“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 74 (PG-13): Finding Our Way to Loving from the Heart, Part 1, August 12, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #619)
[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: It is Thursday, April 9th, 1855 and John and Margaret Thornton are to celebrate the fourth birthday of their beloved daughter Audrey Grace in 2.5 months time. They are gloriously happy as a couple and as a family, but for one aspect–they wish to have more children. However, childbirth is too dangerous forMargaret to contemplate becoming pregnant again. But John and Margaret both want at least a son to join Audrey Grace. So they have talked at length about adoption. They hesitated about a boy baby two years ago and the child ended up being adopted by Lord Jamie and Lady Thistle Ogilvy. And now, when John and his family travel to Scotland where Cameron and Hannah have organized a small orphanage in AirlieCastle, there is a complication. John is caught off guard to discover that the boy baby they are to consider adopting now, also has a two year old sister that Margaret wants to adopt with the baby. John becomes furious at Margaret for her keeping this information from him. John desperately wants a son of his own, so he doesn’t know if he can accept an adopted child. However with Cameron’s guidance, John realizes that in loving and nurturing a son John feels that he can make right what was done wrong to him by his late father’s early death. So John is calmed down and he and Margaret make up. Luncheon is next.
“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 74 (PG-13): Finding Our Way to Loving from the Heart, Part 1
John and Margaret Thornton regain their composure from their argument–over her not apprising John that the baby boy they are considering for adoption has a two year old sister–in their tender reconciliation over their mutual need to nurture and be nurtured. They will be parents of more children. And each of them realizes–especially John now–that the children they adopt and bring into their home will be their children. Because it is their loving hearts that cause John and Margaret to choose adoption.
Their tears dried and their faces splashed with water to refresh themselves, John and Margaret walk down the grand central staircase in Airlie Castle to greet their little four year old daughter Audrey Grace holding the hand of her grandmother Hannah Lady Airlie, and John’s little three and a half year old brother Lord Gavin holding the hand of his father Cameron, Lord Airlie–the children now also having clean faces and hands courtesy of Gavin’s nanny.
Audrey Grace cannot contain her excitement as she bubbles over with enthusiasm and dashes to her parents’ sides. They lean down and embrace her.
Audrey Grace: “Oh! Mama! Papa! Uncle Gavin told me about how fun it is to play with the other children staying here! May I play with them too?” She gazes up at her parents gleefully.
Margaret: Caressing her daughter’s cheek, she smiles lovingly. “Yes, my Sweetheart. We will have lunch with the family, then you may play with the children after.”
Gavin: Little Gavin turns to his much older brother and Audrey Grace’s father. “John! The childrrren we have now have only been herrre for a little bit, but we have fun togetherrr.” Gavin smiles broadly. And Gavin’s Scottish brogue is somewhat tempered by him also having an English mother.
John: “Is that so, Gavin?” John asks impishly.
Gavin: Taking his brother John’s hand, Gavin squeezes it. “It is, because I said so. I do not lie. Mama and Papa say lying is bad.” Little Gavin intones seriously–with no prompting from his parents.
Hannah: “Ha ha ha! Yes, Gavin, dear. You do have fun with the children! And you do not lie.” She smiles warmly at her little son for being so welcoming of the children, and for him not minding that they also receive his parents’ attention.
Gavin: “Thank ye, Mama.” Gavin smiles hard at his beaming Mama. Then Gavin looks at his father Cameron Lord Airlie who gives him a small nod with a twinkling eye. Gavin likes being a good boy and earning his parents praise.
Cameron: “Ha ha ha ha ha! Me wee bairrrn is an honest laddie–sometimes to a fault.” Cameron finishes sotto voce to John with a bemused and blushing smile on his face. John smiles in recognition of his little brother’s cute earnestness about honesty.
However Cameron is thinking more particularly about the time that he forgot to bolt the master bed chamber suite’s bathing chamber door, and little Gavin walked in on Cameron’s bath with his wife Hannah–them embarrassedly clinging to each other to cover their nakedness in front of their son. But little ones’ attention is usually focused on themselves. And Gavin wondered if there was room in the tub for him, too, as he began to remove his trouser suspenders. Unlike most little boys, Gavin loves having a bath–especially since the tubs at Airlie Castle are so huge, and he is still so little that he can lay flat and float in them. But his parents bade him wait for his own bath, since their water was now cold–only a slight fib. That seemed to satisfy Gavin’s interest and he walked out and toward his own bedchamber for his bath. Though to Cameron and Hannah’s chagrin, little Gavin recounted the bathing incident to the elderly Dowager Duchess of Argyle the next day at tea time. Mercifully, her hearing isn’t what it used to be and she only understood that Gavin likes warm bath water. Thereafter, Cameron always made certain to bolt his bathing and bed chamber doors–to prevent their littlest bairn from interrupting them unexpectedly.
Audrey Grace: “So, the children here haven’t found their parents yet, Grandpapa Cameron?” She asks sweetly as she holds her Mama Margaret’s hand lovingly and gently squeezses it.
Cameron: “Nay, me dearrr.” Cameron exchanges a hopefully look with John and Margaret–and then his wife.
Audrey Grace: “Well, maybe some of them they will like us and want to be our children. We have a big manor with many bed chambers. Don’t we, Mama and Papa?” John and Margaret nod sheepishly. “Why do we have so many beds and bed chambers if they aren’t going to be used?” Audrey Grace shrugs her little arms in confusion for her family’s wealthy accoutrements. And Audrey Grace wanting to be welcoming to others is so very like her Mama, Margaret’s kind nature. “And I should very much like to have a brother and a sister, please.” Audrey Grace suggests breezily as the adults raise their eyebrows in amusement.
John: “Kkkhhh!” Audrey Grace’s father John stifles a cough with his hand over his mouth. Then he wonders if his daughter’s request is merely a coincidence with Margaret wanting to adopt the Douglas children–the baby boy and the little girl Catriona. “Is this your own idea, Audrey Grace?” John asks his daughter curiously, wondering if she has been coached.
Audrey Grace: “Oh Yes, Papa! And I have been a very good girl. So I should like to have many brothers and sisters.”
Margaret’s head is bowed and her eyes looking at her clasped hands [(2) right] to avoid looking at her husband John. But then, she smiles to herself with her daughter speaking in the plural about siblings–hyperbole being rampant amongst youngsters. But Margaret manages to steal a sideways glance at her husband John–who seems to be soberly considering the matter, but not looking at his wife at the moment.
Gavin: After thinking hard about it, little Gavin takes Audrey Grace’s hand and replies. “Alrrright. Ye may have some of the childrrren.” Gavin sighs resignedly. “But please leave me a few childrrren to play with.” He pleads as he leads her into the family dining room, with the adults trailing behind. His three and a half year old mind has still not quite grasped that the children waiting to be adopted are not his children.
Margaret leans over to her mother-in-law Hannah.
Margaret: “It seems that Gavin quite likes the children in your Airlie Castle Orphanage. That is a blessing.” Margaret nods caringly.
Hannah: “Yes. But is difficult for Gavin to part with the children whom he has become closest to when they are adopted and go to their new homes.”
Cameron: Then Cameron inserts himself into the ladies’ conversation. “Aye! If Gavin gave the orrrderrrs, we would fill the castle halls from the dungeons to the tower vault with bairrrns for him to play with. Ha ha ha! But I think that he is beginning to underrrstand that the childrrren want to find theirrr own families.” Cameron gazes pointedly at John.
John: John nods his head and gives a small wan smile. “Of course.” And John wonders distractedly about the history of the castle’s dungeons that Cameron mentioned.
Then little Audrey Grace walks up to her Papa, John Thornton, and clasps his large hand in her small hand and she looks up at him with a gleaming smile. John gazes down upon his little daughter. Audrey Grace is such a joy in his and Margaret’s lives–and they in hers. And John thinks that adopting one child, or maybe two children, will very probably be in their future.
With Lord Jamie and Lady Thistle Ogilvy and their three children arriving late to the extended family luncheon due to a sheep shearing debacle–Jamie was teaching his twelve year old son Viscount Hamish how best to go about it, but the poor wee animal looked positively wild when Hamish was finished shearing due to his haphazard cutting of the poor sheep’s hair–they rush into Hannah’s Family Drawing Room Salon and Dining Room. Jamie and his sons are dressed in traditional kilts–which makes their rushing around rather daring in terms of their kilts flapping around them. It is only the littlest two year old Ogilvy boy for whom providence has provided a diaper who might be deemed sufficiently dressed with his kilt, by Hannah Lady Airlie’s English standards–compared to his father Lord Jamie and his brother Viscount Hamish. However, accustomed as she has become to her husband Cameron’s Ogilvy cousins and their kilt issues, Hannah Lady Airlie merely averts her gaze with a small smile.
Lady Thistle and her eight year old daughter Lady Blythe are dressed comfortably in traditional daytime dressy Scottish Peasant dresses with sturdy tapestry fabric vest like bodices tying in the front and skirting with a single petticoat underneath their dress length cotton blouses [(3) right], rather than them wearing restrictive corsets and large hoops. They warmly greet Hannah and Cameron with Gavin and John and Margaret with Audrey Grace with cheek kisses and embraces. Margaret is especially glad to see Lady Blythe getting on better with her latest shoe adjustments for her unevenly lengthed legs–barely a limp is detectable because Blythe also exercises her weaker limb regularly to give it more strength for balance and for walking. Lady Blythe’s good friend Lissa Dillard is very helpful in that regard.
The Ogilvy extended family luncheon table is both lively and sumptuous. They use their third best china and silver so that the little ones may practice using them without Hannah being too upset if a china plate gets chipped or a crystal goblet cracks. And they eschew being served and place the serving dishes around family style–something Hannah Lady Airlie picked up from Lady Thistle when invited to her home. It suits the children and the adults better. And though some of the castle’s long term servants merely shake their head in amusement at the informality, they do so enjoy the gregarious life that the current Ogilvy extended family has breathed into Airlie Castle.
Cameron gestures for the family to sit down at the expanded dining table for luncheon. And since formalities are not observed, seating protocols are abandoned and the men and boys sit at one end–Cameron and Gavin, John, and Jamie and his sons. While the ladies and girls–Lady Hannah, Lady Thistle and her daughter Lady Blyth, and Margaret and her daughter Audrey Grace–and sit at the other end. When normally, they would be seated alternating male and female–with wives not sitting with husbands.
The littlest Ogilvy son at two years old is perched on his Papa Lord Jamie’s lap at the dining table and eats with him. He is a good natured child–not taken to tantrums–and he dotes upon his big and strong Papa who carries him high up on his shoulders when they are outside in the open air. Lady Thistle smilingly watches her husband Lord Jamie’s careful tending of their youngest son. John looks longingly at the wonderful sight of father and son in such happy communion with each other. For this little boy was the child that John and Margaret hesitated about adopting two years ago. So Lord Jamie and Lady Thistle adopted him as their second son.
John: But John regroups and gestures to Lord Jamie’s eldest son, Hamish. “I see that Hamish is growing tall like you, Jamie.”
Jamie: “Aye! We will need ta fit him forrr a new kilt soon, so tha his knees arrre coverrred. Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Hamish: “Oh, Papa! Must ye talk aboot me knees all the time–even at luncheon?” Hamish whines like the 12 year old young man he is. His voice has not settled yet.
Cameron: “I darrre say therrre will be morrre than exposed knees to worry about if young Hamish keeps grrrowing at this pace.” He states wryly.
Cameron, Jamie, and John: Chuckling. “Ha ha ha haha!”
James: Clapping his hands together, the two year old and littlest Ogilvy exclaims while sitting on his Papa Jamie’s lap. “Sneeze!”
Hamish: “Nay, James. Kneeeeees.” Hamish draws out the word’s sound for his little brother.
John: Slightly astonished, John inquires delicately. “You named your … second son after yourself, Jamie?” Of course, John’s halting implication is that it is unusual for an adopted child to be given a family name.
Jamie: “Aye.” Jamie intones deeply with a loving smile for his youngest son–who continues to eat the raw carrots with his hands, oblvious that he is being talked about. “Thistle and I had given up hope of expanding ourrr family–because of herrr delicate constitution.” He says sotto voce about her having a difficult time with childbirth–as Margaret did. Cameron nods. Then Jamie smiles at Cameron, and they exchange a knowing look of understanding. “So it was a trrrue blessing when cousin Camerrron and Lady Hannah opened Airlie Castle to house little ones needing families. It was like fate interrrvened to send us ourrr son, James, herrre.” Jamie smiles contentedly. And Jamie might have been a bit more circumspect in his remarks about his youngest son, but he was not made aware by Cameron that John and Margaret had considered adopting the boy at one time.
John: “Yes.” John remarks soberly, realizing that James could have been his son, if he and Margaret had offered for him two years ago. But John acknowledges that the child is happy with Jamie–and that he even possesses some dark blond curls like Jamie. And John can’t help noticing how young that Lord Jamie seems when with his sons–even though Lord Jamie is a few years older than John. Then John brightens. “Seeing the two of you together with Hamish, I think that little James was destined to be part of your family.”
Cameron: “Aye.” Cameron raises his eye brow at John, wondering what John and Margaret will decide about this new baby boy and his two year old sister Catriona Douglas.
John is silent as he continues to eat and sip his coffee. John [(4) right] looks down at the other end of the table to see Margaret eating and chatting happily with the other ladies and the two girls. Then John’s reverie is broken by Lord Jamie.
Jamie: “We have a manor full of children now. But Thistle and I feel in our hearts that there is room for one more. So we plan to adopt the wee baby gerrril orphan upstairs in the nurrrserrry.”
John: “Oh! I did not realize that you were adopting as well.” Thus John unintentionally telegraphs that he and Margaret are planning to adopt. Though John does not state a time frame for it.
Hamish: “Yes! Anotherrr baby!” Hamish rolls his eyes for feeling that they are overrun with little ones. “I would much preferrr the little gerrril Caty–she is almost out of diapers being a bit older than our James herrre. But Mama says that Caty should stay with her baby brrrotherrr–since they arrre family.” Hamish shrugs. Jamie caringly smiles at his son and pats his back.
Cameron: Glancing at John quickly and seeing him flinch, Cameron quickly tries to smooth over the matter while also being sensitive to Hamish’s tender years. “Naturrrally, keeping the brrrotherrr and sisterrr togetherrr is prrreferrrred. But whether they are adopted together or by two families, whomeverrr adopts the baby boy and the little gerrrril Catriona must love them each unconditionally.”
Those are Cameron’s terms for every adoption he facilitates–that the children go to loving homes where they will be nurtured and cherished. And not all of the children are placed with wealthy or titled families. The only household income stipulation is that the adoptive family has the financial means and continuing prospects to adequately care for each child’s needs, short term and long term.
Cameron looks over at John who seems to be deep in thought. Jamie also notices that John has become quiet and he leaves John to his thoughts as Jamie continues eating his meal with his sons. John is carefully weighing the adoption decision in his mind. But it is not solely his decision. John gazes at the other end of the dining table where his beloved wife Margaret sits with their daughter Audrey Grace. As if Margaret can sense that her loving husband John is looking at her, she glances up at him, smiles and tilts her head as if to ask him what he seeks. John nods his head once and smiles encouragingly to her. Then John turns to Cameron sitting next to him.
John: “Cameron? Margaret and I would like to spend some private time with baby boy Douglas this afternoon, after lunch. And …” John pauses. “… we would also like to visit with his sister Catriona. Might that be arranged?”
Cameron: “Aye.” Cameron nods once at John in agreement.
John is making no promises, but he is opening a door that will possibly alter his and his family’s lives forever.
To be continued with Chapter 75
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 74 References, August 12, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #619)
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) Margaret Hale (cropped to oval) is portrayed by Daniela Denby-Ashe in the BBC’s 2004 production of North & South as found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode3/ns3-198.jpg
3) A depiction of what I envisioned for Lady Thistle’s dressy Scottish Peasant day dress is found at http://www.weescotlass.com/clothing.htm
4) John Thornton was portrayed by Richard Armitage in the BBC’s 2004 period drama North & South and was found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode1/ns1-106.jpg