“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 65: Baby Names, June 13, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #582)
[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: Margaret was relieved to learn from her loving husband John that he would not wish her to suffer through another agonizing childbirth as this one was for their daughter. She cried in grateful relief. Then spent from her exhaustion and pain, Margaret fell into a deep recuperative sleep.
“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 65: Baby Names
As Margaret sleeps in their guest bed chamber at Airlie Castle, John sits on the bed next to her, cradling their baby daughter in his arms. It is their baby’s birth day–her being not even two hours old. This new little life that his and Margaret’s love has made is a wonder to him–more so because he vowed to Margaret not to see her suffer through childbirth again. They can always adopt should they want more children. And though John would not admit to Margaret–for fear that she would think that he is making a sacrifice for her–he wants a son someday to follow in his footsteps.
But for now, this soft bundle resting in the crook of his arm is where all of John’s loving fatherly concerns reside. His baby girl is perfect–despite the trouble she caused her mother in bringing her into this world. John and Margaret will cherish and nurture their daughter all of her life. John leans down and kisses his baby’s forehead. She moves her little lips and he becomes fascinated by her lips and her little hands that seem to want to grab onto something. So for a good half hour, John [(2) right] sits smiling contentedly watching his little baby girl sleep in his arms.
Eventually–even as Margaret continues to sleep–John realizes that he needs to stretch his legs. John takes their baby daughter and begins to lay her in her cradle. But then, he smells an odor about her. It is faint, but he suspects its cause. Looking for assistance, John carries his baby daughter to the bed chamber door and looks out into the hallway. Empty. His Stepfather Cameron and his mother and sisters (Fiona and his stepsister Angharad) must have gone downstairs for tea. John looks down at his baby girl who is starting to squirm and make noises. She is uncomfortable and needs changing into a fresh wrapper.
So not wanting to awaken Margaret–because she needs her rest to recover–John walks into their bathing chamber with their baby, hoping that supplies will be at hand. It has been a long time since he changed a baby’s wrapper–since Fanny was a baby. Laying the baby on a double folded soft bath towel on the water basin table, John begins to remove the baby’s swaddling blanket and wrapper.
John: “Baby Thornton, this is your first wrapper change. And your Papa feels quite pleased with himself to be doing the honors.” John lays a fresh wrapper underneath her and cleans her up.
Baby Girl Thornton: The baby sighs. “Hhhh!” Then, of course, Baby Thornton leaks some more onto her new wrapper. She smiles contentedly.
John: “Uh oh! I didn’t remember that happening. I suppose I need to replace this new wrapper for you now as well. Don’t I?” He hovers over her.
John smiles in chagrin as he removes the now soiled new wrapper, cleans her up again, and puts a fresh wrapper on her. She looks up at him contentedly [(3) right]. His baby has already received two wrapper changes from her Papa, when most fathers do not change any, let alone know what a wrapper is. Reswaddling her in the still clean blanket–a blessing John thinks–he returns to his and Margaret’s guest bed chamber at Airlie Castle.
There is a soft knock on their bed chamber door.
Maid: Speaking softly so as not to awaken anyone. “Begging yourrr parrrdon, Mrrr. Thorrrton, Sirrr. Lady Airrrlie sends me with a dinnerrr trrray forrr you and Mrs. Thorrrnton.”
John: At first, John has to think who Lady Airlie is. She is his mother, Hannah Thornton Ogilvy, of course. “Ah! Thank you.”
John strides toward the door and opens it. The maid looks up at him in astonishment–John Thornton, Master of the Mills–is holding his baby in one arm with ease, his jacket and cravat are not on his person, nor is he wearing shoes. But blessedly thinks the maid, he is wearing socks. It would not do for a maid to see Lord Airlie’s guests bare feet.
Maid: Regaining her senses after being distracted by John Thornton’s informal attire, the Maid asks. “Wherrre shall I put yourrr dinnerrr trrray forrr ye?”
John: Shifting his daughter in his arms, he points toward the window area and speaks in a low volume. “Please set the tray down on the writing desk. It might be some time before my wife awakens and wishes to eat.”
Maid: “Yes, Sirrr.” The maid points to each covered item on the tray–the cover aiding in the food maintaining its warmth for at least a little while. “Therrre is light brrroth and soft foods forrr Mrs. Thorrrnton. However, yourrr dinnerrr is beef rrroast–the same as yourrr family is having downstairrs.”
John: “Thank you!” John finds that he is ravenous.
Maid: “Is therrre anything else you need, Sir?” She asks helpfully as she pulls scraps of paper out of her apron pockets and places them on the desk next to the food tray.
John tilts his head and looks quizzically at the maid putting paper scraps on the desk–wondering if this a strange Scottish ritual.
John: “There are some soiled baby wrappers in the bathing chamber.” He replies to her distractedly.
Maid: “Yes, Sirrr. I will see to that forrr ye.” The maid begins to walk toward the bathing chamber.
John: “Excuse me.” The maid turns back toward him. “But what are the scraps of paper for?
Maid: “Oh! Parrrdon me, Sirrr. I should have said. When I brrrrought theirrr dinnerrs to the bairrrns in the nurrrserrrry earlier, they asked me to give you and Mrs. Thorrrnton the paperrrs.”
John: “I see. And do you know what is on the papers?” He asks off handedly.
Maid: “Oh no, Sirrr! I would neverrr brrreach a prrrivacy!” She shakes her head defensively.
John: “Of course you wouldn’t.” He allays the Maid’s worries of being thought less than discreet. “It is just that my hands are full with the baby at the moment.”
Maid: “Oh!” She sighs in relief and holds out her arms. “I can hold the baby forrr ye while ye look at the paperrrs.”
John thinks for a moment. Only five people–that he knows of–have held his new baby daughter, Margaret, himself, his Mother, Fanny, and Cameron. And they are all family. Yet, he knows that he will have to become accustomed to the assistance of servants with baby matters.
John: “Thank you.” He gingerly lays his baby daughter in the young maid’s arms.
Maid: “Oooh! She is so beautiful
John: “Thank you. We think so.”
Maid: “Have ye named herrr yet?” The Maid asks expectantly.
John: “That is next on our agenda.” John raises his finger emphasizing his point. Then he walks over to the desk and starts to open and read the folded scraps of paper.
Maid: “Oh!” She says, not really knowing what an agenda is.
John: John starts to chuckle softly as he reads what is written on the scraps of paper. “Ha ha ha!”
The maid smiles then gently rocks the baby in her arms–uncertain what he could be finding so amusing.
Margaret: “John?” Margaret calls to him faintly as she awakens. “Where is the baby?” She asks worriedly.
John: “I’m here! We’re here!” John replies to Margaret as he gently scoops the baby from the Maid’s arms.
The maid curtsies, then goes to attend to the soiled baby wrappers in the bathing chamber. John haphazardly picks up the scraps of paper with his free hand and brings them and their baby daughter to Margaret in their bed.
Margaret: “Ohhh!” Margaret smiles at seeing her husband and baby daughter.
Margaret weakly holds out her arms for her baby and John drops the papers on the bed and uses both hands to place their daughter in Margaret’s arms. Then he pushes the papers over on the coverlet and he slides onto the bed next to her.
The Maid walks out of the bathing chamber with the soiled wrappers in a basket. She curtsies to Mr. and Mrs. Thornton and smiles–not only for seeing the family tableaux, but for also seeing the Master of the Mills informally sitting atop the bed covers next to his wife–then the maid leaves.
John: John kisses Margaret’s cheek and asks. “Are you feeling a little better?” He really wants to know, but him phrasing his question with his hoped for answer from her unintentionally tends to bias her response.
Margaret: “A little.” She smiles weakly as she fibs. She is sore all over from the muscle strain in giving birth–and she is most particularly in pain down below. But she would rather not dwell on her pain. She wants a distraction. “What are those.” She tilts her head toward the scraps of paper.
John: “Ah ha!” John smiles impishly, looking more cheerful than he has since he realized the birthing trials that Margaret had to endure this day. “Our niece, nephew, and little cousins once removed have sent us well wishes and …” John grins broadly. “… baby name suggestions. Ha ha ha!”
Margaret: “Ha! That’s nice. What are their suggestions?” She looks at her husband slightly bemusedly for his glee.
John: “Well, they can be excused for their youthful–dare I say, childlike–exuberance and predisposition upon the subject of Baby Girl Thornton’s name.”
Margaret: “Oh, just out with it, John. I might not be awake very long.” She smiles more broadly, wondering what names the children could have come up with.
John: “First off, we have little Lady Blythe Ogilvy’s suggestion.” He pauses dramatically. “She suggests that we name our daughter Blythe. Ha ha ha!”
Margaret: “Ha!” She shakes her head. “Though it is a pretty name, our daughter should have something unique and all her own.”
John nods in agreement as he rifles through the scraps of papers until he finds what he is looking for.
John: “Here it is–and certainly unique! Andrew MacIntosh suggests Drewina.” He shows Margaret the paper so that she can see the spelling.
Margaret: Smiling, she remarks. “I sense a theme with the children’s baby name suggestions.”
John: “Indeed!” John raises his eyebrows up and down several times for dramatic effect. “Oh and Andrew suggested a name on behalf of his six month old sister, Amanda. Her choice is Andrea.”
Margaret: “Actually, Andrea isn’t bad. But how about Audrey?” Margaret smiles down at her sleeping baby daughter. “Do you like Audrey, little one?” She coos.
John: “Audrey is a nice name, Margaret. However, I think the real corker name choice was given by Hamish Ogilvy–him obviously thinking of his mother Thistle’s name as well.” Margaret looks at him quizzically. “Hamistle. Ha ha ha ha ha!” John bursts out in laughter. Which, of course, causes their baby to stir.
Baby Thornton: “Mmm rgghh bbbb.” Margaret rocks her baby soothingly, smiling at her and making faces, and her baby settles down.
John: Smiling lovingly at his wife. “You are good with her. I could never get Fanny settled down when she was a baby.”
Margaret: Leaning slightly toward him and whispering, Margaret suggests wryly with an impish smile. “Maybe you should refrain from loud outbursts of laughter.”
John: “Touche!” He smiles adoringly at his wife. It is good to see her spirits lifted after such a trying day.
Margaret: “Oh! What does this last paper say?” Margaret nods to the scrap of paper lying between them on top of the coverlet.
John: “Ah! I missed one!” John startles. “Margaret,I thought we only had four nieces, nephews, and step second cousins many times removed?” Then he unfolds the paper. “Ah ha! This is from Lissa Dillard. She is staying over with her friend, little Lady Blythe.” John nods.
Margaret: “Well? Don’t keep me in suspense. Did she also suggest her own name or some variant? Such as Lissanne? Hmmm. That’s not half bad either.”
John: “Noooo.” John shakes his head bemusedly. “Her suggestion is Millie … short for Millieton–as in Milton, where the Mill is. Oh, and it looks like she gave a second name choice, that of Hananh.” John shows Margaret the spelling–four year old Lissa Dillard is just learning to read and to write, so five year old Lady Blythe Ogilvy had written it out for her.
Margaret: “Well, the name Hannah means grace. And my mother’s middle name is Grace–as in Maria Grace. Using Grace in our baby’s name would honor both of our mothers.” [(4)]
John: “So do you want to name our daughter, Grace?”
Margaret: “Grace is a charming name, but I would have it as a middle name. How about Audrey Grace Thornton?” Margaret looks up at her husband John expectantly.
And thus, Baby Girl Thornton becomes Audrey Grace Thornton
To be continued with Chapter 66
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 65 References, June 13, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #582)
1) “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” story logo: Richard Armitage as 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) John Thornton smiling down at his baby daughter in his arms is Richard Armitage in the 2004 BBC drama North & South and was found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode4/ns4-292.jpg
4) The name Hannah means grace; information was found at http://www.behindthename.com/name/hannah
5) John Thornton is portrayed by Richard Armitage and Margaret Hale is portrayed by Daniela Denby-Ashe in the BBC’s 2004 drama North & South found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode4/ns4-340.jpg