“North & South: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 31 (PG-13): Love, Tenderness, Patience, and Compassion, February 17, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #518)
[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: Hannah and Cameron were wed this day in Scotland with much merriment and with all of their family and friends in attendance. Their wedding night begins with a shared moment of beauty in wonder and awe of nature before them.
“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 31 (PG-13): Love, Tenderness, Patience, and Compassion
After seeing the lovely moonlit view of the Highlands landscape from the top of the Airlie Castle keep on this their wedding night, Cameron carefully guides Hannah back down the castle’s secret passageway to their master bed chamber. When they reach their bedchamber, there is a little initial awkwardness as they stare lovingly at each other. Then Cameron breaks the silence between them with heartfelt words of love.
Cameron: “You were a beautiful bride today, Hannah my Love. And I am proud to be your husband.” He clasps her hands in his hands and draws them to her chest, bringing her closer to him.
Hannah: “Thank you, Cameron. You looked very handsome, yourself. I am proud to be your wife.” Hannah nods primly and a little fearfully.
Cameron senses his wife’s trepidation as he gently kisses Hannah upon her trembling lips and he embraces her–but she does not relax in his arms. He understands that she cannot yet release herself to love him fully–as he wishes to love her fully. And he will not pressure her to give herself to him when she feels yet so vulnerable. Cameron loves his Hannah so–heart and mind and body and soul–never more so than at this moment, now that they are husband and wife. He has waited patiently for the blessed time when they two will become one–in life and in love–and he will be patient a little while longer, as he remembers the words of pure unselfish love found in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 [(2) below] resounding silently through his heart:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
Releasing Hannah from his embrace and pulling back to smile lovingly at her, Cameron kisses Hannah sweetly on her lips once more. Then Cameron bids her a tender goodnight.
Cameron: “Sleep well, My Love.” He smiles and caresses her cheek. Then he kisses her hand and bows.
To Hannah’s relief, Cameron respectfully returns to his dressing room bed chamber adjoining her bed chamber. Their chaste marital arrangement is at Hannah’s request–and he will honor her request. So each of them prepares for bed and they begin their slumbers separately.
But in the night, Hannah dreams of another wedding and another marriage–to her first husband–and the devastating tragedy that befell them when he killed himself. Her wailing and sobbing in her sleep is so loud that it awakens Cameron in his nearby bed chamber. And he goes to her quickly in her bed chamber, barely taking the time to put a robe over himself only wearing his night pants with his chest bare.
Seeing his wife in such distress, Cameron gazes upon her tenderly, then he removes his robe [(3) right] and slides into bed with her to comfort her. Hannah’s long hair–loosened from its pinned daytime arrangement–tumbles over his arms in a cascading brunette waterfall. Cameron has not seen her look so beautiful as she does now.
Cameron: “Shhh. My Love, Shh. Mo Nighean Donn. Shh.” Pronounced mo-neein-down–which in Gaelic means, My Brown Haired Lass [(4)]. “Shhh. I am herrre. Ye will be alrrright.” He says kissing her face and gently stroking her back.
Hannah clings to Cameron in her sleep. Then she slowly wakes up, with tears streaming down her cheeks. And she feels embarrassed for her emotional display and tries to wipe her cheeks as she begins to pull away from him–but his arms do not release her from their comforting embrace.
Hannah: “Oh! I’m so sorry. I’m not usually subject to emotional outbursts.”
Cameron: “Nay, My Love. Ye had a nightmarrre.” She nods her head in mortification, her hands lightly pushing against her new husband’s bare and slightly hairy chest as he embraces her. “What was it about?” He asks kindly.
Hannah: “It was nothing.” She says stoically–but unconvincingly as she does not look into his eyes. Hannah realizes that her husband Cameron is lying abed with her and her breathing quickens, even has his voice deepens and softens to soothe her [(5) right].
Cameron: Still stroking her back, he smiles warmly at her. “It was not nothing. For something to have distrrressed you so, it must have been verrry grrreat.”
She does not want to admit her dream and her fears to him, but he presses her to do so with his patient silence.
Hannah: “I dreamed of … of my first marriage, and my first husband … and how it ended … how he left us. Hhhh. Hhh. Hhh.”
Her tears fall again and she cannot help herself–her remembering how her husband killed himself because he could not get himself out of debt after he was swindled out of his money by an unscrupulous business partner.
Cameron draws his wife closer to him and he gently rocks her in his arms as he kisses her forehead.
Cameron: “Shhhh! There now, My Love. Ach! That was so sad. Yourrr laddie John told me what happened. How ye borrre it alone, I do na know.” Then he continues. “Yourrr husband was wrrrong to leave you as he did. And he was wrrrong to leave you with the burden of his debts.”
Out of respect for Hannah and her children, Cameron stops short of labeling her first husband a selfish coward, but he thinks it. For even though Cameron is a medical doctor, the illnesses of the mind such as melancholia [(6)] were not yet well understood in the 1850’s.
Hannah: “Hhhh! Hhh! Hhhh!” Hannah sobs mournfully.
Cameron: “You crrrry as much as ye want, My Love. I do na mind yourrr tearrrs. They but rrreflect the strrrength, of the woman I love, who has had to endurrre so much.”
Hannah has never truly grieved for her loss and cried for what she struggled through helping her children survive their devastating loss and the improverishment placed upon them so many years ago. Hannah has always had to be the strong one. And Hannah cries it all out now. For the next half an hour, Cameron continues comforting his wife until she has no more tears to give.
Lying against her new husband’s bare chest and in his arms, Hannah’s fears abate. And she begins to feel a sense of safety and of security and of cherishing that has been missing in her life for so long. Then she lifts up her head to gaze at him.
Hannah: In a very small voice, she sighs. “Thank you for understanding, Cameron.”
Cameron: “Of courrrse, Hannah me Dearrr. Yourrr trrroubles are my trrroubles.”
Hannah: “Cameron?” He smiles at her. She looks at him worriedly. “You won’t ever … leave me?” She holds her breath at relating her most deeply held fear.
Cameron: “No! A thousand times no! Neverrr of me own accorrrd, my love!” He sweetly kisses her lips. Then his eyes twinkle mischievously. “It’s too late! Ye arrre stuck with me ‘til me bones crrreak–and even beyond.” He grins broadly–with his warmth and his love coaxing a very small smile out of his wife. “Now, lay yourrr head upon me shoulderrr and rrrest, My Love.”
Hannah lays her head upon her husband’s shoulder and embraces him as she finally closes her eyes in restful slumber. Cameron kisses his wife’s forehead and he encloses his arms about her as he pulls the covers over them both for warmth. Then he closes his eyes in slumber, hoping to further lighten the burden that his wife has carried all these years, through his continuing tenderness and compassion to her.
Several hours later, long after dawn breaks, Airlie Castle begins to come alive again for a new day. And the daily routine of the Earl and Countess of Airlie begins the day after their wedding. Cameron and Hannah awaken in each others’ loving arms, smile at each other, and kiss sweetly. Theirs has been a restful and calming sleep.
Cameron: Relishing having his Hannah in his bed–though technically, he is in her bed–Cameron greets her warmly. “Good morrrning, me wife.” He smiles warmly at her.
Hannah: “Good morning, my husband.” She snuggles into him.
A night of loving tenderness and compassionate understanding from Cameron has done a world of good for Hannah’s spirits and feelings about their marriage.
Cameron glances at the mantel clock which reveals that it is a few minutes to seven o’clock in the morning–and he looks aghast.
Cameron: “Ach! I am trrruly sorrrry. But I’m afrrraid that I forrrgot to tell you about one Scottish wedding rrritual that is about to be upon us.”
Hannah: “Oh? What is that?” She asks him with a quizzical smile.
And before he can answer her, the ritual presents itself as there are three swift knocks upon their bed chamber door before it bursts open. Seven Scottish knight bagpipers and drummers in their full kilt regalia enter their bed chamber, playing with loud abandon [(7)]:
Hannah burrows down under the covers for modesty’s sake, bringing the bed linens to just under her chin. Cameron shakes his head with a knowing smile and he also covers his bare chest. Then the Scottish knights begin marching around their bed with their bag pipes and drums salute to the newly married couple.
Cameron: Shouting over the din of the bagpipes, Cameron says to Hannah. “Since I denied them entrrry to our bed chamberrrr for theirrr frrrolicking last night, they are getting back at us by grrreeting us this morning.”
Cameron and Hannah watch as the seven bagpipers and drummers playing knights march back and forth at the end of their bed.
Hannah: With her hands to her ears to muffle the din of the bag pipes, she asks him . “How long do they play?”
Cameron looks at her sheepishly.
Cameron: “Until we kiss for them–passionately.” He sheepishly shrugs his shoulders. She tilts her head and looks at him quizzically. “It is supposed to prrrove me manhood to them.”
Hannah: Her eyes widen. “Does not your having fathered two children do that?”
Cameron: He rolls his eyes. “It is a wedding tradition. They will leave us as soon as we kiss.”
Hannah resolutely nods her head to Cameron. So Cameron leans over her in their bed and he kisses Hannah with the full force of his passion for her–almost forgetting that they have witnesses, but for the mewling bagpipes as the air is let out of them.
Knights: The Scottish knights burst into saucy laughter. “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!”
Cameron–still kissing Hannah–removes his hand from her shoulder and waves the knights away without looking at them. The knights trail out continuing to laugh heartily.
Hannah finally hears their bed chamber door click shut. But Cameron continues passionately kissing Hannah. So she taps his cheek three times with her index finger to get his attention. Cameron reluctantly disengages from kissing her and looks sheepishly at her–his ardor very apparent in his heated gaze, and elsewhere.
Hannah: “They have left us.” She states the obvious, her feeling a bit flushed from her husband’s loving ministrations as he still looms over her–his arms on either side of her shoulders, holding him off of her. Though she can feel the heat emanating from his body, warming her in more ways than mere temperature.
Cameron: “Have they? I did na notice.” He smoulders seductively and he leans down to kiss her again.
But Hannah performs a decidedly unladylike–and uncountess like–move to Cameron’s chagrin as she slides herself down in the bed, under his arms, and then she sits up on her side of the bed.
Hannah: Looking over her bare shoulder at him as she reaches for her dressing gown, she smiles indulgently. “It is daylight now–when kisses are rationed.”
Allowing himself to fall onto the bed on his stomach, Cameron buries his face into the pillow she just vacated.
Cameron: “Arrrrgggghhh!” His bemused frustrated cry is muffled by the pillow.
Hannah: “What was that you said, Cameron?” She asks as she stands up and dons her dressing gown over her nightgown and gazes upon her husband’s bare muscular back with appreciation.
Cameron rolls over onto his side and faces her with his bare slightly hairy muscular chest revealed–almost down to his night pants. Hannah’s eyebrows rise briefly in noticing his handsomeness.
Cameron: “Ach! Woman! We are in the North country. We have daylight into mid-evening all during the Summer months coming up.” Sunset comes as late as half past 8 o’clock in the evening in late July in Scotland [(8)].
Hannah: “Hmm.” Is all she groans perturbedly, while pursing her lips and trying to stifle laughing at his cutely boyish pout.
But Cameron’s love for his wife Hannah will not be restrained and he bounds out of bed and wraps her in his arms as he pulls her flush against him and he kisses her tenderly.
Cameron: “Hmmmmm.” Cameron growls somewhat more heatedly than Hannah had as he deepens their kiss.
And Hannah allows his kisses–with her arms circling his shoulders–since his hands are not straying where they shouldn’t. But the day must be started.
Hannah: Pulling back from his embrace and kisses a bit, she suggests. “Cameron, we have our guests to tend to at breakfast this morning and such.”
Cameron: “They will na miss us.” He nibbles upon her neck as she strokes the back of his head.
Hannah: “Now, now, Cameron. Let’s not mar our lovely memory of cuddling together as we slumbered.” Then she smiles lovingly at him as she caresses his face and gazes up at him shyly. “Thank you for … for comforting me last night.” She reaches up and sweetly kisses his lips for a fleeting moment.
Smiling at his wife believing their slumbering together is a lovely memory, he holds her head in his hands and he whispers soulfully.
Cameron: “Ye arrre me life, Hannah my Love. And I will endeavorrr to ease yourrr burrrdens and to make you happy. I love you.”
Hannah: “And I love you.” She sighs as she hugs him around his bare chest and he embraces her as well. “And I will endeavor to make you happy.”
Hannah and Cameron are on a path to greater understanding of each other as their marriage and their love unfolds before them. After a few moments more of tender embracing–them gently rocking back and forth in each others’ loving arms–they kiss once more. Then they each repair to their respective dressing rooms to have their attendants ready them for the first day of their marriage.
To be continued with Chapter 32
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 31 References, February 17, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #518)
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) Sonnet 116 “Let me not to the Marriage of True Minds” by William Shakespeare was found at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174373
3) Dr. Cameron Ogilvy, 8th Earl of Airlie, is a Graham McTavish manip with his body found at: http://www.poptower.com/graham-mctavish-picture-61094.htm ; and his face found at http://www.wearysloth.com/Gallery/ActorsM/30775-29923.jpg
5) Sinead Cusack portrayed Cleopatra in The Royal Shakespeare’s 2002 production of Antony and Cleopatra; Antony was portrayed by Stuart Wilson; program image found at http://www.phyllis.demon.co.uk/theatricalia/02rsc/pics/02a%2Bc.jpg
6) For some information about depression (called melancholia in the Victorian era) and mental illness, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_depression
7) “SCOTLAND THE BRAVE ~ PIPES & DRUMS ~ ( HD )” a video by glenzboyz found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSH0eRKq1lE
8) Scottish sunset on July 31st is predicted to be 8:26pm as found at http://www.scotlandinfo.eu/daylight-hours-in-scotland.html
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