“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 62 (PG-13): At the Highland Games, the Ladies Go a Husband Calling, June 03, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #577)
[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, Jeremy Northam as Dr. Miles Houghton, Gerard Butler as Lord Jamie Ogilvy, and Juliette Lewis as Lady Thistle Ogilvy, 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. As such there will be heartfelt moments of love and sensuality (S)–as well as other dramatic emotions (D), 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: The season opener of the Angus Scotland Highland Games hosted by Airlie Estate began with competitions of skill (archer) and brute strength (caber tossing) as well as the children’s tug of war that saw Airlie Team Scot acquitting itself well. And Fiona finally made her tiara selections–as well as, John finally revealing to his wife Margaret that she is more likely closer to nine months pregnant and could give birth any day.
“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 62: At the Highland Games, the Ladies Go a Husband Calling
On Saturday, June 20th, 1851, the Highland games involve another sport requiring skill, daring, and pluck. And this time, it is the ladies of the Scottish Teams who will have their say in the Husband Calling Contest. Hannah Lady Airlie is slightly bemused at the enterprise–as long as she is not required to participate in it. What she observes early on in the morning competition by the non-noble women competitors involves much shrieking with little finesse. Hannah will soon come to know the depth of prowess among her own kin in regard to husband calling.
First up is Lady Davina Ogilvy, Sir Angus Ogilvy’s wife. She is bold and brash anyway. And her audacious style of husband calling will set the bar very high for her kinswomen. Lady Davina moves to the center of the elevated stage as the other competitors, various and sundry husbands (hers and others), and attendees gather round her. She smiles prettily at everyone as her husband Sir Angus announces her in his capacity as the Angus Scotland High Games Season Opener Master of Ceremonies.
Sir Angus: “And herrre we have a lady whom I have known since childhood. Fairrr of face, possessing charrrm and wit, and the bonniest lass I have everrr known–me wife, Lady Davina Ogilvy. Ha ha ha ha ha!” Sir Angus claps his hands and the audience applauds.
Lady Davina: Touched by her husband’s praiseworthy introduction, she curtsies to him. “Thank ye, husband.” She smiles impishly. Then she raises her arms out to her sides and proclaims loudly. “Now stand back! And coverrr yourrr ears. Forrr calling me husband usually has to span larrrge distances.” Then Lady Davina cups her hands around her mouth–as if they were a megaphone directing the sound of her voice–and she begins to call her husband’s name. First she howls the first syllable in a loud honk. “Annnnnnnnnnnn…” Then her pitch lowers slightly for the second vowel. “…guuuuuuuuuuuus!” She repeats this call several times–extending syllables and getting louder each time. Finally, for her last call, Lady Davina goes on for so long and so loudly that all marvel at her breath control. “Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn … guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuus!”
But it is Lady Davina’s [(2) right] accompanying gestures that truly get her husband’s attention, as she raises the hem of her skirt each time to reveal more of her womanly form–her ankles, then her lower legs, and finally, almost to her knees. Sir Angus rushes back upon the stage.
Sir Angus: “Alrrright, me Dearrr. Ye have enchanted us long enough.” Lady Davina smiles smugly at her husband and the crowd gives her a cheer. As she walks off the stage she looks back at him over her shoulder with a sirenish smirk.
Several other ladies from the other teams and Airlie Team Scot also compete. Each time, their husbands collect them from the stage. The fourth competitor is Sir Angus’ sister-in-law.
Sir Angus: “And now we have anotherrr Clan Ogilvy Lady of Airrrlie Team SCOT, me cousin, Lady Angharrrad Ogilvy MacIntosh, the wife of Sirrr Alistairrr MacIntosh who won the Archerrry Competition yesterrrday.”
Everyone applauds as Lady Angharad walks the two steps up onto the stage and then she turns to face the crowd. With Lady Angharad also being young and lovely [(3) right], she has youth and vigor on her side. But she is a bit more ladylike in ther approach than some of the others.
Angharad: “Maaaa_Kin-Tahhhhhsh! Maaaaa_Kin-Tahhhhhhsh! Maaaaa_Kin-Tahhhhhhsh!” She voices in almost a sing songy way with a smile on her face, clearly enjoying her self. The crowd applauds and Alistair collects his wife.
Sir Angus: “And now me sister-in-law, Lady Thistle MacLaren Ogilvy [(4) right], wife of me brrrotherrr Lord Jamie Ogilvy–who won the caberrr toss yesterrrday–will grrrace us with herrr husband call.” He smiles and the crowd applauds Lady Thistle as she centers herself on the stage.
Thistle: “Ja-Mieeee!” Lady Thistle shrieks the second syllable. “Ja-Mieeee!” She shrieks again. Then Lady Thistle purrs seductively in almost a moan. “I be rrready forrr ye now, Darrrling. I can na wait any longerrr.” Lord Jamie fairly scrambles onto the stage to prevent any further mentions by his wife about her being ready for him as the crowd howls with laughter.
Crowd: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” “Huuzzah!” “At a boy, Jamie!”
Lissa: Leaning over to her friend Lady Blythe, Lady Thistle’s daughter, Lissa asks. “What is your Mama rrready forrr?”
Blythe: “ I do na know. But they spend a lot of time in their bed chamber. Mama says she is teaching Papa to play chess, and that he is getting his moves rrright.”
Lissa: “Ohhh!” Lissa nods, still not quite understanding what husband calling and learning to play chess have to do with each other. Ah the young are so blessedly innocent.
A few more of the other teams’ wives are introduced and try out their husband calling skills. Then it is time for Airlie Team SCOT again.
Sir Angus: “And now we have a rrrreal trrreat! Ourrr youngest wife by farrr. The young and lovely, Lady Fiona Thornton Ogilvy–brrride of barrrely two months to Laird Baird Ogilvy, heirrr prrresumptive to the Earrrl of Airrrlie!” Sir Angus finishes with a flourish!
Lady Fiona walks onto the stage with grace and poise. And up until now, Lady Fiona’s brother John Thornton has tolerated the husband calling contest. But now that his sister, and then his wife are set to be on display, John begins to squirm uncomfortably. And his wife Margaret is delighted that they are almost finished with the Husband Calling Contest because she is tired of standing and her back has been hurting her all morning.
Lady Fiona smiles sweetly [(5) right] at the assembled gathering. She looks charming in her favorite pink and blue plaid dress with the wide lace collar. Then she looks directly at her husband, Lord Baird, as she takes a deep breath, then she opens her mouth. What comes forth astonishes both her husband and the crowd. For Fiona sings a pure crystalline high g note that wafts beautifully upon the breeze.
Lord Baird has never heard the like before–outside of their bed chamber. And he rushes up the stage to her. The crowd applauds appreciatively for the lovely musicality of Lady Fiona’s husband calling and she nods her acknowledgement of their praise. Though strictly speaking, she did not call her husband–her not using his name. But rather, Lady Fiona voiced a high pitched soprano songbird tone. Lord Baird leads his lovely bride way. And John Thornton is grateful that his sister’s singing has improved–though he cannot account for how she achieved it. Hmmm.
Sir Angus: “Lovely! Lovely. And finally, we have anotherrr young extended Ogilvy famiy memberrr wife–who is in a delicate way–and she will gift us with herrr husband calling. Mrs. Marrrgaret Thorrrnton, wife to Mill Masterrr John Thorrrnton.”
A cheer goes up for the Mill Master’s wife joining in. Sir Angus reaches down and gently helps the largely pregnant Margaret up the two stage steps. John stands at the bottom of the steps, not quite pushing her up from the bottom–but rather, being present should she fall backward and need a cushion for her fall. Margaret smiles at everyone as she clutches a small bag in her hands. She opens her bag and pulls out a grape. John’s eyes widen in recognition. Then she looks at her husband and says sweetly, her voice a velvet hush.
Margaret: “Jaahhn. Catch!” Margaret tosses her husband a grape and he quickly catches it in his hand, then he sheepishly places it in his coat pocket. Margaret pouts chastisingly. “John?”
Margaret bats her eyes at her husband pleadingly. John blanches, but he nods his head in silent agreement. Margaret smiles and she takes another grape out of the bag. She holds the grape aloft, positioning her throw. John stands at the ready. Margaret tosses the grape in a gentle arc and John lunges his head forward and catches the grape in his mouth, chews, and swallows it. The crowd roars its approval as well as laughing mirthfully for seeing the somewhat reserved John Thornton gamely catching grapes in his mouth like they all do with their sweethearts.
Crowd: “Well done!” “Hurrah!” “Great catch!” “Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Suddenly! Margaret’s eyes widen and grimace in pain as she drops her bag of grapes and clutches her pregnant belly as a shockwave of a birthing contraction hits her and her water breaks–with fluid rushing down her legs and puddling at her feet.
Margaret: Margaret [(6) right] looks at her husband with an expression of shock and uncertainty mixed with joy. “John! I think it’s time!”
John leaps up the two stage steps–by passing the bottom step altogether–and he lifts Margaret into his arms and he swiftly carries her off toward Airlie Castle several hundred yards away. The women family members follow after them. And Hannah Lady Airlie asks a young Highland Games page boy to find her husband Lord Airlie and ask him to see to Mrs. Thornton who is in labor, in his capacity as Dr. Cameron Ogilvy. The day has not yet half begun and might see the birth of John and Margaret’s first child before it is done.
To be continued with Chapter 63
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 62 References, June 03, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #577)
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) Lady Davina Ogilvy Image is of the painting titled Undine, by John William Waterhouse and was found at http://www.artsunlight.com/artist-photo/John-William-Waterhouse/undine-by-John-William-Waterhouse-077.jpg
3) Image representing Lady Angharad Ogilvy MacIntosh is Holliday Grainger found at http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=56164387
4) Lady Thistle is an image of actress Juliette Lewis as a young woman found at http://img2.rnkr-static.com/user_node_img/67/1333348/full/juliette-lewis-recording-artists-and-groups-photo-u3.jpg
5) Lady Fiona Thornton Ogilvy is Jo Joyner in North & South epi1 (11h06m00s79) Jan1214 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-crop-manip-sized-brt-manip
6) Margaret is Daniela Denby-Ashe in North & South Epi4 _17h49m20s188_Nov1013 Gratiana Lovelace Cap