.
So Wednesday February 5th John and Margaret have Thornton Manor to themselves for the evening–well, and with 12 servants, almost all ofwhom are given the night off–while Hannah has dinner at Cameron’s residence. Margaret makes she and John a simple meal of soup and sandwiches–eschewing a formal dinner as is their usual habit when they dine alone. And they eat their dinner in their night clothes (scandalous!), in their bed chamber’s adjoining sitting room–that also serves as Margaret’s dressing room bed chamber. Afterwards, they sit cuddling together upon their sette gazing at the fire as they chat.
John: “That was a lovely dinner, Margaret.” John kisses his wife’s forehead tenderly.
Margaret always sees to John’s comfort and relaxation on working weeknights, to even the smallest details. So much so that their private time together is an oasis of calm and respite, that John appreciates mightily.
Margaret: “Thank you, John. But I fear that my culinary talents are limited to our simple fare tonightof soup, sandwiches, and dessert.”
John: “Still, it’s not like we’ll starve.” Margaret pokes John in his ribs in amusement. “Ow! What was that for?”
Margaret: “For agreeing with me that my cooking leaves much to be desired.” She rolls her eyes impishly. “Isn’t there a marriage code of conduct somewhere that teaches husbands to always be more flattering toward their wives than they feel?” She asks impishly.
John: Taking her meaning literally, John thinks for a moment. “Not that I have heard of. But then, men do not discuss our marriages with each other. ” Well maybe not their wives, but certainly their mistresses, thinks John disdainfully. However John is a faithful husband–and he always plans to be so.
Margaret: “Really? I talk about you all of the time with Fanny and Edith and Angharad. Ha ha ha ha ha!” She giggles.
Looking at her aghast, John examines Margaret’s upturned face worriedly. He knows the level of ribald talk–to the point of being debauched–that the other mill owners sometimes engage in. But John cannot think that their refined lady wives would behave so crassly. It is John’s opinion that ladies are above such musings–them preferring instead to be reserved and religious–like his mother is–and not concerned with carnal matters.
John: John admonishes his wife. “I hope not! What we do together is private, Margaret.” And John counts himself extremely lucky that he has a wife in Margaret who welcomes his loving attentions and who does not refuse him her comfort. But then, John and Margaret are a love match–not arranged for convenience or social standing.
Margaret: “Well I don’t talk about … that.” Margaret smiles coquettishly. For she loves her husband and cherishes his love of her.
John: “I should hope not!” John blanches and squirms and pouts.
Margaret: Margaret says soothingly as she caresses his face and nestles into his arms. “Do not worry John, I always speak in vague but highly complimentary terms about you.”
John: John is not soothed. “Do I even dare ask, about what terms you discuss?” John rolls his eyes in mortification, even as he blushes.
Margaret: “Hmmm. Let me see.” She impishly gazes up at the ceiling and thinks as she taps her finger on her chin. John nudges her and looks at her pointedly. “Wellll, I mention how thoughtful you are, and how considerate you are–and well, …” Margaret outlines John’s lips with her finger. “… what a good kisser you are. Ha ha ha ha ha!” She giggles for having shocked him.
John: “Good lord! Now I will be self conscious the next time I see these ladies–wondering if they’re examining my lips.” He shakes his head wryly.
Margaret: “I’m teasing you, John.” She glances at him sideways to see if he believes her. By the look of him, he doesn’t believe her. “Don’t worry. All I said was that your kisses make me swoon–and they do.” She smiles and kisses him lovingly, such that he deepens their kiss as his tongue entangles with hers for some pleasurable moments. “Seeeee. Hhhhh!” She sighs. “And I didn’t talk about the kind of kisses you give me.”
John: “Margaret!” John is almost apoplectic at the thought of Margaret relating to others how he kisses her–let alone, where he kisses her. She smiles at him mischievously and his anger cools–but he feels battered about. Then John melodramatically shakes his head in resigned defeat with his punctured dignity [(2) right]. “At least with Fanny and Baird not yet married, I hope that she is not contributing to the conversation–about kissing.” He says off handedly.
Margaret: Margaret cannot suppress a giggle. “Ha ha ha ha ha! Oh no, John! Fanny is the most vocal of the four of us about kissing–about her kissing Baird, I mean.” Margaret purses her lips.
John: John’s eyes bulge and have a look of thunder at the news that his sister Fanny is kissing her almost fiancé Baird. “I’m going to kill him.” John growls deeply. “Fanny is still underage! Not yet twenty-one. And at twenty-nine, Baird is much older than she and he should know better as a gentleman not to seek a lady’s kisses until he is married to her.” John fumes.
Margaret: Margaret smiles and raises a knowing eye brow and tugs at her husband’s dressing gown lapel. “How quickly we forget, John Dearest. You kissed me–and more–before we wed.” John blushes with heated remembrance of their first loving each other–as does she. “And you are older at thirty four to my twenty one–the difference being even more so than Baird is older than Fanny.”
John: “Ugggh!” John expels in frustration at her irrefutable logic. It is so difficiult for man to be the brother of a marriageable aged sister. He puts his arms out in mock protest. “Margaret, please, no more revelations tonight. I am just trying to get through Mother’s wedding before I have to think about Fanny’s possible wedding.” He covers his face with his hand and rubs his lower jaw as a self comforting mechanism.
Margaret: “John?” Margaret traces circular patterns in John’s chest hair peeking out of his dressing gown.
John: “Yes?” He sighs.
Margaret: “When are you going to allow Baird to formally ask Fanny to marry him?”
John: “Never would be too soon.” Now Margaret blanches. “I would say that I’m not ready yet.” John shakes his head tiredly. “But if Baird is stealing kisses from Fanny, then I had best get the two of them well in hand.” Then an alarming thought occurs to him. “Margaret! You’re not encouraging Fanny’s kissing of Baird, are you? You haven’t told her about … well, about us?”
Margaret: “What? That you bedded me the week before we married?” She asks saucily.
John: “I did not!” John whines a bit. Margaret looks at him askance–for she was there as a witness, and as a willing participant. “What I mean to say is. You came to my bed, if you will remember. And I would not want Fanny to get such a notion into her head about Baird.” He intones imperiously. But it backfires on him.
Margaret: “Oh.” Margaret sighs quietly and she sits up away from snuggling with her husband John. Margaret demurely clasps her hands together on her silken gown covered lap as her face frowns and then saddens. She asks him in a hushed penitent tone. “John? Do you … do you think less of me because I allowed you to …”
Margaret does not finish her thought as she feels embarrassment for her wanton behavior then. Her cheeks are aflame with shame for her brazen act–their brazen act. And even them being married well and truly for three months and more cannot forestall Margaret’s uncertainty about her earlier actions.
John: Gathering his wife back into his arms, John soothes her. “Not at all. You are my exquisite lady and none can besmirch your honor. That we gave ourselves in love to each other after the trials of the mill almost being burned to the ground is our own private joy. I could never regret it, nor wish that we did otherwise–nor do I want you to feel regret, My Love. I could not bear it if I felt that I had injured you in some way.”
Then John kisses Margaret tenderly and adoringly for some time–until she feels completely cherished and respected and loved [(3) right]. After their kisses, Margaret caresses John’s face and asks.
Margaret: “But what about Fanny and Baird?”
John: “Margaret, Fanny is my baby sister–nearly fourteen years my junior. I burped her, and I taught her to read, and I know more about how ladies outfit themselves than I ever wanted to know from all of her dressmakers’ bills that I have paid over the years. If I had my way, Fanny would never marry. Or if she did marry, she and her husband would have to live in separate homes.”
Margaret: “Ha ha ha ha ha! John, that is absurd! Do you not wish to be an uncle?”
John: “Yes.” He whines. Then he pouts. “But I would be happier if there was another way for Fanny to go about granting me that honor.” He winces.
Margaret now really collapses into giggles.
Margaret: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! And what of your mother and Cameron? Are they to live in separate homes as well?”
John: “No, of course not! But it’s not like Mother will have another child.” He states awkwardly. For John has not allowed his mind to … go there–to the nature of his mother’s relationship with her fiancé.
Margaret: “And is the getting of children the only reason for loving each other in marriage? We have seen Cameron kissing your mother from time to time. Remember the mistletoe at Christmas?”
John: “Yes. But his kissing her is always with the utmost respect and gentlemanly restraint. They are of an age and a fond friendship has developed between them.” He counters–attempting to delude himself from the obvious, that Hannah Thornton and Cameron Ogilvy are a love match.
Margaret: Margaret looks at John as if he has lost all sense and reason. “Is that all you think they are to each other? As merely life’s companions in old age? Are you and I to be relegated to tepid friendship when you turn fifty in sixteen years time when I will merely be thirty seven?”
John: “I hope not!” He says stridently.
Margaret: “Well then?” She gestures with her open palms as if to encourage his acknowledgement of the obvious.
John: “Margaret, this conversation has veered into territories that I would not have ventured to traverse on my own.” He shakes his head ruefully. “I am quite put off any more discussions of love and marriage tonight.” He gulps as he waves his hand in the air in finality.
Margaret: “Oh? Are you certain about that?” Margaret asks coquettishly as she stands up from the sette and he looks up at her with a small smile. “And were I to change the topic of our discussion–or at least, the participants–would that please you, John?” Margaret asks suggestively as she unties her robe and lets it slide off of her arms, puddling at her feet, and revealing her new pink silk off the shoulder negligee that John has not seen her in before.
John: “Ohhhh!” He sighs in rapt adoration of his lovely wife and her soft and creamy breasts peeking out of her pink negligee. John stands as he gazes in awe of her loveliness. Margaret suddenly feels shy as she gazes up at him [(4) right]. But then he clarifies. “You are sooo beautiful, My Love.”
Margaret slowly unties John’s dressing gown’s sash. Then she slides her hands underneath her husband’s robe to caress his bare muscled shoulders as she pushes the robe off of them and it puddles at his feet. John’s gaze smoulders with his approval of his wife, Margaret’s, womanly curvy form–especially as her breasts seemingly threaten to spill out of the amply proportioned negligee bodice. John gathers Margaret to him and they kiss again, and again, and again, and again–sweetly, tenderly, adoringly, and passionately.
John starts to guide Margaret to their adjoining bed chamber. But she gives a little tug on his arm and he turns back to her [(5) right]. Then holding his hand, Margaret gracefully lowers herself to the plush hearth rug and beckons for him to join her–which he swiftly does. They are not cold, for the fire gives off its warmth even as its flickering light bathes them in an amber glow as their heated passions consume them and they make love.
And as a concession for Margaret feeling a bit pained the last time they made love–last night–John guides her to lay atop him, and then to sit upon him. In this way, she can control more of their loving couplings. Since their loving in this way is untried by she or John until now, Margaret is a bit shy and keeps her negligee on during their lovemaking. Whereas John has already removed his night pants–and the muscles of his nude body await her attendance and exploration as he caresses her lovingly and encouragingly through her silken covering even as he reaches up and brings her to lie flat upon him again as he crushes his lips to hers and they wrap their arms around each other in tender longing of their loving conjugation.
When they can no longer deny their bodies’ need for each other, John lifts Margaret up to a sitting position again and they join their bodies together. At first, they commence their loving slightly awkwardly–what with Margaret being shy about this lovemaking and John being eager to experiment but also not quite knowing what he is doing. Yet, their love bridges their shyness and awkwardness as they lovingly give themselves to each other. Their eyes lock in a loving gaze, their bodies ebb and flow into a rhythmic loving coupling as the power of their love is made manifest in their loving arms with shared blissful rapture as Margaret lies back down upon her husband’s chest. And there she remains for several minutes–John gently stroking her now bare back with her nightgown puddling around her waist–until their panting breathing slows and their desire softens into a warm glow of endearing and enduring love.
John caresses and kisses his love Margaret’s face as he guides her to lie on her side as he also lies onto his side facing her and he draws his dressing gown over them for more warmth. They lie together silently for some time as they smile and sweetly kiss each other–in awe of how well they please and delight each other. It is their loving secret–this joy they give to each other.
But eventually, the realities of the hard wood floor under the plush hearth rug gives way to their seeking common comfort. And they remove themselves to their large and comfortable bed in their adjoining bed chamber–each now eschewing all confining garments as they cuddle naked with each other under the warm sheets and blankets.
And just before they drift off to sleep, they share loving words with each other–as they do every night.
John: “I love you more and more each day, my Margaret.” He sighs contentedly.
Margaret: “And I love you more and more each day, John my Love.” She smiles a secret a smile. “But I fear that I will have to share you soon.”
John: “Never! As I will never share you.” He vows.
Margaret: “Never?” She smiles impishly. “Not even when our baby is born?” She teases, telling him her secret that she had only just confirmed two days ago.
John: John’s eyes fly open. “Our baby? Oh Margaret, is it true you are with child?” He asks her excitedly.
Margaret: “Yes! And in seven months we will have to learn to share each other with our child.” She states triumphantly as a mother to be.
John: “Seven months! Oh Margaret! A baby!” He voice bursts with the pride and love he feels for her.
Margaret: “A baby! Our baby.” She sighs in anticipated contentment and joy.
For babies and children are the living proof of love. And this baby will be John’s and Margaret’s love’s proof. John and Margaret embrace and kiss each other joyfully for some time–finding that they are no longer tired. Later after making love again, they fall asleep in each others’ loving arms–each dreamily thinking of the time when they will be parents with a little one to cherish.
And across town in Milton, Hannah and Cameron’s evening also begins lovingly.
To be continued with Ch. 28
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 27 References, February 5, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #512)
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) John Thornton is Richard Armitage in the BBC’s 2004 drama North & South found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode2/ns2-215.jpg
3) John Thornton is portrayed by Richard Armitage and Margaret Hale is portrayed by Daniela Denby-Ashe in the BBC’s 2004 drama North & South found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode4/ns4-340.jpg
4) Margaret is Daniela Denby-Ashe in North & South (17h10m08s95) Dec2213 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-crop-sized-clr
5) John Thornton bare chested image is Richard Armitage as Lucas North in Spooks,series 9 Promos, pix 45 found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/spookspromo/album/series9-45.jpg