“North & South: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 35 (PG-13): Fanny Comes to a Decision, March 07, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #526)
Based on the Elizabeth Gaskell novel, North & South and its
2004 BBC adaptation; No copyright infringement intended)
[I will illustrate my story using my dream cast from the 2004 BBC production of “North & South” 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, an
d 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’s relationship is having growing pains that every loving couple experiences at some point. But she looks forward to visiting London again and spending more time with Baird–and he with her.
Ch. 35 (PG-13): Fanny Comes to a Decision
Feeling thought of as a child by her brother–and his draconian allowance scheme depriving her of the means through which to obtain the goods she needs–Fanny looks forward to staying in Margaret’s cousin Edith Lennox’s in London. For you see, Mrs. Shaw, Edith’s mother, pampers Fanny exceedingly well. Mrs. Shaw and Fanny Thornton are kindred spirits–believing in the benefits of society and the social graces.
The train ride from Milton to London the morning of Sunday, March 23rd, 1851 was a smooth one for Baird Ogilvy and and Fanny Thornton. That is to say, that the physical experience of riding in the train was smooth–but the process of keeping each other company on the several hours ride was not as pleasant as they might have hoped. Their first class compartment afforded them some privacy, but only for conversation.
Fanny: “Oh why must we stop at every small town along the way to London?” Fanny bemoans dramatically at their fourth stop in the first hour of their journey.
Baird: “Do ye not think that otherrrs might also like to trrravel to London, Fiona?” He asks her impishly, trying to puncture her annoyance.
Fanny: “Yes, but Baird, if the train people would only have some trains that expressly went from the bigger towns like Milton to London, then we would arrive so much quicker.” She whines logically.
Baird: “Aye! But then we would na have the pleasurrre of being alone and unchaperrroned as we arrre now.” He raises his upbrows up and down mischievously.
Fanny: “Oh no, Mr. Ogilvy! We promised my brother Johnny that we would be a perfect lady and gentleman on our trip. And that is the only reason he did not send one of the maids with us.” Baird pouts. “Actually, I wonder if Margaret convinced Johnny that we would behave appropriately?”
Baird: “Of courrrse, Fiona, My Love.” He nods respectfully. Then a mischievous twinkle comes to his eye. “But surrrely a small kiss can na brrreach ourrr prrromise?
Fanny will not be moved–nor kissed.
Baird: Feeling frustrated, he asks. “May I at least hold yourrr barrre hand, Fiona? I would like to admirrre yourrr delicate fingerrrs wearrring me motherrr’s cameo rrring.”
Fanny: “Oh Baird. I do adore this beautiful ring!” She gushes.
He raises her hand to his lips and kisses it. She shivers with an unspoken want in her heart.
Baird: Lightly embracing her, he asks knowingly. “Arrre ye chilled my sweethearrrt? Perhaps our two bodies can keep each other warm.”
Baird feels warm enough for the both of them. Baird’s resolve and reserve to treat Fanny delicately is difficult for him–made more so because as soon as he set eyes on her, there was no one else in his life–not even to satisfy his base needs. As a gentleman, he did not feel right in having carnal relations with another, when his heart is so wholly captured by his Fiona.
Sitting up and away from him primly, her face flushed from their intimacy just now, Fanny reverts to her maidenly modesty.
Fanny: “Baird, I am warmer now. Thank you.”
She cannot look him in the eye. Fanny knows that she can trust Baird not to ravish her–whatever that is. But she knows that she should not tempt the fates by being overly familiar with him. They are not even formally engaged–merely informally promised. And even the smallest tenderness or kindness that they shared just now might be viewed by others in a less than appropriate light. She must maintain her distance and her dignity until they are wed–as much as it pains her to do so. For she knows that it would be her reputation ruined were he to compromise her–his reputation would merely enhanced. Such is the way of courtship in our time, she thinks.
So the remaining two hours of their train trip is consumed with polite periods of looking out the window at the rolling countryside just starting to come back to green life with the advent of Spring, and discussing their social plans for the coming two weeks while Fanny is again the guest of the Shaw-Lennox household. Baird would much rather avoid social engagements altogether and just spend time with Fanny, but Fanny has other ideas.
That Sunday evening, Baird and his sister Angharad and her husband Alistair MacIntosh dine with Fanny at the Shaw-Lennox home. Mrs. Shaw is away traveling the continent so it is just the young couples–including Edith and Maxwell Lennox. After a sumptuous dinner, the men have their brandy and cigars while the women chat in the parlor.
Edith: “Fanny, are you looking forward to the British Museum Ball on Wednesday?”
Fanny: “I am!” Then she rolls her eyes. “But I could not convince my brother Johnny to buy me a new dress. I fear that all I have is the borrowed gown from Edith that I wore the last time I was here.”
Angharad: “When ye met the queen?” She smiles interestedly.
Fanny: “Oh yes. The Queen was so dear–and so appreciative.” Fanny name drops “You remember, Edith. After I found the Queen’s precious brooch, she invited us to the Ambassador’s Ball that weekend. Hhhhh!” Fanny sighs as she reminices wistfully.
Edith: “Well, I don’t think Her Majesty will be at the ball this week, but there might be a few nobles there.” Edith smiles wincingly.
Fanny: “But Baird is a noble. He is Lord Baird Ogilvy.” Then she turns to Angharad. “And technically, you are Lady Angharad Ogilvy Mactinosh.”
Angharad: Angharad responds slowely, carefully. “Yessss, but rrrememberrr, England does na rrrecognize ourrr titles.”
Fanny: “Oh bother! I recognize your titles, Angharad.” Then she lifts her pert little chin in the air. Because what is good enough for Fanny Thornton, should be good enough for others. “And when Baird and I are married, I will be Lady Fiona Ogilvy.” Fanny smiles with glee. Doesn’t every little girl want to be a lady fair or a princess–or a countess, in Fanny’s case?
Angharad: Leaning in to Fanny, she whispers. “Yes Fanny, but Bairrrd is … parrrrticularrr about not using his title in England until the crrrown concedes and rrrestorres our rrranks.”
Fanny: “I would think his goal would be much better served by having others treat him like the noble he is–and then the crown would have to relent.” She states firmly, but a small nagging doubt begins until the read
Just then, the men enter the parlor in fine spirits. They had been extolling the virtues of wedded life to Baird–who eagerly welcomed their advice. Baird instantly goes to Fanny and joins her on the sette, even as his sister Anghard gives him a knowing smile and stands to greet her husband Alistair and then they chat with Edith and Maxwell by the fireplace across the room–to give Fanny and Baird a bit of privacy.
Baird: “Fiona, would that men had no need for reserving their brandy and cigars for themselves, we might have enjoyed more time togetherrr this evening.”
Fanny: She looks at him askance. “But Baird, I do not like cigars–they are smokey and smelly. And I certainly do not wish to puff on one myself.” She widens her eyes in shocked dismay, not realizing that he wasn’t proposing that she actually smoke a cigar.
Baird: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” Baird rocks with laughter that booms throughout the Shaw-Lennox parlor.
Alistair and Angharad walk back over to Fanny and Baird and sit down on an adjoining sette.
Alistair: “And what amuses you so, Bairrrd?” He asks cordially.
Baird: “Fiona thought I was going to offer her a cigar. Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Fanny: “Well, weren’t you?” She asks a little hurt–thinking that he is laughing at her. Baird shakes his head no with a bemused smirk. “I wouldn’t mind trying the brandy, though. Mother has always promoted temperance in our household, so alcohol was only used at parties. I fear that if I do not accustom my palate to it–since all London parties serve champagne–then I am likely to lose my head the first time I drink it.” She shrugs her shoulders, wincing cutely [(3) right].
Angharad: “Do na fearrr, Fanny. We would na let you overrr indulge.”
Fanny: “That’s good! But I am so looking forward to the Ball on Wednesday–even if I have to wear my old dress. Well, Edith’s old dress that I borrowd for the opera.”
Angharad: “Fanny, I have a gown you might like to wearrr to the ball. I’m afrrraid my waist after two children will na fit in it. And you are welcome to borrrrow it.”
Fanny: “Ohhhh! Thank you! Shall I come tomorrow to try it on?”
Angharad: “I will expect you at 10 o’clock.” She smiles cordially at Fanny.
Fanny nods her head relievedly, to have a new ball gown to wear when she is with Baird at the British Museum Charity Ball on Wednesday. Baird squeezes Fanny’s hand, glad to see that she and his sister Angharad getting along so well. He had been a little worried about Fanny’s disposition after their talk Saturday night. But he is beginning to feel better about it.
And after Fanny visits Angharad the following day, they find that the gown fits Fanny to perfection and she borrows it for the ball. She will feel like a princess in it. And Fanny feels like Baird is her Prince.
So while in London visiting the Shaw-Lennox’s, this Wednesday March 26th, Baird and Fanny and the other young family couples–Edith and Maxwell and Angharad and Alistair–attend a charity ball at the British Museum in a newly built wing yet to be outfitted with exhibits–the point of the evening being to encourage patronage of the pending exhibits.
At around 7 o’clock in the evening, Baird arrives at the Shaw-Lennox home in time to ride with Edith, Maxwell, and Fanny to the British Museum Charity Ball. They will meet Baird’s sister Angharad and her husband Alistair MacIntosh there. It is a gala fundraising affair and most of the toast of London will be in attendance–including some leading performing artists (scandalous!) and lesser nobles.
As Baird and Fanny wait in the queue to be announced, she is agog at the elegant decorations that have transformed the museum into a Pasha’s Palace with artfully draped colorful fabrics. India is the theme since it is one of Britain’s most treasured colonies, regarding its natural resources and steady and plentiful workforce.
Fanny: “Ouch!” She startles as the sword of the gentleman standing in front of them almost impales her voluminous skirt, but knicks her ankle instead.
General Sir Arthur Wellesley: “I do beg your pardon. My apologies for my offense.” He bows graciously.
Baird: “Not at all, Sir.” Baird bows respectfully to the distinguished elder statesman.
Fanny: Fanny jabs Baird’s side. “It is quite all, Baird. Afterall, I’m the one he nearly cut in two, Baird.” Then Fanny says frostily to the old general. “Sir, if you cannot control your sword, you had best leave it at home.” She tells him directly, her lips pursing in disdain for this old distinguished looking man.
General: Amused and smiling at the pretty Fanny, he bows deeply. “I stand corrected, My Lady.” Then he lifts her hand to his lips and kisses it. Fanny looks at him surprised but says nothing. Then the general moves forward to be announced.
Baird: “Do ye na know who that is, Fiona?” Baird looks at her in shock.
Fanny: “Some general puffed up with medals he probably didn’t earn. I have seen them sold in shops.” Fanny gives Baird a knowing look.
Baird: “Fiona!” He chastises her. “Please keep your voice down.” Baird looks around nervously, wondering who might have heard her indiscreet speculation about the general. Fanny pouts, but complies.
Announcer: “General Sir Arthur Wellesly, The Duke of Wellington!” The announcer says loudly for all to hear. The old general [(4)] turns around and salutes Baird, then nods at Fanny with a cordial smile, before he enters the room.
Fanny: “Oh!” Her face blushes. “I thought he was dead.” She sheepishly shrugs her shoulders while shaking her head.
Baird: “Fiona!” He admonishes her again. He wonders why she cannot be more polite.
Fanny: “Well, I did.” She pouts.
Then Fanny and Baird are next to be introduced to those assembled at the Ball.
Announcer: “Your names please?” He asks politely.
Fanny: “Miss Fiona Thornton.” She smiles smugly.
Baird: “Mister Baird Ogilvy.”
Fanny: “Baird, you are not a mere Mister. You are a Lord.”
The announcer looks at him quizzically.
Baird: Baird explains as he winces apologetically. “Technically, though in Scotland I might be addressed as lord, I do not employ that title in England.”
Fanny: “Oh Baird! You’re too fastidious about titles.” Then her face glows with an idea. “At least call yourself, the Honorable.” She turns to the announcer. “My fiancé is an attorney for the crown.” She boasts.
Baird: “Fanny, I am not an Honorable in England, either.” He fumes.
Fanny: She pouts. “But you are an honorable to me?” Fanny gazes up at Baird sweetly and bats her eye lashes at him, several times.
Alistair: Leaning forward to his brother-in-law, Alistair says sotto voce. “Bairrrd, ye and Fanny arrre holding up the line. Please just pick a title and go with it. Then we can all have some champagne.” Angharad nods encouragingly.
Baird: Turning to the announcer, Baird intones flatly. “Baird Ogilvy and my fiancé Miss Fiona Thornton.”
Fanny smiles wanly at the announcer, then she looks out at the throng of people before them–who are staring at them, wondering what the delay was. Fanny gulps to find herself the center of somewhat unwanted attention. She realizes that she has erred and created a scene. But she feels that she was correct on principle–even if Baird thinks not.
Announcer: “Mr. Baird Ogilvy and his fiancé Miss Fiona Thornton.”
Baird: “Finally!” Baird smiles and shakes his head apologetically at the announcer, then he strides into the exhibit space converted into a ballroom–practically dragging Fanny with him.
Fanny: Wresting her arm from his firm grasp, Fanny frowns at Baird. “You do not have to be so put out. I was just trying to get you noticed.” She pouts.
Baird: “Fiona, that kind of notice–or notoriety–is unwelcome. I have a certain standard of conduct that I must adhere to.” He looks away [(5) right] from her so she cannot see the disappointment in his face–but she knows.
Fanny: Raising her eye brow, she tempestuously asks him. “Oh? And is the conduct befitting the everyday Mr. Baird Ogilvy? Or is it for Scottish noble Lord Ogilvy?”
Baird: Gritting his teeth, he hisses. “I’m going to get us some champagne.”
Fanny enjoys showing off her Scottish Earl in waiting to Edith and Maxwell’s friends and those assembled at the Charity Ball. But Fanny drawing attention to his title vexes Baird beyond his words to convey. It wounds his pride that England stripped them of their titles 100 years ago and does not recognize them to this day. So every time Fanny wants him to use his title, it is like a knife thrust, leaving him feeling demeaned.
Alistair: “I’ll go with you, Baird. You’ll need help to carry four glasses of champagne.” Alistair also decides that Baird might need someone to urge calm.
The two men head toward the refreshment table. While across the large exhibit hall, Maxwell and Edith are engaged in a pleasant conversation with the Duke of Wellington–seeing that Maxwell mustered out of service but still wears his uniform on formal occasions, such as tonight.
Alistair: “Slow down Bairrrd, they arrre not going to rrrun out of champagne tonight.”
Baird: “I need a drink!” He spits out thunderously–his voice matching his mood
Alistair: “Bairrrd, you said yourrrself that Fanny was high-spirited and rrrefrrreshingly candid.”
Baird: “Did I?” He looks at his brother-in-law incredulously. “I must have been mad. She could show a little discretion in talking to and about others.” He rolls his eyes.
Alistair: “Well Baird, she is very young–not yet twenty-one if I believe.”
Baird: “What do you mean? She is not a child.”
Alistair: “True, but she is still firmly planted in her pampered childhood phase.” He raises a knowing eyebrow.
Baird: He gulps another mouthfull of champagne. “What should I do?”
Alistair: “Do? Give it time. You’re not engaged yet. And you might wish to make it a longer engagement when you are–to give her time to grow up.”
Baird: “Time? But I am a man–a man with needs.” Baird says sotto voce to Alistair.
Alistair: “I underrrstand, old man.” He rests his hand on Baird’s shoulder. “But marrying Fanny too early–because of … well … what you said–might not be the wisest course. I waited a whole year to marry your sister, Angharad. And it was worth the wait. We are well matched.”
Baird: “Perhaps there is another way.” Baird intones mysteriously as an idea begins to germinate in his mind.
After bringing the ladies their champagne–them not knowing that Baird has drunk two glasses already–Fanny slowly sips her champagne since she has never tasted it before.
Angharad: “Do ye na like It, Fanny?”
Fanny: “No, it’s lovely. I’m just not used to it–and I don’t know how it will affect me.”
Angharad: “Then sip slowly.” She smiles.
Everyone hears the string quartet begin to play a waltz.
Baird: “Miss Fiona! Shall we dance?” He does not wait for a reply, his alcohol consumption is the reason. Fanny almost trips on her borrowed gown as he at first clumsily waltzes around with her–taking too large steps, causing her to strain to keep up with him. They do not talk as they dance–Fanny sensing that Baird is out of sorts.
But because Baird has not had a recent declaration of feeling from Fanny, he fears that she only likes him because of his eventual title of the Earl of Airlie. So he decides to test her by saying that he has decided to decline to inherit the earldom, in favor of his nephew Andrew Macintosh–and remain an attorney in London. However, he decides to tell her this in the middle of their fourth dance at the ball–to test her. A row ensues and he stomps off of the dance floor. Fanny is left embarrassingly unattended in the middle of the dance floor. All eyes are upon her. Happily, Maxwell Lennox comes to Fanny’s aid and he waltzs her back to his wife Edith, who consles her.
Angharad: Grabbing her brother’s arm as he seeks to be gone from the ball, she asks. “Baird! What arrre ye about?”
Baird: “Nothing, it’s nothing!” He lies.
Angharad: “Good! I say we go home and you and Fanny can cool off. Give it a day or two.”
Baird nods and reluctantly follows his sister and her husband to their waiting carriage–him not saying goodbye to Fanny or the Lennox’s.
Once Edith and Maxwell get Fanny in the carriage for their return trip home, her tears burst forth.
Fanny: “Why was Baird so mean tonight?” She wails.
Edith: “Now Fanny. He was merely out of sorts.”
Fanny: “But he left me in the middle of the dance floor. And didn’t even say goodbye when he left the ball.”
Edith: “Some men are like that–brooding.” She looks up at her husband and winks at him. But Fanny is not consoled.
Finally, they arrive back at the Shaw-Lennox home and Fanny goes directly to bed because she is so distraught. She sleeps only fitfully throughout the night–as does Baird in his residence across town. But on Thursday morning, Baird has a very large hangover from the night before. And Baird taking the cooling off period suggestion of Alistair, Baird does not call upon the Shaw-Lennox house on Thursday–nor send a note, nor even his card. So Fanny feels like he is punishing her for speaking her mind. Both of them are stubborn–unwilling to admit that they were partially wrong or that the other was partially right.
And Thursday evening after a listless dinner without Baird, Fanny reaches what she feels is an inevitable conclusion and decides to return home on the London Friday morning train–missing Angharad’s tea party for her later that day, and cutting short her London visit by one week. But Fanny does not immediately tell anyone of her plans–lest they try to stop her. Instead, she sits quietly at the desk in the morning room and writes a brief letter. Then she places the letter in an envelope, addresses it to Mr. Baird Ogilvy, and puts the envelope into her reticule. And tonight, Thursday night, Fanny Thornton cries herself to sleep, wishing that things were different, but not knowing how to make them so. So Fanny plans to stop by Angharad MacIntosh’s home Friday morning on her way to the train. Fanny will trust Anghard to see the letter safely into Baird Ogilvy’s hands.
To be continued with Chapter 36
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 35 References, March 7, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #526)
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) Cameo carvings on jewelry date back to the Romans, but were popularized in modern times by Queen Victoria in the 19th century; for more information, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cameo_%28carving%29 ; and a cameo image was found at http://image0-rubylane.s3.amazonaws.com/shops/877313/RL-309.1L.jpg?41
3) Fanny Thornton was portrayed by Jo Joyner in the 2004 BBC drama North & South (11h03m52s71) Jan1214 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-crop-sized-brt
4) Information about the Duke of Wellington is found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Wellesley,_1st_Duke_of_Wellington
5) Baird Ogilvy image (aspect, sized, drkn) is Simon Woods as Charles Bingley in the 2005 film Pride and Prejudice found at fanpop.com http://images5.fanpop.com/image/photos/25000000/Mr-Bingley-pride-and-prejudice-men-25086484-200-200.jpg