“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 44 (PG): Sometimes Love Means Letting Go, April 05, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #543 )
[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: Baird makes another attempt to reconcile with Fiona. But it back fires as his inept lack of a personal apology crushingly devastates Fanny/Fiona to the point of her having a breath attack. And now, Baird must find a way to show his sincerity to Fanny if they are to try to find their way back to each other.
“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 44 (PG): Sometimes Love Means Letting Go
John arrives home that night on Wednesday evening, April 2nd, at 6 o’clock to find that not only were his sister Fanny and Baird Ogilvy not reconciled, but that Fanny had experienced a breathing collapse due to her distress over Baird’s lack of apology. John is nearly apoplectic about the continuing presence of Baird Ogilvy in their lives and in their home.
Racing up the stairs two at a time to reach the family bed chambers hallway, John finds his mother Hannah and wife Margaret sitting quietly with a dozing Fanny lying in bed, propped up on her pillows. Fanny looks quite pale and very fragile, ethereal–not like John’s spirited and feisty baby sister at all. Hannah puts her finger to her lips to encourage John to be quiet. He nods.
John first goes to his wife Margaret and hugs and kisses her–since she has not been all that well either in her fifth month of pregnancy. Margaret caresses her husband John’s face and smiles up at him encouragingly. Their gaze says much between them of love and constancy and hope–though no words are spoken. Then after settling Margaret into her chair again, John turns to his Mother Hannah and kisses her cheek.
John: In a hushed low whisper, John asks. “Mother, how is Fanny?”
Mother: Hannah whispers back. “Fanny is resting comfortably now. But she gave us quite a fright.” Hannah’s worry is etched in the rippled lines of skin around her furrowed brow.
Fanny: Fanny speaks breathily and weakly, without opening her eyes. “I’ve been a bother today. I’m sorry, Johnny.” A single tear trails down her cheek. Speaking just now felt like such a strain to Fanny. She cannot think why these breathing attacks come upon her so suddenly and devastatingly.
Instantly going to his little sister’s side and sitting down at her bedside, he pulls her to him and cradles her in his arms as he kisses her forehead and cheeks. John is over wrought with concern as he gently rocks Fanny back and forth in his arms.
John: “Fanny, Sweetheart!” He sighs. “You are never a bother, ever! Shhh! Shhhh! You rest.” When she was little, John would always call Fanny his sweetheart. For next to his mother, Fanny was the only woman then who resided in his heart.
Fanny: “Don’t be mad at Baird, Johnny. He didn’t know that I have these breathing attacks. And it’s my fault. I shouldn’t have gotten so emotional.”
John and Hannah exchange a look between them in noticing that Fanny seems to have reformed her prior ways of milking every ache and cough for sympathy–more evidence of Fanny’s growing maturity.
John: “Not to worry, Fanny. All will be well.” John gently lays Fanny back onto her pillow. I’ll take care of things.” By which John means ushering Baird Ogilvy out of his front door.
Fanny: “No, Johnny.” Fanny struggles to say forcefully as she weakly clutches at his coat sleeve, but she sounds so fragile and delicate to John. “I want to see Baird before he leaves the manor tonight–alone.”
Hannah: “I don’t think that is wise, Fanny Dearest.” Hannah clasps her daughter’s hand in hers and squeezes it comfortingly. “You’re still recovering from your ordeal.” Hannah winces and Margaret nods sympathetically–she can see both sides of the issue.
Fanny: “It’s my life. You have to let me do as I see fit.” Fanny opens her eyes for emphasis [(2) right], pleading for her brother and for her mother to acquiesce to her request. And with her agitation, Fanny’s breathing is becoming a bit more ragged.
Margaret: Always the voice of reason, Margaret intervenes upon Fanny’s behalf. “Fanny is right. It is her life. And we should respect her wishes.” Standing up, walking two feet to the bed and sitting down on its edge as John stands up and stands behind her, Margaret pats her pregnant tummy with one hand and strokes Fanny’s coverlet covered leg with the other. “Everything will be alright, Fanny. You’ll see. If John and I didn’t patch up our disagreements daily, we wouldn’t be making you an aunt in four months time.” Margaret smiles impishly while John blushes deeply. “No offense, John. But you have your moments.” John raises a bemusedly perturbed eyebrow at her, but still caresses her shoulders and kisses the top of her head.
Fanny: “No! Johnny is perfect!” Fanny sighs like the adoring little sister she is–of her beloved older brother who is almost like a father to her.
John: “Oh no, Fanny. I am far from perfect.” John states humbly. And he silently chastises himself for trying to hold Baird to a standard of behavior and conduct that he knows that he could not meet all of the time.
Hannah resigns herself to the inevitable–being out voted by the younger members of her family. Of course, the concept of there even being a vote would have been unheard of even a year ago under the formerly stern Hannah’s then iron rule.
Hannah: “Very well then. John, please ask Baird to come up to speak to Fanny before he goes back to the hotel for the evening.”
Fanny: “But Baird will be all alone at the hotel.” Fanny frets.
Hannah: “Perhaps he will reflect upon his conduct.” Hannah states a tad imperiously.
John: “I will go ask Baird to come up to say goodnight.” He says bowing to the concession that Baird is not completely within his purview to eject from his home.
Then John leaves to attend to his task.
As John enters his home’s large sitting room where his stepfather Cameron and step brother Baird are conversing in hushed tones standing near the fireplace, both of their heads and bodies turn to look at John in the doorway.
Baird: “How is Fiona?” Baird blurts out as he rushes toward John–Baird is no longer able to contain his worry.
John: Glaring at Baird, John replies. “Fanny is resting comfortably.” John pauses. He would like to give Baird a tongue lashing. But he does not want to risk causing Fanny any more distress today. So John intones woodenly–his displeasure unconcealed with every syllable voiced through gritted teeth. “Baird, Fanny wants to see you before you leave for your hotel tonight.”
Cameron: “Is that wise? In her delicate condition?” Cameron speaks to John both as Fanny’s physician as well as her stepfather.
Baird: Jerking his head to look at his father, Baird pleads. “How delicate?”
Cameron looks at John with a raised eyebrow. John nods to Cameron about revealing the depth of Fanny’s condition.
Cameron: “Baird, Fanny’s health has been severely compromised by her breathing collapse today–and by what precipitated it.” He adds a tad accusingly to his son, Baird. Cameron has not heard the full story of the interaction between Fanny and Baird today. But he knows that something distressing must have happened to put her into such a state of collapse. “It was only Hannah’s quick thinking with breathing into Fanny’s mouth that saved her.”
Baird: “I had neverrr seen the like–norrr supposed it to be possible. But Motherrr brrreathed life into Fiona.” Baird shakes his head incredulously.
John: “Yes, well. The point is that Fanny will get better. But we best not keep her waiting any longer. Go on up, Baird.” John tilts his head to the door. “I gather that you know the way.” John’s eye brow rises.
Of course, Baird had carried Fanny up the stairs to her bed chamber and laid her on her bed.
Baird: “Aye! And I promise that Iwill be ever so calm and reassuring with Fiona, John.”
John: “You do that.” John purses his lips.
After Baird leaves the sitting room to go to Fanny, John slumps into a nearby wing chair. Then he gazes up at his stepfather, Cameron.
John: “The women of our household seem to have become delicate without our noticing it.”
Cameron: Walking two steps closer to John, Cameron lays his hand upon John’s shoulder in a comforting gesture. “Nay John. These arrre unusual cirrrcumstances. Margaret needs to rrrememberrr to rrrest more as herrr prrregnancy progrrresses. And Fanny has to learrrn to contrrrol her rrreaction to distrrressing events, or she will forrreverrr be having brrreathing attacks.”
John: “And what of Mother? Is she inviolate?”
Cameron: “Hhhh!” Cameron sits in the opposing wing chair to John. Not wanting to breech his wife’s confidence with regard to her fragile emotional state on their wedding night–in having a nightmare about her first husband’s death–Cameron demures. “Aye! Hannah is as physically fit as she can be. She is even rrreforrrming some of my bad habits.”
John: “Oh? Ha ha ha!” John chuckles. “You have not escaped Mother’s improvement campaigns?”
Cameron: “No.” Cameron smiles broadly. “Norrr would I want to. Because all Hannah does, she does in love.”
John: “You are happy together, then?” John asks expectantly.
Cameron: Cameron smiles warmly. “Verrry. My Hannah is a wonderrrful woman!” Cameron sighs adoringly besotted with his wife.
John: John pauses. “I know. Thank you for loving Mother, Cameron. She deserves to be happy.”
Cameron: “And so she shall always be.”
John has missed this–having a male father figure in his life. Margaret’s father Richard Hale provided some of that when they initially arrived in Milton. But now with Mrs. Hale’s health waning, Mr. Hale spends much of his time with her, as is right.
Baird softly knocks at Fanny’s open bed chamber door. He sees his stepmother Hannah sitting in a chair next to Fanny lying in her bed as she was earlier. But Margaret is not in the room anymore–he presumes rightly that she returned to her own bed chamber to rest.
Baird: “Might a flawed man gain admittance to a fairrr lady’s bed chamberrr?” Baird smiles hopefully [(3) right].
Hannah: Motioning to him civilly, but with a slight edge to her voice, she beckons. “Come in, Baird. Fanny has been waiting for you.” Her tone indicates impatience.
Baird: “My apologies, John and fatherrr and I werrre … converrrsing … about Fiona’s imprrrovement since herrr brrreathing attack this afterrrnoon.”
Hannah: “Yes, well …”
Fanny: “Mother, I am so tired already. I will not be able to say what I want to say to Baird before I fall asleep, if we delay.”
Hannah: “Of course. I will sit in the far corner, facing away from you. But it is not proper for you two to be left alone–considering Baird’s earlier liberties.” Hannah whispers, referring to Baird sitting on the bed with Fanny and cradling her in his arms earlier just after she started to recover from her breathing attack this afternoon.
Fanny: “Baird promises to behave.”
Baird: “I do.”
Hannah nods and moves off to the said corner.
Fanny: “Baird, please pull the chair close so you can sit down. My neck hurts from looking up at you.” Again Fanny speaks frankly and what is on her mind–no can misconstrue her thoughts.
Baird: “Thank ye!”
Baird moves the small chair to Fanny’s bedside and sits in it. Then Fanny holds out her hand and Baird clasps it, leaning his elbow on the bed for support.
Fanny: “Baird, please let me speak without interruption.”
Baird: “Verrry well.” Baird nods cautiously, him not knowing what she will say to him. “I love you!” He blurts out.
Fanny: “Thank you.” She pauses. “Two weeks ago, I would have said the same to you. But now, I do not know.”
Baird: “I am trrruly sorrrry forrr my actions, Fiona.” He pleads.
Fanny: “I know you are. I’m sorry as well. I have been a flighty, self-centered girl since Johnny returned us to prosperity and wealth ten years ago. Silly and social climbing was how some of the society matrons labeled me, when they thought I couldn’t hear them.”
Baird: “Fiona!” He expresses his alarm for her overhearing such insulting remarks about herself.
Fanny: “No Baird. They were right. Our friendship saved me from being stuck with Watson. And I could not abide that Henry Lennox in London. But somewhere our friendship–yours and mine–became a love match. And I do not think that I was ready for it.”
Again, Fanny’s unflinching honesty–now turned reflective upon herself, is what Baird finds so refreshing.
Baird: “I am sorry, Fiona. I can na help me hope for us to be together–as husband and wife someday.” he smiles warmly at her.
Fanny: “Yes, but you are older and have had several attachments already. So you know what you want. I have not had any serious beaux until you. And I don’t know what I want yet–who I want.”
Baird: “What are ye saying?” He recoils slightly defensively, as if her next words will strike him upon his face. And they will.
Fanny: “I want to get to know Miles Houghton–to see if he might be more compatible with me. He is taking me to the musical concert Friday night.”
Baird: “I see. And what do you want me to do?” He asks with no rancor, but wondering where he fits within Fanny’s scheme. “And may we still see each other?”
Fanny: “Yes. Baird, we began as friends. And I hope that we will always be friends.”
Baird: “For a gerrril with no rrrelationship experrrience, Fiona, you are cerrrtainly giving me the brrrush off quite experrrtly.” Baird tries to lighten the moment, to show Fanny that he can conduct himself in a gentlemanly way with her. But his heart is breaking.
Fanny: “Come for Sunday brunch after Church. We can talk more then.”
Baird smiles–because he still has the expectation of seeing Fanny on Sunday.
Seeing that Fanny is physically exhausted, Baird stands up and he leans down and kisses Fanny’s foreheard. He wants desperately to kiss her on her lips. But Baird refrains from doing so out of respect for her earlier stated sensibilities–when she kicked him out of bed with her. Only time will tell if Fanny and Baird are making the right choices for themselves–or for them as a couple.
Baird: “I will leave you to your rest. But depend upon seeing me on Sunday next–if not before.”
Fanny: “I look forward to it.” She smiles wanly and closes her eyes.
And thus, Fanny Thornton has bought herself more time to discern what is truly in her heart. Does she love Baird Ogilvy? Or does she love the idea of Baird Ogilvy–and of being his Countess. While Baird realizes more acutely that however much he wants or loves something, or someone–his Fiona–his own wishes are not the only ones to be considered. And Baird feels that if he gives Fiona time–and does not press her with his wishes–that he hopes that she will come back to him willing. He is taking a chance, a risk. Because sometimes love means letting go, and trusting that the love that he thinks they are meant to have together, will still be in their futures.
To be continued with Chapter 45
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 44 References, April 05, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #543)
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 Thornton was portrayed by Jo Joyner in the 2004 BBC drama North & South (11h03m52s71) Jan1214 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-crop-sized-brt
3) Baird Ogilvy image (aspect, sized, crop, drkn) is Simon Woods as Charles Bingley in the 2005 film Pride and Prejudice found at myscarlettlady.onsugar.com at http://media.onsugar.com/files/ons1/530/5303518/40_2009/image_0.jpg
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