(An original fan fiction copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace; All rights reserved; Based on the Elizabeth Gaskell novel, North & South and its 2004 BBC adaptation; No copyright infringement intended)
[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: Baird and Fiona Ogilvy shared a blissful first union as husband and wife on their wedding night.
“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 53 (PG-13): Post Wedding Euphoria and Distress
Baird and Fiona’s wedding on Saturday April 26, 1851 was the courtship culmination of four months of teasing pursuit, fitful misunderstandings, and heartfelt love. Both Baird and Fiona know that they will each have to learn to compromise as they begin their lives together as husband and wife–especially taking each others’ feelings and wishes into consideration.
Happily, one area that they are in complete agreement on is lovemaking. Baird as the experienced gentleman of twenty nine is at first pleasantly surprised with his virgin bride Fiona’s willing eagerness for their romantic interludes. Then as the night and early morning hours pass during the first night of their marriage, he is thoroughly delighted that his bride’s loving enthusiasm quite matches his own–with only brief respites of napping before their passions ignite again. Baird thinks that if they have not begun their own Ogilvy dynasty this night, it is not for lack of trying.
Finally as dawn breaks and the morning sun rises–with a contentedly sleeping Fiona nestled into her also deeply sleeping husband Baird’s arms–Sunday morning finds the fatigued pair missing a planned Sunday morning family wedding breakfast before church. Fiona and Baird do awaken and take nourishment in their wedding suite at the Milton Mayfair Hotel–with Baird also directing the hotel to send some special gifts to family for him–but they also miss the 10 o’clock church service, because they opt to return to bed.
And the gifts that Baird had sent by the hotel staff to family? They were Baird’s grateful thank you gifts of flowers to the ladies of their family for their encouraging and soothing guidance of his bride Fiona to not fear her wedding night. He sends a dozen yellow roses to each of them–Lady Thistle Ogilvy, Angharad Ogilvy MacIntosh, Margaret Hale Thornton, and Hannah Thornton Ogivly, Lady Airlie. With special accent flowers of pastel purple thistles–the emblem of Scotland–in his cousin Lady Thistle’s bouquet [(2) right].
So with the new Ogilvy bridal couple failing to attend church the day after their marriage, Hannah and Cameron are left to blushingly explain Baird and Fanny’s absence from Sunday worship services–the extended Thornton and Ogilvy families still do not know of Fanny reverting to her given name of Fiona. No, Baird and Fanny have not left on a wedding trip. And neither Baird nor Fanny is ill–that Hannah or Cameron know of. Though Hannah thinks that Fanny might still be adjusting to being a wife–in the sense of being comfortable with her wifely duties, and Fanny greeting others for the first time after her wedding night. Of course, Fanny/Fiona is way beyond comfortable with her new wifely status.
But all is not as rosey as it might be for two of the youngest members of the bridal party and new found best friends–five year old Lady Blythe Ogilvy and four year old Marlborough Mill Worker’s daughter Lissa Dillard–for they must part tomorrow when the Ogilvy’s return to Scotland.
Though for now the happy and unsuspecting little girls look lovely in their Flower Girl dresses at church today–both girls wanted to wear them again. As the little girls chat, Blythe cries out.
Blythe: “Oh no!” She squeals and pouts.
Lissa: Patting Blythe’s shoulder, she asks caringly. “What is wrong? Do you hurt somewhere?”
Blythe: “No. But I have lost one of the pink rrribbons on me walking stick.” She bites her lower lip.
Lissa: “Maybe you left it in the church. Let’s go check.”
Lissa clasps Blythe’s hand in hers and they begin to walk back into the church. Then a six year old Hamper’s Mill worker boy– makes a snide comment.
Bart: “What cher doing with the Ogilvy princess, Lissa? Ain’t we good enough for you no more?” Bart taps her on the head and pulls off her pink hair ribbon that was pinned there. And Lissa’s hair falls into her eyes since the bobby pin also fell out. Then he dangles the ribbon high above Lissa’s head.
Lissa: Standing up to him, Lissa fumes as she reaches up high. “Give it back! That is my ribbon!”
Bart: “Not no more. And it looks like I have two ribbons.” He grins teasingly. Bart had happened upon Blythe’s missing walking stick ribbon and stuffed it in his pants pocket.
Blythe: Matching Lissa’s bravado, Blythe commands. “And that one is my rrribon! Give them back to us, orrr we’ll …”
Bart: “You’ll what?” He interrupts. “You don’t want to dirty your pretty dresses, now. Yer mother’s would tan yer hides fer sure.” He grins.
Blythe: “Tan hides?” She looks at him quizzically never having heard that expression. “Our mothers are not leather makers. My Papa employs a person to do that on our farm.”
Lissa: Four year old Lissa becomes momentarily distracted. “Ooh! You have a farm?” With animals?”
Blythe: “Aye! Cows, and horses, and chickens and sheep!” She states proudly.
Then Bart waves the ribbons in front of the little girls to get their attention again.
Bart: “If you’re so filthy rich, then you won’t need these fancy ribbons.” He starts to turn away from the girls. Blythe and
Lissa: “Oh no!”
Blythe’s nine year old brother Hamish has just noticed that something is amiss with his sister and walks over to her.
Hamish: “Is something wrrrong, Blythe.”
Blythe: “That boy stole ourrr ribbons! Mine and Lissa’s!” Lissa nods her head vigorously up and down.
Bart: “”Did not! I found them!”
Lissa: “You didn’t find mine. It twer on my head!” She challenges him.
Hamish: “Is that trrrue?” He asks of Bart, who starts squirming while looking up at the three years older and slightly taller Hamish.
Blythe: “I want my walking stick rrribon back!” She pouts.
Lissa: “Me too! For my hair!” Both little girls are resolute–there being nothing so implacable as a little girl with her mind set upon a goal.
Hamish: “Little boy, …” Hamish begins condescendingly. “Me sisterrrr Blythe has been pleasant up to now. But I fearrr that ye have angerrred herrr. And I do na know what she might do with that stick of herrrs.” Hamish is bluffing, of course. His sister is the most sweet and shy girl imaginable–except when she is with Lissa and then Blythe seems to become a tiny tiger.
Bart: “She don’t look all that fearsome to me–with that limp of hers and all.” Bart says looking at Blythe askance.
Blythe pouts, but does not cry–surprisingly, since she is very sensitive about her legs and her limp. Hamish fumes, but before he can come to his sister’s defense, Lissa does the deed.
Lissa: “You’re mean, Bart Babcock! And I’m gonna tell on you!” Lissa balls up her little fists, as if she is getting ready to strike him. “Blythe walks just fine!” Blythe holds out her walking stick to Bart.
Blythe: “Do ye want to test what me brrrotherrr said about me?” Staring down one older and taller boy, Hamish, and the two little girls proves to be too much for Bart.
Bart: “They’re a stupid color anyway. Here take’em.” Bart throws the ribbons on the ground and runs away.
Hamish picks up the pink ribbons, dusts them off, and hands them to his sister Blythe and to Lissa. The little girls hug him with their grateful thanks. Though they deserve just as much to credit for getting their ribbons back by standing their ground, Hamish helped.
Lissa: “Besides. Pink is a pretty color. We learned about colors from Miss Fanny in school one time.” It was two weeks ago, but Lissa doesn’t really have a sense of time yet.
Blythe: “You go to school, Lissa?” Blythe is a little surprised. Lissa nods cheerfully. “Mama says that Hamish and I will have a goverrrrness.”
Lissa: “Oh? Don’t they have a school where you live?” Lissa asks caringly. “You can come to my school. It’s for the Marlborough Mills children. And you are an Ogilvy like my Nana Hannah is now. So you could come to our school.” It seems logical to Lissa. Blythe thinks about that. Then Lissa adds helpfully. “Bart isn’t at our Mill School. His father works at another mill.” Lissa reassures Blythe.
Blythe: “Hamish, do you think Mama and Papa would let me go to Lissa’s school–rrratherrr than have a goverrrness?” Now Blythe is not thinking of her home being so far away.
Hamish: “I do na know, Blythe.” He winces. Since Hamish is older, he understands that they live far away–in another country even, Scotland.
Blythe: “I will ask Mama at Luncheon.” Blythe tells Lissa.
Lissa: “You will like going to my school, Blythe. My Nana Hannah is my teacher sometimes.” Lissa smiles.
The two little girls hug and help each other with their ribbon typing–then they chat some more.
John Thornton and Lord Jamie Ogilvy are speaking together after church while waiting for their carriages to arrive when the issue of leave taking comes to the forefront. They see Blythe and Lissa standing off to the side chatting happily together [(3ab) right] like magpies several feet away from Blythe’s mother Lady Thistle and Lissa’s Nana Hannah. Hamish is also with the little girls.
John: “Jamie, you have a fine son. And your daughter Blythe is such a delightful little girl.” John notices other people’s children now more since he and Margaret will become parents in three months time.
Jamie: “Aye! Thank ye! Hamish is a good laddie. And ourrr Blythe has so enjoyed this trrrip–as did me son Hamish. Much morrre so that I would have thought likely forrr Blythe.” John looks at Jamie quizzically. “She has na trrravelled beyond ourrr estates beforrre, since she has gotten olderrr. She is warrry of how otherrr people will trrreat herrr because of herrr leg being shorrrterrr and her larrrge shoe. But she has had a wonderrrful time herrre in Milton.” He beams. As a parent, Jamie wants only the best for his daughter.
Hamish: Wandering over to his father and Mr. Thornton, Hamish greets them. “Good day, Mr. Thorrrnton, Sirrr.”
John: “Hamish.” John smiles.
Hamish: “Papa?” Nine year old Hamish looks worried.
Jamie: “Yes, Laddie?” Jamie soothingly lays a large but gentle hand on his son’s shoulders.
Hamish: “Arre we to live herrre now?” He asks questioningly. “I left my pony back in Scotland.” He pouts. Hamish is still in his childish self centered phase.
Jamie: “Ha ha ha! Nay! What makes you ask that? We arrre leaving for Scotland and home on the afterrrnoon trrrain tomorrrrow.”
Hamish: “Blythe told me that she wants to go to the Mill School herrre with herrr new frrriend, Lissa.” Hamish bites his lower lip.
Jamie: “Oh dearrr! What did yourrr motherrr say to Blythe about that?” Jamie asks hopefully. Hamish: “Mama doesn’t know. Blythe just told me when Lissa was telling her all about her school with her Nana Hannah. So Blythe wants to go to the Mill School.”
Jamie: “Hhhhh!” Though Lord Jamie is his children’s loving father, their mother Lady Thistle tends to be more in charge of them–as is customary amongst their friends.
John: “Of course, when the new Thornton-Ogilvy Mill in Angus, Scotland is up and running producing wool fabric, then we will establish a Mill School for workers and their children there as well.” John offers.
Looking over at how happy his little daughter is talking with her friend Lissa–her first real friend that Blythe has had outside of the family and other cousins–Jamie becomes ashen faced.
Jamie: “Blythe would like that, John. But I suspect that it is little Lissa Dillard who is the rrreal rrreason that Blythe wants to go to school rrratherrr than have a goverrrness.”
John: “Ohh! The two girls have become quite close. Their parting will be difficult, but it is inevitable. Perhaps you should encourage them to say their good byes today, so they have that to remember each other by.” Of course, John is thinking like an adult, not as a tender four and five year old.
Jamie: “I wish we could stay longerrr. But that would only delay our deparrrturre. And I must rrreturrrn to Scotland to overrrsee me estates.”
John: “Of course. And I doubt that the Dillard’s would allow Lissa to visit Blythe in Scotland. They are a closeknit family–and it was hard for them when Lissa recuperated from her broken arm for a month at Thornton Manor under my mother’s care.”
Jamie: “Hhhhh! This is na good. Blythe will be upset to leave Lissa.” He frets.
Hamish: “I fearrr so, Papa.” Hamish nods.
Jamie, John, and Hamish stand in silence for a few moments–pondering the sensitivities of little girls.
Jamie: “Well, we can na stall any furrrtherrr.”
Lord Jamie Ogilvy, John Thornton, and Viscount Hamish resolutely walk over to where Lady Thistle, Hannah, and Margaret are chatting with the two little girls, Blythe and Lissa. Each husband kisses his wife’s cheek, then wraps a protective arm around her waist. Lissa and Blythe are also standing with their arms about each others’ waists.
Hannah: “John and Jamie, Margaret and Thistle and I were just remarking how lovely Blythe and Lissa look in in their Flower girl dresses.” Hannah smiles and caresses each little girls cheek.
Lissa: “Thank you, Nana Hannah.” Lissa smiles.
Thistle: “Blythe dearrr. Did you hearrr the compliment that Lady Airlie gave you?” She gently nudges her daughter with a smile.
Blythe: “I did, Mama. Thank you.” Blythe nods to Hannah Thornton Ogilvy, because she cannot curtsy or she might lose her balance.
Lissa: Lissa looks back and forth between Blythe and her Nana Hannah. “Nana Hannah, who is Lady Airy?” Lissa cuetly mispronounces the name and the adults chuckle.
Hannah: “Lady Airlie is my title as Dr. Cameron Ogilvy’s countess.” Hannah smiles knowingly.
Lissa: Lissa looks at her quizzically. “But I thought that you are Mrs. Ogilvy now?”
Blythe: Blythe whispers in Lissa’s ear, but everyone can hear her. “Ourrr cousin, Dr. Ogilvy is the Earrrl of Airrrlie, Lord Airrrlie. So she is Lady Airrrlie.” Blythe stresses the name Airlie slowly.
Hannah: “Yes, but England does not recognize our titles. It is only in Scotland where we are moving to in the fall that upholds our rank.”
Lissa : “You are moving away, Nana Hannah?” Lissa’s bottom lip trembles. John and Margaret exchange worried glances–as do Jamie and Thistle.
Hannah: “Yes, Lissa. After John and Margaret’s baby is born in the Autumn, we will move to Scotland permanently. But we will visit Milton monthly–Cameron promised.”
Blythe: Blythe clasps Lissa’s hand in hers to comfort her. “Scotland is na so farrr away. It only took us a half day to get herrre by trrrain.” But Lissa peels away from Blythe and gives her Nana Hannah a hug, which Hannah reciprocates.
Hamish thinks, here it comes.
Lissa: “But I thought you are going to go to school with me here? With Nana Hannah?” The parents and soon to be parents eyes widen in realization of the little girls deep connection to each other.
Thistle: Jolted out of her reverie, Thistle strokes her daughter’s back. “Yes Blythe?”
Blythe: “May I go to the Mill School with Lissa? They sound like they have fun!”
Lissa: “We learned about colors one day.” Lissa nods her head up and down for emphasis. Blythe and Lissa wait patiently for a response. The adults wince, knowing that explaining things to the girls will be difficult. Since little boys abhor a vacuum–or silence–Hamish answers for the adults.
Hamish: “Blythe, we live in Scotland. We have to go back. My pony is therrre.” Hamish pouts. He has not quite grown out of his selfish child period.
Blythe and Lissa look at each other. Then both little girls instantly burst into tears.
Blythe: “You can na make me leave! I want to stay with Lissa!” Blythe clings to Lissa and wails.
Lissa: “I want to stay with Blythe!” Lissa cries into Blythe’s neck.
Now Lissa’s Marlborough Mill Worker parents, the Dillard’s wander over to see what the commotion is about. Ever since Lissa’s broken arm, the Dillard family has had a growing connection with the Thornton’s due to Hannah Thornton’s tender care of their daughter Lissa. Mrs. Dillard worked with Hannah Thornton in the beginning of the Marlborough Mills Worker Clothing Project–and Mrs. Dillard eventually, became in charge of it when Hannah Thornton went to Scotland to be married and go on her wedding trip. Mr. Dillard has risen to the rank of Weaving Foreman and Under Overseer when Williams or Higgins must be gone. And the Dillard’s were the first family in the growing and thriving Thornton Village Mill Worker Housing Project.
Feeling a little embarrassed by her daughter Lissa’s crying fit, Mrs. Dillard tries to comfort her.
Mrs. Dillard: “Come away, Lissa. We need to let the Thornton’s and Ogilvy’s say good bye to their family.”
Lissa: “But I don’t want them to say goodbye.” She wails.
Blythe: “Norrr do I?” She also wails.
As Margaret gazes up at her husband in concern [(4) right], John realizes that there might be a solution to this impasse that would benefit everyone.
To be continued with Chapter 54
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 53 References, May 02,2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #558)
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) “The thistle has been one of the national emblems of the Scots nation since the reign of Alexander III (1249–1286) and was used on silver coins issued by James III in 1470.” Flower images, heraldic badge and information were found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thistle
3) Blythe Ogilvy and Lissa Dillard images are a composite of: a) Blythe image is Portrait of a Young Girl by Paul Emile Chabas found at http://www.oceansbridge.com/oil-paintings/product/89623/portraitofayounggirl ; b) Image representing Lissa Dillard is an MS Office Clip Art stock child photo,Jan0514 Gratiana Lovelace
4) Cropped and masked image of John Thornton (as portrayed by Richard Armitage) from the BBC’s 2004 production of North & South, Promo pix 17 was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/NandSPromo/album/slides/NandSPromo-17.html; composited with Composite image of Margaret Hale’s head (as portrayed by Daniela Denby-Ashe) from the North & South music soundtrack dvd cover found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/NandSPromo/album/slides/NandSPromo-12.html; and a pink Victorian dress found at http://fripperiesandfobs.tumblr.com/post/12025132525/dress-ca-late-1830s-from-the-centre-de; photo manip done by Gratiana Lovelace, 3/25/12.