“North & South: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 34 (PG-13): Pas de deux, times two?, March 04, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #524)
[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]
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: Fanny and Baird had quite a free ranging discussion in the Thornton Manor parlor after John and Margaret went up to bed Saturday evening around 11 o’clock. Their talk revealed some differences in how Fanny views work and success, compared to Baird’s view of disdaining their stratified society that perpetuates a lower class as a workforce for wealthy aristocrats. But they end their chat as this almost officially affianced couple often does, with kissing–their being alone in the parlor with none to censure them, and their only restraint an open parlor door. Well, Baird’s only restraint–for Fanny enjoys kissing, but knows the proper boundaries that they must conform to. John would love to know that his sister Fanny is so level headed–for his worry about her will delay his restful sleep this night.
“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 34 (PG-13): Pas de deux, times two?
This Saturday March 22nd–three weeks after Hannah and Cameron’s wedding–this is the first night that Baird is staying in Thornton Manor. All other times Baird visited Fanny in Milton, he stayed in his father’s home in Milton. But with his father away on his wedding trip with his new bride, John Thornton had convinced Baird to stay with them instead so that Baird would not feel lonely. John is beginning to regret that decision.
While Fanny and Baird remain downstairs Saturday night for some private time alone, John and Margaret have retired to their bed chamber around 11 o’clock in the evening–also for some private time alone. The now five months married newlyweds had each gone about their usual routines of getting ready for bed in their respective and adjoining bed chambers–with John helping Margaret out of her gown and modified support garment, since she is four months pregnant and no longer wears a restrictive corset.
John gently kisses her bare exposed shoulder as he lovingly completes his task of helping his wife undress down to her thin chemise in her bed chamber. Then he absentmindedly stands up and begins unbuttoning his vest as he starts to walk into his bed chamber where they will sleep together–as they do each night. He tugs off his cravat and slips his coat down his arms. He pauses in the center of the room, listening for sounds in the hallway–but hears none.
Margaret: After putting on her silk night gown, Margaret walks into their/his bed chamber and looks at her husband curiously, she asks. “John? Is something amiss? You look troubled.”
John: John takes out his pocket watch and looks sternly at it–as if it has done him an injury. Then he carefully sets the watch on his dresser cabinet. “It is now half past eleven o’clock, nearing midnight.”
Seeing no further explanation forthcoming from her unusually taciturn husband tonight, Margaret leans over and looks at the open face of John’s pocket watch on the dresser, and nods her head.
Margaret: “So it is. Is that significant?” She smiles sweetly as she rests her hands upon his arm bent to finish unbuttoning his vest.
Margaret knows this mood that John is in. He is one part contemplative and one part anxious–and fully distracted, from her, which slightly wounds her still newlywed bride pride.
John: John had not listened to her question and thus does not respond to it directly. “Perhaps I should return downstairs and make certain that the servants locked all of the doors before they went to bed.” He begins to rebutton his vest.
Placing her hands on either side of his face, Margaret gazes up at him.
Margaret: “Does your concern for door locking tonight have anything to do with Fanny being alone with Baird in the parlor?”
John: Indignant in the face of her accurately focusing upon his concern, he dissembles. “Not at all. I merely wish to ascertain the locked status of the manor.
Margaret: “But John, when we walked out of the parlor tonight, the footman was locking the front door as we passed him.” She states logically.
John: “Perhaps.” He nods sheepishly. However, he will not give ground. “But I would still like to assure myself by testing the bolt.”
Margaret: “And when you find it secure, will you race up the stairs to make mad passionate love with me? Or will you first check on Baird and Fanny in the parlor–to make sure they aren’t in the throes of passion?” She asks him impishly.
John: “Good god, woman? They would not breach decorum. And I am no spy. What do you take me for?”
Leaning into his chest and wrapping her arms around his torso, Margaret nestles her face against the woolen fabric of his vest.
Margaret: “I find you to be a loving and caring elder brother … who needs to mind his own business and leave Fanny and Baird alone.” She adds tartly.
John: “Hhhhh! But I cannot leave it. Fanny is my little sister–under my charge, my protection. And I must offer it to her.” He says resolutely.
Margaret: “Can you not give to me a portion of the attention that you are giving others, my husband?” She asks coquettishly.
Margaret places her arms about her husband’s neck and draws him down to her for a kiss [(2) right]. At first reluctant to be dissuaded from his purpose, after assertive kissing by Margaret, John quickly loses himself in the feel of his wife’s silken clad body as his hands caress and explore her womanly curves. Margaret has redirected her husband’s focus. John quickly removes the remainder of his clothing and she hers as they slide into bed and indulge their passions for each other for the next half hour or so–all notions of other couples being banished from their thoughts.
Lying blissfully in each others’ loving arms as they kiss and cuddle together afterward, John’s and Margaret’s contented smiles reflect their happy state. John cannot help but lightly rest the palm of his large hand upon Margaret’s slightly swollen belly–where their child sleeps and grows.
John: “When will we feel the baby move?” He asks in awe and wonder.
Margaret: “Very soon now, I think. I will also grow so big that I fear that I will need special dresses made to accommodate me.”
John: “And when has the prospect of a new dress not delighted you my love? And this new dress need will be made for a very good reason.” John raises his eyebrows up and down and grins broadly. His joy at giving her his child and their awaiting its birth cannot be contained.
Margaret: “I am looking forward to the baby as well. But I do not know how I will be able to move about as the birth draws near. Edith wrote me that when she was carrying first Sholto and then baby Tamsin, that her girth exceed that of the most prosperous banker we knew, the aptly named Mr. Finneas Stout.” She blanches.
John: “Margaret, you could grow three times your present size and I will still love you.” He declares unabashedly to assuage her concerns.
Margaret: “So you will still find me desirable?”
John: “Oh yes.” He smiles mischievously and nuzzles her neck.
Margaret: “Ha ha ha!” She giggles as he becomes amorous again.
Downstairs as the Thornton Manor parlor mantel clock chimes the midnight hour, both Fanny and Baird realize that they are tired and need to go to bed.
Almost drifting off to sleep, sounds in the upstairs bed chamber hallway draw John and Margaret’s attention away from their post romantic repose. John becomes alert again and sits bolt upright in bed. Margaret stays lying down, smiling sweetly at her adorably protective husband as she covers her breasts with the bed sheet.
They hear footsteps–they cannot make out how many persons they belong to. Then a nearby bed chamber door creaks open–Fanny’s bed chamber from the direction of the sound, for John purposely had Baird situated in the guest room directly opposite his and Margaret’s bed chamber. There seems to be a pause, then the door is shut. John and Margaret wait. They do not hear more footsteps, nor do they hear another bed chamber door opening. John’s face contorts in fury as he leaps naked from their bed.
John: “If Baird has compromised Fanny, I will kill him!” John [(3) right] swears as he quickly puts on his night pants and dressing gown intending to burst into his sister Fanny’s room and stop Baird from making love to her.
Margaret looks at John with a disbelieving expression for his jumping to certain conclusions. And in John’s haste in rushing about his room, he fails to hear other sounds in the hallway.
John quickly opens his bed chamber door, only to come face to face with Baird Ogilvy.
Baird: Clutching his chest, Baird smiles. “John! Ye starrrtled me! I should have thought that you and Marrrgarrret werrre asleep by now.”
John: “I am a light sleeper.” John intones curtly–conveying both a fact and a warning to the young laird. “What are you about this late at night?” John asks suspiciously.
Baird: Looking at John quizzically, Baird replies evenly. “I am going to bed. I am tirrred.”
John: John glares at Baird, wondering what has tired him. “Where is Fanny?” John asks with as much restraint as he can muster.
Baird: Baird furrows his brow. “She is in herrr bed chamberrr–I prresume.” He adds hastily. “She prrreceded me upstairrrs as I rrremained downstairrrs to see that the doorrrs werrre securrrely bolted forrr the night since you and the serrrvants had alrrready gone to bed.”
John: His fury cooling, all John manages is a contrite. “Oh!” With a slight nod of his head and shrug of his shoulders.
Baird: “Sleep well, brother.” Baird smiles knowingly and walks across the hall to his guest bed chamber. John is not the first protective male family member that Baird has had to navigate around with his past amours.
John: “And you, brother.”
John stands in his open bed chamber doorway with his arms crossed in front of his slightly hair chest peeking out of his dressing gown–making sure that Baird walks into his own bed chamber. Baird does so. John waits a few moments more, to insure that Baird stays there.
Margaret: “John? Please come back to bed.” Margaret sweetly calls to him.
John: “Hmmm.” John glowers at Baird’s closed bed chamber door–until he sees the light extinguished from within as the gap between the bottom of Baird’s bed chamber door and the floor goes dark.
Reluctantly, John returns to his bed chamber–having to trust that no clandestine visits will occur between the affianced couple, Baird and Fanny. Then John removes his dressing gown and night pants and rejoins his similarly unattired wife Margaret in their bed, and they fall asleep in each others’ soothing embrace.
But for Fanny and Baird, sleep will not come so quickly this night. They have had a night of frank discussions, as well as, pleasurable kissing. They each must reconcile their differing viewpoints and weigh it in the balance of their romantic love for each other. And perhaps their time in London this coming week will provide ample opportunity for them to spend more time with each other–to learn each others’ thoughts–to discern if they are truly destined to be husband and wife.
To be continued with Chapter 35
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 34 References, March 4, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #524)
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 is Richard Armitage and Margaret is Daniela Denby-Ashe in North & South- Epi4 _17h54m34s7_Nov1013 Gratiana Lovelace cap.
3) 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