“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 58 (PG-13): Margaret has a Plan, May 20, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #569)
[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 Ogilvy, Jo Joyner for Fiona/Fanny Thornton Ogilvy, 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: Margaret Thornton is on the cusp of entering the confinement [(2)] period of her pregnancy–with her feeling huge and unattractive. But her loving husband John pampers her most adoringly. Such that her spirits brighten and she feels ever so much better.
“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 58 (PG-13): Margaret has a Plan
Three weeks of adoring pampering by her husband John has Margaret Thornton feeling quite blessed and cheerful in June as the Summer truly begins–despite the cumbersome nature of her being seven months pregnant, and with her estimated August due date still two months away. And Margaret Thornton has a plan–she just has to get her husband, John, to agree to it. She wants them to travel to London for a week and join her parents, the Shaw-Lennoxes, and Baird and Fiona for The Great Exhibition [(3) top right top and bottom] that opened last month in May 1851.
Then after London, Margaret and John and Baird and Fiona–along with Baird’s sister Angharad Ogilvy MacIntosh and her family–will all travel to Angus, Scotland by train the next week for John to oversee the machinery installation at the new Ogilvy-Thornton Scottish Mills and for everyone to enjoy the cool Scottish countryside and to take in the Highland Games [(4)] in that area. Margaret is trying to get everything done before she is truly confined during the last month or so of her pregnancy in July and August.
John and Margaret and her parents take the Friday afternoon train June 6th from Milton to London where Baird and Fiona Ogilvy meet them at the station and spirit them to their townhouse for a quick tour over tea before they repair to the Shaw-Lennox manor for their week long stay. However, quick is not in Fiona’s vocabulary. They are her first real visitors–even if they are only family–and she is going to make the most of them. Although, Fiona acquiesces and lets the senior Hale’s beg out of the tour so as not to tire out Mrs. Hale.
But Fiona Thornton as a bride of six weeks must have her due–and attention–from the younger members of their extended family, John and Margaret.
Fiona: “And here in the kitchen, we have the latest marvel–pre-heated water!” Fiona says gleefully as she points to a large vertical copper cylinder adjacent to the cooking stove [(5) right].
Margaret: “Pre-heated water? How?” Margaret asks curiously since she does not see a kettle on the stove.
Baird: “Aye! It is the latest invention. Ye rrrun a metal tube frrrom the cold waterrr tap thrrrough the heated stove. And the hot waterrr collects in the copperrr tank forrr pumping up to the bathrrrooms forrr baths.” Heating water was a very labor intensive process prior to the invention of modern day water heaters–the genesis of which would not be refined for many years after 1851 [(6)].
John: “That would be very useful.” He nods interestedly. “We would no longer need to heat buckets of water over a fireplace hearth.”
As a man of business and industry, John Thornton is keen about the many new inventions of their age. That is partly why he so quickly agreed to Margaret’s wish to see The Great Exhibition–wherein all inventions around the world will be gathered together in one place for all to see.
Fiona smiles sweetly up at her besotted husband Baird [(7) right] as she nestles into his embrace. Baird smiles tenderly at his young wife and kisses her forehead with his arm gently but firmly enclosing her waist. John notices the happiness that emanates from his baby sister Fanny–for she will always be Fanny to him, since he gave her that family nickname when she was little–and her husband Baird. And he is glad for it. Then Fiona breaks into her brother’s wistful musings.
Fiona: “Johnny and Margaret? If you can bear to join us on the second floor, we have something else we would like to show you. Then we promise to give you some tea.” Fanny cajoles winsomely. Fanny is never more endearing when she is trying to play the hostess–albeit a slightly pampered hostess.
Fiona smiles so sweetly that neither John nor Margaret can refuse her–despite their weariness from their travels this day. So they all walk up the stairs to the bed chambers hallway. With John taking special care of Margaret on the stairs. He would have carried her if she would have let him. But she would not let him–Margaret still trying to do many things for herself. Fiona opens a bedchamber door and they all peek in.
Fiona: “This is one of two guest rooms that we hope that you will wish use on your next visit to London. We ordered a very long bed just to fit you, Johnny!” She smiles at her own thoughtfulness.
John: “Thank you, Fanny Dear. That was thoughtful of you.” John notices his sister’s thoughtfulness, and she gives him a gleaming smile.
John kisses his sister’s cheek. And Fiona does not reprimand her brother about using her nickname–for she also knows he uses it with love.
Baird: “And, Kkkhhh.” Baird clears his throat nervously. “This is ourrr masterrr bed chamberrr.” Baird’s voice cracks. He does not know why he feels nervous about showing John and Margaret his and Fiona’s shared bedchamber. They tidied things up after their morning tryst–nothing looks amiss. And then he spies something that makes him blush crimson. “Ohhh!” Baird sighs deeply as he walks to the opposite side of the room–drawing John and Margaret with him as a means of distraction. “This lamp was a gift from Papa and Mama.” He says rather inanely.
Fiona looks at her husband quizzically. It is a nice frosted glass lamp. But it is just a lamp. Then she notices Baird pointing. But he is pointing in such an odd way–only bending his wrist slightly as his arms hang at his sides, with his index finger doing most of the pointing. Fiona tilts her head, not understanding what her husband is trying to convey to her.
Margaret: “It is a lovely lamp.” Margaret smiles encouragingly. Then she sees Baird pointing and he stops. Margaret turns to look at Fiona–and Fiona untilts her head and smiles at her sister-in-law. “Are you feeling alright, Fiona?” Margaret asks caringly.
Fiona: “I am.” Then with John and Margaret looking at Fiona and not Baird, Baird makes even broader pointing gestures to the other side of the bed. Fiona shakes her head and says straightforwardly–as usual. “Baird, I don’t know what you are trying to tell me–please just use your words.”
Baird: “Hhhhh!” Baird sighs deeply to have been found out.
John and Margaret turn back to look at Baird with amused smiles on their faces. He instantly drops his arms at his sides and smiles sheepishly at them. Fiona walks to the other side of the bed and she sees what her husband was pointing at. So she bends down and picks up her ivory colored silk nightgown.
Fiona:”Oh! I must have dropped this earlier and forgotten to put it away.” Fiona blushes as she smiles impishly. Then she carefully folds her nightgown and slips it under her pillow. Then she walks over to stand next to her husband Baird who smiles at her impishly.
Margaret: “Hmmm.” Margaret smiles knowingly.
John looks away, trying to pretend that he didn’t see that his baby sister has a silk nightgown–that she put in the bed that she shares with her husband. Swishing her hand at her brother, Fiona remarks as if she were a well broken in wife of six years, not merely six weeks.
Fiona: “Oh Johnny! It’s not like you haven’t seen Margaret’s silk nightgowns–on her, or not.”
John: John turns crimson. “Fanny!” He is stunned by her forthrightness.
Fiona: “It’s no use, Johnny. You can’t feign ignorance to me. Margaret didn’t get pregnant by herself.” Fiona points to Margaret’s pregnant tummy. “I know, she told me.”
An acutely embarrassed John Thornton looks at his wife Margaret in horror and mortification.
Margaret: Margaret holds out her hands in protest. “I said nothing, John.” She avers. “Nothing specific, anyway.” She winces.
John shakes his head ruefully. And Baird is rather enjoying seeing his stepbrother and brother-in-law John’s discomfittednenss–when only a few minutes ago, Baird was the one who was embarrassed.
Fiona: “Oh come along. We have one more room to show you.” She smiles and takes her husband’s hand, excitedly guiding him along, too.
The four of them walk through a connecting door from the master bedchamber into what is obviously a ladies boudoir–and Fanny’s dressing room. It is full of pink and cream accents with light pink rose flower wallpaper adorning the room.
Margaret: “Oh! This is lovely, Fiona!” Margaret smiles approvingly and Fiona beams happily.
Baird: “Thank ye! I had it refurrrbished as a surprrrise forrr Fiona when we rrreturned frrrom ourrr wedding.”
Fiona: “Baird is so thoughtful and considerate.” She sighs, lying her head upon his shoulder.
John: Still unsettled from being labeled the culprit for his wife Margaret’s pregnant condition, John intones in a clipped manner . “Very nice.”
Baird and Fiona exchange a secret look. Baird raises his eyebrows. Fiona tilts her head with a pleading smile. Baird nods. Fiona quickly embraces her husband and kisses his cheek.
Fiona: “Thank you, Baird! I will just burst if I have to keep our secret until next week when we go to Scotland.” Then Fiona turns to John and Margaret. “I am with child!” She beams.
Baird: “We arrre expecting a baby in the firrrst month of the new yearrr!”
Margaret: Rushing to embrace her sister-in-law, Margaret gushes. “This is wonderful Fiona and Baird! Our babies will be only six months apart in age–they will be wonderful playmates together!”
Seeing her husband standing frozen with the news, Margaret nudges him with her elbow.
John: “Congratulations, Fanny.” He kisses her cheek again. Then he turns and shakes Baird’s hand. “Congratulations, Baird.”
Baird: “Thank you!”
Fiona: “Yes, thank you, Johnny!”
Then as they walk back downstairs for their promised tea, John unconsciously counts on his fingers tapping against his side–April 26th to May, June, July, August, October, November, December, January–nine months. Fanny and Baird must have become pregnant right away. And now John Thornton has incontrovertible proof that his sister is … a wife.
Later that evening at the gracious London home of Margaret’s Aunt Shaw and her cousins Edith and Captain Maxwell Lennox, Margaret’s parents [(8) right] enjoy a quiet chat with her sister Mrs. Shaw, while the young couples play cards and chat after dinner. But due to her fatigue, Margaret plays the wrong card.
Edith: “Ohhh! No Margaret. Clubs are trumps.”
Margaret: Margaret shakes her head. “Silly me! I think it has been such a long day for me with our traveling, then tea with Fiona and Baird, and now dinner tonight.” Margaret lays her hands across her pregnant tummy–she could hardly do otherwise with her present condition.
John: “Are you feeling unwell, My Love? Should we, perhaps retire to rest?” John asks solicitously, caringly, lovingly.
And for once, Margaret does not argue.
Margaret: “I hate to admit it, John. But I am feeling tired. So I don’t mind your fussing over me.” Margaret smiles lovingly at her caring husband. Then she turns to her cousin. “Edith, you won’t mind if we go to bed early, will you?” She asks apologetically.
Maxwell: Maxwell Lennox replies for his wife. “Not at all, Margaret. When Edith was as far gone as you, she slept most of the time. It’s a wonder that she did not sleep through giving birth. Ha ha ha!”
Edith: “Maxwell! Having a baby is very trying on a person. And if you had seen the pain I went through giving birth to Sholto and then little Tamsin, you would not think that I could have slept through it! Ten hours I was in labor for Sholto and five for Tamsin!” Edith says a little perturbed–such a strange emotion for the pampered lady that she is.
Margaret blanches. She knows how painful birthing can be from attending some births in Helstone. And being in labor ten hours, or even five hours, is not a comforting prospect.
John: John stands up quickly–wanting to usher Margaret away from distressing talk about child birthing. “Yes, well. That is why Margaret must rest. Come My Love.” John carefully assists Margaret to her feet.
And then the rest of the party breaks up with the older family members having fallen asleep in their chairs now being woken up to go to bed.
Although John was cautious at first with Margaret’s plan to attend The Great Exhibition, after Dr. Miles Houghton examined her and found her fit–though a little plumper than a woman might normally be at this stage of her pregnancy–Margaret was cleared for train travel to London and then to Scotland. But the doctor sternly advised her to rest as much as possible–and to accept wheelchair assistance for attending The Great Exhibition–as her frail mother Mrs. Maria Hale will do.
So Margaret and her mother are pushed in wheelchairs the length and breadth of The Great Exhibition–quite wearing out their respective husbands, John Thornton and Richard Hale. And Margaret is very good about staying in her chair, looking in wonder at everything. That is, she is good until the cotton weaving exhibit takes John away from her for a few moments to explain the finer points of mill operations to some interested exhibition attendees. Many of the types of looms on exhibit here will be installed at the new Ogilvy-Thornton Scottish Mills in Angus, Scotland next week.
Margaret spies an exhibit nearby where for a shilling, they will machine embroider your initials on a linen handkerchief. Never one to be that fond of embroidering like Hannah Thornton Ogilvy is–because it requires one to be more sedentary than Margaret is willing to be–Margaret eagerly pays her shilling and watches keenly as her initials MTH are machine embroidered as a monogram upon a lovely linen handkerchief. Margaret is so enraptured with the embroidering process that she does not see her concerned husband John walk up beside her, startling her and she turns toward him, but with her head bowed guiltily [(9) right]. She is caught.
Margaret: “Oh, John! There you are!” She smiles wincingly.” Margaret does not want to have her Scotland trip cancelled by John.
John: Not happy that his very pregnant wife has disobeyed her doctor’s orders by standing, John admonishes her forcefully.“Margaret, what are you doing? You should not be standing, My Love. You should sit and rest.”
John has a great concern for the state of Margaret’s health. He is a new father to be and knows from the tales of others that pregnancy is a delicate time in a woman’s life. Things can go wrong–for the mother and the child. And John would be devastated were he to lose his love Margaret now.
Margaret: “Oh bother! I’m fine. I just wanted to see my initials sewed by the machine.” She points to the embroidery machine, trying to sound cheerful to offset her husband’s mood.
Then the exhibit worker gives Margaret her monogrammed linen handkerchief.
Monogrammer: “Here you go, Maam.”
Margaret: “Oh! Thank you!” She smiles gratefully at the man. Then she turns to her husband. “Look! Three initials and it took less than five minutes! It is a marvel!”
John: “Yes, yes.” John says tediously for though he uses monogrammed handkerchiefs and such, he doesn’t usually focus upon how long it takes his mother Hannah to do his monogramming. “You must rest, My Darling. Afterall, you are seven months pregnant.” He looks at her large pregnant belly that seems to dwarf her petiteness and he worries for her.
Margaret: Seeing where his gaze is, she responds defensively. “John? I may be seven months pregnant, but I don’t look that much bigger than Carlotta Watson who is just over five months pregnant.” She smiles pridefully.
But of course, Margaret is unaware that Carlotta Watson was two months pregnant when she married the father of her child five months ago. So Carlotta Watson is seven months pregnant
However, John and Margaret are both wrong on their counting. John and Margaret were married Nov. 2–with them having had intimate relations with each other the week before, after the Mill riot. And though Margaret thought that she had her monthly cycles in November and December, they were merely pale spotting–and she thought their weakness was caused by the excitement of her new married life. It wasn’t until her third month of pregnancy in January, that Margaret truly began to experience normal pregnancy morning sickness. So Margaret is not entering her seventh month of pregnancy–she is near to entering her ninth month of pregnancy.
And Margaret’s plans for enjoying the Highland Games on their upcoming Scottish holiday might just have to be adjusted.
To be continued with Chapter 59
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 58 References, May 20, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #569)
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 time period in which a pregnant lady awaits her baby’s impending birth, to a little time after the birth, is labeled her period of confinement—most obviously because she restricts her activities and mostly stays indoors. For more information, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estimated_date_of_confinement
3) London, England’s Great Exhibition from May to October 1851 brought together nations around the world to feature their innovations, culture, and products. It was the first world exhibition of its kind. For more information, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Exhibition ; ; top image was found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Crystal_Palace_from_the_northeast_from_Dickinson%27s_Comprehensive_Pictures_of_the_Great_Exhibition_of_1851._1854.jpg; bottom image was found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Crystal_Palace_interior.jpg
4) Scottish Highland Games occur throughout the year. For more information, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_games
5) The image serving as Baird and Fiona Ogilvy’s kitchen is of the David Davis Mansion kitchen (built 1869-72) in Bloomington, Illinois was a marvel for its day, containing many modern conveniences—such as a water heater for hot water throughout the home for bathing and such. The image was found at http://macattackstudios.com/daviddavismansion/images/images/HomepageSlideshow/kitchen.jpg For more about this beautiful stately home preserved for history, visit http://daviddavismansion.org/
6) I made up the Ogilvy’s water heater mechanical information. It wasn’t until 1868 that a true mechanical water heater was invented. So for actual history about water heater inventions, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_heating
7) Fiona Thornton Ogilvy image is Fanny Thornton who was portrayed by Jo Joyner in the 2004 BBC drama North & South (11h03m52s71) Jan1214 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-crop-sized-brt ;
and Baird Ogilvy image (aspect, sized, drkn) is Simon Woods as Charles Bingley in the 2005 film Pride and Prejudice found at fanpop.com http://images5.fanpop.com/image/photos/25000000/Mr-Bingley-pride-and-prejudice-men-25086484-200-200.jpg
8) Image of Mr. and Mrs. Hale (as portrayed by Tim Pigott-Smith and Lesley Manville) was found at http://www.panhistoria.com/Stacks/Novels/Character_Homes/homedirs/19705images/mrandmrshale.jpg
9) Margaret is Daniela Denby-Ashe andJohn is Richard Armitage in the BBC period drama North & South, episode 3 (pix091) May2014ranet found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode3/ns3-091.jpg