“North & South: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 39 (PG): Unexpected Developments in Thornton Manor Residents, March 21, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #533)
[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, Gillian Anderson at Carlotta Quint Watson, and Jeremy Northam as Dr. Miles Houghton, 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: The Monday following Fanny’s early return to Milton after her breakup with Baird, Margaret was feeling a little better when the new young doctor examined her. However the good doctor turned out to be more interested in Fanny than in his patient–to John’s chagrin as yet another man vies to become Fanny’s suitor.
“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 39 (PG): Unexpected Developments in Thornton Manor Residents
One thing that John and Margaret–and Fanny, for that matter–did not expect, was to see the newlyweds a full day before they were expected. Hannah and Cameron Ogilvy traveled the early morning train Tuesday from English Northumberland near the Scottish border to reach Milton and Thornton Manor by early afternoon. However, the redecorating of the private family rooms in Dr.Ogilvy’s medical practice building are still undergoing redecorating with painting and wall papering to be completed this week for the bed chambers and sitting room–they hope, after they take a quick tour and find not as much accomplished as they had wished.
Cameron has given Hannah free reign to redecorate all but his study–and she relishes having carte blanche–but then, Hannah Thornton Ogilvy would expect no less. And her loving new husband Cameron Ogilvy is delighted to indulge her every whim–he is a lovingly besotted husband. As Hannah and Cameron tour the rooms to see what progress is being made, Dr. Miles Houghton is seeing patients on the first level. However, after Dr. Houghton finishes with a patient, he then joins Cameron and Hannah and informs them of Margaret’s feeling faint last weekend. So Hannah and Cameron quickly travel to Thornton Manor without first depositing their luggage at the Milton Mayfair Hotel where Cameron has providentially reserved rooms for them.
After Cameron escorts Hannah up the Thornton Manor exterior steps, Hannah pauses. She is truly now no longer mistress of this home. Cameron smiles at her encouragingly–for she will be mistress of their home together, and of Airlie Castle when they move there semi-permanently after John’s and Margaret’s baby is born in the Autumn. So they ring the bell and wait for admittance. The footman opens the door to them and respectfully bids them enter. They learn that Fanny is at the mill helping tend the little ones and Margaret lies abed upstairs–with John still lingering after lunching with her. So Hannah and Cameron walk up stairs to Margaret’s and John’s bedchamber.
Lying on the bed next to his wife and cradling her in his arms–John’s shoes haphazardly kicked under a nearby chair that also holds his suit jacket and cravat–John and Margaret are sweetly kissing each other and holding hands. This is as intimate as they are allowed to be whilst the five months pregnant Margaret is recovering from feeling faint last weekend. And John’s tenderness toward his wife Margaret is a healing balm that is helping her to feel better.
John had joined Margaret for lunch, and will return to the mill soon–but not yet. Their bed chamber door is slightly ajar after the maid left with their eaten lunch trays a few minutes ago. So initially upon reaching John’s and Margaret’s bed chamber, Hannah and Cameron have a tender view of the young married couple. Margaret is dozing with her eyes closed and John is cuddled up next to her [(2) right]. Cameron smiles at Hannah and knocks upon the bed chamber door.
John: “Hhhhh. Must we be constantly interrupted?” John whispers in Margaret’s ear, then he nibbles her ear.
Margaret: “Ha ha ha! Oh you!” She turns toward him, opens her eyes, and smiles tenderly at him. They kiss again sweetly Then she turns to their bed chamber door. “Please come in.” She calls out in a strong voice as John reluctantly pulls himself away from her ear, for decorum’s sake–otherwise, he would have continued nibbling.
Cameron and Hannah enter Margaret’s and John’s bed chamber with large smiles on their faces–in hopes of cheering up the bedridden Margaret.
Cameron: “Might two wearrry trrravelerrrs come to visit ye?”
Margaret: “Of course! Welcome back!” Margaret smiles warmly at the newlyweds.
Cameron and Hannah walk further into the room with Cameron’s arm around Hannah’s waist. He always has some discreet form of touching connection with his wife in public, either by her taking his arm, or by him clasping her hand in his. They are newlyweds afterall.
John: “Mother! Cameron! We did not expect you until tomorrow.” John smiles broadly at his obviously happy mother, Hannah [(3) right]–and her ecstatic beyond words new husband, Cameron. Clearly, the married state is agreeing with each of them.
Hannah: “We decided not to tarry longer in Northumberland.” She smiles wryly at her son and daughter-in-law still cuddling against each other while sitting up in bed–Margaret wears her nightgown and shawl under the covers and John is fully dressed, but for his shoes, and sitting above the coverlet. “What is this we hear from Dr. Houghton about Margaret fainting?” Hannah walks swiftly to Margaret’s side and kisses her cheek.
Margaret: “It was nothing.” She shrugs her shoulders with a sheepish smile.
John: Standing up from the bed to greet Cameron with a firm handshake, John says chidingly as he glances askance at Margaret. “It was not nothing, My Love. As usual, Margaret is trying to do too much, Cameron.”
Cameron: “Aye! Drrr. Houghton told us of Marrrgarrret’s condition when we stopped at ourrr home above me medical prrractice, Hannah insisted that we come strrraight herrre, not even stopping at the hotel to drrrop off ourrr luggage. Even now, ourrr carrriage waits to take us therrre after we have seen to you.” He [(4) right] smiles benignly at his caring wife.
Margaret: “Hotel? Is the redecorating at your home not completed yet?”
Hannah: “No.” Hannah shakes her head. “I think that it will be at least until Friday before we can move in. So, we will stay at the Milton Mayfair Hotel.” She smiles at her husband.
Margaret: “Nonsense! You will stay here, with us–in the guest bed chamber suite at the end of the hall.”
John looks at Margaret with a startled pout. It is not that John does not want his mother to be a guest in their home at all–just not while she is a newlywed bride.
Hannah smiles her thanks for Margaret’s gracious offer. But Cameron wants his privacy with his wife that a hotel can provide.
Cameron: “Nay, Margaret. We do na want to put ye to any trrrouble!”
Cameron looks pleadingly over at John–who gives him an encouraging look. John doesn’t relish having his newlywed mother and stepfather under his roof so soon after their wedding trip either. For indeed,Cameron still considers he and Hannah to be on their wedding trip–and he is worried that Hannah might not feel comfortable with his loving attentions in her former home.
John: “Margaret, Cameron’s wishes should be respected.” John gently suggests, remembering the time when Mrs. Shaw almost made he and Margaret sleep in separate bed chambers in her London home not long after they were wed.
Margaret: Not getting John’s point–about the newlyweds issues for privacy–Margaret pleads. “John, it is not only for myself that I would like Mother and Cameron to stay with us for a few days.” Margaret looks at her husband as if trying to convey something to him. “Think of how their presence might benefit Fanny at this difficult time for her.”
John: “Hhhh!” John sighs and nods his head in defeat. There is never anyone more persuasive than a wife–especially, a pregnant wife.
Hannah: “What about Fanny?” Hannah asks with a sense of foreboding.
Margaret: Margaret winces at Cameron, then tells them both. “Fanny and Baird seem to have …” She hesitates out to describe their relationship impasse. “… set aside their association with each other.”
Margaret does not say that Baird’s and Fanny’s attachment to one another is broken, because Margaret firmly believes–or hopes–that they might yet still get back together.
Cameron: “Ach! That is unsettling news.” Cameron frowns in disappointment. Hannah also frowns.
Though both Cameron and Hannah are eager to know the details, their rigid social upbringing prevents them from asking such a direct question in mixed company.
Margaret: “John if you will please ask Maid Sarah to open up the guest bed chamber suite for Mother and Cameron, I think I will nap a bit.” She says sleepily. She really does need her rest.
John: “Of course, Margaret, My Love. You rest.” He walks back to her and kisses her forehead. John’s feet, as of yet, are still unshod in the company of his mother and her new husband. And John would be completely embarrassed, but for the saving grace of his socks.
Hannah: “I will sit with you for a few moments, Margaret, then direct our unpacking by the servants.” She states declaratively–for Hannah Thornton Ogilvy does not waver in her actions. She also wants to find out more about Fanny from Margaret in private.
Cameron: “I will go with John and direct the carriage driver to bring in our luggage.” Cameron also wants to have a private word with John about Baird and Fanny.
The two men leave the bed chamber–knowing that the women will discuss Fanny’s situation. And John also knows that Cameron also wants to talk about Baird and Fanny.
After the luggage is given to the servants to settle into their guest bed chamber suite at Thornton Manor, Cameron walks back to John’s study–finding John waiting for him, and Cameron closes the door and sits in the offered chair. John’s study is the scene of many such man to man talks, John finds more and more. Then Cameron boldly asks John what happened.
Cameron: “So what idiotic and insensitive action or worrrds did my son do or say to cause Fanny to end theirrr engagement? I assume it was Fanny who ended it?”
Taken aback by Cameron seeming to side with Fanny–John had thought that Cameron might be more inclined to side with his son, Baird–John begins to diplomatically tell Cameron what happened.
John: “Yes, it was Fanny who ended it–and she returned Baird’s late mother’s cameo ring that he had given her. But she felt that Baird gave her no choice with his refusal to contact her after the charity ball last Wednesday. She left the ring and a letter for Baird with your daughter Angharad on Friday. Baird had not contacted Fanny for two whole days when she left London–and she still has not heard from him.”
John proceeds to explain Baird’s and Fanny’s falling out over the Duke of Wellington incident at the charity ball–including Fanny’s ill considered comments to the Duke–and Baird’s subsequent lack of contact with and silence toward Fanny.
Cameron: Cameron shakes his head. “When will young men learrrn that theirrr self rrrighteous behavior is the cause of theirrr own miserrry and sufferrring–and it should be avoided at all costs?” Cameron looks at John bemusedly. John is speechless, his mouth is open as if to voice a thought which has not fully formed in his mind. “The question is rrrhetorical, John.”
John: “So you think that Fanny was correct in ending her attachment with Baird?” John quizzically asks Cameron.
Cameron: “Aye! In so far as Fanny withdrawing her association with Baird causes him to see some sense because he is bereft of her charming self–and he begs her to take him back.”
John: John looks at Cameron, and feels uncomfortable with what he must say. “Cameron, I don’t know if Fanny will take Baird back, Cameron–nor if I would want her to.” John adds reluctantly and Cameron’s eye brow rises. “No offense to Baird, but he hurt Fanny deeply–she is still in great pain. The only reason she has stopped weeping about her lost love–as she refers to it–is because she has focused on helping Margaret through her pregnancy difficulties this past weekend and continuing this week by tending to Margaret’s mother Mrs. Hale in the mornings, Margaret at lunch and tea time, and the mill school and nursery little ones for lunch and afternoons.” John shakes his head in wonder. “I have never seen Fanny behave so caringly and selflessly toward others.”
Cameron: “Aye! Miss Fanny is to be commended forrr herrr compassion. She is grrrowing into maturrrity as a young woman.” John nods his agreement and thanks with Cameron’s compliment about Fanny. “So! If me son, Bairrrd, contacts me about Fanny–werrre he to want to heal the brrreach between them–what do ye want me to tell him?”
John: John looks at Cameron for several moments. “I do not know. If Fanny and Baird can get past this initial misunderstanding and rebuild their relationship, that would be fine with me–as long as, that is what Fanny wants. However, if Baird merely wants to assuage his ego by blaming Fanny for her indiscreet comments to the Duke of Wellington–and I will grant you, I shudder at her audacity in speaking so bluntly to a person of high position with little thought for politesse–I would rather that he not see her, and let her come to terms with their parting in her own time and in her own way.”
Cameron: “Aye! I can underrrstand your prrrotectiveness towarrrd Fanny. She is still a young lass–perrrhaps undecided about what she wants forrr herrr life.”
John: “True.” John nods his head. He has been dreading telling Cameron this part. “And I should tell you now, because you will discover it at dinner tonight–and I do not want you startled by it.”
Cameron: “Oh? What now!” Cameron looks at John warily.
John: “It seems that Fanny has caught the eye of a new potential suitor–though she is not aware of his interest as of yet.”
Cameron: “Ach! Fanny is not unattached even a week and a new swain swoops in.” He shakes his head bemusedly. Then his thoughts turn more serious. “Soooo. Me son, Bairrrd, has competition for Miss Fanny?” John nods. “Who is it? Someone in Milton?”
John: “Yes.” John nods–he looks at Cameron with great unease, his pause hoping to delay the inevitable. But John finds that there is nothing more he can put between himself and relating the full truth to Cameron as John expels air from his lungs that he had not realized that he was holding in. “He is your new medical practice partner, Dr. Miles Houghton.”
Cameron: Cameron hits his forehead with the heel of the palm of his hand. “Ach! This is awkwarrrd. Nay! I am astonished!” Then Cameron focuses in on something John said. “But you say that Fanny is not awarrre of Dr. Houghton’s interrrest in herrr? So he has not made his admirrration known to herrr.”
John: “That is correct. Dr. Houghton asked me yesterday if he might invite Fanny to a musical concert. But given how weepy and vulnerable Fanny has been about Baird, I couldn’t gauge how Fanny would view Dr. Houghton’s invitation. So I asked Dr. Houghton to join us for dinner this evening to see if he and Fanny got on well with each other. Then if the situation presents itself, he may tender his invitation to her then.”
John is trying to be reasonable to all concerned. But balancing everyone’s interests is becoming more difficult as the number of people interested in Fanny increases. Whatever happens, John wants Fanny to be happy. But he is uncertain whom might be the best candidate to be the architect of Fanny’s future happiness–the brash young lawyer Baird Ogilvy, heir to the Earldom of Airlie with unlimited resources?; or the quiet and calm medical doctor Miles Houghton with additional sources of income that would allow him to support a wife with Fanny’s fine tastes and interests? Time will tell. And of course, it will be Fanny’s own choosing of a suitor–and of her future husband–that will decide her fate.
To be continued with Chapter 40
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 39 References, March 21, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #533)
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) Margaret and John images are a composite of two images:
a) Margaret Hale image (crop to oval) is Daniela Denby-Ashe in the BBC’s 2004 miniseries North & South found at http://northandsouth2004.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/NS2004-EP1-0066.jpg as part of an N&S fan fiction ch 2 by Loyal Wynyard found at http://northandsouth2004.com/?p=911 ; and
b) John Thornton image (crop to oval, clr) is a 2013 Richard Armitage portrait by Sarah Dunn for Total Film Article Dec0313mrpuddingstontumblrcom-viaRAFranceFB-croptooval-hi-res
3) Hannah Thornton Ogilvy image (crop-sized-drkn-shrp-crop2sml ) is Sinead Cusack in the 2004 BBC drama North & South (22h57m34s207) Dec2813 Gratiana Lovelace Cap
4) Dr. Cameron Ogilvy image is Graham McTavish at the 2012 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey London Premiere found at http://i2.cdnds.net/12/50/618×829/movies-the-hobbit-uk-premiere-10.jpg (Digital Spy)