“North & South: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 36 (PG): Fanny’s Dalliance with Baird Ends, March 10, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #527)
[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’s fight at the British Museum Charity Ball has caused Fanny to reflect upon their relationship–and what she must do next.
Ch. 36 (PG): Fanny’s Dalliance with Baird Ends
Early on the Friday morning of March 28th, after two days of silence from Baird folloing the British Museum Charity Ball fight they had about Fanny’s indiscreet conversation and Baird being peevish about not using his Scottish noble title, Fanny thinks that Baird must be too upset with her to speak to her. She is correct–but that is more his failing than hers, were Baird to admit that. And she does not think they can mend the breach. They certainly won’t if they are not on speaking terms. So Fanny has decided to return home to Milton, one week earlier than she had planned for this London visit.
But first, Fanny stops by Baird’s sister Angharad MacIntosh’s home around 8 o’clock in the morning to return the gown she borrowed and to leave with Angharad the letter Fanny wrote to Baird–for Angharad to give the letter to her brother. As the Shaw-Lennox carriage patiently waits outside the MacIntosh home for Fanny–with Dixon dozing inside the carriage while she waits–Fanny is ushered into the smaller family parlor in the MacIntosh home where Angharad soon joins her after having come from the breakfast room.
Angharad: “Fanny!” Angharad crosses the room and kisses and embraces Fanny. “I did not expect you. Have you eaten?” Angharad smiles at Fanny warmly. Angharad is on Fanny’s side in her misunderstanding with Baird.
Fanny: “Yes, thank you.” Looking sadly at the kind and sweet Angharad, Fanny [(2) right] forlornly points to the sette. “I have returned the lovely gown that you loaned me for the ball. Thank you, it was very kind of you.” Fanny says meekly.
Angharad: “You looked lovely in the gown, Fanny.” Angharad says sincerely and charitably, noticing Fanny’s withdrawn demeanor. “Why don’t you keep the gown? We arrre almost sisterrrs, afterall.”
Fanny: “Oh no! I couldn’t keep the gown.” Her eyes tear up. “It would remind me that we are never to be sisters.” Fanny bursts into tears and covers her face with her lace gloved hands as she cries. “Hmm. hmmm. hmmm.”
The two young women sit on the settee and Angharad caringly puts her arms about Fanny’s shoulders.
Fanny: “I cannot stay long. I am taking the nine o’clock train home to Milton this morning. The Hale’s maid Dixon who had been visiting family in London, is in the carriage awaiting to escort me now.”
Angharad: “Isn’t your leaving sudden?” Fanny shrugs her shoulders. “Fanny, have you and Baird not talked since … well, since what happened at the ball.”
Fanny: “No.” Fanny chokes out in a whisper. “Baird has not come to see me, nor sent me a letter, nor even left his card. But he makes clear by his absence–and by his silence–that he wishes to be rid of me. So I will grant him his wish.”
Fanny pulls the letter for Baird and the small jewelry box with the cameo ring in it out of her reticule and offers it to Angharad. Angharad recognizes the jewelry box and notices that the cameo ring Baird gave Fanny is not on her finger.
Angharad: “No Fanny. The ring is yours.” Angharad refuses to take the letter and jewelry box, so Fanny places them on the sette cushion between them.
Fanny: “It was your mother’s ring. The ring should stay in your family. Please give Baird my letter and the ring after I have gone. I release him from his promise to me.”
Angharad: “Fanny, my brrotherrr is an idiot at times, and cerrrtainly misguided, but his love for you is trrrue.”
Fanny: Fanny thinks upon this for a moment as her lip trembles and her eyes water with more tears. But Fanny struggles to regain her composure. “Baird may harbor some lingering affection for me–as I do for him.” Fanny admits reluctantly. “But I embarrassed him at the ball. And he was so critical of everything I said. I want to have a husband who loves me despite my many faults–and a husband who is not embarrassed about me. I want to be loved for me–not some lofty vision of a perfect me that is impossible to attain.”
Angharad: “Oh Fanny.” She sighs sympathetically.
Fanny: Fanny feels that she has said more to Angharad about her feelings than she intended and Fanny rises from the sette. “I must go. I am truly sorry about not being here for the tea party this afternoon, Angharad. But with things as they are, I would not be good company.” Angharad waves her hand for Fanny not to worry about that. “Since our parents are married, you and I will see each other from time to time at family gatherings. And I hope that we will still remain friends.” Fanny smiles wanly at her.
Angharad: “Of courrrse, Fanny, always.” Angharad rises and embraces Fanny in farewell. “But is therrre no hope forrr ye and Bairrrd?”
Fanny: “I don’t think so, Angharad. Baird has made it clear that I am not suitable for him. And I must accept that.”
Fanny says stoically, her resolve to not cry again is hanging by the slimmest of threads. And for all of Fanny’s youthful mistakes and indiscretions, she is exhibiting signs of maturity now in how she is coping with her break up from Baird.
Angharad bids Fanny farewell and watches her carriage pull away from the curb, as it moves in the direction of the train station.
Then Angharad immediately places Fanny’s letter for Baird and the jewelry box in a drawer in her desk in the large parlor. She writes a quick note to her brother and sends it to her brother’s law offices with one of her footman. Time is of the essence if Baird is to catch Fanny at the train station. But the footman does not find Baird Ogilvy at his law offices, nor at the courts building as the staff directed him.
It seems that Baird has an unscheduled client meeting in the home of the crown’s witness to discuss a pending case, since the witness was ill and confined to his bed. So the footman returns to Baird’s law offices and leaves the note from his sister there. After her footman returns and explains his dilemma in being unable to deliver her note directly into her brother Baird’s hands, Angharad does the only thing that she can do–cancel the afternoon tea party in Fanny and Baird’s honor. And the footman now takes those notes of cancellation to the Lennoxes and others.
The next several hours for Angharad are taken up with her children and luncheon with her husband, Alistair, who unexpectedly came home and she told about the rift between Baird and Fanny, to his dismay. Alistair promises to be back later for tea in case Baird shows up.
Since Baird’s witness meeting and other appointments took longer than he expected, he does not have time to go back to his office before his sister’s tea party. So he does not receive his sister’s note about Fanny. And Baird is embarrassed about having to apologize to Fanny in front of everyone at the tea party–since he has spent two days cooling off from his anger, him finally realizing that it was himself who made the greater error–but he will do so, if necessary. As Baird arrives at his sister’s home, the startled footman answering the door–who had tried to find Baird earlier in the day–does not say anything to him, it is not his place.
As Baird is shown into the MacIntosh home’s larger parlor, he is smiling and hopeful. However, Baird is greeted by the penetrating glare of his younger sister, Angharad Ogilvy MacIntosh.
Angharad: “Baird!” She fumes as she throws up her hands in frustration. “Wherrre have ye been all day? I tried to contact ye.”
Baird: “Angharad?” He notices that his sister is not happy.
Angharad: “You idiot! Ye did na apologize to Fanny yet!”
Baird: “No. But I hope to when I see her here today.”
Angharad: “Ye arrre too late! She left for Milton by trrrain earrrly this morrrning.”
Baird: Not comprehending what his sister is telling him, he asks dumbfoundedly. “She left?”
Angharad: “Aye! Yourrr sorry excuse forrr a fiancé has convinced herrrr that ye arrre embarrrrassed by herrr and that she is not a suitable brrride for you–herrr words!”
Angharad goes to her desk and retrieves Fanny’s letter and the jewelry box and hands them to her brother. Baird looks sorrowfully from the letter and to what he knows is the cameo ring he gave Fanny in the jewelry box.
Angharad: “Well? What does Fanny’s letter say?”
Baird: “Give me a moment to read it.” Baird puts the ring box in his vest pocket, then he breaks the seal of the envelope and removes the letter within and reads what it says.
Fanny’s letter to Baird, that he reads silently to himself:
March 28, 1851
Mr. Baird Ogilvy, London
Dear Mr. Ogilvy,
It is with regret that I return the cameo ring that you had so kindly bestowed upon me when we were in sympathy with each other. But your actions this Wednesday night past–and your subsequent silence–convey to me your disinterest in continuing our association, and I feel that I should return this lovely family heirloom to you.
I also realize that, as a gentleman, you may be in a quandary as to how to extricate yourself from your promise to me. So I release you from it, unreservedly. And I hope that we part as friendly acquaintances–since through our parents’ marriage, we might see each other from time to time in the future.
I want you to know that I bear no grudge against you. I am glad to have known you for the short time of our acquaintanceship. And I wish you well.
Sincerely, Miss Fanny Thornton
Fanny had struggled with how to sign the letter–Fiona versus Fanny. But in the end, she had decided that she was no longer Baird’s Fiona. So she signed it as Fanny. It had taken all of her reserves of inner strength to comport herself in the letter as her mother would have wished her to be–as a lady. And Fanny’s heart is broken with she and Baird no longer promised to each other.
Baird reads the letter again, feeling bereft of spirit with Fanny’s courteous but dismissive and dispassionate letter to him. He is devastated as he hands the letter to his sister Angharad to read. She looks up at her brother several times as she reads the letter, but she holds her tongue about its contents.
Then Angharad returns the letter to her brother. Baird folds it, replaces it in its envelope, and places the letter in his vest pocket. Baird hangs his head and places his hands on a nearby wing chair back to steady himself. He almost feels as if he has take a punch to his gut. Baird wonders how his and Fiona’s beautiful love could be shattered into a million pieces so easily and so quickly. Were they not well matched, afterall? He thought they were–he still thinks they are.
Angharad’s husband Alistair walks into the parlor, fulfilling his promise to his wife to join her for tea with Baird.
Baird: Baird looks up at his brother-in-law. “Alistair, Is this true? Fanny has already left London?”
Alistair: “It would seem so.” Alistair looks upon the heartbroken Baird with a sympathetic eye. But then he intones curtly. “I can harrrdly blame herrr.”
Alistair goes to stand next to his wife Angharad–putting a familiar arm around her waist and tenderly kissing her forehead. She returns the intimate gesture by kissing his cheek and she snuggles into his side.
Angharad: “Botched would be a betterrr worrrd for it, brrrotherrr dearrr.” She expresses her great annoyance with her older brother. “Afterrr yourrr rrrude behaviorrr to Fanny at the ball Wednesday night–and then ye not talking to herrr–ye having Fanny believing that she is not worrrthy of you. Wherrreas, I think it is the otherrr way arrround.” Angharad tells her brother tartly. “It would serrrve ye rrright to lose herrr to anotherrr man, to a betterrr man who will appreciate her.”
Baird: “But I love Fiona!” Baird proclaims stridently.
Alistair: “Then ye had betterrr, tell Fanny that–and apologize and beg herrr forrrgiveness.”
Baird: “But how?” He looks at them pleadingly.
Angharad: “Ye could starrrt by wrrriting to her–and apologizing. Then when Fatherrr and Mama returrrn to Milton frrrom theirrr wedding trrrip in Scotland next week, ye can consult with Father on the best courrrse of action.”
Baird slowly nods his head and walks listlessly toward the parlor door.
Baird: “Yes, I will do that. Father will know what is rrright.”
Alistair: “Bairrrd?” He asks in concern for his brother-in-law. “Arrre ye staying forrr dinnerrr?”
Baird: He straightens up. “No. I thank ye. But I had best rrreturn home and wrrrite me letterrr to Fiona.”
Angharad detaches herself from her husband’s embrace and she walks over to her brother and embraces him.
Angharad: “Baird, ye have behaved toward Fanny like an oafish clod.” Baird winces. “But ye arrre me brrrotherrr, and I love ye.”
Baird: “Thank ye. I love you, too.” He kisses her cheek and embraces her again.
Angharad: “Ye will come for Sunday luncheon so our bairrrns can see theirrr favorrrite uncle?” She asks caringly as she caresses his face.
Baird: Alistair nods. “Yes, I will come. Kiss them goodnight for me?” Baird smiles wanly.
Angharad: “I will.” Angharad does not tell Baird that everything will turn out alright for he and Fanny, because she does not have that foresight.
Baird and Angharad embrace once more, Alistair and Baird shake hands, then Baird leaves to go home to write his letter to Fiona/Fanny. At first, Baird does not know what to write. And the floor of his study is littered with crumpled sheets of paper. Then he sits and thinks, what does he really want? And the answer is, he wants Fiona Thornton as his future wife. But, does she want him as her future husband anymore?
Baird stares at his mother’s cameo ring [(5) right] that he had given to Fiona, and that she has now returned to him. Baird puts the ring on his left pinky finger as he begins to write his letter–being honest, straightforward, and sincerely apologetic in his words–his thoughts flowing freely from his pen as he writes from his heart. Fine tuning his letter takes all night. And Baird also writes a companion letter to Fiona’s brother, John. Finally Baird is satisfied with his letter to his Fiona–for she will always be his Fiona–and his letter to her brother, John. And Baird falls asleep at his desk for a few hours rest, his Fiona’s cameo ring still firmly on his left pinky finger.
So Baird’s footman posts the letters to Fiona and to her brother John for him early Saturday morning of March 29th. Fiona might not receive Baird’s letter for several days–depending upon which post it is dispatched from. And Baird works over the weekend to organize his cases for others to take over so that he can leave for Milton on the following Wednesday–when his father Dr. Cameron Ogilvy and his new mama Hannah Thornton Ogilvy are due to return from their wedding trip in Scotland. Baird hopes to consult with his father about how to heal the breach with his Fiona.
To be continued with Chapter 37
N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 36 References, March 10, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #527)
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) Fanny is portrayed by Jo Joyner in the 2004 BBC drama North & South (11h04m47s104) Jan1214 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-crop-sized-shrp
3) Image representing Angharad Ogilvy MacIntosh is Holliday Grainger in her role as Lucretia Borgia found at http://img.moviepilot.com/assets/tarantulaV2/people_images/1370946799_Holliday-Grainger.jpg
4) Baird Ogilvy image (masked background, sized) is Simon Woods as Charles Bingley in the 2005 film Pride and Prejudice found at http://image.hotdog.hu/user/Angelinna/magazin/Pride-and-Prejudice-2005-pride-and-prejudice-2005-32212524-264-400.jpg
5) 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