“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 87 (PG-13, D): Fathers and Sons, October 06, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #644)
[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, 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, Helena Bonham Carter as Brigid Gordon, and Steven Waddington as Major Reginald Monckton, 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 lead up Christmas 1860 activities for the extended Thornton-Ogilvy-MacIntosh-Ogilvy family was quite boisterous and not a little surprising. On Chrsitmas Eve, young teen love possibly felt by fourteen year old Lady Blythe Ogilvy and a crush felt by nine year old Audrey Grace Thornton–both for fourteen year old Master Andrew MacIntosh–and the nascent but restrained affection of eighteen year old Viscount Hamish Ogilvy for his sister Lady Blythe’s best friend Miss Lissa Dillard were revealed. And John Thornton is completely flummoxed by his elder daughter Audrey Grace’s infatuation with Andrew, whilst his six months pregnant wife Margaret only adds to his concerns–not the least of which is her nonchalance about Audrey Grace’s crush. But there is a bit of child bolstering to do since five year old Douglas Thornton is still somewhat subdued about being chastened by his Papa John for pulling on his Papa’s ears and waking him up painfully a few days ago. John did not mean to huff and bleat–causing his son to feel badly about hurting his Papa. At forty three years old, John’s personality lacks the qualities of him having a more easy going nature. He is a serious man doing serious business. But with his children, John tries to be a kindly mentor and loving father influence–in the examples of Mr. Hale and Cameron Ogilvy. So John has a bit of relationship tending to do with his son this Christmas Day.
“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 87 (PG-13, D): Fathers and Sons
After the gleeful Christmas presents unwrapping pandemonium at Airlie Castle [(2) right] on Christmas Morning 1860, the Thornton-Ogilvy-MacIntosh-Ogilvy-Ogilvy extended family fathers and sons decide to go snow sledding at the top of Melgund Hill. While the mothers and daughters prefer to say warm and dry in Airlie Castle playing games, knitting or sewing, and trying on tiaras in the tower vault lead by Lady Fiona, of course.
Melgund Hill was named for the river at its base that serves as one border for Airlie Estates [(3)] near Angus, Scotland. The fathers and sons comprise a somewhat smaller contingent of the family since the ladies tend to outnumber them. So whenever the men and boys can slip away to engage in manly pursuits of hunting, fishing, and in today’s case sledding [(4)] , etc., much male bonding occurs.
The cold December air is brisk and invigorating this time of year in Scotland. At least that is what the men tell themselves. They might not have ventured out today, but for the pleadings of their sons for something fun to do after being cooped up in their castles and homes for the past week. And since the boys have been exceptionally good, their fathers granted their wish.
The plan is for each father and son to share a sled/toboggan [(4) right] as they sled down the hill. As their three open carriage sleighs carry the fathers and sons to Melgund Hill the excitement builds. Nothing is more fun to a boy than to be outside in a sporting activity with his Papa. However, Lord Jamie Ogilvy and his sons Hamish and Scotty tend to prefer the more Spring and Summer outdoor sports found in the Highland Games, they enjoy snow sledding, too. And though the London based Sir Alistair MacIntosh and his fourteen year old son Andrew might be less outdoorsy, they are still game to give it a try. Laird Baird and Lord Cameron Ogilvy, Earl of Airlie are all about being outdoorsy.
And then, there is John Thornton. John is also a city based business man and his out door activities have entailed mostly walking or strolling. Today that will change. As they ride in the carriages to the sledding hill, little Douglas snuggling with his Papa for warmth asks.
Douglas: “Where are we going, Papa?”
John: “Sledding on Melgund Hill.” John tries to say cheerfully. But cheerful is an emotion far from John’s thoughts at the moment.
Douglas: “Papa, what is sledding?” Douglas is only five years old and a city boy–as was his father. And on their previous Christmases in Scotland, Douglas was too little to go sledding.
John: “Well. Uhh.” John has to think for a moment about how to describe sledding to his son. “Well, we sit on a toboggan and slide down the hill.”
Douglas: “Oh! Papa, what is a tobgan?” He asks wonderingly.
John: “Toboggan.” John points to the wooden toboggans being carried on the back of each of the three carriages. “Think of it like sitting on a wooden door and sliding down the hill.”
Douglas: “What is sliding?” Douglas asks curiously. This is all new to him.
John: “Ha ha ha ha ha! Douglas, you ask many questions.”
Douglas: Sensing his father’s annoyance, despite his laughter, Douglas apologizes. “I’m sorry.”
Instantly regretting the tone of his response to his son, John hauls his son Douglas up onto his lap and cuddles him close–wrapping his coat around his son for more warmth.
John: “I like your questions! There, are you warmer now, Douglas?”
Douglas: “Yes. Thank you, Papa. Is sledding fun?”
Now Douglas has stumped his father.
John: “Fun? Fun. Douglas, I honestly do not know. I have never been sledding before.” John admits sheepishly.
Douglas: Looking around at the other fathers and sons in the carriages and their smiling faces, Douglas asks. “Why not?”
John: John’s face saddens, then he replies quietly. “My father never took me sledding. He was too busy. And … well … there wasn’t much time for play when I was growing up.” John’s father rarely spent time with his son, John. And then upon his father’s death, John had to leave school and go to work to pay off his father’s debts and provide for his mother and sister.
Douglas: Patting his Papa’s cheek with his knitted mitten covered hand, Douglas smiles adoringly at his Papa. “Thank you for taking me sledding, Papa. I’m glad that you have time to play with me and to read to me.”
John smiles lovingly at his young son and hugs him tightly. John is trying to be the kind of father whom he had wanted, but did not have.
John: “I’m glad, too, Douglas. This will be fun. Something that we will both do together, for the first time.” John smiles broadly at his young son as Douglas nods happily.
John might not have had the most fun childhood growing up, but his children will always know that their parents love them through their caring words and through their spending time with them. Because the greatest gift a parent can give a child is not wealth, nor position, nor prestige–the greatest gift is their love and support and encouragement.
Cameron and Baird Ogilvy smile warmly at the tender scene of John Thornton conversing with his young son. They are also loving and supportive fathers–as well as being a loving father and son to each other.
All of the sons –and a few of the fathers–are itching to start sledding. But before the carriages stop and unload their passengers to trudge up the hill–leaving the carriages down below– some sledding safety rules are stated in Cameron and Baird Ogilvy’s shared carriage with John Thornton, since all of them have younger sons.
Cameron: “I want Gavin, and me grrrandsons William and Duncan, and Douglas to rrrememberrr that they must na strrray frrrom holding onto their fatherrr’s hands on the hill, norrr veerrrr off of ourrr sledding parrrty paths. There are some treacherous sections of the hill that we will na use for sledding.”
Baird: “They know, Papa.” Baird rolls his eyes as he wraps his arms around his son’s shoulders–with him using the family nickname for William. “Liam and Duncan and I have been sledding here at the hill with me several times.” Baird is also an experienced sledder, him having cut his teeth [(5)] on Melgund Hill.
Douglas: “Grandpa, what is tretch-us about the hill?” He asks in curiosity–the word being new to his five year old self.
Cameron: Cameron opens his arms and Douglans scrambles from his Papa John’s lap and onto his Grandpa’s lap as his Grandpa Cameron embraces Douglas. “Laddie! Trea-cher-ous means it is dangerous.” Douglas’ littles eyes widen in worry and his head jerks back to his Papa, who nods assuringly to him. “There are some parts of the hill that arrre too steep and must be avoided.” Cameron moves his other arm in the attitude of a steep hill as he pointedly looks at each boy.
John: “Right! We will avoid those paths.” John nods his head vigorously–as much to convey his agreement as to try to warm up his head and neck from the bitingly cold weather.
William: “I am na afrrraid, Uncle John. And I like to go fast!” William swooshes his arm quickly to imitate a fast sled.
Baird: “We will have none of yourrr brrravdo, Liam.” Baird intones seriously after seeing John’s pleading eyes. “You are older now. And we must set the example of safety for the younger boys.” That seems to placate Liam.
The fathers and sons assemble at the top of Melgund Hill with their tobbogans. The weather is bitterly cold, but great for snow. Lord Jamie Ogilvy had loaned John Thornton some Scottish outdoor clothing to wear for sledding. But the dark and warm corduroy trousers are rather long even with the pant leg edges rolled up, and John is engulfed in the warm full length fur coat and fur hat over one of Jamie’s bulky knitted sweaters. Margaret laughed when she saw John head off for sledding covered head to toe in fur, saying that he looked like a Viking–whatever that means, John thinks. It is Lord Jamie who looks like a Viking with his hair grown long again [(6) right].
But John is grateful for the added warmth, however inadequate his clothes still are against the wet cold. And seeing him shiver, Cameron unwraps his own knitted neck scarf and then he wraps the scarf around John’s neck with an indulgent smile. John only meagerly protests, appreciating the warmth. Cameron winks knowingly and pats John’s cheek twice–as if John were his son, too. Well, John is Cameron’s stepson. So seeing his own son Douglas shivering again in the cold, John opens his fur coat and Douglas nestles inside it against his father’s legs–all warm and cozy. John is a quick learner about son tending.
So after much negotiation among the fathers and sons at the top of Melgund Hill as to the order of who gets to sled first down the hill, everyone lines up and slides down the hill several minutes apart from each other–so they don’t run into each other. Baird, Jamie, and Cameron and their sons go first, since they are familiar with the sledding trail. Alistair and John hang back with their sons who are very eager to try it. Then the first round of sledders troop back up the hill and give their taboggan’s to the next group of John and Alistair–before the fathers with second sons with them today make a second run.
With three toboggans being shared each run, Jamie takes his second and younger son Scotty down for Jamie’s second run. Then John and Douglas watch Alistair and Andrew MacIntosh’s sled depart. Finally Cameron slaps John on the back.
Cameron: “Your turrn, Laddie! Now rrrememberrr to lean back a bit. If you lean to a side, ye might starrrt spirrraling down the hill out of contrrrol.” Cameron spins his downward pointing finger in a circle.
John: “What?” John blanches at the thought of such a dangerous circumstance.
Gavin: Little Laird Gavin Ogilvy tugs on his older brother’s sleeve. “Do na worrrry John, I did that once by accident and I was alrrright. It was fun!” Gavin smiles broadly.
Cameron: “Fun it may have been, son. But yourrr Mama had me hide about it!” Cameron shakes his head. “Ach!”
John: Peeking down inside his coat where Douglas is still nestled for warmth, John says to his son. “We’re just doing the safe type of sledding, Douglas.”
Douglas: “Yes sir.” Douglas nods obediently. He might like to have tried the spiral sledding, but at five years of age, Douglas is starting to understand that some things are not safe.
John and Douglas break apart to sit on the toboggan sled–John with his legs out in front of him flat and Douglas sitting inside his legs and leaning back against him for added protection as Cameron tucks a fur blanket around them both and hands John the steering ropes.
Cameron: “John, pull equally on both sides of the rrrrope to keep ye sledding strrraight. At these speeds, it does na take much of a steerrring turrrn to verrr off the path–or starrrt spirrraling.”
John’s eyes widen nervously at Cameron’s admonishment about the sledding speed. However Douglas looks positively elated.
John: “Maybe this is not such a good idea.” John suggests to his son.
Douglas: “Let’s go, Papa!” Douglas pats his father’s knees under the blanket.
John: “Hhhhh! Alright, Douglas. However, I want it noted that we are only doing this once.” John states firmly. For what the others–apart from Cameron and Baird–do not know is that John has never been sledding. John had lived in the city as a child, and his stern father had not taken them on recreational outings before he died. So John is very nervous about sledding.
Baird: “Off ye go!” Baird calls out jovially.
Baird gives John and Douglas’ toboggan a push that John was not quite ready for. But Douglas is thrilled as the sled begins down the hill.
Douglas: “Oooooh!” Douglas squeals as the sled picks up speed.
It takes about a minute to sled down the hill and requires all of John’s strength as he struggles to maintain a tight hold on the toboggan reins as they continue down the sledding path. But what they had not counted on was that as each toboggan had slided down the Melgund Hill’s snowy sledding path, they had compacted the snow and smoothed it. Thus, the previous sleds had made the snowy surface slicker and faster. John’s and Douglas’ toboggan sled picks up speed and they see Lord Jamie Ogilvy standing about twenty feet in front of the Melgund River at its base and waving his hands. John is worried about Jamie’s antics, him wondering what Jamie is up to–John is not focusing on the rushing river beyond Jamie.
Jamie: Jamie is yelling and gesturing, trying to get them to turn at the bottom. “Steerrr to your rrright.” But John can’t hear him. “Turrrn.” Jamie cups his hands to try and carry the sound of his voice further in the windy conditions, but it is his brother Angus who has the loud voice, not gentle giant Jamie.
Knowing the danger for John and little Douglas should their toboggan slide into the river, the six foot six inch tall Jamie fixes his stance in the snowy and gets ready to catch John and Douglas’ toboggan. John’s eyes go wide as he sees Jamie in their direct path. John had not been told about how to stop the toboggan–unlike a carriage, it does not have a brake. So seeing Jamie point to the side, John ever so slightly pulls on the right side of the toboggan’s steering rope. And John’s tug is just enough to start the sled turning. But with the sled going so fast, it begins to spiral as they had been warned against–to John’s horror and Douglas’ delight.
But five seconds later, the sled hits a very large and somewhat immovable object–Lord Jamie Ogilvy–and the sled slowly comes to a stop after that. However, the force of being hit by the toboggan flips Jamie into the air and he lands on his back in a soft patch of fluffy snow ten feet beyond the sledding path–the force of him being hit was so great. John and Douglas scramble out of their toboggan and run over to reach Jamie’s side. Jamie’s eyes are closed and he is not moving. John checks and Jamie is still breathing.
John: “Don’t move, Jamie! You might have broken something.”
Jamie: Jamie’s eyes are closed, but he sighs in shock and in pain. “Aye! Achhhh! I might have.”
Having seen the accident from the top of the hill, the other family members scramble onto the two remaining toboggan’s–since Alistair and Andrew had quickly returned to the top of hill–with Cameron and Baird in the first toboggan. It only takes a minute for them to reach the prone Jamie at the bottom of the hill.
Cameron: “Don’t move!” Dr. Cameron Ogilvy [(7) right], Lord Airlie begins to check Jamie out by gently feeling his limbs and neck and testing his papillary reactions. But it is difficult for Cameron to examine Jamie thoroughly through all of the layers of clothing that Jamie is wearing for warmth. “Ye might have brrroken something.”
Jamie: Looking up at his cousin Cameron, the Earl of Airlie whom he views as almost a father hovering over him, Jamie smiles wincingly. “So I’ve been warrrned.”
From Baird’s childhood memory of helping his father on his doctoring visits as Angharad had also done, Baird sits on his knees at Jamie’s head places his hands on either side of Jamie’s head and holds it steady. Baird looks down into his cousin’s eyes meaningfully.
Baird: “Do na move, Jamie. We do na want ye to injurrre yourrrself furrrther.”
Jamie: “Aye.” Jamie sighs quietly as he waits for Cameron to complete his examination. Jamie might be slow of thought due to his childhood head injury, but he has lived enough to see others with similar injuries that proved to be more severe than they thought at first.
Cameron: Cameron removes Jamie’s mittens one by one. “Wiggle yourrrr fingerrrs.” Jamie complies. “Hhhh.” Cameron sighs in tempered relief and replaces the mittens on Jamie’s hands for warmth.
The other fathers and sons sigh in relief as well: “hhhhh!” But their relief is short lived.
Cameron: “Now move your feet and legs.” Cameron looks, but sees no movement. “Trrry to move any parrrt of yourrrr legs, Laddie.”
Jamie: “I can na feel me legs. It’s so cold.” Jamie says drowsily and closes his eyes half way.
Cameron: Cameron at Jamie’s feet looks up worriedly at his son Baird at Jamie’s head. “He prrrobably has a concussion. So we must keep him awake if we can. And we must get him quickly, but carrrefully, back to the Castle where I can examine him more thorrroughly for brrroken bones and such.”
It is the and such that everyone his worrying about. The other fathers and sons are standing back and holding their breaths. Jamie’s son’s Hamish and Scotty step forward–with the eighteen years old Hamish’s arms around his eight year old brother Scotty.
Hamish: “Papa? Arrre ye in pain?”
Dr. Cameron Ogilvy wants to know the answer to that question. Everyone listens for Jamie’s answer.
Jamie: “Nay.” Jamie opens his eyes. Then he admits. “Not rrreally. But it is rather cold on the grrround. And John, I am rrregrrretting loaning ye me best furrr coat.” Jamie quips with a smile.
John: “Duly noted. My apologies, Jamie. Let’s get you back to the Castle.” John looks up, seeing Airlie Castle in the distance as the snow lightly falls around them [(8) right].
So Cameron instructs the others to lash two four foot toboggan’s end to end to make a makeshift stretcher long enough to carry the prone on his back six foot six inch tall Jamie. After gingerly transferring Jamie to the stretcher sled, they realize that the jostling of the carriages would be too much if Jamie has sustained some broken bones or other spinal injuries. So the fathers and Jamie’s eighteen year old son Hamish, take turns gently pulling the sled along with Cameron and the non pulling fathers riding in two of the carriages due to his sixty five years and him being a doctor needing to tend to Jamie while they are en route. Then the other carriage with the younger boys and John in them speeds back to Airlie Castle to make ready for Jamie’s arrival. John has his arm protectively around his son Douglas who nestles into his Papa’s side.
When John Thornton and the boys reach Airlie Castle, he issues some instructions to the staff to make ready for Jamie’s return. Then he sends the boys up stairs to clean up from their sledding and get warm. However John keeps his son Douglas and Jamie’s younger son Scotty with him. John hopes that Scotty will be able to reinforce John’s hope that Jamie is not severely injured–so as not to alarm the ladies, his pregnant wife Margaret, and of course, Jamie’s wife Lady Thistle. But the extent of Jamie’s injuries is not yet clear. After removing their outer coats, John takes the boys hands as they walk toward the large Airlie Castle Drawing Room where the wives and daughters are congregated. Before they open the door and enter the room, John admonishes the boys to follow his lead.
John: “Boys, we must be calm so that the ladies do not worry unduly.”
Scotty: Looking up at his cousin by marriage, he asks. “Will my Papa be alrrright, cousin John?”
John: “I hope so, Scotty.” John smiles at him hopefully and squeezes his hand. “It is a good sign that your father can move his hands and fingers.” But Jamie could not move his legs. And John fervently prays that Jamie will be alright. Because it was John and Douglas whom Jamie saved from sledding into the rushing Melgund river that caused Jamie’s accident.
Douglas: “I hope so, too, Papa.” Douglas looks earnestly up at his tall Papa and he squeezes his Papa’s hand comfortingly. John smiles back at his young son.
Then John and the boys walk resolutely into the Airlie Castle’s larger Drawing Room. They see clusters of mothers and girls dotted throughout the large room. A few of the girls are wearing daytime tiaras on loan after their excursion to the Airlie Castle Tower Vault with Lady Fiona. John thinks that the room is surreally calm given the emergency that is about to befall them.
John’s mother Hannah, Lady Airlie looks up and notices him first. He nods solemnly back at her. Quietly, John walks toward the larger group of mothers and wives where Hannah is. Hannah looks worried, and beckons the other wives and mothers to join them. The women look hesitantly at John, fearful of what his sober countenance might be portending–especially since none of the other fathers, nor most of their sons, are with him. John looks at each of the ladies, then his gaze settles on Lord Jamie’s wife Lady Thistle as their younger son Scotty detaches himself from John’s hand and goes to hug his mother and buries his face into her chest with tears in his eyes.
Lady Thistle: Lady Thistle looks up worriedly. “John? Is it …?” But she gets no further. Her heart cannot comprehend whom she would be more worried about if they were hurt in some way–her husband Jamie or her son Hamish.
John: “Hhhhh. Jamie had an accident when we were sledding and he fell hard onto his back.” John tersely relates the general facts of the accident to the ladies.
There is a collective gasp by the ladies: “Hhhhh!”
John: Then quick to try to give the ladies good news, he adds. “However, Jamie is awake and talking–and making jokes.” John tries to sound lighthearted for the ladies benefit. “But Cameron thinks it prudent to bring him back to the Castle gliding on two sleds lashed together to prevent any broken bones he might have from worsening by being jostled. The other fathers are rotating pulling Jamie’s sled stretcher. I came here with the other boys so they could get warm. And to tell you …” but John is interrupted.
Scotty: “Mama! Papa can move his hands, but he said he was too cold to feel his toes.”
Thistle: “Hmmm!” Lady Thistle whimpers, trying to stave off crying as she tightly hugs her younger son. Her oldest daughter Lady Blythe walks over to her mother and hugs her as well. Lady Thistle guesses rightly that Cameron is concerned about a spinal injury.
The women huddle around Lady Thistle to comfort her. The other daughters in the room start to look up and notice the commotion. Margaret extricates herself from the ladies to go to her husband John and she looks up into his eyes.
Margaret: “John?” She asks searchingly.
John: “It is my fault.” John sighs forlornly. “I didn’t know how to steer the toboggan. And we were heading right for the river at the bottom of the sled hill. Jamie saved our lives and prevented Douglas and I from sliding into the river, by blocking our way with his body. He flipped over us and landed hard on his back.”
Margaret: “Oh John, no!” Margaret covers her mouth in shock, even has her other hand moves to caress her husband’s face.
John: Whispering so only she can hear him, John says haltingly. “Margaret. … I heard a loud crack when Jamie hit the ground.” John shakes his head in worry. “Jamie might have broken his back. He can’t move his legs.”
Having overheard John’s hushed words to his wife Margaret, Lady Thistle walks over to John. She does not accuse him, but focuses on what must happen next.
Thistle: “John, how long will it take Jamie and the otherrrs to arrrrive back at the Castle?”
John: “It took us fifteen minutes. But they were going slowly for Jamie’s benefit. So maybe another 45 minutes.” John looks soulfully at Lady Thistle. “Thistle, I’m …” But he does not get to apologize.
Thistle: “Nay John. Accidents happen. We will see how severrre Jamie’s injurrries arrre once cousin Cameron has had a chance to examine him thorrroughly when they rrreturrrn.”
John: “Jamie might be recuperating for some time. Cameron suggested that you will want to send for your things so you can move into Airlie Castle so that Cameron can tend to him.”
Thistle: “How long?”
John: John shakes his head. “I don’t know. But plan for one to two weeks, at least.”
Hannah: Coming to Thistle’s side and embracing her caringly, Hannah tells her. “Thistle, I will ask our staff to prepare another Castle stateroom suite for you and your family to use while Jamie convalesces.”
Of course, everyone is speaking positively, as if Lord Jamie will recover. But Lady Thistle is not immune to heartbreak, and she steels herself for what might come.
Thistle: “Thank ye, Lady Airlie!
Lady Thistle nods her head and goes in search of an Airlie Castle footman who she will send to her manor and have her ladies maid, Jamie’s valet, and the children’s Governess and Nannies to pack and bring two week’s worth of clothes and such to Airlie Castle for them.
It ends up taking about another hour for Cameron and the fathers to bring Jamie safely back to Airlie Castle. They are all chilled to the bone and need warmth. After Cameron and the others settle Jamie into the stateroom made ready for them–with Jamie being situated into a stripped down small ensuite bedchamber, him still lying on the toboggans on the bed moved closer to the fireplace for warmth, since the toboggans provide support for his back, and Thistle and their children will move into the larger master bed chamber–Cameron and Baird cut away Jamie’s clothes and cover him with sheets and blankets. Thistle is not in the room by Jamie’s request–though she saw him briefly as he was brought into the Castle and she kissed him. Jamie wants to learn first of his fate, before they have to tell Thistle.
Cameron cuts away the sweater Jamie is wearing with scissors, while Baird does the same with Jamie’s pants.
Jamie: “Ach! That was me favorrrite sweaterr. Thistle knitted if forrr me.” Jamie laments. However, Jamie is still quite frozen from the hour long trek back to Airlie Castle and he cannot feel Baird cutting away his trousers.
Baird: “Thistle will underrrstand, and she can knit you a new one, Jamie.” Baird smiles encouragingly.
Cameron now takes his time and examines Jamie more thoroughly, peeling back the linens to look directly at Jamie’s skin and feeling his bones, one by one. It is a tense ten minutes as no one says anything. Cameron’s concentration is absolute and Baird cannot read his father’s facial expression. However, Jamie is patient and waits to hear Cameron’s diagnosis.
Cameron: “Ach! Jamie! Ye arrre a fine specimen of man!” Cameron begins his assessment trying to say something encouraging.
Jamie: “Well, thank ye. But yourrr telling me whetherrr I have brrroken me back and if I am parrralyzed could change that.” Jamie wants the straight forward, unvarnished truth about his prognosis.
Cameron slyly touches the bottom of Jamie’s right foot and notices Jamie’s toes curling. Cameron smiles in relief and Baird notices. Jamie’s eyes are closed. Then Cameron touches Jamie’s other foot. Its response is more sluggish, but there is movement.
Cameron: “Well Jamie, yourrr spinal corrrd was not severrred, but yourrr bones and yourr spine are cerrrtainly brrruised. I just touched yourrr feet and yourrr toes rrreflexed in rrresponse. Could you feel that?”
Jamie: “Nay. But ye did see me toes currrl?” Jamie asks hopefully.
Cameron: “Aye, Laddie! But if you have a spinal brrruise, ye must continue lying as still as you can while being flat on yourrr back for a few weeks. And then when ye arrre sufficiently healed, ye will be needing to exerrrcise yourrr legs as ye learrrn to walk again.” Then Cameron smiles mirthfully. “And no cheating by being amorrrous with that lovely wife of yourrrs. No marrrital rrelations until ye are verrrtical–your torrrso being vertical and sitting up, I mean.” Cameron clarifies with a raised eyebrow. “Underrrstood?”
Jamie: Jamie frowns. “Underrrstood.” Then Jamie smiles broadly in relief. “Thistle will na like that. We arrre a loving couple.” Jamie blushes as Baird raises a saucy eyebrow and winks at his cousin.
Cameron: “Somehow, I think Thistle will underrstand.” Cameron nods.
After Jamie is layered with blankets and spoon fed some tea with sugar to hydrate him, Lady Thistle is allowed in to see her husband and given the good news. She is told that she cannot jostle her husband Jamie in any way as he recovers, so she sobs into their cousin Cameron’s shoulder in relief as Cameron strokes her back to comfort her. They have had a near miss, and they all know it.
Jamie: “Tis alrrright, Thistle. I’m na fond of Winterrr anyway. I’ll be rrright as rrrain in time for Sprrring.” Jamie soothes his wife in his gentlest voice possible.
Thistle leans over her husband and softly places a tender kiss upon his lips and gently caresses his cheek as they gaze into each others’ eyes.
Thistle: “I love you James Ogilvy. You will get betterrr. I will see to it.”
Jamie: “And I love you, too, My Thistle.”
Jamie’s bare arms are above the blankets and covered with a shawl for warmth. So Thistle sees Jamie curling his fingers, beckoning her as she gently places her hand in his and their fingers lovingly intertwine. When Jamie was ten years old and had his accident that caused his brain damage, it was the then ten year old Thistle who helped nurse him back to health–and she also defended him when other children made fun of his slow wittedness. Now almost thirty years later, they have come full circle, with Thistle once again nursing her love Jamie.
Cameron: “We should let Jamie rrrest, though not sleep deeply. He could still have a concussion and we need to watch him very carrrefully for the next 24 hours.” Cameron intones with concern. Jamie is not out of danger, yet. “We will take fourrr hour shifts. That way, if Jamie gets borrred with any one of us, he can be assurrred of a new carrre giverrr soon.” Cameron quips lightheartedly to ease the tension in the room. “Thistle, go inforrrm your childrrren that theirrr Papa will recoverrr and then they may see their fatherrr forrr five minutes before we let him rrrest.”
Lady Thistle nods and goes to collect her children from the adjoining room. Cameron sends his son Baird to tell everyone else in the family–but especially the very worried John–that they have settled Jamie and are satisfied that he has a hope of recovery. Cameron will not be more optimistic than that, because Jamie’s condition can alter at any time.
Many thanks are given this Christmas Day for Jamie’s injuries being ones that he will eventually recover from. And as Jamie gains more strength during the following week as the new year of 1861 dawns, his extended family are allowed to visit Lord Jamie in short bursts. John knows that he owes Jamie a great debt for saving his and his little son Douglas’ lives today. And John hopes that he can repay that debt some day.
To be continued with Chapter 88
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 87 References, October 06, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #644)
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) Image representing Airlie Castle in snow is manip of two views Cortachy Cast le in Scotland:
a) background image is http://gb.fotolibra.com/images/previews/4344-cortachy-castle.jpeg ; and
b) The castle image was found at A view of Cortachy Castle the ancestral home of the Ogilvy’s and the Earl’s of Airlie was found at AirlieEstates.com/public/images/uploaded/airlie_home.jpg
3) Melgund Hill is fictional, Melgund River is not. For more information, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airlie_Castle
4) Tobogonning and sledding inf or andi mages were found at. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sledding
6) Jamie Ogilvy image is Gerard Butler as Beowulf in 2005’s Beowulf & Grendel found at http://www.imdb.com/media/rm856594432/tt0402057?ref_=ttmi_mi_all_sf_22 ; the direct image link is http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMTk1NjY3NTQzNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwODA4OTg2._V1_SX640_SY720_.jpg
8) John Thornton image is a composite of
a) Richard Armitage as John Thornton was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode4/ns4-211.jpg;
b) Fur from http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BMTk1NjY3NTQzNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwODA4OTg2._V1_SX640_SY720_.jpg
c) background image from Image serving as a Airlie Castle Drawing Room Window looking out upon wintery snow scene was found at http://static.dreamstime.com/thumblarge_107/1166553132z7Ta55.jpg
Link to Previous Ch. 86