“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 48 (PG-13): A House Warming and Wedding Planning, April 18, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #549)
[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 Baird and Fanny reconciled to the point of becoming officially engaged, they then had to suffer being separated the next day as Baird returned to London for his criminal court case. He hopes to win his case or set an appeal in motion in the next two weeks so that he may return to Milton and marry Fanny on her twenty-first birthday, April 19th.
“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 48: A House Warming and Wedding Planning
Unlike his father Dr. Cameron Ogilvy–the current Earl of Airlie–Baird’s court case in London does not allow him the time to be away for a Scottish Highland wedding with all of the trimmings as Cameron and Hannah had enjoyed. And Margaret’s six months pregnant condition makes her uncomfortable with traveling at the moment. So Baird and Fanny have initially settled on a smaller Milton Wedding in two weeks time to coincide with Fanny’s twenty-first birthday on April 19th. And Baird and John had secured that date with the vicar on Baird’s way to the train station Sunday night, April 6th. A man’s life hangs in the balance, so Fanny understood that Baird had to return to London. But they still regretted their parting so soon after becoming officially engaged.
The first week of wedding planning begins with Fanny’s Mother Hannah’s and Stepfather Cameron’s tea party house warming turning into a wedding strategy session the following Tuesday April 8th after Baird returned to London for his firm’s criminal court case. When Fanny, John, and Margaret arrive at Hannah’s and Cameron’s home for tea, they are greeted by their hosts.
Cameron: “Welcome to our home!”
Cameron beams a joyous smile [(2) right] at their guests as he welcomes them to his and Hannah’s renovated apartment home above his medical practice offices–with one arm securely around his wife Hannah’s waist. Hannah does not mind her husband’s familiarity. In nearly six weeks of marriage, Hannah has come to enjoy his pampering and his solicitous consideration–in addition to his loving attentions.
The housewarming gathering is a little awkward at first because Dr. Miles Houghton–Cameron’s medical partner–has also been invited. However, taking the bull by the horns, Hannah dispenses with the tension in her usual straightforward way.
Hannah: Kissing Fanny, John, and Margaret, Hannah turns to their other guest. “Miles, here are John and Margaret and Fanny. They have yet to see Cameron’s and my new home. It is good of everyone to make time to join us.” She smiles graciously at everyone. Hannah Thornton Ogilvy has always been the grand lady–and now she is a countess as well, in Scotland, anyway.
John: “Miles.” John thrusts out his hand to the doctor in a cordial greeting.
Dr. Miles: “John and Margaret, it is good to see you again.” He bows to them. “You are well, I hope?” He inquires after Margaret.
Margaret: “Yes, thank you.” She nods and smiles and rubs her growing tummy. Her husband John cannot resist and he also pulls his wife next to him and places his arm protectively and caringly around her back.
Of course with no Baird present, Fanny has no one to embrace her. Although being yet to be married, it would not be seemly for Baird to have his arm around Fanny’s back as the married couples do.
Cameron: “Miles.” Cameron smiles at his colleague, waiting to see how he responds to Fanny.
Dr. Miles: “Cameron”. Both men nod at each other.
Hannah: “And Fanny of course, is engaged to be married to Cameron’s son, Baird Ogilvy.”
Fanny: “Hello, Miles.” Fanny remarks [(3) right] meekly as she holds her left hand behind
her back so that Miles does not see her lovely cameo engagement ring that had belonged to Baird’s Mother.
Dr. Miles: “Hello, Miss Fanny.” Miles nods wanly back. Then he rises to the occasion and takes her hand in his and squeezes it. “May I wish you and Baird every happiness.”
Fanny: “Thank you, you are very kind.” She tells him sincerely.
After a quick tour of the renovated apartment and then some tea and cake, Dr.Miles excused himself to tend to patients with some home visits and the wedding planning begins by Hannah, Fanny, and Margaret–with all three ladies consuming more cakes. However, the men–John and Cameron–escape to Cameron’s study where John admires the extensive non-medical book collection that Cameron owns. However, Cameron has an ulterior motive in speaking with John apart from their ladies.
John: “This is a most impressive book collection, Cameron. I think even Mr. Hale would agree.”
Cameron: “Thank ye!” Cameron smiles at the compliment. Gesturing to the large overstuffed leather club chairs situated on either side of the small hearth, he suggests nervously. “Shall we sit, John?” Cameron hopes to have a discussion with John about some possibilities.
John: “Thank you, Cameron. My! This is comfortable.” John strokes the soft leather even as he leans back into the man sized chair. At six foot two inches tall, John finding large comfortable chairs for him to sit in is rare. “Did you bring this set of chairs from Scotland?”
Cameron: “Yes, and no.” John looks at him quizzically. “The chairrr I am sitting in came frrrom Scotland. But yourrr chairrr was a companion one that Hannah commissioned forrr ourrr new home. And so she had my chairrr rrreupholstered in the same leatherrr as the new chairrr–so they matched.” Cameron smiles contentedly in having a wife again who cares about his comfort–and things matching.
Hannah had also subtly upgraded the study’s furnishings from merely dark everything–woods, walls, furniture–to deep maroon colored velvet drapes at the window and other splashes of color with tartan plaid patterned pillows on the reupholstered leather couch and such.
John: Pouting, John notes a tad whinily. “Mother never bought or reupholstered a comfortable chair for me.” Cameron stifles a small smile, noting John’s small jealousy.
Cameron: “Kkkhhh! Yes, well! Hannah has quite taken to decorrrating our home here. I am cerrrtain that Airrrlie Castle will rrreceive herrr attention soon as well.”
John: “Oh? Are you traveling back to Scotland so soon?”
Cameron: “Nay! Not until afterrr your bairrrn is borrrn. And even then, we might wait until the new yearrr of 1852 to move–so we arrre able to spend Christmas with you and ourrr new grrrandchild.” “Kkkhh! But we arrre speaking of matterrrs unrrrelated to me purrrpose in talking with ye prrrivately, John.”
John: “Oh?” He blanches, fearful for what his physician Stepfather will tell him. “Is Margaret alright?”
Cameron: “Aye! She be rrright as rrrain. But Marrrgaret should still rrrest frrrequently. She looks to be grrrowing quite apace of her delicate condition.” Cameron observes.
John: He nods his head knowingly. “Margaret feels that she is becoming as round as an egg–a very large egg. Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Cameron: “Ha ha ha! Yes, well. Umm.” Cameron delays asking his inevitable question–which, in itself, is a delay tactic for Cameron’s real question. “Kkkhh! Yes! John? Would twins be unusual for the women in Marrrgarrret’s family?” Since twinning is a phenomenon that is found carried down through the female line [(4)].
John: John’s eyes widen in astonishment and his mouth gapes open. “Twins?”
Cameron: “Aye! It is a possibility. Though I have not confirrrmed it yet. Marrrgarrret could simply be rrretaining water.”
John: “Not at the rate that she … eliminates it.” John smiles blushingly for revealing so private a personal detail. But pregnant ladies have to urinate often. And afterall, Cameron is Margaret’s doctor –and family.
Cameron: “Indeed.” Cameron looks around the room a moment–assuring himself that no one else is around, and that the study door is firmly shut. It is Cameron’s private study, his enclave, his Scottish man cave. Then he continues rather hesitantly–not knowing how to broach the subject with his wife’s son, John. Then he has an idea. “Bairrrns arrre always a blessing.” Cameron smiles cordially.
John: “They are. I can’t wait to hold our baby–or babies–in my arms. To give Mother her
first grandchild will be my proudest moment.” John sighs with a small smile [(5) right].
Cameron: “And do ye feel that Hannah is rrready to have … bairrrns … about herrr again?” Cameron seeks to test John out on this point rather obliquely.
John: John looks at Cameron quizzically. “Does not Mother’s care for little Lissa Dillard and the other three and four year olds at the Mill’s Nursery School represent her impatience to have little ones about her again?” John smiles in using Cameron’s phrasing
Cameron: “Aye. It is just that … with the Mill Nurrrserrry childrrren … and grrrandchildren … they can …”
John: John’s eyebrow raises. “They can…?”
Cameron: “Kkkhh!” Cameron coughs nervously. “Well, they can be rrreturrrned to theirrr parrrents.”
John: Now John is really befuddled. “Yes.” He nods slowly. “Parents generally prefer to have their children returned to them. What children could Mother have around her that she would not return … to their parents?” Then a realization hits John. “Oh! Are you and Mother thinking of adopting an orphaned child?”
Cameron: Squirming as he looks at John, Cameron’s face turns a crimson red. “Not quite.” Cameron’s face is a mixture of uncertainty, astonishment, and manly pride.
John: “Not quite.” John repeats, trying mightily to puzzle it out.
It is just that this puzzle might be beyond John’s realm of experience. John furrows his brow thinking, thinking, thinking. How else could Mother and Cameron have a child? Oh! Now John’s eyes go wide and his eyebrows raise in incredulity. John opens and closes his mouth several times, as if to speak–to pose the vital question. Then he rescinds his as yet unspoken interrogative and closes his mouth again. John ends up looking like a guppy fish gulping for air. And in a sense he is. Because the notion of … that possibility, is rather biblical in its notion. John stares hard at Cameron–trying to convey his understanding, without voicing it.
Cameron: “Possibly.” Cameron nods with a sheepish grin. “But it is not yet confirmed, and I do not think Hannah suspects it.”
John: “That is why you did not want Mother to lift anything!” Cameron nods. “Bbbb but! Are there not signs? symptoms? to help discern what is affecting her?” John is not well tutored in such female medical knowledge, but he has a basic understanding–now that he is a husband.
Cameron: “Yes. The fatigue, the indigestion and nausea, the dizzyness, and the hungerrrr are all therrrre. And they can all be explained in otherrr ways. If they do na perrrsist, she merrrely has trrravel sickness as Miles diagnosed.”
John: “Mother has been diagnosed? Are her symptoms that severe as to cause her to seek medical attention?”
Cameron: “Nay! Miles attended to Marrrgarrret one day last week, and Hannah simply consulted with him–since the only otherrr medical choice is herrr own husband, me. Wives generrrally preferrr a second opinion.” He intones knowingly.
John: Then John zeroes in on what Cameron is not saying. “And if Mother’s symptoms do persist?”
Cameron: “It could be an unexpected, but happy rrreason–which would have otherrr concerrrns.” Cameron smiles wanly thinking of Hannah’s age and the stress to her body that a pregnancy would bring–he also blushes again pridefully for potentially being the cause of it. Then his face clouds over with worry. “Orrr …” John waits impatiently for Cameron to continue. “… orrr, she might be ill.”
Cameron closes his eyes in worry and dread. For this was how it began with his first wife. Some nagging minor complaints, trifling at first–then her symptoms deepened into harbingers of something more sinister at work that ultimately claimed her life after a lengthy two year illness. Cameron is a doctor. His professional métier is life and death. But when it is your own family–your own loved one–all the medical training in the world does not prepare you for the heartache of loss and grief.
John: “No!” John says forcefully, slicing the air with his hand as he shakes his head. “Mother is never sick! She will out live us all!” John thinks that Margaret’s Mother, Mrs. Hale, is the frail sickly mother of the two women. His Mother can’t be ill–at least not with a life threatening illness. John’s mind will not entertain the awful possibility.
Cameron: “John, Let us not burrrden Hannah, Marrrgarrret, or Fanny with ourrr worrrries–that may prrrove baseless. This is a happy time with Fanny and Bairrrd’s wedding coming up next week. I simply make you awarrre of Hannah’s symptoms, so that if you notice anything, you can let me know–orrr you can seek medical help forrr herrr as needed if I am not immediately at hand.
John: “Of course.” John nods solemnly.
There is nothing more to say about it. They must wait and see.
Looking at several dress pattern books, the designs would all take more than two months to complete–and they have less than two weeks until Baird’s and Fanny’s wedding.
Fanny: “Oh Mother! I wish that we would have more time to plan our wedding–so I can at least have the dress of my dreams for my wedding day.” Fanny whinily sighs with a decided pout to her lips.
Hannah: “I know dear, but there really isn’t time to have one of your elaborate gowns to be made in under two weeks.”
Fanny: “I know. I will have to wear something plain and unornamented.” Fanny wrinkles up her pert little nose.
Margaret: Taking Fanny’s hand in hers, Margaret comforts her. “Now now, Fanny. I am certain that Baird will think you lovely in anything you wear on your wedding day.”
Fanny: “I know. And I will think him handsome.”
Hannah: “I am sorry that Cameron and I left our wedding finery at Airlie Castle, or you and Baird could have worn them.”
Fanny: Trying to be diplomatic–because large ruffled tiers are not to Fanny’s liking–she dissembles. “Thank you, Mama. But that is your dress for your wedding. The memories you associate with it should be all your own.” Fanny smiles wanly.
Margaret: “Rightly so. What about Baird’s sister, Angharad Ogilvy MacIntosh? Might she
have a suitable ball gown to loan you since she is in more of a social whirl in London?” Margaret looks at Fanny encouragingly [(6) right].
Fanny: Fanny brightens. I had not thought of that. She had loaned me a lovely gown.” Then Fanny remembers that it was the gown that she wore to the Charity Ball, when she and Baird had their falling out. So that gown has unfortunate memories associated with it. “But maybe Angharad has another gown that she might be willing to lend me–one that maybe seems Scottish, or a gown that we can enhance.”
Margaret: “Ha ha ha ha ha!” Margaret giggles at the notion of a Scottish styled wedding gown that Fanny might conjure up–with every conceivable Scottish symbolism integrated into it. Fanny does tend to go overboard when styling her gowns detailing–tassels and ribbons and lace and buttons and such.
Hannah: “Ha ha ha!” Hannah briefly chuckles. Then a thought occurs to her. “Fanny dear? Did you wish to delay your wedding by a week–to say Saturday, April 26th? That would give us more time to plan and to have a lovely gown made for you–and such.” She caresses her daughter’s cheek caringly.
Fanny: “That would be nice, Mama. But …” Fanny bites her lower lip. “I promised Baird that we would be wed in two weeks. He is looking forward to it. And I don’t want to disappointment him.” Fanny is beginning to feel a little nervous about being married so soon.
Hannah: “Fanny, Dear. Husbands–or fiancés–may want certain things. But it is our prerogative as wives and fiancés to … to have our wishes met as well.” Hannah smiles primly. For though not every woman of Hannah’s era enjoys the autonomy and love that she does, she will encourage her daughter Fanny to always seek to position herself as an equal partner to her future husband.
And Hannah is not going to divulge the private details of her and Cameron’s relationship development. But Hannah realizes that some form of womanly talk is required to prepare Fanny for her impending status as a wife. Hannah looks over at Margaret, hoping that Margaret will say something to Fanny. But Margaret does not know what is on Hannah’s mind and looks at her quizzically. This causes Hannah to tilt her head more–hoping that the attitude of her cheek almost lying flush upon her shoulder might somehow convey the nature of Hannah’s thoughts.
Fanny: “Mama? Are you feeling unwell?”
Hannah: “What?” Hannah startles for Fanny interrupting her thoughts. “Oh, I am fine. I had some travel sickness for a few days, but now I feel perfectly fine.” Hannah prides herself on her strong constitution.
Margaret: “I thought Cameron seemed extraordinarily considerate of you the past few days.”
Hannah: Hannah smiles. “Hhhhh! Cameron is very considerate.” A contented smile curls up at Hannah Thornton’s lips [(7) right].
Fanny: “I am ever so glad that you are happy, Mama. Truly!” Fanny gazes upon her mother with love and tenderness.
Hannah: “Thank you Fanny, Dear.” She squeezes her daughter’s hand. “Now! Dress designs!”
The three women sift through the various wedding gown design examples. But they do not get far, when their men rejoin them–each husband instantly going to his wife and kissing them on their foreheads.
John: “Have the wedding plans been decided?” John asks with a smile–even though he is paying for the wedding as the brother of the bride.
Hannah: “We have only just begun. And we realize that we would like to delay the wedding for one week–moving it to Saturday, April 26th.”
Cameron: “Oh? Arrre ye still feeling poorrrly, My Love?” Cameron asks worriedly and John quickly glances toward his mother.
Fanny: Fanny pouts for not being the center of attention. “Mama feels fine–she just said so. I need more time to have my dress made.”
Cameron: “Oh! Of courrrse.” He nods at Fanny. Then he turns to his wife. “So, ye arrre na tirrred, norrr nauseous, nor dizzy?” He asks gently.
Hannah: She smiles at her husband’s gentle questioning tone. “No. Not anymore.” Cameron and Hannah embrace. “And with Fanny and Baird’s wedding delayed for one week, we will still have precious little time to prepare for it. So everyone will have to agree to help–whether you want to or not.” Hannah smiles imperiously–now marshalling her troops.
Cameron: He sighs in relief. “Gladly, me Dearrr, gladly.” He smiles broadly. With Hannah seeming to return to renewed vigor, Cameron’s fears for her health are assuaged. Though he is a tad disappointed not to be welcoming a new bairn himself, they will be surrounded by grandchildren this year and beyond. Their grandchildren and his wife’s love will be enough for him.
John: “Of course, Mother. Whatever you and Fanny need, you shall have.” John knew that from the moment his baby sister wore her first hoop skirt when she turned thirteen, that Fanny’s wedding would be the elevation of her budding womanhood–and the decimation of his wallet. And he is happily resigned to his fate.
Fanny: “Thank you, Mama and Johnny and everyone.” Fanny says gratefully.
So with Hannah dividing up tasks–Cameron writing to Baird about a one week delay to April 26th for the wedding, John notifying the vicar of the change of date, Fanny writing to Angharad about borrowing a ball gown in case a dress made in Milton can’t be ready in time, and Margaret helping address the wedding invitations–they might get this wedding accomplished in record time. But they did it for John and Margaret. So Hannah reasons that they can do it for Fanny and Baird. It’s just that Fanny is a more demanding bride to be than Margaret was.
However, Hannah’s womanly talk with Fanny will have to wait. And Hannah might end up asking Margaret to do it. For in Margaret’s prominently pregnant condition, who better to discuss wifely expectations and pleasures than she?
As it turns out Baird reluctantly welcomes the wedding date delay by a week to April 26th. Because, unfortunately, Baird and his firm’s legal team do not win their capital murder case. So they must immediately work on an appeal for their client’s stay of execution while they set in motion a formal appeal of the verdict. And Baird feels that it would be unseemly of him to be celebrating the joyous occasion of his marriage to Fanny when he is fighting for the life of his client–a man who killed another man in self defense to prevent his own family being killed. The Crown saw it as a crime of passion, with their star witness being the dead man’s widow. But Baird and his team are confident they can overturn the verdict on appeal in the next few months–on the grounds that the widow of the deceased has a vested interest in seeing her husband’s name cleared, to protect their children from the stigma of being a madman’s child. But in so doing, the widow condemns an innocent man and his family. It is a difficult case and there are no winners or losers.
And though they will not be married on Fanny’s twenty-first birthday on Saturday, April 19th, Baird hopes to surprise his Fiona by returning to Milton to share in the birthday festivities.
To be continued with Chapter 49
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 48 References, April 18, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #549)
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) Dr. Ogilvy image is Graham McTavish in an interview with TORN’s Greendragon found at http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2014/01/04/86069-graham-mctavish-talks-exclusively-to-theonering-net/
3) Fanny is Jo Joyner in the 2004 BBC drama North & South (11h04m47s104) Jan1214 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-crop-sized-shrp-oval
4) Twin births info was found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin
5) John Thornton i is portrayed by Richard Armitage in the BBC’s 2004 drama North & South found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode1/ns1-045.jpg
6) Margaret is Daniela Denby-Ashe in North & South epi1(14h52m44s152) Jan2714 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-Crop-sized-brt
7)Hannah Thornton image is Sinead Cusack in North & South epi 2, Dec1913 (crop-drkn) found at http://i1135.photobucket.com/albums/m628/lena_catta/English/kinopoiskru-North-_26_2338_3B-South-1668820.jpg