“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 77 (PG-15, S): Bedtime Stories, August 27, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #624)
[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, Juliette Lewis as Lady Thistle Ogilvy, and Helena Bonham Carter as Brigid Gordon, 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: John and Margaret adopt the baby boy and his two year old sister from the Airlie Castle Orphanage aare rename them Douglas John Thornton and Catriona “Caty” Maria Thornton. And Higgins in meeting them at the train station notices and takes a liking to the children’s new and buxome Scottish Nanny, Brigid Gordon. John and Margaret hope to ease their new children through their transition to their family.
“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 77 (PG-15, S): Bedtime Stories
So the expanded Thornton family plus three–Brigid and her baby son Arthur, and Higgins–head back to Thornton Manor from the Milton Train Station on this late April 1855 Monday morning–all are glad to be home, with little Catriona and Baby Douglas in their new home. After a few days of settling in–with little Catriona sleeping in Audrey Grace’s bedroom at Audrey Grace’s insistence so that Caty wouldn’t be scared at night, and Brigid tending to both her seven month old son Arthur and one month old baby Douglas as his wet nurse–Thornton Manor begins to settle into its new expanded family routine.
John and Margaret also have a new bed time routine to adjust to. Before they had more children and the need for a nanny/wet nurse, Margaret and John saw to their daughter Audrey Grace’s night time routine of bath, story, bed, her not wanting to go to sleep right away, and Audrey Grace regularly ending up sleeping cuddled next to Margaret because of some scary windblown tree branch against her windows in her bed chamber. John found this arrangement less than ideal–especially where romance was concerned.
However when Audrey Grace was still little–until she was just about the age of two–John and Margaret had a system whereby they could then gently remove a finally asleep again Audrey Grace from their bed and place her sleeping in a small cot bed that they positioned at the end of their bed in front of the sette whilst John and Margaret enjoyed some muffled loving tenderness under the cloak of their bed linens and comforter being careful not to awaken their daughter.
Of course, that plan was eventually derailed the first time a two and a half year old Audrey Grace awoke in her cot bed in her parents’ bed chamber needing help to use the potty and she climbed over the sides of her cot bed onto the sette at the foot of her parents’ bed. Audrey Grace was going to wave at her parents to get their attention. But she couldn’t see them sleeping in bed. She could only see the pretty patterned comforter blanket rising and falling. Temporarily forgetting her need for the potty, a sleepily mesmerized then two year old Audrey Grace [(2) right] watched the undulating paisley patterns float up and down for a time–until the movements stopped and the comforter floated down to the bed again and her parents both sighed. That was when Audrey Grace saw the back of her Papa’s dark head of hair as he lay on his stomach on her Mama. Then she saw her Mama’s face as her parents kissed as they embraced.
Then Audrey Grace remembered again that she needed the potty. So Audrey Grace patted the comforter–finding and sqeezing her Papa’s foot– to alert her parents of her need, the potty. John froze in a most delicate embrace lying on top of his wife as Audrey Grace clambered over the end of the bed to lay on top of her Papa’s comforter covered back. John was mortified and Margaret was getting crushed–though John tried to lift himself up a bit from her, some things cannot be entirely accomplished with a toddler on one’s back. So after Margaret convinced their daughter to head to the bathing chamber–and that her mother would soon follow her, after Margaret put her nightgown back on–little Audrey Grace was pottied and returned to her cot bed at the foot of their bed with a kiss from her Mama. And John and Margaret had realized from past experience that once their daughter ended up in their bed chamber at night, they could not get her to go back to her own bed chamber.
Finally, Margaret slid into bed next to her very crimson husband and they whispered to each other.
Margaret: “Are you alright, John?” Margaret looks at him as she blushes a bit, herself.
John looks at Margaret, opens his mouth, then he closes it. Margaret looks at him pointedly.
John: “That depends.”
Margaret: “On what?” Margaret smiles cuddling close with him. Audrey Grace’s potty need had interrupted their post lovemaking cuddles.
John: John turns to his wife Margaret with an embarrassed frown on his face. “How much do you think she saw of us?” John waves his hand in a circle in lieu of voicing the rest of his thought.
Margaret: Margaret winces. “Maybe nothing. Afterall, we were covered up by the sheets and the blanket comforter. At most, she could have seen …” Margaret wisely stops and sheepishly shrugs her shoulders. For John’s movements raising and lowering the comforter as they joined their bodies together was what was on her mind.
John: “Oh God! How can I face Audrey Grace in the morning?”
Margaret: “John. She does not know that we were making love. She is a little girl. Audrey Grace has no context within which to ascribe meaning to our actions.”
John looks at Margaret askance.
John: “Is that from a clinical perspective, my Love?” He wonders at her technical word choice.
Margaret: “It is from a parental perspective, John Dearest.” Margaret had attended a mothers’ parenting seminar at the Ladies Tea Room the previous week and had found it most illuminating.
Happily, Audrey Grace had been too sleepy to remember the night before or ask about the moving comforter. But thereafter, when little Audrey Grace slept in her parents’ bed chamber, sleeping was all that anyone was doing in it.
And while the Thornton’s were in Scotland meeting and getting to know baby Douglas and little two year old Catriona last week, no romance was happening then either. So it is upon their fourth night back at home at Milton Manor–a Friday night–with Brigid seeing to the little one’s baths before John and Margaret read them a bed time story, that John thinks that he and Margaret might get to have some private time together this evening. But though their nights since returning home have not been interrupted by Audrey Grace wanting to sleep in their bed chamber–since Brigid was there to see to her night scares and calm her back to sleep–Margaret is feeling bereft [(3) right] of having the close contact she previously enjoyed with her daughter’s every waking moment.
So after John and Margaret change into their night clothes, he relents and they don their robes and creep back toward Audrey Grace’s bed chamber that she shares with little Catriona. John and Margaret peek into the room and see the two little girls slumbering peacefully in each others’ arms. It is a precious sight and bespeaks the growing sisterly bond between the two girls. Then John and Margaret lightly knock on the connecting door to baby Douglas’ nursery–where Nanny Brigid and her baby son Arthur also sleep.
Brigid: “Come in.” She whispers as she rocks baby Douglas her her arms after feeding and burping him.
Brigid wears her night dress with a shawl over her shoulders. Her own baby boy Arthur is fast asleep in his crib next to her bed.
Margaret smiles at Brigid and goes to her, while John stands quietly at the threshold–him not wanting to disrupt the baby’s night time routine, but understanding his wife’s need to see to their children’s tending herself.
Margaret: “Douglas is still awake?”
Brigid: “Barrrely. Douglas has just fed and he wants to go to sleep–but he is fighting it. Would ye like ta hold him a bit, Mrs.? Being in his Mama’s arrrms might soothe him to sleep.”
Brigid has said the key words that brighten Margaret’s incandescent countenance as she takes her new baby boy Douglas into her arms. Holding a baby–especially one’s own baby–is a joy that transcends all others. This little life entrusted to she and John is Margaret’s last chance for a baby. And she will cherish each moment she has with him. John smiles at seeing his Margaret’s joy.
Margaret: “Mama is here for you, Douglas.” Margaret whispers soothingly into her baby son’s ear, brushing her lips upon his warm rosy cheek, inhaling his smell, imprinting him into her heart.
Baby Douglas: “Hhhh! Ohw ha!” The baby sighs and tries to stifle a yawn even as he wiggles his fingers. Then he settles down to sleep.
Margaret: “Ohh! He went to sleep.” Margaret beams at Nanny Brigid.
Brigid: “Aye! Ye have the gift, Mrs. And baby Douglas knows ye arrre his Mama.” Brigid smiles knowingly at Margaret–one mother to another. Margaret smiles and nods her thanks.
Brigid gently lifts the sleeping baby into her arms and then places him in his bassinette. Then Margaret leans in and tucks the blanket around baby Douglas’ little body.
John holds out his arm toward his wife.
John: “Come, Margaret. Let us leave the children and Nanny to their rest and go to bed as well.” He smiles lovingly at her.
Margaret nods and goes to her husband. Then in taking his outstretched hand, she turns once more to look back at her new baby son and smiles. John caringly caresses her shoulder.
Margaret: “Thank you, Nanny Brigid.”
Brigid: “My pleasurrre, Madam.” She smiles warmly at the so obviously in love young couple–John and Margaret.
John: “Thank you, Nanny, and we bid you good night.” John says cordially.
Brigid: “Goodnight, Sirrr.” She nods respectfully.
As John and Margaret walk back to their bedchamber down the empty hallway, John possessively snakes his arm around Margaret’s waist and rests his hand upon her curvy hips encased in a silk night dress and quilted cotton robe. They smile shyly at each other, then enter their bedroom. The room’s comfortable elegance is enhanced by the glow of firelight [(4) right]–and no child bed in front of the sette, thinks John. They each go about their nightly routine before getting into bed. Margaret sits at her vanity mirror and removes the pins from her hair, brushing it out and then plaiting her long auburn hair into one loose braid that she allows to fall loosely over her shoulder.
While unnecessarily checking his diary on his nightstand, John lovingly watches his wife’s nightly ritual. He notices her hair pins are neatly placed into an open pressed tin. Then she gives her hair twenty five brushes, until it shines lustrously, and only then does Margaret loosely braid her hair to avoid it tangling while she sleeps at night. John unties his robe, then smiles as he walks over to stand behind his beautiful wife Margaret–his hands lightly resting upon her robe covered shoulders. They gaze at each other in her vanity’s mirror.
john: “Have I told you recently how beautiful you are, My Love?” John leans down and kisses Margaret’s cheek.
Margaret: “No.” Then caressing his slightly stubbled cheek, she teases. “Scratchy.”
John: “Oh! I’m sorry, Margaret.” He feels his own cheeks to ascertain their roughness. “I should shave.”
Margaret: Margaret stands and turns to face her husband. “Don’t bother.” She smiles. “It is nearly midnight and we will be abed soon.”
John: “Bb but …” John sputters, fearing that his loving evening plans are slipping away from him.
Margaret walks toward her husband and caresses his face and they both smile.
Margaret: “I like you unshaven at times. It makes you seem … even more … masculine. Hhhh!“
Margaret sighs and her eyes flash to John’s eyes.
John: “Hmmm.” He growls deeply.
John’s need for his wife this night is a primal thing. She is his and he is hers. He aches to hold her in his loving arms with no fabric constrictions, nor fear of interruptions from little ones. John takes a step forward toward his wife–their bodies flush against each other, with him now towering over her as she looks up at him. He tugs at her robe’s bow, and pushes it off of her shoulders as it loosens. Margaret is wearing a new silk nightgown with a ruched empire bodice to support her full round breasts, with a generously proportioned neckline that now falls over one of her bare creamy shoulders. John cannot resist and he gathers her to him even as he nibbles upon the soft skin revealed to him.
Then Margaret quickly pushes his robe off of John’s shoulders and John lets it puddle at his feet as he stands bare chested before his wife. Her hands gently skim his muscular clavicle and shoulders as they move upward to wrap around his neck and pull him down to her for a kiss. There is nothing shy and demure about Margaret’s kisses to her husband after five years of marriage. She is a well loved and loving wife. She wants and desires her husband as much as he wants and desires her. The heat from John’s smouldering gaze could warm several households [(5) right].
John tugs further at her night dress–exposing both of her shoulders to his searing touch. Margaret holds her hands in front of her chest briefly, before lowering them and letting her night dress fall to the floor at her feet. Her beauteous womanly curves for his eyes alone–as his handsomeness is for her eyes alone. John would fall to his knees to adore her at this moment, but he would much rather get her into bed as quickly as possible. So he lifts her up into his arms and carries her to their bed. After gently laying her in the middle of it, John peels off his night pants and slides into bed next to her.
They instantly entangle their arms and legs in their languorous kissing and caressing, John leaves no part of his wife Margaret unadorned this night. Indeed, he cannot help himself when he kisses her loveliness as he caresses her, and she arches her back toward him in seeking the pleasures that he gives her. Her hands explore his body’s sinews, teasing him so mercilously, such that John guides his loving Margaret in their bodies’ fusion of joining together in loving tenderness.
Some time later that evening, after Margaret’s trembling ecstasy is joined in chorus with John’s shuddering sensual release do these two lovers lie sated entwined in each others’ loving arms for their nightly rest.
With no need to arise early, John and Margaret prefer to linger in their bed this early Saturday morning. And John intends to adore his wife so completely this morn so as to eclipse their romantic interlude last evening. And John raises a very wicked eyebrow as he rolls her to lie on top of him.
John: “Engaging a nanny for the children was brilliant of you, My Love. We should have done that ages ago. Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Then John and Margaret kiss each other with such loving abandon [(6) right], that their morning will be quite taken up with their romantic interlude.
However, there is still another couple in Milton–and associated with Marlborough Mills–who have yet to reach their own understanding of love.
To be continued with Chapter 78
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 77 References, August 27, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #624)
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) Audrey Grace Thornton almost four year old image is Tete d’Etude l’Oiseau by William Adolphe Bouguereau found at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/William-Adolphe_Bouguereau#mediaviewer/File:William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_%281825-1905%29_-_T%C3%AAte_d%27Etude_l%27Oiseau_%281867%29.jpg
3) Margaret image is Daniela Denby-Ashe in the 2004 BBC drama North & South found at http://northandsouth2004.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Margaret21.jpg
4) Image of John’s and Margaret’s bedroom was found inTheBuccaneers1995epi4_vlcsnap-10h02m10s187_Mar1413GratianaLovelaceCap
6) 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