“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 47 (PG-13): Sunday Luncheon Parting is Bittersweet, April 14, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #547)
[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, 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: After the movers left on Saturday afternoon, Baird helped his Stepmother Hannah and his Father Cameron with moving their furniture around in their newly renovated home above Cameron’s medical offices. Baird was exhausted, but joined them for tea before returning to his hotel to draft a reply to his law offices about him returning for the urgent legal matter. He knows his duty to the case’s participants, but it will still be difficult to break the news of his return to London to Fanny at their luncheon today.
“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 47 (PG-13): Sunday Luncheon Parting is Bittersweet
After Fanny spent an enjoyable time Saturday morning with the mill children nursery children while their parents worked at the mill–with their being no academic lessons per se for the children on Saturdays, just fun things like drawing, table games, and outdoor play–she looks forward to having Baird join them for Sunday luncheon after church. It will be the first time that they might have a chance to be alone together since their falling out at the Charity Ball two weeks ago. And Fanny is more eager to heal their rift now–after their pleasant and humorous exchanges about Ann Lattimer and Dr. Miles Houghton (dull and duller) at the Friday evening Chopin Nocturnes concert. It was, perhaps, wicked of Fanny and Baird to be so secretly uncharitable about Ann and Miles, but it betokened a kinship of feeling and sentiments between them that cannot be ignored.
So Fanny takes extra care with her grooming and gown choice for church–wearing her lovely pink and blue plaid dress with the wide lace collar [(2) right]. There is no Scottish tartan plaid on Earth in these girlish colors. But she is making an effort by wearing plaid. And Fanny wonders if she and Baird will kiss if they make up today. And she also looks down at her bare ring finger on her left hand–where she had worn Baird’s late Mother’s cameo ring when they were almost engaged. Fanny had given the ring back to Baird via his sister Angharad when she broke up with him. And her not wearing the lovely ring was a further reminder to her of the breach between them.
After church this Sunday as they await their carriages to collect them to return to Thornton Manor for a family luncheon, Fanny chats with her Mother Hannah and Stepfather Cameron, and with Baird. John and Margaret are still chatting with the vicar. And Fanny notices a slight change in her Mama and Cameron–even more loving and happy, if that is possible.
Fanny: “Are you all settled in? How do you like your new home, Mama?” Fanny asks politely. For though she chose to remain in her home at Thornton Manor, she still misses her Mother.
Hannah: “But for arranging the decorations, we are well settled in. I like it.” Hannah smiles as she squeezes her husband Cameron’s arm.
Cameron: “Me Hannah has trrransforrrmed what was once a drrrab and drrrearrrry aparrrtment into a cozy home for us.” He smiles broadly and pats her hand hooked around his arm.
Baird: “And I helped.” Baird pouts.
Fanny: “Oh?” She looks curiously at Baird.
Hannah: “Yes, thank you, Baird.” Then she explains to Fanny, and now John and Margaret who have walked back over to join them. “Baird helped me with moving the furniture for the drawing room arrangement, then both he and Cameron helped me rearranged our bed chamber.” Hannah pinkens slightly for mentioning so private a space–and for how she and her husband celebrated their new home in it last night. Cameron smiles broadly.
Cameron: “I would na let herrr move anything on herrr own, lest she … strrrain herrrself.” Cameron puts his arm around his wife’s waist and gives her hips a tender squeeze.
John’s eye brow raises at such a familiarity in public–let alone in their presence–but he says nothing since his mother Hannah seems to not mind her husband’s embrace as she turns her face to him and he kisses her forehead as she closes her eyes and smiles.
Margaret: “Are you feeling more well today then, Mother?” Margaret asks solicitously of her mother-in-law, Hannah.
Hannah: “I am! A bit more of rest the last two days has helped due to our extensive traveling taking its toll on me. And having our new home mostly settled lifts a great burden off of my shoulders.” Hannah smiles with satisfaction. “Perhaps you will join us for tea later in the week when I have the decorations arranged.”
John: “We look forward to it Mother. Ah! Here are the carriages.”
In addition to the two comfortable carriages seating four and two belong to John Thornton, there are also two larger open wagons with bench seating along each side that are used to transport the Marlborough Mill workers now living in Thornton Village on John’s mill property beyond the city limits. Seating arrangements for the Thornton carriages are quickly determined with Hannah and Cameron taking the two person carriage, while the young people–John and Margaret, and Baird and Fanny–take the other four person carriage back to Thornton Manor for Sunday luncheon.
Upon arriving at Thornton Manor, there is still a half hour before luncheon. So John escorts Margaret upstairs to rest a bit while waiting for Hannah and Cameron to arrive–them not surmising the reason for their delay.
And Baird begs a private audience with his Fiona in the Thornton’s formal garden. It is April and the foliage has returned, as well as, the tulips and crocuses are blooming already, creating a lush backdrop of color for the young couple. He guides her to a rustic looking bench set amongst the greenery and flowers [(3) right].
Baird: “This is a lovely spot. Shall we sit here, Fiona?” He slips and calls her by his pet name for her–her given name for her Scottish grandmother.
Baird is resolved to be calm and not upset Fiona, since she has only recently recovered from her breathing collapse last week–which he caused by his inept apology to her. Fanny also wishes to remain calm so as not to have a repeat episode. She fears that if Baird thinks her weak and sickly that he will no longer want to reconcile with her.
Fanny smiles pleasantly and sits on the bench, then Baird joins her–taking care that their legs do not touch. Technically, they are unchaperoned and, therefore, must strictly observe propriety. They are each a little nervous due to the recent strain their relationship has been under–not the least of which was Fanny calling off their almost engagement after Baird’s boorish behavior.
Fanny: “The garden is really coming to life again. I do love it so.” She says softly.
Baird: “Your presence has improved it.” Baird hands her a delicate pale pink tulip [(4) right] that he had surreptitiously clipped on their way to the bench. “I know it is na a rrrose like you prefer, but it is in the lovely pale pink shade of yourrr cheeks.” He smiles hopefully. Baird so wants to get past their difficulties and to kiss her to show her how much he loves her. But, he has to be patient.
Fanny: Fanny takes the flower offering and brings it to her nose to breathe in its flowery scent. “Thank you, Baird. It’s lovely.” She smiles sincerely. Fanny is still cautious around Baird. She feels that she had launched into their prior association partly because everyone else was partnered up and she felt left out. And she was very hurt by Baird’s chastising behavior at the Charity Ball–knowing that she did deserve part of his ire, but not the angry rebuke that he hurled at her.
Baird: Seeing his Fiona lost in thought, he asks her with a smile. “A penny?”
Fanny: “Oh!” She startles and returns her attention to the present.
Baird: “You werrre miles away just now.” Baird says softly as he gently tucks a wind blown hair behind her ear.
Fanny: “Well I, … I … was thinking upon many things.” She bites her lower lip and lowers her eyes demurely.
Baird: “And would one of those things be us?” He asks with a hopeful smile.
Fanny: Fanny shyly looks up at him with uncertainty clearly evident upon her face. “Yes, I was.”
Baird: Crushed to see his Fiona still doubtful of his love, he picks up her small delicate hand and kisses it. Then he gazes into her eyes. “I know that I am an oafish clod–Angharrrad’s worrrds…” Fanny smiles softly. “–and stubborrrn, and too prrrideful for me own good. But I love you so, Fiona. I can na think of my life without you.”
There are tears in Baird’s eyes and Fanny knows that he is in earnest. But yet, she hesitates. The trust she had given him so completely before their falling out, is not easy to bestow upon him again.
Fanny: “I want to believe you, Baird. Trully,I do. I am just afraid that you will find something else that you dislike about me and that you will become angry again.” Baird looks stricken. “Maybe I have been spoiled by Johnny. He can seem boring at times, and he is firm.” Then she continues very quietly. “But he has never raised his voice to me in anger, nor walked away from me, nor stopped loving me.” And she does not add, because it is implied, as you have done.
Dropping to his knees before her, Baird’s tears fall openly as he beseeches her as he kisses her palm and places it on his cheek. However, Fanny is startled by this and does not immediately caress his cheek.
Baird: “Have I lost ye then, forrreverrr? Will ye neverrr forrrgive my stupidity?”
Fanny: “I don’t want us to part, Baird. But I am not ready to … to trust you again, just yet.” He must prove to her that he is sincere–that she will be safe from being found wanting in his eyes. She does not want the misery of having a husband who finds that he cannot love her afterall.
Baird: “Oh Fiona!” He sighs sorrowfully with her admission as he returns to sitting on the bench next to her.
Fanny: “And, you must be certain that I am whom you truly want, Baird. I am not likely to change much. I am silly sometimes–and I am certainly vain. But I have felt that you have been a good influence upon me–about my needing to consider other people’s feelings and circumstances–and not judging them, nor gossiping about them.” Of course, Fanny is really asking Baird not to judge her harshly.
Baird: “But I know now! You arrre whom I want forrr my wife–and to sharrre my life.”
Baird caresses her face and he gently kisses her other cheek as he gazes at her adoringly [(5) right]. “Ye have changed me also forrr the betterrr.”
Fanny: “How have I done that?” She asks him incredulously. “What has changed in you since knowing me?” For she thinks Baird is perfect–apart from his stubbornness and unreasonable anger at times.
Baird: “Beforrre you, my Darrrling Fiona, …” He kisses her other cheek now as he gently squeezes her hand in his. “… I was a bit of an independent perrrson.” Fanny looks at him quizzically. “By that I mean that I did not depend upon anotherrr forrr my happiness–norrr did I seek it.” Then he hangs his head in shame. “And I am morrrtified to admit that my prrriorrr rrrelationships with women–though mutually pleasing to the lady and myself–had no intention of prrrogressing to matrrrimony.”
It has been difficult for the virile Baird to abstain from having carnal relations since he met Fanny, when he had previously enjoyed weekly assignations with one of his London lady friends who were usually a bit older than he, and widows needing comfort as well. These relationships were mutually beneficial and very discreet.
Fanny: At this revelation about Baird’s prior romantic activites, Fanny removes her hands from Baird’s hands, and she turns her head away from him. “Oh! I had not thought … that as a gentleman that you would have … dallied with other women.” For as far as she knows, her brother John was a completely honorable gentleman during his bachelorhood. Fanny’s face frowns.
Baird: “I am a gentleman, Fiona. But I am also a man with needs–needs that only a woman’s comfort can fulfill. So gentlemen do not always behave as honorably as they should. But when I am marrrried, I will keep my marriage vows and be faithful to my wife.” He is being very frank and honest with her–to a fault. But Baird feels that if they are to be husband and wife, that they should have no secrets from each other.
Fanny: Confusion is clear from her furrowed brow. Apart from her not knowing precisely what is involved in the conjugation of husband and wife, she still understands what being faithful means. “I do not understand. Johnny has always been honorable. He would never have ….” She cannot speak it. Then another, more troubling thought occurs to her. “You are not married now, Baird. Does that mean that the whole time we have courted, you have secretly had other women … to comfort you?”
Baird: “No! No! You arrre the only lady of my hearrrt, frrrom the firrrst moment that I met you fourrr months ago. I have been faithful to you. I will continue to be faithful to you.” He grips her elbows firmly and makes an impassioned plea for her understanding. “I want no one but you to be my wife and to sharrre my bed. Forrr you alone will I give my husbandly attentions. Forrr you alone shall I look forrrward to having childrrren and grrrandchildren togetherrr. Forrr you alone will my hearrrt beat, until it stills in death.”
Baird leans in and he gently kisses his Fiona’s temple again, and again, and again, and again. Fanny trembles at the tenderness that Baird shows her in gently enveloping her in his arms. She could pull away if she wanted to. But she does not want to. And she realizes as he gently rocks her in his arms for several minutes as he whispers lovingly into her ear as they embrace, that she can get past their difficulties–they can get past their difficulties.
Baird: “Marrry me, Fiona? I love ye so!”
Fanny: “Hhhhhhh!” Fanny sighs with the joy of being in Baird’s arms again–her feeling safe, and cherished, and loved. “I love you, Baird. Yes, I will marry you.”
Baird: “May I kiss you on yourrr lips, My Love? Please?” He asks respectfully, albeit needfully.
Fanny nods her head and turns her face ever so slightly toward him. But it is enough for their lips to touch and to begin their tentative exploration of each other. Fanny has only ever kissed Baird in this way. And their previous kissing interludes have taught her that Baird makes her feel very cherished and respected–because his hands do not stray into intimacies.
However, Baird is almost to the breaking point of his reserve in respecting his Fiona’s maidenly innocence. He wants her, he desires her, and he deepens their kisses by running his tongue along the outline of her closed lips–seeking entry. Her surprise at this new but pleasurable sensation causes her lips to part enough for him to eagerly trespass and tangle his tongue with hers. He is tentative at first, letting her accustom herself to the sensation of their deepened kisses.
Then his adoring kisses becomes more heated, more desirous as his arms also close tenderly about her torso and he pulls her flush to him. They could feel each others’ hearts pounding with excitement were it not for their clothing acting as a barrier between them. And yet, Fiona’s body molds perfectly against Baird’s body as they continue to embrace. They fit together as if they were always meant to be embracing thus.
Fanny is lost within this loving moment, her feeling newly excited and thrilled–more so than ever before. Her body feels more alive than she could have imagined. Fanny does not want to pull away from Baird’s embraces and kisses–she finds that she has no willpower to pull away from him as she wantonly kisses him back. Then Baird releases her mouth, but only to place heated lustful kisses upon her slender throat and to the small glimpse of her exposed skin below her neck as his kisses go lower, lower.
Crunches on the garden’s gravel walk way and a purposeful cough alert Baird and Fanny that they are not alone. And they reluctantly break apart. Their breathing is fast and shallow. Both of their cheeks are flushed. They have crossed a threshold in their relationship–and there is no going back.
Cameron: “Kkkkhhh!” Cameron coughs from a discreet distance away from the young lovers. He cannot see that they are kissing–but by virtue of the fact that only their lower legs are showing stretched out from the bench, he presumes that they are leaning back in a kissing attitude. “I have been sent to fetch ye forrr luncheon. Arrre ye hungrrry?” Cameron asks still standing several yards away and avoiding looking at them directly to give them their privacy.
Fanny: “Yes!” Fanny squawks nervously, wondering how much Cameron saw. Then she moderates her vocal tone. “Yes, thank you.”
Baird: “Thank ye, Fatherrr. We shall join you shorrrtly.” Baird replies huskily as he plays for time–for he has yet to tell Fiona the bad news.
Cameron: “Verry well. But if ye arrre not rrreturrrned to us in five minutes, I will seek ye out!” Cameron warns as he heads back to the manor.
Baird pulls the small square worn jewelry box out of his suit jacket pocket and opens it. Fanny’s eyes widen–she had not realized that he kept it close to him, on his person. Baird lifts his late mother’s cameo ring [(6) right] from it’s berth, and places it back onto his Fiona’s left ring finger.
Baird: “Therrre! Now the rrring is back wherrre it rrrightfully belongs.” Then he kisses her sweetly on her lips again and grins gleefully at her.
Fanny: “Ohhh! Baird!” She sighs sweetly, smiling lovingly at him.
They both stand, preparing to head back inside to Thornton Manor for their Sunday luncheon with their family. They start to walk toward the manor, then Baird halts their forward movement.
Baird: “Fiona Dearrrest, I must tell you something unpleasant.”
Fanny: “Hhhh!” She flinches.
Baird: “The courrrt case that I had been worrrking on when I came herrre last week to Milton is not going well forrr my colleagues whom had taken it overrr forrr me. A man’s life hang’s in the balance.” He looks at her earnestly.
Fanny: “Oh. And you have to go to London to save him.” She nods in numbed acknowledgement. Fanny and Baird had been swept up to such heights of joy with their reconciliation and engagement, only to have them crashing down again with Baird going away.
Baird: “I do na know if I can save him. He is innocent. But the Crrrown has a strrrong case and an irrron clad witness.”
Fanny: She nods her head at him resignedly. Then Fanny looks Baird squarely in the eyes and asks with great sarcasm–to cheer Baird on. “Is this the same infallible Crown that does not recognize your titles?”.
Baird: “Aye! It is!” Baird’s eyes narrow with purposeful intent to win his court case. “But I do na want to leave ye, Fiona. Come with me to London. Ye can stay with Angahrrrad.” He asks her hopefully.
Fanny: “That is tempting.” She smiles sweetly. “But, perhaps, we should not put ourselves in a position to be tempted. I will stay here in Milton.” Fanny realizes how much she wants to be with Baird–and he with her. And she wonders if Cameron had not interrupted she and Baird just now, might Baird have taken more liberties with her?
Baird: “Of courrrse. I underrrstand.” He nods. “I will be in courrrt all day and strrrategy sessions at night. I will have no time forrr anything but sleep afterrr that. So I would be a poorrr escorrrt forrr you–leaving you all by yourrrself all the time.”
Fanny: She takes his face in her hands. “You must focus on your court case and win it. As you said, a man’s life is in your hands.”
Baird: “Aye!” He smiles broadly at her. “We have a week of closing arrrguments, then waiting forrr the jurrry to give their verrrdict. If he is found guilty, therrre will be immediate sentencing of death.” Fanny flinches. “But we will appeal. I might be gone two weeks at most–if we win.”
Fanny: “Very well, then. Let us hope for the best. Because I plan to marry you in two weeks Baird Ogilvy–when I turn twenty one, on Saturday, April 19th. So you had best turn up for our wedding!” She pokes him impishly.
Baird: “Fiona! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!” Baird laughs excitedly as he lifts her up in the air and twirls her around.
Fanny: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” Fanny laughs joyously as well. It is a hopeful time for the both of them.
Then Fanny and Baird eagerly rush inside Thornton Manor to tell their family the good news. John is a little put out that Baird had not asked him again for permission to wed his sister Fanny. But Fanny will be twenty-one, of age. So John has little legal means to dissuade or delay her–and Baird being an attorney, he knows that. Everyone is joyous that Fanny and Baird have reconciled.
Their separation the next two weeks of wedding planning while Baird must be in London to assist with the capital murder case, will be a trial for both he and Fanny. Happily Fanny will be engaged with wedding details. And Baird can barely contain himself with the thought of truly loving his Fiona when they are wed–heart and mind and body and soul.
To be continued with Chapter 48
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 47 References, April 14, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #547)
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) Alfords English Garden image of a secluded bench was found at bjwsblogspot at http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-wc60R7Rb2Io/T25bai_c0JI/AAAAAAAA7lc/3PVLERI35vY/s1600/a%2BAlfords%2BEnglish%2BGardens.jpg
4) The pale pink tulip was found at MS Office Clip Art.
5) Baird Ogilvy image (aspect, drken,sized) is Simon Woods as Charles Bingley in the 2005 film Pride and Prejudice found at madambaggio.blogspot.com at http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-dJFEabizaEI/UKAkFwXlJtI/AAAAAAAAANI/G5pZUxqcZGY/s320/Hugo+Weasley+02.jpg
6) 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